Vegan Mofo: Cookies & Scream

vegan_mofo

Vegan Mofo, known as the Vegan Month of Food to vegan bloggers everywhere, is upon us. And I’m participating for the first time. I’m keeping it short and sweet, as I’ll be training and bussing and staying in questionable lodging with questionable access to wifi throughout Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand this September. And I’m also blogging at Vida Vegan HQ’s blog, where Jess, Michele and I are doing a Month of Memories theme.

Here’s how the weeks’ posts will be broken down, roughly:

  • Monday: Sweet Treats
  • Tuesday: Snacky Treats
  • Wednesday: Wacky Wednesday
  • Thursday: Around The World
  • Friday: It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere

I have so many pictures from the last few months of my travels, I’m excited to share them with you all!

For the first installment, because I’ve been CRAVING vegan ice cream and cookies recently (impossible to find in Vietnam), here is an extraordinarily crave-worthy milkshake from Cookies & Scream in Camden Market, London.

 

Cookies and Scream in London

 

Sean, better known as The Fat Gay Vegan, took me here on our London afternoon outing back in June. We met up with the lovely Kip from The Messy Vegetarian Cook and all heavily indulged in some of London’s best vegan gluten-free dessert.

 

This little beauty is made from vegan and gluten-free vegan ice cream, soy milk, and A WHOLE peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. Oh. My. Lanta. So good.

 

vegan mofo banner

Vegan Mofo 2013: Bites From Abroad

vegan_mofo

Well. In between zipping through Vietnam on a motorbike and touring the majestic Halong Bay, I’ve decided to participate in Vegan Mofo this year for the very first time. Vegan Mofo is an annual month of food writing for vegan bloggers; it stands for The Vegan Month of Food. Vegan bloggers from around the world participate by writing as much as they can (usually a post a day every weekday) for a month. This year, that month is September. And despite the fact that I’ll be in Vietnam and Thailand with questionable WiFi and limited time to write, I’m gonna do it, y’all.

My theme: bites from abroad. I’ll post food and drink that I’ve sampled from around the world. Stay tuned!

 

In the meantime, here is what I’ve been eating every single day:

 

I'm eating all the spring rolls.

ALL THE SPRING ROLLS

 

The White Wine Spritzer, an Ode

 

All the ladies who enjoy white wine spritzers, put your hands up!!!

 

Oh. It’s just you middle-aged moms and me huh? Well ladies, I think we’re on to something.
White Wine Spritzer-jpg

 

As is a well-documented fact (it will be the number one item on my Wikipedia page when I get one), I love anything with bubbles. Any beverage that is slightly effervescent or even offensively carbonated automatically heads to the front of my classroom. The number one fave is sparkling wine. Cava, Champagne, Prosecco;  if it’s bubbly and served in a flute, I’m thrilled.  But give me a mineral  water, tonic water or soda water and I’m so much more content than with boring old flat tap water. Kombucha? OK!  Beer? Sure. My greatest dream is to own a Soda Stream where I can carbonate everything I drink all the time. Bubbly coffee. Bubbly tea. Bubbly green smoothies. You name it, I’ll bubble it.

 

When I arrived in Vienna, Austria, my first stop in Eastern Europe, I noticed spritzers frequently on bar menus. Bubbly Wine. ALRIGHT.

 

Throughout the rest of my travels in Eastern Europe—Brno, Bratislava, Budapest, Novi Sad and Budva–I saw with alternating popularity white wine spritzers offered at cafes and bars. This is a trend I can get used to. If you’re still gently mocking me in your mind (fair; I have the taste bud attention span of a child), I give you my top three reason for drinking white wine spritzers while traveling:
1. Spritzers are cheap. Half soda water (or 7-Up if you’re feeling sweet) and half wine equals half the price of a glass of wine, which is already affordable in Eastern Europe  (I’ve seen glasses priced on average under $2, and generally no more than $4). At one place in Novi Sad, the waiter asked me the percentage of wine to mineral water that I wanted. Of course I said more wine than water–OF COURSE–but it’s even then it’s still wicked cheap. This is a great reason to drink spritzers when you’re backpacking through Europe and every euro counts. (Note: as this is a food, drink and travel blog, I’m clearly not going to travel through Europe and NOT drink, so hush that thought right now.)

 

2. Spritzers are ubiquitous. They  are actually listed on the menus! People drink them! It’s a real-live honest-to-goodness drink, it’s not a made up mom drink, like in the States. It’s legit. And you know what they say: When in Vienna… (or in Brno, or in Budva, etc…..)

 

3. Spritzers are safe. As a solo female traveler, I do want to be careful about how much I drink. And I do like to drink. So a watered down glass of wine? Can’t get much less alcohol than that. I’ll take three, please.

 

So next time you come traveling with me, or on your badass solo trip, think about these three great reasons for the white wine spritzer and don’t feel embarrassed ordering one. A round of spritzers for everyone!

Vegan in Vienna

In the land of schnitzel and sausage, finding vegan food is surprisingly easy and quite delicious: from big buttery olives stuffed with chili peppers to smooth and creamy vegan ice cream, Vienna, Austria harbors a huge number of vegan delights for the vegan traveler.

A sampling of the vegan food you'll find in Vienna

A sampling of the vegan food you’ll find in Vienna

 

   Whenever people ask me some variant of, “Isn’t it hard to travel as a vegan?” my answer is typically, “No. Not at all. Vegan food is just fruit and vegetables and plants and grains–those are everywhere. And getting away from processed vegan foods is both enjoyable and good for me, so I relish the opportunity of eating just fresh fruit for breakfast or rice and veggies for lunch.”

   That’s true, to some degree, but when I answer that, I forget that I like food. I really like food. I like eating it, and looking for it, and thinking about it, and talking about it, and writing about it and photographing it, and sharing those photographs with anyone who has two eyes and an Instagram account. And my natural predilection when I’m traveling is to seek out the local delicacies, done vegan-style. And sometimes, when I’m wandering around a city where I don’t speak the language, and can’t read the signs or menus, and my stomach starts growling, I really wish I could just dive into a cheap and easy cheese pizza or not walk past mile after mile of affordable local-flavor cafes. I dream of vegan options around the world being more ubiquitous.

I'm dreaming of vegan options all the way 'round the world.

I’m dreaming of vegan options all the way ’round the world.

   

   So to be in Vienna, the land of wienerschnitzel and sausage, and find a good dozen vegan-friendly places, well, there goes my backpacking budget. (To be fair, my backpacking budget goes at the window at fairly everything. A glass of wine? Don’t mind if I do! Another glass? Well, OK, ‘cause YOLO. Oooh, a vegan bag of candy? OK! I’m basically a terrible backpacker.)

   Turns out, Vienna (or Wien, as it’s called locally. Pronounced Veen. See, now you’re a linguist like me) happens to be a vegan haven for its health-conscious and animal-lovin’ citizens. The specialties seem to include fake meats (which I’ve had in abundance), Asian-style food with fake meat (which I’ve also had in abundance) and healthy micro raw food (which I’ve had zero). And ice cream. Not the watery ice-y sorbet we vegans get as a token at most places (though I appreciate the token, I do, token-givers!); real, honest-to-goodness, creamy, cold and sweet vegan ice cream.

   So where did I find myself and what did I squeeze into three days?

Rauch Juice Bar Neubaugasse 13, 1070

   A large fresh-pressed juice or blended smoothie is under 5 euro, so when you need a blast of fruit and veg to get you through the fried-food bonanza that is Vienna, this is the place to go. Favorite juice: the Chill Out (apple, celery and carrot).

Fresh Juice in Vienna

Fresh Juice in Vienna

 

Rupp’s Vegetarian Pub  Arbeitergasse 46, 1050

   Purveyors of vegan schnitzel. Traditionally, schnitzel is pounded pork or veal, breaded and deep-fried. I’m all about breaded and deep-fried, but make mine cruelty-free, please! Rupp’s is located centrally, an easy walk or hop on the Underground (public transportation in Vienna is a dream to navigate, by the way). From what I can tell, the vegan options are available for dinner only.

   This is a vegetarian pub with all the vegan items clearly labeled. Big portions will fill you up easily, but make sure to save room for dessert–they offer an apple strudel that’s out of this world.

Formosa GmbH Barnabitengasse 6, 1060

   This vegan food store is also a restaurant that serves Asian-style mock meats and vegan fast food. With offerings as diverse as chicken burgers (skip that one, the ‘burger’ is half the size of the tiny bun) and hot dogs to Japanese duck curry and vegan Cordon Bleu, all items are under 10 euros and there’s something for everyone (provided everyone likes fake meat). The fried chicken was enjoyable–definitely needed that lemon wedge–though I found the potato salad to be too sweet. I came here twice–it’s affordable, located next to the Naschmarkt, and one of the only vegan cafes open for dinner.

   Bonus: vegan gummy sharks and cola bottles for sale by the register.

Chicken Fried Steak at Formosa

Chicken Fried Steak at Formosa

 

Xu’s Cooking Kaiserstraße 45, 1070

   Come here for the lunch buffet. At under 8 euros, it’s all-you-can-eat and mostly vegan. Soups, salads, spring rolls, fried rice (with egg), curry and multitudes of fakes meats will fill you up. Make sure to get a piece of the seasonal watermelon with your dessert at the end of your meal. It gets busy during the lunch hour, but the staff makes sure to keep the buffet stocked and loaded. One of my favorite places to eat due to the variety.

Vegan lunch buffet at Xu's Cooking

Vegan lunch buffet at Xu’s Cooking. Yes, that was too much wasabi.

 

Eis Greissler Rotenturmstraße 14, 1010

   One of the most popular and more affordable ice cream shops in Vienna, there’s almost always a line snaking out the front door. It’s worth the wait. Just under half their options are vegan, and there’s really no reason not to get a double scoop. In a vegan waffle cone, naturally. I regret not getting the apricot flavor, but both the elderberry sorbet and the chocolate ice cream were worth it. I would have gone back the following day if not for…

 

Veganista Neustiftgasse 23, 1070

   A recently opened all-vegan ice cream parlour centrally located. The staff is friendly and happy to answer questions, and while the scoops here are slightly more expensive than Eis Greissler, the array of options makes up for it. If the basilikum (basil) and orange saffron olive oil flavors are available when you stop by, make sure you try both. There’s always tomorrow to sample the others. My tomorrow involved the white chocolate and the Oreo cookie; the white chocolate was a tiny bit underwhelming, but the Oreo was delightfully chock full of cookies.

The vegan ice cream selection at both places was overwhelming, in the best possibly way.

The vegan ice cream selection at both places was overwhelming, in the best possibly way.

   

   This is only a portion of the vegan restaurants in Vienna; as you can see, eating vegan in Vienna is enjoyable and very easy. And if your sense of direction is better than mine, you may not need to cross-reference your Google Maps to get around; turns out every restaurant and cafe I went to was within in a 20-minute walking radius, making your vegan adventure accessibly and enjoyable.

 

For more reviews and listings for vegan food in Vienna, visit Happy Cow