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.
As we neared the end of our time in London, we found ourselves going back to the guidebook to make sure we’d seen all of the major sights of interest. In the book we referenced, we were surprised to see Borough Market ranked as the number one thing to see. Number one out of EVERYTHING in the city. Our Couch Surfing host insisted it wasn’t all that great, certainly not deserving of the top spot, but we love markets and decided to check it out anyway. It was packed! So packed it was on the verge of being uncomfortable to navigate. We endured the chaos and left victorious, with full bellies and a loaf of artisan bread to take home.
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.
Vegans are spoiled with options in the wonderful city of London, England. There are lots of restaurants, cafes, food stalls and health food stores offering up vegan grub. But London has something very special, something that can’t be found in any other city in the entire world: Vx, The Secret Society of Vegans store.
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.
One of the best things about Couch Surfing is getting a local’s perspective on the best places to visit and, of course, eat. The first Couch Surfing host we stayed with, Daniel, encouraged us to checkout the Union Square Farmer’s Market and join him for lunch at Rainbow Falafel, which is just around the corner. We took his advice and were glad we had a chance to experience these local favourites.
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.