Vegetarian in the UK

It’s time for a FOOD post!!
One thing I can say I’m enjoying about the UK is the plethora of food options! Feel like Thai? No problem! Curry? Just go around the corner! Salad? Take your pick! Greasy, delicious deep-fried goodness to cure your hangover? Not to worry!
Yes, I am back in my element!
Check out my foodie finds!!
Edinburgh, Scotland
First of all, loads of the pubs in Edinburgh offer a vegetarian version of the classic Haggis, yay!
1.) So no need to go to Pub 1780; but, I really enjoyed theirs so I have to give them a shout-out! Check-out my post about veg-Haggis here.

20121121-225524.jpg

2. Hula Juice Bar
They offer fresh juice, smoothies, milkshakes, lattes and have soy milk! The menu clearly labels vegetarian and vegan options, too! I had a Moroccan chick-pea soup and a wrap for only ยฃ5.50!

20121121-225836.jpg
3. Baked Potato Shop
This isn’t a healthy option, but an affordable and filling one. It’s also completely vegetarian and clearly labels vegan options (including haggis!)
Try their haggis samosa!

20121121-230157.jpg
Also, check out my Facebook status after my visit:

20121121-230331.jpg
London, UK
4. inSpiral Lounge
This place is amazing! Located right beside the Camden Locks, overlooking the canal with plenty of seating and a kick-ass menu, inSpiral is exactly what I needed. I indulged in a raw mushroom burger, a side of steamed root vegetables and a raw carrot cake for dessert.

20121121-230650.jpg

20121121-230657.jpg

20121121-230704.jpg
The raw burger was well-seasoned and very filling. The steamed veggies were also yummy. The real winner was the carrot cake. Yummy! Not too sweet but definitely had the perfect texture: almost a mix between a cheesecake and a muffin. I’m drooling just thinking about it…I want to go back for some smoothie action. If I do, I’ll let you know ๐Ÿ˜‰
5. Comptoir Libanais
Middle-eastern deliciousness at a great price! I was so full after my meal.

20121121-231118.jpg
You MUST get the fresh rose-mint tea!
For more on London check-out this post.
6. Ben’s Cookies! A sinful treat. The white-chocolate & cranberry cookie was amazing! (sorry no picture for this one)
7. I did not go here, but wanted to very badly! So, someone else check it out and let me know how it is! The Coach & Horses on Greek St. in Soho is vegetarian!
8. M & S Supermarkets
There were loads of vegetarian options, as well as a few vegan ones, for take-away! And, they’re always close-by to metro and train stations. Super convenient!
There was so much more I wanted to try but my wallet did not allow it. Next time!

Advertisements

Day One: Dublin and Making Friends

Now what?
That’s the thought that went through my mind when I grabbed my pack from the conveyer belt.
Now what? Okay, first, make my way to the hostel. What’s it called again? Barnacles Temple Bar Hostel. But how do I get there? Then I saw it: Tourist Information. Yes! I’m a tourist!
Side note: no one likes to look like a tourist. I’ve travelled a lot around Canada on my own, taking buses and trains, and I always make a point of looking as though I know what I’m doing. Well, as a solo traveler my ego has had to take a backseat. And you know what, it’s way less exhausting if you just admit to yourself that you need help.
Besides, I’m a 5’3″ woman with a backpack I could probably fit into strapped on my back: I may as well have had a sign saying “I’m a tourist” around my neck. So, my point is: you will look ridiculous. Be okay with it!
‘Hi, how do I get to Temple Bar?’
Answer: take the bus to Trinity College, which is beside temple bar”.
Okay! Luckily there was free wifi on the bus (ticket was 7 euros), so I looked on google map right before I got off and took a screen capture of the route from our current spot to where my hostel was.
So, off I got and started in the direction of temple bar. Despite my map, I got ‘lost’ so I went into a pub and guess what: I was right next to my hostel! Thank goodness because I was tired!
Well, of course, check in isn’t until 230pm! It was 1030am! Luckily, the very kind reception dude (yeah, he’s a dude), locked away my bag for the day, pointed me in the direction of a cafe and told me to go on the free walking tour at 11.
Up to this point I was feeling very excited. My mind was in over-drive. As I sat down to drink my coffee I felt myself becoming overwhelmed: I was in Ireland! Friquen Ireland! I had dreamed of this since I booked my ticket in March!
Now what?
Well, I put my ego on the back-shelf and headed to the free walking tour. My goal: meet people!
Everyone was waiting in Mercantile’s pub–free coffee (go figure) and cookies. There was a free spot across from 2 guys who I immediately thought looked friendly. But how do you start a convo? I stood there very awkwardly, fumbling with my small bag, unsure of how to start a conversation.
I wish I could tell you that I said something clever, but that’s not my style.
“Hi” — Yepp, just “Hi”. An awkward smile spread across my face. I’m pretty sure they said hey back, our first conversation hasn’t really stuck with me.
Now, I’ve noticed a pattern when it comes to introductions among travelers: country and trip plans. I found out they were from Colorado and that they had just arrived as well. One month together and then one was going home and the other was heading to meet his gf in Thailand. Well, I think they told me all of that immediately–maybe not the Thailand part. Regardless, the point is that no names were exchanged.
The walking tour started and our very friendly tour guide, Jesse, showed us the Dublin Castle (not really a castle like you would imagine), a garden, the stairs to hell, and a few other important buildings. If you’re a history buff you would love Ireland. Very rich history. And, awesome stories of Vikings, civil war and kings and cheating wives. Yeah–pretty awesome!
Mid-way through we were able to stop for a quick pint of Guinness.

Do you enjoy Guinness? I don’t like it in Canada. Well, I sat with my two new acquaintances and one got up to buy the first round of Guinness. Yeah, my first Guinness in Ireland was free! Awesome! I found out that his name was Cree (awesome name, eh?) and the other was Chris. Cree doesn’t drink, but he kindly bought our drinks and Chris and I cheered. Woot to being in Ireland!

Verdict: Guinness is delicious! It also has some nutritional value! It really is a meal. It was smooth, not too bitter, a slight coffee taste. Yummy! Also, Guinness is actually crimson red, not black. Seriously!
In that moment I felt so elated: I was in Ireland, drinking Guinness with two people who I had just met. Awesome!
The rest of the tour was more history and touring the Liffey. We ended in Trinity College — beautiful campus by the way! — and then the boys and I decided to get together for dinner and the pub crawl that night. We chose a meeting spot and a time and separated.
It was 230 by the time I got back to the hostel and I grabbed my things and went to have a lie-down. And of course, I met someone else! Pablo, from Madrid, was staying in the lower bunk next to mine. He was very friendly, and I asked him to come to the pub crawl that night and we both went to reception and bought tickets. He went to meet a friend for dinner and I went to the meeting spot to meet the guys.
I wish I could say I had some Fish n’ Chips for dinner but we went to a Gourmet Burger Kitchen and I had one of the best, and largest, veggie burgers of my life. We all got to know each other a bit better and it was in this moment that I realized I may have made some friends. If you know me, you know I love making friends!
We met for the pub crawl, got a free glass (not pint) of Guinness and met Pablo there. Then we saw a table of other pub crawlers and invited them to sit with us. Imogen and Kristin from Australia. It was an amazing group of people and we all stuck together all night. We never left anyone behind, always looking out for each other.
Each pub had live music, and it seems that although not many men look like Gerard Butler, they sound just as good (and yes I know it isn’t really him singing).
We had about 45 minutes at each pub where we got a shot at entry (usually a slippery nipple) and then we sat and clapped and sang along to the music.
Have you ever been to an Irish Pub in Ottawa? Well, it really is exactly like that. It’s such a friendly atmosphere. I didn’t drink anything beyond the shots and one Guinness that night-I just enjoyed the music and company.
The last stop was a club. And, lucky us, they were having a paint party.
A what?
You get paint sprayed at you. Awesome, eh?
Well, thank goodness for my new American friends, as they have been the ones saying YES to every experience. I’ve learned from them. No, I didn’t want to be covered in paint. No, I didn’t really want to dance in a club. But, why wouldn’t I?
We bought paint suits for 2 euros and made our way to the front where I got trampled, pushed, pulled and covered in paint. And you know what–it was awesome!
By the end the paint had soaked through the suit to my clothing and I had paint in my mouth, ears and eyes. We left at 230, wet and freezing, and went back to our respective hostels. I had a shower when I got back and the entire shower was pink! My clothes, after the first night, were filthy.
It was amazing.
And guess what? All of this happened in less than 24 hours of arriving.
Stay tuned for Day 2 and 3!

20120917-112154.jpg

20120917-112238.jpg

20120917-112320.jpg

Wine Tasting

This gallery contains 4 photos.

I don’t even know where to begin. I guess a picture speaks 1000 words so: Needless to say this post is going to be short and sweet because I am recovering today after our Wine Tasting and “Staff Meeting” at … Continue reading

Herbivore vs Carnivore on Thought Catalog

I recently read two articles on Thought Catalog:

Oh, You Donโ€™t Eat Meat? Do Tell Me More.

Oh, You Eat Meat? Please, Feel Free To Berate Me.

Please take the time to read these two articles. I am going to write a post in response to this argument (hopefully) tonight.

Also, would like to let my fellow Edmontonians know that Filthy McNasty’s is awesome. I’ve been there before, but never really appreciated it until last night. Metal Monday’s also feature $3.75 hi-balls and cheap Jager!

@Cvlieg and @tpawsey at Filthy McNasty’s on Whyte Ave

Galway Oyster Festival

While talking to my friend Michelle via Skype, I mentioned that Galway, Ireland was on my list of places to visit. Immediately she became very excited, saying “I didn’t want to tell you where to go, because it’s your journey, but Galway was my favourite place in Ireland!”

Well, I love free information. The library, the Internet, and your friends are by far the best options for free advice! Well, after our little conversation I searched for festivals in Galway, and found that I should be in the area during one of the biggest festivals in Ireland: the Galway Oyster Festival.

Perfect!

Confession: I am NOT a fan of oysters. But, I do love a good party, and local festivals are usually the best way to experience the local culture (says the girl who has done limited travelling). Also, based on the picture I found, Guinness will be on the menu, and as I’ve been told that should be enough nutrition to get me through the day.

So what else is there to do in Galway? Well, let’s not forget that “Galway Girl” is the popular song from P.S. I love you, so it seems like the perfect place to meet my own Gerard Butler ๐Ÿ˜‰

Pubs, shopping, adorable Irish country-men, I can hardly wait!

In my excitement, I stumbled on “Galway City Pub Guide” and found some very interesting looking pubs that I may need to check out! I love Irish themed pubs in Canada, so I’m sure I’ll fall over when I see the real thing!

Tig Coili

I can see myself having a pint or two here!

Murphy’s Bar

Described as an "Old man's pub", and a place for conversation, I know I'll have to check this place out while I'm in Galway!

Okay, I think you can tell that I’m super excited! I can already imagine what it’s going to be like when I post pictures of myself inside of these pubs! I am going to be there! Right there, in front of that red building! Wow!