My England Diaries
Hello my awesome people!!
I am very sorry for ditching you the last week but I have honestly been unable to produce anything readable while flying from one place to another.
I did manage to put up 4 VLOGS from my England adventure though so be sure to check out my YouTube channel.
And since I showed you so much great food I got to eat during my travels (way too much) I decided to put together a list of all the places I have tried and call it a guide. Too sneaky?
Well this hasn’t been my first and hopefully as well last trip to the beautiful city called London so I have gathered some good spots already. One thing to remember though is that London is incredibly huge and I think that no one can really discover all of its secrets.
Eating Vegan In London
Let me assure you that London is super vegan friendly city. The entire England is. Most of the restaurants and cafes – including traditional british pubs will have AT LEAST one vegan option. For vegetarians, there is nothing to stop you.
I live in Prague and have traveled to many many places so trust me when I say this. It feel so easy being vegan in England. Naturally, since the vegan and vegetarian population there is so high, places tend to either evolve into being able to cater to all kinds of people or completely specialized places are born.
With that in mind I was once again feeling like at home the moment I saw familiar London streets. However, not all food places, even if they offer a broad vegan menu are created equal.
So should we take a look at some of the ones I tried?
My first time in London as a vegan
I still remember how excited I was on my first trip to London, already living near Bristol at the time. I was traveling with my amazing roommate and since she is vegetarian, we had similar ideas about food places to visit.
If we take a map of London there are good options almost anywhere but I find the biggest concentration starts at SOHO. Yes. bit more pricey at times but well worth it.
For lunch we stopped by at SAGAR. It is a very lovely Indian restaurant, with fully vegetarian menu, offering huge vegan selection. They have 4 branches in London but we ended up in the one near Tottenham Court Road. The interior was very cozy, small but spacious just enough with very polite staff. The prices were well worth the experience, I paid about 13 pounds for full meal including drinks. If you feel like eating Indian and not out of a food truck, I definitely recommend this (especially the lentil pizzas, they looked super amazing).
My next mention needs to be very special place called VANTRA VITAO. Located right at the edge of Oxford Street across Primark (apparently they have sister restaurant in Eden as well) it is perfect if you are tired of the shopping craze. It is the kind of organic, vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free place. Being so hipster that they do not really have a sign on the outside so it can be easily missed. But their fresh buffet is incredible. You select a dish size and just pile food on, paying by the weight later (be careful). Finish the fest off with one of their super original smoothies or beautiful raw cheesecakes. Just prepare your stomach.
Our last and probably the most looked forward to stop was at Camden. Camden market itself is a literal food heaven, for non-vegans and vegans alike. This time we headed straight for Cookies And Scream bakery. Having read so many great things about it I was beyond excited. Believe me or not, nothing disappointed me. Going well with the warmer weather, I ordered the incredible Cookie Sandwich and I didn’t even mind having it all over my face later. Not one precious drop can be wasted.
My latest England Adventure
To move on to my most recent visit I have to finish my ode for Cookies and Scream I have to clarify I have visited that place three times (as London itself) since that time. They started selling DONUT SANDWICHES but I was always unable to come around 2pm when they serve them. I was never disappointed though as I moved onto the award winning brownies with ice cream. I call them heaven in a dessert form. Just look at that picture ok? And if that wasn’t enough, I consider this bakery very affordable (for London) as well. I paid about 3.50 for the huge brownie plus some extra for icecream. Not that much for an instant happiness right?
Staying in Camden, I have to mention another success of mine – Mr. Piadina. They offer beautiful menu full of real Italian street food (mainly flatbreads) and some are completely vegan. Mine was ENORMOUS!! I was so full for the entire day, of food and food induced happiness. Definitely worth stopping by, pretty decent prices as well.
Another street food gem is located in the Brunswick Shopping Center next to Russell Square. A very lovely man sell delicious and super cheap veggie and vegan traditional Korean mandu. I started with 6 of those but came back 3 more times. If you do not feel like getting dumplings, his Pajeon aka Korean style pancake will wrap you in its warm embrace. The tastes are wonderful, but what sold me immediately were the prices. 2.50 pounds for 6 dumplings, 5 for both dumplings and Pajeon!!! I am sorry but I haven’t seen something like this in London so far. I know you can score a = bargain at Mcdonalds but here you don’t have to feel like s*it afterwards.
Last restaurant I want to mention is The Vurger Co. I was so lucky to get invited to be a part of #vurgersandbloggers meet up hosted by the amazing Teffy Park. Not only I spent amazing
evening with many lovely and talented bloggers and instagrammers, but I have had one of the best (if not the best) vegan burgers ever. Vurger Co serves all vegan burgers every Saturday at the same location near Bethnal Green and you need to try it (I had the BBQ Nut Burger). Also be a greed like me and order Truffle Mac And Cheese to go with it. This place si a must!!
The king of multitasking
What kind of vegan (and LA person) would I bee without mentioning Whole Foods. I have popped into Planet Organic as well, and as much as I was smitten by everything they offer, nothing can beat Whole Foods. Yes, pricy but you can find a good deal. I went there twice, first I just got a (wonderful) smoothie but next day we shared their Black Rice Sushi and the Brown Rice Sushi Platter as well. Well I love sushi, and making it even better had me jumping up into the ceiling.
Does this sound like not much?
Trust me, I will go back many more times and I will be sure to tell you more about my discoveries. I included only the places that left lasting impressions on me and I wish I had more superlatives to describe them all.
Your plan is now to pack and go see them all for yourself.
And check out my videos!! DO IT!!
Have a great evening,
It’s December 25, I have just woken up with a horrible stomach ache and I am still recovering from too much booze and lack of sleep. In many houses kids are just running down the stairs to see what has Santa brought them this year and some have already eagerly ripped apart the wrapping paper.
Kinds (including me) in my country have already destroyed our share of paper wrap and got to enjoy our new presents. Fo most adults those presents are of highly practical nature and they have expected them (or even asked for them specifically) so minimal surprised excitement there.
Here you have the grounds of my endless argument with my British and American friends. It is not exactly a heated argument we just like to push each others cultural believes forward and make fun of each other. It’s not just Christmas timing we disagree on.
Our Traditions Are The Best
Despite my love for American and British culture I strongly believe in the superiority of Czech and Middle European Christmas traditions.
After hours of stress and cooking, the entire family sits together for a festive dinner. Traditionally there’s fish and potato salad plus hundreds of other side dishes. We have fairy tales (NO DISNEY) on the screen providing a beautiful in the background and the feast begins. Once the plates are all wiped clean, once we can move, the bell rings and people gather around the decorated Christmas tree. The youngest member of the family (again me) gives out all of the presents all the family hid under the tree and people pretend they love the socks which they already received 6 times that evening. The family feuds and gossip feels stronger than ever and then we all go to sleep, satisfied (or dissatisfied) with this years collection of new assets. This all goes down on December 24.
Why exactly do I find this arrangement better?
First of all, it all happens during one simple evening – first satisfying meal and then presents. Done.
The next day all you can do is clean up and eat some more.
Second of all, you sleep knowing already what you have received and can enjoy that new pajamas right away. How can kids sleep at night when they are about to burst with impatience over what did Santa throw down the chimney this year? Such waiting is just cruel.
BULLSHIT! – all my foreign friends. I could go on longer but I think I made my point.
I bet that all of you are custom with how Christmas work in other countries including your own, movies follow mostly the American plan and everyone has seen Home Alone. (if not then stop reading ad return after watching both two movies)
The Christmas Day is just a bit postponed but we do share a lot of traditions.
For example ridiculous gain weight.
Christmas time is linked with bigger belly and followed by rigorous exercising and diet resolutions, which last only a couple weeks at most. More food, cookies and multiple festive dinners and lunches are the enemies of our skinny jeans. And it’s all just okay this way. You can try being a bit healthier (maybe one of my healthy cookie recipes can help?), but here is no point in denying that you might need a bigger sized pants after all the celebrations are over.
Other things we all experience are increased stress levels, old family fights resurfacing and ruining our holiday time. There is that old uncle or grandpa drunk with a glass of sherry. We can’t even imagine having it any other way.
I bet that no matter where you live and whom did you spent your Christmas with, some of these things sound familiar to you. All we can do is try to take the most out of the precious time we have with the people we barely get to see during the rest of the year, not kill the ones we would gladly ignore even during Christmas, and let the festive spirit (and food & drink coma) take over our days. Try to minimize the stress and problems surrounding this year and focus on the brighter aspects of your existence. (easier said than done I know)
I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas Day, if it was yesterday’s Eve or todays morning, got some nice presents and successfully avoided food poisoning. I am off to watch Home Alone 2 for the 18th year in a row.
Merry Christmas everyone,
Living in England I have realized how I don’t fit into any of the places I have lived in recently. Growing up in the country I never really could consider my home left me focused on the moment when I gloriously wave goodbye to it and leave all of it behind.
Yet as I arrived in England I ended up standing out even more.
Was it my accent? It’s not British, it definitely is not Czech and yet it is not really American as I always thought. I guess it contributed to labeling me “the different one” but I would lie saying that I don’t like the way no one really seems to know how to describe it.
However, many times it was a painful reminder of the fact that I am isolated from belonging to certain culture, from having a home. Once again I was a foreigner.
Now, returning back I have to cope with the pressure to fit into what I (should) consider my home country.
Czech Republic is beautiful. It has many unique treasures, from the country itself to the people who live there. I have learned to appreciate its individual beauty much more whilst living in England, surprised myself as I passionately described a whole variety of things native to he place I lived in, the beautiful Prague and everything you can get there (loads of food involved of course). What surprised me even more was how defensive I got when I heard some negative comments or when just discussing silly superiority of one nation to another.
And yet I can’t consider Czech my home.
Why is my country not really my country?
I can’t really recall at what point in life I have become aware of the isolation I feel from the culture I live in and when I started to identify myself with different language and cultures. I know that it is all I can remember growing up and interacting with people around me. How I lost connection with my mother language and started craving all that was not native to my country. I know it used to be annoying and upsetting to many of my close relatives and majority of my friends but I embraced the idea that we can’t decide where we come from but we can decide where we go from there. (i love reciting random book quotes).
Now as I left England I wonder how prominent the isolation I feel is going to be and how will I deal with it. I know it will be challenging and I know that I will get judged again but I have left other people’s opinions behind me a while ago. It is my own decision with what place and culture I identify with the closest and it might take me years, decades before I know which one it is for sure.
It is the natural process of life and figuring out how to live it. I might not find that magical place I once hoped England to be, it might be the next destination I end up staying at.
For now, I am fine being the citizen of the world.