Tuesday, 29 April 2014

What's in my lunch box? Party bag

I went to a baby shower yesterday which turned out to be rather good. It was delightful to catch up with various friends, see what gifts the mother-to-be had received (everyone bought a copy of a favourite childhood book), and I particularly enjoyed partaking of the buffet.

The lovely organisers had gone to the trouble of including vegan food, and labelling it as such. They also gave me several bags of leftovers to bring home so my plans for making lunch box dahl flew out the window. I devoted the time to reading the latest Joe Hill book instead (definitely not suitable for small children).

From top right:

  • Rhubarb crumble – to be served with a spoonful of vegan vanilla yoghurt (more leftovers)
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Tofu sausage chunks
  • Raw carrots, pepper, and baby corn – to eat with hummus

To read:

Gentlemen prefer blondes by Anita Loos

This is an absolutely charming read. I'm liking the way Lorelei and Dorothy don't seem to let anything stand in their way. They have no self doubt, and seem like little rays of sunshine. When something blocks them they just take a break and appear elsewhere.


Friday, 25 April 2014

Berlin in ten bites

I previously visited Berlin 1990. I’d not long been vegetarian, and recall that I seemed to spend a lot of time avoiding seafood. A pizza covered with mini purple octopi/octopuses lingers in my mind…

Food aside, it was an exciting time to visit. The Berlin Wall was coming down. Changes were afoot, but hadn’t yet happened so I could observe the difference between East and West while developing a taste for Rye bread and getting to know my friendly host family.

Returning 24 years later a lot had changed, particularly in East Berlin. Who could have imagined a Starbucks and a McDonalds in Alexanderplatz? Happily this time round I faced no issues with little purple creatures (although I have noted for future trips that gemuse means vegetables). Here’s my trip to Berlin boiled down to ten easy bites (and they’re not just food).

1. Travel by train is cheap and convenient. You also get to see plenty of interesting sights without having to walk. I wanted to get off and explore at so many stations because the views looked interesting. I bought the Berlin Welcome card online, and it was easy to change my voucher for a travel ticket at the airport, then you just validate your ticket (stick it in the red machine on the platform to be date stamped), and you're good to go.

The East Side Gallery
Wire wool and pom-poms

2. You’ll still do plenty of walking so pack suitable footwear, and plan for a late afternoon nap. I’d definitely recommend The East Side Gallery. It’s is a 1.8 km length of Berlin wall that acts as an outdoor art gallery. The wire wool and pompoms filled huge metal cages as part of an installation on peace!

3. If you’re seeking vegan food you’ll want to spend a chunk of time in Friedrichshain where you’ll find Veganz, Goodies, Yoyo, Oh la la, Zeus and Voner. you'll get very familiar with Warschauer Strasse station. 

A vegan kebab!

4. Voner is quite a walk but totally worth it. I thoroughly enjoyed a vegan kebab served in a kind of crusty pitta. If only I’d had room for the chip with cheese and fried onions. And this interesting chap in the fetching blue suit is nearby.

5. Leave plenty of room in your bag for filling up at Veganz before you go home. I was sad that I couldn't fit the whole vegan turkey in my bag (and failed to photograph it), but made up for it with Daiya cheese, various sausages, chocolate and biscuits.

Outside Zeus

Inside Zeus - note the 'decor'

6. Take a notebook and a pen so you can contribute to the walls of eateries like the amazing Zeus. After all you need something to distract your salivating taste buds while you wait for your pizza to arrive.

Sit on the stage and admire the exhibits

7. The Ramones museum is in the back of a bar and for 5 Euros you get entry, a drink, and a badge! A museum in a bar – how cool is that!

The ceiling at Yellow Sunshine

8. Don’t miss Yellow Sunshine. Wouldn't the ceiling decoration make a great tattoo? And where else can you enjoy a vegan Lapland burger?

Vegan crepe with potato and sweet onion

9. I wish I lived near Oh la la so I could take my non vegan friends there. The crepes taste moreish, and the tea comes with shaped sugar cubes. Sweet and savoury crepes are on offer so you have an excuse to have more than one.

10. And no trip is complete without ice cream! I stumbled across Caramello’s after leaving Yoyo. Despite being full of burgers, wurst, and chips I felt that it would be rude not to sample their wares. There’s always room for vegan ice cream in a vegan waffle cone!

If you’re looking for further non food recommendations may I suggest :

Marienkirche - the oldest church in Berlin. It's worth sticking your head in the door to peek at the dance of death fresco.

Rotes Rathaus - Berlin's town hall. Entry is free and there's lots of lovely art tucked away inside

DDR museum - terrific is you like your museums full of buttons to push and flaps to lift

I could definitely have done with  a few more days (although not sure my aching feet and stuffed belly would have agreed) so I'm thinking about my next trip.

Wishing you all  things green,