Sunday, May 31, 2009

Top 10 hottest vegetarian places in Ireland

From that most accurate of metrics, the number of reviews on the Vegan & Vegetarian Guide to Ireland, comes the Top Ten hottest vegetarian places in Ireland:
  1. Blazing Salads (Dublin take out)
  2. Cornucopia (Dublin cafe)
  3. The Phoenix (Dingle B&B & restaurant)
  4. Natasha's Living Foods (Dublin raw food)
  5. Tir Na Nog (Sligo health food shop)
  6. Quay Co-op (Cork cafe & health food shop)
  7. Cafe Paradiso (Cork cafe)
  8. Organico (Bantry restaurant & health food shop)
  9. Govinda's (Dublin cafe)
  10. Juice (Dublin restaurant)
These are the places that have attracted the most reviews and most passion from their customers (and ex-customers!). This is not always the same as the most loved.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

Bay Leaf Cafe is closed

We took the kids to Palo Alto hoping to get lunch at the Bay Leaf Cafe on Ramona Street. We discovered it closed in October 2006 - after we visited the boarded up premises! Sounds like the owners never really made a viable business out of it, although I liked it even with the faintly disorganised air that was always a feature. Palo Alto has plenty of other restaurants to choose from, so we were never going to go hungry.

Labels: ,

A trip to Davos

Last week I was lucky enough to have a short trip to Davos in Switzerland, via Zürich, to meet up with some colleagues. Davos (pronounced Dav-OS, not DAV-os it turns out) is a nice little town up in the mountains, famous for the annual World Economic Forum. Klosters, famous for princes and celebrities holidaying there, is the next village along.

I had only a night in Zürich, but it seems a great town, hopefully I'll get a chance to get back there soon. Public transport is a strong point. When asked how to get to the train station, the hotel receptionist replied, "Why you get the train, of course". So I did. As expected, the train left precisely on time. It even arrived at some stations at precisely zero seconds on the alloted time. Uncanny.

I was able to get some fantastic vegan food in Zürich just next to my hotel, in a really popular restaurant called Tibits. It is owned by the same people who run the Hiltl restaurant, apparently Europe's longest running vegetarian restaurant, since 1898! The food is mostly buffet style, you pay by weight - they have both hot and cold food. Unlike many vegetarian restaurants in this style which I've been to, Tibits serves not just beer but a range of cocktails! Highly recommended, a great buzz about the place too.

Davos on the other hand, in part being there for work, was not so hot on the food front. A small, green salad for dinner doesn't quite rate the same.

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Dinner with Alicia Silverstone

Well, not quite. I went to Hollywood this afternoon and who better to recommend a vegan restaurant to visit than Alicia Silverstone, celebrity vegan? The Internet gossip rags duly obliged, confiding that the M Cafe on Melrose Avenue is her favourite. This is a macrobiotic cafe not far from the centre of Hollywood, so after a quick trip to Hollywood Boulevard and Grauman's Chinese Theater it was food time.

Plenty to choose from, mostly soup, salad and sandwiches (it's a cafe) with a few rice and veg dishes. Plenty of seitan, tempeh and soy mozzarella if you want protein. Fish is available too in that strange combination that is macrobiotic. I went for a brown rice and seitan dish, which was great in itself, except that the veg (carrots, broccoli and cauliflower) tossed into it looked like something from Sligo. That is, chunky, looking fresh from the ground and just about boiled with no condiments. I felt so healthy.

Not to worry, the M Cafe boasts a leading vegan/macrobiotic chef de patisserie!
Unfortunately they were out of chocolate cake slices - all that was left were entire chocolate cakes at $40 a pop. Maybe a bit much. So I settled for a lemon meringue tarte...and a soy cappuccino...and a couple of cocoa truffles. Just in case.

To finish off a perfect evening I returned to find I had won a parking ticket. Los Angeles, I will remember you.

Labels: ,

Sunday, February 26, 2006

v2go Belfast has shut

Vegetarian fast food is not terribly common place so v2g0 was pretty unique, certainly in Ireland. Their time in Belfast appears to be at an end though, friends have reported seeing their outlet stripped bare on their last visit. They did veggie burgers, veggie hot dogs, Mexican burgers, falafel (all suitable for vegans too) along with a couple of quiche options and all the side orders. Burger meal (with chips and soft drink) started at £2.95. Not too shabby. The kids loved it. Even their non-vegetarian cousins loved it.

They still have an outlet in the Arndale Centre in Manchester at least.


Saturday, February 18, 2006

McDonalds chips now with extra beef, dairy and wheat

Fresh from being sued for misleading vegetarians by hiding the fact that their chips (aka french fries aka freedom fries) contain beef extracts, McDonalds are making friends in the vegan and coeliac communities too. They have apparently quietly changed their advice that their chips are free from milk and wheat allergens to say that they actually do contain dairy and wheat products after all. Oops. Don't? Do? Easy mistake to make.

So a vegan (no to dairy) in Los Angeles and parents of a coeliac (allergic to gluten from wheat) child are both suing good old McDonalds. Even Motley Fool, the online business site is running the story as McDonalds: Allergic to Common Sense.

McSpotlight has more fun McDonalds facts and fiction.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Wine from Lebanon

Those nice people at Chateau Musar in the Bekaa Valley in the Lebanon confirmed that their red wines are vegan. I've updated the Vegan Wine Guide with their wines. I also got a list of almost 50 Brown Brothers wines (Australian) that are vegan, another nice addition (thanks to VeganVoltaire)! Finally all of the Andrew Peace red wines from Australia are vegan (thanks to Jared!).

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Vegetarian Ireland updates

I've added a couple of dozen more places to the Vegetarian Ireland map, covering a bit more of the country. I've updated the main website too - you can add your own places directly, plus you can now search by restaurant type as well as name and location:


Saturday, December 31, 2005

Google map of Vegetarian Ireland

I've put together a Google Maps version of my Vegetarian and Vegan Guide to Ireland so you can browse around a real map and find the locations of the places involved. Handy to find a bunch of restaurants in a given area. I've still got a bunch of places to update with location data so that they'll appear on the map, but there's about 20 on there for now.

Google Maps hacking is fun, but it does remind me why I hate Javascript. And Internet Explorer.

See what you think! Other cool Google maps in Ireland whilst we're on the topic:

Labels: ,

Monday, October 31, 2005

Vegan wines are us

I've been doing another round of updates to the Vegan Wine Guide, adding about a hundred more wines from such far flung places as:
I've also added a bunch more details to the individual wine listings, with some extra notes, winemaker's website, vegan information provided by the winemaker/distributor and a link to buy online from the winemaker if they offer it. Try the Clear Lake Rose for an example.

I recently added the ability to add your own reviews of the different wines and there have been a couple so far, along with the usual spammers trying their luck! Let me know what you think of the latest updates.

Labels: ,

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Pocket guide to Vegetarian Ireland

As the natural complement to the Pocket Guide to Vegan Wine I've made a Pocket Guide to Vegetarian Ireland. This is prints out on a single double-sided A4 page and lists vegetarian and vegan restaurants, cafes and accomodation in Ireland for travellers and residents alike. Whenever I travel I find my self trawling the web creating a list of places I might eat or stay, so this is my idea of what would be really handy if I was visiting Ireland. See if it is yours!

As well as vegetarian and vegan establishments, it also includes veg*n friendly places too - there aren't enough pure vegetarian places in Ireland to survive. We're not northern Calfornia here.

Of course, for the full story, the Vegetarian and Vegan Guide to Ireland online has a lot more detail, including reviews, ratings and additional places such as health food stores. Sometimes though you just can't print out the Interweb....


Monday, October 10, 2005

Pocket guide to vegan wine

For the recent World Vegetarian Day fair I put together a Pocket Guide to Vegan Wine. Print out onto 2 A4 pages (double sided), fold to A5 and you have an 8 page listing of vegan wines suitable for taking on those supermarket trips. It contains the majority of the wines listed on the online Vegan Wine Guide. Let me know if it's useful to you!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Vegan in Hyderabad

It's not hard at all to find vegan food in Hyderabad. There is always a distinction between veg and non-veg food in every restaurant, with non-veg(etarian) often being the unusual option. When cheese, cream, butter or (rarely) ghee are added to a particular dish, they are usually flagged specifically as an attraction – "plain roti" or "butter roti". When they're not specifically mentioned, we usually had a hard time explaining what vegan was to any waiters. People generally want you to be happy, which means they tell you what you want to hear and rarely say "no". So you have to use your best judgement at times.
Restaurants we visited included Fusion 9, Mainland China, Angeeti, Chutneys, Haveli, and Ohri's. Chutneys (vegetarian restaurant) was definitely our favourite. Oh, and vegetarian restaurant usually means no alcohol either. Bummer.

Labels: ,

Monday, July 25, 2005

Vegan Shakes

Rose-Anne, Jasmine and Dylan arrived in Hyderabad three weeks ago now. I have a new focus for the few minutes between the end of work and the start of sleep. Everyone has been doing really well, especially considering I'm at work all day and this isn't really a holiday, yet. We have two more weeks left here now, before jetting off to Delhi and more excitement. We still haven't decided where we're going after that. Maybe an Indian hill station in the Himalayas or even Nepal as well as Agra and Rajasthan.

On the weekends we have been able to see some of Hyderabad. In fact with the whole week at their disposal, Rose-Anne and the kids have been able to see more of the city than I have! We've been able to go out to a few restaurants - there is quite a choice in a city this size. The great thing here is that vegetarian restaurants are all around. Chutney's seems to be the best known and does great food - there is a fair sized queue outside to get in on Friday and Saturday nights though, so you have to get there early. There is a coffee shop chain here called Coffee Day which even has a Vegan Shake on the menu! It's not bad if a bit on the sweet side.

We took Jasmine and Dylan to the Salar Jung museum, my second visit. They liked some of the exhibits, like the dresses, armour and some of the children's exhibits. Rooms were randomly closed off that had been opened on my earlier visit. We managed to catch the hourly cuckoo clock event, where maybe 200 people sit in hushed silence in a hall in the middle of the museum and await the striking of the hour. Jasmine's eminently reasonable reaction when the hour came, "Was that it?".

Labels: ,

Monday, February 21, 2005

Certain death - birth of a vegan cafe

We went along to Certain Death last night, the new vegan cafe that opened in Dublin just around the corner from us. Unfortunately we dilly-dallied and missed most of the food. By the time we got there all the real stuff was gone - they were a little surprised with how many people showed up. They were making pancakes then, so Jasmine had a few, stuffed with golden syrup. The band was remarkably low key industrial noise, presumably so the place doesn't get shut down!

The kids are all psyched up to go back next week and so am I. It's a very relaxing environment to spend an hour or two, band or not, for as long as it lasts (being cynical!).


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

McLibel two win

Helen Steel and David Morris, whom McDonalds sued for libel in 1990 for distributing leaflets criticising the fast food firm, have finally won their case in the European Court of Human Rights. It's worth remembering what McDonalds won at the original trial - £40,000 damages (uncollected), but they incurred an estimated £10 million in legal costs. The two defendants had no money and no legal aid and so had to defend themselves. Even when McDonalds "won" at the original trial, here is the bitter taste of "victory":
The judge rejected claims that McDonald's was to blame for starvation in the Third World or had used lethal poisons to destroy vast areas of Central American rainforest.

But he also decided, in what was seen as a PR disaster for the corporation, that McDonald's had "pretended to a positive nutritional benefit which their food did not match"; had exploited children in its advertising, and paid low wages, "helping to depress wages in the catering trade".


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Vegan wine mailing list

I've setup a vegan wine mailing list, in part to try out the new Google Groups. I already moderate the Vegans Ireland mailing list using Yahoo Groups. I thought it might be fun to find out how they compare. I've invited a bunch of people that have contacted me over the last couple of years with queries about vegan wine. Build it and the shall come? We'll see!

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Certain Death vegan cafe grand opening

The Certain Death Vegan Cafe! Grand Opening
Sunday 20th of Feburary at 5:30pm in the UnaWarehouse
The Apostles play an exclusive set to mark the event!

Then every Sunday 5:30-8:30
The Certain Death cafe is for alternative leisure and social spaces. It's for super vegan grub and brainpoppin Zapatista coffee. It's for dropping in of a Sunday to an autonomous space. It's for DIY events every week. It's against paying to be social. It shares its space with the BAD BOOKS and Forgotten Zine Libraries.
Where is the UnaWarehouse? (Map)
It has a big gate and is at the bottom of Strandville Ave. which is a right turn at Costello Doors on North Strand Road, Dublin 1.



Sunday, January 30, 2005

Please feed me - punk vegan cookbook

When I was at Gilman last week I was surprised that almost the first thing I saw inside was a copy of my good friend Niall's new book, Please Feed Me. It was on sale there.

This is the American reprint of Niall's book, Document - A Story of Hope (which is out of print and no longer available). The content is largely the same.
Please Feed Me is a punk rock vegan cookbook. Each recipe features an anecdote by a band that performed via the Hope Collective, a popular punk booking collective in Dublin the author helped maintain for over a decade. (The Hope Collective became a blue print and inspiration for punk and DIY spaces across Ireland and the UK.) The book features contributions from over 120 people who donated their vegan recipes and thoughts on the importance of the punk rock community and culture, including such seminal punk banks such as Fugazi, Bikini Kill, and Chumbawamba.

In addition to great recipes, Please Feed Me uniquely illustrates the connections between community, art, activism and health. The thunderous subtext of the book is the vital underground community and network created and maintained by a collective of organizers and hundreds of musicians at a time when most punk bands were signing to major labels for the highest dollar amount. The book documents pieces of the stories of many popular US and international punk bands that continue to have a major influence on youth subcultures today.
As of today it's just under $11 from Amazon. I highly recommend it.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

99 more bottles of vegan wine on the wall

Not exactly 99, but I've added 122 more vegan wines to my Vegan Wine Guide. It's my most popular page, so making it better seems like a good idea - and I need it too! Some of the new wines are from Asda, some are from Smithfield Wines, some from the Vegetarian Network Victoria and there's a few miscellaneous fix ups. Now there's almost 300 wines (and I haven't added Sainsburys or Safeways yet, maybe another 50 ones there). I need to add some better navigation as there's getting to be too many wines for one page. The search is a bit messed up as well. I need to flesh out some of the information and put it on separate pages too. So plenty of things to come!

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Vegan Thanksgiving

We're having a lazy day today, what with being on holiday and most stuff being closed. We should make it up for lunchtime though, if we can get in, Millenium is having a five course vegan thanksgiving meal. First come, first served, as the main restaurant was booked out a while ago (they've some tables available at the bar area).

We had a sort of thanksgiving related meal yesterday in Google - tofu and lentil loaf with mushroom gravy, organic fried pak choi, candied yams with pecans. Rose-Anne was duly impressed and made like a new Googler in trying to fit six meals onto one plate at once. She held back once she figured out it wasn't all going to fit. There were a couple of other vegan options, but the queues were longer for those ones!

After saying hello to the few sysadmins who weren't mysteriously sick the day before Thanksgiving and collecting our laundry - mission successful - we headed to the cinema to see something that wasn't animated. Unfortunately it was Bridget Jones 2. After a dinner at the fine Bay Leaf Café in Palo Alto, one of the few towns with a real downtown around here, we headed back for more punishment in the form of the film Alexander. I then realised just how good Bridget Jones had been, even if I had seen the one or two jokes it had to offer in the first film.