2018 Hits and Misses

Happy New Year! I have high hopes for 2019, not least because I’ve got a three week trip to Japan to look forward to in the summer. 2018 was, as always, a great year to be vegan and Dr HH and I were lucky enough to visit a good few destinations and discover their culinary delights. Here are my top five eateries of the year, along with five that I think could do better.

Hit #1: Dall’Albero, Rome

It’s a vegan cheese lab. What more do I need to say? This is one of the best places I’ve been to in my whole life, nevermind 2018.

Miss #1: Lasagneria, Prague

Every day my tram takes me past this lasagne restaurant in Prague, and when I told Dr HH about it, he enthusiastically suggested that I enquire about vegan options. I thought there was no point, and set about scrolling through their Instagram posts in order to prove him wrong. But there it was: a mention of vegan lasagne! I sent them a message to confirm, and off we went. But we had to wait almost an hour for the vegan version to be cooked (while all the meat eaters were readily tucking into theirs, and even though we had booked in advance), and it was the most flavourless, gluey lasagne you can imagine. There was no tomato or ragu in there, just pasta, courgettes and peppers, a tiny hint of seasoning, and a disgustingly gloopy bechamel.  Never again.

Hit #2: Wani, Rome

Rome delivered yet again with this delightful all vegan bakery. We got a few different treats there, but it’s these chocolate bombs that Dr HH and I still reminisce about on an almost daily basis.

Miss #2: Whole Foods, London

I thought Whole Foods would be a good place to pick up a vegan doughnut or cake for breakfast while in London, and was really disappointed to find that all of the vegan options were in plastic containers…while the non-vegan doughnuts and cupcakes weren’t. It was weird. The only vegan, non-plastic options were some fairly unexciting banana and blueberry muffins. The tide seems to be turning regarding plastic in the UK, so hopefully this will improve.

Hit #3: Sova, Dublin

This was the place I was most looking forward to visiting in Dublin, and it certainly lived up to my expectations. It was one of the fanciest meals I ate this year (and the brunch was not too shabby either). The scallops will live on forever in my memory!

Miss #3: Lola’s Cupcakes, London

I picked up a cupcake for the ride to the airport last time I was in London, having heard good things about Lola’s. Alas, the icing was so heavy that when I picked the cake up from its wrapper, the sponge just collapsed under the weight. It was all a bit of a disaster. Maybe I just chose poorly…or maybe they should only ever be tackled with a utensil? Either way, eating this in public is certainly not recommended.

Hit #4: Midland Hotel, Manchester

I’ve had my share of vegan afternoon teas, and this one really stands out from the crowd. It was a really fancy affair, shared with my favourite people to celebrate my birthday, and everything was both delicious and classy. Now I’m always disappointed when I go for afternoon tea and they don’t have a scone warmer.

Miss #4: Jam, Liverpool

I feel bad for complaining about an afternoon tea, when I should be thankful that vegan versions are so readily available these days. But this was not a very classy affair, and we were misled on the menu – don’t promise a vegan macaron if there won’t be one!

Hit #5: Temple of Camden, London

I love mock chicken and I love mac and cheese, but it’s easy to get them both slightly wrong. Temple of Camden delivered on both counts, and I often find myself plotting how to get back to London to revisit this wonderful place.

Miss #5: The Green, Nuremberg

Overpriced places like this give veganism a reputation for being inaccessible. And the smoothie bowls weren’t even the right temperature!

What were your best and worst eateries of the year? Help me plan my future travels!

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5 Responses to 2018 Hits and Misses

  1. onesonicbite says:

    Wolfie saw the scallops and shouted “SNOWMAN!” lol

    Whole Foods stateside does a lot of their vegan desserts in plastic containers in the fridge as well. I guess because they can last longer? I stay away from those because they just aren’t particularly good anyways. Some are in the glass displays luckily. And from the few I had they were pretty yummy.

    • Jenny says:

      I think I heard a lot of good things about Whole Foods from Americans, and so I was extra disappointed that it didn’t really meet my expectations. Nevermind though!
      Good call from Wolfie on the scallops/snowman!

  2. Emma says:

    I really think I need to go to Rome! Although, I don’t speak a word of Italian. We honeymooned in Sicily and I got by because they have a huge French tourism trade there and everything is also in French. Although I did have trouble when trying to cook (our room had a kitchenette) – I bought what I thought was olive oil and sweet red peppers, fried them off and had a taste, turned out I’d bought chilli oil and spicy chilli peppers! Nearly blew my head off!

    Also, totally jealous of the temple of Camden! I want to go there!

  3. Kelly says:

    Great balance of the good and the not-so-good! And, ahh, I’m excited to hear more about your trip to Japan — I bet it’ll be fantastic. My brother and his wife (both vegan) were there for two weeks this past summer and they ate like royalty. (Although they were visiting in the middle of a heatwave and they look half-dead in all their outdoor photos.)

    Re: Whole Foods — it’s hit-or-miss even in the States. I think they source their baked goods locally, so depending where you are, you could have really great treats or some not-so-great treats. When I lived in the midwest, the local Whole Foods got their baked goods from Chicago Diner and they were fabulous. Now I don’t even bother getting sweets from them because they’re awful here in Maryland. 😦

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