Vegan hotdogs in Santa Cruz, Tenerife

With four hours left before my flight home and having finished all the work I’d come to Tenerife to do, I decided to locate Santa Cruz’s vegan offerings. This is Northern Tenerife, well away from the crowded high rises and apartment blocks of Los Christianos. 

  
I’d been really surprised by Tenerife. For a start, I’d spent the last four days cowering from the freezing cold weather – in early June, fog and wind had been the order of the day. This is an island of microclimates, and my trip had taken me away from the sunshine. First up to El Teide, a mountain in the centre (fog), and then along the northern coastline which is reminiscent of California’s craggy Route One.

  
The purpose of the trip (oh the hardship), was to track down gourmet Tenerife – the culinary heart of the island. Over the last few days I’ve tasted some incredible wines and eaten a vegan menu at a two star Michelin restaurant. But now, with a few hours to myself, I left the comfort of the hotel’s saltwater pool and comfy loungers, to find Burger Mel, a totally vegan hamburger joint in Santa Cruz.

  
The fact that such a thing even existed surprised me for many reasons. The main one is that Spain is not known for its veggie friendly cuisine, and yet, according to Happy Cow, there seem to be about five Burger Mel’s. She offered me vegan mayonnaise but normal cheese (possibly – my Spanish is mediocre and she didn’t speak English), so it might be worth double checking before you go faux-dairy crazy.
I had absolutely no idea what I just ordered until she just brought it just now. I seem to have got a hotdog with vegan mayonnaise, salsa, onions, and topped with avocado. It’s awesome. Best of all is how cheap Tenerife is away from the tourist areas – it’s incredible.

  
I packed nine euros (now worth about 5 pounds) in my purse worried I wouldn’t have enough and the whole meal including a piña (pineapple juice) came to 4 euros. Amazing. It’s good too. It lacks a little texture but  made a nice change from Tenerife’s high end restaurants. And perhaps the meat-free wind is starting to blow here. 

Vegan hotdogs in Santa Cruz, Tenerife

With four hours left before my flight home and having finished all the work I’d come to Tenerife to do, I decided to locate Santa Cruz’s vegan offerings. This is Northern Tenerife, well away from the crowded high rises and apartment blocks of Los Christianos. 

  
I’d been really surprised by Tenerife. For a start, I’d spent the last four days cowering from the freezing cold weather – in early June, fog and wind had been the order of the day. This is an island of microclimates, and my trip had taken me away from the sunshine. First up to El Teide, a mountain in the centre (fog), and then along the northern coastline which is reminiscent of California’s craggy Route One.

  
The purpose of the trip (oh the hardship), was to track down gourmet Tenerife – the culinary heart of the island. Over the last few days I’ve tasted some incredible wines and eaten a vegan menu at a two star Michelin restaurant. But now, with a few hours to myself, I left the comfort of the hotel’s saltwater pool and comfy loungers, to find Burger Mel, a totally vegan hamburger joint in Santa Cruz.

  
The fact that such a thing even existed surprised me for many reasons. The main one is that Spain is not known for its veggie friendly cuisine, and yet, according to Happy Cow, there seem to be about five Burger Mel’s. She offered me vegan mayonnaise but normal cheese (possibly – my Spanish is mediocre and she didn’t speak English), so it might be worth double checking before you go faux-dairy crazy.
I had absolutely no idea what I just ordered until she just brought it just now. I seem to have got a hotdog with vegan mayonnaise, salsa, onions, and topped with avocado. It’s awesome. Best of all is how cheap Tenerife is away from the tourist areas – it’s incredible.

  
I packed nine euros (now worth about 5 pounds) in my purse worried I wouldn’t have enough and the whole meal including a piña (pineapple juice) came to 4 euros. Amazing. It’s good too. It lacks a little texture but  made a nice change from Tenerife’s high end restaurants. And perhaps the meat-free wind is starting to blow here. 

With four hours left before my flight home and having finished all the work I’d come to Tenerife to do, I decided to locate Santa Cruz’s vegan offerings. This is Northern Tenerife, well away from the crowded high rises and apartment blocks of Los Christianos. 

  
I’d been really surprised by Tenerife. For a start, I’d spent the last four days cowering from the freezing cold weather – in early June, fog and wind had been the order of the day. This is an island of microclimates, and my trip had taken me away from the sunshine. First up to El Teide, a mountain in the centre (fog), and then along the northern coastline which is reminiscent of California’s craggy Route One.

  
The purpose of the trip (oh the hardship), was to track down gourmet Tenerife – the culinary heart of the island. Over the last few days I’ve tasted some incredible wines and eaten a vegan menu at a two star Michelin restaurant. But now, with a few hours to myself, I left the comfort of the hotel’s saltwater pool and comfy loungers, to find Burger Mel, a totally vegan hamburger joint in Santa Cruz.

  
The fact that such a thing even existed surprised me for many reasons. The main one is that Spain is not known for its veggie friendly cuisine, and yet, according to Happy Cow, there seem to be about five Burger Mel’s. She offered me vegan mayonnaise but normal cheese (possibly – my Spanish is mediocre and she didn’t speak English), so it might be worth double checking before you go faux-dairy crazy.
I had absolutely no idea what I just ordered until she just brought it just now. I seem to have got a hotdog with vegan mayonnaise, salsa, onions, and topped with avocado. It’s awesome. Best of all is how cheap Tenerife is away from the tourist areas – it’s incredible.

  
I packed nine euros (now worth about 5 pounds) in my purse worried I wouldn’t have enough and the whole meal including a piña (pineapple juice) came to 4 euros. Amazing. 
It’s good too. It lacks a little texture but  made a nice change from Tenerife’s high end restaurants. And perhaps the wind is changing here. 

Salad season! Middle Eastern Fattoush

photo

The pool at Brockwell Lido

It’s the hottest day of the year so far (probably). This means we’re well into salad season.

London is heaving with ice-cream eaters, white pasty legs and babies in parasol covered pushchairs. The sun is out and people are picnicking, grazing and drinking in sunny beer gardens. London in the sun is like nowhere else on earth: still cool enough to move around, warm enough to show some leg! To make the most of this sunny saturday I went for a swim in my local outdoor pool at Brockwell Lido.

Apparently the temperature of the pool was 20.4 degrees this morning. I’ve been swimming here since the end of April without a wetsuit so the water felt like the Carribean… I’m lucky enough that my pool and gym has a little spa area attached to it (hot hydrotherapy pool with jacuzzi, sauna and steam room). It’s perfect after an April dip, but also soothing after a late June splash about outside. After my swim I picked up a new bike (NEW BIKE!) and headed to Maltby Street Market, one of the best places in London to browse artisan food stalls, second hand furniture and drink gin/beer/wine. According to trend predictors and estate agents, it’s all about SE16 in 2014!! Shame it doesn’t rhyme…

I found myself drawn to the Middle Eastern food stalls. I needed to go to Borough Market to pick up some strawberries anyway, and I had the toughest time trying to avoid buying a falafel wrap or a burger from the Veggie Table. Instead, I peddled back home and made some hummus and fattaoush, one of the best, tangy, sourest salads that acts as an antidote to all hot weather.

My favourite fattaoush in London comes (unimaginatively I know) from Yalla Yalla, but I had a decent helping from a Lebanese takeaway called Beirut in Detroit which was just spot on. I’m trying to save money though, so I made my own. Here’s how:

Mix all the salad ingredients together. A few minutes before serving, add the dressing and mix it all together, giving it a chance to soak everything up. Enjoy!

 

photo 1

Toast the pita

photo 2

Mix the dressing and salad ingredients together

photo 3

Serve with flatbread and homemade, garlicky hummus!

 

Ingredients:

A head of shredded romaine lettuce

Two inches of diced cucumber

Two diced tomatoes

I added some sour, shrivelled black olives, but it’s not authentic

I pita bread, torn and baked in the oven on high for 5 minutes until it’s crispy

Diced red onion

Eight very finely sliced radishes (this isn’t necessary if you don’t have it in the house!)

 

For the dressing:

Three tablespoons of good olive oil

The zest and juice of a whole lemon

Two finely diced cloves of garlic

Two teaspoons of sumac

(I added some zataar too, but only because I like a bit more spice)

 

 

 

 

California inspired salad: pink grapefruit, kale and avocado

 

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Disastrously, the only salad picture we got was from a distance!! Sam eating salad in Zion NP

Ok, so the combination of ingredients might not immediately jump out at you as the most delicious combinations of vegetables and fruits you’ve encountered. But trust me, once you’ve put all these together you’ll be in heaven. This salad was so good that I made it eight more times while I was in America. That’s right, EIGHT more times. This includes mixing together all the ingredients in the dark in Zion National Park after we’d just arrived in the campsite and had forgotten our camping lantern.

Another time I sliced open my thumb hacking at an underipe avocado in the Grand Canyon Mather Campground (also in the dark) in my hurry to slice all these ingredients up. The most memorable of these salad making escapades was probably in a Quality Inn motel just outside Flagstaff where my partner and I had just hiked to the top of Humphrey’s Point (12000ft+) and were just dying. I prepared the salad in a massive washing up bowl, sprawled on the bed, feet up, while watching Big Bang Theory.

Seriously, this is a salad that will carry you through any situation. Best of all, none of the ingredients need to be cooked, although a handful of oven-roasted almonds could only add to the dish.

I’ll stop droning on and give you the ingredients now, shall I? Just a hint: the wonderfulness of this dish really helps if you have a Trader Joe’s nearby and can buy the spicy peanut vinaigrette. If not, then I’ll also give you a nice little vinaigrette recipe that works wonders!

And, best of all, because my photographs of the salad itself are so lacking, and you only have Sam’s rapturous face to carry through your belief that this is in fact the best salad you’ve ever eaten, below are a range of images from Zion NP. Because it was pretty.

Ingredients:

A handful of Kale, shredded

A head of Romaine

Finely diced red onion

Two fresh, ripe avocados

One pink grapefruit cut into chunks

(If more crunch desired, add some almonds)

Spicy peanut vinaigrette dressing (Mix a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter with a dash of soy sauce, rice-wine vinegar, chili flakes, a pinch of brown sugar and two tablespoons of whatever oil you have around. Vegetable is probably best. Beat it all together until it’s a smooth liquid with the consistency of a soy milkshake.)

 

Method:

Literally, just mix everything together and slather in dressing. Serve with crunchy bread if desired, but I don’t think it needs even that. Maybe some crouton would be delicious with this, but the avocado is filling enough in my opinion.

 

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Itsu weird.

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Lunch.

Ok Wasabi Christmas special you have a contender! Welcome the Itsu “Eat beautiful Hummous flatbread”. This lunch choice is not excellent. In fact, the fact that I am now stuck with five pounds worth of regret on my desk saddens me.

I didn’t think you could really go wrong with hummous and flatbread. Evidently, I was mistaken. They’ve added some salad on to the hummous. Awesome! Nice touch! Except salad really translates as very long pieces of stringy rocket, the type that when you eat them the hang out of the side of your mouth and you have to make that apologetic face to colleagues as you suck in the greens like you would spaghetti, flicking hummous and sauce all over the shop.

Initially I only logged onto my wordpress blog to make the point that this hummous wrap is impossible to eat and that it is the nemesis of any desk worker. Especially when trying to hack at lumps of the wrap with Itsu’s flimsy cutlery.

Then you dig a little deeper into the mound of hummous and there are edamame beans. Why? What do edamame beans have to do with hummous? I’m sorry, is this fusion lunch food?

Want to know what’s worse? Sure you do. Someone has to warn you. They’ve added a sauce. No, me neither. No idea why you need a sauce with a hummous flatbread unless you’ve got something to hide. In this case, the edamame beans and the weirdly inconvenient wrap that’s not a wrap but a class A hassle. The sauce is bright green. I didn’t notice this when I bought it, but as soon as I did I was hooked. You don’t give somebody a luminous green sauce with a hummous wrap and not experiment. It would be mint, obviously. Everybody pairs mint with hummous. It’s very middle eastern. Maybe this would be a sensible step to cover their edaame mistake. They were probably embarassed by adding the beans. “Oh it’s Phil’s idea. He’s been here for ages. He has a wife and kids to support. Oh, we’ll give him the edamame beans. I know sounds horrific but it’s the first idea he’s had in months and we can’t fire him before christmas. Ok then, well develop something to disguise the idea then. Ok, brilliant, bye!”

And so they designed a lurid green coconut coriander lemon sauce to drizzle over the hummous, the floppy rocket and the wrap that can’t be wrapped. It was an expensive mistake and I feel it is my duty to alert others. Stick with the Potsu.

Chopp’d – build a salad of your dreams…

I am a big fan of these ‘put together your own salad’ bars. Those of you who live in big cities will already have become accustomed to salad being a reasonable option for lunch. For country bumpkins, where Eat and Pret A Manger have only just crept onto the high street, salad as a main meal might still seem a bit alien. Commonly, salad is seen as a healthy accompaniment to something unhealthy, like cheesy lasagne, or as a watery, flavourless base of green in a burger or hotdog.

Chopp’d has been around for a while, but I’d just like to redraw people’s attention to it. I know it’s an enormous corporate company which thrives on fat dirty capitalism, but this blog is meant to be about where to find vegan food on the hoof, in mainstream places, in case your hunger has surprised you when you’re out and about with omnivorous work colleagues. And, salad bars such as Chopp’d and Tossed actually make it extremely easy to eat tasty, fresh and healthy vegan (and in my case) gluten free food.

I opted for the more bulky falafel and hummus salad which allowed me to choose two bases-mixed leaves and potato (unwise choice-that’s a lot of carbs and protein!). My server then directed me towards some additional toppings.

“Have some shredded beetroot or carrot”.
“Can I have tomato instead?”
“No.”
“Olives?”
“No.”

Gutted.

So I bypassed the shredded roots, managed to negotiate some cucumber and he turned a blind eye to a handful of pumpkin seeds I requested too. The original hummus salad comes with a yoghurt and tahini dressing, so I asked for some squeezed lemon and olive oil instead.

It was tasty, but I think the real point of this post is to just celebrate that people are starting to see that salad is an ok meal by itself. By adding handfuls of nuts, tasty cheeses and meats (if that’s your thang) and dressings, it means that salads can become sensory, exciting experiences. Hopefully, salad will start to be taken seriously as a meal, and people won’t expect every meal they have to be sandwiched between two slices of bread.