Vegan Mofo: Belgian Chocolate

vegan_mofo

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.)

 vegan mofo banner

Vegan Mofo: Coffee with a View

vegan_mofo

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.

Vegan Mofo: London Gatwick Airport Vegan Eats

vegan_mofo

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.

 vegan mofo banner

Vegan Mofo: Travel Cubes!

 vegan_mofo

Wahoo! Happy Humpday!

 

I’m continuing the travel non-consumable theme of Wacky Wednesday. Last week I shared the best travel backpack I’ve ever used. This week I want to show you guys travel cubes.

travel cubes

My Osprey loaded with travel cubes

 

When I first came across these in my travel prep research, I thought they were one of those things that served absolutely no point and I would regret buying. Why buy cubes to put your clothes into? Why not just skip the middle man and put your clothes directly into your backpack or suitcase?

Well, friends, the super high reviews on Amazon convinced me otherwise. I bought a 3 pack of difference sizes, in blue (because blue is the color of my life) and immediately loved them.

 The smallest cube is my favorite. If I were to do it again, I’d buy three of the same size small cubes. The largest I didn’t even end up taking. The cubes fit nice and snug in your luggage.

Everything fits nice and snug with travel cubes

Everything fits nice and snug with travel cubes

They have mesh so you can see what exciting clothes you’ve been wearing all day every day, and there are also handles for easy transport. I found the best way to really back my clothes in: roll up each item, and smush it down to the bottom. As you keep adding items, start moving the zipper up, so it becomes self-contained.

 

These little guys help me save room and keep me organized. In the smallest one, I fit 21 pairs of underwear, 5 pairs of tights, 2 bras, and a pair of bike shorts. In the middle-sized cube, I fit 3 dresses, 4 long-sleeved shirts, 3 short-sleeved shirts, 4 tank tops, 1 pair of shorts, 2 skirts, 3 cardigans, 1 pair of running shorts, 1 running tank, a swimsuit and a pair of pajamas. That leaves only my shoes, a scarf and toiletries.

 

Magic.

 vegan mofo banner