Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated August 11, 2013.
Es Mercadal is a small town at the centre of Menorca. Depending on which guide book you read, either 2.400 or 5.400 people live there. From es Mercadal, an access road leads up to Monte Toro, at 357 (or maybe 358) metres the island’s highest mountain. One thing all the guide books seem to agree on is that es Mercadal is the island’s “culinary centre.”
I beg to differ.
Yes, there are a few restaurants in this small town. And – as usual – several were still closed during the off-season (or only open in the evenings) in April, but this claim to fame left me baffled. Vegans have the usual choices: toasted bread and salads, and not much more. So don’t get your hopes up.
I will review two restaurants in separate articles in the next few days, but today I want to give you some (food) shopping information.
Dietètica Margarita, located at Carrer Nou 29, is a small herbalist/health food store. They sell all kinds of nutritional supplements, organic food, cosmetics, and also tofu, Seitan, soy milk, etc. (They don’t sell fresh fruit or vegetables.) I bought a two-pack of caramel oat pudding (2.10 Euros) and a quinoa bar (1.00 Euro) there. We stopped by mid-morning and had a whole day of sightseeing ahead of us, so I didn’t buy any chilled items. But this store sells a few refrigerated foods that are a welcome addition to any vegan diet, so drop by. The store doesn’t have a website.
That’s it. I don’ have any more shopping tips for you for es Mercadal, and I’d appreciate any additional information from readers.
Es Mercadal is really quite small. The town centre basically consists of just a few streets. There’s a crafts museum, located in old British military barracks, The Centre Artesanal de Menorca. It was still closed in April.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated July 10, 2013. (I deleted inactive/selected links on November 28, 2021.) The restaurant seems to be no longer in business.
p’aa is currently (as far as I know) the only vegetarian restaurant in Linz, Austria (July 2013). I dined there recently with my mom, a frequent dining companion whenever I review vegetarian restaurants. She’s not a vegetarian herself, but always willing to try new things. More importantly, she lets me eat off her plate, and so I always get to sample twice as many dishes at restaurants as I would if I dined there by myself or with friends. If you steal food off your friends’ plates, they won’t stay your friends for long. Mothers, on the other hand, have no choice. They’re stuck with their children, no matter what they do.
We’d come to Linz to celebrate my mother’s 82nd birthday. One of her gifts from my brother and sister-in-law was an all-expenses paid day-trip to Linz, where replicas of the terracotta army of China’s first emperor Quin (d. 210 B.C.) were on display at the Tabakfabrik.
The mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang is the largest preserved mausoleum in all of China, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Replicas of the terracotta warriors and horses have been exhibited all over the world since 2002, but were only displayed once before in Austria (in 2007). So this was a rare opportunity, and we didn’t mind the 90-minute train ride from Vienna to Linz, the capital of Upper Austria, one of Austria’s nine provinces. If you ever get a chance to see this exhibition, go!
While in Linz, we also stopped by the Schloßmuseum (castle museum), located in an old castle on the Pöstlingberg (a hill, overlooking Linz), to see the exhibition “Marco Polo – From Venice to China.” We immersed ourselves in Chinese arts and culture all day long.
And no, we did not have lunch at a Chinese restaurant, too. Instead, we had lunch at p’aa, a vegetarian restaurant my mom found on the Internet.
p’aa is located in Linz’s city centre – conveniently located on a street called Altstadt (old town). It is located in an old, vaulted building and the restaurant’s architecture – a link to the past, when life was much less hectic – adds to the restaurant’s relaxed atmosphere.
We took our time, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch, which lasted well over two hours.We ordered tea (for me) and elderberry flower juice (for my mom).
We started off with pomodori secchi ciabata (bread made from wheat, yeast, olive oil, and sea salt, with sundried tomatoes), pappa al pomodoro (tomato soup, with fresh herbs, for my mom – see above), a dip made from roasted red peppers (the dips change daily), and rosemary roasted potatoes (for me).
As an entrée, my mother chose oven-baked basil gnocchi with caramelized onions & white cabbage, and smoked tofu (served with a tomato & mâche side salad).
I chose potato dumplings with sage and tartar sauce, served on a bed of mixed salads (red beets, two kinds of beans, soy beans, cherry tomatoes, fennel, various green salads).
It was all rather very good.
The portions are quite big, too. I ordered my entrée from the appetizer’s menu, but was completely full after I finished my meal. (The rosemary-roasted potatoes might have had something to do with that, too…I ate every single one of them; potatoes are quite easily my favourite food.)
In spite of everything we ate, we decided to tackle dessert as well. I chose banana fritters (in a coconut batter) with pureed fruit, and my mom chose chocolate pudding with pureed fruit and whipped cream. I liked my dessert, but I really loved hers. (I told you, I steal her food.)
The menu at p’aa changes frequently, so there’s no point in giving you individual prices for each dish. Altogether, the bill came to 42.20 Euros (including tax, without tips). That’s very reasonable, if you consider that we ordered appetizers, entrees, desserts, and drinks for two people.
I highly recommend this restaurant. Not only was the food delicious, they have a huge – and I mean huge – selection of dishes that are either vegan or can be veganized. I don’t think I know any other vegetarian restaurant in Austria where vegans have so many options. In fact, we had such a great time that I’d like to celebrate my own birthday there, too.
All vegan dishes are marked with a star *. Dishes, which are available both for vegetarians and vegans, are marked with a star in parenthesis (*); just let the waiter know if you want the vegan version of your dish.
If you’re in a rush or only want to eat a snack or a small dish, you can choose to eat at p’aa delights, which is a separate room inside the restaurant and basically a bistro. Opening hours differ from the restaurant. There’s a small shop attached to the bistro, where they sell a selection of vegan foods.
Check out the restaurant’s website (German-language only), especially the photos.
Address: Altstadt 28, 4020 Linz, Austria
Opening hours for the restaurant: Monday to Saturday 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM and 5:30 PM – midnight
Opening hours for the bistro, p’aa delights: Monday to Saturday 11:00 AM – 5:30 PM
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated July 10, 2013. (I deleted inactive/selected links on November 28, 2021.)
I’ve already published several articles about my spring vacation on the island of Menorca, Spain, and here’s another one (more to follow). Not so much a restaurant recommendation, but a true survival tip.
We arrived at Mahon airport in the early afternoon on Sunday, April 21, 2013. The only airline with any kind of useful connecting flights from Vienna to Mahon (via Palma de Mallorca) in April (before the high season starts in May) was Air Berlin, and – just like most (all ?) other airlines – whatever food is served on board is not vegan. By the time we arrived at Apartamentos Royal, I was positively starving.
We set out on foot towards the city centre at about 5:30 PM, in search of a restaurant. The city was deserted. We were literally the only people on the streets. In most Southern European countries, siesta is an essential part of the day: all the shops close, and people go home to eat lunch, take a nap, or do – whatever, really. Point is, they go home, and stay home, and city life shuts down completely. As Spain is predominantly a catholic country, Sunday is a day of rest, and most shops don’t open at all. In addition, the Spanish eat dinner late, at about 8:00 PM.
So there we were, the only people out and about on a Sunday afternoon, starving.
It only took us 15 minutes to reach the city center, where we descended the many steps of Costa de Ses Voltes to reach Baixamar, the harbour district. All the cruise ships dock at the Costa de Ses Voltes, when they reach the port, and all the tourists debark to buy overpriced souvenirs at the bottom of the stairs. The area is quite pretty. But on a Sunday afternoon, shortly before 6:00 PM, it is completely deserted. It’s very strange, really, to stroll through a city – Menorca’s capital, no less – whithout being surrounded by any other people.
At the bottom of the stairs, we turned right (east), and walked along Moll de Llevant, the Eastern Quay, which is lined with shops and restaurants – all closed.
And then we reached Rock & Beer.
It was open. More importantly, the restaurant’s kitchen was also open.
We were saved.
Rock & Beer is not a restaurant I would normally recommend to vegans. It turned out that the only vegan items on the menu were a mixed salad and Pa amb oli (toasted white bread, topped with garlic and olive oil). But Rock & Beer was open on a Sunday, at 6:00 PM, and that’s all that mattered.
I didn’t even care that at Rock & Beer all the tables, which are placed outside the restaurant on the sidewalk, are enclosed on all sides by a plastic “curtain.” The sea is only a few metres away, but there you are, sitting in a plastic bubble. Apparently, this is quite common at restaurants in the Mahon harbour. (As if a little sea breeze ever hurt anyone, especially in the spring or summer. Go figure. ) As Rock & Beer is also a smoking-restaurant – and the smoke can’t escape due to the plastic curtains – you’re exposed to second-hand smoke as well. (As I said, this is not so much a recommendation, but a survival tip.) On the other hand, it’s also a music venue (hence the “rock”).
The Pa amb oli – my first – was a fitting introduction to vegan Menorcan cuisine, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. During the days that followed, I ate a lot of white toasted bread with garlic and olive oil — it would often be the only vegan food on a restaurant’s menu. On that particular Sunday evening, I didn’t care. It was delicious. (Two pieces of Pa amb oli cost 2.50 Euros, incl. tax).
The salad (6.50 Euros, incl. tax) was quite substantial: olives, corn, red onions, carrots, tomatoes, radicchio, and various green salads. It was served without a dressing, but with olive oil & vinegar, and salt & pepper on the side. (This is common in most Southern European countries.)
Starved as I was, I also ordered nachos and guacamole from the starters menu (5.50 Euros, incl. tax). As soon as the waitress brought the dish, I knew I’d made a mistake. The nachos were not plain, but chili nachos. And those – as any vegan will tell you – are almost never vegan (unless they’re organic). At home, I only buy a certain brand of plain organic nachos, which are vegan. Starved and tired as I was, I let down my guard, not considering that even mass-produced non-organic plain nachos aren’t necessarily vegan.
In one of my previous articles – Vegan Survival Tips for Menorca, Spain– I advise you to be specific, when you order your food, and to ask a lot of questions. This is one of the reasons why. At home, I know what to look out for at the restaurants I frequent, but here I was in a different country, unfamiliar with the local cuisine, and not vigilant enough. As a result, I ended up with non-vegan nachos.
If you’re reading this and are not a vegan (or just became a vegan), you might not know that most mass-produced processed snacks (potato chips, nachos, etc.) are not vegan. They often contain sweet whey powder, lactose, natural flavouring (which may be animal-derived), milk protein, and various emulsifiers (many of which are not vegan, either). Consider yourself warned.
Did I eat the nachos? Yes, I did. As a vegan, you’ll occasionally find yourself in similar situations. It just can’t be helped. One simply cannot keep up one’s guard all the time. Each vegan reacts differently in such situations. While I would never eat meat or fish, I have in the past drunk coffe with milk (ordered without, but mistakenly served with milk), eaten egg-fried rice (ordered simply as fried vegetable rice – I wasn’t specific enough, and should have told them that eggs aren’t vegetables), and similar dishes. My attitude is to be as vigilant as I can when ordering food, but when I make a mistake (or the restaurant makes it) – if the damage is done, so to speak – I eat/drink the food. It doesn’t happen often, maybe once or twice a year, but we live in a non-vegan world and it’s almost impossible not to make mistakes on occasion.
So that was Rock & Beer. Good guacamole, a great salad, and toasted bread. Skip the nachos.
Address: Moll de Llevant 148, 07702 Maó, Menorca
Opening hours: sorry, I failed to check; I was tired after a day of travelling.
Phone: 0034 – 971 – 355 953
Website: They don’t have their own site, but they’re on Facebook
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated July 10, 2013. (I deleted inactive/selected links on November 28, 2021.)
I mostly publish reviews of vegetarian and vegan restaurants on this website, but there are no vegetarian restaurants on the island of Menorca. The reviews of several non-vegetarian restaurants located on this Spanish island are meant primarily as survival tips, as no vegan comes to Menorca for the food.
Dining out during our vacation was always a challenge. We had to pass on many restaurants, as they didn’t have even a single vegan dish on the menu. We chose to eat at Restaurante Pizzeria Roma, as all Italian restaurants offer at least one vegan dish: Spaghetti aglio et olio (spaghetti with oil and garlic). Add a mixed salad, and you have a proper meal.
Restaurante Pizzeria Roma does indeed offer garlic spaghetti with chili peppers (6.00 Euros including tax), and a mixed salad (5.80 Euros), although I didn’t order either. There aren’t many (possibly) vegan items on the menu (garlic bread, bruschetta, grilled vegetables, grilled mushrooms – hopefully all prepared with oil, not lard -, and fruit), but as a vegan you learn to keep your expectations low when dining out at non-vegetarian restaurants.
However, at Restaurante Pizzeria Roma we got lucky. They offer a wide selection of pizze, which they make fresh on site. I was told they even make their own dough. They also don’t mind if you order your pizza without the cheese.
If this doesn’t sound as if it’s a big deal, it actually is! We had dinner a few days later at another Italian restaurant, and I could not order pizza without cheese. I’m not sure why that was not possible. My best guess would be that they prepare the pizze in advance at that restaurant, freeze them, and then just pop them in the oven when someone orders a pizza. Not all Italian restaurants on Menorca give you the option to order pizza without cheese. Check with the waiter and make sure that this is actually an option, so you won’t end up eating (once again) pa amb oli – or bruschetta in Italian restaurants.
I ordered a Pizza Capricciosa with tomatoes, oregano, onions, capers, mushrooms, olives, and artichokes (9.50 Euros, incl. tax). The pizza dough was great – thin and cripsy – and all in all, I quite liked the pizza. The onions were pre-boiled, though, which was rather unusual and something I could have done without. Onions taste so much better, if they are put on a pizza raw and then baked with the rest of the vegetables. I also could’ve done without the capers. It’s not that I don’t like them, there were just too many different flavours on the pizza for my taste. But that’s an individual preference. I could have ordered any pizza on the menu that I wanted – minus the cheese – so there were many vegan options available to me. That’s rare for a Menorcan restaurant.
The waiter also brought me a bottle of chili oil to drizzle on the pizza, which was very thoughtful. Cheese means fat, and fat always enhances flavours. It would’ve never occurred to me to spice up my pizza with flavoured vegetable oils, but I’ve quite taken to this idea, and now add a little bit of oil whenever I make vegan pizza at home. Beware: that chili oil was very hot.
The waiter at the restaurant spoke German, which was nice, as I was able to explain to him what it actually means to be a vegan. Not many Spaniards speak English well (few speak German), and that can lead to problems when ordering food at restaurants. I always felt a lot more at ease at restaurants where the waiter spoke English well, or some German.
Something else was nice at Restaurante Pizzeria Roma. Unlike many other restaurants on Moll de Llevant in the harbour district, they don’t wall off their tables on the sidewalk with “plastic curtains.” At this restaurant, you’re actually able to enjoy the fresh air – you’ll sit only a few feet away from the Mediterranean sea – and that is wonderful.
Restaurante Pizzeria Roma has its own website (an English version is available). You can download the menu (also in English) from their site, and check out the food and drinks (1/2 litre of mineral water was 2.30 Euros, incl. tax) in advance.
Address: Moll de Llevant 295, 07702 Maó, Menorca
Opening hours: daily 12:30 PM to midnight.
Phone: +34 – 971 – 353 777
Website: This website is no longer active – the restaurant may have gone out of business.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated June 10, 2013. (I deleted inactive/selected links on November 28, 2021.)
Ciutadella is Menorca’s “second city.” It was the island’s capital until 1722, when the British – who seized Menorca in 1708 – chose Maó as their capital due to its superior deep-water harbour. Today, approximately 21.000 people live in Ciutadella.
The town’s historic centre is its main attraction for tourists and a single day-trip should suffice to see all the major sights.
We took a bus from Maó’s central bus station on Plaça de L’Esplanada. Here’s a link to the island’s bus routes and timetables in English. The journey lasts about 70 minutes. There are express buses, which don’t stop in the towns in between Maó and Ciutadella (Alaior, es Mercadal, Ferreries), and the bus fare is the same (5 Euros one-way during the off-season in April 2013), so check the time-tables. In Ciutadella, the buses stop at Plaça Menorca, only a five-minute walk from the city centre.
Unfortunately, we had bad luck in terms of weather. It rained all day and as a result, we spent considerably less time in Ciutadella than we’d originally planned.
It started to rain shortly after we got off the bus in Ciutadella, so we decided to start the day with a coffee break. We chose Gelateria Es Pins simply because it was the first coffee shop we passed. It’s on Plaça dels Pins. I had a cup of tea (1.40 Euros) and pa amb tomàquet (toasted white bread, topped with garlic, olive oil, and crushed tomatoes), which was rather big and only cost 1.70 Euros. I was hungry, and as usual, pa amb oli – or a version thereof – was the only vegan food on offer. But it was actually quite good, and I was happy to be out of the rain.
Afterwards, we spent about two hours walking through the city centre and saw all the major sights, most of which – like the Palau Salort or the Museu Diocesà – were still closed during the off-season (they open in May). We were only able to get into the Catedral de Santa Maria and the Museu Municipal, which is located in the Bastió de Sa Font. If you haven’t bought a guidebook yet, Berlitz’s Menorca pocket guide lists all the major sights. We also bought two German-language guidebooks, Marco Polo’s Menorca, and Robert Zsolnay’s Menorca, published by Michael Müller Verlag. The latter is definitely the best of them all, but unfortunately it’s not available in English.
During our stroll through the city centre we passed a supermarket and went inside to check it out. The store’s quite big, but unfortunately it doesn’t offer much for vegans. They did sell Provamel soy milk with added calcium, pre-cooked beans in glass jars, and an assortment of nuts, but no soy yoghurts, tofu, hummus or any other staples of a vegan diet.
The supermarket Hnos Salord is located at Carrer del Portal D’Artrutx, 5. Listed opening hours were Monday-Friday 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM, and 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM. Saturday 8:00 – 2:30 PM. The supermarket is also accessible from Con Sant Onofre, 12.
We walked through Carrer de Josep MariaQuadrado, also known as Ses Voltes (arcades). The arcades are very beautiful (see photo), but unfortunately almost all the stores are tourist traps. They sell all kinds of souvenirs, including many leather-sandals (Menorca is famous for the production of leather goods, especially for the production of abarcas, flat sandals.) All those souvenir shops really ruined the experience of walking through century-old arcades.
Anyway, when you walk through Ses Voltes, towards Plaça de la Catedral, you’ll pass a Pizzeria on the right. The restaurant was still closed when we walked by mid-morning, and the menu didn’t really list many vegan options, but still – if you don’t want to eat pa amb oli once again, this restaurant might be an option. Unfortunately, they don’t have outdoor seating.
After we finished our sightseeing tour through Ciutadella, we ended up at Cercle Artistic on Plaça Born 19, which is actually listed in most of the guidebooks due to its history – it was once home to an artist’s association. Today, it is just a café, with some sort of gambling/slot machine inside, and it was quite disappointing. We sat at a table in the back – with good views of the harbour – , and I ordered the only vegan dishes on the menu: pa amb tomàquet (2.25 Euros), and a bowl of olives (1.25 Euros). As a vegan, you’ll live cheaply on Menorca. We chose this cafe simply because it had started to rain heavily again, and it was the nearest restaurant/cafe that was open.
Due to the bad weather, we didn’t see as much of the city as we’d hoped, and I’m sure there are much better dining options for vegans in Ciutadella. For example, we never even made it down to the harbour, where the quays are lined with shops and restaurants. If you have any recommendations, please add them in the comments section, so vegan tourists will find more helpful tips here than I am able to provide.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated June 10, 2013. (I deleted inactive links on November 28, 2021.)
I almost didn’t make it to this year’s Veganmania festival, which took place in Vienna, Austria, from June 7 – 9, 2013, due to various work commitments. But it’s the biggest vegan festival in Vienna, and I wasn’t going to miss it. So I got up at 3:00 AM on Sunday and finished all my writing (I’m a journalist) before noon. An hour later I was at the festival, enjoying a vegan lunch, a plate of Indian Thali: two different curries (lentil, potatoes & vegetables), Basmati rice, salad and papadum.
This year, due to its huge success, the festival was extended from two to three days. Vienna is the biggest stop on the Veganmania festival tour, which stops in a number of cities in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Slovenia, and Croatia. (To read about Veganmania 2012, click here.)
In Vienna, more than 30 organizations and businesses had stalls at the festival. In addition to vegan food, vendors sold clothing, bags, cosmetics, books, shoes, and other vegan products. Several animal welfare organizations were also represented at the festival.
In 1998, the Vegan Society Austria (Vegane Gesellschaft Österreich) organised a number of events in a few Austrian cities. Veganmania gave local vegan businesses an opportunity to present themselves to a wider public. The Veganmania “summer tour” quickly grew, and more dates were added each year, not just in Austria but in other European cities as well.
In 2013, Veganmania festivals already took place in Linz, Graz (and last weekend) in Vienna, as well as in Winterthur (Switzerland) and Munich (Germany). All through the summer, more festivals will take place in Austria, Germany, Slovenia, and Croatia. Check the events calendar on this website for further details.
Just like last year, I bought my lunch from “Dharamsala,” a catering company, which offers Indian food. I also bought a vegan potato-and-vegetables pide from Makam Naturkost to take home for dinner.
The Vegane Gesellschaft Österreich offers more information on its Veganmania website. Unfortunately, all the information on this site is in German. However, just like last year there are many photos on the website, which will give you a good idea about what to expect.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated July 28, 2013.
I spent my most recent vacation – 11 days in April 2013 – on the island of Menorca, Spain. We rented an apartment, and cooked many meals ourselves, as Menorca isn’t really famous for her vegan cuisine. I’ve already written several articles about it, you can find them all here.
Today, I want to give you a few tips about vegan food shopping in Maó (Mahon), the island’s capital.
Make sure to stop by Tot Bio, a small organic store. As far as I know, it’s the only organic store in Maó, even though approximately 29.000 people live there. In Austria, about 20 % of all agricultural land is farmed organically, and it came as quite a shock to realize that Menorca seems to have missed the organic revolution. It’s like travelling back in time – Menorca (all of Spain ?) seems to be rooted firmly in the 20th century in terms of agriculture, animal welfare, and nutrition.
So buy something at Tot Bio, this small store deserves to be supported.
Here’s what you’ll find: a small selection of cosmetics, including vegan shampoo; various plant-based milks (almond, rice, soy), both in 1-litre containers and in smaller sizes. They sell several vegan bread spreads, chilled tofu, Seitan, and vegan burger meats; various grains, beans, and power bars. The usual stuff really.
You can also purchase organic chamomile here – grown on the island – which is practically the only vegan “souvenir” you can buy on Menorca (you can also buy gin, which I believe is vegan, but I’m not 100% sure). All other “souvenirs,” for which the island is famous, are non-vegan: leather shoes, cheese, and various pastries.
I forgot to write down Tot Bio‘s opening hours, which aren’t listed on their website either, but they close down for a lengthy siesta each day.
Contact information for Tot Bio: Carrer Bonaire, 18 07701 Maó E-mail: email@example.com Phone: 971 363 861 Website: http://www.totbio.es/
Your best bet to stock up on all kinds of supplies is definitely the Binipreu supermarket in the basement of Claustre del Carme on Sa Placa.
The Claustre del Carme is an old cloister and one of the sights to see on Menorca. It’s right in the centre, very conveniently located, and today the cloister is the city market.
We shopped at this supermarket on the first day of our vacation and stocked up on all essentials, including soy milk, pre-cooked beans in a glass jar, Seitan, and canned baked beans. You’ll notice that I shopped for protein & calcium. You won’t find any restaurants on Menorca, which prepare balanced vegan meals, and protein & calcium especially is something that’s missing from most vegan dishes.
There are five Binipreu supermarkets on the island. I’ve provided the link to their Website. You’ll find locations and opening hours there. We also shopped at the Bellavista branch, which is only a couple of blocks away from Apartamentos Royal, where we stayed. The selection there is much smaller (soy milk, pre-cooked beans in jars).
Two Binipreu branches are open on Sundays, the one at the airport, and Binipreu Via Ronda. We didn’t shop there, but the one on Via Ronda looks like it’s the biggest branch of them all (with a car park, we drove past it).
Caustre del Carme is located on Sa Placa Binipreu Sa Placa 0pening hours: Monday – Saturday 9:00 – 9:00 PM, closed on Sundays and holidays Website for all Binipreu supermarkets, with opening hours
On the ground floor of the Claustre del Carme, in the arcades, are various small shops, including several greengrocers.
I found that Fruits Andreu had the best selection of vegetables and fruit, and they also sell a small selection of organic and/or vegan foods, grains mostly, but also tofu.
If you choose to stay at Apartamentos Royal, in addition to the Binipreu supermarket on Ctra. Bellavista (at the corner of Carrer Sant Sebastia) there’s a Tres Pans bakery right around the corner, on Av. Fort de L’Eau. I forgot to write down the opening hours (as usual), but if I remember correctly, they open early, at 6:00 AM (check!). There’s also a Spar Express (very small, we didn’t actually shop there) on Av. Fort de L’Eau (close to the corner of Cami des Castell), which is open on Sundays.
Apartamentos Royal is located in Maó (Mahon), near the harbour. Its location is one of its best features. You can have dinner at a restaurant in the harbour (and a few drinks) and then walk back to your apartment. No need to drive. Apartamentos Royal is situated one block from a bus stop that is serviced by two of the four major bus routes. The number 11 bus circles the city, and part of its route leads through the harbour and up a very steep road – the apartment block is at the top of the hill, the bus stop is across the road.
The city is situated on a hill. The harbour district – down by the water – is called Baixamar. The rest of the city is located up on the hill.
Prepare yourself mentally to climb many, many steps. The photo on the right shows some of the steps that lead from the harbour to the top of the hill, near the Apartamentos Royal.
Another bus route, which stops one block from the apartment block – the number 15 bus – leads right through the city’s centre. All buses stop at the city’s bus terminal, where you can change buses, e.g. to take the number 10 bus, which stops at the airport, or to catch one of the many buses that service the other cities and villages on the island of Menorca.
During our stay we used buses for the first few days, then rented a car, as most of the major cultural sights can’t be reached by bus. I usually drove through the harbour whenever we left the city or came back from our sightseeing trips, as the ME1 – the highway, which connects east and west – starts right at the harbour’s end. (Maó is located in the east of Menorca.) I didn’t have to drive through the city, and it was a great way to avoid rush hour.
It’s also so much more pleasant to drive along a beautiful Mediterranean port than through city traffic. Whether you drive north, west, or south, Apartamentos Royal’s location close to the harbour is one of its best features, as you can avoid city traffic whenever you want to leave Maó.
We vacationed on Menorca in April, and the tourist season doesn’t start until May 1st. This means that we always immediately found a parking space on the street close to the apartment building. I can’t say how it’ll be during the high season.
You can also walk to the city’s centre from the apartment building. It takes about 15 minutes, if you walk slowly. You’ll simply have to walk along Carrer Carme, and it’ll take you right to the centre. There’s a supermarket on Sa Plaça (the centre), which sells vegan staples like tofu, pre-cooked beans, soy milk, and various organic products. I’ll write a separate article about the supermarkets near the Apartamentos Royal in a few days, and then I’ll link to this post. There’s another supermarket near the apartment block, plus a small grocery store that’s open on Sundays (a rarity, believe me). There’s also a bakery across the street, which opens early. I’ll provide more information about these stores in a few days.
We – two people – stayed for eleven nights in a one-bedroom apartment, and it cost 450 Euros in April including tax. I thought that was a good deal. The apartments are very basic, but not tiny. There were tiled floors throughout, which I loved, as that’s so much more hygienic than carpets. What can I say – I like it clean. You get (cheap, synthetic – vegan) blankets for your beds, but everything’s clean. The bathroom’s shower was great – very hot water, high water pressure. The living room opened up to a terrace big enough for sunbathing, and there’s a small kitchenette: two hot plates, a coffee maker, a toaster, and enough pots and pans to cook simple dishes for two people. The walls are quite thin, though. In the summer, when the apartments are all rented out, you’ll probably hear a certain amount of noise through the walls. There’s a pool, situated between the two buildings, which make up the apartment complex.
We cooked dinner five or six times during our stay – mostly simple meals that included beans or Seitan or other vegan staples, and this was one of the reasons why we chose to rent an apartment in the first place. You’ll be able to get some vegan food at most restaurants, but very often your only choice will be salad and toasted white bread with garlic or bits of tomatoes. Being able to cook nutritious and balanced meals, which include protein, calcium, iron, etc., and which you simply can’t get at most Menorcan restaurants as a vegan, was very important to me. We packed sandwiches most days for lunch, too. Eleven days is simply too long to live without proper nutrition.
Apartamentos Royal consists of two blocks with 17 apartments each. There are photos and descriptions on their website. There’s also a restaurant on site, but it was closed in April. Don’t hold you breath, though. I very much doubt that they offer vegan dishes. But it can’t hurt to ask them to put vegan dishes on the menu when you book an apartment for your vacation. The more people ask, the more likely it is that they will change the menu.
There’s also a café on site, which is actually quite popular with the locals who stop by in the mornings for a coffee on their way to work or for a drink afterwards (including the local police). There’s a big TV screen in the café, and it’s always tuned to the sports channel. Lots of guys of all ages sit there and watch sports. I spent quite some time at the café, as there was no WIFI in my room. I freelance as a journalist, and I had to check my Emails every day and do some research on the Internet. Most days, I spent an hour or two at the café, which is why I got to watch the locals up close. There’s nothing to eat for vegans in the cafe except potato crisps. There’s no soy milk for your coffee at the café, either.
When you book your room, make sure to insist that they check if the WIFI actually works in your room. All the rooms are supposed to have WIFI, but it doesn’t work in room number 5.
All in all, I was quite satisfied with the apartment, which I found over the Internet. I’d stay there again, if I went back to Menorca for another vacation.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 13, 2013.
You won’t find a single vegetarian restaurant anywhere on the island of Menorca. Many restaurants don’t even offer a single vegan dish, and tuna is often listed as an ingredient in “vegetarian” dishes. (I recommend that you also read Vegan Survival Tips for Menorca, Spain.)
At Restaurante Varadero, there are only three vegan items on the menu: bread (1.75 Euros plus 10% tax), green salad (7.50 Euros plus 10% tax), and vegetable paella (14.50 Euros per person plus 10% tax, at least two people must order this dish). So you don’t really have a lot of choices. I recommend this restaurant anyway, at least if you’re travelling with someone else. If you travel by yourself, you’re stuck with bread and salad (or have to eat paella for two).
So why do I recommend it, even though there are so few vegan choices? How many restaurants do you know (anywhere), which serve vegan paella?
Paella is a national dish in Spain, and consider yourself warned: the Spanish don’t like it at all, if you try to compare it to Italian Risotto.
I never had paella before, as I’ve been a vegetarian for 31 years, and this dish is usually prepared with fish. So this was a great opportunity.
I asked the waitress many questions about the preparation of this dish, but she assured me that the restaurant didn’t use any animal ingredients to prepare it. They do use food colouring to achieve the typical yellow colouring of the paella – which I only found out after I’d eaten it – but I did some research on the Internet afterwards, and neither E102 nor E110, which are both yellow food colourings, seem to be deprived from animal ingredients. (If you know different, please let me know! – Traditionally, paella is made with saffron, but it’s very expensive and these days many restaurants use food colouring instead.).
I quite liked the paella, and am glad I got to try a vegan version of this national dish during my vacation in Spain, but it didn’t come cheap. Restaurante Varadero is situated right on the water in the port of Maó, and you pay for the view. A bread basket for two, one salad to share, vegetable paella for two and a bottle of water came to 45.65 Euros (plus tip). We did get free appetizers (not vegan), and a small plate with olives for free, but I don’t usually spend that much for lunch.
Still, I enjoyed the vegan paella, it does taste quite different than risotto, and I plan to try and cook it myself now that I’m back in Vienna (with saffron instead of food colouring).
Address: Moll de Llevante 4, Port de Maó, Menorca
Opening hours: daily 10:00 AM t0 11:00 PM.
Phone: +34 – 971 – 352074
Website: they don’t have website, but they’re on Facebook.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 12, 2013.
Even though this blog is called The Vegan Tourist, I haven’t done much travelling lately. I finally did manage to take a vacation in April, and spent 11 days on the island of Menorca, Spain.
Menorca is the second largest island of the Balearic Islands, but nevertheless quite small. It’s approximately 50 km east to west, and about 25 km north to south. About 40 % of the island is classified as a Biosphere Reserve.
For vegan travellers, a trip to Menorca requires a bit of forward planning. The Spanish aren’t known for their vegan cuisine. In Spain, it’s all about meat and fish.
So here are 10 vegan survival tips for Menorca:
1) Visit after May 1st – this is when the tourist season starts on the island. We arrived on April 21st and left on May 1st, and during our stay, many restaurants were still closed. Menorca pretty much closes down during the off-season, we even saw a supermarket that was still closed in April and set to open May 2nd (May 1st is a holiday in Spain). As a vegan, your choices in restaurants are limited anyway, and before May you’ll have even fewer choices.
2) Stay in Maó (also called Mahon), Menorca’s capital. It’s the island’s largest city (29.000 inhabitants), and its port – which is approximately 5 km long and one of the largest natural deep-water ports in the world – is lovely. There are many restaurants, and even as a vegan you’ll have several choices. Menorca’s second largest city, Ciutadella, offers far fewer dining options for vegans, and you can just about forget about most of the other cities and villages.
3) Rent an apartment, don’t stay at a hotel. Menorcans have only a very vague idea of what it means to be a vegetarian – I’ve seen many dishes advertised as vegetarian which contained fish -, and they don’t seem to know the meaning of the word “vegan.” There are many restaurants, which offer no vegan dishes at all. Breakfast at many hotels usually includes meat, fish, cheese, butter, milk, yoghurt, etc. As a vegan, you’ll be stuck with bread and fruit, and there’ll be no soy/rice/almond/oat milk for your coffee – it’s depressing. You’ll have to pay for a full breakfast, even though there’s nothing for you to eat. So rent an apartment, and you’ll be able to prepare yourself a proper vegan breakfast as well as sandwiches for lunch (you’ll need them, trust me).
4) The Spanish lead a very strange life. Lunch starts at around 1:30 PM and lasts until late afternoon. All the shops close for an extended siesta, which lasts from around 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Restaurants open relatively late in the evening for dinner (earlier in Maó). My daily rhythm is completely different, and I’m ready to eat lunch sometime between noon and 1:00 PM, and dinner way before 8:00 PM; hence the sandwiches.
5) Rent a car. We used buses during the first few days of our stay, but rented a car for the remaining five days, as many of the major sights can’t be reached by public transportation. You’ll also be able to dine at more restaurants, if you have a car. As the island is so small, we drove to Es Mercadal to eat lunch at the Molí d’es Racó and to Alaior for a “Sunday Roast” at The Cobblers Garden Restaurant (reviews to follow). Both Alaior and Es Mercadal can be reached by bus, of course, but it takes considerably longer to get there by bus than by car.
6) Do you like some soy/rice/almond/oat milk with your coffee or tea? Too bad. You’ll have to make do without or take some vegan milk with you wherever you go – which is what I did. Just pour some vegan milk into a small plastic bottle and bring it along. None of the restaurants or cafes that I visited had vegan milk. You can buy soy or rice milk at most supermarkets and health food stores in various cities and villages in Menorca (reviews to follow) .
7) At restaurants, be specific when you order your food. Don’t just tell them you are a vegan. Make sure to ask if your food contains meat, fish, milk, butter, cheese, or yoghurt. Ask if they use chicken or beef broth to prepare your vegetables, and ask about the oils they use. There’s a good chance they’ll use lard instead of vegetable oils, so watch out for that. I told a waiter at a restaurant that I was a vegan and inquired in detail about my toasted bread with eggplant (the only option available to me). I then ordered and was served a “mixed salad” in addition to my bread: lots of fresh veggies – with an egg on top.
Many Menorcans don’t speak English very well, which made it difficult to explain what it means to be a vegan. I often felt anxious when I ordered food – unsure, if the waiter really understood what I meant (see above – egg salad…). My best dining experiences were at The Cobblers Garden Restaurant in Alaior, which is owned by an Englishman, and at the Restaurante Pizzeria Roma in Maó, where the waiter spoke German (my native language).
8) Learn these words: Pa amb oli. This is practically a “national dish” on Menorca, a snack – which luckily happens to be vegan. Pa amb oli is toasted white bread, topped with garlic and olive oil. A variation of this dish – pa amb tomàquet, topped with garlic, olive oil, and crushed tomatoes – is almost always available, too. I’ve also had toasted bread with garlic, olive oil, and eggplant at another restaurant, so there are several variations available. However, this dish will often be your only choice (plus a salad), and after ten days of eating mostly pa amb oli, I was quite sick of it.
9) If you rent an apartment and prepare (some) of your own food, you’ll find that most supermarkets will offer a variety of vegan foods. Menorcans are quite fond of beans, for example, which are sold pre-cooked in glass jars. Most supermarkets offer at least half a dozen different varieties. There are also small organic shops in some of the bigger cities, which sell tofu, seitan, textured soy meat, vegan bread spreads, etc. Almost all supermarkets sell vegan milk, although most don’t sell vegan yoghurts. (And good luck finding hummus, a vegan staple; I tried in vain for eleven days.) I’ll publish addresses of supermarkets and organic shops in a later post, so you’ll be able to plan ahead.
10) Relax. Menorca is an amazing island – almost half the island is a Biosphere Reserve, there are great beaches, and numerous historic sights. You’ll have a great time – as long as you don’t come to Menorca for the food. But if you’re willing to compromise for a few days (and eat a lot of toasted white bread), you’ll enjoy your stay.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated January 20 2013.
I want to follow up Wednesday’s book review with the review of another book, Becoming Vegan: The Complete Guide to Adopting a Healthy Plant-Based Diet by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina. I consider this book essential reading for all vegans who want to stay healthy.
I became a vegetarian in 1982, and tried to go vegan twice in the following years, once in the late 1990s, and again in the early noughties, both times failing miserably. The reason for my failure was a lack of knowledge about vegan nutrition. I ended up eating mostly simple carbs, as I didn’t know any better, and as a result constantly craved dairy products. I didn’t know much about protein at the time, and that my body was really just craving protein – any kind – and not necessarily dairy. I also didn’t know how important B12 supplements were for vegans, or anything else about vegan nutrition. I just ate what I liked, and as a result didn’t feel well. Both times, I quit the vegan diet and returned to a lacto-vegetarian life-style.
Then I read Becoming Vegan, and subsequently made smarter food choices. It took a few more years before I felt confident enough to commit to a vegan diet – this time for good – as I was scared of failing once again. So I took the time and effort to learn as much about nutrition as I could. When I switched from a lacto-vegetarian diet to a vegan diet about two years ago, it was no big deal. By that time, I’d already gradually changed my diet, and I knew that any food cravings could be satisfied with plant-based foods.
Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina are both registered dieticians, and the wealth of information you’ll find in this book is staggering. The authors address health and environmental aspects of various diets, but the book focuses on nutrition: how to give your body what it needs, and what happens to it if you don’t feed yourself properly.
There are risks involved, if you don’t plan your vegan diet properly. You need to make sure that your plant-based foods contain all the essential amino acids – easily done, if you know how to do it; you need to learn about bioavailability (the proportion of nutrients in certain foods that the body can utilize), the digestibility of plant protein, the difference between heme and nonheme iron, and you’ll need to study up on essential fatty acids (omega-3 is vital for vegans). There’s important information about B12 vitamins, calcium (absorption and retention), and other vital minerals and vitamins.
These are just some of the subjects covered in Becoming Vegan – you’ll find a lot more nutritional information in the book. Everything’s covered, really.
In addition, there are separate chapters in the book about the nutritional needs of pregnant women, babies and children, seniors and athletes, as well as tips for over- and underweight people. A basic vegan shopping list is also provided, as are several meal plans.
If you want to go vegan and stay healthy, you really should read this book.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated January 16, 2013.
I stumbled across The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet while browsing at the Strand in New York City, my favourite bookstore and (temporary) home to “18 miles of new, used and rare books”.
The book was written by vegan actress Alicia Silverstone and is a guidebook of sorts for all those who want to live ethically – a kind life – and make the transition to a vegan lifestyle.
In the first part of the book, Alicia introduces the reader to a number of issues: the effects of meat and dairy farming on the environment and its negative impact on people’s health; the effects of sugar and processed foods on our bodies; and the importance of natural, organic, and GMO-free foods as part of a healthy, kind diet. She also addresses a number of general nutritional questions – what to eat and why – as well as nutritional issues especially important to vegans (iron, calcium, B12, omega3 fatty acids, etc.).
In the second part of the book, Alicia helps readers make the transition to a vegan diet by giving them three options: flirting, going vegan, and superhero.
“Flirting” involves a slow transition from a meat and dairy-based diet to a vegan diet. Vegan foods are added one by one, but meat and dairy aren’t eliminated from one’s diet completely. It’s a slow and painless process, and ideal for all those who are not yet sure if they really want to commit to a vegan life-style.
“Going vegan” is for all those who are ready and willing to commit. Only vegan foods are eaten, but this stage of The Kind Diet still makes use of a lot of processed foods, especially meat substitutes.
The “superhero” stage basically consists of a vegan macrobiotic diet. It centres on whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.
I am currently somewhere between “vegan” and “superhero”. I’m eating considerably fewer processed vegan foods than I used to, less bread and more grains, rely less on take-out food, and am generally cooking more dishes from scratch. I never really considered a macrobiotic diet before, but this book has inspired me to give it a try. So far, so good.
In the third part of the book, Alicia provides recipes for all three stages.
The Kind Diet also provides meal plans, cooking tips, and tips for entertaining and eating out. There’s a short section about weight loss and exercise, but this isn’t the main focus of the book.
The book is well written, and contains gorgeous photographs. I’ve tried some of the recipes – crispy tofu slices with orange dipping sauce is a favourite, and I also like the sweet potato-lentil stew.
The instructions are easy to follow, and you don’t have to be a master chef to get them right.
Alicia has also created a website, The Kind Life, which builds on the issues explored in the book, and where she provides more recipes and information for living ethically.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 23, 2012.
Fancy shoes are a woman’s birthright, and shoe shopping should be fun. Unfortunately, for vegans it is anything but fun.
Each year, I give it a try. I spend an afternoon on Mariahilfer Straße, Vienna’s ultimate High Street. More than 400 businesses, restaurants, banks, supermarkets, and movie theatres are located there.
A few weeks ago I gave it another try. I visited every single shoe shop on Mariahilfer Straße except three stores which sell almost exclusively sneakers and a few stores which sell primarily clothes (in addition to a handful of shoes). I visited 20 different stores and asked for vegan shoes.
Not one of the stores sold a single pair of vegan shoes.
Twenty stores with several thousand different kinds of shoes, and not a single pair of vegan shoes.
None of the sales clerks even knew what the word “vegan” meant. They all tried to sell me shoes that weren’t made from leather. When I asked if these non-leather shoes were produced with vegan glue, the clerks all looked very confused. None of them had ever heard of such a thing as vegan glue or knew that regular glue, which is generally used for the manufacturing of shoes, contains animal ingredients.
I’ll give a full list of all the shops I visited at the end of this article, but let’s take a closer look at three different companies first, which all have multiple branches on Mariahilfer Straße.
The biggest shoe retailer in Austria is a company called “Leder und Schuh International AG,” which owns and operates about 420 stores (under different brand names) in eleven different countries. Their biggest store brand (in Austria) is Humanic, and there are three Humanic stores on Mariahilfer Straße alone. In addition, the company also owns the Stiefelkönig store brand, and there are two additional shoe stores under that name on Mariahilfer Straße.
Humanic sells approximately 2.500 different shoe models, but only two of those are currently (December 2012) listed as “vegan.” They are sneakers produced by one company, “Vans.” Upon closer inspection, both of these models are made from leather. Not vegan at all. Does Humanic think that leather grows on trees?
When I asked a sales clerk at one of the Humanic branches on Mariahilfer Straße about vegan glue, I was told that all shoes sold at Humanic were made with vegan glue. When I told him that almost no shoes are, in fact, manufactured with vegan glue, he insisted that at least all non-leather shoes are manufactured with vegan glue. That is absolute nonsense, of course, but no matter what I said, he insisted that he was right. This clerk – and by extension Humanic – gets extra points for ignorance. Idiocy knows no bounds.
Stiefelkönig, the other shoe store chain owned by “Leder und Schuh International AG,” has two branches on Mariahilfer Straße. A preliminary research on their website back in July (2012) listed 75 different models as “vegan.” I could not verify a single model as such. There is no product information given on their website besides available sizes and colours. No information about materials or the production process. As a vegan, I only buy shoes if I know everything about them.
I wrote to one of the companies whose shoes were listed as “vegan” on the Stiefelkönig website back in July, Tamaris. A representative for Tamaris told me that their company did not manufacture any vegan shoes and that they would let Stiefelkönig know and ask them to correct the false information on their website.
I also wrote an Email to Stiefelkönig’s Public Relations company, Baar-Baarenfels PR, and asked for more information about the 75 listed vegan shoe models. My Email was ignored – I’m still waiting to hear back from them. However, Stiefelkönig subsequently updated the product information on their website. Currently, there are no vegan shoes listed on their Website. From 75 to Zero, I can’t say I was surprised.
There’s another fairly large shoe retailer in Austria, Salamander. The company is owned by “ara AG.” Salamander owns and operates about 30 stores in Austria, and another 170 or so in six other European countries. There are three Salamander stores on Mariahilfer Straße. Not a single one of their shoe models is listed as “vegan” on their website. When I visited their stores, this was confirmed. The company does not sell vegan shoes.
All this takes the fun out of shoe-shopping in Vienna. As a result, I buy most of my shoes over the Internet, from small companies that I know and trust. For example, I’ve bought several pairs of vegan shoes in the past from Vegetarian Shoes in Brighton, UK. (Review to follow.)
This means that Austrian retailers are missing out. They’re probably not even aware that there’s a customer segment that’s not being served. Vegan customers are so used to being ignored by all the major shoe manufacturers and retailers that many of us don’t even try any more. I know that this was my very last attempt at buying shoes on Mariahilfer Straße. Clearly, it’s a total waste of time, so why bother? I’ll be spending my money elsewhere.
This is a list of all the stores I visited on October 25, 2012 on Mariahilfer Straße. Not one of these stores sold even a single pair of vegan shoes:
Delka Salamander (three branches) Humanic (three branches) Geox Stiefelkönig (two branches) Gesta Schuhhandel Max Shoes Aldo Högl Store Street Fever Görtz im Gerngross Deichmann Gabor Shoes & Fashion Ma Jolie Ara
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 28, 2012.
A few days ago I wrote about the challenge of finding vegan shoes on the High Street – practically impossible in Vienna, Austria, where I live.
So where do I buy my shoes?
In the United Kingdom, that’s where.
About ten years ago, I saw an ad for Vegetarian Shoes – in Ethical Consumer magazine, if I remember correctly – and shortly thereafter mail-ordered my first pair of shoes from this company, a pair of Derby Boots. (They are no longer being sold, but Boulder Boots are similar.)
The following year, in 2004, during a week-long vacation in London, I took the train to Brighton, where their store is located, and bought three more pairs of shoes.
I chose a pair of Office Shoes from the men’s collection. It’s one of their most popular models, and still being sold today. I also bought Nevis Boots (discontinued, try Snowdon Boots), and a pair of Bush Boots (or a similar model).
Back then, Vegetarian Shoes didn’t have as large a selection as today, and their selection of women’s shoes was particularly small, so I chose all my shoes from the men’s collection. I didn’t care, I was just so happy that I’d finally found shoes that were not made from leather. In 2003/2004, non-leather shoes were still hard to find, and that was my main concern. I didn’t even know about vegan glue back then. (All shoes from Vegetarian Shoes are 100 % vegan).
I only became a vegan about two years ago (after almost 29 years as a vegetarian), so I did on occasion buy plastic (but non-vegan) shoes in the past, like sandals or espadrilles. But each year during the last ten years, from autumn to spring, I’ve worn almost exclusively those four pairs of shoes, which I bought at Vegetarian Shoes. They were hand-made, and are of superior quality, worth every penny. Today, only the Nevis and Derby boots remain, I’ve worn out the other two pairs of shoes.
I’m planning another vacation in London in the spring (2013), and will once again take the train down to Brighton to stock up on shoes from Vegetarian Shoes. They now offer more than 300 different models, and it’ll be fun to be able to choose from such a wide variety of shoes. Please know that Vegetarian Shoes also delivers by mail to many countries (including continental Europe, the US, and Canada) – I simply prefer to buy my shoes at their shop in Brighton. It’s a lovely city, and a day-trip from London to Brighton is always fun. (Make sure to visit the Royal Pavillion.)
In addition to shoes, you can also buy vegan jackets, belts, wallets, and satchels at their store. On their website, you can take a virtual 360-degree tour of their store. You can also read up on the company’s history. They have photos of all their shoes on their website as well as detailed product information.
Address: 12 Gardner Street, Brighton, East Sussex, BN1 1UP, UK
VISITING THE SHOP? They ask that you please phone ahead to check that they have stock of what you want.
Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Wednesday: 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Closed Sundays and holidays.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 25, 2019.
Updated on May 25, 2019
I published a blog post about this restaurant on September 3, 2012 here, which I have now deleted. The restaurant’s concept has changed so much over the years that there was really no point in keeping that original blog post online.
So what’s new?
Tian has turned into a very posh and very expensive vegetarian restaurant, which doesn’t even publish a proper menu anymore – just a list of vegetables which they use for their dishes.
A 4-course set lunch (without drinks) costs 89.00 Euros, you’ll pay 109.00 Euros for 5 courses, and 127.00 Euros for 8 courses. Dinner is even more expensive, you’ll pay 127.00 Euros for a set dinner (8 courses). If you want wine of juices with your 8 courses, that’ll cost you another 73.00 Euros. (I researched those prices in March 2019.)
As the restaurant doesn’t publish any information about the food anymore – except that it’s vegetarian – it’s really too much of a bother for vegans, or at least for this particular vegan.
The following article was first published on The Vegan Tourist.
A few days ago, I updated my blogroll, and mentioned that I don’t like it when bloggers keep their identity secret. I joked that Rika & Doni of Vegan Miam might not be be real people, and that their blog might be “run by a corporation (trying to influence consumers with fake personalities).”
Today, I’d like to elaborate on that point. I spent some more time surfing the net for vegan blogs, and came across the following website: VegKitchen. The blog’s subtitle reads “Leading a Vegan Life.”
Whenever I check out a new blog (vegan or otherwise), I read the “About” page. I want to know who publishes a blog or website. We live in an age where corporations and politicians constantly try to influence our opinions and our consumer behavior and monetize our data, so I always make sure I know who I am dealing with.
On VegKitchen, there’s no “About”-page. This immediately makes me suspicious. So I scroll down to the bottom of the page, where I find the following information: “Vegetarian Recipes from “Oh My Veggies.” I click on the Oh My Veggies website, and my suspicions are immediately confirmed; because on this website, they’re not “leading a vegan life.” On this website, vegan and vegetarian recipes are published.
So who are the people behind these two websites?
On Oh My Veggies, there’s a small box in the right-hand top corner, where a photo of a beautiful young couple is published. It is oh-so-perfect, and it is immediately clear that these people are models, and not the site’s bloggers. Yet the text below this photo identifies them as the blog’s owners. I don’t believe it, and no names are given, which ads to my suspicion.
I click on one of their brands: Wably. And all of a sudden, I am on a lifestyle website where recipes are published which contain meat and fish.
I click on another one of their brands, Beauty Hacked, a website which focuses on women’s cosmetics. I decide to google the following term “cosmetics firms animal testing,” and find a blog entry on PETA’s website, “These Beauty Brands Are Still Tested on Animals.” I can’t tell when this blog entry was published, so some of it might be old information; but I decide to pick one brand at random, which is mentioned in this article, Clinique. I then search for Clinique on the Beauty Hacked website, and immediately find a blog entry, where Clinique products are mentioned and recommended.
So there you have it. I went from “leading a vegan life” on VegKitchen to a vegetarian blog on Oh My Veggies to an omnivore blog on Wably, to a cosmetics website and on to a PETA website about cosmetics & animal testing, and finally to allegations of fraudulent activities.
How’s that for a vegan blog?
Do I really want to use such a site? VegKitchen tries to cash in on the vegan trend, as so many companies do these days. As vegans, we must not let ourselves be exploited by corporations who want to monetize our data and our passions. As a vegan, do you really want to purchase something from a “consortium of private investors,” most of whom probably aren’t vegan themselves and invest the money they make from you on who-knows-what (but probably not on vegan causes)?
Your consumer choices matter. Be vigilant, and always make sure who you’re dealing with when you click on a blog or website.
Please note: This article was first published on Viaduct Dreams and last updated August 28 2018.
I’ve been blogging since 2010, and have witnessed countless blogs start up and disappear again during that time. Many bloggers start out enthusiastically; they blog frequently, set up blogging schedules, and try to turn their ventures into businesses by selling ad space on their sites, finding sponsors, or trying to generate other sources of income. After a few years, they become disillusioned, stop blogging, and eventually let their domain registrations expire. As Facebook (launched in 2004), Twitter (2006), Instagram (2010) and other social media networks became more and more popular, online communication shifted to those forums. Whereas readers previously frequently engaged with bloggers by commenting on their posts, they now “like,” “retweet” or engage in other – simpler – ways with people who publish content on these social media sites.
I became painfully aware of the ever-changing evolution of the Internet after I started re-reading David Meerman Scott’s excellent book The New Rules of Marketing and PR. I own the book’s 2nd edition, published in 2009 (an updated 6th edition is available). The book’s central message is as valid as it was almost ten years ago: you can market your products and services directly to potential buyers, and you can do it yourself. But the chapter about blogs is somewhat outdated in the book’s 2009 edition, as many bloggers have discontinued their blogs and now publish content only on social networks like Instagram or Twitter. Blogs – as a tool to communicate with readers and to market products and services – are simply not as popular as they used to be.
Recent scandals about the sale of personal data by social networks for marketing purposes don’t help. I believe that in a few years, people – and small businesses – will start blogging again. Blogs are a great marketing tool. Each published post has its own URL and will show up in online searches. In 2013, I published a few posts about (the lack of) vegan restaurants in Menorca, Spain, on my website The Vegan Tourist, and each summer these posts get the most web traffic of all my published posts.
As with all projects, one needs to have a clear vision for a blog. On my website, Viaduct Dreams, I focus on providing information about my work as a writer and Public Relations consultant. On The Vegan Tourist, I publish information about my self-published restaurant guide The Vegan Tourist: Vienna and about vegan issues in general. I have no intentions to monetize my blogs. I don’t sell ad space and I don’t publish any sponsored posts on those sites. I do provide information about my products (books) and services (ghostwriting, Public Relations consulting) on both websites, so I use them as marketing tools; and I do have an Amazon Associates account (but usually forget to link products I mention in my posts to Amazon’s site). But I don’t have a blogging schedule, I rarely check my Google Analytics statistics, and I don’t care about website traffic. When I have something to say that’s important to me, or when I mull things over in my mind (like the evolution of the Blogosphere…), I blog. It’s as simple as that, and I think that’s why I am still around, while so many bloggers have abandoned their blogs after just a few years. I make my living as a writer, not as a blogger, and therefore don’t need to continuously provide new content for my readers. Blogging is fun, and that’s how it should be.
Please note: This article was first published on Viaduct Dreams and last updated August 14, 2016.
If you are a self-published author, whose book is sold on Amazon, you should sign up for Author Central accounts and set up Author Pages on various international Amazon sites. It’s a free service provided by Amazon, which lets you promote yourself and your books to readers.
In the Netherlands and in Australia, you can only buy eBooks for Kindle on Amazon’s sites, but not printed books.
You need to set up separate Author Central accounts for separate Amazon sites, and not all sites offer Author Central accounts. You can set up Author Pages for the following Amazon sites, these links will take you directly to the separate Author Central sign-in pages: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Japan. Your Author Page in India is automatically supplied with information from your US Author Central Account. However, your Indian Author Page will only show images and videos from your US account, your Biography and Blog RSS feed will not show up on your Indian Author Page.
I expect that more Author Central accounts will be made available in the coming years, and you should set up as many Author Pages as possible, as it’s a free marketing tool. You need to do everything you can to promote your self-published books.
The information displayed on your various Author Pages is linked to the information provided on the respective Amazon sites. When you self-publish a book on Amazon, you can specify in which countries you want your book to be sold. Not all books are sold in all countries, that’s why you need to set up separate accounts.
On your Author Pages you can add a biography, photos and videos, you can list upcoming events, and – only in the United States – add a Blog Feed. Readers, who are interested in buying your books, will find your name linked to your Author Page when they click on the detail page for a certain book. Here’s a link to the detail page for the 2nd, updated edition of “The Vegan Tourist: Vienna“, which I published in May 2016. Right below the book’s title my name is listed, and linked to my Author Page on Amazon.com. You can also click here to check out my Author Page for Amazon’s US website.
You’ll notice the Blog Feed, which is linked to my website The Vegan Tourist. I blog on another site, Viaduct Dreams, but I’ve published only one book so far – a vegan restaurant guide for Vienna -, so it makes sense for me at this time to link the blog feed to the website where I exclusively blog about vegan issues. The Blog Feed is a feature that is only offered by Author Central in the United States.
Start out by setting up your Author Central account for the United States, and pay close attention to the separate steps. You might even want to take notes while you set up your account. Unless you speak German, French, and Japanese, you’ll struggle with the set-up for those sites, as the instructions are only provided in these individual countries’ languages. There are no instructions in English. German is my native language, and I have rudimentary knowledge in French, but setting up the Japanese Author Page was a struggle. I used Google Translate to set up this account, and struggled for half an hour before I succeeded. I think I might have set up a second account on Author Central Japan by mistake, with a different Email address.
My advice would be to set up your accounts in the United Kingdom and in Japan concurrently. Whenever you click on a button on the site in the UK, immediately repeat that step on the Japanese page. That way you should be able to set up your Japanese account with fewer problems than I experienced. If you speak no German or French, try setting up all those accounts at the same time.
During the set-up process, you need to “claim” all your books, so they can be linked to your Author Central pages. For each book, there are two tabs: Book Details and Editorial Reviews. The Book Details are automatically provided by Amazon, but you can enter a lot of information in the Editorial Review tab: there are separate categories for reviews, product description, notes from the author, information from the inside flap, information from the back cover, and you can also add an author biography. I only entered “product information” so far on all my Author Pages, so I have more work to do.
Before you sign up for Author Central accounts and set up your Author Pages, check out your book listings on all the 14 Amazon websites. I am selling all my books on all Amazon sites (except China), so I was surprised to notice that the availability of my books differed on the various Amazon sites. This had to do with the fact that I “retired” the first edition of “the Vegan Tourist: Vienna” – I want customers to buy the 2nd, updated edition, and not buy the outdated first edition by mistake. (If you retire a print-on-demand self-published book, no more copies will be printed.) But there was some mix-up in regard to the editions, so at this time the first edition is still available on some Amazon sites, while the German-language edition shows up as unavailable on one site. There are a few other issues that I still need to take care of in regard to my book listings, and I am working with Amazon’s (very helpful) customer service representatives to correct wrong information for book listings on 13 different Amazon sites. I should have done this a long time ago, and am only now realizing that I need to pay more and closer attention to all my book listings. This is a prerequisite for all press & public relation activities, and I didn’t really start paying attention to my book listings until a few days ago. Don’t make the same mistake I did, and make sure that your book listings are all correct and up-to-date before you set up your Author Pages.
Please note: This article was first published on Viaduct Dreams and last updated April 28, 20127.
Back in June 2016, I wrote about the need for a newauthor photo, and my desire to hire a professional photographer “soon.” It only took ten months, and here it is: the photo was taken a few days before my 50th birthday on April 18, 2017 (do the math!), and I have to say I am quite pleased with the result.
I lost most of my hair to a chronic illness and some very nasty medication, and what little hair remains has turned grey, but I look happy in this photograph – and I am. I’ve learned to manage my illnesses; I freelance as a writer (and am able to pay all my bills); I work from my home office (dress code: pajamas), and I am working on a new project. The last 15 years have not been easy, but I’ve come out on top. So happy 50th birthday to me – and I look forward to the next 50 years.
Please note: This article was first published on Viaduct Dreams and last updated June 4, 2016.
Every writer needs an Author Photo. It’s an essential part of every press kit. It’s been twenty years, since a professional photographer took photographs of me, and, damn, did I look good in those photos. But even I know that I’ve changed (a lot) since then.
I decide to take a few selfies, and to start out by taking a photo without makeup. Then I’ll slap on the war paint bit by bit. Foundation, eye shadow, mascara, lipstick, everything I can find in my bathroom cabinet.
I’ll take one photo after another, with a little more makeup each time, and then decide which photo looks best. I’m happy. It’s a plan. I’m ready to promote my book, The Vegan Tourist: Vienna.
I take the first photograph, and need to sit down. This is me? I take another photo, then another. A stranger’s face stares back at me. She’s pale (like vampire-undead pale), her skin looks botchy and pasty at the same time, and she has dark circles under her eyes. She looks sick – I look sick.
This comes as a surprise, although it really shouldn’t. Twelve years ago, I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, and two years ago I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I had to take cortisone medication (steroids) for eight years to keep the Sarcoidosis in check, and I need to take thyroid medication for the rest of my life. I had a hard time adjusting to being sick and living with a chronic illness, and the steroids ruined my body and packed on the pounds (while saving my life at the same time). I’ve been feeling much better for the last couple of years or so, and I am off the steroids now. I feel fine. I keep forgetting that I am not fine – and it takes a selfie to remind me of my illnesses.
I abandon my plan to pretty myself up with makeup. Clearly, the Author Photo has to wait a while. Botchy, pasty skin? Dark circles under my eyes? I don’t think so! I decide to sunbathe on my balcony (in a bikini, no less). Weather permitting, that’s what I’ll do for a few weeks: sunbathe! An hour a day.
If this sounds like fun to you, it isn’t to me. I actually have to put it on my “to do”-list, so I’ll stick to it. I never liked sunbathing. I get bored easily, and I’m restless after just a few minutes. Just lying around in the sun, doing nothing? I don’t get it. But of course that’s why I look like a vampire, and why a recent blood analysis showed that my Vitamin D level was so low that it couldn’t even be detected anymore. So now I’m taking my vitamins, and I guess I need to step away from my computer more often, go outside, and spend more time in the sun.
I’ll give that Author Photo another try in a few weeks. Taking a selfie might not be the best idea, though. Maybe it’s time for a professional photographer again…
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated October 15, 2012.
If you are looking for in-depth information about all things vegan, one of the best sources available is VegNews.
Just to clarify before you read on: I am not getting paid to write this review. I only promote resources on my website that I love and which I think are useful for other vegans, too.
VegNews is a vegan lifestyle magazine, which is published bi-monthly. Many articles are also published on the VegNews website. You can subscribe to the free monthly newsletter, which goes out to 89.000 subscribers, myself included. Another newsletter, the weekly “Recipe Club,” is sent to 72.000 subscribers. According to the information provided on the Website, VegNews is read by 225.000 people in 38 countries. Both the magazine and website have won numerous awards.
I stumbled across the magazine at a newsstand years ago on one of my trips to New York City. The magazine is sold at stores and newsstands all over the US and Canada, but unfortunately it is not available in Vienna, Austria, where I live. However, digital subscriptions to the magazine are possible (save a tree!). You’ll find subscription information to the magazine here.
On the website you’ll find numerous articles and information about food – recipes, cooking, restaurants, and more. However, that’s not why I love VegNews.
VegNews recognizes that being vegan is so much more than not eating meat or fish. Many foods contain animal products or by-products; these are also used during the production process for a number of foods, drinks, and non-food items. It’s often difficult to figure out which foods and products are vegan. Articles like “Vegan Wines 101” provide much-needed information, which allows vegans to make educated choices.
Globe-trotting vegans will find useful information about many destinations all over the world; there’s even an article about “Pet-Friendly Hotels.”
Vegans strive to avoid animal products or by-products in general, not just when it comes to food, and we don’t want to use products that have been tested on animals, like cosmetics, either. VegNews provides information about many different products and services. Planning a vegan wedding or a vegan birthday party for your kid? Looking for vegan camping gear, sunscreen, or veg-friendly spas? Whatever you’re looking for, you’re likely to find some helpful information on this Website, or links that’ll direct you elsewhere, so you can dig a little deeper.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated June 16, 2016.
Updated June 16, 2016:Bio Bar Bruschette has closed its doors. At the same address, another vegan restaurant (Vegana Indiana) opened in June 2016. (Update February 24, 2021: Pleae note that Vegana Indiana also closed at the end of 2019).
Bio Bar Bruschette is owned by Antun Petrovic, who also owns “Bio Bar von Antun”, which I just reviewed.
Bruschette and the original Bio Bar are very similar. Both serve organic, vegetarian food, and offer many dishes for vegans.
The vegan dishes are all clearly labelled on the menu, although it is only available in German at this location. Bruschette also serves a much smaller selection of dishes than Bio Bar in the 1st district.
Bio Bar Bruschette opened its doors last May (2012). Here’s a bit of trivia about the building’s history: The great-grandfather of an old high school friend of my mother’s opened a bakery there in 1868, and both he and his family (a son, I think) baked and sold bread there for a long time. Other bakers took over in the following years, but until the end of 2010, when Antun Petrovic rented the space for his new restaurant and renovated it top to bottom, bakeries had been doing business on these premises continuously for more than 140 years.
Bio Bar Bruschette is located in the 12th district, which is of interest to tourists mainly because of its proximity to Schloß Schönbrunn, one of Vienna’s biggest tourist attractions (located a few minutes further afield, in the 13th district).
Both the restaurant and Schloß Schönbrunn are located along the U4 subway line. If you’re planning a trip to Schönbrunn, consider lunch or dinner at Bio Bar Bruschette. (They are only two stops apart on the U4.)
Since my mother’s friend has a history with the building, we invited her to join us for lunch last week. As usual, my mother and I shared some dishes, so I got to taste two dishes instead of just one.
The menu at Bio Bar Bruschette is considerably smaller than the one at the original Bio Bar, but you will find many of the same dishes here (with plenty of vegan options).
As an appetizer, we ordered a plate of marinated and grilled Mediterranean vegetables. Zucchini, eggplant, olives, artichokes, stuffed wine leaves, served with hummus and freshly baked bread. The dish is lightly seasoned with garlic, herbs, and olive oil, and was a great choice. We both loved it, even my mother, who usually doesn’t like garlic or olive oil.
Naturally, we ordered a bruschetta (also available at the restaurant in the 1st district) and shared it as an entrée.
“Bruschetta” is a certain kind of Italian bread, which is roasted and served with a variety of toppings. Sometimes the bruschetta is prepared with cold toppings, but we opted for Bruschette Brijoni, which is made with tomato sauce, smoked tofu, a variety of vegetables and herbs. The bruschetta with the toppings is returned to the oven, and the whole dish is served hot. It is topped with vegan sour cream and served with a small side salad. This dish, too, was very good. I can wholeheartedly recommend it.
Lunch for two came to 21.20 Euros plus tip. (6.20 Euros for the appetizer, 9.20 Euros for the bruschetta, and two large glasses of mineral water with freshly squeezed lemon, at 2.90 Euros each).
Please note that Bio Bar Bruschette is closed on weekends and on holidays.
Directions (since the restaurant is a bit out of the way): Take the U4 subway line to Längenfeldgasse (the U6 also stops there). Take the exit “Storchensteig” and turn left at the top of the stairs/elevator. Cross the street – this is already Schönbrunnerstraße – and turn right. It’s a 2-minute walk from here, and you can already see the yellow-painted house, in which the restaurant is located.
Address: Schönbrunnerstraße 235, 1120 Vienna
Opening hours: Monday – Friday, 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM and 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM. Closed Saturday, Sunday, and holidays.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 25, 2019.
Update May 25, 2019: This restaurant closed in 2017.
Original blog post:
Die Bio Bar is owned by Antun Petrovic, hence the restaurant’s full name. In Vienna, it’s commonly known as the Bio Bar, one of the very first organic, vegetarian restaurants. It’s been in existence for many years.
The Bio Bar is a symbol of sorts for the success of the green movement (organic and otherwise) in Austria. Today (2012), 20 % of all farmland in Austria is farmed organically. Worldwide, only the Falkland Islands (36%) and Liechtenstein (27%) farm more land organically than Austria.
Antun’s wife Madeleine is President of the Wiener Tierschutzverein, the second oldest animal shelter in Europe, which has been in existence since 1846. It does not euthanize and has rehomed countless animals. She is also one of Austria’s most widely-know politicians (and a prominent member of the Green Party), so the restaurant has been a hangout for green politicians and environmental and animal welfare activists right from the start. Not much has changed since.
The Bio Bar has a huge menu, and many of the dishes are vegan. The bilingual menu (German and English) also indicates which of the vegetarian dishes can be veganized. (Please note that on the website the menu is only listed in German).
The Bio Bar offers daily (vegan) lunch specials for about 8.00 Euros (soup, salad, entrée).
The evening menu is only available after 5:00 PM (a little later on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). If you are a tourist from abroad, you should definitely try to have dinner at the Bio Bar instead of lunch. The restaurant specializes in adapting Austrian dishes for vegans, and many of those dishes are only available in the evenings.
Most Austrian dishes contain meat or milk, butter, and eggs. A considerable number of traditional Austrian dishes are desserts, but often eaten as entrees.
At the Bio Bar, you can choose between Wiener Schnitzel, Zwiebelrostbraten, Tiroler Erdäpfel-G’röstl, Erdäpfelgulyas, Wiener Würstchen, Pfeffer “Steak”, Cevapcici, and many more dishes. Palatschinken and Kaiserschmarren are famous Austrian desserts.
It’s worth noting that many of those dishes originated in other countries, but due to our shared history during the Austrio-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918), all these dishes are now considered thoroughly Austrian as well.
Ćevapcici, for example, are grilled minced sausages, and are a national dish in many Southeastern European countries. Goulash, a potato-meat-stew with paprika, originated in Hungary.
I had dinner there recently with my mother, who’s not only good company but also willing to share a variety of vegan dishes with me, even though she’s not a vegetarian. She also always picks up the tab. (Thank you!)
We shared the “Zwiebelrostraten” (13.90 Euros) and the “Erdäpfelgulyas” (8.90 Euros), as well as “Palatschinken” (5.90 Euros) and “Kaiserschmarren” (7.50 Euros).
For the “Zwiebelrostbraten,” Seitan (wheat gluten) is used instead of roast beef. It is served with roasted onions, potatoes, an apple-horseradish dip, and vegan sour cream. It’s very good, although I would have preferred the Seitan with a little less salt. The Zwiebelrostbraten is served with a side salad. The dressing is made with pumpkin-seed oil, another Austrian specialty.
As mentioned, Erdäpfelgulyas is a potato-meat-stew, and the Bio Bar’s vegan version is served with rehydrated soy meat. This was my favourite entrée.
For dessert, we shared Marmeladeplataschinken, crepes served with Powidl (plum stew), and Kaiserschmarren.
The latter dish is basically prepared from the same batter as the Palatschinken, but torn into pieces during the cooking process. Raisins are added, and it is sprinkled with powdered sugar. Kaiserschmarren is served with compote on the side. (Compote is a sort of fruit stew).
For drinks, we mostly stuck to mineral water. I did order a vegan non-alcoholic cocktail with pear-juice, soy milk, and shredded coconut, which contained a bit too much coconut for my taste. The coconut also didn’t blend well with the pear juice. (3.50 Euros)
The restaurant is located in the 1st district of Vienna, at Drahtgasse 3, at the far end of Judenplatz. This is a pedestrian area, so there’s no traffic, and the Bio Bar has a Schanigarten (outside seating area). It’s perfect for summer evenings.
The inside of the restaurant could do with a new coat of paint and quite generally with a bit of a refurbishment. Not much (anything?) has changed since the restaurant opened its doors many years ago. Back then, the green movement was mostly supported by a few eco-warriors and students, and today it still has the look and feel of a student hangout, even though it is patronized by a much wider variety of people.
Antun Petrovic owns another restaurant, Bruschette Bio Bar.
Address: Drahtgasse 3, 1010 Vienna
Opening hours: Tuesday – Friday, 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM and 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM. Saturday, Sunday, and holidays: 12:00 noon – 11:00 PM. Closed on Mondays.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 13, 2019.
Address – store #1: Rotenturmstraße 14, 1010 Vienna – 1st district Address – store #2: Mariahilfer Straße 33, 1060 Vienna – 6th district Address – store #3: Neubaugasse 9, 1070 Vienna – 7th district
Opening Hours: Opening hours vary throughout the year, longer opening hours during the summer months. Company Holidays: All of Eis Greissler’s ice cream parlors are closed during the winter months. Phone: No Website: https://www.eis-greissler.at/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EisGreissler Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Free WiFi: No Austrian Debit Cards: No Credit Cards: No Bathroom Facilities: No Dogs Welcome: Yes Seating Available: No Outdoor Seating Area: No
In the spring of 2011, Eis-Greissler opened its first store at Rotenturmstrasse, a five-minute walk from St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the city center.
Greissler is a word unique to the Viennese dialect. It is used to describe a very small grocery store, and Eis-Greissler is exactly that: a tiny store, with an old–fashioned décor. Eis-Greissler isn’t a vegan ice-cream parlor, but all the ice cream at this store is organic, and every day there are several vegan flavors to choose from.
The first scoop of ice cream costs 1.60 Euros, you pay a little less per scoop for additional scoops. Take-away boxes are also available (8.50 Euros for 500 ml, 14.00 Euros for one liter of ice cream). (2019 prices; please note that prices are due to change in the coming years.)
I used to be a fan of this company, but lately not so much. In 2019, Eis Greissler created a (seasonal) flavor called Pink (raspberry vanilla) and donated parts of the proceeds of the sale of this particular flavor to an organization which supports medical research. Unfortunately, due to legal requirements, this automatically means animal research. Needless to say, I am highly critical of this decision. While the funds of the sale of this particular ice cream flavour were dedicated to a non-animal related support program of this organization, that organization profited as a whole – which I simply cannot support. I now buy most of my ice cream at Veganista, which has eight vegan ice cream parlors in Vienna.
Original blog post: December 3, 2019 by Ingrid Haunold Updates to this blog entry will be posted at a future date.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated December 3, 2019.
Updated December 3, 2019: Please note that this blog entry is outdated. I have written an new review, which you can find here.
Original blog post from 2012:
In Vienna, we take our ice cream seriously. The city is full of ice cream parlours, many of which produce their products fresh on the premises. I’ve never tasted better ice cream than the kind that’s produced right here in my home town – and that includes ice cream I’ve eaten all over Italy as well as all the premium US brands.
When I decided to become a vegan, my choices became severely limited. Even though most ice cream parlours produce one or two vegan flavours, they don’t label them as such, and if you inquire about vegan flavours, most salespeople are overwhelmed with the request for detailed information. Does the ice cream contain milk or milk powder? Does it contain cream? Yoghurt? And what about eggs? Are you sure it’s really vegan? Their responses usually don’t inspire confidence, and as a result I’d just about given up eating ice cream altogether.
Then, in the spring of 2011, Eis-Greissler opened its first store on Rotenturmstrasse, a five-minute walk from Stephansdom, right at the heart of the city.
“Greissler” is the German term for a very small grocery store, and Eis-Greissler is exactly that: a tiny store, with an old–fashioned décor, reminiscent of days gone by. It’s lovely.
Eis-Greissler is owned by a couple of organic farmers, Andrea and Georg Blochberger, whose thirty-five cows produce the milk for the yoghurts, cream, and ice cream they manufacture in a small dairy adjacent to their farm.
Their milk products are sold to kindergartens, schools, hotels, and restaurants in Lower Austria, where their farm is located, as well as to other Austrian businesses. Last year, they decided to open their first ice cream parlour in Vienna.
Eis-Greissler isn’t a vegan business, but it’s the only ice cream parlour in Vienna that offers a large variety of vegan flavours, all of which are also clearly labelled as such. That, and the fact that all their milk products are organic, is why I am such a big fan. (Many other ice cream parlours use milk products and eggs from factory farms.)
At a recent visit, eight of the eighteen flavours on sale that day were vegan. I was able to choose between strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, mango, pear, apricot, vanilla, and truffle ice cream. I decided on strawberry, pear, and truffle ice cream, and it was delicious.
So if you find yourself anywhere in the first district of Vienna, ignore all the other ice cream parlours and head on over to Rotenturmstrasse – their vegan ice cream is well worth a detour.
Please note: as Eis-Greissler is such a small store, there’s no in-store seating and there are no bathroom facilities.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated June 24, 2012.
In 1998, the Vegan Society Austria (Vegane Gesellschaft Österreich) organised a number of events in a few Austrian cities. “Veganmania” gave local vegan businesses an opportunity to present themselves to a wider public.
For many, these Veganmania events were the first opportunity to taste vegan foods and drinks, or buy vegan clothes, shoes, and cosmetics. Local animal welfare organisations were also represented and provided information about a variety of animal welfare issues.
The Veganmania “summer tour” quickly grew, and more dates were added each year. In 2010, an event in Munich (Germany) was added, and several more in 2011. This year, for the first time, Veganmania events are organised not only in Austria and Germany, but also in Switzerland, Slovenia, and Croatia, in co-operation with local vegetarian or vegan organisations.
The success of Veganmania shows that there is a huge demand for vegan foods and products. In Vienna, where the Veganmania festival took place last weekend (June 15/16), three dozen vendors sold their vegan wares to the public. There was also a music stage, where bands performed throughout the two-day festival, and a parade was organised on Saturday.
I bought an ethical shopping guide from “animal.fair,” and vegan cakes and pastries from “Bernds Welt.” I bought my lunch from “Dharamsala,” a catering company, which offers Indian food.
The Vegane Gesellschaft Österreich offers more information on its Veganmania website. Unfortunately, all the information on this site is in German. However, there are many photos, which will give you a good idea about what to expect.
If you intend to visit Austria (or Germany, Switzerland, Slovakia, or Croatia), I encourage you to check out my brand-new events calendar (in the right-hand column of this page). I will list all the upcoming Veganmania tour dates there, and will provide updates as necessary.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 25, 2019.
Updated May 12, 2013, and again on May 25, 2019:
Yamm! opened its doors in May 2011 and quickly became a favourite among the locals. It’s packed every day during lunch hours, and is just as popular in the evening.
The restaurant’s prime location – opposite the University of Vienna – attracts a lot of students. It’ not just a student hang-out, though. There’s a play-area at the back of the restaurant, so it’s also a good choice for families with young children. Yamm! is a great place for locals and tourists alike who appreciate the casual atmosphere and the large selection of vegetarian and vegan foods. The non-smoking restaurant is quite big, it seats about 170 people. In the summer, the big sliding glass doors open onto a patio on the Ringstrasse.
At Yamm! you select your food from a buffet in the middle of the room and pay at the cashier. You pay by weight, soups, desserts, and drinks have set prices, as have the breakfast options and a few other dishes. But the buffet is the restaurant’s main attraction.
This restaurant offers a large selection of vegan food, which changes frequently. Just try a little bit of everything. All the vegan dishes are clearly labelled.
Yamm! also offers a large selection of vegan desserts.
You can choose from a large selection of soft drinks, fresh juices, cocktails, and other alcoholic beverages. There’s plant-based milk for your coffee.
There’s free WiFi.
The staff at Yamm! are very friendly and helpful. During my last visit, I struggled with my tray – I’d chosen some food from the buffet, bought a drink, and a dessert, and my tray was full. (I did all this strictly in the name of research, of course! See photos above.) Somebody immediately came up to me and asked me if I needed help. (They didn’t know who I was – I’ve only been in contact with the staff by phone or Email to ask them about vegan sugar, wines, beers, etc. )
They also go out of their way to accommodate vegans. When I pointed out to them that one of the dishes – mushrooms marinated in wine – was not strictly vegan as the wine was not vegan, they immediately changed the recipe. The mushrooms are now marinated in olive oil, with herbs and garlic, and taste great!
Check out the restaurant’s Website. There are many photos online, both of the food and the restaurant itself, so you’ll know what to expect.
Opening hours have changed throughout the years, they are currently (May 2019): Mondays – Wednesdays: 08:00 AM – 11:00 PM, Thursdays – Fridays: 08:00 AM – 11:30 PM, Saturdays: 09:00 AM – 11:30 PM, Sundays and public holidays: 09:00 AM – 3:00 PM.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 31, 2012.
Naturkost St. Josef is a popular vegetarian, organic restaurant attached to a small grocery store in Vienna’s 7th district.
The restaurant is only open during lunch hours. It’s self-service: you order your food at the counter, pay at the cashier, and take your tray to the upstairs cafeteria-style dining room, which seats about 70 people. Lunch is served from around 11:00 AM – whenever they finish cooking – until they run out of food, sometime between 3:00 and 4:00 PM. (That’s according to one of their staff members.) Try to get there early. Naturkost St. Josef is incredibly popular among the locals who work in the neighbourhood, and it gets very busy fast.
The food is fantastic. There’s a buffet with salads and antipasti, the majority of which are vegan. My favourites are grilled pumpkins with parsley, yams with sprouts, a spicy aubergine salad, and I also love their potato salad. You can choose from about a dozen different vegan salads and antipasti, all organic of course. I eat frequently at this restaurant, and I always sample a few of their creations from the buffet. The price is based on weight: 100 grams cost 1.79 Euros (including tax).
I also love their vegan kebabs. The kebabs can be ordered with either yoghurt dressing or a spicy, creamy vegan dressing. The kebabs are quite large, and cost 4.80 Euros.
The menu changes daily. There’s always one choice of soup and one main dish, which you can both order in two sizes. Soups cost 3.30 or 3.60 Euros, and the main dishes are 7.50 or 8.90 Euros. As this is a vegetarian restaurant, the main dishes are always prepared in such a way that they can be veganized. (I’m not sure about the soups – I’ll have to get back to you on that.)
In addition to the daily specials, there’s always a small selection of other dishes to choose from; however, most of these are not vegan.
Good news: Naturkost St. Josef recently started to offer vegan desserts on Mondays and Wednesdays. This is a trial run. If there’s enough demand, they might start offering vegan desserts on other days of the week, too. I bought a strawberry cake with a cream filling on my last visit, which just happened to fall on a Wednesday.
This restaurant is very vegan-friendly, even though it can be a bit confusing, if you’ve never visited before. Most vegan dishes aren’t labelled clearly. I spoke with the owner recently and he encouraged me to ask, if I’m ever unsure about a certain dish. There are tentative plans to label the vegan salads and antipasti at the buffet, but the owner told me that they were “better at cooking than writing.” That’s fine by me.
There’s free tap water to drink, which is made available in large pitchers. Just pour yourself a glass. They also offer fresh squeezed juices and other drinks. Last time I visited, I bought an organic raspberry soda (2.60 Euros).
The restaurant is adjoined by a small organic, vegetarian grocery store (they’re both in the same room, really). You can buy vegan snacks there, however, the store is mostly geared towards lacto-vegetarians. For example, they don’t sell vegan fruit yoghurts, and no vegan wines; but it’s a small store, so naturally its selection is limited. I still try to pick up a thing or two whenever I visit, to support this small Viennese business. A favourite are beauty products from Lavera (watch out for the Vegan Society’s sunflower symbol, as not all of their products are vegan).
Address: You can either enter through the grocery store at Zollergasse 26 or through the restaurant, at Mondscheingasse 10-12, 1070 Vienna
Opening hours for the grocery store: Monday to Friday 8:00 AM – 6:30 PM, Saturday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM; closed on Sundays. Lunchtime buffet from around 11:00 AM until 3:00 or 4.00 PM (whenever they run out of food). You can pay by cash or credit card.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 14, 2012.
I picked up this book at Foyles during my trip to London in December (2011), and spent the last few months reading it – slowly.
Secret Londonwas written by Rachel Howard and Bill Nash, who describe approximately 270 little known London sights, most of which are not included in the more mainstream tourist guides. Each description is accompanied by a full-page photograph, and the authors have included tips for many additional attractions.
But I was unfamiliar with the majority of the sights described in this book, even though I lived in London for several years in the late nineties.
I’d never noticed Britain’s Smallest Police Station at Trafalgar Square, and wasn’t aware of the Imperial Standards – several plaques that mark the imperial measures (inch, foot, yard) at the foot of the steps of the National Gallery. I’d passed the Centre of London – located at the corner of the Strand and Charing Cross Road – many times without being aware of the location’s significance.
I’m going to keep my eyes open for John Snow’s Cholera Pump on Broadwick Street next time I’m in Soho, and plan to visit Watt’s Memorial, a wall full of plaques which “memorialise acts of fatal heroism by anonymous Londoners.”
The Whitechapel Bell Foundry – another gem described in the book – is Britain’s oldest manufacturing company, established in 1570, and they offer guided tours of their bell factory (still going strong after 442 years, apparently). There’s also a museum and a gift shop.
I plan to visit the Thames River Police Museum, which is dedicated to the world’s first police force. The museum is housed within the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Marine Police Unit – a working police station – so visits must be arranged by prior appointment (check their website).
The authors describe so many interesting and downright fascinating sights, it’ll be the only guidebook I bring on my next trip. If you’ve never been to London, by all means go and watch the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace or visit the Tower; but if you’ve been to London before and want to get to know the city a little better, this book is for you.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 9, 2012.
I spent ten days in New York City last May (2011) on a research trip and had planned to stop by the Candle Cafe, one of New York’s most famous vegan restaurants. Founded in 1993 (with seed money from lottery winnings) the restaurant at 1307 Third Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has been a hit with tourists and locals alike. There’s now a second Candle Cafe on Broadway (on the Upper West Side) and owners Bart Potenza and Joy Pierson also own Candle 79, an upscale, more elegant version of the Candle Cafe.
I was really looking forward to dining there. Alas, I never made it. I guess it’s something to look forward to on my next trip.
I bought The Candle Cafe Cookbook upon my return to Vienna instead, which contains more than 150 recipes from the restaurant’s menu. Some of them have become favourites, like the Bean Purée, the mango and plum tomato salsa, the nori dressing, or the tofu scramble. I also love the Mint Barley Pilaf. Next on my list: the Kalamata olive and sun-dried tomato tapenade.
As a fairly new vegan (since 2010), I find that I mostly crave vegan versions of favourite foods, which traditionally contain cream, eggs, yoghurt or milk: mayonnaise, creamy pasta sauces, ranch dressing, or cheesecake, for example. There are vegan versions for all those dishes, and The Candle Cafe Cookbook provides recipes for many of them.
My one complaint is that the recipes in the cookbook are all calculated for larger groups of people. That’s why I haven’t tried any of the recipes for the main courses, as they generally serve four to eight people. (Who cooks for eight people, except on special occasions?)
Instead, I tend to stick to appetizers, side dishes or sauces and condiments when I try out new recipes from the book. They can be more easily adapted for single people than the recipes for the main dishes.
Unfortunately, there’s no vegan cookbook from the Candle Cafe with recipes just for one. Still, there are many great recipes in this book, so I nevertheless recommend it, even if you’re just cooking for yourself and are not running a restaurant or feeding an army.
At the back of the book you’ll find cooking guides for beans, legumes, and grains, a resource guide for buying vegan cooking and baking ingredients, and – most importantly for Europeans – a conversion chart for imperial and metric measurements.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 1, 2012.
I want to review a number of Websites on The Vegan Tourist, which I like or consider a good resource for vegans. The Vegan Society’s Website is the first I want to introduce to you.
This British charity is the world’s first vegan society. It was founded in November 1944, and November 1st has since been designated as World Vegan Day in honour of the society’s founding.
As it’s been around a while, they have amassed a vast knowledge about all things vegan. Whether you’re trying to become a vegan, would like to educate yourself or others about a number of issues related to ethical living, or are just looking for information about healthy nutrition, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for on this website.
I’ve been a vegetarian since 1982, but a vegan only since 2010. I found the information provided on this site incredibly helpful in making the transition to a vegan lifestyle.
Being vegan isn’t just about refusing to eat meat or fish. Food, clothing, cosmetics and many other products contain animal-derived substances or additives, or are produced with the help of animal-derived carriers. The Vegan Society lists many of those ingredients online and this list, which I printed out, has been very useful during countless shopping trips.
There’s information on the site about multivitamins and minerals, contraceptives, vaccines, photographic equipment and paper, footwear and clothing, medication, and drinks. Luckily for me, whisky seems to be a truly vegan product.
The Vegan Society also provides information about travelling and eating out (with a focus on the UK), and lists suppliers of vegan goods based in Britain (many ship internationally). You’ll find useful links to other websites, too.
The society provides background information about a number of vegan issues and produces countless educational materials, many of which are free (some can be downloaded from their website). I downloaded their booklet “Plant Based Nutrition,” which is also available in a few other languages, including German.
Vegans need to take B12 supplements and The Vegan Society has produced its own version, the “VEG 1” supplement, which contains the vitamins B2, B6, and B12; also folic acid, vitamin D2, iodine and selenium. I purchased it through their online shop in the past; Luckily, I have now found a shop in Vienna, Austria, which stocks “VEG 1,” so I can buy it locally.
I have also purchased a vegan cookbook through their online shop in the past as well as the society’s quarterly “Vegan” magazine.
The Vegan Society’s Trademark scheme “promotes vegan products and services throughout (its) widely recognized and trusted Sunflower symbol.” Many companies, which sell vegan products, have been granted the right to print the symbol on their products, and it is the only symbol I truly trust. When I see the symbol on a product, I know I don’t need to worry about hidden ingredients or animal testing. The products with the society’s Sunflower Trademark symbol are sold worldwide. I live in Austria, and many companies use this symbol on their vegan products.
The Vegan Society also publishes a shopping guide, the “Animal Free Shopper,” which I bought when I lived in London (many years ago). It’s a handy little guide, which I carried with me whenever I went shopping. However, this guide lists only products sold in the United Kingdom. If you live elsewhere, you might find the society’s online searchable database of vegan products more helpful, as many can be purchased through those companies’ Websites.
All in all, this is a brilliant Website and one of my favourite vegan online resources.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated April 30, 2012.
Update May 25, 2019: This restaurant closed in 2015.
Original blog post:
Food for Thought is one of my favourite restaurants in London. I’ve had lunch there many times when I lived in London in the late nineties/early noughties, and I made sure to stop by when I vacationed in London last December.
Food for Thought is a “vegetarian restaurant, take-away & catering service.” They’re located at Neal Street, around the corner from Covent Garden, a favourite tourist destination.
The restaurant is very popular with Londoners. As it’s quite small with only a few tables, patrons start to queue in front of it before it opens at noon every day. At Food for Thought, it’s counter service only, and you can’t book a table in advance. No credit cards, it’s cash only.
The menu changes daily, and it’s available online. There are pitchers with free tap water, if you’re thirsty and don’t want to order a drink. All the dishes are vegetarian and there are also always several vegan options, which are clearly labelled on the menu. Many of the dishes are free of wheat and gluten.
I ordered a “sweet potato and black bean Jamaican bake” (£4.90) and a slice of wholewheat bread (£0.30).
At Food for Thought, you can even get vegan desserts, which is something that not all vegetarian restaurants offer.
If you like the food, you can buy their cookbook at the restaurant. It’s also available at Amazon through their Websites in the UK and the US (“New Food for Thought”).
Address: 31 Neal Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9PR
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 12:00 noon – 8:30 PM, Sunday 12:00 – 5:30 PM; closed on December 24-26 and January 1st.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated March 26, 2012.
It’s time to review a non-vegan restaurant/café, namely the Starbucks Coffee Company. I primarily want to promote vegetarian businesses on this website, but it’s not always possible to find a vegetarian restaurant or café, so compromises are necessary.
I find that Starbucks is actually a good example to show traditional (read: non-vegetarian) restaurants how they’re excluding vegans – probably unintentionally – and how easy it would be to change their business models to cater to us as well. It’s all about missed business opportunities, really. Vegans have money, too, and we want to spend it (but can’t).
During the last year, I visited Starbucks branches in Austria, Great Britain, and the United States of America, so this review is based on my experiences in those three countries.
Here are a few things I like about Starbucks: I can get soy milk with my coffee and smoking is not permitted in their cafés. There’s free WiFi, and there are wall sockets where you can plug in your laptop. Some branches (e.g. in London, UK) even have big communal desks. I recently went on a working vacation to London and got most of my writing done at those desks. I also love their big, comfy chairs. I’ve spent countless hours reading newspapers and books in those chairs.
However, there are several reasons why I’m not a more frequent customer:
I love that Starbucks offers soy milk as a choice for my coffee, but as far as I know the soy milk isn’t organic. As a vegan, this isn’t my first priority, but it matters. In Austria, where there’s a strong anti-GMO movement, I’m pretty sure that the soy milk is at least GMO-free. In the UK and in the US that’s probably not the case. Who wants to eat or drink genetically modified food? Not me. Yes, organic soy milk is more expensive; and no, I don’t care. I still want it and would be willing to pay a premium price for it.
Starbucks offers almost no food for vegans. That’s true for Austria, Great Britain, and the United States of America.
When I asked a staff member at a Starbucks branch in Manhattan (on Broadway and 103rd street), I lucked out. The barista was a vegan herself, and she told me that the oatmeal and two kinds of bagels (plain and multigrain) were vegan. I could also buy a banana or potato chips. Not a great choice, but I was grateful to the barista, as I felt that I could at least trust the information she was giving me. Starbucks doesn’t provide information about vegan products on their in-store menus, so there’s no way to know if something is vegan or not. You have to check the company’s website (which is annoying). Labeling all vegan products as such on their in-store menus would be a big improvement.
I purchased a plain bagel and a cup of coffee with soy milk. My total came to $2.91 including tax. I could have – and would have – spent a lot more money, if only there had been more vegan food options.
When I stopped by another branch a few days later (somewhere in mid-town Manhattan), I decided to check if the barista at this branch knew as much as the vegan staff member at the other branch. I asked her which foods at Starbucks were vegan. She gave me a puzzled look and then answered – rather hesitantly – “the banana?” (Yes, the answer was in form of a question.) I bought a cup of coffee ($1.75 plus tax) and left – I bought my food elsewhere. Again, this was a missed business opportunity for Starbucks.
Last December, I spent a week in London, England. I usually started my day at the Starbucks branch at 425 Oxford Street, as they open early (I think at 6:30 AM). That’s a big plus. I was able to get my first cup of coffee there, but alas, no breakfast. My only options were fruit and potato crisps. I can’t stomach either this early in the morning. I usually spent a couple of hours at this branch, drinking my £1.50 cup of coffee, then left to buy breakfast elsewhere. Just like in the USA, Starbucks UK doesn’t really seem to want my “vegan” money.
When I asked one of their staff members for vegan options, I was offered a cheese plate. (Seriously. A cheese plate.)
(Note to Starbucks: Please give your baristas a crash course in vegan nutrition and tell them that bananas are indeed vegan, but cheese is not. Thank you very much, it’s appreciated.)
At a different branch (where I stopped by at around noon), I was offered the Falafel Mezze bistro box. It says on the company’s website that this box can be veganised by removing the tzatziki (and throwing it away), and that’s exactly what the barista offered to do. This only shows that the company does not understand vegans. Throwing out animal-based food is not an option, it’s deplorable. If I bought this box, I would support the exploitation of animals, and that’s a big no-no for vegans.
Austria is worst. I went to one of the company’s Viennese branches recently, in Neubaugasse, and there was nothing to eat for vegans, not even fruit. (Maybe another ravenous vegan had bought all the fruit due to a lack of other options…?) I was so frustrated, I left without purchasing anything. On the Austrian Starbucks website, the company doesn’t even provide nutritional information about the food and drinks they sell.
So there you have it: Starbucks is a great place to buy a cup of coffee and to hang out at for a few hours, but if you’re a vegan and hungry, forget it.
By not offering vegans any food choices, the company misses out on an ever-growing segment of consumers and additional profits. I don’t think they do it on purpose. They are probably not even aware that they are excluding vegans. My guess would be that there aren’t any vegans among the top staff members at the company, which would explain the lack of sensibility about this subject and the lack of knowledge about what it means to be vegan. It all comes down to lack of awareness, which translates into missed business opportunities and missed profits for the company.
It’s sad really, because I actually quite like Starbucks. I wish they’d do a better job at taking my money.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated March 25, 2012.
Hostelling International New York is surely the worst name for a hotel that I have ever encountered. You’d think they’d be able to come up with a name that’s a little catchier. But no, so Hostelling International New York it is.
The good news is that the name is the worst thing about this place, which is actually quite wonderful. It’s part of Hostelling International, a non-profit organization, which aims to provide cheap lodgings for travellers. I’ve stayed at hostels all over the world, and HI-NY is by far my favorite. I have a soft spot for it because I’ve been staying there for well over 20 years. I was one of their first guests when it opened way back in 1990. Back then, the building was still under renovation and everything smelled of fresh paint. It hadn’t even fully opened to the public yet and there were only a few travellers staying there with me at the time.
The building itself is worth noting. The original red brick building is from the 1880s, an extension was added in 1907/08.
According to the hostel’s website, it was originally built by the Association for the Relief of Respectable Aged Indigent Females. “This association wanted to help widows of both the Revolutionary War and the war of 1812. They built this building as a residency for these widows.” It’s huge; the hostel has 672 beds.
The hostel has changed considerably over the years. It used to have only a small kitchen with a few banged-up pots, but now it’s fully equipped (and clean!): there are several stoves and ovens and microwaves; coffee-machines, dishwashers; pots and pans, dishes and cutlery and everything else you might (or might not) need to prepare yourself a meal.
As most travellers who stay at hostels are strapped for cash and can’t afford to eat out every day, the kitchen at HI-NY is one of its best features. As a vegan, I appreciated it even more. I wasn’t able to find a restaurant in the area, which serves vegan breakfasts, so I bought coffee and soy milk, some fruit, oatmeal, and vegan yoghurts at the supermarket around the corner and was able to prepare myself a nice breakfast every morning.
I ate in the small fifties-inspired dining room adjacent to the kitchen, where there’s also free WiFi (and electrical plugs for laptops).
I love the outdoor courtyard. It’s very peaceful and quiet there. The building’s brick walls block out all the traffic from Amsterdam Avenue.
The hostel has a computer room, free WiFi, a theatre room, lounge, laundry room, rental lockers, and more. It’s very popular, so travellers are only allowed to stay there for two weeks each year. You also have to be a member of Hostelling International (or pay an additional $3.00 per night), but you can buy a membership card at the registration desk. Beds are $29.00 – $52.00 depending on the season and dorm rooms. Private rooms and family rooms are also available. As it’s a non-profit, no tax is added to the room rates. I always book a bed in a mid-sized dorm room, as this is the easiest way to meet lots of people. You can reach the hostel by taking the number 1 train to 103rd Street (it’s one block over on Amsterdam Avenue).
If you’ve never stayed at a hostel and are unsure if this is for you, here’s some additional information you might find helpful: don’t worry if you’re older. These days, everyone stays at hostels. I’m 44 years old, and I wasn’t the oldest one there by far. If you have little experience of travelling by yourself, hostels are good places to meet people. The staff organizes a number of events each week and you can simply join in. But you do need a relaxed attitude towards travelling, when you stay at a hostel: there are only communal bathrooms (with fierce competition for the shower stalls in the mornings) and people come and go at all times. Somebody is bound to turn on the lights in your dorm room and chat with another traveller when all you want to do is sleep.
As a vegan, I really only have one complaint: there’s a small café at the hostel, which doesn’t cater to vegans. You can’t get soy milk with your coffee and the only truly vegan food on offer is fruit. The vending machines at the hostel are useless, too. No vegan food except crisps. So make sure to stock up at Gristede’s, a small supermarket on Broadway and 103rd street; there’s also a Starbucks at that same corner (they have soy milk for your coffee, and their oatmeal and some of the bagels are vegan, too).
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated March 24, 2012.
Update February 25, 2021: The shop’s website is no longer in service, I suspect Integral Yoga Natural Foods no longer exists.
Original blog post:
In Manhattan’s Greenwich Village, on West 13th Street, you’ll find one of the most interesting stores in the city (for vegans, anyway): a small (mostly) organic, 100% vegetarian grocery store. I’d read about it in The Vegan Guide to New York City and just had to seek it out. It’s the only vegetarian grocery store I’m aware of, there just aren’t that many around. I think we don’t have a single one in all of Austria, where I’m from.
Integral Yoga Natural Foods is a for-profit store owned and operated by the non-profit Integral Yoga Institute next door. They also operate a bookshop at the Yoga Institute, and the Natural Apothecary across the street, where all products are “suitable for a vegetarian lifestyle.”
I especially like the philosophy behind their Natural Foods store: they support local businesses, organic farmers, small businesses owners, and businesses owned by women. The Natural Apothecary won’t sell products that have been tested on animals and only carries products that are cruelty free. All those things are very important to me, and there aren’t many businesses that adhere to such a strict philosophy. It’s all connected to the spiritual teachings of Yoga, of course, but you don’t have to be religious or a spiritual person to care about the environment. I’m a die-hard atheist, and the least spiritual person you’ll ever meet, but living a cruelty-free life is still very important to me.
The grocery store sells a full range of products. You could do your weekly shopping at this store and not have to go anywhere else. In the back of the store there’s a hot-and-cold salad bar, where you can also buy freshly prepared organic fruit smoothies and juices. They have a small selection of vegan soups, raw snacks, pies and entrees. I bought a vegan burrito and a few vegan gummy bears, and sat down on the wooden bench in front of the store for an al fresco lunch. West 13th street is very peaceful: there are trees and there’s little traffic – very unusual for Manhattan. It was perfect.
There aren’t any major sights nearby, so as a tourist you probably won’t just stumble across the store. You’ll have to seek it out. But it’s right in the middle of Greenwich Village, which I think is one of the most interesting neighborhoods in Manhattan anyway and a tourist attraction in its own right.
Address: 229 West 13th Street, 10011 NYC. The Yoga Institute is next door, and the Natural Apothecary is across the street.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 AM to 9:30 PM; Saturday open until 8:30 PM; Sunday 9:00 AM to 8:30 PM
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated March 22, 2012.
It’s time to review Hummus Place, a small NCY restaurant chain, which serves Mediterranean vegetarian food. I had lunch at one of their restaurants way back in May 2011, but never got around to writing the review, which is a shame because I quite enjoyed my visit. There are four Hummus Place restaurants in Manhattan, I ate at one of their two locations on the Upper West Side, at 305 Amsterdam Avenue (at 74th street).
At Hummus Place it’s all about the hummus. A staple of vegan diets, hummus is made of water, chick peas, tahini, olive oil, and lemon. At Hummus Place it’s made fresh (as you’d expect) and tastes delicious.
I ordered one of their lunch specials for $ 7.95, and got a free appetizer with my entrée. I chose Tahini, a sesame seed paste, and the hummus mushrooms (hummus topped with sautéed mushrooms, onions, spices and olive oil). It was served with freshly baked, warm pita bread. I ordered homemade lemonade ($2.50) as a drink. The total bill came to $ 11.38 with tax.
I liked Hummus Place not just for the food, but I also enjoyed the ambiance. There’s lots of wood and brick walls, the restaurants are light and airy and clean – not a given in New York City. The staff also didn’t pressure me to eat up and get out (to make room for the next patron), which happens frequently in Manhattan (and is something that all Europeans hate). Good, cheap food in a clean environment, where you’re allowed to linger – that’s an unbeatable combination.
My one (admittedly minor) complaint about Hummus Place is that vegan dishes aren’t marked as such on the menu. Most of the ingredients are listed, with helps, but “spices” can mean anything. I didn’t order any dessert, as it was unclear if any of them were suitable for vegans. I didn’t order any wine either, as the wine list lacked information about suitability for vegans (most wines are clarified with the help of animal products). I was also unsure about the pita bread. Many kinds of breads are made with animal ingredients, and I’m no baker. I looked up recipes for pita bread online afterwards and was happy to see that pita bread is usually made without milk or eggs; but it would have helped me immensely if all the vegan dishes on the menu had been labeled properly.
When it comes to vegan food, details matter. I could have (and would have) spent considerably more money at Hummus Place, if the menu had been clearer about which dishes and drinks were suitable for vegans. So there’s a missed business opportunity for Hummus Place, due to lack of proper information. It’s a shame really, as this is a vegetarian restaurant chain and there aren’t many of those around. Nevertheless, I whole-heartedly recommend this restaurant. Go visit, you’ll enjoy it.
Address: There are currently four locations in Manhattan, I had lunch at 305 Amsterdam Avenue at 74th Street
Opening hours: opening hours are different for each branch. Check the website. The restaurant on Amsterdam Avenue is open daily 10:30 AM until midnight.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated February 23, 2012.
The Ayurveda Cafe on Manhattan’s Amsterdam Avenue (on the Upper West Side) serves Indian (lacto-)vegetarian food. According to the teachings of Ayurveda, six tastes must be incorporated into every meal: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent.
The Ayurveda Cafe adheres to these teachings and offers a pre-set meal (lunch or dinner) with ten items each: an appetizer, two vegetable entrees, bread, lentils, basmati or brown rice, salad, raita, dessert, and assorted chutneys.
The set meal is your only choice, and the menu changes daily.
I’d read about this restaurant in Rynn Berry’s The Vegan Guide to New York City, and hadn’t really planned on stopping by, as I am not a believer in the teachings of Ayurveda. I prefer restaurants, which offer a selection of dishes for me to choose from. But then I happened to walk by the restaurant one day just around lunchtime, and decided to give it a try.
I am not as enthusiastic about the place as Rynn Berry, who gave this restaurant a glowing review in his guidebook. The décor and ambience didn’t impress me. I think the place could do with a bit of remodeling.
I liked the food, at least the dishes which I actually could eat. When I told the waitress that I was a vegan, she kept taking dishes away without offering any replacements. Three of the ten dishes were not vegan. I ended up paying for a lot of food that I wasn’t able to eat.
The service was lousy. I ate at many restaurants during my ten-day trip to New York City last May, and the service at Ayurveda Cafe was definitely the worst. The waitress was inattentive; she kept bringing me dishes, which were not vegan, only to take them away again moments later.
I also didn’t get a receipt, even after I asked for it. All I got was the credit card slip (which is not enough for Austrian financial authorities. I need proper receipts, and that’s been a problem in NYC on several occasions.)
Lunch at Ayurveda Cafe is currently $9.95 (without drinks), plus tax and tips. Dinner is $13.95.
Address: 706 Amsterdam Avenue at 94th Street, 10025 NYC
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 25, 2019.
Updated May 25, 2019:
Foyles is now located at 107 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB. They sold their flagship store and moved to this address in June 2014.
Original blog post:
When I arrived in London, England, for a week-long vacation last December, I headed straight over to Foyles right after I checked into the Piccadilly Backpackers Hostel. It’s one of my favorite places (to hang out and shop at) in London.
Foyles is one of the world’s largest bookstores. At their flagship store on Charing Cross Road they sell over 200.000 books on five floors, plus CDs, DVDs, stationery, sheet music, magazines, journals, and gifts. They have a staff of 80 booksellers.
The café at Foyles sells a selection of vegan cakes, and they have soy milk for coffees and teas. I had a cup of tea (£ 1.80) and a slice of carrot cake (£ 3.00) and spent an hour just hanging out at the café. Be warned: it’s a bit draughty there – it’s an old building, Foyles has been selling books at this location for about a hundred years – as most old buildings in England are not well insulated; but that’s part of their charm. There are large wooden tables, if you want to use your laptop, and there’s free WiFi.
I don’t care much about many of the usual tourist attractions; feel free to stand in line at Madame Tussauds without me. As long as I can spend hour after hour browsing the shelves at Foyles and hanging out at the café afterwards, I’m happy.
The bookstore is really quite wonderful, and if you are planning a vacation in London, make sure to stop by. Foyles was founded in 1903, and it is a family-owned business. You can read about the business’s colourful history on their website.
I buy a lot of books on Amazon, but always also try to support family-owned businesses. Foyles’s Charing Cross store has a large selection of London guidebooks, and I bought a copy of Secret London there, which is truly a marvelous book (I’ll review it at another time). I bought a copy of Mark Twain’s A Tramp Abroad, and spent a good part of my vacation hanging out at various coffee shops around the city reading those books. I also purchased a copy of Fry’s English Delight, a BBC audiobook, on which Stephen Fry discusses puns, metaphors, quotations, and clichés of the English language. If you can’t make it to London, check out their website, you can buy all books and other items online, where they also sell e-books, second-hand and out-of-print books.
Yes, I love this store, and no, they are not paying me to promote it.
Address: several stores throughout Great Britain, their flagship store is at 113-119 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0EB
Opening hours, Charing Cross store: Monday – Saturday 09:30 AM – 09:00 PM, Sundays 11:300 AM (tills open at 12:00 noon) – 6:00 PM. Check the website for opening hours on public holidays.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated January 21, 2012.
Veggie & Organic London is another good read for vegetarians who are planning a trip to London. I like it because it provides useful information not just about vegetarian restaurants and shops, but also about restaurants that use organic ingredients to prepare their food, and stores which sell organic products.
I generally prefer vegetarian guidebooks, which don’t include traditional restaurants, like The Vegan Guide to New York City. Unfortunately, most vegetarian guidebooks include restaurants that cater to omnivores, if those restaurants provide a good selection of vegetarian dishes.
I don’t find those kinds of guides quite as useful, but I like this one: all the traditional restaurants in this book use at least some organic ingredients to prepare their dishes. Organic farming is something I want to support, so I don’t mind eating at traditional restaurants, if I know that they use organic meat, fish, eggs, and milk products.
Just like Vegetarian London, this book is also divided into five sections – Central, North, West, South and East London – and the sections are further divided into smaller neighbourhoods.
This guidebook also provides additional information about shops, accommodation, caterers, animal welfare groups, farmers markets, cooking classes, and the like. It’s geared not just towards tourists, but also very useful for Londoners.
Veggie & Organic London was a good read, but in the end, I decided not to bring it with me. I found the information in Vegetarian London better suited to my needs. I’m first and foremost interested in vegetarian restaurants, and if I had to choose between a vegetarian and an organic restaurant, I’d always choose the vegetarian one.
Veggie & Organic London was published in 2009, and there doesn’t seem to be a website where information is updated on a regular basis. So expect this book to be somewhat out of date.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated February 20, 2012.
Vegetarian London is the ultimate guide to all things vegetarian in London, England. The book does not only provide reviews of vegan and vegetarian restaurants, it also lists shops, veggie-friendly accommodations, caterers, local and national animal welfare groups, vegan festivals, and the like. It’s a comprehensive guidebook, and really the only one you’ll need.
The restaurant reviews are grouped into five sections (Central – East London – North London – South & Surrey – West & Middlesex) and those sections are further divided into smaller neighbourhoods. The book also contains maps for many individual neighbourhoods, so if you are looking for restaurants in Soho, you’re immediately able to see where they’re located.
At the front of the book, there’s a summary of all the vegan, vegetarian, and traditional restaurants, and all the shops in each neighbourhood. For example, in Soho there are eight vegan restaurants, eleven vegetarian restaurants, and 32 traditional restaurants (with good vegetarian options) reviewed in this guidebook, as well as 23 shops which might be of interest to ethical consumers.
At the back of the book, you’ll find a number of indexes: shops and restaurants are grouped into “vegan,” “organic,” “cheap eats,” “veggie breakfast,” and a few more. Very useful stuff.
I especially like that this book does not just list restaurants and shops, but also promotes businesses owned and operated by vegans (moving company, certified accountant, etc.).
One thing is immediately obvious: there is a need for more suitable, “vegan-friendly” accommodations in London. There are a few guest houses and B&Bs, and some very expensive hotels, which will provide vegan food upon request, but altogether the list is quite short. Demand exceeds supply.
I found this guidebook very useful, my only complaint is that it includes a large number of traditional restaurants in addition to vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Almost half the listings are for traditional restaurants. I’d prefer it if they weren’t included in this book.
The current, 6th edition is from 2008, and some of the listings are outdated. But there’s a website, which lists updates, so check it out before you travel to London.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated January 16, 2012.
I created The Vegan Tourist shortly after I became a vegan about a year ago. All of a sudden, dining out became a challenge. Many restaurants offer a few vegetarian dishes, but they usually contain eggs and/or milk products. Not many restaurants cater to vegans.
I realized there was a demand that was not being met, not even recognized, and The Vegan Tourist was created out of my frustration with not being able to fully participate in the marketplace. I have money, I want to spend it, but I can’t: supply and demand are out of sync. Businesses are not offering consumers want they want.
It seems I’m not the only one who’s frustrated. In a recent article, journalist A.G. Sulzberger, chief of the Kansas City (Missouri) bureau for the New York Times, described the challenges of being a vegetarian in the Midwest: at one restaurant, his “meal” was a baked potato, at another his only option was a bread roll; at a third restaurant, his “safest option” was a mug of beer. (A.G.Sulzberger, The New York Times: “Meatless in the Midwest: A Tale of Survival”)
He goes on to describe a region where people are proud to be meat-lovers and vegetables are hard to find on restaurant menus. The owner of a vegetarian restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska, had “several pounds of ground beef thrown at its doors shortly after opening.”
When did vegetarians become the enemy? And what exactly are we guilty of? Eating our greens? Or not eating animals? Why should it offend anyone if we are eating fruits and vegetables instead of meat?
Contrary to popular belief, the Midwest doesn’t just raise cattle and pigs. According to the US Department of Agriculture, the value of production dollars for soybeans in Missouri in 2010 was US$ 5,616,391,000.00. That’s well over five billion dollars.
Another important crop in Missouri is rice (over 183 million dollars production value in 2010); wheat (almost 65 million) and potatoes (over 22 million) also create considerable income for Missouri’s farmers. They also grow watermelons and grapes, nuts and berries, as well as alfalfa. All are foods which vegetarians love to eat.
It’s even more astounding that the owner of a vegetarian restaurant in Nebraska was terrorized by a meat-thrower. One can only conclude that this anonymous terrorist was someone who’s terrified of vegetables, and people who eat them.
Nebraska produces considerable amounts of soybeans, wheat, potatoes, sunflower seeds, millet, oats, and all kinds of beans as well as peas. In 2010, the value of production dollars for edible beans in Nebraska was well over 76 million US dollars.
Ever heard of a vegan chilli? Throw some of those beans in a pot, add a few (locally grown) sweet potatoes, and serve a bowl of rice on the side. We also like the occasional tofu burger. Stop considering soy beans as animal feed and start looking at them as food.
Vegetarians aren’t the enemy. We’re consumers whose needs aren’t being met. Midwestern farmers should stop considering us as a “threat” and start thinking of vegetarians as a business opportunity that should be exploited. People are eating less meat, which means that farmers who raise cattle and pigs and chickens won’t have many opportunities to grow their businesses and increase their incomes.
But there’s opportunity for growth for vegetable and fruit farmers. And there are even bigger opportunities in organic farming.
So stop throwing meat at us, and start going after our money instead.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated February 19, 2012.
I didn’t get to travel as much as I would have liked last year, but I did manage to spend a week in London, England, at the beginning of December.
December’s a great month to visit London, if you don’t mind that it gets dark early in the afternoon. But the Brits really do get into the holiday spirit, and I quite enjoy London at this time of the year. The Christmas lights on Regent Street were fabulous,
and yes, that’s a pub full of Santa Clauses. You didn’t think there was just one, now did you?
I actually know London quite well, having lived there for a few years in the late nineties and early noughties, and am already familiar with many of the vegetarian restaurants. I nevertheless bought a couple of restaurant guides on Amazon before my trip, which I will review in the coming days (Veggie & Organic London and Vegetarian London – both books are available on Amazon UK, but not through their US website.)
Whenever I visit London, I stay at the Piccadilly Backpackers Hostel in Soho, which is situated one block behind Piccadilly Circus. The location and price are unbeatable (beds are from £ 12.00 per night, depending on the season and room size/number of beds per room – I paid £ 29.00 per night in a 6-bed mixed (male/female) room in December).
I generally prefer backpacker’s or youth hostels to regular hotels, because most of them simply don’t cater to vegan travellers. You’ll find down pillows at hotels, woollen blankets and/or carpets, leather chairs, and so forth. All are a big no-no for strict vegans, who try to live a cruelty-free life. And even though many hotels provide (ovo-lacto) vegetarian breakfasts these days, vegan foods are still not offered most of the time, so vegans are paying for goods and services they can’t use and don’t want. Hence, my preference for backpacker’s hostels and the like. They’re very basic, sometimes outright grungy, but generally cruelty-free.
Consider yourself warned: The Piccadilly Backpackers Hostel really offers very little besides cheap beds in a great location. The women’s washroom on my floor consisted of three shower stalls without doors (just curtains), three toilets, and one (yes, one) small sink for everyone. Let’s just say that all the women on this floor got to know each other very well. Still, I’ve been staying there for many years, and I intend to come back in the future.
The hostel does offer some basic (mostly non-vegan) breakfast options. But there’s a small Whole Foods supermarket right around the corner, which opens early in the morning. They offer some great breakfast choices (e.g. a vegan yoghurt pot with fruit), and they also sell coffee with soy milk.
London is a great city for vegan tourists. The city is truly multi-cultural, and many Londoners are vegetarians. Feeding yourself won’t be difficult. During my latest visit, I purposely tried to eat in as many non-vegetarian restaurants as possible, just to see how easy or difficult that would be. I was pleasantly surprised. I was almost always able to at least buy some vegan sushi or a hummus sandwich, something I wasn’t able to do in New York City, for example.
I’ll post more detailed restaurant and store reviews in the coming days, but if you’ve never been to London before, just go. It’s a great city, and a great place to be vegan.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated February 18, 2012.
Before I travelled to New York City in May 2011, I ordered two guide books from Amazon: The Vegan Guide to New York City and Veg Out: Vegetarian Guide to New York City.
Of the two, The Vegan Guide to New York City is by far the superior guide book for vegans, and I already reviewed it a while ago. I visited many vegetarian restaurants during my ten-day stay in Manhattan, and I found all of them through this book.
Veg Out: Vegetarian Guide to New York City was a disappointment, however, and I didn’t bother to take it along on my trip.
For starters, the second (most recent) edition of this guide book is from 2006, and restaurants shut down all the time, with new ones opening. I feared that it would simply be outdated.
My biggest complaint about this book is that it’s simply not a vegetarian guide. Out of the 172 restaurants reviewed in Manhattan, 112 were not vegetarian restaurants at all but restaurants with “full menus and vegetarian and vegan choices.” (The book also covers Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.)
As a vegan, I want to support businesses that cater to vegetarians, and I don’t mind going out of my way to find and visit them. I found the book’s title misleading. Almost all restaurants have vegetarian choices these days (some more than others), but many vegans are concerned about cross-contamination with non-vegan foods, and prefer to eat in restaurants that don’t offer meat or seafood (myself included).
So this book isn’t very useful for vegans, and probably not of much interest to carnivores. Maybe that’s the reason why it hasn’t been updated recently, and the latest edition is from 2006.
Buy The Vegan Guide to New York City instead. It’s updated every year.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated February 17, 2012.
One of the best food deals in Manhattan is a dosa (Indian rice and lentil pancake) from New York Dosas.
New York Dosas is not a restaurant, mind you, but a vegan food cart operated by the “DosaMan” Thiru Kumar Kandasamy and his team.
I started this website because I strongly believe that there is a huge demand for vegan products and services that’s not being met. I want to show businesses that good money can be made, if they start catering to vegan customers.
If you want proof, just look at the photo. When’s the last time you saw people lining up like that at a non-vegan food cart?
New York Dosas sells a variety of dosas, uthappams (thick pancakes), a few other main dishes (curry, noodles), and a selection of Indian appetizers, like samosas, vegan drumsticks, and veggie rolls.
I chose a Masala Dosa, which has a spicy potato filling, and loved it. It was not too spicy, and just right. It only cost five dollars, too, and completely filled me up. Try getting a good, filling lunch elsewhere in Manhattan for just five bucks!
There’s a great review (with lots of photos) on the “New York Street Food” website, so check it out. It’ll give you a good idea of what to expect.
You can find the food cart in Greenwich Village, on the south side of Washington Square Park. Thiru Kumar and his team can usually be found there Mondays to Saturdays, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM, but check his facebook page, where he regularly updates his customers about upcoming vacations, days off, etc.
Address: West 4th at Sullivan Street, 10014 Manhattan
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated May 25, 2019.
Updated on May 25, 2019: I updated information about opening hours, and they also have a new website.
Original blog post:
Cafe Viva is a vegetarian restaurant on Manhattan’s upper West Side. I visited it back in May 2011, but put off writing the review until now.
I started this website to promote businesses which cater to vegan customers, so when I encounter a business which tries to do just that, but then gets it oh-so-wrong, it’s a huge disappointment. Hence the procrastination in writing this review.
Cafe Viva is quite literally the worst Italian restaurant I have ever visited.
I am lucky to live in Vienna, Austria, where we have many Italian-owned restaurants. After all, Italy borders on Austria, and Venice lies just across the border. I’ve eaten the best pizza in Italy, but many Italians live and work in Vienna, so we get the real deal, too. I love Italian food and all Italian restaurants usually have some vegan options (including pizza), even if they don’t specifically cater to vegetarians or vegans.
I stopped by Cafe Viva shortly after 11:00 AM, wanting to buy a slice of pizza before I continued with my day. The restaurant’s opening hours are listed as 11:00 AM to 10:45 PM (daily). Not true; it didn’t open until 11:45 AM. When it finally did open, I was disappointed right from the start: Cafe Viva isn’t much of a restaurant; it’s a take-out joint with a handful of tables alongside one wall. There’ only counter service, and you get your pizza served on a paper plate.
Rynn Berry had writen a positive review inThe Vegan Guide to New York City, and recommended the Santa Rosa pizza (no cheese). I asked for a slice and it wasn’t available. My second choice, a slice of Zen pizza, was also not available, though both are listed on the menu.
I had to choose between pizza Naturale and a slice of Mother Earth (vegan back in May 2011, now prepared with mozzarella); I decided on Mother Earth: a whole wheat crust pizza with vegan soy meatballs, a light sauce, and some vegetables (US $ 5.40 including tax).
It tasted awful. Way too much sauce (advertised as “mild,” but quite spicy). The pizza was drowning in it. There’s not much more I can say. I’ve never had worse.
It makes me sad to write this review, I wish I could say something positive. I appreciate the owner’s decision to open a vegetarian Italian “restaurant” (take-out joint), but he doesn’t quite seem to understand that there are all kinds of vegetarians, all with very different dietary needs.
For example, Cafe Viva offers a few “vegan” choices – dishes served with soy cheese. However, a note was posted at the counter informing customers that their vegan cheese was in fact not vegan: it contained L. casei, which is produced in the stomachs of animals.
What’s the point of offering soy-based cheese pizzas, if vegans can’t eat them? Who are the target customers for these pizzas? Lactose-intolerant (but non-vegetarian) people? Even worse: the pizzas, which contained the non-vegan soy cheese, were listed as “vegan” on the menu.
It seems to me that the owner’s intentions are good, but that he seems to have no real understanding of his customers (and doesn’t seem to know much about strict vegan diets). That’s something I expect from restaurants which cater to omnivores, but not from a restaurant which specifically targets vegetarians.
There were a few 100% vegan dishes on the menu, but clearly they’re not available at all times. Maybe only for dinner? Or only for customers who order a whole pizza?
Who knows? Who cares? I won’t be coming back.
Address: 2578 Broadway at 97th Street, 10031 Manhattan.
Opening hours: Monday – Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 12:00 AM, Thursday: 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM, Friday: 11:00 AM – 11:30 PM, Saturday: 11:00 AM – 1:00 AM, Sunday: 11:00 AM – 12:30 AM.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated October 9, 2011.
In my last blog entry, I reviewed MooShoes, a New York-based retailer of vegan shoes. The store sells shoes from more than thirty different manufacturers, and as I was unfamiliar with most brands, I spent some time online and checked out the companies’ websites.
Several businesses (but not all) manufacture exclusively vegan shoes, and their commitment to a vegan lifestyle is obvious from their mission statements and all other content on their websites.
Other companies sell a mixture of non-vegan and vegan shoes.
I also found a few companies that list so little information about the materials they use for their shoes, that I was somewhat alarmed. How can I be sure that their shoes are vegan, if they don’t even mention it on their websites?
Going through life as a vegan is a huge commitment. We live in a non-vegan world, and as so many products are highly processed, it is difficult to judge which items are truly vegan. Companies, which sell their products to vegan consumers, need to be aware that we have a much higher need for information about the products we purchase than other consumers. We want to know, we need to be sure.
This increased need for information is something that many companies, which market their products to vegan consumers, do not seem to be aware of. As a vegan, this is my biggest request to manufacturers, businesses, and retailers: please provide us with as much information as possible. Every detail matters!
Shoes, which are marketed as vegan, are especially difficult to verify as such. A shoe that isn’t made from leather isn’t necessarily vegan.
For example, some kind of glue is used in the production of most shoes. And most brands of industrial glue contain animal by-products. Unless a manufacturer uses vegan glue, the shoes won’t be considered vegan.
This is where it gets tricky, as most manufacturers – even those that describe themselves as “vegan” – provide very little information about the kind of glue they use. Or they just don’t know.
The owners of Vegan Wares, a brilliant Australian company, which is fully committed to manufacturing vegan shoes, address the problem on their website: “…because we don’t personally make every component used in our shoes, & do not manufacture each ingredient which is used in the production of glues, soles, heel & toe stiffeners, labels, etc, we still do have to rely on the assurances of other people who are not always in tune with our principles & who may not be fully aware of the origins of all the materials they work with.”
So there you go. Even the manufacturers of vegan shoes have problems tracing all the components they use in the production of their products.
And it’s not just glue vegans need to be concerned about. What exactly are heel and toe stiffeners? And does anybody now how rubber is produced and processed? I certainly don’t. But I need to know.
The more I read about the manufacturing of shoes, the more frustrated I get. It seems almost impossible to find shoes, which are 100 percent guaranteed vegan.
Clearly, there’s a need for more information, and it is my hope that the manufacturers of vegan shoes will provide this information on their websites, so vegan consumers can feel confident in their choices.
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated October 9, 2011.
MooShoes was the only store on my to-do list (other than book stores) when I went to New York City last May on a business trip. I stopped by the store on my last day in the city, after a quick detour to BabyCakes for a treat (the bakery is located just around the corner).
Vegan shoes are mostly sold through Webshops. Very few retailers sell vegan shoes in their stores. Those that do, usually offer few choices.
MooShoes is different. It’s a vegan-owned business, and the owners only sell cruelty-free footwear. They also offer a selection of bags, t-shirts, wallets, books, and other accessories, but the real draw are the shoes.
So many to choose from, especially for women!
There are about 300 different women’s shoes for sale, plus a smaller selection of shoes for men. The store sells shoes from well over thirty different manufacturers from all over the world.
If you can’t make it to New York City, MooShoes also sells its merchandise through an online store, and they offer international shipping.
Here’s some additional information from their website: “MooShoes is home to a slew of rescued cats who were adopted from some of our favorite local organizations, many of whom hold adoption days at our store from time to time. We’ve been lucky enough to hold many events at the store for many talented, generous individuals and organizations in the vegan community.”
Buy some shoes, adopt a cat. That’s my kind of store.
Address: 78 Orchard Street, 10002 Manhattan.
Opening hours: Mondays through Saturdays 11:30 AM – 7:30 PM, Sundays 12:00 noon – 6:00 PM.
I read about BabyCakes NYC long before my trip to New York City last May. This bakery is famous, even in Europe. I bought one of their cookbooks, BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery, shortly before I left for NYC, and couldn’t wait to make my way down to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, so I could sample their cupcakes.
BabyCakes NYC is famous for their gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free products. All baked goods are vegan, and they sell a wide variety of cupcakes, tea cakes, muffins, biscuits, scones, cakes, and pies.
On my first visit, I bought a lemon cupcake. And yes, I went back to the bakery a second time (for a spelt vanilla cupcake). What can I say? They’re addictive. Cupcakes are $ 3.50 each, plus tax.
The bakery is located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and Moo Shoes, which sells vegan shoes, is right around the corner. This neighbourhood is definitely worth a trip for vegan tourists.
After I returned to Vienna, I tried one of the recipes in the cookbook. I made spelt biscuits, and was very pleased with myself. I’m not a good cook, but even I wasn’t able to screw up this simple recipe. I’ll try the shortcakes next.
Address: 248 Broome Street (between Orchard & Ludlow), 10002 Manhattan.
There are two other locations in the US, in Los Angeles and at Disney World (Florida).
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated September 19, 2011.
Update February 24, 2021: The restaurant’s website is out of service, Liquiteria seems to be no longer in business.
Liquiteria is a juice bar in Manhattan’s East Village, which also serves breakfast and sells a small selection of sandwiches and soups. Most of the food sold at Liquiteria is vegetarian or vegan. When I visited in May 2011, the only non-vegetarian item on the menu was a tuna fish sandwich.
I read about this place in The Vegan Guide to New York City, where it was described as super-clean, which immediately appealed to me. I have simple tastes and really only ask three things of any restaurant: cleanliness, fresh ingredients, and simple, tasty vegan food. You won’t find me at any fancy, expensive restaurants. I just don’t get the appeal of those kinds of establishments.
At Liquiteria, I ordered a Papaya Paradise smoothie from their “liquid meals” selection (papaya, peaches, bananas, apple cider, vanilla soy milk, and shredded coconut). Tell them to prepare it without the honey, which is usually added to the smoothie. A 20 oz smoothie costs $ 6.45 (plus tax and tips). It’ll fill you up and is perfect as a light lunch.
While I waited, I was also offered a free sample of a Grasshopper, one of their fresh pressed juices. It’s prepared with apple, pear, pineapple, wheatgrass and mint, and was incredibly refreshing. I loved it.
There’s only counter service at Liquiteria, but the staff is very friendly, which deserves a special mention.
Please note that Liquiteria does not have any bathrooms, and no real indoor dining area. There are a few bar stools and a counter along one of the walls, where you can sit down and consume your food. There are also a few benches in front of the bar. I spent a few minutes sitting there, enjoying the sun, drinking my smoothie, and it was fine; but this juice bar is primarily geared towards take-out service and not a place that invites you to linger.
Address: 170 Second Avenue (at 11th Street), Manhattan
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM; Saturday and Sunday 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Please note: This article was first published on The Vegan Tourist and last updated September 5, 2011.
Update May 25, 2019: This restaurant closed in 2011.
Original blog post:
“Vegan – raw – mostly organic”: that’s how the restaurant describes itself and I couldn’t put it any better. “Bonobo’s” is a vegan restaurant that serves “fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds” and no dish (including soups) is heated above 118°F.
I’d read about this restaurant in The Vegan Guide to New York City and even though I am not a disciple of the raw food movement, I liked the fact that this restaurant offers something different.
“Bonobo’s” sells a large selection of fresh pressed juices and fruit blends. The salad buffet also offers many choices, including a variety of vegan dressings. Then there are various nut and herb pates, and nut and seed mousses. They have a couple of entrees and a nice selection of pies, puddings, fudges, and candies. They also had vegan maki for sale when I was there (even though it’s not on the menu). For a restaurant, which only serves raw food, there are a lot of dishes to choose from.
I decided on a selection of salads, which were already prepared with different dressings. I’d become a vegan only a little while ago, but had already started to miss a few choice foods. Creamy yoghurt dressings were on the top of my list, so I was eager to try a selection of vegan yoghurt-style dressings.
I chose three different salads: an Italian Zucchini salad, which was prepared with a vegan “yoghurt” dressing; an Asian Slaw salad with a vegan mayonnaise dressing; and a mixed salad with a creamy curry dressing.
This 3-salad bowl came to $ 9.95 plus tax. There’s only counter service, and the restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol.
The salads (and dressings) were all very yummy, and I left determined to learn how to cook (better) – or at least how to make creamy vegan dressings.
Address: 18 East 23rd Street, Manhattan
Opening hours: open for lunch, not sure about dinner – the restaurant doesn’t list its opening hours on the Website.