Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Enjoying the Sights & Bites in Stockholm!

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While I'd already had a sizable amount of adventure & certainly more than enough food, I made one final stop on my European trip. Grabbing my friend Marijke & hitting the road, we headed to Stockholm, Sweden to check out the sights, shopping, & sweets! After a nightmarish journey to our destination, we arrived at the home our awesome hosts Lauren & Tomas. All was well again, as were welcomed by a lovely basket of goodies, letting us know we were in for a great trip!

After a night of rest, we headed towards Gamla Stan to check out Hermans, the well known buffet with an amazing view. Everything at Hermans is vegetarian & the theme of the buffet changes daily. We arrived on an Indian themed day & besides some yogurt & cheese, about 90% of the selections were vegan & a staff member was happy to show us what we could eat. For around $11, I filled up my plate with a hearty selection of grain salads, potatoes, & curries, then sat at a table overlooking the water to take in the gorgeous view. While I don't think Hermans will knock your socks off, you will find a good, filling, nutritious meal there. Despite being stuffed, we grabbed a piece of the "Belgisk Choklad Kaka", which was more like a mousse than a cake with it's deep, melt in your mouth, fudgy flavor. We enjoyed the firm top with a sweet glaze & the mini nuts within this super rich confection.

is located at Fjällgatan 23B,116 28.

In the trendy Södermalm area, there's more to do than spend all your money shopping at WEEKDAY, there's also a plethora of veg options! One place you'll find is Chutney, an all vegetarian restaurant with organic & vegan options. Although they have a full menu with clearly marked vegan options, we just popped in for a piece of Apple Pie. With a thick crust, large, gooey cinnamon apples for filling, glazed top, & a side of vanilla pudding, we were in sweet sugary heaven!

Chutney is located at Katarina Bangata 19, 116 39.

More than once on our trip, we headed to Goodstore, an all vegan grocery mart! I'm always surprised we don't have something like this in San Francisco. We spent hours checking out everything from Simpsons pasta & Cheezly Feta-style to the wall of candy options & coolers full of frozen treats. In addition to the convenience of shopping without the label reading, we found a friendly staff who were cheerful & helpful every time we popped in!

is located at Skånegatan 92, 116 37.

It's no surprise, I love bakeries & luckily organic bakeries in Europe have not yet disappointed me! Naturbageriet Sattva is yet another place to get your vegan sweets fix! Marijke & I consumed an alarming amount of Kanelsnurra, a flakier cousin to the American cinnamon roll, & we were surprised at all the other vegan options like savory olive & tofu pastries. Not everything is vegan, & some things are a bit too "70's health vegan" for my taste buds, but you'll still find some delicious treats here!

Naturbageriet Sattva is located at Krukmakargatan 27, 118 51.

While I tend to shy away from Asian restaurants heavy in mock meat, I didn't feel like I was in for something over sauced or slimy at Lao Wai. Hidden away on a side street, we had to wait for a table at this popular vegan restaurant, which luckily proved to be worth the time spent outside in the cold. The Jia Chang Dou Fu was made with smoked tofu, shiitake mushrooms, chilies, baby corn, garlic shoots, snowpeas, & black beans & the Kong Xin Cai, was a lovely dish of stir fried Water Spinach. Everything tasted fresh & nicely spiced, a great vegetable heavy meal I very much enjoyed!

Lao Wai is located at Luntmakargatan 74, 113 51.

On our final day in beautiful Stockholm, we visited another veg spot, Cafe Sodervegg. Sodervegg touts a rotating menu & an entire case of vegan sweets from cupcakes to cheesecakes to their famous princess cakes. Marijke loved her "Sojakottbullar" which was soy meat balls & beet salad on dark cracker bread. I opted for a quinoa salad with grilled vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, roasted beets, soy chicken, & a creamy dressing. After our savory items, we split a few desserts! The Berry Cheesecake had a thick, soft crust & a tangy filling, likely made from tofu, topped with glazed fruit. The "Kladd Kaka" was a dense slice of dark chocolatey "cake", topped in a hard chocolate shell & served up with vanilla ice cream. For Marijke, the highlight of the sweets was the "Bulle", a cardamom spiced roll with pearl sugar she remembers from her childhood. It was lovely to see her light up as she took a bite of the confection & declared it to be just like the ones her neighbor used to make!

Cafe Sodervegg is located at Katarina Bangata 27, 116 39.

Europe continues to amaze me with it's vegan options & Stockholm was no different! Maybe it was the good friends or the sweet treats that made me love this place, but no matter, I adore Stockholm!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vegan in Vienna; Sweets & Mock Meats galore!

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When thinking of vegan friendly places in the world, a location in Austria likely wouldn't come to mind. To my surprise, Vienna or Wien, as it's known in Europe, is chock full of vegan eats, sweets, & treats! Of course, having a fabulous tour guide like Melanie certainly doesn't hurt when it comes to finding these treasures.

Fresh off the plane & ready to roll, we wandered around the streets of Vienna, in awe of the amazing architecture. In the 7th district, you'll find vegetarian Taiwanese spot Vegetasia, home to an all you can eat lunch buffet with everything from Miso Soup & Gyoza to Curry "Chicken" & fried selections galore. The buffet is about 85% vegan, they do use egg, honey, & have creamy dressings, but ask the staff & they'll be happy to tell you what is suitable for vegans. While the flan is not an option, the fried bananas ARE & I was sure to partake in my fair share (& possibly the share of others.)

is located at Kaiserstrasse 45, 1070.

While you may have thought Copenhagen was the land of vegan croissants, that's not the case after all! Organic bakeries are popping up all over Europe & Vienna has their share as well. At Bäckerei Waldherr you'll be welcomed with a hand written sign titled, "For Our Vegan Friends", letting you know what's available to you. I had to get some of the Chocolate dipped, Raspberry Jam filled Croissants & while they were a heartier wheat pastry & not all that flaky, they still hit the spot! I also acquired a Nougat Heart cookie & an Apple Pie-like pastry, neither of which were a disappointment. I went to the Bäckerei Waldherr located at Naschmarkt, an awesome outdoor market with fruit, veg, & local artisan goods like pickles & sauerkraut. You can also find some of the Bäckerei Waldherr goods in DM drugstores with snack bars called "Gesunde Pause". While you're picking out your Vegan Society labeled skincare items, you can grab a snack as well!

Bäckerei Waldherr is located at Naschmarkt 1040, Marc-Aurel-Straße 4, 1010 or at the "Gesunde Pause" in DM drugstores.

Relatively new kid on the block, Landia opened their very vegan friendly doors just months ago, but are already delighting the locals. The 100% vegetarian menu rotates daily & vegan options are clearly marked. On the night we went to Landia, they just happened to have seitan döner on the menu, which Ryan quickly snatched up! Flavorful house-made seitan, thinly sliced cucumbers, & a tangy vegan yogurt sauce in pita bread all complemented each other in this tasty treat! I went with the traditional dish Schnitzel, which is a breaded & fried cutlet that came with a generous portion of potatoes. Everything we had at Landia was delicious & I could see myself eating there time & time again.

Landia is located at Ahornergasse 4, 1070.

As a major fan of candy, I was thrilled to find out Manner Original Neopolitaner, the pride of Wien & a confection consisting of crisp wafers filled with Hazelnut Cream are vegan! I started stockpiling these babies almost instantly, then found out there was also a Lemon Creme version & a Chocolate dipped version! By the time we hit the Manner store by St. Stephen's Cathedral, I was on overload.. sugar overload, that is! While not all of the confections by Manner are vegan, many are, so check those labels. There's even a German guide to vegan Manner on their site! I've already spied a spot here in San Francisco where I can get Manner bars, so you may be able to find them locally as well.

On a sunny, but cold afternoon, we headed over to Formosa, a restaurant & vegan food shop not too far from a bustling shopping street. As we entered this small shop with two tables & floor to ceiling goods for purchase, we were greeted by the smiling faces of the ladies who work there. Trying to take a break from the mock meats & fried foods, I opted for the Tofu & Vegetables with Rice. The tofu turned out to be fried & a bit cornstarch flavored, but the vegetables & rice in a flavorful sauce were just fine. Ryan opted for a vegan Cordon Bleu, a fried cutlet filled with soy cheese & ham with a side of potato salad he declared the best he's ever had! After dining, I filled up a basket with far too many goodies like vegan gummies, biscuits, white chocolate bars, baked treats by local brand "Vegan Bakery", & No-Muh-Chäs, a vegan cheese by Vegusto. While the food at Formosa was nothing to write home about, the selection of goods was excellent & I would recommend a stop there to check it out.

Formosa is located at Barnabitengasse 6, 1060.

Of course, the best sweets out there are the home baked sort! Imagine my surprise when Melanie revealed that Chocolate Chip Scones had been baked for us to enjoy. I hate to admit it, but it was my first scone experience. Luckily, it was a great one, so I'll have to try these treats again sometime!

By the way, for more vegan Vienna options, check out I was surprised that we weren't able to hit all the spots available to vegans, so I suppose I'll have to go back sometime!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sweet Berlin; Ice Cream Galore & a Cupcake Video!

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As if the savory selections of Berlin weren't enough, there's plenty of sweet treats to be found in Berlin as well! When I wasn't loading up on candy from the local bio markets, you could find me consuming sweet treats all over the city!

ufa Bäckerei is an organic bakery with everything from breads, pastries, & cakes available in Natural Food Shops & markets throughout Berlin. Not everything is vegan, but some items are labeled & the staff is knowledgeable. The "Walnuss-Birne" was delicious with chunks of sweet pears laced with walnut pieces, wrapped in a flaky, sweet pie-crust like pastry. I found ufa Bäckerei stands at two separate weekend markets, as well as in Viv, my favorite bio market, so I had to have this treat more than once!

ufa Bäckerei is located throughout Berlin, for a list of locations, go to their webpage.

One thing I consumed a whole lot of was Eis, aka ice cream! Having missed out on Caramello Eis last time I was in Berlin, I made a point to make it there this time around. Imagine by surprise when it was closed for the season on my 1st attempt to visit! Luckily, by the end of my time there they had re-opened & I snagged some strawberry & chocolate soy ice cream. While the strawberry was a bit seedy for my taste, the chocolate was rich & decadent, some of the best I've had!

Caramello Eis is located at Wühlischstr. 31, 10245.

Finding myself in Prenzlauer Berg after brunch, I had to make a return to the darling Maja's Deli, home of 100% vegan goodies! If the adorable cow logo doesn't bring you in, the hot meals & full range of desserts will. I opted for the super tall Citron Cake which I found to be a bit bready & the large pieces of lemon rind were a bit off putting, but the lemony glaze was downright delicious! Next time I'll just have to opt for something else.

Maja's Deli is located at Pappelallee 11, 10437.

Tanne B is the home of delicious vegan ice cream & treats, so delicious that I went there no less than 3 times! They have daily rotating flavors of vegan soy ice cream, as well as sorbet, & crepe-like vegan waffles, made to order, with various topping options! While the vanilla, strawberry, hazelnut, & chocolate ice creams I tried were good, my heart was stolen by a little gem named Limetta! You see, I was a major Rainbow Sherbet fan my whole life. I battled my mother often for scoop at the local Thrifty's & when I struck out on my own I was known to polish off a multi-gallon bucket in a week. Being a fan of lime, I decided to try Limetta & it was L-O-V-E at 1st.. lick? Over the course of a few trips, I had 6 scoops, & I would eat one every day for the rest of my life, if you let me!

Tanne B is located at Eisenbahnstraße 48, 10997.

Der Eisbärliner is a a new shop in Friedrichshain serving ice cream made by Tanne B. While they don't quite have the same selection, they're a nice little spot to hit if you find yourself in the area. They actually opened while I was in town, so they may have expanded vegan options in the future. I grabbed a scoop of vanilla to go & ate it at the Sunday 2nd hand market in Boxhagener Platz.

Der Eisbärliner is located at Gärtnerstraße 11, 10245.

Of course, no trip to Berlin would be complete without a visit to Germany's 1st cupcake shop, Cupcake Berlin! Home of daily vegan selections, you never know what yummy treat you're going to get when you pop in to this 50's Americana styled shop! I took some carrot cupcakes to my ladies in Copenhagen, but every day in the shop I saw something new from Chocolate Mint to Raspberry, all beautifully piled high with frosting. In celebration of this cute shop with a bit of rock & roll edge, I had to make a video. Enjoy!

Cupcake Berlin is located at Krossener Straße 12, 10245.

Whether you like sweet or savory, Berlin is the place to be! It remains to be one of my favorite cities in the world, go check it out!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Back to Berlin, Savory Vegan Tastiness!

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Going back to Berlin is always a pleasure, it's one of my favorite cities, home to my good friend Marijke, & insanely vegan friendly. As we stepped off the plane, we headed straight to Ryan's favorite spot Vöner for some seitan döner kebab. While it wasn't bad, I recommend not showing up right as they open. The seitan wasn't hot yet & lukewarm döner just doesn't cut it! That being said, at the right temperature you're in for a treat!

Vöner is located at Boxhagenerstr. 56, 10245.

While walking around Kreuzberg on a crisp day, we decided to check out Cafe V, a place I had heard of, but not yet sampled. I must admit, I was turned off by a "vegetarian" cafe with fish on the menu, but it turned out there were plenty of options for us with 5 out of the 7 specials of the day being vegan. I opted for the Chickpea Polenta from the main menu, which is apparently a popular dish with travelers due to being featured in Vegetarian Times. The lightly crisped patties in a thin curry sauce with a nicely seasoned side of spinach with almonds & raisins hit the spot! Ryan enjoyed his Wild Rice stuffed Fennel in a tomato sauce, a option from the daily specials. The cafe has a casual, yet upscale feel to it, making it a nice place to take friends & family.

Cafe V is located at Lausitzer Platz 12, 10997.

An easy place to fill your bags full of vegan goodies, is Veni Vidi Vegi, an all vegan market, located in Kreuzberg. The option to not read labels is always a treat & when you're able to snag Tartex, Plamil White Chocolate bars, No-Muh-Chäs, Streich, Chocoreale, Cheezly, Provamel, & other packaged vegan treats, in addition to freshly baked bread & organic produce, it's hard not to go a bit crazy! It's cash only, so you can curb your spending habits with a predetermined budget if you tend to go overboard like myself.

Veni Vidi Vegi is located at Pücklerstr. 32, 10997.

Berlin has no shortage of vegan fast food & two places that fit the bill are Yoyo Foodworld & Hot Dog Soup. Yoyo Foodworld is the home of veggie burgers galore & Ryan opted for the Hawaii Chicken burger with Cheezly & Pineapple. While Yoyo also is known for their pizza, I instead opted for a hearty bowl of Curried Lentil Soup, likely to take the edge off a day of sweet treats. While not everything at Yoyo is vegan, a good pertentage is, plus they have vegan milkshakes! While Hot Dog Soup isn't a place with hot dogs in their soup, it is a spot that serves up two options, which I'm pretty sure you can figure out. All of their hot dogs have a vegan version & once again Ryan was feeling tropical with the Hawaii Hot Dog! Pineapple, ketchup, & crispy fried onions flanked the cruelty free dog in a soft bun & it was devoured quickly! I opted for the other specialty, soup! 2 out of 3 of the soups tend to be vegan & on one occasion I had a Spinach Coconut soup & another I had a Curried Chickpea soup, both tasty & topped with alfalfa sprouts.

Yoyo Foodworld is located at Gärtnerstraße 27, 10245.
Hot Dog Soup is located at Grünberger Straße 69, 10245.

I love a good brunch & a buffet isn't a terrible thing either, especially when everything is vegan, enter Hans Wurst! In addition to nightly dinner, this all vegan cafe has a brunch buffet on Saturdays & Sundays with the price on a sliding scale. I was lucky enough to attend with 5 fabulous friends & we all loaded up on fresh & healthy salads of vegetables, grains, & beans, tofu dishes, a cereal bar, & lesser healthy items like soft & fluffy rolls slathered in vegan hazelnut spread! It's always great to have options & Hans Wurst is a fabulous place to find them!

Hans Wurst Vegancafe is located at Dunckerstrasse 2a, 10437.

If you're like me, you love to wander in health food stores & supermarkets! I find myself getting lost in them for hours & my favorite chain of bio markets in Berlin is Viv. Whether loading up on snacks for walking around with, organic vegan baked goods, or delicious Pineapple or Banana soya yoghurt by SoJade, Viv is a great place to explore! Check out the Viv webpage for their many locations.

Another place to get your brunch buffet on is Cafe Morgenrot, a vegetarian collective cafe that offers a vegetarian & vegan brunch on a sliding scale every day! While you may not find the most amazing meal here, an inexpensive vegan brunch option on a weekday is always nice. Vegan dishes are pretty well marked, but beware the non-vegan spreads for bread. I fell victim to some poorly labeled items, but luckily figured out my mistake before too much damage was done. Load up on fresh fruit & you'll get your money's worth easily.

Cafe Morgenrot is located at Kastanienallee 85, 10435.

Berlin's newest all vegan dining spot is La Mano Verde, an upscale restaurant that's perfect to treat yourself to while on holiday. In addition to gourmet cooked organic meals, they also have raw options, plus many items are gluten free. I had the Tagliatelle Mano Verde which happened to be raw & gluten free, but you could never tell that the rich truffle cashew cream over zucchini pasta with bell peppers, mushrooms, & pine nut parmesan had never been touched by heat! Other dishes on the menu cover various cuisines from Italian to Asian inspired, as well as Mediterranean.

La Mano Verde is located at Wiesbadener Str. 79, 12161.

When traveling, sometimes budgets have to be taken in to consideration. Rather than eat falafel every day, you can go to a VoKü, which translates to People's Kitchen. Berlin is known for their many squatted houses where people have taken up residence in vacant buildings & turned them in to communal housing for all walks of life. Many of these houses offer vegetarian or vegan meals a few days a week that are open to the community & a cheap way to get nourishing food. I attended a VoKü at XB Liebig & for 2 Euros (under $3) I was served a giant dinner plate of vegetable couscous salad, warm potatoes, eggplant & other hearty vegetables, a green salad, & a giant helping of hummus. It was more than enough to eat & by far the cheapest meal I enjoyed. In addition to the dinner, they offer drinks & desserts for an additional cost. There's a VoKü almost every day of the week in Berlin & I recommend the experience. has a great list of vegan VoKü options here.

XB Liebig is located at Liebigstraße 34, 10247 & their all vegan VoKü is on Thursdays at 9pm.

As you can see, there's no shortage of places to dine vegan in Berlin! I didn't even make it to all my options & there's other places on my post from last year as well. I highly recommend checking out Berlin if given the chance. It remains one of my favorite spots in the world!