Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Kale Caesar Salad

You may not know this, but part of my job involves working behind a deli counter, I serve but I also make salads and do a bit of cooking. Working in a hot, fast paced and often stressful kitchen creates a lot of close friendships, it also creates a fair bit of playful teasing. So when I mentioned that massaging kale makes for a good raw salad the other day, I had to endure laughter and endless jokes about 'happy endings'.

Unimpressed, I made this salad out of spite. I'm incredibly stubborn when I want to be and dammit, I wanted to prove them wrong. So here it is

Kale Caesar Salad (with added massaged onion)



For the onions

  • 1 large red onion
  • a generous splash of lemon juice
  • a pinch of salt
For the salad
  • Lots and lots of kale (a big bags worth), torn into bite size pieces
  • Croutons/crackers, crushed. About 1 cup worth
For the dressing
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tsp capers, minced
  • 1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • a splash of tamari
  • Juice of one small lemon
  • 3/4 cup good quality olive oil
  • salt and pepper
For the parmesan topping
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 clove garlic
  • pinch of salt
  1. Firstly you want to thinly slice the red onion. Add it to a bowl with the lemon and salt and massage for a few minutes, until they go a beautiful bright pink and get a little soft. Set aside
  2. Tear the kale into small pieces and put into a large bowl. Add a drizzle of olive oil, a splash of lemon and a little salt. Massage for 3 minutes or so, you'll notice the leaves begin to get tender and wilt. Add the crushed croutons. Set aside
  3. Mix together all the dressing ingredients with a whisk. If you don't have a garlic press, just blitz the garlic and capers in a food processor. Set aside.
  4. To make the parmesan topping, blitz the cashews and garlic together in a food processor.
  5. Assemble the salad by adding the onions and dressing to the kale and croutons. Use tongs or clean hands to mix it all together. Sprinkle on a generous amount of the topping, give it a quick toss and then serve.

Makes 4 generous portions

I served mine with fried seitan and it was awesome!

Hopefully we've learnt a valuable lesson from this. When it comes to kale, I'm always right.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Berlin Round Up

So, I've already blogged about all the day to day fun I had in Berlin in parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6. These posts are pretty long though and they didn't include everything I loved about this city, so here's a round up post. I'll list all the places I visited at the bottom of this post but before that, here's some extra great things about Berlin.

Manner Wafers

So, someone gave me a heads up about these, because I would never have thought to look. They're these amazing hazelnut chocolate wafers that can be found in the majority of shops in Berlin but more importantly in the vending machines on most U-Bahn platforms. I brought so many of these back with me it was ridiculous. Everytime we caught the U-Bahn it would be like a race to see how many I could buy before our 2 minute wait was up. Luckily for me I've found somewhere in Manchester that stocks them, so my addiction can continue (Barbakan in Chorlton if anyone is interested)

Organic Grocery Stores

The city is full of them! Look out for Bio Company, Vitalia Reformhaus and Denns Biomarkt. Obviously not strictly vegan but all of these places have tons of vegan stuff, including slices of cheeze, hams, salames, pates, spreads, dips. They have it all! It's also very clearly labelled vegan, which makes things super easy if you're German isn't great.

Transport

So good! So unbelievably good! The day/week passes are awesome, they let you go on everything from U-Bahn, to S Bahn, to busses to DOUBLE DECKER TRAINS! The connections are great, the services are punctual and it really doesn't take long to get from one end of the city to the other. Just remember when purchasing your day/week ticket to get it validated before you travel. There are no barriers in Berlin, it works on an honor system but occasionally people will check if your ticket is validated. IIRC they were pretty obvious big yellow machines placed all over platforms.

Bike friendly

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to cycle in Berlin but I am definitely planning on hiring a bike next time round. The cycle lanes are placed in the middle of traffic on busy roads, it may sound scary but cyclists are in view to motorists. Cycle lanes also didn't have cars parked on them, nor were there any lamp posts in the middle of them either! I noticed a lot of bikes that were left outside of shops unlocked. I couldn't believe it! Bike theft must be very low.

Lovely people

I really did find that a little bit of German went a long way. Everyone was really helpful when I had questions/queries but I definitely think it helped that they could see me trying to speak their language. I was a little put out when I kept speaking German and they just replied in English, but dammit I persevered!

Cheap!

This is the cheapest city I've ever visited. Everything was reasonably priced, our apartment was a great price, travel was dirt cheap, most food wasn't too expensive but on the odd occasion we paid more we could see why. Occasionally the organic shops could be pricey, but I guess that's just organic for you. It was mostly the price of specialist items though, and juice seemed to be pretty expensive too.

Round Up

Food

Veganz
Goodies
Voner
Cupcake
Berliner Eis
Zeus Pizza
Oh La La
Yellow Sunshine
Viasko
Cafe Vux
Dolores
Dr Pogo
Frittier Salon
Kadtler

Touristy Stuff
Asisi Panorama
Judisches Museum
Panorama Punkt
Museum fur Film und Fernsehen
Computerspielemuseum
East Side Gallery
Ramones Museum
Brandenburg Gate
The Reichstag

Sunday, 17 August 2014

A Vegan in Berlin: Day 6

I couldn't believe it! Our last day was already here! We got up early to eat the last of our ever growing collection of faux meats and cheeses for breakfast, pack up our stuff and clean the apartment before we left. I left it to the last minute to pack up my frozen goodies to bring back home in my cooler. How impressed are you that I came prepared?!

DOUBLE DECKER AWESOME

We left the apartment and got on a bus to Berlin Hauptbahnhof so we could drop off our luggage in the left luggage lockers. I was really pleased that both our suitcases managed to fit in the one locker and we only had to pay six euros for the day. It was definitely worth it and allowed us a lot more freedom with our day. Our train wasn't leaving until around 8pm so we jumped on a DOUBLE DECKER TRAIN!!!* to give Dr Pogo another try.

Before going into Dr Pogo we went back to Cafe Vux because goddamn that cake is great. I got myself a cheesecake and Fritz Kola to eat in and a Sachertorte to take for the 13 hour train journey that evening. Again, it was a great experience, even if I had to endure Jake giving me his judgey-eyed 'can't believe you're doing this all over again' look.

Lovely cheesecake
Just a small selection of cakes available. So pretty!
Coffee!
I was delighted to see Dr Pogo open for business. Now that I'm reviewing it properly I'll tell you a bit more about it. Like I mentioned in my previous post it's a workers co-operative. What does that mean? It means they have no hierarchy, no bosses, equal pay, equal decision making etc. Their two aims are to create self managing employment and to offer a wide range of vegan food at fair prices. Awesome right?

Packed shelves at Dr Pogo










I got excited just by looking at the display window. So many goodies lined up! As I walked inside I instantly thought of Unicorn Grocery, The Eighth Day and Single Step. This shop was everything that I think Veganz should be. They had a wide selection of European faux meats and cheeses (none of the US ones except for Tofutti, which I think is great as stuff isn't flown over) like Veganz has but it's not overkill. There were so many more interesting products that I would not have easily found elsewhere/couldn't just order online that I came across. All at far more reasonable prices too.

The fruit and veg section was bright, vibrant and tempting. The pet food section was superior to Veganz too, they actually had a wet vegan cat food! I picked some up for our toothless Aidah as an extra to her non vegan food as she often takes a swipe at the tofu on my plate. There was a great wines/beers section which helped us choose some decent gifts, a selection of German cookbooks, a counter that served drinks, fresh bread/cakes and a stand with some vegan/animal rights tees/hoodies too. The rest of the shop was general grocery stuff, wholefoods, dips, spreads, jams, chocolate etc. If I were to ever move to Berlin I'd need to be within shopping distance of Dr Pogo, I could definitely get a decent weekly shop from there and it wouldn't financially kill me.

Great pet food selection


Tempting veg!

After gathering all that I could carry we popped back to Coretex in Kreuzberg to get a few more things. By this point I was getting hungry again and I had two places in mind. First of all, we needed to get hold of vegan currywurst. I'm in Germany dammit! I could not leave without it. Secondly Zeus pizza needed to be revisited. Luckily for me Frittier Salon (a restaurant famous for its burgers) is just opposite Zeus. Perfect! I like it when a plan comes together.



We went to Frittier Salon first and ordered a currywurst each and some fries to share. This was definitely worth the wait. I'd never had currywurst before but I love it! As we had lots of time to kill and not too many plans we hung around for a while before discreetly crossing the street to sit outside Zeus.

Currywurst

It took no time to order this time round, I went for the garlic mushroom Pide pizza. I'd been dreaming of this. It was fricking great. I was pretty full from currywurst but obviously that didn't stop me. Time was getting short and I had one more place I wanted to visit before we left Berlin.

Pide Perfection!

Kadtler, a hidden gem
I'd read about Kadtler on Vegan in Brighton's blog and I was determined to get over there and try some traditional German baked goods. Luckily it was a little far out so I had time to walk off the two meals I'd just eaten. I'd read online about what was vegan beforehand and had the webpage up to guide me as I knew we were out of the touristy area and my German, whilst not awful is a little ropey. I was a little sad to see that we'd come a bit late and that there wasn't much in the counter. I panicked that all the vegan options were gone and all the vegan option names went out of my head. I think the member of staff serving saw my despair and although she didn't speak English was very helpful at pointing out what was vegan when I explained. There were lots of breads and one sweet, the apfelkuchen. I went for the cake!

I was way too full to eat it then so I saved it for my train journey. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it but it was great and tasty and when I return to Berlin I'll be going back in the early hours so I can buy everything!

Even though in Europe people don't turn up for their trains early, my travel anxiety meant that I had to get myself there a little early. It was a good opportunity to visit the shops inside the station, look at Berlin merch that we couldn't afford and to stock up on supplies for the ridiculously long journey home. We did have around an hour where we just sat down and felt very sad that we were leaving.

Berlin is such an amazing city and 6 days was nowhere near enough to see and do everything I'd like to do. I am a little proud that I managed to get a good mix of touristy stuff in with all the food. I have a habit of visiting vegan friendly places and just waddling from one restaurant to the next, which is tasty but ultimately not the only reason I like to travel.

I have a few more great things I came across/noticed/enjoyed that haven't really fit in with my day to day reviews so I'll be putting together a round up and extra tips post up tomorrow, so stay tuned for more!

* The double decker train is one of the single best life experiences ever. I'm so sad that we will never have them in the UK.

Friday, 15 August 2014

A Vegan in Berlin: Day 5

I woke up on day 5 and panicked a little. This was our last full day and I wanted it to cram a lot of stuff in. I made a big breakfast to go over the big plans for the day.
Dr Pogo

I decided it was time to find Dr Pogo - an awesome vegan grocery store that is run as a workers co-operative. It was a little out of the way so I figured we might as well start there. So with food in our bellies we headed over to Neukolln Station, just a short walk away. This was a very different part of Berlin to that we had seen, we were clearly outside of the more touristy/hip parts of the city. I got a little concerned as everything in the area had shutters down. I figured we were in a run down part of town and carried on to Dr Pogo. We got there and it looked pretty dark inside, clearly not open. I checked the opening times on the door and we definitely weren't early. It suddenly dawned on me that something wasn't right here. A few google searches later and we discovered it was some special bank holiday in Germany that day. Damn!

I peered through the windows and moped about for a little while, hoping that against all odds someone would come running down the street with keys, ready to open up. When that didn't happen I trudged towards the next S-Bahn. I was feeling a bit dishearted until we walked past a building surrounded by scaffolding. Looked like it was some kind of cafe...and it was open...dammit, why couldn't a vegan friendly place be open instead?...and then I saw it...'Vegane' was written on the window. I doubled back and looked for a sign. I had just stumbled across Cafe Vux.

"Cafe Vux!" I gasped "This place is vegan! We're going in!"

This place had been on my list of eateries but I'd figured we weren't going to get the chance, when I'd looked it up it seemed too far out of the way and I'd never really made the connection that it was round the corner from Dr Pogo. Despite being full from our breakfast, I was determined to make the trip there worth it. One look at cake on offer and I knew we'd ended up in Neukolln for a reason.

This place sells the most beautiful layer cakes I have ever seen. They were just so perfect, I could not find fault in any of their appearances. After drooling and pointing excitedly at everything on offer, I finally went for a white sponge cake, with apricots on the bottom, iced in a pink cream cheese icing.

The most beautiful cake in the world

Just look at it. Do you understand the perfection now? The sponge was incredible. I have never eaten a cake that this light. It melted in my mouth. I felt it was such a special cake that I made it last longer than 30 seconds. Anyone who knows me will know that I have not done this before. I didn't want this experience to end. Whilst spacing out each bite I took time to enjoy my Fritz Kola, to enjoy the lovely atmosphere of the spacious cafe and I spoke to Jake a bit as well, mostly about how fricking amazing the cakes there were.

 Somehow I managed to leave without cake to takeaway, probably because I knew deep down that I would definitely be returning on our final day.

With the sun shining outside and our bellies more full than ever, we made our way to Warschauer Strasse so we could walk down the East Side Gallery; a 1.3km section of the Berlin wall, consisting of 105 paintings from artists all over the world. This was definitely going to burn off some of our early overeating.

Well, it would have done, had we not walked past the Veganz located at Warschauer Strasse, which had a van parked outside cooking up vegan waffles. It was painful but this had to happen. WAFFLES!

WAFFLES!
Right, food time was definitely over. We had to get moving, despite the excrutiating pain in our stomachs. We walked along the East Side Gallery and took pictures of all of it, so I'll only share a few with you.


I really enjoyed this, we were lucky that it wasn't too busy and we could wander at our own pace and take photos without too much difficulty. It was amazing to see so much artwork out in the open.

The Ramones Museum
After wandering around for a few hours we made our way to Mitte, the center of Berlin. It's probably a little weird that we only made our way to this part of the city on our last full day and part of me is a little sad that we didn't spend a huge amount of time there, but there were so many things I wanted to see/eat/do in other areas of Berlin.

Our first stop was The Ramones Museum, because if you're punk and you're in Berlin you have to go there. Even if you don't like the Ramones that much. It's the rule. It was a lot smaller than I expected but I really liked it there. We paid around 5 euros and got a free drink from the bar. The museum was basically a cool bar with a wall signed by loads of bands who have visited, and lots of other memorabilia.


This led to the main museum part, which is a large room filled with old posters, newspaper articles, photos...even a Garfield Jigsaw with The Ramones on it. There's also a small room with  seating where you can watch a documentary on loop. I was pretty tired so I sat in there watching for a while.

It was really chilled out there so it was a nice way to spend an hour or so of our afternoon. I'm sure if we were drinkers we would have spent longer at the bar.

We began wandering around Mitte after the museum. We saw the Brandenburg Gate, The Jewish Memorial Garden and then walked over to the Reichstag. Unfortunately we couldn't go into the Reichstag but it's an amazing building.
Reichstag
Brandenburg Gate

Whilst waiting around at the Brandenburg Gate I saw these amazing seven seater bikes! I was so sad there were only two of us, I vow to return to Berlin with more people so I can have a go on these next time round!

So who wants to ride on this with me?!

Judge me all you want but after all this, it was getting late and I had room in my belly for food. I'd been recommended Dolores by a friend, which was located in Mitte so dinner was an obvious choice.


I was impressed by Dolores, it's not 100% veggie or vegan but it has great vegan options and was great for fast food in a casual atmosphere, just what we needed after a long day of wandering.

I went for the Vegan Lover Burrito; soy meat, guac, peanut sauce, rice, beans, veggies and salad. It was a great burrito, it was a bit of a novelty to finally have one with faux meat in it and the peanut sauce was weirdly great. It also finished me off, so we returned to the apartment to pack and plan our last few hours in this amazing city.

The Vegan Lover Burrito




 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Vegan in Berlin: Day 4

I woke up late following the food coma from the previous day. Unfortunately the weather was pretty terrible, so we decided to have another museum day. There was one museum I wanted to go to as much as the Film museum...The Computerspielemuseum. 


This place was perfect for a rainy day, it's basically a massive room documenting computer game history. As you enter the building you're greeted by life size computer game characters such as Lara Croft and Link. There was a whole wall dedicated as a timeline of consoles, which made for great fun when I recalled how many I've owned over the years.


Another wall contained blocks of Game Milestones, which I was able to select with a controller and watch previews of on a large screen.


There are exhibits of the worlds first computer games and a small arcade full of classics like Pac Man and Donkey Kong. I spent a long time in this room and only left when the same kid kept kicking me off all the games.


Another highlight was the life size joystick where I was able to play Pac Man by controlling the joystick with my body weight. It was awesome. We spent a ridiculously long time at this museum, in fact most of the day. Which was pretty good for just 8 euros a ticket!


By the time we left we hadn't eaten since breakfast and were ready to gorge all over again. I looked at the restaurants on my 'go to' list and decided it was time to check out Viasko. 


As soon as I walked in and saw the menu's I realised this place was cool. I was slightly intimidated by this because I am far from cool, but this was soon forgotten as soon as I looked at all the food on offer. 

Menu's - too cool
I picked the Jalapeno Cheese Sticks to start. These were so effing great. They were deliciously melt in the mouth, with just enough kick from the jalapeno. I was impressed with how big the portion was too.

Jalapeno Cheese Sticks
For my main I had the Gyros plate. Oh my God. It was massive. There was so much tasty tasty food. I didn't know where to start. The plate was full of gyros, hummus, tzatziki, sauerkraut, hummus, olives and a massive chunk of bread. I don't remember what I went for first, I probably did some hoover like motion. I do however remember the moment I bit into the bread. Berlin appears to have a bit of a thing about covering my face with greasy, delicious liquids. I'm not 100% sure what was in the middle of this bread but I'm 100% sure it was bloody tasty even if it was halfway down my chin before I got round to it. This dish was incredibly rich, there were times I thought I wouldn't finish but I didn't stop. I pushed myself through and finished everything. It was so good.

Gyros Plate

I was feeling pretty damn full by the end of my main but I ordered Tiramisu...because....well....Tiramisu. Best choice of the day. It was awesome, not too strong a coffee flavour, rich and moist. It complemented my meal completely. I did have to waddle out of the restaurant afterwards but it was definitely worth it.

Tiramisu

By this point it was raining again, I was too full to do anything useful so we caught the bus home to our apartment. This was definitely one of our best days, it was basically just computer games and food, two of my biggest loves.









Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A Vegan in Berlin: Day 3

I woke up eager to get stuck in and really start exploring the city. We started off with an even bigger breakfast than the previous morning. Our breakfasts got bigger with each passing day as every time we walked past any of the organic food shops I ended up popping in and stocking up on a variety of cheese/meat slices, pates and sausages. I forgot how much I missed having that kind of stuff for breakfast.
Just one view from the top of Panorama Punkt

Feeling full and satisfied we headed over to Potsdamer Platz so we could ride on the Panorama Punkt; the fastest elevator in Europe. In just twenty seconds we were whisked up 24 floors and walked out amazing views of the city. It was a beautiful morning and a perfect way to start the day. We spent a while admiring the view and taking photos before taking a short walk to the Deutsche Museum Fur Film und Fernsehen - The museum for German film and television.

Ahhhmagoddd. For a Film Studies graduate, this place was a dream. If any of you are film fans, this is definitely a must see in Berlin. We spent hours there and it was awesome. I got to see the Lola's costume from Run Lola Run! Unfortunately the museum doesn't allow you to take photographs so I have nothing impressive to show you. You'll just have to take my word for it.

I figured after a morning/afternoon of touristy stuff, it was time to eat more great food. I decided we needed to go back to Friedrichshain to visit Ohlala. I couldn't wait any longer. And I am so glad I didn't. This place ended up being one of my favourite places during our trip.


Ohlala is an entirely vegan French creperie/pastry shop/cafe. It's beautiful on the outside and inside but nothing could prepare me for how amazing the counter inside looked. It was packed full of cakes, tarts, sweets and savoury quiches. I wanted it all. Somehow I managed to control myself, sit down and look over the menu. I saw potato and cheese crepe and immediately knew that I must have it. Service was quick and it wasn't long until I had my crepe in front of me. It doesn't look much in the photo but it was incredible. It was so delicious that I devoured it within minutes. Obviously I had to have another crepe. I picked the Speculoos and Jake got the Caramel Nut, we decided to go halves so we could try them both. They were so tasty, the caramel nut was particularly good. Even though I wanted more, I could barely move at this point, so decided we should probably start walking it off. I couldn't help but pick up two desserts on the way out...I'll go into more detail about those later...

Crepe time
After walking around Friedrichshain for a while, we thought it was time to get over to Kreuzberg and check out Coretex Records. It was easy to spend a long time in there, and we did.

Believe it or not, I actually started getting a little hungry again, this may be because I sensed that we were close to Yellow Sunshine, or it could be because I'm generally greedy, but either way...we went to Yellow Sunshine.


This place was also great. I never got to experience a meal at Red Veg before it closed down in the UK, but I imagine Yellow Sunshine is pretty much the same sort of thing. It's vegan fast food at it's best. As soon as we went inside we were greeted by friendly staff at the counter and a huge menu board on the wall. It took me ages to decide but I ended up going for the Fish Burger and Chicken Nuggets. We decided not to eat in but catch the bus back to our apartment to eat. The food came quickly and travelled well. It wasn't long until we were back at the flat and tucking in. The burger was ace and the nuggets were good too. We didn't get chips because I wasn't sure if they'd travel well, but I was stuffed after eating it all anyway.

Fish Burger and Nuggets from Yellow Sunshine

More delights from Ohlala
I spent a while lying on my bed, too full to think, before I realised I still had tasty stuff to eat in my bag...my goodies from Ohlala. I rolled over towards my bag and pulled out my box of delights. My treats had survived the journey and I had just about enough space in my pudding compartment for one. I picked the hazelnut cake. I picked up the cake, held it up to my face and took a bite.

What the fuck?

What the fuck?

This was not a cake.

No.

It was a hollow chocolate shell, filled with sticky, gooey chocolate syrup and then covered in frosting and hazelnuts to give it the appearance of a cupcake. My God. It was so much better than some pathetic little cupcake. I had chocolate syrup all over my face and I was loving it. It was the most disgustingly fun thing I ate during my time in Berlin. I swear I have a lump in my throat right now just remembering how beautiful it was and how tragic it is now that I no longer have it.

This pretty much finished me off. I slipped into my food coma and didn't wake until the next day...








Monday, 2 June 2014

A Vegan in Berlin: Day 2

I'm ashamed to say we slept in pretty late on our first proper day in Berlin. I'd had plans of hitting the museums around Potsdamer Platz in the early morning before heading over to Friedrichshrain for more tasty food. Due to the late start and my realisation that the Film Museum was closed on Monday's, we decided to have a big breakfast before heading to the Asisi Panorama and the Judisches Museum both within 10 minutes of our apartment.
We ended up having what was the first of our daily homemade German breakfasts. Turns out my love of faux meats and cheeses made me a bit of a pro at these. Our first was a simple fried sausage, fried schnitzel with cheeze on top alongside corn cakes, a creamy cucumber dill spread and some slices of vegan 'ham'. Looking back, this breakfast was a little tame compared to what I was putting on our plates on our last few days.

Before hitting the museums we decided to check our the local Lidl to get some more breakfast supplies. The German Lidl's are so much better than what we have here in the UK. We picked up some frozen pastries and some juice. There was a fair bit of accidentally vegan chocolate and biscuits but I decided before arriving in Berlin where I really wanted to spend my money when it came to sweet stuff so I skipped on these.

After our brief Lidl distraction we headed straight over towards Checkpoint Charlie. It was weirdly touristy considering there wasn't all that much there and weird how in just a short walk from our apartment the atmosphere was completely different. The Asisi Panorama is located just by the Mauer Museum, next to a square full of takeaway vans and a souvenir shop. The best part was this section of the Berlin wall with a cow on it. I name this photograph 'Die Frau, die Kuh und die blassen Beine' (The woman, the cow and the pale legs - my German isn't great so don't quote me on the title)



Asisi Panorama

Because Tourist information sites can explain this better than me, this is what the Panorama is about

"THE BERLIN WALL – The asisi Panorama on a divided Berlin by the artist Yadegar Asisi at Checkpoint Charlie at the corner of Friedrichstra├če and Zimmerstra├če consists of a cylindrical steel rotunda that displays a panorama of the daily routine on both sides of the Berlin Wall on an autumn day in the 1980s.
Asisi, who actually lived in Kreuzberg in the 1980s, has bundled his memories in the panorama and goes into great detail in his narration of stories, which would not have happened that way at the same time"

As you enter the building you find yourself in a room with a wall covered in photos, video clips and text, showing stories of peoples experiences of the wall. You can then walk through to see the painted wall. Obviously it's not completely accurate, certain buildings haven't been painted in as they obstructed the view and scenes painting along the wall come from Asisi's memories and others detailed stories, which would not have happened at the same time. There are steps up onto a platform, so it feels like you're looking out over the wall and there are audio clips of speeches that play out as you take it all in. It's all pretty realistic and a good experience in all.

I was expecting a little more, but it was just those two rooms. At €10 each I probably wouldn't visit again but I'm still glad I did. The artwork and stories were incredible and I really did feel like I'd travelled back in time.

We browsed some souvenirs and then headed back over to Lindenstrasse to check out the Judisches Museum

Judisches Museum

This museum was fantastic but a few words of warning if you plan to visit. You need a lot of time for this, there are security checks on the way in and you'll need either a passport or a driving licence as a deposit if you want an audio guide.

The Judisches Museum is one of Europes largest Jewish Museums. The museum consists of two buildings, one of which is a new addition, built specificially for the museum by architect Daniel Libeskind. It's really hard to explain how incredible the journey through the museum is. You enter a traditional building before heading down into tunnels that lead you to a modern zig zag that stands next to the original building. The building itself is so amazing that you could spend hours just walking around admiring it, on top of all the exhibits and extra info you could easily spend an entire day at this museum.

I won't go into detail about everything but will share some of my photos so I can at least try to show you how awesome this was.

This was one of the few voided spaces, Fallen Leaves. There are 10 000 faces punched out of steel in this space and visitors are encouraged to walk along the space. Menashe Kadishman dedicated this work not just to all the Jewish victims but to all victims of violence. I walked along this stretch of space and it was haunting hearing the clanging sound of metal echoing around the room.


The view from the top of the stairs, which we reached after walking through all of the tunnels:



The additional building of this museum. Shame I couldn't capture how it zig zags around but a quick google will show you what it looks like:



Amazing tunnel that led to the gardens:



After a long day of museums my urge to find more great vegan food was too strong to ignore, especially after I bumped into this dude.


During our breakfast I'd managed to get a small food plan written up so we could take out a few places in one glorious hit. We headed back over to Friedrichshain to visit Cupcake, Berliner Eis and Zeus Pide Pizza. We visited in this order because Cupcake was due to close at 8pm and because I decided one can eat dessert before mains when in Berlin.

Cupcake

We only briefly popped into Cupcake to grab some cake to go. The shop itself was really cute, the way you'd hope a cupcake shop to look. It was a real shame that we couldn't sit about, but ice cream was calling for us.

 I only intended us to leave with one baked item each but considering the only vegan cake option was vanilla and there were also peanut butter chocolate brownies, I figured we'd have to get two of each. The staff were really friendly and helpful at pointing out what was and wasn't vegan. Our cupcakes ended up a bit squashed on the journey home so I haven't photographed them, but they were traditionally pretty piped American style cupcakes. I do have a photo of our beautifully packaged brownies though!

My verdict: Brownies great, Cupcakes bad!

I was really sad about the cake, the flavour was pretty good and I liked the buttercream. However, the sponge was so dry! I genuinely struggled to get it down my throat. It's a shame because the brownie was perfect. It was beautifully gooey and moist inside but had that perfect thin crust on the outside.

Definitely worth a visit in the area but if you have the choice, go for the brownie.


Berliner Eis

Another non vegan place with lots of vegan options. Thanks to the helpful staff I learnt that all the sorbets were vegan friendly, as were the waffle cones. Awesome! I'm pretty sure it was no more than €3 for 2 scoops. I had strawberry and chocolate and it was delicious. The weather was still really good so it was lovely to sit outside on the comfy seating and enjoy our ice creams in the sun. I even took what is probably my first selfie.

Zeus Pide Pizza


We finished our trio of non vegan but vegan friendly eateries by heading to Zeus. I'd heard about this place from a friend from work who had visited Berlin a week before we went. They have an entire separate vegan menu and there was so much choice. I ordered the Zeus, which iirc was 'ham' 'salami' chilli, mushrooms, cheeze and tomato sauce on the base, my partner in crime ordered a classic Hawaii.

These were probably the best pizzas I've ever eaten. The base was perfectly thin and crispy. The vegan cheese was melted beautifully and evenly spread on the pizza. The toppings were ridiculously realistic but staff confirmed that my pizza was indeed completely vegan. We decided after our first bite that we would definitely return before our trip was up.

The pizza put me in a food coma, I can't remember how we got home but we managed it somehow.


Next installment coming soon! Tschuss!