After visiting the wonderful Gnadenhof Melief animal sanctuary Nick and I continued our journey east into Europe with Berlin in our sights. We arrived late one afternoon and headed straight to my buddy Josh's place where we were staying for a few days. Josh lives on the S9 train line which I was familiar with as it's the train I've always caught from the airport into the city and back on previous trips.
Our time in the city got off to a slightly shaky start because my allergies were kinda breaking me. No amount of tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops were doing anything and it seemed like my body was having some kinda breakdown! That plus the ridiculous heat meant that we spent some time chilling on the sofa catching up with OITNB before the lure of croissant sandwiches and cake at Chaostheorie lured me outside. I didn't take great pictures but check out my Instagram for a slightly shoddy cake pic! The next morning, okay, afternoon, Josh was at work but Nick and I ventured out into the heat to grab some food at the Goodies cafe at Veganz by Warschauer Strasse.
We went with sandwiches and a chocolate chip cookie because you can't really go wrong there and it was a solid lunch. My sandwich was full of delicious egg salad and I wished that I'd remembered to buy a tub of it to take away!
The next day we had plans to meet up with my online friend Lea who writes the blog Vegan in Berlin and so we wandered to Neukölln to meet her at Cafe Vux stopping at vegan co-op Dr Pogo on the way. I remember visiting Dr Pogo back in 2008 when I first visited Berlin and it was even better than I remembered. The shelves were stocked with every vegan thing you could imagine wanting or needing. I like that this place is less focussed on imported products than Veganz because it means there's more space for the German products I get excited about like streich spreads.
I was apprehensive about re-visiting Cafe Vux because Nick and I had a frankly terrible experience there a while back where the dude behind the counter was so rude to us that it completely ruined my day and my opinion of the business! I'm super happy to say that this time around was completely different, they're in a new location and the woman working the day we visited was beyond lovely. I'm glad that I feel like this is somewhere I can recommend now because the food's great and really, just look at these cakes!
I wasn't feeling super up for sugar because of the heat so I opted for a bagel sandwich with cheese which was fantastic. I loved that there were three different cheeses to choose from and the strong cheddar I picked was just that, strongly flavoured and totally delicious.
Hanging out with Lea was super fun, we chatted for ages over food and then spent some time exploring the city together. I love meeting up with other bloggers especially when they're also awesome vegan feminists!
One place I was beyond excited about finally getting to visit was Sfizy Veg. I know it was open last time I was in the city but I was travelling with a pizza hating friend (it's okay, she came over to the delicious side early this year!) so I didn't made the trip. This time though the dudes I was hanging with happened to be as stoked about pizza as I am so we went big with our orders! The menu at Sfizy is utterly ridiculous, I've never seen such a great pizza menu anywhere in the world. I choose from the fish section and went for an old pregan fave of tuna but with added capers for a little extra saltiness. Nick went with a chorizo topped pizza and Josh got something with peppers on that I pretended didn't exist! We also got some garlic focaccia because why not y'know?!
This was some seriously great pizza, great base, great tomato sauce, good cheese, a solid amount of toppings. So perfect. In any other city I would probably have eaten here every single day but this is Berlin so there are a tonne of fantastic options around every corner. One such spot is Kopps, an upscale bar and restaurant located in Mitte. We met up with Nicole from Vegan Nom Noms and tucked into Kopps' epic all you can eat brunch buffet. We were all far too hot to take proper pictures (seriously, we felt like we were melting and actually considered eating our brunch in the bathroom where it was a few degrees cooler!) but this was plate number one.
As you can see the buffet has a great spread of sweet and savoury food, I was particularly enamoured by the eggless egg salad and the little berry cake. According to Nicole the secret ingredient in the egg salad is noodles!! What?! That kinda blew my mind but it makes sense, she has a recipe for it on her blog if you'd like to check it out. There were plenty of different breads to choose from on the buffet as well as sliced meats and cheeses, an expansive yoghurt / fruit / granola station and pancakes which were wonderful with some berry coulis. After brunch we desperately needed to cool down and the idea of getting back on the S Bahn was making us all feel queasy so we headed for the mall! Haha! It was fun I swear! We found a store selling air conditioners and tested them out, played on some massage chairs and I gazed at my dream camera before we decided to head back out into the heat so that we could get some ice cream. Veganz wasn't too far away and Nick and I had to stock up the van fridge for our onward journey the next morning so it seemed like the perfect stop. I grabbed a mini tub of this Lime and Basil gelato from Professor Grunschanel and it was the most perfect, refreshing treat for a hot day. I loved it.
That night Nick and I headed to Let It Be, Berlin's vegan creperie and burger bar, located just up the street from Sfizy, to try their crepes as we'd heard great things.
It was late when we arrived and even later by the time we got to eat. I was getting pretty hungry but it was totally worth the wait. We ordered one Woody Harrelson, one Moby and a side of mac & cheese. I feel pretty terrible for putting such a crappy picture up here but the food was so great that I just had to write about it.
The Woody Harrelson came stuffed with ham, cheese, leeks and cream sauce and as soon as I took the first bite I knew I was going to have trouble sharing! It was ridiculously good and I can see why people say this is their favourite place to eat in Berlin. The side of mac and cheese wasn't to our taste, the pasta was perfectly cooked and it was just the right amount of cheesy but there was just so much black pepper going on that you couldn't taste anything else. It was a shame because with a little less pepper this would have been a fantastic mac and cheese. The Moby we ordered was a dessert crepe filled with applesauce and cinnamon and again it was love at first bite. It was fantastic and I was amazed that something so simple could be so damn good.
I have always been a big fan of Berlin ever since my first visit where I ate at Nil, got sugared up at Cupcake and brunched at Hans Wurst (does anyone else remember that spot?!) but I feel like Berlin gets more and more vegan friendly every time I visit and now I have to add Sfizy Veg, Cafe Vux, Kopps and Let It Be to the must visit list alongside OhLaLa, Nil, Chaostheorie, Veganz, Dr Pogo and Voner.
After our time in Berlin came to an end Nick and I were heading to Poland but I could't be so close to Dresden with the time and means to get there without swinging by to visit my friend and fellow blogger Constanze from Seitan Is My Motor. We originally met when I visited Berlin for the first time and we've kept in touch online ever since. It was great to see her again! We met up at Tanteleuk, a little cafe with great vegan options, where we hung out on the balcony and talked politics, life and veganism for hours.
To sustain our chatting we needed to eat and I got a mock meat sandwich with salad and a slice of apple and berry cake which was totally delicious, not too sugary and the crust was spot on.
I would definitely recommend this spot! We would totally have checked out some more of Dresden's vegan and vegan friendly places if we'd had more time and if it hadn't have been a Monday. I was definitely a little sad to have missed out on 100% vegan spot Cafe V-Cake.
After lunch Constanze took us on a tour of the area (Dreden Neustadt), showed us some of her favourite spots, pointed out cool street art and even helped me find some amazing soy yoghurt. It was a great day! I was sad that we didn't have more time to spend in Dresden, it's a cool city and if Poland and the excitement of exploring a totally new country hadn't been calling us away we'd definitely have stuck around for longer.
I'm currently writing this from a vegetarian cafe in Krakow where I've been munching on pierogis and writing all afternoon, I'll tell ya all about it next time!