After a morning of touring London, seeing Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and Saint Jame’s Park, we’d worked up an appetite. We headed to Vitao for a cheap and healthy lunch. Everything they serve is vegan, and most of it’s organic.
Before visiting London, when I thought of the city, the two images that came to mind were the London Underground symbol and the red double decker buses. The Routemaster was the first model of the iconic red bus, which hit the streets in the late 1950s. We had a lot of fun touring the city from the top level of the modern day double decker but found ourselves wanting more. We couldn’t help but cave in and do the ultra touristy thing. Despite the mixed reviews, we decided to check out RootMaster, a vegan restaurant inside an old Routemaster bus.
When researching places to eat in London, Saf Restaurant & Bar stood out in the pretty food category. However, after eating there I can tell you that pretty doesn’t make up for taste and certainly doesn’t ease the pain of paying more than you think a dish is worth. We went to Saf for an early dinner with Sasha and Mitsu of the To Happy Vegans blog. The food was hit or miss when it came to flavour and portion size, but at least we were in good company.
From New York, we were scheduled to fly to Dublin, connecting through London Heathrow. We had to adjust our plan when the volcano in Iceland flared up and our flight got cancelled. Rather than stand by for the next day and hope it cleared up, we rebooked for two weeks later. This actually worked in our favour, allowing us to avoid coming back to London before heading off to the Netherlands. The last minute change left us without a Couch Surfing host. Luckily, we knew someone living in Leiston, a small town in Suffolk, England, about 90 miles northeast of London. We stayed in Leiston for a few days and drove to Ipswitch and Woodbridge one afternoon. In Woodbirdge, we stopped in for dinner at The Cross, a fine dining vegetarian restaurant and cocktail bar.
New York is home to many awesome vegan treats. For the best of the best, I mean seriously mind blowing treats, I’d recommend heading over to Atlas Cafe. Once a week, they receive a shipment from the talented confectionery artists at Vegan Treats, a bakery based out of Philadelphia. At the back of Atlas, there’s a dessert counter that’s well stocked with decadent vegan brownies, cakes, cupcakes, donuts, sticky buns, cookies and whoopie pies.
Local produce, artisan breads and cute boutique stores, what’s not to love about fancy city markets? New York’s Chelsea Market has all of these things and is even home to a raw vegan takeout shop. We visited this popular NYC market twice during our stay. The first time, we came across it by chance. We popped in, took a quick look around, noted the free wifi, and decided we needed to return for afternoon snack and internet hangout session.
Awhile back, I remember reading a blog post about Sacred Chow. I saw a picture of their sign and the tag line Vegan Tapas. I was so jealous. Tapas plates are known for being small and cute. Each person usually orders two or three and they’re meant to be shared between friends. A fantastic way to dine, right? Hence the envy. This is why I was so excited to visit Sacred Chow. Funny thing is, after taking a closer look at their menu, we didn’t order any tapas. That’s okay though, because John and I always share and make our own tapas parties wherever we go.
I enjoy all forms of vegan ice cream. Soy based, coconut based, cashew based, they all hold a special place in my tummy. Buying a tub of ice cream from the grocery store is fun, but it’s not the same as being able to walk into a fancy ice cream shop and pick from a display case full of interesting flavours. Nope, not even close! And there’s no such thing as soft serve ice cream at the supermarket. For the good stuff, you’ll have to find a way to make it to a vegan dessert shop like Lula’s Sweet Apothecary.