Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eating on Adventure: London, Dublin, Edinburgh


Thanks to an awesome friend working in London, I recently returned from a 10-day UK adventure through London, Scotland, and Ireland. (It was incredible!) In addition to 14 powerbars, a bag of almonds, some prunes, a handful of fruit leather strips, a batch of chocolate almond butter cookies, some fruit, and a bag of protein shake, I was lucky enough to run into some pretty decent whole food restaurants abroad.  In particular, I ate at one raw restaurant (SAF London), one deli/bakery (Blazing Salads, Dublin), and munched a lot of wild blackberries along the road!  Otherwise, I only actually bought two additional meals- one grilled-fish and chips meal, and one potatoes and vegetables meal-- both in Ireland during day tours.

My thoughts on the food that I did find--

 1. SAF Shoreditch - City of London -
     my score: 4 / 5 stars

This is not aubergine manicotti. I found it online when I googled SAF. But it does look like the raw tacos that my companion ate!

I ordered the Aubergine Manicotti (£14.45): "Mixed herb cheese wrapped in marinated aubergine strips, dehydrated and served with putanesca, olive relish and semi-dried tomato."

It was good! Not the best raw food I've ever eaten (which would be the Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine, FL), but still very much worth it. Even more telling, SAF passed the ultimate test: my sugar-and-meat-and-all-things-normal eating friend even enjoyed his raw tacos. Not bad!  The biggest downside to SAF was its distance from where I was staying in Central London. (It was about a 20 minute walk)

Oh- oh- and for DESSERT, I ordered a orange chocolate tart. It was also fair. A little too cacao-nib-y for my taste, but what redeemed it was the little orange-flavored spheres that topped it. Very molecular-gastronomy-y, and I don't remember what they're actually called... but cool!

2. Blazing Salads: Dublin, Ireland
    5 / 5 stars

Image from The Vegan Post.
 This place was possibly the highlight of Dublin for me! It is a small family-owned deli, with a salad bar and bakery. The bakery was full of sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free concoctions! I stocked up for the next few days worth of meals/snacks and purchased: a brown rice ball stuffed with beans, a phyllo-esque wrap stuffed with nori/seaweed, an orange-date bar, and a cardamom-fig pastry roll. And then I figured what-the-heck, and added some Natasha's raw chocolate truffles for 1 euro each.  Everything that I had there was unique and delicious-- 100% worth the experience!  And of course it was a great way to blow my last euros before returning to London.

I was even so happy to find delicious, edible Dublin food, that missing my flight back to London didn't even upset me too much that evening. Because yes, that happened... silly AM vs PM confusion. But, 200e later, I was on a different flight nonetheless.

So, in summary- there exist places to eat abroad on a gluten free, sugar free, dairy free diet-- you just have to do your homework and know where to go. And if ever you are in Dublin, be sure to hit up Blazing Salads, on Wicklow St.