PB Travels… Hello Tromso!

And so it begins – the first of my holiday travels, and the first cold holiday I’ve been on.  I will exclude going to Toronto in February earlier this year, because that was work related – but it was still terribly cold for a sun child like me.  Niagara Falls in Winter – stunning!

So before going to Tromso, I went shopping for ski pants, salopettes, base layers, heat techs from uniqlo (which I would definitely recommend for layering up).  Once done, there wasn’t much to do other then get to Tromso and start having fun with my two friends, who I’ve known for over 10 years – S & M (hahaha).  There is a direct flight from Gatwick – just under 4 hours, but with the usual delays, by the time we got to Tromso, waited for a cab and checked into the hotel (thankfully only 15 minutes from the airport), it was almost 10pm.

We thought we’d grab a pizza – something quick that will hit the spot.  Well, we were wrong on both counts.  First piece of advice – never go to Peppes Pizza!! Never ever!

It took us about an hour to order, another hour to get our food (almost midnight at this point), and the food was horrible.  I had to wait a bit longer because I got a cheesy pizza and it took a while to get a cheese free pizza.  I could have lived with all of that… including the warm avocado on the pizza and how it looked…

And that is where it stopped.  The pizza was terrible, the two saving graces were M’s salad with giant spinach leaves and crunchy bacon, and this apple juice. 

My meal came to about ¬£20 (25% tax), but we know Norway is expensive (definitely not the place for a budget holiday).  I think what got me wound up was that I paid that much money for a grim meal. Day 1 over, bring on the proper holiday!

So since I’ll be doing more of this travelling lark next year, I realised I need to up my blogging game in that I will have to blog on the go – not to worry… I have a month to figure it out.. but before that… more about Tromso!


PB Eats… in Soho

Sabbatical time is approaching! I’m taking some time off work to rest, relax and of course, eat and travel ūüôā I’m not going to begin my travels properly until January next year, and I will be blogging all about it.  So for now, I’m focusing on catching up on all the stuff I say I can’t do because I don’t have time – paperwork, de-cluttering, organising.. and did I mention resting and relaxing?

I was in Soho for a whole day last week – appointments, shopping, meeting friends for coffee.  I walked around, taking in the Christmas decorations (a bit too early? Definitely!).

My favourite ones were down Carnaby Street – one word affirmations scattered everywhere – brilliant!

Before I knew it – it was lunch time.  Spoilt for choice I decided to try a place that I had walked past on previous occasions, but never been.  Keu! on Poland Street, basically a fast food Vietnamese restaurant.  I toured Vietnam for 2 weeks with my brothers and I loved loved loved the food.  All the curries, the rice bowls, the spring rolls, oh the spring rolls.  I think I had them with every meal (erm, bar breakfast!).  I obviously wasn’t walking into this place expecting a taste of Vietnam, but what I liked is they tried to make it look like a restaurant in Vietnam.

I ordered my meal and drink, paid at the counter – very quickly with no issues – and went to perch on a bar stool facing the world go by.  My drink came in a couple of minutes – I went for a lemonade, just what I needed after walking around for a couple of hours.

I waited about five minutes until my mains arrived, entertained myself by watching Asian Provocateur in the meantime. Romesh Ranganathan is so so funny – both in these series and live.  Back to the meal – I went for the only veggie/vegan rice bowl I could see on the menu – Com Chay.  This was described as a smokey aubergine stew with tofu, mushrooms and tofu broth.  What arrived was a massive bowl filled to the brim with rice and veggies and tofu.

Close up? OK – here it is:

The first few mouthfuls (bar the gigantic pieces of garlic) were delicious.  Luscious pieces of tofu, firm yet delicate aubergine – no trace of the smokiness though – mushrooms, herbs, spring onions all added to the initial yumminess.  But it did become a bit one dimensional after a while – there was A LOT of rice and I did have to pimp it up with a bit of soy sauce and some chillies pickled in vinegar.  I ended up eating only 1/2 of it – it was waaay too much food – and I wanted to be in a position to look forward to dinner.  So will I come back? Nope, not really.

After a bit more (essential) shopping, off I went to dinner to meet my friends who I will be going to Tromso with.  We’re off in just over a week – and that was what the essential shopping was for – making sure I have enough long johns to keep me warm :).  We met at Aqua Kyoto, just behind Oxford Circus station.   I love the decor of this place – all dark wood and beautiful crockery.

Now this isn’t a cheap restaurant – but who said I was going a la carte?  My friend saw an offer – ¬£29 for 3 courses and a cocktail, and it being Japanese cuisine, although full of raw fish, I knew I would be OK with options.  The last time I was here we had a terrific meal off the same set menu – and the service was excellent.  Repeat performance this time? Yes, on the food for me, bit of a hit and miss with the meaty main (hair in a dish, argh!)

I didn’t take a picture of the set menu (and I can’t find it anywhere online) but there were three options for starters – sushi, sashimi or veggie tempura.  Mains were a mushroom rice, and two other meaty options (obviously didn’t look).  There was only one option for dessert – a pumpkin chawanmushi with a pear sorbet.  I chose my veggie options, and asked for just sorbet for dessert.

My tempura starter arrived and was thoughtfully served with a bonito free dipping sauce (arigato!) even without me asking. Well, they did ask when they were taking orders if anyone had any allergies…

Benefits of your friends not drinking Christmas cocktails? More for me! Saying that, there was so much ice in the glass, any effects of the alcohol were virtually non-existent! My tempura was excellent – and a reminder why I love this restaurant.  It wasn’t the usual tempura of button mushroom and baby corn. Oh no sireee! Here we had pumpkin, seaweed and shiso leaf – all hot and crispy. Yum!

My main of Mushroom rice was just as beautifully presented.  Didn’t look like there was much in there, but I was wrong – it was more than enough.

So many different textures and flavours – and multi-dimensional from start to finish!  It was essentially a mushroom risotto with more mushrooms, butternut squash puree, more shiso leaves, cubes of silken tofu (not sure what the sprinkles were, but I know they weren’t cheesy or fishy).  What a beautiful dish – and it left me in a happy place – full, but enough room for dessert.

For dessert I was expecting a couple of scoops of pear sorbet, but instead I got passion fruit sorbet and sour cherry sorbet on a chilled plate – pretty!  Perfect refreshing end to a lovely meal.

I do love this place, but to be honest the set menu changes often enough for me to stick to it instead of a la carte-ing it, and I will definitely be back.

PB Eats… Gujarati, Ghanaian, Thai

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I love living in London. ¬†I eat so many different kinds of cuisines everyday, all easily accessible, and all delicious! First stop this week was an early dinner at¬†Chawalla, one of my go to places for Gujarati food in East London. ¬†It is a vegetarian restaurant, and there is so much variety, from snacks to street food. ¬†We started off with mogo, also known as cassava, a childhood staple. ¬†It is usually boiled, fried and then eaten as they are, dipped in a mixture of salt, lemon and chilli powder. Or coated in a sauce.

Soft, crispy mogo, spicy tomato sauce, whats not to like?  Mains were channa puri Рone of my favourite combos, whether made the Gujarati way or the Punjabi way.

A bowlful of sweet, spicy chickpeas in a thick sauce, 3 puris – deep fried, fluffed up flatbreads and an obligatory salad. ¬†This meal had the right combination of textures and flavours. ¬†Yummy. ¬†A definite return restaurant ūüôā

One of the other lunch time meals I had this week was Ghanaian food.  Now I thought it would be meat heavy, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a few vegetarian and vegan options on the menu at Chop Pot.  It is opposite Liverpool Street station, had few places to sit down and eat, and virtually everyone was there for a takeaway, including me.

I love peanuts, and when I saw the spicy pepper soup with spinach, I know that is what I was going to order.

It turned out to be a thick, smooth, creamy soup with a good taste of peanut, a massive (good) kick of chilli, a few bits of spinach and a lot of what I think was palm oil – you can even see it floating on the top. ¬†It was a tasty soup, but I found it very heavy. Going back and sitting at my desk for the rest of the afternoon didn’t help. ¬†If you have this soup, make sure it is followed by a long power walk!

Sunday night dinner was a girly affair – mum, sister and I went out for Thai at our favourite Thai place –¬†Elephant Royale¬†in Gants Hill.

We’ve been coming here for almost two decades now, and the food was always consistently good. ¬†Unfortunately due to a combination of surly staff, terrible service and the consistency of the food virtually disappearing, visits in the last two years were down to nil. ¬†But I’m happy to say that there has been a change in the entire management team, staff and chefs – and we’re (well, they’re) back in business! ¬†What did we order?

Crispy spring rolls, stuffed with glass noodles and veggies – delish!

Thai Green curry, loaded with veggies, tofu and a wonderfully rich sauce. ¬†There was also a hint of turmeric in there – added this wonderful depth of flavour…

Coconut Rice – this was the best part of the meal – plump rice, full of coconut…and sugar. ¬†It went perfectly with the curry, and also served as dessert.. haha!

Green papaya salad, sans dried shrimp and fish sauce but loaded with everything else.  Refreshing and perfectly complimentary with everything else.   Thank you Elephant Royale!

So this concludes the highlights of the week, stay tuned for more eats – I’m ready if you are! ūüôā

PB Eats… Shoryu

One of my most favourite cuisines is Japanese. ¬†I used to think it is limited to sushi and sashimi, and I thought after stopping seafood I might as well have struck Japanese food off my list. But two trips to Japan later, on a vegetarian diet – wow! ¬†The variety! The flavours! Back on my list ūüôā Ramen took off in London a good few years ago, but it was always off limits as they were – and still are – pork based soups on the menu. ¬†Until Shoryu came along – and introduced a soy milk ramen, the ‘White Natural’.

Not meat or fish based, but a stock made with soy milk, miso, konbu and shitake.  Whooo!  This ramen bowl was full of tofu, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and seaweed.  We also got to choose the firmness of the noodles Рfrom standard (my choice) to extra firm (no thank you).

Stunningly good, full of flavour and texture. ¬†The noodles had the perfect bite and this bowl was the perfect dish – I loved it. ¬†I also ordered a side to share – mainly because it sounded very intriguing on the menu – “Black sesame tofu with sweet miso sauce and tenderstem broccoli”. ¬†I love black sesame – both in sweet and savoury dishes and definitely wanted to give this a try.

What arrived was a jet black block of tofu with a single, sorry excuse of broccoli Рwould make sense to leave it out!  This was so utterly delicious Рthe texture was more of a set pudding than tofu, with a hint of tofu, a hint of black sesame and that thick, rich miso sauce.

Since we had room for dessert (isn’t there always room for dessert) we decided to browse the dessert menu. ¬†There was only one dairy free dessert – sorbet, but this time I was excited. The flavours – umeshu (plum wine), yuzu (my favourite flavour in the world) and chocolate and wasabi. ¬†I went for the first two, accompanied with a cup of oolong tea.

This was turning to be the perfect meal. I got a cup with two giant balls of sorbet – both white.

Both flavours Рthe umeshu and yuzu were utterly delicious, but I did hit my limit once I finished.  My friend enjoyed her dessert as much as I enjoyed mine Рshe ordered the yuzu cheesecake and a matcha tea.

I absolutely loved Shoryu РI have never had a bad experience here Рneither with the food or with the service.  And even though my options here are limited Рwell, there is only 1 main Рit is consistently good, and I will keep going back!

PB Eats…in a week

I’ve been eating a lot over these past few weeks. ¬†I’m planning to take a break from work for a few months – no 9 – 5, no meetings, no tube in the mornings – just want to travel and eat :). ¬†So this means lots of lunches with work mates, I’ve been going out virtually every lunch time. ¬† No fancy restaurants, but a lot of food. ¬†Started off with good old Wagamama and my standard staples – it is either the Itame or the Yasai Yaki Udon. ¬†I also ordered gyoza and added most of the gyoza dipping sauce to the udon – result = full of flavour.
Next meal of the week was in Camino¬†, a popular tapas restaurant, where I’ve always had consistently good food. ¬†I started off with some plump, juicy, grassy olives. They were fat and full of flavour – just how I like them. ¬†I ordered my favourite dish, but forgot to take a picture of it – pan con tomate. ¬†Nice, crispy bread, fresh, juicy sweet tomatoes with a slight kick of acidity.

I ordered a couple more dishes, the Patatas Bravas without the aioli, and this really interesting aubergine dish.

Some of the potatoes were soft, while others harder and crunchy – variety is nice, but here there were just a bit too many extremes of texture to make it enjoyable, and to be honest, I would have liked the bravas sauce to be a bit spicier.

I thoroughly enjoyed this dish – 4 baby aubergines, stuffed with a mixture of tomato, onion, coriander and mint, dressed with a ‘mojo verde’, a garlicy, cuminy coriander sauce. ¬†Soft, flavourful and fresh. ¬†I’d eat it again. ¬†Next lunch time meal – Nando’s! I had a veggie wrap (hold the yoghurt) and decided to go for the macho peas.

Always ordering off menu and more, you can see from my sticker what I ended up with – hot, veggie, extra avocado, extra mushroom and there was even a special label. Why thank you ūüôā ¬†Always delicious, dipped in the medium sauce and the wild herb sauce.

I ended the week with dinner at Rocket. ¬†Now here was one place where I was really limited in terms of options. ¬†So when in doubt, I go for the dependable menu item – Pizza! ¬†Thankfully the server was so accommodating and said she’ll put an order through for any pizza toppings I want – yay! ¬†This base was similar to Franco Manca – chewy and totally moreish.

I went for mushrooms, peppers spinach and basil. ¬†It was tasty but it was ginormous, and I couldn’t finish the whole thing. Obviously, because I wanted some sorbet ūüôā There were three options – mango, blackcurrant and lemon. ¬†I chose mango (I will always choose mango ūüôā and blackcurrant.

The mango sorbet was creamy and not too sweet. ¬†The blackcurrant sorbet was horrible. ¬†Sickly sweet, icy, crystallised. Eugh. ¬†I left it all. ¬†I also didn’t get why they sprinkled copious amounts of icing sugar all over! Noooo!!

So that was a lot of eating out, and it is set to continue… Not that I’m complaining ūüôā ūüôā

PB Eats… Temple of Seitan

OK. I’ll be honest with you. ¬†I don’t like any vegan cheeses. ¬†None. Tried quite a few and there isn’t one that I like – either my tongue has a problem with it, or my gut rejects it in ways that makes me extremely uncomfortable. ¬†I also am not a fan of mock meats. ¬†So when I heard of VegFest in London, my first reaction was ‘hmm, loads of mock this and that’, but soon wore off when I saw the event programme and all the talks.

I did go to a VegFest in Brighton about 2 years ago, and that was on a very, and I mean, very small scale. ¬†Not knowing what to expect, I rocked up to Olympia and was suitably impressed. Go Vegan! Cooking demos, talks, summits, and more importantly, likeminded people! ¬†I wasn’t really interested in buying too much stuff (going through a cleanse at the moment, but that is another story for another time), but I was interested the food.

And everyone I spoke to was heading to just one place – Temple of Seitan¬†for their ‘popcorn chicken’ and subs. ¬†So, I queued up to literally eat my words. This queue was 40 min long – and believe me, that queue got longer and longer over the course of the day. ¬†So I got to the front and there were 2 options:

And I only had one option – after 40 minutes of queuing, I was definitely going to get both!!

Now. That vegan popcorn chicken was stunning – chewy, crispy, hot from the fryer – stunning. I hoovered the whole thing down. ¬†The sub had the same seitan as the popcorn chicken, but with the addition of seitan bacon (yum), cheese (couldn’t really taste it), lettuce (fresh) and a white bun (too white, too doughy). ¬†I ended up eating mainly the bacon and the seitan strips.

Temple of Seitan are at the Boiler House¬†¬†on a weekend, and I’m planning to go soon to try them again, along with Pomodoro e Basilico and Peanut Butter Bakery, two other vegan food stalls that have amazing grub! Go!

PB Eats… Northbank Restaurant

Hello! It’s been a few days since my last post – life has been manic at the moment, and food wise, well, I’ve been eating the same old staples, so nothing new to report – until now. ¬†Well, until last Thursday. ¬†I met up with a very good friend in a restaurant that she suggested – Northbank restaurant, on the banks of the Thames – but had never been to herself. ¬†I had a look at the menus¬†and lo and behold – virtually nothing for me to eat. ¬†So I emailed the restaurant, and a lovely woman called Elena responded and basically wrote ‘come on down, we’ll sort you out’. ¬†The views walking to the restaurant were stunning-good old end of summer weather.

The restaurant itself was beautiful – Elena was there to greet us and took us to one of the booths – perfect for 2 people. ¬†The waitresses were absolutely wonderful, polite without being intrusive and thoughtful from start to end. ¬†I basically had a set menu with 1 option for each course. ¬†The starter was described as ‘mung bean salad’ and the mains were a ‘pea risotto’. Dessert – fruit salad with sorbet. The deal was 2 courses with a glass of prosecco for ¬£22.50, not bad at all.

A couple of rolls of bread kicked off our dinner.  They came with butter, and without me asking, they brought out a little jar of earthy, grassy olive oil for me.   Warm crusty rolls dipped in olive oil.  So far, so good.

Before the starter, the chef sent out a little amuse bouche – the same one for both me and my omni friend.
As soon as I had this little bite to eat, I knew I was going to have a good meal.  This cupful had a combination of fennel shavings, pea shoots, carrot, orange and a touch of molasses.  What a combination РI could have had this as a salad on its own.  When my starter came out, once again, I was impressed.  Expecting a few dodgy mung bean shoots, I got this beautiful salad.
Oh My Word. ¬†Yes, the salad did have the shoots, but there were also three types of pickled radishes, rocket, pea shoots, and.. and… and… roasted, puffed rice. What a revelation. ¬†They added an almost smoky barbequed flavour to the dish. ¬†Each mouthful was different – lots of textures, lots of flavours and I enjoyed it down to the last mouthful. ¬†My mains arrived and it was a vision in shades of green.
Plump, well cooked rice, wonderful pea flavour, whole peas, topped with deep fried kale leaves. ¬†It tasted like an old fashioned risotto, and boy, I savoured every mouthful. ¬†All in all, it was such a tasty meal, nice big portions, flavourful – I was very happy and didn’t even want to think about dessert (shock horror!) – this meal hit the spot for me. ¬†We walked to St Paul’s and the walk was just as lovely as the food.
I do love London at night!  All in all, another delicious meal, and with service like that, another reason to come back to Northbank Restaurant!

PB Eats… Oi Hanoi

I’m now going to tell you about my go to meal in London. ¬†This could possibly be the nicest dish I eat..and I plan to continue to do so for a long time. ¬† Oi Hanoi is a couple of minutes walk away from Aldgate East station, run by a wonderful Australian, Dave. ¬†I remember my first visit, looking at the menu, and seeing a good amount of veggie and vegan options. ¬†Vegan Pho! Vegan Summer Rolls! Vegan Curry! Love Asian food from all over – and it is usually dairy free!!

I had the vegan curry, and that is when the love affair developed with the dish.  It is the dish I always come back to.  It is shockingly reasonable, and what you get is excellent amazing quality and value for money.  Order at the counter, choose your seat and wait in anticipation.

¬†Oi Hanoi serves free tea with meals, although there is an option to buy some cool drinks too – almost all the Fentimans range and aloe drinks. But when I went last week, as usual, i always stick to the tea. ¬†It’s about the food baby!

I decided to stick to the usual, having not had it for a few weeks, ordered the Ca Ri or the Oi Hanoi Curry РChay, with organic tofu and veggies.  And as usual, I asked for it with rice and to be extra saucy, oo er..

A massive hill of brown rice, beautiful brown curry, subtle with spice but with a serious depth of flavour. ¬†Green beans, big chunks of mushrooms, elastic, soft tofu and tender potatoes. ¬†The curry comes with a large wedge of lemon and a handful of herbs – holy basil and mint. This time, a few vegan spring rolls were strewn across the top. ¬†Here’s a close up:
 Each mouthful was different Рtextures, flavours, taste Рbut consistently delicious down to the last mouthful.   So so recommend this place.  I took 3 omnivores with me this time and for some reason, they also ordered this curry, and they thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is definitely worth a visit!

PB Eats… New York

After a few days working in New Jersey (lots of sandwiches and pasta, nothing to write home about), I was all set to go to New York for just a couple of days.  I absolutely love the city, the buzz, the madness, everything.  I stayed in Manhattan Рthe Hilton Garden Inn on West 35th Street Рwhat I think is a lovely area and a great location.  The last time I was there I stayed in the Bryant Park Hotel and that was stunning, but this time it was almost double the rate.  Rather save some money for food, eh?

¬†With limited time, too many options and just one stomach, I had to be selective in what I eat. ¬†So first things first, off I went to Whole Foods in Columbus Circle – next to Central Park to stock up on some yogurts and cereal bars for breakfast, looking for brands that I don’t see in London. ¬†I went for a couple of So Delicious yogurts – blueberry and chocolate which were both scrumptious. ¬†I also got a few Kind bars. ¬†But I think the find of the day were these Jalapeno flavoured Kettle crisps (or should I say ‘chips’). ¬†If you like heat, and not a little tickle but a nice kick – these are the crisps for you. ¬†I just need to track them down in the UK.

So onto the food.  I did have a look at Happy Cow (go Happy Cow!) but with literally 2 days РI Thursday afternoon to Saturday afternoon, I decided to stay pretty local and made a reservation at Hangawi, a vegan Korean restaurant.  Whooo!  I loved the decor Рall wooden and dark and very traditional.  Even the cutlery was wooden.  So beautiful!  Walking in, I was asked to take my shoes off and was led to a table with a sunken chair essentially.  There was enough light to read the menu, and I ordered a cocktail to start Рthe beautiful sounding Zen Blossom, made with soju, lychee, lychee wine, and elderflower.

Delicately perfumed with an underlying hint of soju, it was a perfectly balanced drink, and a wonderful start.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was enough to last me through the meal.  Being a solo diner meant I had to choose what sounded like the most tempting option to me Рso I chose the organic avocado stone bowl Рa speciality of the restaurant.
What was presented before me was a wooden cube with a heavy stone bowl, full of vegan wonder.  My server kindly mixed everything for me Рand ooh boy, there was a lot of everything.  It was full of veggies, plump juicy mushroom, creamy avocado, soft rice at the top and crispy rice at the bottom.  And because the stone bowl was hot Рthe food stayed hot and the rice kept on getting crispy.  Accompanying the dish was a bowl of gochujang (by the end of the meal, it had all been mixed in) and 2 bowls of kimchi.

I’ve found it hard to find a tasty kimchi without any fishiness but that search can stop now. ¬†One bowl of kimchi was chilli, the other plain. ¬†The chilli one was spicy, hot and perfectly crunchy. ¬†The plain had so much flavour, just as good in its own way. ¬†Oh! I still think about them both…

I cleared the kimchi but could only get through half of the stone bowl. ¬†They kindly packed it away for me, and it served me well as dinner on Friday night, with a handful, no, bagful of those jalapeno crisps. ¬†Lush! ¬†The other reason why I only had half (it was a massive portion) was because I wanted to try dessert – and there was only one thing I was hankering after…. cheesecake.
The ice cream was OK and was a cooling vehicle for the creamy cheesecake – but that was it. The cheesecake on the other hand. ¬†That cheesecake. ¬†For you UK based peeps who like the Pizza Express cheesecake – this was exactly like that – creamy, soft, beautiful base… yummy yummy yummy. ¬†At one point I had to ask the server if it was really vegan. Loved it! I also ordered a shissandra chinesis, described on the menu as “a popular Korean herbal tea that refreshes and revitalize the body from fatigue”.

I’m not quite sure what was in it, but the first few sips were lovely – deep flavour and tasty. ¬†I had to stop after half a cup because all I could taste was sweetness – dates or brown sugar or something – was too overpowering. ¬†My server did confess that he would never drink it that sweet, and I think it would taste much better with virtually no sugar.
Hangawi isn’t the cheapest place but it was on my list of to try restaurants, and I’m glad I did. ¬†There are so many wonderful sounding options on the menu, I’ll just have to come back, as part of a larger group so we can work our way through it…. yes – I will definitely return!

 I also ventured to China Town where I got a killer foot and back massage for just $39, and found this amazing restaurant that did tasty hand pulled noodles on Doyers Street, called, yes, you guessed it.. Tasty hand pulled noodles inc.
I would have walked past, thinking it is just a hole in the wall – but I’m so glad I stopped. ¬†I then realised how popular this place is – virtually every seat was taken, people coming in to pick their takeaways.. wow. ¬†Thankfully there was room for me on the singles table… all solo diners bundled together on one table to optimise bums on seats. ¬†I ordered a plate of noodles with veggies. ¬†When I got my order, my first thought was, bugger, how boring.

I started eating and oh wow wow wow.  Chewy noodles with a lovely mouth feel, slivers of veggies and this barely there sauce.  I hoovered them in.  They were only about $7!!!!!! Wowza!  A few glasses of free tea and I was ready to continue sightseeing.

My last meal in New York was lunch on Saturday before I headed to the airport later that day.  This actually would be my last meal if I were ever to be in that situation to request one (hopefully not).  So there are a number of Blossom du Jour eateries in NYC, and I basically googled the nearest one, which turned out to be in Chelsea on West 23rd Street.  I got there not knowing what to expect, and it turned out to be a tiny fast food joint, focusing on takeaway with seats enough for 7 Р8 people.  This is not a place where you linger over a burger or bowl Рyou order and take away, or you order, eat and leave.  So New York-esque.

So there was only going to be one thing that I was going to order from the menu. I have been seeing this on blogs and you tube, haven’t had the chance to make it myself. ¬†The spicy buffalo bun with buffalo cauliflower, ranch and lettuce. ¬† Here, have a look at it:

¬†¬†Now have another look – inside…

Holy Moley.  What a burger!!  Soft cauliflower, still crunchy batter, dipped in hot sauce Рcheck.  Cool ranch Рcheck.  Crisp lettuce Рcheck.  Soft bun Рcheck.  Seriously folks.  This was one of the best things I have eaten!!  Messy, creamy, hot, I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful.  I ordered the Green Giant smoothie with mango, banana, spinach, kale, flax and almond milk.
Very delicious, but it did tip me over the edge and I literally had to spend the rest of the afternoon walking it off – so now you know why I didn’t want to eat in the lounge!! ¬†All in all, I think I did well in Manhattan – and I didn’t even hit Brooklyn – but there is always a next time eh?

PB Travels… in style

So as I mentioned in my opening post, I’ve travelled quite a bit this year, both for work and pleasure. ¬†I flew to the US a couple of weeks ago, courtesy of work, which meant that I got to fly with my favourite airline – Virgin Atlantic, and that too in style! So I wanted to share my experiences of the lounge and the flight.

Now for those who have experienced the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow will know how lush it is… lots of nooks and crannies, lots of comfy sofas, lots of space, lots of food and lots of alcohol. ¬†I got there pretty late, with less than a couple of hours to spare. The first thing I do is go to the spa and book in a complimentary treatment – usually the facial.

While waiting for my treatment, I ordered a G&T (oh! such a hard life) and ordered a few nibbles. I didn’t take pics of the menu (I should have… but wasn’t in blogger mode). To be honest there were a number of veggie options, but all with cheese – however I did spot a few I could eat – and they were delicious! ¬†I ordered one, maybe two, alright! three portions of the hummus and veggies.

Loved the presentation, and the balance of veggies and hummus was just right Рso you can see why I ordered three!  I also ordered this roasted green bean salad with extra avocado (terrible pic, I know).

This was a stunning combination of green beans, salad leaves, roasted tomatoes, avocado, sesame seeds and micro greens Рso tasty, and a generous portion.  I had enough time to enjoy this, go for my facial and run to the plane..

I ordered a special meal for the flight. ¬†I did get the Upper Class treatment and they did confirm that my ‘meal was on board’ whoo! ¬†Saying that though, I always travel with a stash of food (nuts, seeds and bars), just in case of my VGML going AWOL. ¬† I chose the red pepper bread. Yum!

First course was a butternut squash soup – very enjoyable, full of flavour and a beautiful sunshine yellow colour.
Mains was essentially a ratatouille, or rather an aubergine curry, which was quite horrible   I must have had a couple of bites, after which I had to stop.  Undercooked aubergine gloop and acidic tomato sauce Рnot a good combination.
As usual, the dessert expectation was fruit. Let’s be frank, I knew I would be getting fruit at some point on the flight, but thankfully it wasn’t after that horrible main course! ¬†I was presented with this interesting looking jelly..

It turned out to be this intensely flavoured berry jelly.. soft and slippery in a good way, and before I knew it, the plate was clean. ¬†A meal with ups ¬†and downs, but I was full enough, so that was OK. ¬†An hour or so before landing, a snack was served – which to be honest, I didn’t eat – well, I ate the fruit and drank my green tea.

The wrap itself was thick and doughy, and there was too much of it.  The filling was supposed to be roasted veggies I think, but in all honesty, there was a lot of the aubergine from lunch time in there (sans sauce).  Not nice.

Coming back from New York was a 6 hr night flight. To be honest I didn’t eat in the lounge. Reason why? ¬†I had the BEST BURGER I’ve ever had – a buffalo cauliflower burger (will post about it soon). ¬†I did look at the menu in the JFK clubhouse and there weren’t that many vegan options – none marked anyway. ¬†They did have the hummus and veggies. There was a field mushroom burger, veggie curry and if all goes wrong, chips would always be there to save the day.

All in all, a most enjoyable experience – I’m not going to complain.. this is what I live for!!