Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Portlanding.

It's almost Vida Vegan Con time and I'm in Portland already. I've been having a rad time so far, here are some of the things I already love about Portland...

Food Carts! 





Goats - this was very much a right place right time kinda deal! 



This was just about the best thing that's ever happened! 

 Eating ice cream that one day the sun came out!

Chocolate Soft Serve with Salted Caramel Sauce from Back to Eden.

Bars that serve s'mores and awesome PPKers to share them with!


Obviously I will be blogging about all of this in waaay more detail soon but right now there are more PPKers to meet, fun times to be had and, obviously, I need to eat some more. See ya'll soon!

Take me to the ball game.

I'm not the biggest sports fan but if anything's going to get me into a stadium to watch a game I don't understand it's the promise of food!


Last weekend whilst Nick and I were in Seattle we headed out to watch the Mariners play baseball with PPK buddies Ben and Gus. This stadium has a truly astounding amount of vegan food for a sporting establishment hence the collection of non-sports fans Nick managed to convince to come along!

Our first stop was always going to be the Field Roast stand. Located in a small and über vegan friendly food court between stands 132 and 133 this cart serves up all-vegan chilli cheese dogs, franks and burgers.  


I went for this beauty. A frankfurter with onions and cheese sauce. This "monstrosity", as one of my companions referred to it, was crazy delicious and well worth the walk around the stadium from our section for. I topped it with sauerkraut because, well, why wouldn't you? This made it even harder to eat but that's probably why it comes with not one but two boxes and a fork!


If you aren't in the mood for this ball game classic the food court also includes Bao Choi, a steamed bun stand from the people behind Vedge restaurant in Philadelphia, and The Natural, a healthier kinda place that still serves dogs and burgers but also has hummus, soups and smoothies.

The next must-try food at SAFECO field has to be the garlic fries. These are available from most of the regular burger / fry / soft drink stations situated around the concourse and are vegan as is.


These were some of the best fries ever. Perfectly crispy and super garlicky, what more could you want?  Well... maybe some Veganaise!!

If you get the chance, sports fan or not, I'd say catching a Mariners game is a must if you're in Seattle. They've certainly hit a home run with their vegan options!

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Kambi's and Cocktails.

Friday night saw me heading out of Brighton and into Hove for dinner and drinks with my friend Tabitha. We'd only really planned to get drinks but we both arrived starving and decided that cocktails on an empty stomach would be a bad idea - look at me all grown up & sensible now that I'm almost 30!

Kambi's was the nearest vegan friendly eatery and as I hadn't reviewed it before I thought we should give it a try. I hadn't ever eaten Lebanese food in Brighton before and we excitedly ordered the Vegan Meze for two. This comes with Houmos, Moutabal, Tabbouleh, Vine Leaves, Batatah Harra, Fatayer, Falafel & Salad.


I was really happy to get to try so many vegan menu items in one go and I wish more cuisines were presented like this so that you could try loads of different things. Out of the varied selection only the moutabal, fatayer and battah harra were new to me. At least that's what I thought! Upon tasting the moutabal I realised that it wasn't new to me at all but baba ganoush hiding under a different name! This was a-ok with me, I love baba ganoush and this one was truly delicious. The hummus was great too, super creamy, y'know the good restaurant kind that you can tell is made with plenty of oil and tahini, the vine leaves were also perfectly oily and fresh. Both myself and my dining companion enjoyed the new-to-us batatah harra which if, like me, you're in the dark, is a sautéed potato dish with coriander, garlic, sweet peppers & chilli. I'm pretty sure that the only chillies in this dish were the two whole ones balanced on top and I think I enjoyed it all the more for that reason! The falafel balls were crispy on the outside but a little unsubstantial on the inside, there were also only three which for a dish two people are meant to share is just silly! Overall we enjoyed the food itself but we definitely didn't think that it was worth £20! They either need to lower the price or make it a helluva lot bigger! Kambi's is located on Western Road a little way past Waitrose and right next to the (hopefully opening really soon) new Hove Iydea location.

Here's the real reason for our trip into Hove. Cocktails. Not just any cocktails though, oh no, it takes a lot to get me to cross that Brighton / Hove boundary and Boho Gelato teaming up with Slice Sussex for a monthly frozen cocktail night is definitely the kind of thing that'll do it!

It's no secret that I love Boho Gelato, they have at least six vegan flavours in the cabinet every day and as soon as the sun comes out I'm there at least bi-weekly for my gelato fix. Unsurprisingly when I heard about this monthly cocktail night I was super excited and couldn't wait to check it out. Neither of us had been to Slice Sussex before and we were pleased to find a really cosy relaxed cafe-style place with cute angle-poise lamps and comfy armchairs.

The menu had three dairy and three non-dairy cocktails and the lovely people at Slice Sussex happily looked into which boozes were vegan friendly so that we didn't have to do all of the work ourselves.

I started with a Mojito Slush and Tabitha went for the Negroneeevil, a concoction of blood orange and chilli sorbet mixed with gin but minus the vermouth and campari.


The Mojito Slush ended up being my favourite drink of the evening. Consisting of mojito sorbet, white rum and fresh mint this drink is the perfect summer refreshment. I think I'll be buying a tub of the mojito to bring home so that I can make these in my blender come proper summer time.

Next we both tried the Red Lotus, a mix of Lychee & Cranberry sorbet, vodka and cachaca.


This one almost tasted flowery and like a sweet (one that we couldn't put our finger on!), I really liked the light foam on top of the drink and it was Tabitha's favourite cocktail of the evening.

This is going to be my last Brighton based blog post for a little while, I'm heading to Seattle with Nick on Thursday to spend four or five days sightseeing and eating before we drive down the coast towards Portland for, well, even more eating! Then Nick leaves and I stay for Vida Vegan Con! I don't think I've ever been more excited about a trip...well, maybe the time Nick finally got on the plane to NYC!! I have a shiny new suitcase and an as yet untouched notebook to fill up with tips, plans and ideas from the con. I also cannot wait to finally meet up with old and new friends, I'll finally meeting people whose blogs I've been reading since '09! It's gonna be epic! I'll be trying my hardest to blog from the road, something I practiced in Manchester and actually enjoyed doing, so I'll see y'all soon!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

VBites East Street.

VBites has moved to central Brighton and today I was their first customer! I've been peering through the windows for weeks and I was excited to finally get to step inside. VBites have fancied up the old Aloka location on East Street and I must say they've done a wonderful job. The whole place is light, bright, airy and stuffed full of vegan goodies.

The shelves are full of staples, from soups, beans and pasta to cereal, peanut butter and tea. They have a small selection of veggies and fresh bread and plenty of exciting treats like Chocoreale, Dame Blanche cookies and even raw chocolate buttons.


The fridge is stuffed full of an unsurprisingly impressive range of Cheezly, mock meats and fish substitutes as well as drinks, margarine, plant milks and creams.


They have an impressive chocolate selection too which includes every kind of Go Max bar and plenty of Moo Free.


The main thing I was excited about though was the menu. I had heard that it would be different from the menu at the Lagoon location and that's definitely correct. This menu has a great balance of mock meat dishes like the Classic VBeefy Burger, VB Fishy & Fries and their No Meat Feast pizza and homemade comfort food classics like the Tuscan Bean & Fusilli Soup, Classic Homemade Beanburger and a Falafel Wrap.

As I was there early (I wasn't kidding about being the first customer - they unlocked the door for me!) they were still serving the breakfast menu which runs from 8:30 - 11 daily. These hours aren't set in stone but I'm really hoping they'll be able to keep the early opening time, it's hard to grab breakfast before work in this city and it's currently impossible to find a vegan breakfast before 10 on a Sunday!

Whilst I was tempted by the Full English I decided to go for the Rasher Roll, their version of a bacon butty, which is not something you can find elsewhere in Brighton. There was a choice of bap, wholewheat or white, and it comes with three rashers, tomato and both mayo and ketchup.


This sarnie would be the perfect start to any day. The rashers were perfectly crisped around the edges, the warm tomatoes added a more gourmet edge to the British classic and the balance of mayo and ketchup was spot on.

VBites are also selling slices of cake, shortbread biscuits and pastries alongside a delicious sounding selection of sandwiches (including classics like Coronation Chicken and Cheese & Pickle) and baked potatoes with a wide range of fillings. There's a breakfast bar in the morning where you can plate up your own granola and at lunchtime it turns into a salad bar.

I loved my first visit and I'm already tempted to go back for more. I'd definitely say that this VBites location is a must visit for any vegan visiting Brighton.