Vegan in Berlin: Neukӧlln

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Ah, post holiday blues.  I hadn’t been on holiday for so long, I’d almost forgotten about the inevitable comedown, but here it is again.  While I’m far from enthusiastic about returning to work, I have had the blow somewhat softened by a timely tax rebate and the exciting prospect of having lots of good food to write about.  During the last two weeks I travelled to Berlin, Copenhagen and Stockholm and ate some wonderful, wonderful food (oh, and saw some nice sights too, of course).

In Berlin we did most of our eating in three areas:  Neukӧlln, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.  My first holiday post is going to focus on Neukӧlln.  This holiday was my first time using airbnb for accommodation, and more through luck than good planning I ended up choosing a room in vegan-friendly Neukӧlln.

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On our first night we were torn between two almost-neighbouring, 100% vegan establishments:  Sfizy (a pizzeria offering the elusive vegan calzone) and Let It Be (a creperie).  The decision was made for us when we discovered that Sfizy was closed for the rest of our stay, and so our German adventure began with some fine French food.

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Let It Be is small but bright, and has a wall of interesting art and a shelf of vegan cookbooks to browse.  They serve sandwiches, burgers and cakes, but we were all about the crepes.  Each crepe on the menu is named after a famous herbivore.  For my main course I was tempted to order a Woody Harrelson purely because my beau refuses to believe that he’s a vegan (how could someone as cool as Woody have anything in common with me?), but instead I went for the Erykah Badu, a tasty chickpea curry wrapped in a crepe.  It was pleasantly spiced (not too fiery) and really delicious.  Unsurprisingly my beau also refused the Harrelson, opting instead for the Daryl Hannah, a vegan twist on the Caprese salad, which he thoroughly enjoyed.

20140824_19180520140824_191133 We are not the kind of people who shy away from eating a double course of crepes:  we ordered a sweet one to share for dessert.  We were hoping for an Alicia Silverstone (chocolate, cream and bananas), but as it was late they were out of bananas so we settled for the Prince instead.  It was sublime – a very Nutella-esque filling with a sweet caramel sauce on the side.  A hot chocolate alongside it may have been overkill, but I can’t say no to a bit of whipped cream when it’s on offer.  We rolled our full bellies home feeling excited at the prospect of all the holiday food awaiting us, and relieved to have a good back-up plan so nearby if all else failed.

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Still slightly disappointed by the lack of vegan calzone, the next evening after a long day of exploring the city on foot we  went to a local vegetarian pizzeria with plenty of vegan options, Trattoria Ponte Verde.  I decided to keep things simple with the mushroom and olive pizza – it was tasty, and the vegan cheese was mercifully inoffensive (I find that stuff a bit hit and miss), but the pizza was a wee bit oily.  My beau got the four seasons and found the mock meat slightly unpalatable – all in all, a good but not amazing pizza experience.

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Eating out for breakfast every day is a sure fire way to break the holiday budget, so we tried to keep the costs down by coming prepared.  The morning that we flew from the UK, my fellow got us ready for the journey with one of his delicious cooked breakfasts.  We packed up the surplus tofu scramble with a pack of tortillas, and those wraps provided our breakfast for the first two days in Berlin.  After that we treated ourselves to some nougat croissants from Dr Pogo Veganladen Kollektiv, a small all-vegan supermarket not far from our apartment.  I wouldn’t describe them as nougaty, but full of delicious, nutty chocolate filling that oozed out with each bite.  Delicious!

20140829_09334020140829_091617 And we did allow ourselves one breakfast out during the trip, with a meal at Pele Mele, a lovely little cafe.  Hot drinks there are served with a little biscotti, which always equals an extra point in my book.  We both chose the hearty Mediterranean breakfast  featuring salad, Mediterranean tofu, olives, sun-dried tomaotes, a tofu/tomato/pesto Caprese salad and a bread basket.  It was a tasty, summery breakfast, but perhaps a bit too much – we had to smuggle two of the bread buns out with us for our picnic lunch.

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Speaking of picnics, we frequently stocked up at Dr Pogo’s for light bites to take with us for lunch on the go.  These falafel moons were our first choice, and we supplemented them with either spring rolls or lucky stars for a vegan feast at the Bundestag or a castle in Copenhagen.

All in all, we were extremely satisfied with our Neukӧlln eating and it’s definitely the area I’d opt to stay in again.  It’s not quite as hip and alternative as the other areas we ate in, but that’s probably why I liked it so much!

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