Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Vegan in Vilnius

My previous trip to the Baltic states - in 2011, to the Latvian capital of Riga - didn't yield many vegan dining options. So, when I visited Vilnius, Lithuania a couple of weeks ago, I was curious about the food that awaited me. I found mostly very good things; I hadn't really done any research beforehand and instead just let myself be surprised.

What you see above are raw Thai rolls - rice paper stuffed with various veggies and, of course, drizzled in peanut sauce. It's so easy to feel gross and scurvy-like when you're travelling, so while I'm not a raw food person, I really appreciated the onslaught of green, additive-free things here.

I returned to Raw42 for lunch just before I caught my bus home. I had been intending to try the borscht but instead opted for the raw lasagne, craving something that I knew would sustain me for the long way back. This was by far the priciest restaurant I went to Vilnius - I paid about 12€ for a meal including a drink - but that's not more than I'd shell out for a good dinner in Berlin.

Lithuanian for "place", Vieta appeared to be primarily a bar that also offered vegetarian food. I got the tofu steak and salad, as well as a vegan strawberry milkshake. A very filling little lunch spot nestled right into the Old Town!

I can't say I was thrilled with my experience here... the vibe was just quite weird and impersonal. There was also a lot of stuff that they were out of when I asked about it, which was disappointing. In the end, I went for the momos, which tasted good enough and were presented very nicely.

Jurgis ir drakonas
I went to "George and the Dragon" on my last night for what I'd heard would be a wonderful pizza experience, and that's exactly what it was. There were at least two pizza options on the menu where if you paid 1€ extra, you'd get vegan cheese. And I mean, just look at that pizza: Romaine lettuce, walnuts, sundried tomatoes, perfect puffy dough.

In addition, the service was very friendly and the atmosphere warm, The owner offered me a complimentary scoop of ice cream and when I said I was vegan, she brought me a really tasty sorbet. This place is not to be missed!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Sommer auf der Roten Insel

Did I ever tell you about my Kiez? It's called the Rote Insel - "Red Island" - referring to the confluence of the Südkreuz, Schöneberg and Yorckstraße S-Bahn stations. There is even a blog dedicated to local goings-on!

I've been holed up inside trying to take it easy, as illness has been flaring up this week. The temperature outdoors is fluctuating between 35 and 40 degrees, which is deeply frustrating; even though I loathe hot weather, there's something about everyone talking about the lakes they've been swimming in and the ice creams they've been devouring, while you're in bed nibbling rice waffles.

So, I decided a nice walk around the Rote Insel might soothe both my stomach and soul.

There are quite a few families living around here, but it's still generally quiet - this is a welcome respite, since I work in Mitte. I like the fact that I can walk to the Akazienkiez and even to Nollendorfplatz, which are two of my favourite areas in Berlin.

The Rote Insel has some celebrity flair, as Marlene Dietrich was born on Leberstraße. It is also pretty publishing-influenced, which is great in my book (ha!). There's the Langenscheidtbrücke, right next to Langenscheidt Verlag. Go a bit further eastwards, towards Kreuzberg, and you've also got Dudenstraße (however, I can't find confirmation that this is actually related to Duden - may just be a coincidence).

Ich liebe Schöneberg!


View from the Langenscheidtbrücke onto the S1 track, heading north. Can you see the teeny-tiny TV Tower in the distance?