About Janessa

I'm a travelin' vegan gal, event planner & writer who loves eating, drinking, hiking, biking, reading, writing, loving, scheming, learning, laughing, champagne-ing and gerunds.

Vegan Mofo: POPCORN ’round the world (OF COURSE)


You know it was bound it happen. I cannot go a whole month writing about food and not include popcorn. So here it is, just in time for Thursday Mofo: Popcorn ‘round the world.


popcorn 'round the world

popcorn ’round the world

Luckily I discovered pretty quickly that popcorn is popular everywhere. Everywhere. I have yet to be in a country where I haven’t found popcorn for sale.  From Belgium to Budapest to Bangkok, I’ve been able to indulge in my—what do you call a minor obsession? Passion? Affinity? Extreme fondess?– good old fashioned love for popcorn.

 bites from abroad

From wasabi popcorn (totally decent and slightly addictive) to sweet and salty popcorn in-a-cup in Vietnam (perfect overnight train snack), I have been eating popcorn several times a month. Nowhere near my average of 3-4 times a week back in Portland, but not too shabby.



I am actually on a nutritional yeast detox (this is the longest I’ve gone not eating nutritional yeast since eating solid foods), so even though all this popcorn has soothed my inner popcorn beast, I’m tremendously looking forward to getting home and enjoying a classic bowl of plain popcorn with coconut spray oil, nutritional yeast, and sea salt. Until then, though, I’ll continue happily munching on street ‘corn.


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Vegan Mofo: Susan Nichole Toiletry Bag


Vegan Mofo’s Wacky Wednesday has turned into Travel Packing Tips Wednesday. I’m glad it’s been helpful for you guys! The last two weeks I shared the travel backpack I recommend and the packing cubes that make traveling over an extended time infinitely more organized.


This week, I’m sharing something that will be very familiar to Vida Vegan Con 2013 attendees: my Susan Nichole bathroom toiletry bag.

 bites from Abroad

Susan Nichole, an American-made vegan handbag company, kindly donated bathroom toiletry bags to all Vida Vegan Con attendees who stayed in participating hotels. They also donated a beautiful vegan purse to the Galarama’s Silent Auction (which I would have LOVED to win).


Since I was leaving on my four month long international trip just two weeks after the wrap of Vida Vegan Con, this Susan Nichole toiletry bag was a savior.

 bites from Abroad

In it went all my bathroom goodies–shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, q-tip, mini sewing kit, fingernail polish remover pads, blue fingernail polish, lotion, nail clippers, toothbrush, toothpaste and hair gel. There is one main compartment and two side pockets.

As the trip has gone on, I replenish what I need as it runs out. This bag is the perfect size for toiletries. Plus, I absolutely love that it’s vegan and has a classy black and white damask print design.

bites from abroad

From what I remember, these bags were designed especially for Vida Vegan and I don’t believe they’re available for sale on her website. But as I was just looking that up to be sure, I came across the sample sale page. If you are in the market for a good vegan handbag or wallet, check out the sample sale. And if you’re feeling generous, send one my way.


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Vegan Mofo: Potato Pancakes in The Czech Republic


Wahoo! It’s Snacky Tuesday!

Brno, in the Czech Republic, is one of my favorite places I have ever traveled to. I loved 100% of things about it.

One thing I especially loved was visiting Moravian Karst. These caves lie about 25 miles outside of Brno, and though the trip is not especially an easy one (it took a group of us four hours to get there via bus & train, though I imagine it would take less than an hour if you drive), it is so so worth it.

Looking up from the bottom of an underground cave

Looking up from the bottom of the Machoca Abyss



Before we went on the (very cold–bundle up!) underground boat tour of the Punkva caves, I saw a stand that sold a few snacky treats. Potato pancake! After an affirmative reply that the pancakes only contain potato, salt and water (no egg! Heaven.), I bought a hot little potato cake of wonder.

bites from abroad

Hot, salty round fried potato cake for .40 cents; you can’t do much better.

Unless you throw in a cold refreshing beer. Duh.

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Vegan Mofo: Belgian Chocolate


When one is in Belgium, there are three things one must sample:


1. Belgian Beer. (Check)




3. Belgian Chocolate. (Check)


Belgian fries are up there, too, but I heard too many warnings that the majority of stands use horse or cow fat to fry their specialty potatoes. No thanks. And 2 out of the 3 vegetarian fry places I tried were closed. Nuts.


I did have Belgian beer (heavenly) and massive spoonfuls of Speculoos and OF COURSE I tracked down a bar of vegan Belgian Chocolate.

 Belgian Chocolate

This chocolate was the last thing I bought before I left Belgium, and it was devoured in the two hours it took my friend Mireilla and I to reach the border of the Netherlands. It is quite close to the perfect chocolate bar–it’s pure and creamy with crunchy little bits of cocoa nibs throughout.

If I’m ever in Belgium again, I will drink even more beer, eat my weight in Speculoos, find those elusive vegan Belgian fries, and buy truckloads of this chocolate. (I’ll be a millionaire of course next time I’m there.)

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