There’s just one place in San Francisco that we enjoyed and I left out of the last post…
Tacolicious, 1548 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (other locations exist)

Official Website:

We were starving after our cycle over the Golden Gate bridge and back so at about 3pm we stumbled into Tacolicious and hoped they would be able to feed me something vegan. They were very accommodating and advised me of the items on the menu that were vegan and those that could be adapted. Lots of choice. The décor of the place was a little fast-food-joint but there was table service and we really appreciated them bringing us chips and salsa as soon as we arrived!

R had something non-vegan that I didn’t bother photographing and I went for a couple of the veggie tacos that didn’t need any adapting to make them vegan) which I believe were the fingerling potatoes, oyster mushrooms, asparagus, green garlic ancho chile recado ones. They were pretty yummy- I love lots of filling and it all went well together with a touch of chilli/garlic spice.


We shared a side of asparagus- look how big it is!!!


We also had black beans which were really tasty too.


Also you can see all the sauces we were given on the side to add to our tacos. All in all a fun, tasty, filling, fast, extremely good value meal! I wish we had places like this in the UK!

Talking of Asparagus, we did actually pop to the Stockton, California annual asparagus festival on our way to Yosemite. Here is me with some growing asparagus and tasting the deep fried asparagus (not that nice)

IMG_0953 - Copy

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I had a pleasant enough vegan burrito for lunch there and a tasty smoothie from a vegan smoothie van.

Now, Las Vegas is amazing for vegans. It’s not cheap but it’s easy to find really nice vegan food there. We only spent 3 nights in Vegas and one day we were out for the whole day at the Grand Canyon. On that day we took snacks from Whole Foods which were amazing! We made ourselves bagels with fake cheese and meat slices and had great popcorn, chips and oreos 😉

On our first night, we headed to the Wynn, having heard that Steve Wynn, the owner, as a vegan insists that most (or all?) of the restaurants in his hotels offer a separate vegan menu!

SW Steakhouse, Wynn hotel, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas, NV 89109

Official Website:

We ended up at SW Steakhouse, where R was able to have octopus and steak and where I got a huge vegan menu to choose from. It definitely wasn’t cheap but it was a fine dining restaurant. We had a lovely table from which we had a view of the Wynn waterfall and the light show on it. R had some wine and our water glasses were regularly topped up. We were brought some bread to start and the vegan bread options were pointed out to me. I chose the Kale and Apple salad with pecans to start. It was huge!! But tasty and hopefully healthy (a pile of that much green stuff has to be!)

For main I had roasted ‘maitake’ (?) mushrooms with white bean puree. The mushrooms were quite meaty and strongly seasoned, probably a good alternative to steak!

We still hadn’t managed to learn by this point that sides in the US are like main meals in themselves, so ordered creamed spinach (more green!) and french fries and didn’t manage to eat it all or order pudding. An expensive meal but a lovely experience!


US Trip Part 1: San Francisco


Hello. It’s been a while. I have plenty of photos and notes but haven’t translated them into a blog post yet! However, I’m going to start with the big one: My trip to San Francisco and Vegas. We also stopped along the way in Yosemite and Death Valley but we were mostly self-catering so made our own stir-fries, enchiladas etc.

We landed, a little bit sleepy, one Wednesday afternoon in San Francisco. Found our hotel which was The Hotel Carlton ( chosen partly for location, partly for its good TripAdvisor rating and partly because of the vegan-friendly Arabic fusion restaurant it housed.

Saha, 1075 Sutter Street, San Francisco , CA, 94109-5817

Official Website:

We ate dinner here on our first and last nights in SF and had brunch on Saturday and Sunday! The menu has so many vegan options! They do ‘small plates’ as well as normal starters and entrees so we usually shared a couple of these and had one to ourselves J I didn’t get photos of all the dinner plates we had but dishes we liked were:

A lovely broccoli and celery soup with a bit of a kick that they split into 2 small bowls so we could share.

Wild mushroom pate

Stuffed Artichoke heart (with tofu and seasonal vegetables)

Shiitake mushroom ravioli in mango and coconut sauce.

Za’atar Cauliflower

Za'atar Cauliflower

Za’atar Cauliflower

Quinoa and Kale salad.

Half-eaten quinoa and kale

Half-eaten quinoa and kale

The bread was also lovely and came with oil full of herbs and spices to dip it in.

We did try a dessert while we were there (I feel like I have to if there are vegan options) but we weren’t huge fans.

‘Slap ya Mama’ consisted of banana, dried fruit, nuts and melted chocolate in filo pastry. As I’m not big on bananas it really wasn’t my cup of tea and there was too much going on. Some of the other sweets may be nicer.

Brunch at Saha was also an interesting affair. There were lots of very interesting sounding vegan options. On Saturday I went for Spinach Shakshuka as I was craving spinach and tofu. This consisted of spinach, potatoes and fried tofu in a spicy tomato sauce and was really tasty.


On Sunday I had ‘Fava Benedict’ which was a soft fried cake made from fava beans with avocado and tofu on top, covered in curry sauce. This was also a really lovely breakfast!


The waiting staff were very friendly and crucially understood veganism! The food was quite unusual and felt very much as if they were planned as they were, rather than there being any efforts to substitute meat or dairy with vegan ingredients. Prices were reasonable too.

You should definitely visit Saha if you’re ever in San Francisco and it got quite busy so you might want to make a reservation.

Loving Hut Chinatown,1365 Stockton Street, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA

Official website:

We had lunch on our second day at Loving hut in Chinatown. We clocked it in the morning on our way to Fisherman’s wharf and then returned at about 2pm. I hadn’t actually been to a Loving hut before, although I have been to similar places like Yummy V and Veggie World. I did really fancy some kind of dirty fast food, though, so it was ideal!

I went for the ‘fish’ and chips style dish which was really nice. A few breadcrumbed tofu/seaweed patties and loads of chips and dips! Not too fishy but pleasantly seaweedy. Big portion!


R went for the sweet and sour dish with some lovely wild rice on the side. It was quite nice- lots of veggies and fake chicken but so much food!


We didn’t manage pudding but did see a few noodle dishes we would try if we went back and would also like to try the burger. Service was pleasant and fast and prices were reasonable (slightly expensive for a quick lunch once you’ve added tax and tip)

Millenium, 580 Geary Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Official website:

This was the restaurant I was most looking forward to trying after reading recommendations by Chloe Coscarelli. I made sure to get a reservation in plenty of time and eventually remembered what name I’d reserved in (my passport is still in maiden name so hotels etc. were booked in that, but Millenium was booked in my married name which I wasn’t used to saying by then…) so got our table. It was definitely full and we sat at the bar while our table was being prepared. There were some nice cocktails on the menu but I went for an organic root beer which was really nice!

As we were shown to our table, we were offered a complimentary lentil dip with bread. This was really tasty and the homemade crusty bread was yummy too.


Chloe recommends the Crusted king Trumpet Mushrooms so we had to share these for a starter, and we also got some pickled vegetables to go with them (a whole starter each might have meant not enough room for pudding!)

The pickled vegetables were lotus root with ginger, fennel with something else nice and parsnip with chilli. The chilli was too much for me so I didn’t have much of the parsnip but the others were tasty.


The mushrooms were interesting. They did have a really chewy, slightly disconcerting texture but were fun to eat, a bit different but not too far removed from tempura and had a sweet dip and we both enjoyed them and agreed we had picked well (or Chloe had)!!


As a main, I went for a tamale. I hadn’t actually had a tamale before and my only real knowledge of them was Nicole Scherzinger on X factor calling the contestants ‘a hot tamale’ as if it was a good thing, so I assumed it would be good! It was. I wasn’t entirely sure how to eat it but I just peeled back the husk and ate from it. I think corn gives a really nice flavour and the filling and sauce were really lovely and aromatic too.


R got the Dosa which was quite nice, probably nothing special if you’ve had a chickpea masala Dosa in a south indian restaurant before. The crispy fried onions on top were really good though!


Luckily we had room for pudding! Mine was AMAZING!!!! It was an orange blossom and poppy seed cake with rhubarb jam and vanilla creme served with apricot ice cream. The sponge was moist and rich, the rhubarb jam was amazing, the vanilla crème was creamy and vanillaey and lovely and the apricot ice-cream was awesome too.


R chose Chocolate almond midnight which was quite nice but paled into insignificance alongside mine. The mocha mousse part of it was slightly kind of gritty with the coffee and I think would have been nicer if it was smooth, but the white chocolate mousse was good and the almond bark was really nice with a caramelised taste to it.


The restaurant itself was very classy with a good atmosphere for couples or friends. The serving staff were attentive and we did feel like we were in a really nice place. You can see from the presentation and the menu what a lovely restaurant it was. An excellent choice for a special occasion.

[Edited to add further photos I found on R’s phone]

February 2014 trip to Brighton


I love Brighton. Although it’s under an hour and a half’s drive or train ride away, I don’t visit enough! Last month, however, we were able to go for the night as my parents had got a free night in a hotel with their home insurance that they didn’t want and we were able to book a Friday night at The Old Ship hotel with it. I tried to book Terre a Terre for the Friday evening but couldn’t get a reservation so instead booked Food for Friends which was a stone’s throw from the hotel.

Food for Friends, 17 Prince Albert St, The Lanes, Brighton

Official Website:

No photos as we were too busy enjoying our meal.

I started with the soup which was some kind of root vegetable medley with a hint of ginger and was very tasty. R went for the cracked black peppered fried tofu with spring onions and saffron dashi, served with kombu seaweed, pickled cucumber and Chinese cabbage. I think this was a stand out dish- so many flavours on the plate, quite peppery tofu, awesome pickles and definitely something that would be hard to recreate but I’d order next time!

For main R had something that wasn’t vegan- a potato cake with a poached egg on top. I think he enjoyed it, especially the sesame onion rings!! They do a vegan version without the egg.

I had another dish that was a vegan-option. It was the Halloumi salad with mango, avocado, wasabi nuts and a mango dressing. I got crispy tofu instead of halloumi which was lovely, as were the leaves, nuts, avocado and slices of mango. However, the mango dressing was far too sweet and overpowering so this one wasn’t a winner!!

For pudding I had to try the coconut arancini with a trio of mango (which works much better in a sweet dish!) The sorbet was lovely, as were the sweet coconut rice balls so I really enjoyed this. We also shared the espresso and truffles for 2 to finish off the meal and had a nice bottle of vegan red wine with our meal too. Service was good and it was reasonably priced (I think mine fell into the 3 courses for £20 category!) so we will be back!

On the Saturday morning, I was a bit annoyed that R had organised for a meeting with our plumbers at 2pm so we didn’t have time to stick around for lunch/afternoon tea. We had a light breakfast in the hotel (I just had fruit and coffee, although there was toast, bread, baked beans etc.) and wandered up the pier,


bought some treats in Vbites, bought more treats in Infinity Foods and at about 11 settled in Rock’ola café bar for brunch.

Rock Ola, 29 Tidy Street, Brighton, BN1 4EL

Official website:

I loved this place! It’s like a cool 50s American diner and they have a separate vegan menu but also serve meat and lacto-ovo dishes.

I got the most awesome chocolate milkshake:


And a vegan breakfast-in-a-bun: Mushrooms, vegan bacon, sausage and a hash brown type patty- which was lovely.


Simple but hit the spot and I must find out how to make that milkshake. It was gloopy and ice-creamy and exactly how a milkshake should be.

Rock Ola was right near the station so we could just hop on a train back to London and our Brighton trip was over until next time!!!!

The Jumping Bean Cafe in Durham

I went up to Durham on Saturday for lunch with a friend. I really haven’t visited the city enough since I graduated in 2009 and do love to have a wander round to see what has changed. The day started beautifully with clear skies and sunshine and a wander around the cathedral. Both the cathedral and the castle on the other side of Palace Green looked lovely in the sunshine.



For lunch, we went to find the jumping bean cafe. I had seen their stall at the North East Vegan Festival, where the nice young northern man had plied my mother with lemon cake that she declared the ‘best cake of the festival’. It was slightly off my normal beaten track in Durham but was easy to find especially with a blackboard sign directing you towards their soup and sandwich offers and vegan and gluten free options.

The Jumping Bean cafe, 5 Neville Street, Durham, DH1 4EY

Official Website:

The cafe has been open about a year and was quite busy when we dropped in. It was a bit bigger than I expected but still only around 7 tables inside and 3-4 outside (although a bit cold for that at the moment!) The drinks menu is up on a blackboard and the paper menu included a few lunch and some breakfast items- all vegetarian and most vegan, including options of vegan cheese. I was tempted by the Spanish stew but instead chose to try the pine nut and spinach falafel and tomato chutney sandwich on brown bread, with the soup of the day which was carrot and parsnip. I also had a soya cappuccino.


The bread was lovely and fresh and soft and the soup was clearly home-made. I could detect plenty of ginger and pepper (maybe even some cayenne) in the soup and the tomato chutney in my sandwich was quite spicy too. It was all very tasty but maybe a bit strongly seasoned/spicy for some people (I’m thinking of my mother here, and would have to order wisely if i brought her)

My cappuccino was lovely and hot (which my mother would be very happy about!) and Cathy went for a pot of tea which you can see in the picture was nice and big!

The guy I’d met at the festival was icing the lemon cake just as we were about to leave so I got a slice to take away- with still-sticky icing expertly packaged so the icing stayed on the cake !!!

cakeThis was really excellent lemon cake!!! It’s lucky I no longer live in Durham or I would definitely have too much lemon cake!

I really hope this vegan venture continues its success and I look forward to visiting again next time I’m in Durham!

What I ate this week

I have enlisted the help of a personal trainer and he asked me to keep a food diary for a week so he knows what my diet is like before he makes any nutritional suggestions. I thought I’d share this as I always find it interesting to see what other people eat on a typical day. I tried to take photos of most of my food. I haven’t included drink but generally will have a couple of diet cokes when I’m out, several pints of water, tea and coffee during the day.

I started on the Saturday after seeing the PT first thing.


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Saturday Breakfast


Saturday dinner-Sainsburys Taste the difference Tabbouleh









Breakfast: Scrambled tofu with 2 veggie ‘bacon rashers’ and brown sauce. Soy latte.

Snack: Montezuma dark chocolate buttons

Then I went to a cycling lesson to learn how to cycle in London traffic! I was really hungry when I got back so made a very quick meal of

Lunch: Noodles with curry powder and a black cherry soya yoghurt.

We headed into London and met my parents and had a look around a couple of ‘open’ buildings (it was London Open Houses weekend) including the royal courts of justice which was cool. Then back to the parents’ hotel room for:

Snack: Black coffee, a few original pringles and 3 nairns stem ginger oatcakes.

We had to head off to Jurassic Park: The Musical (which was pretty funny!) in Little Venice so picked up some food from Sainsburys.

Dinner: Sainsburys taste the difference Tabbouleh salad and roasted salted pistachios.

I was hungry by the time we got home so had some toast and marmalade.


2012-09-27 22.01.15

Sunday Breakfast

Mushroom risotto on toast

Mushroom risotto on toast

Chocolate chia pudding

Chocolate chia pudding

Breakfast: Scrambled tofu on toast with 1 veggie ‘bacon rasher’ and brown sauce. Soy latte.

Snacks: Chocolate chia pudding (chia seeds soaked overnight in chocolate soy milk), roasted and salted pistachios, small bar of dark chocolate.

Lunch: 3 slices of toast

Dinner: Mushroom risotto on toast followed by another (espresso cup of) chocolate chia pudding.

Snack: Black pepper popcorn


Overnight oats (weekday breakfast)

Overnight oats (weekday breakfast)

Monday lunch

Monday lunch

Monday dinner

Monday dinner

Neapolitan Swedish Glace

Neapolitan Swedish Glace

















Breakfast: Overnight oats- oats, chia seeds and cinnamon soaked in light soya milk overnight

Snacks: Apple, nectarine and small (30g) bar dark chocolate

Lunch: leftover mushroom risotto and a bag of wasabi glaze popcorn.

Dinner: courgette and carrot ‘noodles’ with arabiata tomato sauce (carrots and courgette spiralized in tomato sauce and arabiata seasoning from vegan food swap parcel) with 2 slices of toast with pure. Followed by a bowl of Neapolitan Swedish Glace.

Snacks: another small bar of chocolate and a sherbet fountain 


Tuesday Lunch

Tuesday Lunch

Tuesday dinner

Tuesday dinner








Breakfast: Overnight oats

Snacks: Apple, nectarine and small (30g) bar dark chocolate

Lunch: leftover courgette and carrot ‘noodles’ with arabiata tomato sauce

Dinner: Ratatouille with raw cauliflower rice, 2 slices toast and pure.

Snacks: Some Montezuma dark chocolate buttons



Wednesday lunch

Wednesday lunch

Toast snack

Toast snack







Breakfast: Overnight oats

Snacks: Apple and nectarine

Lunch: leftover ratatouille with raw cauliflower rice, most of a box of orgran amaretti biscotti, Starbucks soy coffee frapuccino

Dinner: Bento box from somewhere in South Kensington with tofu, rice, root veg salad and seaweed salad. A glass of white wine.

Snacks: Black pepper crisps, 2 slices of toast with pure when I got home.



Thursday lunch

Thursday lunch

Breakfast: Overnight oats

Snacks: Apple and nectarine

Lunch: bulgar wheat with chopped tofu and raw mushrooms, dressed in sushi vinegar and soy sauce

(I made this late on Thursday night and I think I did an alright job!)

Dinner: Curry Buffet from

Indian Veg Bhelpoori House

Official website:

Address: 92-93 Chapel Market, N1 9EX

Nearest tube: Angel

I always love the food here and have brought a lot of non-vegetarian friends who have enjoyed it too. There are usually at least 2 kinds of curry plus a dal, plain basmati rice, brown rice, or pilau, a salad bar, pakora, poppadum, and awesome poori that taste a bit like vegan Yorkshire puddings. As much food as you like for £5.50 a head. Also it’s BYOB for no extra charge so I had a nice Aspall’s cider from waitrose plus a couple of glasses of red wine.

The décor in this restaurant is also really interesting with facts, articles and statistics about nutrition, mainly along the lines of meat, dairy and alcohol are bad for you, vegans feel healthier. Some might describe this as “vegan propaganda” but I quite like it, as did some of the friends I took this time!



I was a bit ill overnight and was feeling super rough on Friday morning after no sleep. I was inclined to blame the buffet but I think everyone else was fine after the same food so I guess I picked up some kind of bug from using the underground or a cashpoint or something. Anyway, at least it meant I didn’t eat as much as I normally would!

Lunch:  one and a half warburtons sandwich wraps spread with pure (I was in that state of being really hungry but still feeling quite sick so nice plain wheaty food felt like the right way to go)

Snacks: Some strawberries and coconut water, the remains of my Neapolitan Swedish glace.

Neapolitan Swedish Glace

Neapolitan Swedish Glace

Dinner: Pearl barley with summer vegetables.

Friday dinner

Friday dinner

I was out for dinner at the Hawksmoore, Spitalfields celebrating my father-in-law’s 60th. They always make me a nice vegan dish and look after me well, and normally offer an adapted starter and sorbet for pudding too. It’s a very nice place. They also serve amazing cocktails but I still felt too ill for alcohol so just had a few sips of whatever R had (whisky, old-fashioned, red wine, dessert wine) and a diet coke and lots of tap water for me!

So there’s my week of food. I think I definitely have too much sugar but otherwise I think I do ok as a vegan!

Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Another August, another trip to Edinburgh. This year’s recommendations are: James Bran (@ajamesbran)- funny haiku man, Jay Foreman- twee, comedy songs, Luke Wright (@lukewrightpoet) always amazing poetry and Claudia O’Doherty (@ClaudiaODoherty)- I LOVE THIS WOMAN- SEE HER SHOW!

Onto food…

The Auld Hoose, 33-35 St Leonard’s Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9QN

Official Website:

No photos but this student pub was a winner with me and my parents! Loads of vegan options as well as the standard pub fare, I wish we’d had room to share some vegan nachos! Vegan options on the menu are clearly marked and range from cheesy chips to Burritos, Chilli and a falafel burger.

What I did have, at about 3pm, was the all day veggie breakfast. To make it vegan you substitute the egg in the normal breakfast for one of the other items. R was ordering for me so he doubled up my haggis. Sausages which weren’t a kind I’d had before but were nice crispy mealy ones, awesome veggie haggis patties, mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans. A big plateful and I was stuffed after it!

My mother went for another vegan option, haggis neeps and tatties. Another huge plats with the haggis a bit more broken up than on my breakfast and a good pile of mashed potato and another of mashed turnip, she really enjoyed it too.

Service was pleasant, there was an extensive bar and it was a sweet little pub. I can’t believe I hadn’t been before but it’s up there as a new favourite!

Bonsai, 46 Richmond Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DZ

Official Website

I know, another review of a non-vegetarian restaurant but they do great vegan options and were happy to go and check things with the chef like whether or not the tempura batter had egg in (it didn’t: score!)

I had edamame beans, some nice avocado and red pepper maki rolls, a shitake mushroom hand cone and vegetable tempura:

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Lots to eat and easy to go with friends/family. I always find the waiting staff friendly and they know the food and give recommendations. Also the toilets are really interesting.

The Piemaker, 33 South Bridge, Edinburgh, EH1 1LL

Official Website:

I’m a big fan of this place. On the way to the train station to go home I insisted that we stopped off so I could get a vegan pastie. They normally have at least 2 vegan options on savoury pasties, although I’ve only had fruit ones from there before. I was pretty excited and chose a thai vegetable pastie over the Mediterranean vegetable option.


Unfortunately, once I started eating this on the train it became apparent that I’d actually been given a garlic mushroom pastie (which were next to the thai veg ones on the shelf) and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t vegan, so R ate it for me and I ate my cake from…

The Baked Potato Shop, 56 Cockburn* Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1PB

*note this is pronounced “Co’burn”, to save your embarrassment…

Official website:

I just dropped in at about 10:15am so no baked potato for me but they had a lovely carrot cake labelled vegan and it was indeed awesome. Moist with a slightly lemony creamy topping.


I’m a massive fan of the baked potato shop. They give huge portions (I think standard is TWO potatoes) have loads of toppings, many vegan including their home-made vegan haggis. Unfortunately I’m not a huge fan of this haggis as it has DRIED FRUIT in it and I have some issues with dried fruit in savoury food (I am working on it) but anyway, vegan cake and awesome potatoes and good value. Go there!

Hopefully I will have even more exciting places to eat in Edinburgh in 2014!

222 Veggie Vegan- Restaurant review

 Official Website:

Address: 222 North End Road, West Kensington, London, W14 9NU

Tube station: West Brompton

I came here with a friend who’s thinking of moving to Putney. I’d read a few nice reviews and I was keen to try the ice cream pancake for pudding!

I made a reservation, the place is quite small but pleasant enough with a café vibe and I think all the tables were in use so I’m glad we booked.

I wasn’t going to have a starter as I was saving myself for the pancake but Alex ordered the raw chilled avocado soup and it was such a big portion I helped him out. I had thought that it might taste strongly of raw garlic but no, it was an amazing smooth, creamy avocado soup with some nuttiness and a hint of garlic but not too much. It was super tasty and I probably had half the bowl. My mouth waters at the thought of it and it was such a good choice.

Alex had the burger for main which I was quite jealous of but I rarely order a burger (even though I love them) as I like to be adventurous! It came with loads of chips (which I shared) and some salad and looked yummy.

I went for seitan straganoff which was really nice too- creamy and well seasoned in a nice savoury way and a good sized portion.

We both had the famous ice cream pancake for pudding. I think I’d built it up a bit too much in my head- I found the chocolate and vanilla sauces a little too sweet and the pancake itself a bit mealy and stodgy (it was made with wholemeal flour- I would have made more of a crepe personally) but it was still pretty awesome and compared favourably with many vegan pudding options!

It was good value for money and we also shared a nice organic wine. I will be returning.