bites from abroad

Vegan Mofo: Potato Pancakes in The Czech Republic

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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

Stunning.

 

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.

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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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Perfect.

 

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Belgian Chocolate

Vegan Mofo: Belgian Chocolate

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

 

1. Belgian Beer. (Check)

 

2. SPECULOOS COOKIE BUTTER. (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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Bites from Abroad

Vegan Mofo: Coffee with a View

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Hello and Happy Friday!!! This installment of Bevs-around-the-world will be the simple cup of coffee.

 

In Montenegro (and much of the Balkans), the preferred style of coffee is Turkish Coffee. I was lucky enough to stay a hostel that offered unlimited Turkish coffee (the fantastic, must-stay-there-if you’re-ever-in-Budva Montenegro Freedom Hostel). The thing with complimentary Turkish coffee throughout the day is you’ve got to learn how to make it. Once the owner showed me, I became a skilled creator of the perfect cup of coffee.

Note: By ‘skilled creator’ I mean ‘enthusiastic novice’.

This new-found knowledge certainly did not dissuade me from trying anyone else’s Turkish coffee however.

After an all-day tour of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen (this might be hyperbole, this might not be. I legitimately cannot think of any other view at this moment that compares to     Lake Skadar), our tour guide stopped at a little stall on the side of the road that sold cheese, raki (Balkan brandy), meats and coffee, and said, “This is my favorite coffee in Montenegro.” When I asked why, he replied, “ It has the best view in the world.”

See what I mean?

See what I mean?

 

His statement wasn’t far from the truth. We each ordered a cup of coffee (the two Russian girls I was with content to sample the cheese and meat and buy plum raika) and sat on a picnic table, watching the sunset over Kotor Bay.

Bites from Abroad

It is one of the views that is so beautiful it’s impossible to capture, but this quiet little moment on top of a mountain in Montenegro remains one of my favorites.

Yum

Vegan Mofo: London Gatwick Airport Vegan Eats

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Hi, welcome to ‘Round the World Thursday.

Flying in or out of London Gatwick Airport? Skip the expense and the waiting list of The Naked Chef’s decidedly (and surprisingly) un-vegan restaurant. (Seriously, for all that someone espouses unadulterated natural foods, you’d think there would be more plant-based options on the menu.) Instead, head to Pret a Manger. This sandwich and coffee chain has alternating pre-packaged sandwich options, but on the day I was there, I lucked out.

 

Yum

Yum

In the refrigerated pre-made sandwich section, I found a nori wrap with spinach and shredded beets. When you opt to take out instead of eat-in, you save a buck or two. Totally worth it.

The wrap itself was more than satisfactory airport food. I ended up being surprised overall by the lack of quality vegan food in London–while a very vegetarian-friendly city, it still has a way to go to be as vegan-friendly as many other cities I’ve visited. This wrap is actually one of my favorite meals I had in London. It’s unusualness– the tortilla wrapped in nori, and the fresh take on flavor combination between sea and land vegetables–definitely made it stick out from unmemorable uninspiring meals like the cheeseless & bland calzone I tried at well-lauded Amico Bio.

 

This wrap was my jam. A surprising tasty ending to my time in London.

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