Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sun in Bloom Restaurant

When in NY, do as the New Yorkers do. In other words, get your behind out to Brooklyn and eat vegan, maybe raw, maybe gluten free. Sun in Bloom fits all of those requirements. Not to mention it's also right next door to a sex shop in case you want to get saucy with your sunflower seed burger. Just sayin'.

The lighting was a bit sparse so some of my photos look a bit grainy but what a lovely place! There are single tables as well as a communal bench in the center. The room is not that big but the space is very organized and I don't feel like I'm shouting over the table next to mine. There is also a fridge on the wall to the left where you can pick up soups or raw desserts.

My friend Amy as I caught her talking on the phone. I swear I did not make her pose for this.

When it comes to dining out vegan, I'd say I'm a pretty seasoned pro. The thing I've noticed with many vegan establishments is that they cater to the idea that veganism is still a new idea and therefore the food is prepared like it ordinarily would be except with substitutions so as not to scare people off. Sun in Bloom is the total opposite in that they really celebrate vegetables and grains and seeds and actually make you like the dish for being vegan instead of a good second to a meat equivalent.
My Sunny "Couture" Futomaki was delicious--I will definitely add roasted veggies to my rolls from now on. The ginger dipping sauce was also way better than any soy sauce. I'm not sure how the burger tasted but Amy seemed to enjoy it. For dessert, we split a gluten free oatmeal raisin cookie. Considering you could trick anyone into thinking it was a regular cookie, I'd say it was job well done.

Overall, it was my favorite vegan meal of this trip. My only qualm is I wish there was a tad bit more on the plate so you know, I could rub it all over my face. Haha, just kidding (but not really).

Sun in Bloom
460 Bergen St
Brooklyn, NY 11217

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Eating in Helsinki!

Hey guys, as you may or may not know, I am currently in my hometown New York City! My flight consisted of an overnight layover in Helsinki, so I hit up my friend Marinka and we did a quick tour of the central area. It quickly became something of a food tour since, well, it's me, and there were just so many foreign foods to try!

My first night in, my friend Marinka picked me up from the airport and we went to a 24-hour grocery store. I have YET to find a 24 hour store in Berlin, especially on a Sunday, so I am in awe at how much more advanced Helsinki is already. But more so, I was intrigued by this Licorice flavored ice cream??! Finns love their licorice, eh?

The loot from the grocery store. Oh and I had that Susu bar yesterday and it reminds me of Twix candy bars.

The next morning we walked by a farmer's market near the ports.

THIS. It's OMG-good. It's like having your fish and chips in one go. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name of the fish or what this snack is called so if anyone knows, please inform me!

After maybe 20 minutes or so, we spontaneously decided to look for reindeer. It sparked from Marinka's idea to go get some reindeer waffles but because the place was closed, we went to a gourmet food store in the basement of a department store instead.

The man at the counter was so friendly and also recommended a lingonberry tart. It was very good--it's not a sweet berry so it went well with the savory tart. The reindeer, I concluded, tastes like a smoked ham. It could be the way it was prepared in the dish (also Marinka said the texture is quite different in real life) but none the less, it was salty and delicious.

Browsing the supermarket portion of the department store, I was somehow amused by a cereal called "Rude Health."

And then we found this jelly!

I have never heard of cloudberries before! I did a bit of research and they seem to be indigenous to Northern Europe and Canada. I wanted to take a jar with me so badly but we couldn't find a jar 100g or smaller (I only had a carry on so it was vital that it fit those requirements). I hope one day I can try this fantasticle sounding fruit . . .

Finally we ended up at Frazer cafe. It was quite big and pretty full of people enjoying lunch. I was completely distracted by all the cute Moomin goodies they had before heading to the pastry aisle and picking something out.

A butter eye? Well, it makes sense since it's buttery on top and looks like an eye. The taste was pretty similar to a Swedish cinnamon roll so in other words, I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I really want to come back to Helsinki and visit the other islands (and try to swing for a day other than Monday, when all museums are closed). I hope you guys liked what you saw and if you know of anything I should try in Finland but missed, let me know! Ciao!

Monday, August 11, 2014

TassenKuchen Cafe

Tassenkuchen Cafe is an organic American style cafe not far from the Seestrasse station in Wedding, Berlin. My friend Lisa was the one who introduced me to the place after telling me about their pancake brunch on the weekends. Since then I've been back on several occasions with friends, trying to decide which baked goodie to get next and chatting over a nice cup of fair trade coffee.

Veggie Burger (left) and Cob T Sandwich (right)

I would highly recommend the scones if you drop by! I've tried a fair amount of the baked goods here and the scones are definitely one of my favorites. I also quite like the cinnamon buns.
They also have special offerings on different days, and they seem to take requests for gluten free or vegan goods in advance (a huge plus!)

The decor is great--clean and pleasant with touches of color. The place is also very kid friendly. Sometimes it can be a bit loud because of the capacity (and if there are multiple kids playing in the back room) but I never felt that it was really that overwhelming. They also offer free WiFi, if you're looking to get some work done.

Anyway, if you're ever in Wedding and are in search for a twee cafe, this one's got you covered (especially since twee cafes are not that common in Wedding). Hope you liked it and ciao for now!

TassenKuchen Cafe
Malplaquetstra├če 33
13347 Berlin

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Trip to Liepnitzsee

On Sunday, Oli and I biked over to Liepnitzsee, a lake located between Bernau and Wandlitz in Brandenburg. The thing to do in Berlin during the summer is to bike to lakes whenever possible. They're beautiful, surrounded by nature, and it's the perfect way to cool down on a blazing hot day.

We started off by eating a good ole hearty breakfast.

Actually, this was more like brunch since we woke up pretty late (no partying but we did cram in a few episodes of House of Cards -- shout out to Dan for the recommendation!) I made a poor man's frittata because it only had two eggs (I prefer a rainbow of veggies and only a bit of egg, minimal salt, and some herbs for added flavor). Oli made himself something similar to a gratin (we didn't go to the grocery store on Saturday so we used up whatever was in the fridge for both our meals, hence the make-shift dishes).

After eating and a bit of piano playing, we were off!

A nice sunny day.

30 km later, we arrived at the park with the lake! And of course at the entrance was a little food shack packed with people.

Time to refuel!

After a few minutes more of biking around the park, we found the lake. There's a small island right in the middle of it that you can swim to. Unfortunately, I can't swim! So the only people on that side are the ones with inflatable rafts and well, ones that can swim. Hopefully I can make it over there one day!

The day ended pretty quickly from there. We ate some dried fruit and vegan muffins and started on the long ride back home. On the way, I found the cutest little sign:

Where was this sign in Studio Ghibli's The Cat Returns??

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the post! Sorry if I've been lacking in them lately. Hopefully I can post a bit more in the coming weeks. Ciao for now!