travel

Rome Vegan Guide

Rome is a beautiful city filled with historic landmarks to visit and so much incredible vegan food. Not only are there lots of restaurants and cafes with clearly marked vegan items on their menu, but pretty much every restaurant we visited was able to easily veganise their dishes by simply removing the cheese. This made it super easy to eat vegan with little to no planning! However, I’ve compiled this city guide of all of the food, attraction & accommodation highlights of our trip so that you can come to Rome feeling prepared, without having to do any of the planning! I hope you have an awesome time in Rome!

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WHERE TO EAT ▹▸▹

As we visited Rome with non-vegan friends, the majority of our meals were not at vegan restaurants, so before I get into the delicious meals we ate at restaurants with vegan items on their menu, I thought it’d be helpful to share how we veganised meals at most restaurants. For starter, we would typically order bruschetta which was nearly always naturally vegan without any modifications required. Then for main, we would order spaghetti pomodoro or arabiata (and be sure to check there was no egg in the pasta) or a marinara pizza (which naturally has no cheese) with added veggies (and be sure to check there was no milk or eggs in the base). For desert, we would head to a gelateria , lots of which had clearly labelled vegan options.

Rifugio Romano

Rifugio Romano was by far the food highlight of our trip. I loved it so much that I wrote the restaurant its own full review here, but I’ll sum up the key details in this guide too.  The restaurant is located close to Termini station and has a small seating area both outside and inside. Both times we visited it was super busy – a testament to how amazing the food is – so be prepared to wait a little while if you’re in a bigger group. The restaurant has an extensive vegan menu as well as a non-vegan menu, making it the perfect place to visit with non-vegan family and friends.

We were spoilt for choice so decided to order lots of dishes to share – falafel, arancino, crocchetta, carbonara, lasagne, tiramisu & a creamy caramel biscuit desert that I can’t remember the name of – they were all absolulety delicious.

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Vivi Bistrot

Vivi Bistrot is located in Piazza Navona and has both vegan and non-vegan items on their menu. After days of eating exclusively pizza and pasta, we all ordered burgers, and let me tell you, this burger is one of the best I’ve ever eaten!

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Ristorante Porta Castello

This cute little vegan-friendly restaurant is located close to the Vatican and serves delicious pizzas that are so big, they are bursting off the plate, so be sure to bring your appetite.

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Di Quà

Di Qua is a beautifully decorated restaurant near the Spanish Steps which had a few dishes that could easily be veganised. I had a mixed bruschetta and Matt had a spaghetti arrabbiata which he absolutely loved!

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Arena Del Gelato

This little gelateria located close to Vatican City has a huge range of vegan gelato including this delicious dark chocolate flavour.

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WHAT TO DO ▹▸▹

The Vatican & Sisteen Chapel

A tour of the vatican is a must do whilst you’re in Rome as the architcture and art is breathtaking! Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as the queue to get tickets on the day can be hours long! We purchased entry tickets with an audio guide so that we could explore at our own leisure.

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The Colosseum

Not only is the Colosseum a stunning piece of architecture, it also has a fascinating and extremely gory history so I would definitely recommend purchasing an audioguide on your visit. Once again, we booked our tickets in advance, to avoid hours of queuing on the day.

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The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is another must visit whilst you’re in Rome. As it is an historic piece of architecture and is in a public place and therefore free to visit, it is always packed with tourists in peak season. Despite the crowds, it is still a beautiful place to chill out with some gelato (we found an awesome vegan-friendly gelateria close by – Antica Gelateria Trevi).

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WHERE TO STAY ▹▸▹

We stayed in a beautiful hotel which was walking distance (assuming you don’t mind 40 minute walks) from all of the major attractions. The best part of our hotel was definitely the rooftop terrace which was a cool place to chill out in the evening with a few cocktails with a view overlooking St Peter’s Basilica.

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I hope you found this guide helpful and if you have any awesome vegan-friendly restaurants to recommend, be sure to comment them below.

Maitrea Vegan Restaurant | Prague

As promised in my Prague Vegan Guide, this week I am going to be featuring some of my favourite restaurants we visited on our trip; and what better way to start than with Maitrea – the restaurant Matt has dubbed his new favourite restaurant in the entire world! Matt and I loved the food at Maitrea so much in fact that we visited twice during our short time in Prague and ordered the exact same 3 courses to share on both days!

Maitrea is a beautifully decorated vegetarian & vegan restaurant located in Old Town Prague. The vegan and veganisable options (as well as lots of other allergens) are all clearly labelled on the menu, making it easy to see which delicious dishes you can choose from.

We absolutely loved every single dish we ate there; so, if you visit Prague and only have time to visit one vegan restaurant, make it Maitrea!

STARTERS ▷▷▷

To start we shared the veganised tempeh bruschetta and the vegan cream of split pea soup. Maitrea’s unique take on classic bruschetta was bursting with flavour, and the soup was so creamy and comforting.

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MAINS ▷▷▷

For main we shared the vegan maitrea vegeburger and the vegan paella à la barcelona. The burger was absolutely delicious and was complimented perfectly by the barbecue sauce, caramelized onion, and tempeh bacon it was served with. The paella was equally delicious and its combination of veggies, sundried tomatoes and tofu created an amazing fusion on flavours.

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DESSERTS ▷▷▷

Finally, for dessert we had the warm vegan pancake from the kid’s menu and it was absolutely amazing! The pancake was filled with a delicious chocolate sauce and topped with sweet caramelised bananas and grapes (just typing that out made me want to go back and order 10 of these, not to share!!!)

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As you guys can tell, we fell in love with Maitrea’s incredibly diverse menu and next time we visit Prague, this will for sure be our first stop!

If you’re planning on visiting Maitrea, it’s worth noting that it can get very busy at peak times (which is a testament to how incredible the food is), so be sure to book your table in advance to avoid long wait times. Maitrea also has a sister restaurant – Lehka Hlava – which we didn’t get to visit but their menu looked awesome too, so if you have a chance I’m sure it would be worth a visit!

WHAT TO BRING TO ELEPHANT NATURE PARK

At the end of December last year, I spent a week volunteering at Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand with two of my best friend Maria and Natalie. We had an absolutely amazing week, and if you’d like to find out more about our experience, be sure to check out my volunteering vlog and volunteering Q&A at the end of this post.

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After we left the park, Maria, Natalie and I were chatting about some of things that we wished we had brought with us, as well as the things we did bring that proved to be essentials. I thought that it would be really useful to put this into a blog post for any of you who are planning on visiting the park to use as a kind of packing checklist. So, here are the not so obvious items you should definitely consider taking with you:

Mosquito spray – there are lots of insects around at night so a good insect and particularly mosquito repellent is essential. I took the Incognito* spray and it worked really well for me!

Insect repelling shampoo – I took the Superdrug 3 in 1 Conditioning Shampoo Tea Tree & Lemon, it’s super cheap and its ingredients make it naturally lice repelling (I assumed this meant other insect-repelling too, and it worked really well for me! I actually liked it so much that I have continued to use the shampoo at home). Be sure to also bring a good hand wash/shower gel combination as there are no toiletries in the accommodation bathrooms.

Dry shampoo – as most of the showers were cold on our visit and we didn’t find the hot showers until the day before we left, we didn’t end up washing our hair very much when we were there (like maybe twice in 7 days) so a dry shampoo would have been really useful!

Hand Sanitiser – there is a lot of picking up poop and dirty work so a little bottle of hand sanitiser comes in very handy!

Microfibre towel – towels aren’t provided at the ENP accommodation and as microfibre towels are really light-weight and super absorbent, they won’t take up a lot of room in your luggage and will come in very handy!

Packing cubes – ever since our trip to Australia 2 years ago I take my packing cubes with me everywhere I go as they are such a great way to organise your luggage; so really this is more of just a general travelling tip rather than an ENP specific recommendation but is still something worth considering!

Ziplock bags – ENP has a great  washing service which is super inexpensive and ideal if you are continuing to travel afterwards and want to re-wear your clothes; however, if choose not to get your washing done, ziplock bags are really useful as your clothes will get super dirty throughout the week, so putting your dirty items in the ziplock bags stops them from contaminating everything else in your bag.

Old clothes to donate – at the end of the week, there is a box where you can donate any unwanted items such as shoes/clothing; so I would recommend taking some old clothes with you that you can wear for volunteering, then get washed and donate at the end of the week! You can also donate any towels/blankets to the dog sanctuary, so if you have room in luggage, I’m sure that would be really appreciated.

Long sleeved and long legged clothing – although the hot weather makes it tempting not to bring anything long-sleeved with you, on the cutting corn/collecting hay days you will want to cover your arms and legs if you don’t wanna get scratched to bits. It’s also nice in the evening to have some leggings/trousers and a hoodie to throw on if it gets a little chilly.

Vegan snacks – if you’re fancying a snack outside of meal times, there is a little shop which sells chocolate bars etc; however they all contained dairy. So, if you’re vegan I would definitely recommend bringing some little snacks with you such as Cliff Bars*.

Torch – the short walk back from the communal area to the accommodation can be a little bit dark at night so if you don’t have a torch on your phone, it would definitely be useful to bring one with you.

Portable phone charger – with so many incredible photo opportunities, your phone battery can die really fast at ENP (at least, I know mine did), and when you’re not busy volunteering, you won’t want to be stuck in your room waiting for your phone to recharge, so having a small portable phone charger will be very useful.

 

I hope you guys found this list useful and as always, if you have any questions please feel free to comment them down below. To find out more about our volunteering experience, check out the two videos below:

My Elephant Nature Park volunteering vlog:

My Elephant Nature Park volunteering Q&A:

 

* Links marked with an asterisk are affiliate, this means it won’t cost you any more to purchase but I may earn a small commission if you purchase the product using my link 🙂

VEGAN TRAVEL TIPS

As you all know, I absolutely love travelling and have shared lots of vegan travel posts on this blog and on my YouTube channel over the past couple of years. So, when I was asked to give a speech at the first ever Surrey Vegan Fair (which took place last weekend), I decided to talk about: MY TOP TIPS TO MAKE TRAVELLING AS A VEGAN AS FUN, EASY & STRESS-FREE AS POSSIBLE! It was such a fun experience and I think the tips are all super helpful, so I decided to write them up into a blog post so that you can all access them any time you like! If you have any tips to add, be sure to write them in the comments down below!

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RESEARCH RESTAURANTS

I always set aside around an hour before going on a trip to research vegan / vegan-friendly restaurants in location where I’ll be staying. The main resources I use to do this are:

  • Happy Cow – great website for finding vegan & vegan-friendly restaurants
  • Blogs – google vegan (location) i.e. vegan LA and lots of blogs will pop up
  • YouTube – search vegan (location) and you can watch loads of travel diaries / guides
  • Instagram – searching #vegan(location) is a great way to find delicious looking food
  • Google / Apple maps –  go to the maps app on your smartphone, type in ‘vegan (location)‘, it will pop up with a whole bunch of pins and you can find restaurants near where you’ll be staying

After I’ve done a little research, I prepare a list of the top restaurants that I want to visit and take that with me on my trip.

BE PREPARED

Being prepared will require a little bit of pre-planning but it will save you so much time and stress on your trip so will definitely be worth it. There are 3 main ways I prepare:

  • Take snacks: As you’ll probably be going on trips / exploring during the day, you won’t always be able to plan where you’ll be and if there’ll be a vegan restaurant near by. I therefore like to take snacks with me, and any type of protein / breakfast bar such as Clif bars are great, as they’re filling and fuel you for your day.
  • Find a supermarket / health food store near by: before my trip, I always do a quick google search to see if there’s a store nearby where I’ll be staying, so that I know I’ll be able to buy snacks there, and therefore don’t have to bring them with me.
  • Contact in advance:
    • The accommodation I’ll be staying at to see if they offer vegan meals or if anything they serve can be veganised.
    • The airline I’ll be flying with to book a vegan meal for the flight.

USE A LANGUAGE AID

If you’re travelling to a country where you don’t speak the native language, you’ll need a way to communicate your dietary needs. The way I do this is to:

  • Learn how to say: ‘vegan / vegetarian no eggs or dairy‘ if I feel comfortable speaking in the native language (which doesn’t happen very often).
  • Save translated phrase on phone / print card: before my trip I use google translate to translate the phrase ‘vegan / vegetarian no eggs or dairy‘. I then print screen it and save it as a photo on my phone to show to the waiters/waitresses in any restaurants I visit. You could also write out / type up a card to take with you and keep in your wallet.
  • Learn specific cultural things to look out for: for example, in Thailand fish oil is often added to lots of dishes, so it would be useful to take a card with you saying ‘no fish oil, please’ in Thai.
  • Siri is your friend: iPhone’s siri and similar voice-recognition softwares on other smartphones can be so handy on your trip! For instance, when my mum and I were in Italy last year, I activated siri and said ‘find dairy-free ice-cream near me’ and it led us to a great little gelateria that served delicious vegan ice-cream!

MAKE YOUR TRIP VEGAN-FRIENDLY

If you don’t have a particular place in mind to travel to, there are plenty of ways that you can make your trip vegan-friendly:

  • If possible:
    • Choose a vegan-friendly location: PETA releases an annual list of the Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Citites, so choosing one of these cities to visit is a great idea
    • Go on a vegan specific holiday: there are now lots of vegan-specific holidays you can go on, such as vegan cruises and vegan camping trips! These trips are a great way to not only enjoy delicious food, but also to meet like-minded people. A quick google search will pull up lots of vegan holiday options.
  • Find vegan hotels: I use the website veggie-hotels.com to find vegetarian / vegan hotels all over the world.
  • Stay in an apartment / airbnb / hostel: or anywhere where you have access to a kitchen so that you can veganise your holiday by cooking your own food. This is also a great way to save money!

MY TOP 5 VEGAN CITIES

In case you’re looking for ideas of great vegan-friendly places for your next trip, here are my top 5 vegan-friendly cities that I’ve visited!

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  • LA, San Francisco & San Diego in California are collectively by far the most vegan-friendly places I’ve ever visited. Matt and I ate every type of vegan food you can imagine during our trip, and got most of it delivered to our hotel rooms! There are also so many fun things to do and lots of beautiful beaches to hang out at.
  • New York is such an awesome city with so many fun touristy places to visit. It also has a great vegan-food scene, so is definitely worth a visit.
  • Berlin has so much historic culture to explore and also is insanely vegan friendly. During mine and my mum’s visit, we stayed in a vegetarian hotel, visited lots of vegan restaurants, and even shopped at Veganz – an entirely vegan supermarket.
  • Sydney, especially the Bondi Beach area, is filled with awesome vegan restaurants and also has so many fun places to explore.
  • Queenstown is hands down the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited and it was made even better by the fact that we found lots of great vegan-friendly restaurants there!

ANIMAL ATTRACTIONS

When travelling as a vegan, you want to ensure you don’t support any unethical tourist attractions that exploit animals. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t interact with animals on your holiday; in fact, travel provides a great opportunity to see animals in their natural environment and perhaps even to volunteer at a conservation project / animal sanctuary. And fear not, as for every unethical tourist attraction, there is an awesome alternative:

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VIDEO OF MY FULL SPEECH

If you would like more detailed tips, you can watch my full speech from the event here:

VEGAN USA GUIDE | LA, SAN FRANCISCO, SAN DIEGO & LAS VEGAS

Hey everyone!

After just over two weeks travelling around the USA, I am now back in the UK and am finally getting back to my normal routine after losing almost a week to jet lag, seriously. I’d like to say that was an exaggeration but unfortunately it isn’t; for almost an entire week I was practically nocturnal – going to bed at 6am and waking up at 3pm!!

Anyway, now that I’m back home (and awake in daylight hours!) I’ve been reminiscing about all of the fun things that we did and all of the delicious vegan food we ate, and there certainly was a lot of it. We started our trip in LA, then we headed to San Francisco, then to San Diego and finally Las Vegas! I loved every one of these cities in a different way and all of them had an amazing vegan food scene (we’re talking everything from deliciously healthy cafes to late night pizza deliveries).

As always, I wanted to take you all along with me as much as possible, so I vlogged our entire trip, posted restaurant reviews, and also instagramed a lot of our #veganfoodporn! However, there were also lots of eateries we ate at that I didn’t get a chance to share with you guys, so I thought I’d create this blog post to collate all of my  vlogs and restaurant reviews from our trip, as well as adding in some of the other eateries we loved.

If you guys are from the US/travelling to the US/just curious about what the US has to offer, then I hope you find this post useful :).

ps – if you have a favourite vegan friendly eatery in any of these locations, be sure to comment it down below!

LOS ANGELES

Blog posts ▷▷▷ Fala Bar

Other vegan friendly eateries we visited ▷▷▷ Johnny Rockets, Ben & Jerry’sJamba Juice, DoomiesSuperfood Cafe, Satdha, Fresh Brothers, Taco Bell & Seed Kitchen

LA VLOG #1 ▷▷▷

LA VLOG #2 ▷▷▷

LA VLOG #3 ▷▷▷

SAN FRANCISCO

Blog posts ▷▷▷ Seed and Salt

Other vegan friendly eateries we visited ▷▷▷ Loving Hut & Patxis Pizza

SAN FRANCISCO VLOG ▷▷▷

SAN DIEGO

Blog posts ▷▷▷ Amardeen CafeKindred & Lean and Green Cafe

Other vegan friendly eateries we visited ▷▷▷ Craft Pizza Company

SAN DIEGO VLOG ▷▷▷

LAS VEGAS

Vegan friendly eateries we visited ▷▷▷ Wynn BuffetSlice of Vegas & Violette’s vegan

LAS VEGAS VLOG ▷▷▷

Which place would you guys most like to visit?

Vegan San Diego | Lean and Green Cafe

My final San Diego eatery post is about an awesome little cafe we ate at near La Jolla Cove:

Lean and Green Organic Health Bar ▷▷▷

Lean and Green Cafe uses fresh, locally sourced, organic ingredients and has lots of vegan options, so we were really excited to check it out.

Smoothies ▷▷▷

At home I usually make smoothies for breakfast every day and I really missed that whilst travelling; so, I was really happy to find somewhere that made smoothies with fresh, organic fruit. I ordered the Peach Dream – made of peach nectar, mangos, bananas and raspberries – and Matt had the Strawberry Bliss – made of apple juice, strawberries and bananas. They were both so refreshing and delicious and definitely the healthy, goodness we needed.

ps – I also love that Lean and Green Cafe use Greenware smoothie cups which are made entirely from plants – how awesome is that?!

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Wraps ▷▷▷

Lean and Green Cafe offer a great variety of vegan options including salads, wraps and rice bowls; however, Matt and I both decided to go for one of the freshly made wraps. I ordered the Vegan Delight made up of a mix of delicious veggies, spinach and avocado; and Matt decided to order a make your own veggie wrap. He went for a bit of a weird combo: sun-dried tomatoes, beans, tofu, avocado, mushrooms & spinach but it totally worked and was actually really good!

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If you’re looking for filling, nutritious, organic vegan food in San Diego, be sure to head to Lean and Green Cafe. They currently have 2 locations in San Diego: La Jolla and Sorrento Valley; however, we chatted to the Cafe’s lovely owner during our visit and he told us about some exciting new franchising opportunities meaning that more Lean and Green Cafes may be popping up soon!

Vegan San Diego | Kindred

Today I’m back to tell you guys about another awesome restaurant that we found in San Diego:

Kindred ▷▷▷

Kindred is an cool and edgy bar/restaurant that serves unique cocktails and inventive vegan food, all whilst playing death-metal tunes (not in a super intense way but in a this place has majorly cool vibes way). The staff are all super friendly and helpful and the decor is on point – hello white marble tables!

Drinks ▷▷▷

Before we get into the food, let’s talk about the cocktails, as 2 pages of the 4 page menu are made up of Kindred’s huge variety of creative drinks, so it’s only fair that they get a special mention. Now, I don’t really drink that often and when I do I usually stick to the same cocktails (pina colada & porn star martini) so it was exciting to mix it up and try the Depth Dweller which is made up of Strawberry Infused Rum, Campari and Lime. It was super fruity and delicious and had just the right amount of kick.

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Starters ▷▷▷

To start off the meal, Matt ordered the Chargrilled Seitan Skewers which looked and tasted insanely like meat (and kinda freaked me out); but if like a lot of people you like the taste/texture of meat but also love animals then this would definitely be the perfect dish for you! Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get any good pictures of this dish -mood lighting + an iPhone camera doesn’t exactly make for the best photography – but don’t worry there are plenty of mouth-watering food photos coming up.

Mains ▷▷▷

For main I had the Seared Cauliflower Steak. The cauliflower ‘steak’ was served with orange squash puree, tahini beets, little puff pastries and steak sauce. This creative combination made this one of the most gourmet style vegan dishes I’ve ever eaten and it was absolutely delicious.

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Matt ordered the Salt & Vinegar Seared Gardein, which was basically a super fancy and delicious vegan ‘fish’ style dish. It was topped with crispy battered onion rings that were absolutely amazing and complemented the ‘fish’ and tartar sauce perfectly!

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Even though we were both so full, when we saw the Cookie Dough Truffles on the dessert menu we knew we could make a little more room and it was so worth it as they were my favourite part of the meal!

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Kindred is such a fun place with great vibes, so if you’re in the San Diego area and fancy a great drink and/or some delicious vegan food then be sure to check it out!

Vegan in LA | Fala Bar

Matt and I are currently traveling in the USA and our first stop was the vegan food heaven that is LA. There is such an incredible variety of delicious vegan food available and we had so much fun trying out as many vegan eateries as we possibly could during our stay!

In four short days we ate: pizza, thai food, waffles, ice-cream, burgers, burritos and my favourite meal of the trip so far – the falafel sandwich at Fala bar.

Fala bar is located in both Venice and West Hollywood and offers a variety of falafel flavours and an array of delicious dishes to enjoy them in. They also have a great selection of drinks, including this pink coconut water which Matt absolutely loved!

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For our main meals, Matt ordered the Southwest Burger, I ordered the Original Fala Sandwich and we shared a side of crispy sweet potato fries, and everything was absolutely delicious!

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Fala bar is definitely up there when it comes to serving some of the best Falafel I’ve ever eaten. Both of our dishes were bursting with flavour and had the perfect combination of ingredients.

Now, maybe (/definitely) I’m just a messy eater but I always find falafel sandwiches so hard to eat elegantly, and with a sandwich as tasty as this, it’s definitely the kinda meal you just wanna lock yourself in a room with so that you can enjoy all of its deliciousness without having to worry about the sauce that somehow managed to get on your cheek bone (true story).

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All jokes aside, the food at Fala bar is absolutely phenomenal. In fact, we loved it so much that that we decided to get a takeout the day after our first visit, so that we could eat it as messily as we liked!

Next time I’m in LA, I will definitely be heading back to Fala Bar to work my way through their delicious menu.

If you’d like to see more of the food we’ve been eating and also what we’ve been getting up to, I’ve been vlogging our entire trip so you can head to my youtube channel and watch those videos there: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWITr6x8M0wHoDcwTNlyJ7w

VEGAN IN PARIS – SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY CAFÉ

Last weekend, I visited Paris with some of my best friends from uni and whilst we were wandering around the city, we stumbled upon Shakespeare and Company Café. I was so happy to see that they had lots of vegan options so we decided to check them out. I ordered  a fresh orange juice with a hummus and carrot bagel; it was bursting with flavour and tasted absolutely delicious!

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I’m so pleased we found this little gem of a café and will definitely be heading back there next time I’m in Paris to work my way through the menu.

Whilst we were in Paris we also spent a day in Disney Land; even though we’re all grown up now, it was still such a magical experience. I vlogged our whole weekend, including our visit to Shakespeare and Company Café and our magical day in Disneyland – it’s a super fun vlog so be sure to check that out here:

If you’re planning on visiting Paris and would like more ideas of where to find delicious vegan food, check out my previous vegan in Paris blog post here.

Where’s your favourite vegan eatery in Paris? Have you ever been to Disney Land? Let me know down below 🙂 xo

INTERVIEW WITH KENDEN FROM JEWISH FOOD HERO

My JGV Interview series is making a comeback and I am really excited to kick it off with an interview with the lovely and inspiring Kenden from Jewish Food Hero. From travelling the world working with the UN and NGOs, to being a working mum, to writing an awesome blog and cook book, Kenden has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. I have absolutely loved hearing more about her journey and lifestyle and I’m positive you all will too ►▷►

Q: How did your vegan journey start, what were your main inspirations and influences?

When I was 12 years old, I became a vegetarian after reading a part of a simple book about Mahatma Gandhi.  His commitment to nonviolence in all aspects in his life, including food, inspired me to change the way that I ate. As I became an adult and started traveling all over the world as an aid worker, I started to see and experience more traditional food cultures, which are starch centered (rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes).  During my overseas experience, I read the Starch Solution.  This book coupled with my field experience reaffirmed my commitment to plant based eating.   
JEWISH FOOD HERO

Q: You have an awesome blog – Jewish Food Hero, tell us all about how you got into blogging and the inspiration behind JFH.

I yearned for healthier Jewish food options that were modern, plant based and beautiful. When I couldn’t find recipes that inspired me for the holidays, I created my own.

Shortly thereafter I started Jewish Food Hero to share recipes and inspire other Jewish women to include healthier foods on their tables. At it’s core, Jewish Food Hero is a place that nourishes the minds, bodies, and spirits of women around the globe. I also provide inspiring and beautiful resources, such as the luxe letterpress holiday calendar, to support women as they engage in Jewish life.

JEWISH FOOD HERO BLOG

Q: As well as creating Jewish Food Hero, you’ve spent 10 years working with the United Nations and NGOs which has taken you all over the world. I’d love to hear more about your fascinating career and travels and how you maintained a vegan diet whilst travelling?

Since 2005, I have lived in worked in five countries (India, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Switzerland and Cambodia) in addition to traveling a lot in Africa, Asia and Europe.  At the beginning of this global experience, I stopped being exclusively vegan for one year as an experiment.  At the time, I was not sure how to negotiate my food preferences with the multicultural experience I was having.  To put it simply, I did not want to go around saying “no” to people who wanted to share their cultural foods with me.  My health deteriorated during this year.

Looking back, I feel grateful that I had a non-vegan experience with food because it showed me two important things.  First, it is showed me that I like creating an inviting atmosphere around food (it really is more fun to say “yes” than “no”).  It is important to me to be kind to others and allow them to share with me.  Sharing food is a common gesture in every culture.  Second, it allowed me to recommit to eating plant based as an adult.  Plant based eating is the best choice for me because it aligns with my values and it makes me feel physically well.  

Now, I find it very simple and exciting to be a vegan as I travel.  There are so many vegetarian and vegan restaurants now (I use the Happy Cow app and search “vegan food in city X” on Google to find healthy places to eat wherever I am).

Q: Where in the world have you found the best vegan food?

For me, Asia!

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: Hum Vegetarian Restaurant and Cafe offers an ambiance that is beautiful and well thought out. Each dish is plated beautifully, and the food was fresh and delicious. The restaurant tagline is “Peace comes from within” and this is indeed how I felt eating there, both during and after the experience.  

Bali, Indonesia: I ate a beautiful organic vegan meal at Liat Solomons Down to Earth Cafe.  The cafe feels aligned with Solomon’s values to create a business that is grounded in love,  non-violence and health-conscious living.

Kyoto, Japan: Zen Vegetarian lunch at the Tenryu-ji Temple is nourishing and peaceful.  The meal in this Zen monastery “is just enough to satisfy the palate and the soul.”

Q: They all sound great! I love finding delicious vegan eateries when travelling. What are your top tips for someone travelling as a vegan?

Transform anxiety into excitement:  Looking back, when I had a hard time being vegan, it was less about the geographic location and more about me.  When I was younger, I was less willing to speak up about my food preferences.  I had in my mind that I was holding onto a perspective that I might burden others, or that my preferences indicated that I was “difficult” or “controlling” about food.

Ask for what you want and be specific:  When I travel now, I create laminated business sized cards that say “I eat vegan. No Meat. No fish. No dairy (milk, butter, yogurt). No oil.” in the local language.  When I go to restaurants, I show this to the server so they know help me order food that meets my preferences.

Eat your starches:  Eating simple starches every day will keep you energized and your digestive system in good shape as you travel.  My favorites are rice (white and brown), potatoes and sweet potatoes.  

Q: I love the idea of carrying a card in the local language explaining your dietary needs – I’ll definitely use that tip when I visit Asia later this year! Now, onto your delicious cook book, what kind of recipes does it contain and do you have an absolute favourite?

Jewish Food Hero Cookbook: 50 Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Your Holiday Meals offers simple and healthy recipes for 10 major Jewish Holidays.  The recipes align with what we know about the benefits of plant-based food, and pull from our Jewish traditional and symbolic dishes. That said, anyone can enjoy these recipes!

A Sweet Squash Spread that can be served with apple slices, break-fast Cardamom Coffee Cake, Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie… I can’t choose!

If you’d like to get a taste of what’s in the cookbook, you can download my mock chopped liver recipe. It is delicious, healthy and touches at our Jewish food memories.  It is a savory dip made from mushrooms and walnuts and can be enjoyed on a salad or as a spread on healthy bread and crackers.  

JEWISH FOOD HERO COOK BOOK

Q: If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

I would (and will) eat simple meals for the rest of my life.  For me, this means centering my meals around a starch (brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc), and eating a variety and good quantity of vegetables and a bit of fruit every day.

jewish food hero plate

Q: Describe a day in the life of Kenden.

My daily routine and  schedule is that of a working mother in perhaps a somewhat exotic location.  Here are some details that happen daily:

Early Rise: I wake up very early and try to have 30 minutes to one hour to myself before the rest of my family wakes up.  I drink 1 liter of water with apple cider vinegar or lemon and then enjoy a fresh cup of coffee.  I sit quietly, pray, and/or do some intentional reading as a way to grounding myself for the day.

Family: I became a mother in 2010.  My daily rhythm includes caretaking: making and sharing meals, brushing teeth, reading together, practicing piano, bedtime rituals, and school drop-offs and pick-ups.

Move my body: 4-5 days per week, I do some type of physical movement.  For the last years, I have been enjoying barre3, yogaglo and pilates anytime.   

Work: Quite simply, when my daughter is at school, my heart and mind are devoted to Jewish Food Hero.

Community:  I create community mostly through cooking and sharing meals.  Our family sits down together to share 2-3 meal a day. I connect with 2 close female friends per week via skype and by going out to coffee together.  We happily invite guests (the more the better) to our table every Shabbat dinner (Friday night).  

Q: Do you have a favourite inspirational quote to leave us with?

inspiring quote

Thank you so much to Kenden for sharing her story with us! To find out more about Kenden, head over to her blog jewishfoodhero.com ♥