Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Weidstübli, Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

If you drive a little further through the quaint town of Lauterbrunnen towards Stechelberg, you will find a traditional Swiss restaurant called Weidstübli. This log-cabin-style restaurant screams "Switzerland" with its flower boxes and gingham curtains. Inside, big wooden tables with old-fashioned Old World chairs grace the dining room.

We sat down in the main dining room and ordered some wine. When I inquired about vegan options, they were not so excited to accommodate, so I wouldn't rate this restaurant as very vegan friendly. I went ahead and ordered the two items that seemed safely vegan.

The first entree served was the Rosti -- shredded, fried potatoes without the egg. This dish, although simple, was very tasty (and very oily). I liked the pickle in the shape of a heart -- that was a nice touch.

I was pretty full after that, but I also ordered a large Mixed Salad. Loaded with cabbage, greens, tomatoes, corn, and peppers, it was quite tasty. I topped it with oil and vinegar as the dressing.

One thing I will say is that the service left much to be desired. The lady who took our order made a rude comment when my friend apologized to me for ordering meat. She commented that he should be able to order whatever he wants. How is that her business? I've never heard a server say anything like that and I was so taken aback that she would insert herself into our conversation that I just didn't say anything.

All was better once outside though because you can't be upset with mountains and waterfalls around you. I'd eat there again, but it definitely isn't my first choice in this small city.

Weid 406
CH-3822 Lauterbrunnen 
+41 33 856 20 10

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Gelatomania, Trento, Italy

You just never know when you might discover something great. That's how I felt when I stumbled upon a gelato shop in Trento while trying to find a SIM card. Gelatomania had clearly labeled vegan gelato that I just had to try!

I chose the Nocciola or hazelnut gelato and it blew my socks off. Soft, creamy, and decadent, you really can't go wrong with vegan gelato in Italy.

Short and sweet, that's about all I have to say about that. There was also a pistachio flavor. I recommend you stop by when in Trento. Ciao!

Via Garibaldi, 10 Trento 
Via Paoli, 41/B Rovereto
Trento, Italy
+39 0461 220014

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bio Essere, Arco, Italy #2

I discovered Bio-Essere in my journeys last year in Arco, Italy and was excited to go back. This organic, vegetarian restaurant is set-up buffet style with different offerings each day. You choose what you want and they weigh your plate to determine the price. All items are clearly marked as vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free.

On this particular day, the offerings looked most inviting. It made it very hard to choose.

I didn't want to put everything on my plate so I chose four things. The fennel salad made with mushrooms, carrots, and spinach was absolutely delicious. The farro pasta with pesto wasn't as good as it looked, but still pretty good. And I absolutely loved the curried tempeh with carrots over farro.  There was also a breaded tomato that was meh.

So many items to choose from and so little time. I look forward to coming back and trying more. Be aware that this restaurant is only open for lunch most days and for dinner only Friday and Saturday. Also, be sure to check out their very vegan-friendly grocery store next door because it is fantastic! Till next year!

Previous review
December 14, 2016

via Santa Caterina 40
Arco 38062
+39 0464 516597 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Taste of India, Riva Del Garda, Italy

Italians aren't really big on foreign food--or at least they aren't in this area of northern Italy where I was staying. I tried Indian food here last year, made by Indians, I might add, and it was not good. So, when my Italian friend mentioned that he knew where to get good Indian food 20 minutes away, I was all for it.

Taste of India is located in the bustling beach town of Riva Del Garda in a little strip mall. The funny thing about this place is that it serves Indian food and pizza. Why? Because, apparently, just Indian food doesn't cut it in Italy. This place would fail without offering patrons pizza as well, so they obliged.

Inside, the restaurant is quite large with orange and black tablecloths. We started with some delicious pappadums and chutneys. An order of fried samosas filled with veggies took the hunger away--salty, but good.

For my meal, I ordered the Vegetable Kadai made with carrots, green beans, cauliflower, and broccoli in a rich sauce. It was very good and spicy--just how I like it!

I also got an order of garlic naan that was out of this world.

All the while we drank a great local white wine and gazed at the mountains just outside the window--so picturesque.

I'm so glad to have discovered good Indian food in this area! There are lots of vegan options too! Highly recommended.

Taste of India
Blue Garden, Viale Rovereto, 
38066 Riva del Garda TN, Italy
+39 0464 544103

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Alfio Ristorante, Dro Italy #2

Ristorante Alfio is an Italian restaurant in Dro, Italy that has tons of vegan options. I discovered it last year as I was wingsuit BASE jumping and headed back this year for more!

It's a huge restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. We sat outdoors amongst the smoking patrons (ugh) and the beautiful statues. Everything that is vegan is clearly marked on the menu including a full vegan tasting menu.

We started with some bread and the random tortilla chips and salsa that are served as an appetizer on every table.

On my first visit there, I ordered a bottle of local Lore white wine. And for my meal, I went with the Scialatielli alla Salernitana, which is freshly made pasta with pine nuts, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, oregano, and olive oil. It was every bit as good as it sounded.

My friend ordered something similar, but with a tomato sauce.

On my next visit, we ordered a bottle of local red wine. To start, we ordered the Bruschetta Classica with vegan bread. We topped the bread with the mix of tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, and olive oil and it was pretty good.

And for my meal, I went out on a limb and tried something unusual--Fusilli di Kamut al Pate di Oliva. This is a pasta made out of organic kamut flour with black olive pate and olive oil. It was...well, a lot of olives in a heavy pasta. It was good, but just know that the only flavor you get is olive and nothing else. I'd go with a lighter pasta next time for sure.

Other vegan items on the menu include a vegan burger, penne arrabiatta, and kamut spaghetti pomodorini.

The service isn't fantastic because it's Italy and they just don't care, but it was better than we experienced last year, for sure. The prices are incredibly cheap at just 8 to 10 Euros for the meals and 20 Euros for a bottle of wine. I'd eat here every day if I could. :-)

Alfio Ristorante
Road West Gardesana 7
B Dro (TN) 38074
+39 0464 504208

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bar Parete Zebrata, Dro, Italy

As many of you know, I go overseas for one reason only -- to BASE jump. I end up in somewhat remote areas sometimes worried about the vegan fare. But, I'm usually pleasantly surprised. One of my favorite discoveries was the BASE jumper cafe that is right in the area that we land our parachutes at the base of Monte Brento (Mount Brento) in Dro, Italy.

To my delight, I discovered that Bar Parete Zebrata offers one vegan croissant each morning! Clearly labeled as "vegana," I quickly snatched one up to try it and it was delicious. Fresh and flaky and filled with some sort of jam, it was fantastic.

For lunch, there isn't anything on the menu that is vegan, but they did have a vegetable sandwich that I ordered without the cheese. The Vegetale sandwich is made with thinly sliced roasted vegetables including eggplant and lettuce on fresh French bread. It was really good.

Accompanying this meal was a nice glass of local Italian wine, which is always cheap and good.

Needless to say, I'll be back here again next year as it's the only cafe/bar at the base of the mountain. Now, back to wingsuit BASE jumping!

Bar Parete Zebrata
Statale per Trento
Loc. Gaggiolo, 4
38074 Dro (TN)
0464 507 146

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Veganima, Arco, Italy #2

After having such a good experience at Veganima, one of the vegan restaurants in Arco, Italy, last year, I headed straight back there as soon as I got into town!  On a Sunday evening, this restaurant was packed and we were excited to see what was on the menu that day.

Veganima offers a different menu every day and the only way to know what is on the menu is to show up. They pride themselves on all-vegan, organic food. You can choose a plate based on how many items you want to try. I went with three. With so many choices of hot and cold dishes, it was very difficult to choose, but I finally did.

The pumpkin gnocchi with bechamel sauce was, by far, my favorite. Tender, fresh, sauteed gnocchi with creamy rich bechamel sauce left me wanting more. The barley salad made with zucchini, beans, and chickpeas drenched in a rich pesto came in a close second. At this point, I was glad it was not an unlimited buffet. The chickpea cakes with veggies were also quite good.

My friend got the gnocchi and chickpea cake along with a bunch of other things including a shredded vegetable salad and a beggar's purse.

For dessert, I had chocolate mousse with pistachios -- yum! And my friend had a tiramisu-style mousse.

We enjoyed it all outside in the courtyard by the ice cream cart with the birds singing. It was very pleasant.

I also love the vegan artwork, which makes for a fun, lively atmosphere.

All in all, it was another great visit. Can I open a Veganima in DC, please? We need something just like this at home. But, for now, I'll just look forward to visiting again next year. Ciao!

Previous review
January 13, 2017

Viale delle Magnolie 29
Arco (TN)
+39 0464 519764 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cafe Sunflower, Atlanta

When I last visited Atlanta like 10 years ago, the best place to eat was Cafe Sunflower. I remembered this cafe as having exceptional food back then as one of the only vegetarian restaurants in the city and I was excited to come back this time to see if it was as good as I remembered. The cafe has two locations -- we visited the one in Buckhead.

The dining room is quite casual with simple chairs and tables. The lighting and artwork make it really pop though.

The first time me and my friend went, it was for lunch. I was disappointed to see that the menus are entirely different for lunch and dinner because the fancy stuff was on the dinner menu. But, we made the most of it. Most of the food is vegan, but they do offer some dairy cheese as an option on some dishes. I started with a tasty Angel Greens juice. Made fresh with kale, celery, ginger, lemon, cucumber, apple juice, it was just what I needed to jumpstart my day.

For an appetizer, we started with the Buffalo Lollipops. Despite its humorous name, these soy chicken drumsticks coated in housemade buffalo sauce were amazing. The vegan blue cheese dressing was great as well. Wow.

For my lunch, I ordered the Quinoa Avocado Burrito. It was simple, fresh, and delicious. Unlike many other places that skimp on the avocado, this burrito was loaded with avocado as well as quinoa, steamed spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes in a spinach tortilla with chipotle aioli dipping sauce.  It was very, very filling. This dish came with a mushroom barley soup and a nice salad as well. All of it was very good.

My friend ordered a special -- the Taco Salad. This bowl was filled with mixed greens, avocado, black beans, radish, chorizo with bell pepper, pico de gallo, Daiya cheese, and chipotle sauce. He loved it.

After that experience, we came back with friends for dinner. We started with an Artichoke Spinach Dip and more of the Buffalo Lollipops. Both were a hit among these non-vegans. I didn't think the dip was all that great, but everyone else did!

For my entree, I ordered the Chimichurri Seitan Steak. It was so good. Layers of grilled seitan were doused with chimichurri sauce over a cauliflower potato mash and served with asparagus.

One friend ordered the Orzo Egpplant Lasagna and this one was fantastic as well. Layers of baked portobello mushoom, eggplant, zucchini, roasted red pepper, spinach, and tofu ricotta orzo pasta made up this masterpiece. The slow-roasted shallot marinara and grilled asparagus on top were just the icing on the cake.

Another friend has the Fettucini Alfredo special, which was okay, but not great.

Another friend had the Sesame Soy Chicken dish and loved it. I did not try it, but it looked great.

Between the two visits, I give this restaurant an A+. The service was fantastic on both visits and the atmosphere is lively. The entrees are quite pricey at $19 to $22 each, but the food was great overall. If you are in Atlanta and are looking for a casual restaurant with great food, this is the place.

Cafe Sunflower
2140 Peachtree Road
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 352-8859

Cafe Sunflower Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato