Oh my word. Where is the time flying. Back at work, completely settled down, my time off is but a distant memory…. Food wise, I’ve been making a lot of home cooked lunches – quinoa, cous cous with veggies.. Eating out? Nothing out of the ordinary, just the usual places.
Saying that, I did have a nice meal at Virasat, a north Indian restaurant based in Newbury Park. It serves a lot of carnivorous food, lots of dishes with dairy – paneer, butter naan, but there was salvation in the form of crispy bhajias, channa masala and puri. The bhajias were nice and crunchy, and the tomato chutney was amazing – it actually should have been a garlic sauce! The channa masala was super spicy in terms of spices used as opposed to heat (does that make sense?), although the fluffy puris did help.
But my highlight was the London Vegan Beer Festival, held at Hackney Downs on 15th July 2017. But before that, I went to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford for the Para Atheletics. The last time I went to the stadium was during the Olympics in 2012 – I loved every event I saw, and we were even lucky enough to get tickets to the closing ceremony. So being back watching these amazing, inspiring athletes was a humbling and impressive experience.
Now. Vegan Beer Fest. Whoohoo! A place where I can eat whatever I want? Without having to ask questions? My excitement was building up while we were queuing up. £5 (booked in advance) got you entry, a plastic pint glass and a sheet with all the beers on it that you could tick off while you drank them.
To be honest though, I was mainly there for the food, although we did try 1/2 pint of beer from Moor Beer Company. I chose a bitter beer – Claudia, which I enjoyed, and M went for the milder So’Hop, which she didn’t enjoy (she’s not a beer drinker, but she tried!)
We tried mushroom arancini from Arancini Brothers, which were moist, juicy and served with this red pepper dip. Good start. Young Vegans, the pie experts where also there – and seeing that I had never tried their pies, we chose the Seitan and Ale pie, with mash, fried onions and a teeny salad. The mash was excellent, the pastry was super delicious and crumbly and the filling – massive pieces of seitan – a very big portion and good value for money. Next – an option that you can’t go wrong with – Club Mexicana. I love everything on their menu, usually choosing what to order is the difficult bit. We went for fish tacos. Oh my word. Not surprisingly, the best thing I ate – full of flavour, texture – seaweedy and fishy in a good way – oh so tasty.
But we weren’t done – not yet. There was dessert. A peanut butter chocolate brownie from Young Vegans (part of the meal deal with the pie). Gooey, moist, peanut buttery, chocolatey but a bit too dense – didn’t stop me from eating it – it was delicious! Peanut Butter Bakery also had a stall – I bought two doughnuts for later – almond dulce de leche and I think a raspberry one. The flavours were nice, but I found them dry – they needed a cup of tea.
It was an excellent day – athletics, truly excellent vegan food – I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Apparently there was a vegan food market held in the same place in June, I’ll be keeping an eye out for when the next one is on!