Monday, July 4, 2011

Europe: Food Edition

So as everyone probably knows, I recently returned from a trip to Europe!  The food was delicious, and as a vegan (well lets be honest, I was a vegetarian, not a vegan, on this trip!), I think I was still able to enjoy the fine cuisine in England, France, and Italy.  

London:

In London, I was presently surprised by how many vegetarian friendly items were available.  I hadn't done hardly any research into the food in London before I left since I spoke the language, and upon arrival, Tim and I were able to find multiple meat free entrees in every single restaurant.  It was great!  I enjoyed some pasta, a mushroom risotto, and a chickpea burger while there.  
Getting a head start on some Italian food

Tim's fish and chips..and peas!
Paris:

Wow, they aren't kidding about the Parisians and their cheese.  I would be ok with some cheese on all my meals for a few days, because while as much as I'd prefer to eat vegan, I'm not going to spend my whole time looking for places I know serve vegan fare, and the couple places I did know about weren't actually in existence when I went looking!  Everywhere else, my choices were bread, cheese, and more bread and cheese.  But the amount of cheese was insane!  Inch thick layers on everything I ordered...made me gag a little, but it was still enjoyable.  Not quite as enjoyable as I would have liked, but it was high quality food.  My first meal was amazing, but the insane amounts of cheese at each meal became harder to handle each day.  






Falafel in the park!


The most delicious glass of wine I've ever had!

Cheesy cheesy cheesy fondue!!
However, I must mention the amazing breakfasts, pain au chocolat and cafe au lait...oh goodness deliciousness.  I'm not normally a big fan of croissants but I could have eaten piles of pain au chocolat.  Yum yum, I'm drooling a little right now thinking about them...
The lack of food in Paris made me a little grumpy after the first day there.  I really enjoyed seeing the city's beauty and history, and really enjoyed the quaintness, glamor, and sophistication that is naturally.  What was really cool to me was being able to use my limited French.  It was pretty cool being able to get around and read menus and signs and such in a foreign language!  I'm no where near fluent but thankfully the stuff you learn in high school French is the kind of stuff you use on vacation!

Cinque Terre:

When we arrived in Italy I was cranky from eating only bread and cheese for four days but didn't realize it until Tim and I sat down to dinner.  We ordered 4 entrees, a side of bruschetta, and a bottle of wine and just scarfed it down in a matter of minutes.  I'm sure all the Italian guests and workers around us just thought so highly of us Americans but...omg!  It was delicious!  It's just incredible what a difference that fresh and quality ingredients makes when it comes to restaurants.  And that was another thing about Europe- fresh produce was everywhere, and I loved it!  Seriously guys, I took a photo of almost every produce stand.  I even bought a big bag of cherries in Paris for one euro.  One euro!!! So fetch ;)  (Mean girls shout out)  Anyway, we were only in Cinque Terre long enough for two dinners and I had pesto at both of them- it was invented in this region so I had to try it!  Of course, it was amazing.  I also tried limoncello and hated it, which was surprising because I love all things lemons and have been known to eat lemons for fun.  Besides, remember my wedding centerpieces?  Lemons. 
Mmmm pesto

Mushroom ravioli


Olive bruschetta

Italy's "simple green salad" always has greens, cabbage, carrots, corn, and tomatoes

Lemons everywhere!

Rome:

OK, I was again pretty bad at expanding my palette in Rome...but that's because the margarita pizza and spaghetti marinara were so.freaking.amazing.  I mean really.  Imagine the best thing of spaghetti you've ever had and multiply it by 1000.  I won't lie, I was making inappropriate sounds during my first bowl of spaghetti and the sounds didn't die down much throughout the week.  And the pizza!  A thick yet thin slice of fresh powdery dough with deliciously spicy yet tangy yet sweet, fresh sauce and a layer of fresh delicious mozzarella....oh goodness.  We each got a rectangle cut in half for a kind of pizza "sandwich" to go for every breakfast and lunch.  Trust me, it was worth it and we would have had it for dinner too if the spaghetti wasn't calling our names!  The best part?  It was dirt cheep!  Two filling slices and two drinks for around seven euros.  I can get behind that!
Minestrone soup

Yum!
Pizza in the park!

Lemon frappes!

More spaghetti

Lasagna

We also found the cutest little farmers markets that the Italian stop by each day to cook their meals.  There were just rows of sun dried tomatoes, fresh pasta, yummy Chianti, flavored oils and scrumptious produce.  I was in heaven!  Too bad our bags were packed and ready for take off by the time we stumbled upon this goldmine :(  Boo!







Yummy and cheap fruit cup!

All in all, it was a delicious journey over seas, but I was craving quinoa, potatoes, and broccoli (weird cravings?  Maybe) like a mad woman until we arrived back and casa da Kroeger/Gihring.  Anyway, time for me to go barbecue some delicious faux hot dogs and black beans burgers for the 4th of July!

PS- Check out this cute tree that looks like a pineapple!

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