Eating out as a vegan

Cruelty-free in NYC

In the past month, Matt & I have both turned 21 and to celebrate we decided to go on a 2 week trip around North America! First stop was New York City, and to say I was excited to try out the vegan food scene in one of the vegan food capitals of the world would be an understatement!

The  trip got off to a great start with this yummy vegan plane food courtesy of Virgin Atlantic. I get way too excited about plane food, and this vegan curry and potato salad did not disappoint!

virgin vegan plane food

Moving on from my weird plane food fetish, let’s get down to all of the amazing food we ate in NYC. On our first morning we found an awesome bagel shop right around the corner from our hotel. They had a varierty of delicious tofu cream cheeses that were so good that we found ourselves there every morning of our entire trip!!bagel express NYC

Turns out tofu cream cheese bagels also make the perfect picnic snack in Central Park alongside a fresh fruit smoothie from a street vendor.

vegan tofu cream cheese bagels in Central Park

As well as eating a lot of bagels, we also visited some cool vegan/ vegan-friendly restaurants. Candle 79 – an entirely vegan restaurant – was my absolute favourite, so much so that we went their twice in our short visit. The servers were so friendly and helpful, the atmosphere was chilled and elegant, and the food was insanely good! We ordered way too many dishes both times we visited, but somehow managed to eat it all! Below are pictures of our favourite dishes…

Angel’s Nachos

nachos candle 79

Grilled Portobello Steak

Grilled portobello steak candle 79

Seitan Piccata

Seitan Piccata

Black bean-pumpkin seed burger (my favourite meal of the trip!)

candle 79 vegan burger

Another great restaurant that we visited with a varied vegan menu was Pala Pizza.

We both ordered the Funghi E Salsiccia Pizza and it was definitely a great choice (sorry for the poor quality photo – it was really dark in  there!!) The veggie sausage had such a great flavour, and Matt & I fell in love with daiya cheese. I really wish we could get it in the UK as it is the best cheese alternative I’ve tried.

Pala Pizza Funghi E Salsiccia

Despite being full, when we saw the table next to us eating this delicious chocolate cake we decided we could make a little more room for it. And boy am I glad we did, as it was one of the nicest vegan deserts I’ve ever had.

pala pizza vegan chocolate cake

On the last night we found an awesome juice place, Juice Generation, on the way to Times Square. Their mango juice made a perfectly refreshing snack on a warm NYC evening.

juice generation

They also had a great selection of vegan muffins; my personal fave was the pineapple + coco one. I wish we’d found this place sooner as I’m sure we would have been back to sample the rest of the gluten free, vegan bakery.

vegan muffins juice generation

We had an amazing 4 and a half days in NYC, and the vegan food scene definitely lived up to my expectations. Until next time NYC xo NYC vegan

P.S. A BIG thanks to Matt for all of the arty photos for this post ♥, the rest of the sub par phone photos are courtesy of me – sorry guys!

Vegan at Prezzo

When I was a vegetarian Prezzo was one of my all time favourite restaurants and until last week, I hadn’t been back since going vegan. When I saw that the allergen menu on Prezzo’s website said that the Bruschetta was suitable for vegans, I thought it was too good to be true… aaaand after a little chat with our waitress, turns out it was too good to be true – the pesto contains parmeasan. Our lovely waitress was so helpful and explained to me all of the things which were suitable for vegans (including the pizza dough). So I decided to get creative and combine two of my previous favourite starters to make the ultimate vegan starter: Bruschetta with garlic oil in lieu of pesto, with a salad garnish and pomodoro sauce (usually served with the Mozzarella in Carrozza). Combining my two favourite starters was a great shout because it was yummy!

vegan bruschetta at prezzo

For my main course, I went a bit more mainstream and ordered ‘The Vegetarian’ pizza without cheese but with extra mushrooms and red onions (my two favourite pizza toppings). Although I enjoyed it, the pizza was nowhere near as good as my starter so I think next time I visit Prezzo I will be ordering two vegan Bruschettas!

vegan vegetarian pizza at prezzo

Despite Prezzo’s website blunder, it turns out they have some great vegan options so it’s definitely worth asking in the restaurant what they can whip up for you! If it’s anywhere near as good as my Bruschetta, I’m sure you’ll be a happy bunny!

Vegan at Pizza Express

When I first became vegan, before I had even started the blog, I had my first (awesome) vegan pizza experience. I read on the PETA blog that Pizza Express had introduced a  vegan pizza: the Pianta, so I immediately dragged my best friend Alfia to Pizza Express to try it out. After initial issues with the Pizza arriving with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top (naughty Pizza Express), they sent me out a new one and it was DELICIOUS. Hands down, the best pizza I’ve ever had. It is served on their classic base smothered in spicy sauce, topped with artichoke, chestnut mushrooms, pine kernels, spinach and I added some red onions.

I went back to Pizza Express this week with the same friend, and had the same pizza. I’m a creature of habit, okay?! Buuuut this time I added mushrooms and garlic oil – yummy! Who says I don’t like to try new things ;).

vegan pizza

What’s even better is that all of their pizza bases are vegan, so you can make any pizza vegan friendly by just asking for it without cheese. Ideal! Although I really enjoyed my pizza without cheese, it’s also good to know that they offer the option of bringing in your own vegan cheese, providing it meets a couple of requirements.

There are a couple of starters that are vegan too, including olives and dough balls (substitute the garlic butter for garlic oil). With such a range of vegan options available, Pizza express is definitely a great place to hang out with your non-vegan friends as there is something for everybody!

Check out this statement on the Pizza Express website for a full list of vegan friendly dishes.

Vegan at Wahaca

After one too many trips to Nandos where I always have my favourite veggie wrap, my boyfriend and I decided to mix it up a bit and visit Wahaca. I was a little worried about finding vegan options as I couldn’t find anything on their website about this. However, our waitress was extremely helpful and pointed out all of the vegetarian dishes they could make vegan by excluding cheese or sour cream – ideal!

wahacca menu

To start we had tortilla chips with guacamole whilst we pondered over the menu, and they were good!

vegan wahacca

I love the style of the Wahaca menu as it offers a selection of smaller, street style dishes as an alternative to ordering just one, bigger dish. As there were so many amazing looking veggie options that could be made vegan, we decided to order lots of little dishes.

For the very childish reason of wanting to know whether or not it would be spiky, we ordered the cactus tacos without cheese. I am happy to report that they were in fact not spiky but were very yummy!

cactus taco wahacca

We also had the plantain taco without feta cheese and crema which was nice but very spicy!

plantain taco wahacca

The black bean tostadas (without cheese and crema) were awesome! I love black beans, red onions and lettuce so this dish was perfect for me.

wahacca black bean tostadas

Finally, saving the best to last we had broccoli drizzled in garlic chilli oil. DE-LIC-IOUS!

wahacca broccoli drizzled in garlic chilli oil

Not only was the food amazing but the staff were so friendly and helpful so we will definitely be heading back to Wahaca soon.

You can check out their menu here. Veggie options are marked with a v and most of them can be made vegan, so be sure to ask in the restaurant, and if our experience was anything to go by, the staff will be more than happy to help.

Vegan at YO! Sushi

Last night, after a bit of Glastonbury shopping with my mum (I just can’t help myself!) we went to Yo! Sushi for dinner. Now that I’m transitioning from vegetarian to vegan, there are obviously quite a few dishes in my favourite restaurants that I no longer eat; so I was beyond excited to discover that as a vegan I can still enjoy all of the same dishes I had as a vegetarian in Yo! Sushi. For this week’s ‘Being Vegan at’ post I thought it would be great to share last night’s eats with y’all.

Vegetable Gyoza – this is my all time favourite dish; they’re like little parcels of heaven!

Yo! Sushi Vegetable Gyoza

Pumpkin Karoke – these strips of pumpkin covered in breadcrumbs are awesome, and the ‘fruity’ sauce is just too good!

Yo! Sushi Pumpkin Karoke

Aubergine Salad – last night was the first time I’d tried this salad and it has become a new favourite;  the harusame sauce is delicious and I can’t wait to try to recreate this healthy snack at home!

Yo! Sushi aubergine

I was definitely full up after these 3 dishes but I’m also a big fan of the Kaiso Salad and Vegetable Yakisoba.

For a full list of vegan options currently available at Yo! Sushi, check out the Allergen section of their website here.

How to do Glastonbury… Vegan style

At the end of this week, I will be heading to Glastonbury Festival for the first time ever! Excited does not even begin to describe how my boyfriend feels about this; we’ve spoken about nothing but tents, line ups, and portable chairs for the past few months. I, on the other hand have been feeling a little, okay a lot, apprehensive mainly due to the showering/ toilets/ general personal hygiene issues a festival presents, but also about how I will find food that fits in with my veggie/ vegan lifestyle.

Recently I was trawling through online vegan forums where I stumbled upon a plethora of comments saying that Glastonbury is THE best place for veggies/ vegans. Some people were even saying that Glastonbury was the one time of the year that they ate veggie, simply because the food is so good. After finding this out, I’m definitely giving my boyfriend a run for his money in the too excited to function department, and can’t wait to head to The Green Fields (where all the veggie/ vegan action happens). I’m so excited to share all of my Glasto-food instagram pics with you all and will be writing a full blog post about all my vegan eats when I’m back. For those mornings where we don’t have the energy to roll out of our tent for breakfast, I have packed some Fruitina snack bars; they’re the perfect festival snack: light-weight, healthy and filling!

fruity snacks

To mitigate my no-shower panic, I decided to go on a mini-toiletry shopping spree. I am passionate about using cruelty free beauty products, so shopping for tiny toiletries is as exciting to me, as shopping for collapsable chairs that fold into the size of a shoe (yes, we have those!) is to my boyfriend! So for all you compassionate festival go-ers, here is my:

Festival Shopping List

1. Moisturising Hand Sanitiser (Festival must have!)

Crabtree and Evelyn at Marks and Spencer 

crabtree and evelyn hand sanitiser

 

2. Wet-Wipes (as an alternative to showering, aaaaa!)

Dr. Organic at Holland and Barrett

dr. organic wet wipes

 

3. Dry Shampoo (I’ve been told by seasoned festival goers that realistically, I won’t be washing my hair :o)

Superdrug own brand

superdrug dry shampoo

 

4. Mini bottles of my favourite shampoo and conditioner (just in case I can’t go 4 days without hair washing)

Tara Smith at Marks & Spencer

tara smith hair products

 

5. Mini bottle of body wash (for that shower that may or may not happen)

Original Source at Superdrug

original source shower gel

 

6. One large bottle of sun screen (this is the one thing that my mum insisted I didn’t downsize)

Ultrasun 100ml  at Amazon

Ultrasun 400ml at Amazon

ultrasun

 

Glastonbury – here we come!!

Vegan at Nandos!!

For this week’s ‘Being Vegan at’ post, I have chosen my favourite restaurant: Nandos!

Being a long-time vegetarian, and now transitioning vegan, people always find it weird when I say that Nandos is my favourite restaurant, but it is. I really love Nandos. I go there several times a week in hope that they’ll recognise me and finally deem me worthy of a black card. I’m still living in hope. Sidenote… check out Example & Ed Sheeran’s Nandos black card song below, absolute genius.

Anyway, back to the food. Their veggie burger is the best; so I was praying I could still have it when I became vegan. Good news is, on reading their website I found out that I can still have the burger filet, peri peri sauce (thank the lord!), salad garnish, and chips. However, the bad news is that this yummy burger cannot be sandwiched by one of their buns as they contain dairy. I decided to try the burger sans bun and actually really enjoyed it.

Next time, which of course was a few days later, I tried the veggie wrap without the mayonnaise and chilli sauce and this was even better. Another bonus is that when I said I was vegan, the staff were so helpful and accommodating. The manager brought out a huge, and i mean huge allergen menu and went through it with me to see what I could have. This (and the amazing food) is why I love Nandos!

vegan nandos

All of their bastes are suitable for vegans; and they also have a great range of vegan friendly sides including corn on the cob and a mixed leaf salad!

You can check out their vegan recommendation on their website here; and it’s definitely worth asking to see the allergen menu in the restaurant if you fancy mixing it up with some other sides as they are always adding new ones.

 

Vegan at Pret-a-manger

One of the things that worried me most about becoming vegan is eating out, as I’m not an ‘I’ll just have the side salad’ kinda gal.  I initially anticipated that this would now involve me dragging my friends & family around all of the London vegan restaurants; or picking at a plate of leaves in a more ‘mainstream’ restaurant whilst they ate. However over the past couple of weeks, as well as trying out Vegan restaurants such as Mildred’s & Bistro 1847 (yum!), I have become acquainted with a lot of Allergen menus in my favourite chain restaurants. I have been pleasantly surprised by the vegan options available and thought it would be great to share my experiences of eating out as a vegan  in mainstream restaurants in a series of ‘Being Vegan at…’ posts.

What better place to start than PRET-A-YUMMY (Pret-a-manger)?!

My job sends me all over London, so I am constantly grabbing breakfast and lunches on the go from coffee shops. Pret is my all time favourite, and turns out when it comes to Vegan options, they don’t disappoint.

Breakfast

For breakfast I have been loving the Super food fruit salad. It’s so refreshing, and with all of its goodness this yummy little pot is the perfect way to kick-start a busy day.

pret super fruit salad

Their smoothies and juices are also amazing; my favourite is the mango smoothie.

pret mango smoothie

Lunch

Last week, I tried Pret’s vegan friendly superfood sandwich for the first time. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have been putting this off for a while now, as I thought it looked ‘too green’ but I am so glad I tried it because now I am addicted!

pret superfood sandwich

They also do a great vegan-friendly butternut squash soup.

butternut squash soup

Snacks

On the snacks front, there’s a great range of vegan options: selected crisps, pretzels, drinks & of course fruity treats like dried mango.

Check out Pret’s allergen menu here for a full list of all of their vegan options. I have this bad boy downloaded on my phone, ready to whack out at any time!

Bistro 1847

This weekend, my boyfriend Matt and I visited Bistro 1847, a Birmingham vegetarian/ vegan restaurant. It has been voted the best vegetarian restaurant outside London; so needless to say, as a vegetarian and a vegetarian/ wannabe vegan we were very excited to try it out!

The restaurant is small and intimate and is conveniently located in the Great Western arcade near to Snowhill Station. The staff are so friendly and helpful, and the restaurant has a great, chilled-out vibe. Then of course, there’s the amazing food. Everything looked so good, so we decided to go all out and get 3 courses!

For starter, we both ordered the vegetable tempura with sweet chilli sauce and it was delicious! The broccoli was my favourite and it was complimented perfectly by the chilli sauce.

Bistro 1847 - battered vegetables

For main, we both ordered the vegetarian/ vegan ‘fish and chips’… are you noticing a pattern here? We don’t always order the same thing! This is a vegetarian dish as contains halloumi cheese; however, it can be made into a vegan option by trading the halloumi for tofu, so this is what I did. The variety of sauces made for a unique infusion of tastes, and we both absolutely loved this dish!

Bistro 1847 - tofu and chips

Although we were full up after our amazing starters and main courses, we of course managed to make a little room for desert. Once again, we ordered the same thing… the apple crumble, and it was a good choice. The apple was really sweet and was the perfect way to finish the meal.

Bistro 1847 - ice cream

We had such a great evening and can’t wait to go back and try out the rest of the menu; I’m particularly excited about having the afternoon tea, as this is my all time favourite! We are also planning on attending some cooking classes with 1847’s incredible chef so are very excited for this!

As you can see from the pictures, the presentation was impeccable, and the food was equally great. It is clear that everyone who works there is so passionate about what they do and this translates into a great dining experience for everyone who visits Bistro 1847.

 

Mildred’s Veggie/ Vegan Restaurant in London

Earlier this week, I dragged my three most veggie friends (2 vegetarians and 1 wannabe vegetarian) to Mildred’s a London vegetarian/ vegan restaurant with me!

The restaurant was packed and had a great atmosphere; so whilst we waited for a table, we started the night off with cocktails at the bar. I ordered the Porn Star, mainly for the fun of ordering it (it never gets old ordering a cocktail with a naughty name, right?! …Maybe that’s just me). Despite my immature ordering tactic, it turned out to be amazing… until I spilt it all over Maria and myself when we sat down at our table. This happens at some point on most nights out with us. I really need to work on getting my clumsiness under control.

porn star cocktail

After wiping up the spilt cocktail (and of course ordering another!) we checked out the menu which is entirely vegetarian and almost entirely vegan or can be turned into a vegan option. As two of us have been life-long vegetarians, we’re used to choosing from the small vegetarian section of menus where there is rarely more than 2 choices; so it was strange, if not a little overwhelming to be so spoilt for choice. Everything looked amazing and it definitely tasted just as good!

To start, I had the gyoza dumplings with mirin and soy dipping sauce. They were DELICIOUS!image

Then for main, I had smoked tofu and white bean sausages, with carrot parsnip and potato mash, wilted kale and pear cider gravy. So. Yummy.

IMG_5215

We all had a great night, with amazing food and maybe a few too many cocktails! Mildred’s is definitely worth checking out, I think we’ve found our new hang out spot…mildreds