Friday, June 5, 2009

And the credits roll...

Here's my comprehensive guide to all the vegan treats I enjoyed, as well as the awesome company I enjoyed, during my trip. I didn't get to all the spots on my list, so I'm only listing the ones that are Erika-approved. A million bazillion thanks go out to all the people who made my trip as awesome as it was. You're the best!*

*this is a choose-your-own-song game. You can go with Tina Turner or Karate Kid.


La Saga vegetarian shop sells mostly vegan goods (except for one small case of dairy products). Normally they are at Rue de la Chevalerie/Ridderschapslaan 9, just north of the Jubilee Park, but at the moment their brick-and-mortar store is being renovated, so you can find them in a little gray trailer in a parking bay nearby on the same street. Nearest Metro station is Merode.

Den Haag:

My time in The Netherlands would not be complete without the hospitality and wonderful company of my friends Anne and Anjani. It's always a pleasure to see them, and they went out of their way to make sure I could eat vegan in their hood! Congratulations are also in order, as they got married on May 26!

We ate at De Wankele Tafel in Den Haag, at Mauritskade 79. There are only two vegan items on the permanent menu, a Mexican bean dish and a dish with a peanut sauce, but when we were there the daily soups were vegan. A very cute environment!


Be warned that much of everything is closed on Monday in The Netherlands! That said, I was able to find a much-needed rest and refueling at Deshima macrobiotic restaurant at Weteringschans 65A, just across the road from the Rijksmuseum. It's standard vegan fare, nothing too mind-blowing, but keep your eyes on the cost! It's pretty pricey for a salad bar. There is a natural foods store in the basement.

Also throughout the Netherlands is Albert Heijn (pronounced 'Hine'), a supermarket with plenty of nasty packaged food, but with one amazing snack for vegans- those coconut sticks with mango-banana dipping sauce! One of those will only set you back around 1.95 Euro.


Big thanks go out to Emmie of VegBitch blog and her new husband Alex, for showing me around Malmö and Lund and putting me up for the night! Emmie made some mind-blowingly awesome vegan kanelbullar, and they both did an excellent job of making sure my stomach was completely stuffed by the time I headed to Stockholm. 

Undoubtedly one of the highlights of my trip was Kaptensbruns Kiosk, your standard park kiosk selling burgers and hot dogs, but with a mind-boggling array of vegetarian items, most of which are also vegan. All items are very reasonably priced (about $5 for a burger and fries), and all vegan items are clearly marked on the separate vegetarian menu. The kiosk is located at Lilla Nygatan in Raoul Wallenbergs Park

You can also load up on groceries and snacks at Astrid och Aporna, the store that really got the vegan movement going in Malmö. They make several own-brand products that are carried at restaurants and stores throughout southern Sweden, including spicy chorizo and a limited edition Christmas ham tube! They're located at Gustav Möllersgatan 2

Astrid och Aporna has recently opened a cafe, aptly titled Astrid och Aporna Kök (pronounced "shurk"), which sells coffee, treats, salads, and sandwiches. I believe they also have wi-fi, so it's a great place to hang out! The cafe is at Bergsgatan 20


As always, tons of love goes out to my family, most notably my cousins Anna-Carin and Cathrine, as well as Cathrine's wonderful and fun wife Maria. And of course Ester, for making my visit that much more cuter! I know I've probably said this ten times already, but I'm blown away by the amount of vegan stuff that has blossomed in Stockholm since my last visit in 2002. I only got to see a fraction of it, because family is more important than stuffing your face! But I look forward to several more visits in the future and definitely plan on slowly but surely trying everything Stockholm has to offer the hungry young vegan. 

Goodstore is the first stop on anyone's list for plenty of vegan groceries, from soap made from recycled falafel frying oil to vegan rashers and cheezly. Oh, and of course the famous Swedish glace vegan ice cream! It's located at Skånesgatan 92 in Södermalm. Nearest Tunnelbanan (subway) station is Slussen.

Naturbageriet Sattva is an all-vegetarian bakery with vegan items clearly marked. They sell a lot of delicious junk like kanelsniglar (cinnamon rolls with strips of frosting) as well as savory items like perogies, so they're good for a snack no matter what you're craving. There are two locations where you can load up, in Gamla Stan (Stora Nygatan 6) and Södermalm (Krukmakargatan 27). The closest Tunnelbanan stations are Gamla Stan and either Mariatorget or Zinkensdamm, respectively.


My awesome hosts were Maria and Peter, and they made Helsingborg one of the highlights of my trip. They are great folks with their hearts in the right place, and I can't say enough kind things about them. I'm looking forward to seeing them again soon, whether it's in Sweden or here in California!

Even if you don't have a sweet tooth, you'll be hard pressed not to find something to love at vegan-friendly Ebba's Fik, a 50's-style diner smack middle in downtown Helsingborg. In addition to burgers and fries, there is a mouthwatering and enormous array of sweets to enjoy, from differently-flavored chocolate balls to cookies, cakes, and cobblers. And of course, it wouldn't deserve the title of fik without plenty of strong hot coffee. Not everything is vegan, but a great selection is, so be sure to ask if you go. Photos of the place ad its meticulous vintage decor are frowned upon, unless you are photographing your own party and food. Bruksgatan 20.

Vegeriet is a combination veggie salad bar and culinary school serving strictly organic, vegetarian goods. The staff/students are friendly and are happy to tell you which items are vegan. You can choose between the daily specials and the pay-by-weight hot food and salad bar. There is a small shop with little vegan snacks and groceries adjoining the dining room. Järnsvägsgatan 25.

Also in Sweden- most ICA (pronounced ee-ka in Sweden) grocery stores carry Estrella Grill flavored potato chips. Not only are they vegan, they're amazing. I built a special little box so I could bring four packets home in my suitcase without smooshing them. They're that good. Emmie tipped me off that all McDonalds restaurants in Sweden have a vegan option! It's called the McBean burger, and while it may not be on every menu in Sweden, it should be available. It's a vegan bean burger patty and the dressing and bun are also vegan. It shares a deep fryer only with the apple pie, which is also vegan. Unlike the states and other countries, the French fries at McDonalds in Sweden have no beef additives and are also safe for vegans to eat. And of course there is the famous Swedish Glace vegan ice cream in delicious flavors! Also look out for Tofu-Line brand ice cream. Ironically, Swedish fish are not vegan in Sweden, where they contain beeswax! Also not vegan in the whole of Europe are Oreos, which contain milk products.


I had a great time getting to know my internet buddy Ditte, who was not only a fantastic tour guide but, I think, will be a really great friend as well. She was kind enough to put up with multiple schedule changes and even let me crash on her comfy couch! She tried to give me half the contents of her kitchen to take on the bus to Berlin with me. I look forward to spending more time with her someday!

In the amazing and awesome neighborhood of Christiania we ate at Morgenstedet, Fabriksområdet 134, although good luck finding any actual street signs in Christiania. It's very basic health food that hearkens back to the 1970s, but there's plenty of healthy veggies and whole grains to balance you out if you feel a little overwhelmed by junk food. The highlight is undoubtedly the garden where you can sit and eat surrounded by plants. You'll never believe you're in the middle of the country's largest city. 

We also got some amazing chocolate croissants and sugary junky candy! I'll ask Ditte where those were and update this post.


I am eternally grateful to Marijke of Vegan in the City, who graciously (and bravely) invited me to her home despite only knowing my name through our mutual friend Melisser. She guiding my flapping choppers to some of the tastiest vegan food in the whole of Europe. I am still dreaming about some of these things. I had a great time getting to know her and talking about the fascinating history of Berlin, and I hope for both our sakes that she is able to return to San Francisco soon!

Top of the list is Yoyo Foodworld in the very vegan-friendly area around Boxhagener Platz. They have an absolutely staggering menu filled with burgers and wraps, and although I'd like to try everything, I have to strongly recommend the chicken cheeseburger. Prices are good, too! Around five Euros for a burger and fries, that's not too shabby. The service is a bit slow but that's because they're making everything from scratch. And when you take that first bite you'll forget all about the twenty-minute wait. Gärtnerstrasse 27.

Around the corner at Krossener Strasse 12 is Cupcake, a bakery started by an American two years ago to fill the cupcake niche in Berlin. When I went there were only boring vanilla cupcakes for vegans, but I was more than assuaged by delicious blueberry and apple pies with vegan whipped cream. The crust was flaky and melty all at once- delicious! They also make espresso drinks with soy milk and you can buy vegan-friendly drinks (such as chocolate soymilk) from the case in the bakery.

Also nearby at Grünberger Strasse 67 is Hot Dog Soup, a small shop selling, you guessed it, hot dogs and soup. Vegan items are clearly marked, and are cheap! A perfect snack for when you need recharging halfway through the Sunday Boxhagener Platz flea market!

If you're still hungry in Boxhagener Platz, take a five minute stroll over to Vöner, the vegan doner kebab shop! They make their own speciality seitan mix and form it in a cone over a rotating spit, just like real doner! I believe all of the standard sauces are vegan, and if you really want to go European, they will give you vegan mayonnaise with your fries. Boxhagenerstrasse 56.

In the hip Kreuzberg area is Veni Vidi Vegi, a vegan grocery store selling all the vegan stuff you require, from Tartex to Cheezly to animal rights patches. They're at Pücklerstrasse 72.

At Dunckerstrasse 2a is Hans Wurst, a very relaxed and modern vegan cafe with a modest menu but maximum chill-out potential. with open floor-to-ceiling windows and comfy stuffed chairs and couches on the sidewalks, it's a wonderful place to go, rest your feet, and just zone out a bit, rain or shine. Plus they've got a waiter who is simultaneously the cutest and the friendliest German man I have ever met. 

Finally, at Weiner Strasse 19 you'll find Yellow Sunshine, a vegetarian burger joint with amazing food. I highly recommend the Hawaiian chicken burger! They also have vegan soft-serve, but sadly it was out of order the day I went. So go for me and try it out!

Phew! I also have to thank my mom, who volunteered out of the blue to pick me up at SFO and then even took me to the Mission for a post-flight burrito. Thanks! 

I had a great time, and I'm looking forward to the next trip (although I'm very happy to be sitting on my own couch with a dog sleeping next to me). See you soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 22- Comin' home!

After a short delay in Berlin, we finally got off the ground and made it to Amsterdam. I felt like an awesome local because I knew exactly where to go and even figured out how to change trains by myself! Here's a very rude-looking poster:

After spending a final night in Den Haag, I returned to the airport with Anne in the morning, since he had to work at the rail station, which is inside the airport. Since I was a few hours early, I got to hang out in the first class rail lounge! Here's Anne showing off his house:

Chillaxin' first class-style.

Let me tell you, when you're an uneasy flyer to begin with, the last thing you want to see when you go to buy reading material at the airport is headlines in ten different languages about how an airplane has gone missing in the middle of the Atlantic the night before. It didn't help that it was an Air France flight that went missing between Brazil and Paris, and that my flight was an NWA/KLM/Air France codeshare. 

Thankfully, it was very smooth flying! Aside from the fact that it was an old-school plane with one screen for the entire cabin. What kind of barbarism is this? 

The first order of business was to get a burrito in my belly! Then I went home and saw my sweet puppy again! Here she is enjoying her treat from Astrid och Aporna:

And here are all MY treats! I'm happy to report that despite some light smooshing and denting, nothing exploded in my bag. 

Phew! I managed to sleep from 7pm to 7am, and am now trying to catch up on all my bills. Fun time! I want to thank all my friends and family who hosted me while I was over there. I'll be posting once more with a full list of the cool places I recommend in the Schengen states as well as a list to pimp everyone's personal projects and blogs!

Days 18-21: Berlin, Germany with pics!

Woo, everybody! I'm home! But first, let me give you the quick recap of my last few days in Europe. I finished up in Berlin, which comes highly recommended from certain vegans I know, so I was looking forward to it! Here are some pics:

Happy outlet is happy to help you with all your electrical needs!

Yoyo Foodworld. Holy crap, this place is great. It's a lot of really simple stuff, like wraps and burgers. But man, sometimes you just need something simple like a burger. And this place is the bee's knees. I'll be dreaming about their food.

Marijke, my adorable and super-friendly host! She loooves robots! I hope they are kind to her when they take over the world, because she's really been boosting their image.

OHYESOHYESOHYES: This is a faux chicken-cheeseburger thingie I got from Yoyo on Marijke's recommendation. It was a good recommendation. And all those fries! This gigantic meal was somewhere around 5 Euros. Not bad!

Then we walked around the corner to Cupcake, a bakery opened by an American who just decided to up and move to Berlin one day. Not everything is vegan, but she had two vegan pies when Marijke and I visited- I had the blueberry, and Marijke had the apple. Yum yummy! 

Ponys fur alle- ponies for everyone! Look at this godless communism still alive and well in East Berlin! It's even in pink spraypaint. What's next, free libraries and healthcare? Go back to Pyongyang, you red!

Some good ol' utilitarian East German architecture, with some fresh modern colors.

Yup, this is East Berlin all right! This is a school with chickens and goats. The goats don't have anything to climb on, though, the poor things. Goats need to climb!

I thought this was hilarious the first time I saw it, without realizing this is actually quite a big trend in Berlin: the beach bar. They bring in truckloads of sand, set up a volleyball net and some reclining chairs, and wrap bamboo around the bar. Later on Marijke went to a seemingly-normal bar that actually had sand inside. I would hate to be the tenant to rent the space after them. They'd be finding sand for years!

Hot dog soup! This is in the same neighborhood as Yoyo Foodworld and Cupcake, where I returned on Sunday for an awesome flea market (where I found original 1980s Adam Ant patches!). 

I had a Brazilian hotdog. It's like a regular hotdog, but with no pubic hair.

Ha ha! Some brilliant person printed up these stickers of someone's Brazilian ballsack and had been putting them up in deserving places all over Berlin. This is Michael Wendler, a popular 'schlager' musician. As Marijke explained to me, schlager is kind of a modern folk music that's really popular in Germany. I don't really get it- but hey, David Hasselhoff is huge in Germany, too, so I guess crap is popular among certain people over there! Michael is so beloved that the next day this sticker was removed. 

More old-school architecture:

Swamp thing vs. Nazi!

Here are my pics of the East Side Gallery! See the previous post for an explanation on what this is and my rant against tourists who feel the need to write their stupid names on every national monument.

Heaven and Hell! It's Black Sabbath but with Dio instead of Ozzy! it's like they cut the crap right out and stuck a gold nugget in its place! Pranjal and I are hoping to go when they come to California.

The advantages of having a native host is that you get inside jokes explained to you. Like Swedish, the German word for pug is 'mops.' But apparently in Germany 'mops' is slang for breast, so when a woman has two pugs, you can say "nice mops!" Har de har har!

Disturbing and awesome:

Berlin's trademark TV tower!

Vegan avenger?

I love the image of GMO corn in a handkerchief and sunglasses. 

Lenin's got a new job, now. It's kind of like what happened at the end of The Last Emperor.

Ha ha, poop on Nazis!

Street art in Berlin- there's a lot of crap street art out there, but even more amazing art. I had a great time wandering around looking at some of the enormous DIY pieces out there on the sides of buildings and other strange places- even on abandoned TVs!

The vegan doner shop! They make a seitan-veggie mix and form it in a pillar which is rotated on a spit, just like meat doner! The novelty of it is really entertaining. And I love their logo. What a happy little monster!

My voner and frites. Sadly, I was kind of underwhelmed by the taste of it, but it's cool that it exists in the first place! I wouldn't go to Berlin just for this, but hey, I wouldn't kick it out of bed, either.

On Monday I went to the Carnival of Cultures- which is basically a carnival of cheap crap sold out of tents and drunk people wearing silly hats and outfits. But it was something to do! And it was a holiday, so a lot of other stuff was closed. 

Gross! This is how all the German meaty stuff at the festival was prepared- on a giant grill suspended over a giant barbeque pit.

Cute little espresso truck!

A Vietnamese baobao! Some drunk guy was amazed that I was taking pictures of my food. He's obviously never met a vegan before.

I sat for a while and enjoyed a beer on the river in true German festival style! I had to leave a deposit of 2 euros for the glass, which makes me think I should have just taken it. At least I got it back, though. Although the culture shock and slight misunderstanding of it really made the woman working the tent hate me. Although I got that impression from a lot of Germans. Sorry, dudes!

This drunk ass guy was belly dancing. The funny part of it is he wasn't half bad!

Nothing says "punk's not dead" like an eight year-old girl out with her family at a festival. Actually, it was pretty cute.

Beer! Germany knows how to do it right.

After the festival I walked up to nearby Checkpoint Charlie, the historic checkpoint between East and West Berlin.

An old section of the wall. I was kind of surprised at how diminutive it was, at least in comparison to how I'd imagined it.

The old DDR-built cars! You can rent them and drive them around. 


The Holocaust memorial at the Brandenburg gate. It was really well done! It looks like a chaotic jumble of stones from a distance, but inside it, you realize that it's neatly laid out in precise rows and columns. As a result, you feel completely isolated in this giant maze of stones, but you are surrounded by people you simply can't see, and can only catch glimpses of. Very thought-provoking!

This made me laugh.

Hans Wurst! This is a pretty chilled out vegan cafe where I was happy to rest a bit and enjoy some coffee and cake. As soon as I sat down it started raining outside, and it was great to just sit there by an open window and listen to the rain while hanging out.

Apricot poppyseed cake. I was sadly a little underwhelmed- especially since the bottom was burnt. But the waiter was super cute, and one of the more friendly waiters I'd met on my trip, so I let it slide...

The Hans Wurst entry!

Back at Yoyo Foodworld! This is Marijke's salad with 'party balls.' Put my balls in your mouth, it'll be a party!

I got a 'bacon cheeseburger.' Totally amazing.

Cute little lemonade truck!

Yellow Sunshine! Another burger joint, it was crazy good.

LOOK AT THIS THING OH MY GOD! It's their Hawaiian chicken burger- it had faux chicken patties, faux cheese, faux bacon, and pineapple. It was baby Jesus in a bun.

Somehow all the iced drinks I ordered in Germany were never actually iced. Or perhaps 'iced' has a different meaning in Germany, as in 'let one small cube of ice melt in this piping hot drink so that it's lukewarm.' So this is my "iced" tea. It was still good, though!

Later that day I embarked on my trip home, or at least the first leg of it, flying to Amsterdam and spending the night again in Den Haag before continuing the next day. Thanks so much to Marijke for being such a friendly and accommodating host! It was so great to meet a new vegan buddy! I hope to see her stateside very soon, because I know that would make both of us very happy!