Tag Archives: Vegan Options

PB Eats… Vegan Toronto

So apparently the week I was in Toronto was a great week – weather wise.  I agree, all I could see were blue, cloudless skies from the meeting room where I spent 11 hours a day for the week.  Yep, Toronto for work, but I did have about 12 hours free before flying back where I did take full advantage of the sunshine, and to check out the plentiful vegan scene.  Lunches were all at work, and I had told my colleagues about my food needs – and I was pleasantly surprised.  Roasted veggie wraps, cous cous with curry, pasta, salads – all good.  As for my other meals, during the week they had to be near the hotel and quick.  A combination of a cold and jet lag meant that once we finished, all I wanted to do was eat and sleep.

There was a mall about 5 minutes from the office, and amongst all the places, I found 2 – Urban Herbivore and Thai Express.  Having had cold sandwiches for lunch, I didn’t want the same for dinner – and that is exactly what Urban Herbivore did, however good they looked, I didn’t try them out.  Thai Express had an option for a vegan pad thai – which I had a couple of times in the week. Spicy, delicious and comforting – exactly what I needed.  Where else did I eat?

Planta Burger

I found out (thank you Happy Cow) of a vegan burger joint that had opened up a few months ago, literally across from the hotel.  I was so excited!  So Day 1, I went to Planta Burger to order my takeaway.  They had 4 options, and if I see buffalo cauliflower on any menu, I’m ordering it.  I will not lie, I had visions of the burger I had in New York at Blossom Du Jour.  At Planta Burger, I ordered the spicy buffalo cauliflower burger with ranch, pickles, red onion, iceberg and tomato.  I also got a side of the caesar salad.  YES. vegan caesar salad.  Whoo!  I was very excited and so looking forward to eating this.  The salad – very excellent. Creamy and crunchy with meaty mushrooms and killer pickled onions, this was good.  As for the burger – a sheer disappointment.  The bread was hard, the patty almost burnt and too small for the bun, with NO flavour.  It was just very dull.

I’m all for second chances, so the next night I went back to try another burger.  I picked the crab cake, with heart of palm and tartar sauce, and a side of the BBQ fries.  The fries = tick.  Very nice, very moreish and crunchy.  But the burger? Yes. Again. Horrible.  It looked like the burger from the night before.  Tiny almost burnt patty, tasteless and grim.  The only redeeming factor, the tartar sauce which tasted like the real thing.

2/2 terrible burgers is not good in my book, I wouldn’t go back for the burgers – maybe if you forced me, I’d get the casear salad, but that is it.  Nothing else.  There is a Planta restaurant too, but I didn’t want to risk trying it if it turned out to be just as grim as the burger joint.

Mill Street Brewery

For our team dinner, we went to the Distillery District, to the Mill Street Brewery.  I really like this area, the last time I was here it was in the middle of winter, and it was just as magical in the summer.  There were a few veganisable options on the menu – and they were very accommodating too.  This being a brewery and my interest in beer increasing over the years, P and I decided to split a beer flight – 4 tiny beers, 2 for him, 2 for me.  I went for the organic original lager and an organic amber lager.  Very impressed and very smooth.  The also went down a bit too quickly 🙂  For my main, I went for a falafel salad – without the falafel as it was made with eggs.  But the creamy dressing was vegan, and when in doubt, always ask for avocado, which is what I did.  I got a giant portion full of beans, chickpeas, rocket, sunflower seeds, clementine segments, avocado.  So tasty and filling, I could only get through half of it.  I did finish all the avocado though!

Fresh on Bloor

I’m a firm believer in balance – every grim meal means that there is a superb meal waiting for me to enjoy.  And enjoy I did at Fresh. This is a chain of restaurants scattered around downtown.  It was heaving when I got there around 7pm, and I only had to wait for 10 minutes for a table.  Everyone there was SO friendly and chilled, I really liked the atmosphere.  You get a big bottle of water when you sit down, and a MASSIVE vegan menu.  I’m not used to this much choice!! I wanted a burger mainly because of the crap ones I’d had earlier in the week.  I went for the chipotle bacon burger – chipotle, tempeh, jicama – yum yum.  And then I saw ‘dragon fries’ on the menu as a ‘side’ option.  It read “french fries, miso gravy, hot banana chilies, green onions, sesame seeds and chili oil” How could I say no!

The burger was great – a giant of a burger, with generous fixings and a nice chunky patty.  Most enjoyable.  BUT THOSE DRAGON FRIES.  If you live in Toronto, go here NOW.  I will say it – hands down the best vegan thing i have tried.  Hot, crispy fries, umami popping miso gravy, a punch from the spring onions, a super punch from the chillies – OMG.  Stunningly, amazingly, perfectly delicious, perfectly LUSCIOUS.  I went here on my last night. It will be my death row meal – I loved them that much!!  But for now, if I do go back to Toronto, this is the first place I will go to.   Straight off the plane.  YUM!!!

King’s Cafe

I had the morning off to wander around the streets of Toronto, and what a time to be there.  The Invictus Games were starting that evening, so the place was buzzing.  I walked around Kensington Market, or what I call the Camden Market of Toronto.  I loved this place, full of quirky shops, delis, restaurants and cafes.

I came across Bunner’s – an all vegan bakery full of yummy looking stuff.  Since I was flying later I didn’t have the liberty of buying the selection I wanted to (one of each), so I settled for the apple butterscotch crumble tart and I bought a brownie for later.   The tart was sweet, apple-y, full of texture and super good.  I loved it. I didn’t take a pic of the brownie which I had on the place with a cup of tea on the plane – JUST AS GOOD.

Washed down with an almost perfect iced coffee with almond milk (whooo!) from Jimmy’s, it was the perfect mid morning treat.

So onto Kings Cafe – which made me very happy.  Another all vegetarian/vegan place, I just wanted a few dim sums to keep me going.  Once again, this was a Happy Cow find.  What did I order? Curry puffs, veggie dumplings and my favourite – sticky rice.

I am pleased to say this meal hit the spot.  The curry puffs were crispy and stuffed with this fragrant potato mixture – yum.  The dumplings were stuffed with veggies and herbs – excellent. And that rice. With that chilli sauce – oh man. Super good.  I would definitely come back here to try more dishes.  Suitably stuffed, I headed to the airport. The plan was to have dinner in the lounge and knock out on the plane.  There were very few vegan options – everything had cheese or a yoghurt dressing. I helped myself to a cucumber salad and got them to pimp a fajita for me – roasted veggies and salsa.  It was enough to fill my belly.

All in all, I would have loved to spend more time in Toronto, so hopefully I’ll get to go out there soon – lots of things to do and lots and lots of vegan food to eat!

PB Eats… Back in London

No travel blues, no jet leg, I’m enjoying the weather and free time and not really thinking about going back to work in July.  What have I been up to? Spending time with my lovely niece, pottering about, chilling in london and exploring new restaurants.  This week I have mainly been eating a lot of hummus and falafel. But first, a wonderful discovery – a vegan cafe in Pinner, north west London.  Everything is vegan, fresh and simple. I loved the concept – a number of hot dishes – tofu, beans, potatoes, quorn that can be put in a wrap or in bowl – with loads of salads on the side. 

We went for an ABC – apple, beetroot and carrot – juice, freshly pressed and tasty. I went for a chilli tofu salad bowl with quinoa, salsa, avocado, cucumber.  The other bowl? Bombay potatoes with hummus, avocado, olives, cucumber and watercress.  These were big bowls for about £6 – such good value for money.  We really enjoyed our food – simple, tasty and flavourful.  They also had a counter of VEGAN cakes and muffins. We bought a slice orange and polenta cake (really really tasty and orangey) and an apple and cinnamon muffin (ok, a bit to sandy in texture for me), but forgot to take photos.  

This is a place I will definitely be going back to – a no brainer really.  Next stop? Turkish restaurant Yaprak in Eastcote.  They have an excellent lunch time menu, 2 courses for £6.95. My sister had been here before and was impressed with the food.  The restaurant was a bit quiet – we were ladies who lunch on a weekday – but I’ve been told it gets really busy on weekends.  I ordered a fresh mint tea and chose a starter and main from the lunch menu. Hummus and falafel. My sister went for just a main (a la carte) of vegetable kebab, that came with a big salad. 

Complimentary flatbread brushed with this lovely mix, and dips – yoghurt (I think), olives (marinated with coriander seeds – whoa! Excellent) and chilli sauce (sensational!!!!!).  The portions were massive and super tasty. Everything was made in house – and you could tell. Hummus was very earthy and full of flavour. The falafel was airy, nutty and very moreish. I didn’t know what to expect with the vegetable kebab – but we got a mound of vegetables in this delicately spiced sauce. Absolutely lovely.  Only thing I didn’t want to have or try was the psychedelic Turkish delight.  Another place I’d visit again.  




A place that I won’t be going back to is Ya Hala, a Lebanese place in Paddington. We went for a an apple juice with mint and ginger – nice, but mainly because I needed hydration as opposed to it being good. It definitely wasn’t fresh. I went for the falafel  and hummus again, and M went for a mixed mezze plate. 

Big portions – and the mezze platter looked good but M did not even have 3 bites. Verdict? The meat tasted like it was a few days old and everything was tepid and horrible.  So epic fail then.  The falafel on the other hand weren’t bad flavourwise, just very dense and stodgy – nothing like the light and airy ones at Yaprak. Salad was dull. The hummus was ok though. 

So more hit than miss on the restaurant front, but it is always good to explore new places. And talking about new places, there is an ice cream shop in Ruislip that does proper gelato and dairy free sorbets – La Dolce Vita. 

I chose raspberry and it was super delicious! No added colouring, nice bit of raspberry flavour, no artificial taste – bellisimo. The pistachio and hazelnut gelatos are apparently very very good! Will definitely go back to try the other sorbets – mango, passion fruit, lemon… whooo!

PB Eats… Mildreds

I’m back in London, will be back at work in July, so am enjoying the last few days of ‘freedom’.  I have to say the glorious weather has definitely helped – they’ve chased my holiday blues and jet leg away for sure.  First meet up was at Mildreds, a place I’ve been meaning to try for a while.   Vegan heaven, super popular and amazing food.  Aaah.  So the food was not as good as hoped, and I’m not sure if it was down to them being so busy or whether it was poor choices on our part.  But poor choices aside, the food should taste good, right?  We kicked off with a cocktail, I went for an Aperol Spritz – perfect drink for a sunny day.  

Instead of going for a main course, we decided to share some small plates/starters, and go with the flow.  I thought we chose a good selection of dishes.  Gyoza with a soy/sweet chilli dipping sauce.  The filling was soy mince I think, not my favourite, but the outside – hard and chewy dumpling wrapper, and not in a good way.  Next? Smashed avocado with lime and chilli and organic corn chips.  Beautiful avocado, but lacking in terms of seasoning and lime – which let everything down.  The purple corn chips were quite yummy though.  

Now I love miso aubergine, or nasu dengaku, and when done right, this dish is luscious.  Meltingly soft aubergine, hot, almost fluffy miso dressing, sweet, sour, salty, umami overload.  Sadly this dish was an epic fail.   Barely lukewarm aubergine, I couln’t taste any miso.  Bland bland bland.  The best small plate was tenderstem broccoli with confit garlic and chilli.  Perfectly cooked, the dressing was so delicious, and the garlic was divine.  Loved this dish.  One decent dish out of four, I wasn’t happy and didn’t want to spend any more time or money on the savoury stuff.  

So bring on desserts. Vegan desserts.  Now We Are Talking.  The BEST vegan dessert I have had.  Chocolate hazelnut brownie, salted caramel sauce and ice cream.  Served warm, it turned out to be one of the best vegan desserts I have had. Seriously chocolate my, seriously caramel, seriously creamy, seriously good. That with a cup of green tea – lovely. 

In hindsight, I think I should have just gone straight in for a main course – but it was such a hot day, the idea of having a pie or a burger or a stir fry/curry or a dish with rice (yep, still not feeling it fully) was not welcoming.  I will give this place another try and check out the main courses – just to make sure the problem might have been with me and not Mildred.

PB Eats… Copita

I’m back in London! I wasn’t supposed to be back so soon, but a combination of unhelpful travel agents, expensive tickets and fate meant that my plans to go back to Mexico didn’t work out.   Saying all that, it is good to be back, seeing family, catching up with friends and most importantly, enjoying my Indian food.  I didn’t miss it while travelling, but boy I was glad to overdose on it when I got back.  Thanks mum! Home made indian dishes, rotis, gol gappas, puris, yum yum.

And I’ve been catching up at the regular restaurants, Zizzi – I’ve missed that wonderful pizza base, Chawallas, Wagamama, Shoryu – mmm, soy milk ramen, delicious.  Incidentally, they have a deal on at the moment, £22 for a bun, ramen and delicious cocktail. Definitely worth it.  I’m not going to blog about any of those – but I will say that it is good having all this variety and choice of vegan food sans issues or drama.

The meal of the week though was at Copita, to catch up with my partner in crime (and evil thoughts – forgive me!! haha), M.  A nice, trendy space with that irritating rule of no reservations in the evening.  Being a lady of leisure, I got there nice and early in the evening and had my choice of tables – or bar stools.  Result!

I was very pleasantly surprised to discover not only do they have a lovely food menu, but a very very lovely gin and tonic menu!!! Tanqueray! Bloom! Whoo!!  And they have Fever Tree tonic water – the only tonic water worth drinking.

The service was helpful and friendly, but as the evening went on it did get harder to grab their attention.  They rattled off the dishes I could eat (leaving out a few ingredients), so I obediently ordered them ALL.  M ordered the chorizo, croquetas de champiñones (no pics), and the giant gambas (check them out!!), which I didn’t hear any negatives about.

We also got the sweet potato bravas (alioli on the side).  These were moist, juicy but not very spicy. Not at all to be honest.  The broccoli with a pepper sauce – delish.  Still crunchy broccoli, yummy sauce, I enjoyed this dish.

The highlight of the meal was the ajo blanco, dressed with grapes, beetroot, parsley and almonds.  It was so tasty – not too garlicy, really creamy and the bits on top added little bursts of texture and flavour.  Every mouthful tasted different – yum yum yum.  Please order this!  The lowlight of the meal, for reasons to explicit and nasty to mention here, was the roasted aubergine.  It didn’t really look appealing, it had no seasoning and the texture was not nice, and the top half was undercooked, and I couldn’t taste anything in the sauce.  The hazelnuts though, were excellent.


I had no room for dessert after all this food and the very tasty G&Ts (my dessert), but M ordered the coffee and burnt milk ice cream.  Judging from the speed at which it disappeared and her expression, it was a tasty dessert.  


Overall – it was a good meal, I would go back again and again just for that ajo blanco!

PB Travels… Quepos

So last few days in Costa Rica, and the next stop is Quepos, home of Manuel Antonio National Park, the main reason for being here.  Getting there was another short journey, 3 hours or so, and on the way, we stopped at a bridge to look at… crocs.  Yep, crocs which are up to 20 feet in length.  Beautiful…from a distance 🙂

img_7399

Where am I staying?

Hotel Sirena is in the town centre, a five minute walk to the seashore, but a 7km bus ride to the public beach.  It is a proper seaside hotel, all blue and white, nice rooms and a little swimming pool that was so so needed.  What was also very needed and appreciated was the cool cool A/C in the rooms.  My room was light, bright and cool.

Ratings?

  • Grubbiness factor = low.  Everything was squeaky clean, but a bit tired
  • Bed = 8/10.  Comfy double bed, cool a/c, good night’s sleep. All good
  • Shower = 7/10. Hot water and ok pressure. Not too bad.

What did I eat?

Breakfasts included in the hotel.  No guesses what was on the menu – fruit, juice, tea, coffee, gallo pinto, eggs, toast – standard fare.  My go to breakfast was also standard -gallo pinto and toast with my nut butter, which is almost finished, as is my chilli sauce. Boohoo.

Lunches? Meh.  I went to Dos Locos for lunch one day – a veggie wrap with sweet potato fries.  Now a wrap filled with raw cabbage is not something that fills me with joy.  And look at the miserly serving of guac! I was not a happy bunny after this meal, or during it to be honest.

The next day we were in the park, and by the time we got out we were starving!  There are no restaurants in the park, take food in at your own risk – the racoons will get it, I saw it happen a few times, leaving with goodies and very traumatised people behind!  We walked into a proper tourist restaurant – Hawg and Bill for lunch – I ordered a garden salad, which actually turned out to be quite nice.  The vinaigrette did most of the work I think, it was quite yummy.

Dinners? We went to a local restaurant one night, Restaurant Tiquicia and I had the usual, Casado.  It was was ok, I liked the mountains of veggies.  They also had that cool mixture of carrot, onion, cauliflower, but unfortunately it wasn’t hot at all.

Next night – we went to El Avion, a gimmicky restaurant that has a bar in a plane.  It was really cool in the plane and the Margarita I ordered was really good.  Even in a restaurant like this, the only two options I could go for were either veggie rice (meh) or roasted veggie sandwich. I went for the latter and got a giant sandwich with too much bread. The veggies were really yum (after I added salt and pimped it with chilli sauce) – courgette, mushroom (which interestingly looks like meat..hehe), red pepper, tomato.  I had those with the chips, left the bread.  If you want to go here, go for the drinks, not the food.

I also had my usual share of fresh juices – pineapple, and a frozen green/pineapple juice. Yum in this unbearable heat.


What did I do?

That pool might look small, but it was the right size, and I spent one afternoon just lounging around, reading, chatting, snoozing in the sun.  However, the main reason for being here was the Manuel Antonio National Park.   5 minute walk to the main bus station, and 315 colones for a bus ride to the park.  As expected, it was very very busy – the busiest I’ve been to so far, but, it was excellent as we got to see so much wildlife! Sloths, toucans, howler monkeys, birds, spiders, wow. What a fitting end to Costa Rica.

There is a wonderful beach in the park – so once we had got hot, bothered and sweaty running after all the animals, we ran straight into the sea.  Oh mama.  Perfect sea, perfect temperature, perfect weather – I spent a lot of time in the sea until hunger pangs dragged me away..

Sunsets in Quepos were also stunning. We decided to walk to the marina to have a drink – as some of the girls had been there the day before for a brilliant sunset.  This marina is so Americanised – and it was full of Americans!  It did not feel like we were in Quepos, or even Costa Rica.  Thankfully the sunset made up for it – check it out!

So this is it in terms for travel for now – the plan was to go back to Mexico and explore ruins, but due to crappy travel agents and slow turnaround times, I couldn’t get my ticket changed and buying new ones was waay to expensive.  Never mind – that money will be saved for the next travel adventure – even I don’t know where I’m going.. South America? Asia? Europe? Watch this space….

PB Travels…Puerto Viejo, Sarapiqui

Leaving Tortuguero was sad – I could have spent longer there but I knew better things awaited ahead of me – wildlife wise. A short three hour journey to Sarapiqui, and I was ready for my next session of wildlife exploring.  The good thing is that Costa Rica is such a small country, travel times between destinations are short and sweet.

Where was I staying?

Posada Andrea Cristina, a wonderful little hotel, just off the main road.. It was super laid back, you could go into the kitchen and help yourself to crockery and cutlery. There was also a communal fridge where we could store drinks. Lovely communal dining area (the place only does breakfast – included), and an excellent area for bird watching, complete with enticing fruits nailed to a tree…

That bugged some people staying in the hotel (noisy trucks and all), but I got one of the rooms/cabins right at the back and it didn’t bother me one bit. What did bother me was seeds and coconuts falling on my corrugated iron roof – now that sound woke me up with a start every flipping time!!

The room was lovely – minimal but new and clean. Ratings:

  • Grubbiness factor: non existent – it was a brand new room
  • Bed = 8/10. Sleep well, marks deducted due to fright.
  • Shower: 3/10. No hot water! You might say, who needs hot water when you’re in such humidity? ME!

What did I eat?

Breakfast was a selection of fresh fruit – papaya, pineapple, melaon and bananas (from a tree on the hotel grounds). AND. Excellent home made bread made by Alex, who was in charge of breakfast.

I found a last sachet of almond butter (need to find more!) so had that one day with banana – delicious.

Puerto Viejo Sarapiqui is alittle town (not funky like Tortuguero – this was just dull and a bit sad), apart from a couple of decent restaurants – one of them is Soda Mi Lindo. So for lunch one day, I had a lovely smoothie (sin azucar – they add sugar to all drinks!!) – spinach, celery, cucumber and orange. Yummy.

For mains, arroz con vegetables (alright), papas fritas (meh), ensalada (rico – the tomatoes were so flavourful). It was a massive portion – I didn’t finish the rice.

So still craving avocados, I went to the supermarket to buy some – hard like stone or soft as butter – take you pick. I got a few hard ones (STILL waiting for them to ripen) and a single soft one. I also bought a bottle of ‘hot’ chilli sauce (not really) and some yucca crisps (excellente). The avocado turned out to be very good, and smooshed up with lime and chilli turned out to be an amazing lunch. The photo might not look pretty, but I was SO happy (told you before, doesn’t take much!)

Dinner on one night was a salad delivery. Simple salad – tomato, lettuce, cucumber, onion and heart  of palm – love those things, just don’t get fresh ones very often. Very tasty. Crunchy, flavourful and very edible.

Dinner the next night was from the other decent place in town (delivered to the hotel) a pizza! It was thin crust, really tasty base with loads of veggies – including carrot, broccoli and cauliflower :). Definitely got my 5 a day from this pizza! Very tasty.

What did I do?

So along with my wildlife fix, I got my flower fix too. The flora and fauna around here is stunning, and I was very click happy. Look!

This region is know for extreme water sports and white water rafting, but I wasn’t interested in that – all I wanted was to check out the wildlife.

We went for a morning walk to La Selva. I really really enjoyed this walk. I strongly recommend it to everyone. We had a brilliant guide and saw loads of birds – trogans, motmots, toucans –  sloths, wild boar, spiders – excellent!

The wildlife was excellent, but so was the flora, fauna and the whole place in general made it a very enjoyable day.  The rest of the wildlife was not spotted in a national park or reserve – but in the gardens of the hotel!! I am still mastering the names of the birds (don’t ask me just yet) – they were amazing. Throw in a squirrel to boot and PB = a very happy bunny.

And then in the evening, Alex spotted THE frog of Costa Rica – the red eyed tree frog… Result!

I didn’t like the town but the wildlife in the hotel and the reserve in Sarapiqui was super excellent amazing brilliant. I’m loving it!!!!

PB Travels… Back to Antigua

First leg of travelling over. I’m back in Antigua, booked myself into a lovely little hotel for a couple of days to essentially relax and enjoy the last few attractions in Guatemala.

Where am I staying?

San Rafael, my hotel is located just under the arch – superb location, 5 minutes walk to the main square.  It is a small boutique hotel, I think a max of 9 rooms and it used to be a private residence before.The public areas are stunning – I have been lounging about making use of them.

The room is BEAUTIFUL, sitting area, comfortable bed, massive bathroom – BLISS.

Ratings?

  • Grubbiness factor = erm. Nada. Nothing. Cleanliness as  expected with this calibre of hotels. Pristine and lovely smelling room and sheets.
  • Bed = 10/10. So so comfy. And the room is dark and night – perfect sleep.
  • Shower = 10/10. Rain shower, hand held, lovely toiletries.

I love this hotel – and if I didn’t have to think about budgeting, I would stay in hotels like this all the time.. luxurious, small and with character. But I’m happy with travelling normally most of the time and then taking it up a notch for a few days – I’ve always done this and have stayed in some brilliant hotels – keeps me happy 🙂

What did I eat? 

Breakfasts are included in the hotel, everything from continental, to pancakes to traditional with a twist. My go to has been a version of ‘Antigua’s best breakfast’ that comes with eggs, frijoles, platanos and cheese.

Replace eggs and cheese with mushrooms and hash browns, and yes. This could be Antigua’s best breakfast.  I have thoroughly enjoyed eating it. Nice presentation – check out the frijoles! (And they have an amazing home made salsa – es muy picante!). There is fresh orange juice and fruit to start. And their coffee is excellent!

What I like about this place is breakfast is a la carte – made to order (order what you want and as much – just finish it) so there is no wastage of food.  Other things I’ve been eating are falafel wraps from Roots Juice Bar – extremely tasty and fresh (extra guac of course) and a liver cleanser (beetroot, apple, celery, lime). They have a whole range of juices – all tasty sounding.

Rainbow Cafe is another go to for veggie/vegan options (thank you Happy Cow). I had the falafel plate – wanted to compare them to Roots. Roots wins. These ones were a bit dry, but the tahini sauce and pico de gallo made up for it. And they had hummus which was very good.  I also had a Jamaica iced tea – it was really good, nice and sour but a tad too sweet for me.

I went to the market one day and came across a truly local place. For Q25, I got a plate of rice, veggies and frijoles and a horchata. Simple and tasty, and what really elevated the meal was their home made pickle. STUNNING.

Please don’t hesitate to eat in a place like this – local, high turnaround, simple yet clean – it was a really good meal. I really enjoyed it.  Dinners were back at Frida’s – Nachos con Verduras sin queso y crema. YUMMO. Those salsas are some of the best I’ve had!

I also went to La Fonda de la Calle Real – a popular place that serves authentic Guatemalan food. I wanted to try Pepian, a stew with a sauce made from pumpkin seeds and tomatoes and coriander – and they had a veggie version here!

What came was chayote (or chuchu/shushu) in a rich sauce. It was really dark and full of flavour –  but I found it quite heavy, only had 1/2 of it with the rice.  The little tamale was stuffed with frijoles, but was super dry. Didn’t eat it.  I also had a Jamaica juice – nice and tart and not too sweet (finally!!!!).  Other than that, I’ve been overdosing on fresh juices…

Eating perfectly ripe avocados on their own,


And I also had a cheeky Chinese takeaway. I can’t do MSG – and I appreciate that they were honest enough to say they use it, and that they wouldn’t for me. They didn’t… the noodles were simple yet tasty and light.  I react instantly to it and I know the tell tale signs – so thank you Chinese takeaway place (yep, forgot the name, but it is on the 5th Avenida)


What did I do?

Antigua is such a beautiful town I have enjoyed walking around, exploring the markets I didn’t get to see the first time round, meandering around the streets day and night (it is so safe), having random conversations with locals and tourists and generally just taking it all in.

I finally decided to do some shopping and bought a few money purses. Antigua is also the jade capital of Guatemala, so I had to get myself a souvenir. If you want really pretty jewellery at a really good price, please go visit Jose – tienda cuarenta in the Artisan market.

At first glance I thought, erm…nothing here – but he has got some amazing stuff and is very knowledgable. I got a Lila jade ring, and a jaguar jade ring (seeing that in the Mayan Calendar, my zodiac animal is a baby jaguar – and I like that colour of green), and another rose quartz pendant (you can never have to many!). All at very reasonable prices!! And he even resized a ring for me.. Muchos Gracias Jose!

I also went back to Cerro de la Cruz -the views this time were just as good as last. I can see why so many people enjoy Antigua. It has a bit of everything and I’m glad I stayed here for a bit longer. Next stop – Costa Rica. But first – a stop to Honduras.