Category: Travel

A vegan travel post coming at you with a twist today – I’m not the one travelling! My mum and Kim have been in Tallinn, Estonia for the past few days and they have given me some insight into some vegan food they ate in the city. They were lucky enough to meet someone at the airport who told them about V Vegan! They also saw vegan options in the windows of cafes and in supermarkets as well as whole foods shops. Myself, I was pleasantly surprised to see lots of listings for Tallinn on HappyCow – I feel that you could eat really well there as a vegan!

Vegan V Restoran
Rataskaevu 12, 10130 Tallinn, Estonia

They had dinner at V Vegan which is a small rusticly decorated vegan restaurant with a cosy and warm vibe. The restaurant is situated on a cobbled street in Tallinn’s medieval old town. They both remarked on how attentive and polite the service was.

The menu at Vegan V.
(Many options are also gluten or wheat free)

If I had been there I totally would have picked the Beetroot Seitan with potato mash and wild mushroom sauce – how rich and decadent does that sound!

The Beetroot ravioli with cashew cheese and a pesto sauce and garnish of crunchy nuts.

For mains they had Spicy Tofu on quinoa and sweet potato pile with tomato and coconut sauce.

Unfortunately they were so hungry they ate it before they could take photos – but I’ll let that speak for the deliciousness! They said it was a perfect combination of textures and flavours – especially the sauces.

Baked Apple with Carrot and Ginger Ice cream

Chocolate cake with berries

How good does that cake look! My mum said it was a very chocolatey cake which was not too sweet with berries in the filling. Yum!

They have a good selection of vegan cakes – something that always gets my vote!

They both agreed that the food was delicious and they had a great dining experience at Vegan V.

You can find Vegan V online on their website here and on Facebook here

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I’ve mentioned our honeymoon in passing on here a couple of times but I’ve never actually written a post on it. The other day I was looking through the photos I took on our trip and realised I wanted to share a lot of them.

For the first part of our trip we drove up to Yosemite National Park and camped in the Hogdon Meadow campground. The campground has flushing toilets but no showers. The main campsites are right among the trees but there is a trail that leads to the meadow. We walked this trail a few times and saw a wild deer family and a wood pecker!

One of the days we were there we took a drive up to a fire look-out point with amazing views out across the park. Whilst we were walking around a ranger from the look-out approached us for a chat, he noticed Brian was carrying bear spray and told us he had worked for the park for twenty years and only seen bears once or twice! He told us often the sound of the spray from the nozzle was enough to scare the bear away. We didn’t see a single sign of a bear whilst we were in the park.

The famous view out across Yosemite Valley. This bit was crawling with people so we just snapped a few photos and left. Down in the Yosemite Valley there is an extremely well stocked grocery store (especially for vegan products) – think frozen Gardein products, fresh veggies etc.

After our camping in Yosemite we drove down through the park to the town of Oakhurst and our cabin. The cabin is delightfully named Nature’s Nook. We were so happy to arrive here, a shower and a clean bed were exactly what we needed after camping. The bed was ridiculously comfortable, I remember the first night being the best nights sleep I had had in ages. The cabin has a tiny kitchen so we happily cooked up our meals whilst we were there.

In the cabin’s plethora of information we found information on the Nelder Grove, also known as Shadow of the Giants, a grove of giant sequoia trees. We took a drive up there and had a great time walking the trails, enjoying the trees and looking for mushrooms.

After our stay at the cabin we started the long drive to Bridgeport and the Paradise Shores RV park. We drove up to Jackson and then across the top of Yosemite. Some of the roads had been closed due to snow so our route was slightly altered but never the less we made it! At one point we accidentally drove into Nevada – much to my joy.

We arrived at the RV park and were greeted and shown to our rental RV by the very pregnant and lovely host. The RV was fully stocked with fridge, the tiniest oven, toilet, shower and double bed. There was a TV which we couldn’t really get to work and wifi which we also couldn’t get to work much at all. The park is basically in the middle of nowhere so that wasn’t much surprise to either of us.

However, the view outside the RV was breathtaking. It’s set right next to a big resevoir and ringed with mountains. We went to sleep that night and woke the next day to find the whole area covered in snow! I’ve never seen snow falling in California before so it was a very magical moment!

One of the main reasons we decided to stay in Bridgeport was the fact that it is very near to Bodie. Bodie is an almost fully preserved ghost town! I am absolutely fascinated by ghost towns and have always wanted to visit Bodie. We decided to visit on the day when it had snowed and it was magical!

Bodie is so well preserved it’s like the people there just up and left one day. The history of the town is absolutely fascinating – if you ever get a chance to visit you must!

The final stop we made was to Mono Lake. We had a quick look around the visitor centre and then drove down to the lake shore. I decided to have a taste of the lake water and it was DISGUSTING. Brian thought my scrunched up face was hilarious! The lake itself is really beautiful though, ringed with snowcapped mountains.

We spent one more night in the RV and the next day started our long drive back to L.A. We both loved our trip so much and still talk about how comfy the bed at Nature’s Nook was!

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If you happen to read this blog occassionally you’ll know that my husband and I are huge fans of mushrooms. We’ve always enjoyed eating them but since finding wild morels on our honeymoon last year we got a bee in our bonnet about finding them out in the wild.

So far we haven’t really found many edible mushrooms. But the poisonous ones are still interesting to look at. PSA: never, ever consume a mushroom if you aren’t 100% sure what it is. Before hunting invest in a good mushroom identifying guide (I use this one for the UK and purchased this Californian one for Brian) and when in doubt consult people with more knowledge than you – the folks over at r/mycology are happy to help in identifying unknown fungi.

Brian visited me back in April for our one year wedding anniversary and my birthday and I had heard good things about mushrooms in the New Forest. We took a day trip down there with Kim and had vigorous walk around a section of the forest.

We ended up finding a good amount of oyster mushrooms and some other less edible ones. Unfortunately this was the day when my camera decided to die (don’t use third-party batteries, guys) so I never got any photos of our haul.

Anyway, the real purpose of this post was to share some of the photos I took that day. I took my camera in to get repaired today so I’m hoping that I will be able to start blogging FOR REAL again very soon. I miss it!

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This week I went to visit my good friend Nelly in her new home town of Hastings. We did a little bit of research on HappyCow beforehand about vegan eats and I’m happy to say there’s lots of choice!

I was only there for a day trip but scoped out a lot of potential eats for another trip. One cafe, Bullet Coffee house was only open on Saturday but looked really promising!

We ended up grabbing some lunch at Flavours of India, an Indian restaurant with tonnes of vegan options.

The thali at lunch is only £7.95 – you pick 3 dishes from the set menu and it comes with rice and bread. I had the chana masala, saag aloo and vegetarian samosa. Everything was delicious and really set us up for what ended up being a 6 mile walk around Hastings!

7 Castle Hill Road,
Hastings, East Sussex TN34 3QZ

You can find the menu for Flavours of India here.

Later on after trooping around Hastings (which is beautiful!) we stopped at Penbuckle’s Delicatessen. 

50 High Street
Hastings, TN34 3EN.

Now that I’m a coffee snob I got really excited by the big sign outside that said they served Monmouth Coffee. I wasn’t too sure if they would have soya milk but they did! Checking the cake cabinet I saw they had a vegan cake but it was all gone…so I asked if they had more. Turned out two of the flapjacks were vegan! So I ended up with a big slice of apricot flapjack. The coffee was delicious as was the flapjack.The deli has a really lovely, cosy room at the back with seating and a fire place. It was a welcome rest for us after all of our walking!

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Afternoon tea is a British institution and Fortnums does it extremely well. Imagine my delight when they did a vegan selection! They also do dairy and gluten free, gluten free and a bunch of other special diet options. It’s always great to see vegans and other special diets represented in main stream places.

I went to Fortnums with a very good friend of mine who had the classic version so you will see some of her food in the photos as well.

Dikom Golden Butterfly

I’m a bit of a tea snob and the tea menu at Fortnums is fantastically long. I went for a Single Estate Assam called Dikom Golden Butterfly. It was beautifully smooth tasting with a slight hint of caramel. I ended up drinking two teapots worth during our time in the restaurant.

Obviously, eating afternoon tea at somewhere like Fortnums is not going to be cheap (£40 for their own classic blends and £44 for a single estate tea like mine) But I’m happy to report that they will refresh any of the plates for you as many times as you like. We had extra sandwiches and scones and left feeling completely stuffed!

The Vegan afternoon tea menu

The sandwiches

 

I started with my sandwiches. The char grilled pepper with salsa verdi was easily my favourite and asked for a refresh! I’m not a huge fan of cucumber but I actually enjoyed the sandwich very much. The bread was light and fluffy and not at all dry – previously when I’ve had afternoon tea you could tell the sandwiches were not fresh due to the bread being dry.

The scones with dairy-free butter

Next the scones! Slightly warm and pillow-y soft. I’m completely aware that many people are scared of vegan baking and I was so happy to see I got scones! A lot of the time vegan baking can be dense and cake-y but these scones were super light. The dairy-free butter was great as well. I had some of the scones with Fortnums strawberry jam – which you can’t really go wrong on!

The final tier – seasonal fruits

I know many people would be unhappy with a fruit salad to top off their afternoon tea but for me it was lovely. After eating all the carbs during the rest of the tea it was great to have something light to finish on.  There was also a lot of fruit I’d never tried before like starfruit and dragon fruit. I’m not a big fan of melon usually but I really enjoyed it here and made my husband proud!

Enjoying our tea!

At the end of our tea we were offered more cake – sadly none of it was vegan but I took a slice of Victoria sandwich home for my mum. We also got to take home the jam and lemon curd.

The service throughout was impeccable, we were offered numerous refreshes on our tea and food. The only thing that bothered us was the tea room was FREEZING so we had to keep our cardigans on the whole time! I would definitely come back!

You can book afternoon tea at Fortnums online here and follow them online on Twitter @fortnums

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I’m putting these two places together because they are both in BoxPark in Shoreditch!
I’ve been wanting to go to BoxPark for ages, mostly because all the photos of the food I’ve seen from there have been jaw droppingly delicious looking.

First we stopped by Cook Daily for lunch (upstairs in BoxPark, unit 55). I had the Full English and my friend Ratha had the Rainbow. Each bowl is £8. My bowl came with a free cup of tea and Ratha got an iced pea flower tea! The pea flower tea is purple and tastes delicious! The man behind the counter also told us it was a natural anti-depressant. Our food was ready in 3 minutes – my kind of fast food!


A sign inside that made me smile!

The bowls are all posted up on the wall – you just pick the one you want! 

Full English Bowl

The Full English comes with tofu “egg”, vegan sausage, mushroom, tomatoes, spinach and homemade brown sauce on rice. It is ridiculous. Easily the best tofu scramble I’ve ever had. The portion size is great too – I was completely stuffed. I’ve never actually eaten brown sauce before but if that’s what it tastes like I’m now a convert. I can see why everyone was raving about Cook Daily. I’ve already decided I’m going back to try all the other bowls.

Ratha’s Rainbow Bowl – stir fried veggies and tofu on rice and the pea flour tea with lime!

After we stuffed ourselves at Cook Daily we went downstairs to East London Juice Co (unit 35) who I have been Instagram stalking for a while. I’m a big fan of juice and smoothies and all those magical nut milks that people make so I’m on a personal quest to go to as many London juice places as possible. I also wanted to see if they had any of their nut milks in the fridge but they only had their Killer Sunrise juice & the charcoal lemonade. I’m not a fan of pineapple so I gave it a miss!

Update!

The lovely folks at East London Juice Co recently contacted me by email to let me know that they’ve moved from Boxpark!

Their new location is at 100 Shoreditch High Street, Ace Hotel. You can find them online at www.eastlondonjuice.com

I ended up getting one of their Lux smoothies, the Chocolate Acai which was wild Balinese cacao, acai berry, date, banana, coconut, chia seeds + activated house mylk. Absolutely delicious! It was my healthy dessert after Cook Daily. East London Juice Co had a nice relaxed vibe about it that I really liked – I’ll be back – hopefully to get some of their nut milk and bottled juice!

You can find Boxpark at
2-10 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6GY

Find Cook Daily online
@kingcookdaily on Instagram

Find East London Juice Co
@eastlondonjuiceco on Instagram

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Most of my family is from Oxfordshire but the last time I went to Oxford was a good ten or even more years ago. Obviously, at that point I wasn’t a vegan. I spent the day there today and only ate once but I loved the food so much I wanted to write a short post here.

I’m also really happy to say that I found this place using Google maps and didn’t have to use HappyCow! It ended up being about a 10 minute walk from the Ashmolean Museum! I don’t drink but they also have vegan alcohol on offer.

The Gardeners Arms

39 Plantation Road, Oxford, OX2 6JE
Find them online here
O
n Twitter @gardenersarms

The Gardeners Arms is a vegetarian and vegan pub! It’s on a delightful little side street and full of that English pub charm.

 I went for the Medley Mushroom Pie but switched out the Italian style potatoes for chips because I was craving them! Happy to see it came with some substantial vegetables and not a sad bit of iceberg lettuce.The mushroom pie was rich with gravy and I was glad to see lots of different mushrooms in the sauce (continuing my quest this year to eat lots of different varieties of mushrooms!) The meal really hit the spot and gave me the fuel for the almost 9 miles of walking I did around Oxford during the day!

Whilst I was in the pub some other people on a different table ordered burgers and they looked INSANE.There was a vegan sticky toffee pudding that I was VERY tempted by but we wanted to get moving on so I will have to go back for that sometime!

I’m always so encouraged to find food that is cooked by people who have considered the needs of vegetarians and vegans. We like to go to pubs too! The Gardeners Arms is ticking all the boxes. Next time I’m visiting family I may have to make a detour.

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If you know me in real life you’ll know I’m in a long distance relationship that spans over 5000 miles. Los Angeles and London. We’ve been together through my pescetarian phase, my year long foray into all things meat and finally my overnight nose dive into veganism.  It’s funny how our food “traditions” have changed based on my dietary preferences. My old traditional “first food in LA” was always a shrimp burrito, now it’s a portion of seasoned curly fries.

LA was where becoming a vegan started to form in my mind. I was struggling with my eczema at the time and Brian suggested I try the almond milk in the fridge to see if I liked it. Turns out I did! A couple of weeks later I was a vegan.

I just got back from my 9th visit to LA and whilst I was there I realised I’ve never actually shared on the blog what amazing vegan food is available in America. The best vegan mayonnaise and the best vegan faux meats. So I’ll be outlining a few of the yummy things I like to eat and the things I like to smuggle home in my suitcase!

 

My hoard I brought back in my suitcase…basically why it weighed 55lbs.

Candy from Premium Chocolatiers – “No Nos”, “No Whey!” and “Mini Peanut butter cups”
1 quart of Maple syrup (it’s stupid expensive in the UK)
Earth Balance original vegan butter
Follow Your Heart Vegenaise Tartar Sauce
Field Roast Wild Mushroom Quarterloaf and 2 Celebration roasts
Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo
Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend (like vegan nutella basically…)
Dark chocolate covered pecans and Maple creme sandwich cookies from Sprouts Farmers Market

Whilst I was away I finally got to try some brands I’d had my eye on for a while

Beyond Meat chick’n – with miso udon noodle stir fry

Beyond Meat chick’n is CRAZY GOOD. It pulls apart into strings like real chicken. Brian can’t really tell the difference so omni seal of approval right there. I loved it. I didn’t get a chance to try their beef crumbles but that’s on my list for next time!

 WholesSoy & Co soy yogurts!

For the last couple of months I’d heard people on the internet (mostly on r/vegan) ranting about how great Wholesoy was and how happy they were about it’s return to stores so obviously I had to find some. I tried the peach, blueberry and vanilla flavours. Admittedly since being vegan I don’t really eat many yogurt substitutes but this is really, really good. Creamy and full of flavour without being pumped through with sugar. They do a plain flavour which I think would be great for cooking.


Vegan Black pepper Toona from Sophie’s Kitchen

We bought this fairly near the beginning of the trip but I admit I was pretty scared to open it. Before I was vegan tuna mayonnaise sandwiches were my go-to. I absolutely loved tuna. So this had a lot riding on it. Does it taste like tuna? Not really. It’s like a salty, peppery seitan. However, it not really tasting like the real thing doesn’t mean it’s bad, it tasted great in a toasted bagel mixed with Just Mayo. Be warned, when you open the can it does look a little like cat food but it’s good I promise!

Sweet Earth Hickory & Sage Smoked Seitan Bacon
Field Roast Apple Maple Breakfast Sausage

This seitan bacon from Sweet Earth is pretty darn tasty. It’s got quite a strong smokey flavour, we had it a lot with potato hash and the Field Roast breakfast sausages. I saw some burritos made by Sweet Earth in Target but didn’t get to try one – next time!

Field Roast can do no wrong, I love those people. These breakfast sausages are delicious. I’m wishing that I had smuggled them home too. There’s only one place you can get Field Roast over here in the UK (at VX in Kings Cross!) so I try to try as many things as possible when I’m over in LA. I was disappointed we couldn’t find the new Chao slices though!

(Our vegan thanksgiving dinner)

Gardein Fishless Filets & Turk’y Cutlets

SHUT DOWN EVERYTHING. These fishless filets are amazing. I love Gardein, in my eyes they can do no wrong. I’ve loved every single product of theirs I’ve had the pleasure of eating. Brian was super impressed how much these tasted like the real deal. I would happily eat them forever.

The Turk’y cutlets we had for our Thanksgiving dinner. They come with a little pouch of gravy which is super tasty. I think they tasted pretty authentic but my turkey knowledge is somewhat diminished. Definitely would eat and enjoy again!

I also ate my weight in Hampton Creek’s Just Mayo. I’m a complete freak for mayonnaise so I was so happy to see another vegan version on the market besides my beloved vegenaise. I have to say I am extremely impressed with Just Mayo, it tastes an awful lot like I remember real mayonnaise tasting. I had it with nearly all my savoury meals. I’m also really pleased that they are launching in the UK in Tesco in 2015 – hopefully in April! Yay!

The other exciting thing that happened whilst I was in LA was our unboxing of the vitamix! Brian’s mum was kind enough to buy us one for a wedding present and they kept it in the box until I could come open it in person!


First smoothies!

Making pumpkin soup!

So there we have it, some of the awesome vegan food America has to offer at the moment!

Sarah xxx

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This past weekend I found myself in Brussels. I’m not gonna lie and pretend I went there for the city, it was all to catch Damien Rice on his European tour!

But obviously a vegan has to eat. So here’s a little break down of where I ate during my stay.

The first day in Brussels we ended up an unexciting restaurant where I had some pasta with tomato and basil sauce. It’s not worth mentioning the name since it was so dull.

But the first nights dinner was great!

Mo Mo

27 RUE DEFACQZ, 1050 BRUXELLES


Mo Mo is a Tibetan place that serves little filled dumplings and noodle based broths. It’s a simple concept but delicious none the less. After our fairly heavy and late lunch we wanted something light and Mo Mo was a great choice. We found Brussels to be quite expensive but Mo Mo was very reasonable.

L’Amour Fou

Chaussée d’Ixelles 185
1050 Elsene
We only found this place thanks to the lovely reception staff at our hotel (I’ll get onto that next!) We were completely starving and discovering that nowhere really serves food around 3pm on a Sunday. Luckily L’Amour served food until 5:30 and we managed to dash over there in time. We both had the Summer Wrap, a wrap filled with marinated rice noodles, courgette, avocado, cashew and served with salad. Had to have some homemade frites as well. Great food and great atmosphere in the bar, loads of art and young Brusselaars enjoying themselves.
Hotel Made in Louise
Rue Veydt 40, 1050 Bruxelles
Since becoming vegan my hotel breakfast adventures have been limited somewhat. Made in Louise completely blew everyone else out of the water. Fresh baguettes, sliced bread, seeded rolls, jams and preserves. Lotus Biscoff spread. Delicious hot tomatoes. Green and black tea as well as coffee. Muesli and dried fruits. Fruit salad! There was a slight confusion when I asked for soya milk (pronounced something like sodJA) but otherwise breakfast was a breeze for me.  I’m gonna be honest I think I ate the most at breakfast during our stay.
On a side note, there’s plenty of Alpro stuff in the supermarket so if you were really on a budget you could probably buy a lot of food there. I saw a lot of hummus too!
We also tried to eat at a branch of Le Pan Quotidien but the wait staff completely ignored us for nearly 5 minutes and when I approached to ask about a table they almost ran in the opposite direction! I was really disappointed because the staff over here in the London ones are charming.
Sarah xxx
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When a good friend of mine asked me if I’d like to go to Barcelona I jumped at the chance. My first thought was: where am I going to eat? Luckily for me and for my fellow vegans Barcelona is teeming with vegan and vegetarian food options.

I’ll be outlining a few here and giving you a few tips based on what I learnt over the four days.

Day one.

We arrived at our hotel in the early evening, the Hotel Barcelona Universal, right opposite the Paral-lel metro station. This proved invaluable. The hotel itself is a short walk from La Ramblas and most of the restaurants and shops I will mention in this post.

Veganoteca
c. Valldonzella, 60, 08001

One of the first places I wanted to go was to Veganoteca, a vegan grocery shop that I had found through Happy Cow and other internet research. Quite a small shop but brimming with vegan and vegetarian friendly products. They had 2 fridges full of faux meat products, tofu, tempeh and vegan cheeses. Two big freezers with frozen faux meats and ice creams. All of the popular brands like Wheaty, Frys and Sheese. They also sell pastries behind the counter but as it was quite late already we didn’t try any of these. The man behind the counter was very nice, humouring us in our language barrier by typing out the total for us on a calculator!

Ceres Natural
Ronda de Sant Pau, 49, 08015

On the way back from Veganoteca we found Ceres Natural, a plant based health store. Ceres had a huge selection of nut milks, some I had never seen before, like baobab! Lots of tofu and fresh vegetables available. As well as nuts, seeds, grains and all the other things you would expect from a well stocked health store. Unfortunately, we had gotten all we needed at Veganoteca so we ended up leaving empty handed from Ceres Natural.

Tip #1: Most of the big chain supermarkets (Dia and Consum) stock soya, almond and other nut based milks. If you are on a tight budget they are a lot cheaper than going to a health food shop.

Wheaty salami, chocolate covered rice cakes, almond milk, vegan pesto, omega bread all from Veganoteca.
Bowls, chocolate soya pudding, orange juice, soya milk, pears, avocado and muesli all from Dia and Consum.

Tip #2: If your room has a mini bar, USE IT. We filled our mini bar with the food we bought. We didn’t have to go out for breakfast once and this saved us a huge amount of money. We also made and took our own sandwiches everywhere. It’s a good idea to make your own food, both if you are travelling in an area where you are unsure of the vegan options or if you are on a tight budget.

After our trip to the supermarkets surrounding our hotel we set off in search of our first restaurant choice, Cat Bar.


Cat Bar
http://www.catbar.es/
 Carrer de la Bòria, 17, 08003

Cat Bar is a bar and cafe with vegan burgers. The ordering system is a list of the burgers and their sides (bravas, English style chips, salad) on which you put a cross next to what you would like. We both chose the Black Cat burger, which is a bean burger with lettuce, tomato, aubergine and garlic sauce. The burger was very flavourful. My only complaint about Cat Bar is that some of the potatoes were slightly raw, I’m not sure if this was because of the time we were there (10pm) or not. There was also a very friendly dog in the bar which I was very happy to give a good pat! Cat Bar is ridiculously cheap, two burgers with two green teas and a soft drink cost us around 20 euros.

Day two.

On our second day we decided we needed to go see Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia and Park Guell. We had our breakfast in the hotel fairly early and made our own sandwiches from our supplies. We ended up getting to Sagrada Familia fairly early, around 10:30am and the queue was already building. The queue moved very quickly however and we hardly had to wait at all. We opted to pay a little extra for the chance to go up inside one of the towers. Our time was two hours from when we had entered the church so we had a look around before going outside to sit down and enjoy the sunshine.

Enjoying our salami, pesto and avocado sandwiches.

Soon our two hours was up and it was time to ride the lift up to the towers. This involved a 50 metre lift ride and then climbing a narrow stair case up. We crossed over a bridge with fantastic views of Barcelona before descending again on the other side. Lots more narrow stair ways and the chance to stand on the balconies of the towers. Not for the faint-hearted. Next was the worst bit of all, the rest of the way down was a SPIRAL STAIRCASE. Nightmare. We finally made it to the bottom after a lot of groaning and had to have ourselves a rest.

Next we made our way to Park Guell. The park is fairly large and contains Gaudi’s house and some other work of his. The out lying areas of the park are free to use but the main area is ticketed. We decided to go in to the ticketed area.

A cat friend I made in the park (and the only cat I ever saw in Barcelona!)

We had a walk around the park and sat down to admire the view. The park is high up so you can see right out across Barcelona. We thought the park was nice but we weren’t sure it was worth the ticket price. Next time I don’t think either of us would bother to go again. It seemed more of the place for a die hard Gaudi fan, something that neither of us are.

That evening we ended up having a wander around La Boqueria, the biggest and most famous market in Barcelona. The market is quite the spectacle. Huge displays of fruit and vegetables, meats, chocolates, fish and spices. We ended up getting a mango and coconut juice at one of the stalls which was probably one of the best things I’ve ever drunk in my life. They had a lot of exotic fruits available that I hardly ever see here in London. I bought myself a mangosteen to try and the stall owner gave me a Rambutan for free!

After our market wander we decided to make our way to Sesamo, another vegan/vegetarian restaurant I had found online.


Sesamo
Carrer de Sant Antoni Abat, 52, 08001

By the time we found Sesamo we were both ravenous. We were the first ones inside after it opened at 8pm. The chef was very friendly and welcoming. I think he realised straight away that we hardly spoke any Catalan or Spanish and so spoke to us in English.

Specials board at Sesamo, written in English with vegan options clearly displayed

We both decided to try the Sweet potato, coconut and macadmia nut soup, I opted for the vegan option of the Sauteed mushrooms in eco beer puff pastry tart and Eleeshia chose the lasagna. From reading Kristy of Keepin’ it Kind‘s post about Sesamo I wasn’t expecting much in the way of innovation when it came to replacing the cheese in my dish.


Padron peppers with lime, chilli and salt


Sweet potato, coconut and macadamia soup


Mushroom in eco beer tart (cheese replaced with tofu)

The soup was my favourite part of our meal at Sesamo. Incredibly delicious, creamy and a great depth of flavour. I finished the entire (rather large) bowl. The tart was a little more disappointing, the cheese had been replaced with pieces of tofu. The mushrooms had a great flavour from the beer. The salad however, was SO salty. There were capers and nuts mixed in as well as dressing and balsamic vinegar. The combination of the capers (which I love) and the balsamic completely overpowered the salad. I didn’t dislike our food at Sesamo I was just disappointed in the lack of innovation and the saltiness of the salad. The soup and the padron peppers however were a complete winner.

Day three.

On our final full day in Barcelona we decided to leave the city and to visit the monastery at Montserrat. We made our sandwiches and had our breakfast like usual before catching the 10:36am train from Espanya to Montserrat. The train ride was fairly uneventful but did leave me feeling quite nauseous due to the heat and lack of ventilation on the train. When we arrived at our stop we bought tickets for the cable car. The cable car holds 35 people and was built in 1930. It’s essentially a giant yellow box that you stand in. The journey to the top takes around 5 minutes. I wasn’t much of a fan of the cable car going up, I dislike the feeling of not having solid ground beneath me!

When we got to the top we were greeted with the most amazing views! We took a bunch of photos before walking up to the top. Montserrat is quite touristy and has a cafeteria, museum and multiple gift shops. We went to the information desk for a map and then to check out the cafe. The cafe was one of those buffet type ones but we were both starving so we decided to get some food. We ended up with a plate of chips and some grilled vegetables. The vegan options were quite limited. After eating we made our way into the basilica to listen to the Montserrat boys choir sing. The singing was somewhat hampered by people insisting on taking flash photography (which wasn’t allowed) during most of the performance. The church is very beautiful, with large frescoes behind the altar and gold decorating almost everything.

After exploring the basilica we decided to queue up to see the black Virgin Mary of Montserrat. She is a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus, she was inside a case but one of her hands (holding the bowl of the world) is outside. You are encouraged to touch her hand and to seek some kind of blessing. I’m not religious at all but I do enjoy the reverence of holy artifacts. Getting to touch her hand was a great experience and one I will not forget.


Prayer candles lit for the Virgin Mary.

We left Montserrat around 2:30 and made our way back to Barcelona. We ended up at Barcelona’s port and the Rambla Del Mar. The port is very pretty but quite touristy. For a while we sat in the sun next to the water before having a walk along the front. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a bakery I had read about that sold vegan cakes and patisserie. The owner was a very old and sweet man who didn’t speak a word of English. I chose a chocolate, caramel and hazelnut patisserie which he wrapped up for me.

The Excelsior from http://www.lujuriavegana.com/
Bought at Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 32 (Pujol building) 

This cake is hands down one of the best vegan cakes I have ever eaten. A lot of the time people gauge how good vegan food is based on whether you can tell or not. You cannot tell at ALL with Lujuria Vegana cakes. I was transported back to my pre-veganism days when I had patisserie at Laduree in Paris. Simply sublime. Do not miss out on going! We went back twice but both times the bakery was closed so I am unsure of what hours they keep.

For our final dinner in Barcelona we decided to visit Rasoterra.

Rasoterra
Carrer Palau, 5, 08002 

Books in Rasoterra.

Rasoterra is a lovely, light and comfortable restaurant. They have a lot of books available to read, vegetarian cookbooks and the magazine of the Slow Food movement. The owner was very polite and brought us a menu in English. The food at Rasoterra was my favourite of all the places we visited. Eleeshia had the gnocchi and I had a trio of tapas. I chose the patatas bravas, artichokes and the tofu and vegetable gyozas.


Patatas bravas with spicy tomato and vegan aioli

Artichokes with roasted young garlic and hazelnut heart cooked in wine


Tofu and vegetable gyozas


Gnocchi.

The food at Rasoterra is SO delicious. You should have seen my face when he brought over the bravas and there was VEGAN AIOLI! So exciting. Everything was amazing, I have no complaints at all about the food or the service. The owner was very good to recommend a local beer to Eleeshia. The only thing I regret about our visit is that we were too full to eat dessert!

Day four.

We spent our last day in Barcelona wandering around. We spent a while in La Boqueria, bought some spices and some gifts and had some more coconut mango juice. We went for a wander and found the Arc de Triomf. We had a rather disappointing lunch (think chips and nothing else) at the Rambla Del Mar before trying to get some vegan gelato at Gelati Gelati! Unfortunately Gelati was closed so I missed out. We made our way back to the hotel and got our bags before starting on our journey back home!

Final thoughts and tips.

  • Plan ahead, do your research before you fly. A lot of my knowledge of where to eat came from other peoples blog posts, Happy Cow and Tripadvisor.
  • Get a decent map!
  • Free wifi is your friend
  • Make your own food!

Sarah xxx

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