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.

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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 £5.50!

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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!

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Also, check out my Facebook status after my visit:

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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.

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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 đŸ˜‰
5. Comptoir Libanais
Middle-eastern deliciousness at a great price! I was so full after my meal.

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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!

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Haggis: WordPress Failed Me

Sorry! I wrote a long post about Haggis and for some reason WordPress didn’t upload it with the rest of my post yesterday! Truth: writing a blog with your iPhone is easy but also very frustrating. It fails, a lot. … Continue reading

Haggis in Edinburgh, Scotland

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Above: Scott Monument for Sir Walter Scott, a Scottish poet.
This was my first view of Edinburgh as I walked early in the morning from the bu station, through the new town, and into the old town of Edinburgh.

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Above: This was my second view. Breathtaking, right?! And lucky for me, it was a very clear day in Edinburgh, so no clouds or fog obstructed my view of the looming (extinct volcano) Castle Rock.

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Above: Edinburgh Castle as seen from Princes Street Garden.

Unfortunately I only have one full-day in Edinburgh, and although I got here early, I didn’t sleep very well on the overnight bus from London so as much as I wanted to see all of Edinburgh, my sightseeing didn’t extend further than the Free Sandeman Walking Tour. So, check out a few of my pictures (not many, as my poor fingers were frozen after 3+ hours of walking) and then at the end of this post I’ll tell you about Haggis!

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Above: St. Giles Cathedral as taken with my iPhone 4S. And believe it or not this is the original photo, no alterations! I love the bright blue sky contrasting with the stone building.

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How about a creepy graveyard? This is Greyfriars Kirkyard and There are a ton of Ghost Tours offered here in Edinburgh, and after hearing about the very dark past of this city, I understand why. Also, this Graveyard served as inspiration for J.K. Rowling as she wrote the Harry Potter series! I don’t have photographic proof but our tour guide told us that graves for many Potter’s exist, as well as a McGonagall (William) and a Tom Riddle grave!
Anyways, I learned a lot of historical facts about Scotland and Edinburgh: hangings, torture, wars and dogs.
I’ve found some other online sources to share some of these stories with you (because I’m lazy and I would probably get the facts wrong if I tried to write it on my own):
Greyfriar Bobby: the story of the loyal dog and his master (ever seen the movie Hitachi?!)

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The dark and disturbing history of Edinburgh: the Covenanter’s Prison.
Seriously, take a read, it’s really interesting (albeit disturbing).

Head into the Grassmarket and you can see where the gallows used to be, as well as the ‘Last Drop’ pub which got its name as it was where individuals sentenced to death went to get their last taste of Scotch Whiskey.

My favourite story was of Maggie Dickson. She was sentenced to death for concealing her pregnancy, which was illegal back in 1724. Oh, she also got knocked up illegitimately by another man after her husband left her, hid her pregnancy (the real crime), had a still-born and attempted to discard of the corpse in the river.
Anyways, Maggie had her last drop, was hung and pronounced dead. Then, during her body’s journey to her grave, she ‘came back’ and was heard banging and knocking from inside her coffin.
She was quickly taken back to the gallows, about to be hung again, but then the judge intervened, saying that it was double-jeopardy and she was allowed to live. Well, that’s the version I was told, here is a link to the story according to the Grassmarket website.
I could go on-and-on with all the stories I learned today, except typing on an iPhone is not very easy, so I’ll end my rambling now.

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Above: Beautiful Victoria Street.

Haggis Time

**uh oh! Sorry all-wordpress screwed up! I wrote an entire post about Haggis and it didn’t upload! :(**
I’ll write one again for tomorrow!!

London in Photos

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Fact: London is HUGE Fact: English does not make it any easier Fact: London is really really expensive. Fact: I still love it. I’m too exhausted after walking the streets for 7+ hours to explain in detail what my day … Continue reading

Foodie Haven in Prague

Hey everyone!
I’m counting down the days: only 19 more to go before I’m back in Canada! And yes, despite all of the awesomeness that is Europe I am really looking forward to being back home; but more on that later!
FOOD!
I had done my research prior to coming here, so I knew that there were plenty of vegetarian options in the city. For instance, The Vegan Backpacker has a post from 2010 and it made me drool.
So what have I found?
First of all: PEANUT BUTTER! I literally eat PB everyday back home, so finding it was the highlight of my day! Also, in the large Tesco Supermarket they have soy-meat! Awesome! So, if you have access to a kitchen, cooking for yourself is really simple!
Anyways, back to the important bit.
Dhaba Beas

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Lucky for me this place is less than a minute walk from my hostel and it’s really affordable! I’ve spent less than 100 Czech koruna ($5 CAD) each visit, and I’m always in a food coma by the time I finish eating.

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Pictured above: some sort of bugler-wheat salad, cabbage rolls in a tomato sauce, a samosa and some mango chutney (yummy!) and a sweet bread pudding. Obviously it’s an Indian restaurant, so curries and potatoes are plentiful. I’ve eaten here 3x already, not only because of the price, but because the options change, so it’s a surprise each visit! So far, Dhaba Beas is my favourite veg find: delicious, nutritious and affordable! Also, vegan items are clearly marked!

Country Life – Cafe and Store
I read about this place on Vegan Backpacker, and I was really excited to try it out! So, what did I think?

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Just like Dhaba Beas, Country Life is buffet style and you pay by weight. The options were plenty-a salad bar, a variety of hot dished including a vegetarian style goulash typical in Czech. There was also Pizza, lasagna and roasted potatoes with a spinach sauce. They also had many dessert options, but I was looking for the highly acclaimed Vegan Kokoska (look at this Vegan Backpacker post). But, no luck! There were cakes, but none really caught my eye.
I (stupidly) did not take a picture of my purchases but it was less than what I usually get from Dhana Beas. A cucumber-dill salad, some ‘tenderloin sauce with chick-peas’ and some potatoes with spinach sauce. Cost: 193 Czech Koruna – double the price of Dhaba Beas, and not worth it. The only reason I plan on returning is to look for the dessert!
The store was small but had a lot. But, unless you are staying a while or cooking for more than one, I think a $5 dinner from Dhaba Beas is a way better idea.

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*sidenote: Country Life is closed Saturdays*

Friend’s Coffee House
I have a ‘secret’ to share: I usually find hidden gems via the website Spotted by Locals. There is a version for many major European cities: London, Berlin, Paris, Prague, Barcelona and Lisbon (just to name a few).
I found a write-up for this cafe via this site.

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I had some fresh ginger tea with honey (so good) and treated myself to a home-made carrot cake. The cake was perfect: fluffy, cream-cheese icing in the middle and on the sides and soft raisins and pieces of walnuts to add a bit of crunch. It was fairy large, and it was the type of place I felt like I could sit for hours reading or writing. And, they have free wifi! I hope to return one more time: I just read on their site that they have a library and a food menu!

Globe Bookstore and Cafe
This isn’t really a hidden gem, as most English speaking expats in Prague surely know of its existence. It’s not just a cafe, but also a bookstore (English), bar and restaurant!
I stopped in to look for the third installment of Game of Thrones (no luck) and decided to stick around for some more ginger tea.
Their menu is extensive and includes many vegetarian and even vegan options! The staff are all English, and they also have happy-hour specials. It can get fairly busy, and the crowd is a mix of students, professionals and travelers. They play jazz in the background, and there is enough light to read, but it’s dim enough to have a feeling of intimacy. 45 Koruna for a tea isn’t the best, but given the atmosphere and the area I would definitely pay it again! And yes, I do plan on returning to nibble on some menu items, so stay tuned!

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Campanulla Cafe
When you head over the the John Lennon Wall, you’ll pass an adorable cafe.

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Had myself a ginger tea with lemon and honey, and because the staff was so very friendly I’m going to suggest that you stop in and do the same!

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Trdelnik is a typical pastry made by rolling dough around a stick, roasting it over a fire then rolling in while it’s still hot in sugar and walnut pieces.
I didn’t need to eat it, but the smell was too much to resist.

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Sunny days in Porto, Portugal

This gallery contains 21 photos.

After yesterday’s trip to GuimarĂ£es, I was feeling sore, tired and ultimately unmotivated to do another day trip from Porto. Instead, I opted to spend another day in Porto while the sun was shining. Weather really does make a difference … Continue reading

Day Trip: GuimarĂ£es, Portugal

This gallery contains 31 photos.

Before coming to Portugal, I knew little about the country. I knew it was beside Spain, that the language was Portuguese and that the capital was Lisbon. So, imagine my surprise when I arrived in Portugal to discover that it … Continue reading

Rainy day in Porto, Portugal

I decided a while ago that I wanted to go to Porto. The TBU conference was held here this year, and after reading many positive reviews I knew I would probably love it.
Unfortunately, many people in Lisbon looked at me like I was crazy when I sai I wanted to spend 3 days there. ‘You’ll be bored after two’ was the common response.
I refused to be discouraged.
I took an evening train from Lisbon (30 euro, a bus is 19 euro and has wifi) and got into Porto around 10 o’clock. It was dark and it was raining. Considering I have seen very little rain so far during my trip, I was a bit disappointed. Then, I had a hard time figuring out the transit system.
I felt lost. I had also just left some of the most amazing friends in Lisbon, so I was feeling lonely. But, I refuse to have another massive cell-phone bill (read more about that here).
I found my way to The Spot Hostel in about an hour, but only after arriving at the quietest metro ever! I was petrified!

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I got a good nights rest, and woke up the next day determined to explore no matter what the weather.
First, I had to go buy shoes. I left my hikers in Lisbon as I only brought a small bag for this portion of my trip. Silly girl. That’s okay though, I needed to buy more regular looking shoes anyway. I ended up buying a 25 euro pair of casual sneakers, an 8 euro umbrella, and 5 pairs of socks for 7 euro. Not too bad!
Then, I headed to the famous Majestic Cafe on Rue Santa Catarina.

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It has been open since 1923, not having changed it’s interior since then. It was truly beautiful, and a nice break from the rain.
But, be warned, it is expensive! I had already been wandering around though, and needed a small bite too since the hostel served ham and cheese and bread for breakfast (fail!).
I decided to treat myself to an American style coffee and some scones with cream and jam. Healthy? Nope. But it was the least expensive thing on the menu.
Oh my, was it ever delicious. The scones were served hot, the jam came in a small glass jar, and the cream was so sweet. Heaven.

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After, I headed a street over to the Marcado do BolhĂ£o. It was what I expected: butchers, fresh fish stands, fruits and veggies and flower shops.

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And then a pleasant surprise: a store selling vegan/vegetarian food! I have been pleasantly surprised in Portugal with all of the vegan alternatives and how readily available they are!

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Armed with my umbrella, new shoes and a full stomach, I headed back to the hostel to pick up Andy (met him at Gspot he came along to Porto). We decided to head out and explore and grab some food. Thankfully the rain let up so despite the lack of sun it was warm and we were dry.
We saw some sights and got lost in the smaller streets of Porto. We walked by a restaurant and the woman saw us looking at the menu and invited us in. She was so pleasant! I had bacalhaul braga and it was excellent! It doesn’t look like much much believe me it was yummy!

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For a glass of wine, my meal, some starter codfish thing (?) and a coffee I paid 8 euro! Not bad!
Next we just wandered down to the water front and took some photos. I wandered into a touristy port/olive shop and was very tempted to make a purchase! But I’m going to wait for the port tasting.

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So far, I’m really enjoying Porto. The weather obviously makes it a bit more difficult to enjoy it, but so far I love the alternativeness of it. It’s less touristy, and I’m excited to visit the rua Miguel Bombarda area! Art galleries, cafes and book stores!
For those of you who know Alberta at all, Lisbon is the Calgary of Portugal, while Porto is like Edmonton. I think Porto is best appreciated over time, when you’ve had a chance to find the quirky cafes and hidden gems.

Eating my way through Lisbon, Portugal

Heyo!
Well, I’m in love with Lisbon.
I know I fall in love with every city I visit, but this is the real deal! I’ve walked around tons (check out this post), and I’ve managed to see quite a bit.
But, more on all of the sites later!
First, I want to tell you about the food!
Traditional Portuguese Meal

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Bacalhau Ă  BrĂ¡s is a dish composed of shredded salted cod (bacalhau), onions and thinly chopped (matchstick sized) fried potatoes in a bound of scrambled eggs and garnished with black olives. Verdict: pretty good! My friend, who has eaten it before, said that it wasn’t the best, so I’m going to go out for cod again.

Above is buttered toast with a pumpkin jam. Oh-my-goodness! Delicious! The jam was sweet and spicy, similar to a chai tea. Yummy! We had this at a really cool spot: Lost In Esplanada. It had an awesome view, and really awesome decor.

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Looks awesome, eh?
Next we headed to the Noobai Cafe. This was tucked away beside an alternative viewpoint. We just had a cafe, but the menu looked delicious! Vegetarian options available.

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So far so good?
Now, are you ready!?
I found a store that sells VEGAN products! Woo!
It’s called Celeiro Dieta, and it is a chain in Lisbon (maybe Portugal?). I was so excited!

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Are you excited for me!? Faux-meat products, quinoa and chocolate soy milk!
It was right across from El Corte Ingles so I went there as well and surprise, they also have vegan products! I preferred the smaller store myself (they had a cafe too!), but it’s good to know that Ingles has some options too.

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PS–the terra chips in the photo above are so yummy! You can buy them in Canada đŸ™‚
And there you have it! That’s been my food adventures so far! Today I’m off to Belem to try some of their famous pastry! Jealous? đŸ˜‰