Tag Archives: Dublin

Portable treats.

I am a big fan of chocolate, and thankfully it is one sweet snack where vegan types fare well here as it is all over the place and pretty damn tasty to boot.

I have previously mentioned the institution that is Butlers in my tour post. There are branches all over Dublin and I loved their hot chocolate in my omni days. Unfortunately their coffee is rather sucky and I have yet to get a decent soy cappuccino from them. First world problems, eh?  On the upside, they have some tasty offerings for vegans which are labelled clearly and are available in all branches.

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I’ve had the whole almond dark chocolate before and it’s really delicious. Good dark chocolate with plenty of lovely fresh almonds – nothing dried out or skinflinty about it. The other bar is one that I’m trying for the first time, and I fear that it may be the chocolate version of a leprechaun suit. Dark chocolate with a nip of Jameson. It’s clearly aimed at tourists but I’m willing to give it a try in the name of science. Tasty, tasty science.

These two will be added to my vegan snack stockpile for my trip. It’s not that I doubt the chocolate-creation abilities of other countries or that I’m one of “those travellers” who demands food from home when abroad, but I do doubt my ability to translate ingredient lists in other languages. I can spot things like eggs and milk, but there are a whole other range of flavourings and additives that are much trickier to spot. Sure, I’m probably being over-cautions, but it’s my first trip overseas since becoming vegan and I’m erring a little on the safe side. These should hit the spot nicely!

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Friday Falafel!

This is rather late, but the last couple of days have gone crazy due to real life stuff (friend breaking up with girlfriend, spending lots of time at our house). Yesterday the weather also picked up quite a bit, which is awesome as I was thoroughly depressed by the darkness and rain that we’ve had all week.

Down by the Royal Canal there’s a pop up market on Thursdays and Fridays. It’s strictly a food stall thing, which I was a bit disappointed with at first – I think I’d been dreaming of big loaves of sourdough. While it’s mostly a carnivore’s dream, there are some really solid vegan options. These two stands are my favourite…

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The one named Falafel wrap sells great falafel. The one beside it sells baked potatoes with a variety of fillings. Most are omni, but they do a great Moroccan spiced chickpea stew thingie that they pour on top (no butter, no cheese). It’s really tasty and hugely filling.

The falafel stall sells three options. A wrap, which involves flatbread spread with hummus and chilli sauce, with three smushed falafels and salad. The other options are a falafel plate or a meze plate. My heart entirely belongs to the falafel plate.

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Four big homemade falafels, made on the spot by a very nice man. (I, unsurprisingly, call him The Falafel Man) Underneath those delicious pucks of joy is half a large flatbread and some iceberg and tomatoes. Top row of compartments has (on the left) a kind of red cabbage coleslaw that comes naked, i.e. with no mayo or dressing. Next is fresh parsley chopped up with garlic and a little lemon juice. Next is a big scoop each of homemade baba ghanoush and hummus, all topped with some pickled hot peppers.

This plate is a little bit of heaven for me. I could eat the baba and hummus til they came out my ears. The falafel are hot and crispy and substantial, though not overly salted like many I’ve tried. The salads aren’t the fanciest, but they balance everything out nicely. My only complaints about this plate are that the flatbread isn’t hot (boo!) and that it comes in a styrofoam container with plastic cutlery.

Next time I get it, I’ll be able to skip the cutlery now that I have my shiny bamboo to go ware. I’m a little hesitant to wave a reuseable lunch box under his nose for my own portion though, despite having serious issues with the packaging of choice. Any suggestions as to the best ways to broach the “styrofoam is evil” topic, without calling styrofoam “evil”? Should I just “get over it” given that I have this maybe once a month? Should I just get the damn wrap, which is packaged in paper?

A big part of the reason I became vegan is because of the environmental impact. I recycle like a woman possessed. I only use eco cleaning products. I use public transport as much as possible. I turn off light switches and compost and all that jazz. At this point, lunch is my biggest failure when it comes to recycling (and type 5 plastic, but that’s another rant). I understand that my styrofoam plate is a drop in the ocean compared to all the people queuing up for pulled pork rolls served in plastic boxes with plastic cutlery, but it’s one I’m interested in starting a conversation on.

VeganMoFo Day 17: A walking tour around Grafton Street..

This one will be rather long and picture heavy, but will hopefully be useful to anyone planning a visit to Dublin.

The Happy Cow website is fantastic, but doesn’t do the city justice at all (I know, I know, I need to get my butt in gear and contribute to it!). There are oodles of places to eat, drink and be very merry indeed, and while it’s not the veggie-topia that many American cities are it’s really possible to eat well. That said, it can be confusing for tourists, so I thought I’d do a bit of a walking tour. It’s also entirely possible to be ripped off to epic proportions here, as with most capital cities, so hopefully this will make your dosh go a little further.

This is the National Art Gallery, and is well worth a look.

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It’s a stone’s throw from Trinity College and the corner where all the tourist and local busses converge. It’s very much worth a look around – not just for the Caravaggio.

Down the street, back towards Trinity, you’ll find a few good places to grab a takeaway post-gallery coffee to sip as you stroll. Cup and The Brewbaker are two, and both have non-dairy milk.

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Nibbles may be on the short side though, so head further down the street to The Runner Bean for a sandwich, coffee, some kale chips or other goodies (it’s where I buy my avocados!).

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It’s a little treasure trove.  Right next to it is O’ Briens, a familiar Irish sandwich chain that I usually avoid like the plague – I find them to be overpriced and overrated.

If the weather doesn’t lend to al-fresco eating, which it often doesn’t, then you might want to escape in out of the elements for some lunch or drinks.  Continuing up the road you’ll find the fabulous K.C. Peaches, which is good for coffee/tea and cake (there’s always a vegan one – just ask!) or breakfast…or lunch or dinner.

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I heart this place. It’s an omni restaurant where you don’t get looked at like an alien if you ask what the vegan options are – and there are lots of them. Just take a plate and have a little of everything you fancy. All the serving dishes are labelled clearly and if in doubt, the staff are very knowledgeable.

A little further down the street is the Porterhouse, which is good on craft beers and therefore one of the best places for vegans to drink in the area.

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As we head to the corner and look to our right, we can see the side of Trinity on the right, largely obscured by trees, and Bank of Ireland at the end of the street with a queue of morning busses in front of it – this used to be the old Irish Parliament building.

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Turning (or possibly stumbling!) left onto Grafton street (with the highest land prices in Ireland), then we turn right down Wicklow Street.

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Here we pass Nourish, which is an itty bitty goldmine for vegans as they have a freezer full of Frys products (with a few Amy‘s vegan products as well). They’re also the only place in Dublin with a reliable stock of seitan in the fridge. Next door is the secret book and record store– one of the few remaining independant music shops in the city.

A couple of doors down is the veg*n mecca, Cornucopia.

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It started in just one building as a health shop with a takeaway counter and has bloomed. In the last few years it took over the building next door and also has seating upstairs now – despite this, it’s always jammed to the rafters. They even have a (very nice) cookbook out. I highly recommend their vegan breakfast (portabello mushrooms, roasted onions, homemade baked beans, homemade vegan sausages, toast and tea or coffee with a few non-dairy milks to choose from). If you’re there at lunch, you can’t go wrong with a bowl of their soup – it’s life-enhancing stuff. Their garlic and roasted hazelnut potato salad is something that I lust after, and they make a great vegan brownie.

If you’re still peckish, directly across the road is the best thing to happen to ice cream in Ireland, ever.

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Murphy‘s make amazing handmade frozen treats and always have two incredible vegan sorbets on hand. I’d recommend one, but they’re all fantastic and the flavours rotate during the year, depending on what fruit is in season.

Down the road again, Wicklow Street turns into Exchequer Street and we have itsa and Fallon and Byrne (our teeny version of Dean and Deluca) side-by-side. Itsa have a great vegetarian bagel that is vegan if you have it without the goats cheese (I ask for extra hummus instead). It’s truly delicious. Fallon and Byrne is very omni-targeted, but is great for store cupboard essentials and breads.

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If we take another left here, we pass Blazing Salads, which is very much closed at 8.30am.

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I thought it was just being painted, but the name has been gone from over the door for a while now, leaving nothing but an intriguing carrot to identify themselves. It’s spendy, but good, especially for people with food intolerances.

Georges market, likewise, is closed, so I’ll have to talk about that one again.

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Passing my beloved Asia Market we see two pubs that everyone ends up in at some point, but that really should be avoided; the first is the rather cute-named Hairy Lemon. The other is Break for the Border.

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Around the corner and across the street there’s a laneway which holds Pablo Piccante.

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There are a couple of branches in Dublin – this is the only one with tortas, but I haven’t tried them yet. Head to the burrito side for a Vittorio Verde, no cheese, and have your tastebuds thank me. Probably the best burrito in town.

Around the corner to the right and directly under one of the tackiest tourist shops in the world lives Wagamama, which has a few vegan options (mostly the yasai, or “healthy” options). I like their udon quite a lot.

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Passing the Gaiety Theatre on the left..

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..we’ll pop out at the other end of Grafton Street.

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A word to the wise – don’t get coffee from Butler’s. Blargh. Their dark chocolate with almonds is delish and accidently vegan though.

Right beside us is Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre (photo from across the road) which is a lovely building that reminds me of  the Botanic Gardens – it’s like a huge Victorian greenhouse. The shops always leave me a bit cold though, as they just don’t live up to the dramatic and beautiful structure.

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Across the road from the centre is the entrance to Stephen’s Green park – which is well worth a stroll around and tends to be mobbed at lunchtime in summer with locals enjoying the sunshine.

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No sunshine today though, so I’ll leave you here as the rain is pelting down and I need to get to work. Hope you enjoyed this round of the vegan survival guide: Dublin edition 🙂