Travel, We Are Adventuring: World Food

CLOSED: World Food: Café Lebensfroh

**This café is now CLOSED**

This is literally just a food porn post, as the café is now closed for business. My brother and I spent the middle chunk of our Berlin adventure staying in the awesome Jetpak Alternative Hostel (which was absolutely brilliant, I can’t recommend it enough. Particularly as the owner was kind enough to set me up with a bottle of fizz as a thank you for mentioning our booking on Smokin’ Tofu before we set off – a really lovely gesture that set us up for an excellent stay. Also, whilst I’m talking about Jetpak: gotta love a hostel that provides a proper serious big boy shower. No pressing buttons every five seconds and then squeezing into damp knickers at Jetpak, ho no).

A few doors down, we spotted a vegan café called Café Lebensfroh. We thought a raw vegan lunch would be the perfect hangover cure, but were dismayed to discover the imminent closure of the café. This basically means this post is totally useless for those visiting Berlin and it’s really just to show off how awesome our lunch was. Ha.

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Although actually, this is a great opportunity to recommend a kickass android app my brother used to translate our way through Berlin’s menus. Word Lens Translator is like, £3 or something and totally kicks ass for decoding menus. I’ll never travel without it. You simply point your camera at the menu (or sign, etc) and the app translates the words. Not always totally accurate, but good enough when ordering lunch.

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Raw vegan kholrabi pasta with cashew pesto and salad.

P1020243Warm vegan tomato, black olive and rosemary scone with amazing raw salad.

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Travel, We Are Adventuring: World Food

World Food: Yellow Sunshine, Berlin.

“I trust you’ve already tried vegan currywurst,” a twitter pal tweeted me whilst I was in Berlin. Ridiculous question. Of course I hadn’t tried vegan currywurst: I wasn’t organised enough to research where such a mysterious beast resided.

Anyway, comedically, it turned out we could nosh on a vegan currywurst – a sort of curry-ketchupped sausage extravaganza – less then ten minutes away from our hostel at Yellow Sunshine, a bio fast food joint. There isn’t much to say about Yellow Sunshine because reader, I was hungover. Very hungover. The reason I was hungover can be explained in one picture:

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You see that happiness in my eyes? That’s the happy-go-lucky expression of someone who thinks they’ll be fine after chugging four beers and two jagers and then staggering home singing in the snow. For reference, I have small girl-child hands and that beer is bigger than my face. The end.

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The menu was 100% organic vegetarian junk and it was magical. We had burgers (pictured: vegan chicken burger) and then my brother spotted the vegan currywurst on the menu so we shared one of those too, even though that was more food than any human needs after consuming 809398 calories in beer the night before.

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Keep your peepers peeled because I’m working on a healthy version of vegan currywurst for dinner tonight. I’ll post the recipe if it works out!

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Yellow Sunshine Website (German) | Yellow Sunshine on Happy Cow

Travel, We Are Adventuring: World Food

World Food: Emma Pea, Berlin.

Berlin is like a crème brûlée for the timid: one must crack the surface to get to the good stuff. “Cracking the surface” involves cutting through graffiti-daubed parks that seem a bit shady, snaking down grim alleys spattered with paint and dog shit and marching under shady bridges to reach the belly of the beast.

I’m not a risk taker at all though, and I believe in trusting your instincts. I have a reputation with one group of friends for bailing on a night out right before the evening turns sour. I would say it’s like a ~6th sense, but I get pick-pocketed all the fucking time so fat lot of good it is to me. My top tips are to always know where you’re going and always know what you’re looking for. If something seems off, even if you can’t pinpoint exactly why, take a step back, stop walking or change direction.

Berlin felt like a really safe city, and I only mention the above because if I had been alone, I would have changed direction and missed Emma Pea because I had no idea what I was looking for.

P1020265Before my brother and I left for Berlin, we created a map of veggie hangouts, rock bars and interesting cultural stuff like museums dedicated to computer games, so whenever we were in a new area, we could check our map and see if anything awesome was nearby. One evening, we were trotting around Friedrichshain, somewhere between our hostel and our aunt’s flat, when we realised we should probably eat. We checked our map, and a vaguely bland-sounding veggie café was right on the street we were standing on. “Excellent!” we exclaimed, and then we walked up and down the street and found nothing. “It should be right here,” Henry said, pointing his phone at a large impenetrable stretch of wall. Eventually, we found a gateway and were immediately offered marijuana. “Seems legit,” we thought, and continued on into the belly of a warehouse district. Sheet ice glimmered across the concrete and in the distance, we saw a light.

P1020266Opposite a late-night climbing club packed with people scurrying up climbing walls, we found this tiny little café-bar serving up Mexican-style veggie cuisine. It was cheap, warm and vibey, with a separate bar area open until the early hours. We tucked into a tortilla and a vegan bean burrito (although it came with unvegan dips – my bad though, I could have asked what it came with and ordered guac or salsa instead).

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P1020275I’m not even sorry for the terrible photos, because it’s really uncouth to use flash a) when photographing food and b) when in a small dark atmospheric bar.

I’ll be honest: the food wasn’t mind blowing, but it was cheap and hearty and fresh as a daisy. The atmosphere of the place was second to none, though and the staff were great. Definitely worth seeking out for the spirit of adventure and rest assured – the location is perfectly safe.

Emma Pea Website (German) | Emma Pea on Happy Cow

Travel, We Are Adventuring: World Food

World Food: Home Cooking in Berlin.

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I’m back from my travels and fat with experiences (and vegan bratwurst and beer and love for Berlin). Before we left, my aunt warned us that it was pretty cold in Berlin, with a bit of snow. By the time we landed, Berlin was a winter wonderland with milky skies and frigid, leafless trees. In March. Scary, yo. Scary but also stunning. It also occurred to me that etymologically speaking, icing and frosting of the cake variety both relate to features of cold weather. Cupcakes always look wintry, like they’ve been left out in the snow. I have spent a lot of time staring at snow-topped monuments and thinking about cake (standard).

Anyway, I totally forgot the clocks went forward so it’s actually 2.41am as I write this and that’s a stupid hour to be writing cake thoughts on the internet but remember kids: at any moment of any day, someone, somewhere, is staring at a snowball and wishing it was a cupcake.

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We stayed with my aunt and her husband in their flat, nestled relatively central in Friedrichshain, for the beginning and end of our trip, and spent the middle chunk in a hostel. This is just a little foodie post about my aunt Dolores and her husband Harvey. Both pescetarians and excellent cooks, I was actually staying with them for a weekend in their Carlisle home when I decided to try veganism. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve dropped off the bandwagon, oh, thousands of times, but I’m feeling really determined and inspired post-Berlin to knuckle down and ditch the dairy for good. I know, riveting shit. I’ll do a proper post about where I’ve failed at some point this week, but for now, my aunt Dolores. An organic addict and queen of good old fashioned health, she is an absolute culinary hero. Breakfast usually consisted of a selection of wholegrain cereals, rehydrated spiced figs and fresh berries with soya milk. I never eat breakfast because I don’t believe in rising before lunch time unless I absolutely have to, but I ate this shit every single day.

P1020158They welcomed us to Germany with a selection of vegetarian German staples: kartoffelpuffer (fried potato pancake), baked spinach pancake, vegan bratwurst-style German sausage, sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) served with a squeeze of ketchup and a dollop of sweet mustard. I’m still dreaming about that sausage.

 

 

Travel, We Are Adventuring: World Food

World Food: Cafe Mlynek, Kraków.


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My mother, brother and I went to Kraków last September for a weekend break. Between wondering around the breathtaking Wieliczka Salt Mine and visiting Schindler’s factory, my brother and I wondered how we’d fair as vegetarians in Kraków. Answer: awesome.

Okay, so I’ve actually blogged about Café Mlynek in Kraków before, but I never got around to posting our second meal there so I thought now was the time to bestow upon you these really grainy photos. It was a late night supper in Kazimierz following and preceding LOTS OF BEER. The photos suck because I’m a terrible photographer. And maybe I’d been drinking. There, I said it.

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It was late, so I ordered a really simple shredded tofu and rice dish topped with vegan parsley pesto, washed down with a pint of Zywiec (standard). I still dream of this dish. I’ve tried to recreate it but I just can’t quite nail it.

S5000063My brother bringing his best “Come at my, bro” game on face to Polish dumpling-eating. These veggie polish dumplings, called pierogis, are boiled then fried, similar to Japanese gyoza. Nestled inside was a delicious umami filling of chopped mushrooms and sauerkraut, served with a big pile of sprouts and sour cream.

Incidentally, if you find yourself planning a weekend sojourn somewhere in Europe, Krawów is awesome, affordable and veggie-friendly. I have one more Kraków post up my sleeve so hold onto your hats.

Cafe Mlynek: website | Happy Cow

Booze & Beverages, We Are Adventuring: World Food

World Food: Booze in New Orleans

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New Orleans is one of my most beloved cities. I have a vague aim to hit Mardis Gras in 2014, to hang out in the street, catch the parade and get shit-faced with my girl Nisha. Yesterday was Fat Tuesday, and I had a nice little 4am drunk dial from Nisha to remind me that it was party time in NOLA. Needless to say, I slept through it but still felt the love in my slumbering heart (sorry bb).

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Mardis Gras seems to be about booze for breakfast, to set a precedent for the rest of the day, so I thought I’d write about three boozy beverages I enjoyed necking in New Orleans. Abita is a locally brewed beer perfect for swigging in the late afternoon sunshine. During the spring, strawberry and raspberry varieties are available, brewed with fresh seasonal fruit.


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“Have a hand grenade, New Orleans’ most powerful drink.” Don’t mind if I do. Confession: we drank three one night and I nearly died and that’s that. Classy, eh?  I’d like to say I was channelling some Mardis Gras spirit but actually those green slushy drinks are just killer and I’m a weakling Brit used to carefully measured 35ml shots.

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This was breakfast one day: a pineapple daiquiris slushy slurped from a huge polystyrene cup.

Travel, Veg*n London, Veg*n UK, Veggie Friendly London, We Are Adventuring: World Food

Veg*n London: Maoz, Soho.

“I think we need to have a serious conversation about Maoz.”

“I think we need to have a sers converzashion about Mawowz.”

“I thinkh we needteh havr srsh converzashen abuet Mawoshz.”

This is just a cross-section of the colourful circumstances in which I’ve found myself chowing down on a falafel pitta from Maoz over the years. There are twelve – twelve! – of these veggie “kebab” houses dotted around the globe, and I’ve found myself dining in three: Soho, drunk. Amsterdam, never you mind. And Paris, Paris totally fucked up after a week-long cheese crepe bender.

P1010811Every branch in every country in Europe is the same: an eclectic salad bar promising couscous, pickled carrots, fried cauliflower, dill-covered cucumber, green olives, red cabbage, sweetcorn and all sorts of other shit like gherkins and tahini and coriander salsa.

For around a fiver, patrons load up either a wholemeal pitta bread or a salad box with falafel and a choice of toppings, from buttery avocado and crumbled feta to melt-in-the-mouth hummus, baba ganoush or grilled aubergine. Choose from a wide range of sides – chips, chips with ketchup, chips with mayo, chips with ketchup and mayo, or minty lemonade – and enjoy. Can’t go wrong with Maoz – especially on New Year’s Day when you’re struggling to function and you accidentally made your friend “trudge” (her word) around Soho looking for a vegetarian pub that you may have just dreamed about.* For example.

(*Coach and Horses on Greek Street. Not a dream, just hard to find in the midst of a hangover).