Vegan Nights in London

Walking down Brick Lane you see a lot of street art and posters advertising local events. On my first night in London I was lucky enough to stumble upon a flyer advertising an event called “Vegan Nights” taking place in Shoreditch the next night. Being that I love vegan food and anything having to do with Shoreditch, I immediately bought a ticket for £10.

vegan nights

“Vegan Nights” is a monthly event that takes place in Shoreditch, showcasing vegan eats from all across the city. It first came to be in September of 2017 and now happens on the first Thursday of every month. Each month there are different vegan vendors, so you’re never trying the same thing twice. These vendors range from baked goods to nachos to korean-italian fusion. You can seriously find any food you’re looking for in vegan form.

Shoreditch vegan nights

Not only is there amazing tasting vegan food, but there’s awesome music from all different kinds of DJs. My favorite part of the night was watching all of the local hipsters dancing to the tunes and challenging one another to dance-offs. Unlike in America, people have no problem acting a fool with their singing and dancing. Nobody judges one another but rather joins in on all of the fun. American music and dancing has nothing on the English!

vegan biff's jackshack wings

After stalking the event’s Instagram, I knew the first stand I wanted to head to was Biff’s Jack Shack. They use jackfruit to make all different flavors of “chicken wings”. While all the flavors looked delicious, I opted for the “bang” and “jerk mango” flavors. Both were so delicious! I love jackfruit but have never seen wings made from it in the states. I might just have to attempt this creation on my own…

vegan spice box doffles

Still feeling hungry, I headed over to Spice Box for some “doffles”, as they like to call them. These are waffles loaded with some indian-spiced goodness. I ordered the Aloo Gobi Doffle because Aloo Gobi is my favorite indian dish! These doffles were the perfect combination of savory, spicy and sweet.

(Btw if you’re a design or tech nerd like me, be sure to visit their website. All the design and animation elements are so cool! I’d like to pick the mind of whoever designed their website.)

vegan black mylk ice cream

Lastly, I had to end my delicious vegan meal with some dessert. Vegan ice cream, especially one with a good cashew base, is my weakness. There was an ice cream stand called Black Mylk Ice Cream offering different flavored scoops and waffle sundaes. I tried the matcha and cardamon flavors and topped them with caramel popcorn. The cardamon was such a unique and yummy taste. Add it with the caramel flavor and you have a winning combo.

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In conclusion, if you love vegan food or just food and good music in general, be sure to spend your Thursday at “Vegan Nights”. I went solo and had an amazing time with good food, good music, and people watching. So whether you’re alone or with friends, you’re guaranteed to have a great time and leave with a very full tummy. It’s also a perfect event to attend as a tourist because it really gives you an insight into the local Shoreditch culture, which is unlike that of any other neighborhood in any other city.

For more posts about London be sure to read London’s Best Coffee ShopsLondon’s Best Restaurants, and Hidden Gem of London: Cafe Miami

The Ultimate Guide to Berlin: What to See, Eat, Do

In the beginning of June I took a two-week long vacation to Europe as a last journey before starting my first full-time job in July. While I was there I spent most of my time in London, but took a weekend getaway to Berlin, Germany. Germany is a country I’ve always wanted to visit since German makes up 50% of my ethnicity. I figured Berlin would be the perfect city to tackle in a weekend.

Here are my recommendations on what to do while in the city for either a weekend, a week, or maybe even a month.

To See…

brandenburg gate

When I think of Berlin the first monument that comes to mind is the Brandenburg Gate. It sits high above the main street of Museum Island, making its presence known. This is where most walking tours start, something I’ll mention in the “To See…” section. I learned that the structure on top is called a quadriga and is a symbol of peace. It was built atop the gate to protect the German city. However, soon after the structure went up, Germany entered into WWII.

Berlin fashion blogger

The East Side Gallery is a must for those artsy Berlin Instagrams that you know you need to post when you visit. I mean, do you see these bright colors!? All jokes aside, while it is a very eye-catching spot, it also tells a lot of very important political messages. I enjoyed looking at each piece of art and interpreting what it meant in the context of Germany and its history.

East Side Gallery

This mural seemed to be a pretty popular one among tourists. I’m pretty proud of this shot I was able to capture of this random couple posing in front of the image. However, it is pretty mind-blowing how ignorant some tourists are to the meaning behind murals like this and other monuments over the city. People don’t quite realize the pain people all across Europe were put through in the 1900s.

East Side Gallery style

To Eat…

As many of you probably already know, food is my ABSOLUTE favorite part of traveling. I love trying new restaurants and cuisines in each city I visit. Honestly, I was a bit nervous for the German food. However, Germany might have had one of the best selections of all the countries I’ve ever been to.

Berlin fal

Berlin is known for having amazing falafel, so this is a food I couldn’t wait to try. Luckily, we happened to stumble upon one of the best falafel shops in Berlin. Fatoush is a simple little cafe with outdoor seating on a beautiful tree-lined street in the East of Berlin. Not only was the falafel itself some of the best I’ve ever had, but the vegetables in my wrap were fresh and delicious.

Fatoush Berlin

My friend tried the haloumi salad which looked so yummy… if only I ate cheese! While I would recommend the falafel since the city is known for it, definitely try the haloumi if you’ve never had it before. For some reason it’s extremely popular in the UK but not in the US. Us Americans are missing out!

My friends and I also couldn’t resist trying the local German drink, Club-Mate. Club-Mate is a carbonated maté tea beverage. It is extremely high in caffeine and got me super wired for the rest of the day, which was actually a good thing since I took a 5am flight there from London.

Bramibals donut

If you didn’t already know, Berlin has a HUGE vegan population. I’m pretty sure there were more vegan restaurants there than restaurants that served meat. We typically think of bratwursts and currywursts when thinking of the country but Berlin natives are actually very progressive in their environmental views.

This being said, I was extremely excited to try all of the yummy vegan food the city had to offer me. When I first decided I was going on this trip I researched a bunch of restaurants and cafés to try. One that instantly caught my eye was Brammibal’s Donuts. They serve coffee and matcha but most importantly all different kinds of vegan donuts. I had such a hard time deciding which one to get but ended up trying the peanut butter and jelly one. Their flavors change everyday and they always have a charity donut where the proceeds are donated to that month’s charity.

vegan currywurst

Germany is most well-known for their currywurst, or pork sausage covered in curry ketchup. Since I don’t eat meat I couldn’t try the original version of this popular dish, but I did try a vegan version. This I found at a stand in Mauerpark flea market, a huge market that happens every Sunday in the summertime. Overall, the sauce was really good. I mean, who doesn’t like curry and ketchup!? However, the “meat” was nothing special- a typical spongy tofu meat replacement. If you don’t eat meat though, give it a go!

One of my favorite vegan restaurants in the city was a Vietnamese place called 1990 Vegan Living. Not only did they have a delicious blood orange cocktail, but each dish was to die for. They had a bunch of small tapas to split between the table as well as entrees. I got a soup that reminded me of pho and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Father Carpenter Coffee Brewer

Last but not least is my favorite little cafe that I found in Berlin. Father Carpenter Coffee Brewers is nestled away in a little courtyard off a main shopping road. It is truly a hidden gem. There is an elaborate fountain surrounded by bushes and a stone patio. The buildings surrounding it are stunning and reminded me of Parisian architecture. Not only is the ambiance the perfect aesthetic, but the coffee and food cannot be beat.

Father Carpenter Coffee Brewer Berlin

It was extremely hard for me to find a coffee place that I enjoyed in Berlin, but thank god I found this one. They have it all! Even iced coffee… which cannot be found anywhere else in the city. I ate their poached eggs with salmon while sipping my latte and reading my book. And let me tell you, it could not have made for a better last few hours in Berlin.

best coffee Berin

One last thing, most of these restaurants ONLY accept cash, so be sure to bring lots of euros with you to Berlin. I unfortunately didn’t do my research and found myself running to the ATM many times too often to withdraw cash. This is something you don’t want to do; all of those fees quickly add up!

To Do…

While most of my time in Berlin consisted of eating and hanging out in the local parks, I did go on a few tours which I highly recommend. I am usually super against guided tours and prefer to see things on my own time, but I really enjoyed the Sandeman Walking Tour (which also happens to be free). I learned a lot of cool facts about Berlin, most related to WWII. My favorite part of the tour was standing in a car parking lot overtop Hitler’s underground war bunker where he committed suicide. It fascinated me how the Germans chose to not highlight it in any way. I wouldn’t have thought twice about the spot unless I had taken this tour.

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The tour walked us to through various historical squares of Berlin and through the Holocaust Memorial. After seeing this memorial on the tour and feeling the emotions it brought out I decided that it was a must to visit the nearby concentration camp.

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The tour was of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, a work camp where they brought prisoners who were prominent figures in the community. This was a longer, half-day tour but something every person needs to see. Nothing can describe what you feel when you are placed in an environment where such terrible things happened.

concentration camp cartoob

I was particularly moved by this cartoon drawn by one of the prisoners in the kitchen of the camp. It shows how frightened the prisoners always were and how they were constantly being judged on whether or not they deserved to live.

Berlin concentration camp

This was the main entrance to the camp. You can see a clock on the top of the tower which supposedly still reads the time the camp was liberated.

If you want to experience Berlin’s nightlife, I recommend going on a pub crawl. They are relatively cheap and will take you to a bunch of different bars and clubs in the city. The tour I went on took us to a ping-pong bar, absinthe bar, and techno club. While I am not much of a partier, these bars were more relaxed and allowed us to socialize with the locals as well as others in our group. And let me tell you, I DOMINATED in ping-pong. Shout-out to high school gym class for teaching me my skills.

Berlin Germany

Overall, Berlin was far from what I expected. The architecture and streets reminded me a lot of Paris. I did not expect the city to be as progressive as it was. Most restaurants are vegan, nobody uses plastic straws, and people clean bottles off of the streets in order to earn some extra money. Berlin is definitely steps ahead of any other large city in the world and it was pretty amazing to experience. While I would probably only go back for the delicious vegan food, I am happy it is a city I can say I’ve experienced.

Let me know if you’ve been to Berlin before and what you enjoyed most about the city.

If you want to check out some more of my travel guides be sure to read The Ultimate Guide to Dubrovnik- What to See, Eat, DoThe Ultimate Guide to Iceland- What to See, Eat, Do, and The Ultimate Guide to Amsterdam- What to See, Eat, Do.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Iceland- What to See, Eat, Do

When my cousin and I were deciding where to travel for spring break Iceland quickly came to mind. Definitely not the typical spring break destination, but the perfect place for an experience opposite that of drinking on the beach.

Road tripping through Iceland was unlike any adventure I have ever been on. My past trips have consisted of exploring new European cities, learning about a country’s history, or relaxing by the ocean. Never have I driven along the coast of a new country, seeing beaches, mountains, glaciers, and volcanic rock all in a matter of a few hours.

To See…

The first thing that comes to mind for many when thinking of Iceland is its beautiful waterfalls. Seeing their size and all of the power they produced never got old. Just think how all this water is coming from the nearby melting glaciers and how its gaining enough momentum to cause this monstrous fall.

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This waterfall is called Seljalandsfoss. There is a good two hour drive from Reykjavik to here, most of which consists of flat valleys. Then, out of nowhere, you see this expansive mountain with huge waterfalls falling from its edge. We were always amazed at how quickly the landscape of Iceland changed.

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The most popular waterfall, and by far my favorite, is Skógafoss. The main reason this was my favorite was because of the beautiful rainbow projected into the mist of the falls. There is also an awesome outlook where you can climb to the top and see the waterfall from above.

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Just outside of Vík is a steep cliff with a lighthouse and stunning view of the Black Sand Beach. While driving up this cliff is a bit frightening (especially when a New Jersey driver is controlling the car), it is well worth it. You can see the ocean, beach, mountains, and glaciers all in one look from the cliff. On the other side you can also spot a huge rock arch jutting out into the ocean.

glacier

The glacier lagoons we found along our drive were such pleasant surprises. The glaciers melt into a lagoon where pieces of ice break off into these huge chunks of “dead ice”. It’s amazing to see how clear these pieces are and simply how pure the water that forms them is. This spot is just off of Eyjafjallajökull. Try and say that five times in a row.

A little Icelandic language tip- anything that ends in “foss” is a watefall and anything that ends in “jökull” is a glacier! If you can figure this out then you basically have all the Icelandic language knowledge you need for your trip.

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The last site to see is not one carved by Mother Nature, but none the less it is pretty cool. You can find the DC-3 plane wreck on the Sólheimasandur Beach. One thing I never heard mentioned, however, was the 4 km walk just to the crash itself. And that’s just one way… This is fine for the young, adventurous soul like me but be warned if you don’t like walking in extreme weather conditions.

The history behind the plane wreck is the most fascinating part. While it isn’t necessary a “wreck”, it was an unplanned landing by the United States Navy. In 1973 the crew was forced to land on the beach due to extreme weather conditions. Luckily nobody was injured and the plane has been a popular tourist destination ever since. Our Airbnb owner even told us that the beach the plane is on is a private beach owned by a local farmer. The farmer was kind enough to open it up to the public free of charge. This just shows the kindness of the Icelandic people!

To Eat…

The food in Iceland has some of the highest prices you will ever see. Yes, higher than both London and New York City. Because of this I recommend choosing where to eat very wisely. Don’t just venture into some random restaurants because you are hungry and they are convenient!

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One of my favorite little spots was Sægreifinn, a hole-in-the-wall seafood spot by the ocean in Reykjavik. They are known for their lobster soup, which has some of the best lobster I have ever tasted. The Icelandic lobster melts in your mouth and isn’t at all chewy like the lobster here in America, or anywhere else for that matter. I also appreciated how the soup is not thick and creamy but rather thin and flavorful.

fish

In addition to the lobster soup they have kebabs with fresh pieces of fish caught in the ocean just outside the shop. This is the grilled cod special that they had that day. It was some of the most buttery, fresh fish I have ever tasted.

fredheimar

The second place worth spending the money to eat at is Friðheimar, a local greenhouse that grows its own tomatoes. Everything on the menu is made from their own tomatoes. They use the “imperfect” ones that can’t be sold to the grocery stores in their dishes, although it tastes anything but imperfect. You can order endless tomato soup and bread so be sure to come hungry. After giving up tomatoes for a month I was able to down four whole bowls of soup. It doesn’t sound like a lot but I basically waddled out of that restaurant.

* Be sure to make lunch reservations in advance!

lobster

Lastly, for those of you traveling all the way to the east in Höfn, Kaffi Hornið is for you. Granted, it is also the only restaurant in the small town, so you don’t really have a choice. It’s a cute little wooden lodge nestled in the heart of the small, dark town (if you can call it that). They serve local lobster dishes which will blow your mind. And your wallet… This being said this was my one splurge meal of the trip. The lobster set me back a good $83 but each bite was truly worth every penny.

To Do…

With a bunch of natural wonders comes lots of adventurous activities. If you are in Iceland for more than a week I highly recommend going on tons of hikes. However, if you only have five days like I did, here are some activities you can’t miss.

silfra

The first and by far the coolest thing we did was snorkel the Silfra fissure in Þingvellir National Park. Although I was a bit nervous to snorkel in 30 degree (Fahrenheit) water, it ended up being much more bearable than I imagined. My cousin almost backed out the night before after reading blog posts calling the experience “the coldest thing I’ve ever done”. However, we were super comfortable and enjoyed the swim the entire time. Our enjoyment was definitely a large part due to our amazing instructor, Zsolt, from Arctic Adventures. If you do this tour be sure to book it with him!

horse

Another one of my favorite things to do was pet the Icelandic horses. If you don’t take advantage of these friendly creatures, you are missing out. Every time we saw horses standing by the fences we immediately pulled over to pet them. It makes them so happy and it definitely made long stretches of our road trip fly by. Just be careful with your clothing, one almost ate my scarf!

bluelagoon

I definitely don’t need to tell you twice about this destination. The Blue Lagoon is the first thing I see listed on every travel blogger’s to-do list. This spot makes for a relaxing few hours, especially after just getting off a flight. Not pictured is the two hours we slept in a freezing car in the parking lot outside of the spa, waiting for the place to open. Such a glamorous lifestyle I live!

* Also be sure to book at least a month in advance!

book

I am always determined to find a local bookstore with lots of character every time I visit a new city. Bókavarðan has a funny story behind it actually. I browsing in one of my local bookstores in New jersey when I came across a book with pretty graphics talking about the author’s favorite bookstores in the world. I opened up the book to find the page be on a bookstore located in Reykjavik, Iceland. This was after I had just booked my trip to Iceland, and being a big believer in the Universe working in mysterious ways, I took this as a sign that I had to visit that same bookstore when I was there. And I did just that! There are books in large stacks all over the shop, mostly used, and all written in the Icelandic language. You need to really search to find the hidden gems but it is well worth it!

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Oh the Northern Lights… I am writing about this phenomenon to save you from the same mistake we made. DO NOT pay for a tour to see the lights. First, the night we went out was absolutely freezing and did not allow us to be outside for more than five minutes at a time. Second, the tours simply take you right outside the city and park you on the side of the road for a few hours. This is fine if you plan on staying in the city your entire trip and did not rent a car, but it was pointless for us. If you are going on a road trip and staying at an Airbnb along the way, like we did, this is a waste of money. Find yourself an Airbnb to stay at in a small town on the south east coast and you will be able to see them right from your backyard. I highly recommend staying here, outside of Höfn, if planning to see the lights. Our Airbnb host gladly woke us up as the lights got brighter and brighter so that we could see them from her backyard. Her and her dog made the stay extremely informative and enjoyable.

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And last, but not least… I need to tell you what NOT to do in Iceland. Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. After reading many blogs, I determined that it was absolutely safe to drink the flowing water in streams around the ring road. Every person wrote about how it was the best water they’ve ever drank. Well, that was not the case for me. The first time my cousin and I both tried the water and it was delicious. By far the best water!

However, the second time was different. Only I drank it this time (thank god) and it resulted in a night spent at the hospital. My stomach must have reacted to something in the water because my body simply rejected it, making me extremely sick. Being that there is only one hospital in the ENTIRE country, my cousin had to put the pedal to the metal to drive the remaining four hours back to Reykjavik. Luckily I am fine now but I would not wish that pain on my worst enemy. So lesson learned kids, don’t drink the glacier water! Also, always buy travel insurance (thanks mom for saving my butt!).

Overall, I hope Iceland is a destination everyone adds to their bucket list. Coming from New York City it is extremely humbling to see people live such a simple life. I now understand why tourists are so amazed when they see skyscrapers and lights as bright as Times Square.

Be sure to check out my Instagram for more photos from my trip and stay tuned for more posts about Iceland!

Hidden Gem of DC: Oki Bowl

I don’t know about you but during the winter all I crave is a warm bowl of soup. There is nothing more comforting than this during the cold months. This being said, when I was visiting Washington D.C. in the 10 degree weather, all I wanted was some authentic japanese ramen. Luckily, I was able to hunt down the perfect place.

Oki ramen georgetown

Oki Bowl caught my attention through Instagram when someone posted a picture of their ramen. Not only did it look delicious, but the atmosphere looked like a one-of-a-kind experience. The ceilings were covered in cool lamps, flowers, and random knick-knacks. The walls had funky, colorful wood panels and floral designs.

Oki Bowl ramen dc

While the dining area of the restaurant is pretty cool, the coolest part of Oki Bowl is by far its bathroom. The bathroom is glowing in neon lights, flowers, and sparkly arrangements. There is even a glow-up tank with jellyfish inside! The bathroom is something pictures cannot even justify; you simply have to experience it for yourself.

best ramen in DC

I ordered the tempura kale ramen with crispy tofu. The broth for this ramen was made from coconut milk and lemongrass, making it soothing and sweet. I had never had tempura kale and was delightfully surprised by its taste and texture. I mean, tempura makes everything delicious, even a leafy green vegetable!

After walking around Georgetown for the day, exploring art galleries and book stores, Oki Bowl made for the perfect place to stop for dinner. I would highly recommend checking it out if you are looking for a warm treat in winter or just some really good ramen!

If you enjoyed this post be sure to also check out Hidden (Vegan) Gem of Edinburgh: Paradise Palms and Hidden Gem of Amsterdam: Toastable.

London’s Best Coffee Shops

Every day after class I would walk from Old Street Station, past my apartment, and into my favorite coffee shop down the street. Looking back at my time in London, this is by far one of the things I miss most. I loved grabbing a cappuccino and sitting on the big red couch in the store, working on my blog or catching up on reading.

It is easy to say that discovering new coffee shops was one of my favorite activities abroad. That being said, I found a lot of hidden gems that would be a crime not to share. So grab a cub off coffee as I take you through some of the most aesthetically pleasing coffee cup shots.

Bell Boi in Shoreditch

Bellboi Shoreditch

This place was a favorite of mine on Sunday mornings. I would grab a chai tea latte and head to Brick Lane Market which takes place on the streets surrounding the cafe. The shop is super small, making it an ideal stop on your morning commute or on your way to another festivity. Bell Boi also doubles as a small hotel for people passing through the town.

Daisy Green in Marylebone

Daisy Greens London coffee

This was my go-to cafe to kill some time in between classes at University. It is an adorable place offering all kinds of vegan cuisines and smoothies. Their almond milk cappuccino was one of my favorites. A lot of my blog posts were written right at Daisy Green‘s wooden coffee bar!

Fuckoffee in Southwark

https://lashesoflifestyle.co.uk/2017/03/02/coffee-stop-fuckoffee-bermondsey/(photo courtesy of Lashes of Lifestyle)

Different from all of the others on my list, this place has a super fun energy. The inside is decorated with big couches, neon signs, and art prints. It definitely reflects the surrounding neighborhood (and the name is hilarious!). My favorite from here is the banana espresso smoothie, the perfect thing for an extra kick on a warm spring day! If you visit Fuckoffee be sure to stop across the street at White Cube, my favorite art gallery in London.

The Monocle Cafe in Marylebone

Monocle Cafe London

Fair warning: this place does not have wifi. I was a bit surprised to see this when I first walked in, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. When is the last time you went to a coffee shop just to read? Monocle is actually a publishing company which publishes its own magazines and books. The atmosphere encourages you to cozy-up with one of your favorite reads or one of their latest editions. I also really love the piece of chocolate they give you with every cup of coffee!

Pitfield London in Shoreditch

Pitfield London(photo courtesy of Pitfield London)

Being that Pitfield was right outside my London flat, I would often go here throughout the day to meet with friends. The staff is super friendly and accommodating towards students. The cafe shares a space with an antique shop which always made for some interesting fines. My favorite part about Pitfield is their colorful, mosaic china that they use for your food and drinks.

Black Opium in Shoreditch

Black Opium Coffee London

Black Opium coffee London

Of course, I saved the best for last. Black Opium is my all-time favorite coffee shop. Yes, my favorite out of all the coffee shops in London, New York City, Philadelphia, and any other city you can think of. This place is so unique because they have big jars of different flavored coffee beans that you can choose to get your drink made from. They grind your chosen flavor of beans right in front of you and turn it into a delicious drink. My favorite was the orange cappuccino; the flavor is so subtle yet so good. Every day I was greeted by the most friendly staff who always knew my name. I really enjoyed listening to their conversations and talking to them about the books that I was reading.

The next time you are in London you have to visit some of my favorite coffee shops. Each one offers a unique customer experience and the finest quality cappuccino. If you visit one of these be sure to let me know by leaving me a comment!

For more posts on London, check out London’s Best Restaurants, Hidden Gem of London: Palm Vaults, and Hidden Gem of London: Daunt Books.

Hidden (Vegan) Gem of Edinburgh: Paradise Palms

If you are a vegan then you know how hard it can be to find food to eat while traveling in Europe. Europeans are not nearly as adapt to the new lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism and veganism, as Americans are. With each city that I visited in Europe I tried to hunt down the local vegan spots to test out. This one in Edinburgh was by far my favorite vegan restaurant that I visited while abroad.

Paradise Palms Edinburgh

Paradise Palms in Edinburgh truly is a one stop shop. You can basically find anything you want to fit all of your hipster needs. Not only do they serve vegan and vegetarian food, but they are also a bar, an event venue, a vinyl store, and a record label. Crazy right!? It is impossible to not have a great time at this place, even when visiting alone, like myself.

Edinburgh Paradise Palms

I’m a firm believer that the environment of a restaurant contributes to your experience there. With an atmosphere as cool as this one how can you not enjoy yourself? The space is filled with records, neon lights, and quirky trinkets hanging from the ceilings. It truly is a space that you will never forget.

Edinburgh vegan nachos

Not being able to eat meat or cheese, I had to order these vegan jackfruit nachos when I saw them on the menu. They were absolutely delicious and worth every bite. The nacho chips were topped with pulled barbecue jackfruit and mango & pineapple salsa. Is your mouth watering? Because mine is just thinking about it once again! And yes, in case you were wondering, I did finish this all by myself. Don’t judge!

Edinburgh vegan hot dog

In addition to the nachos, I had to try the vegan hot dog. Since becoming a vegetarian I have missed a good hot dog with ketchup and mustard. While it definitely tasted like tofu, it filled the hot dog fix I was looking for.

Edinburgh Paradise Palms street art

Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or meat-lover, I highly recommend this one-of-a-kind restaurant in Edinburgh. The atmosphere and energy make it unlike any other restaurant. If I ever return to Scotland I will definitely be making a special stop here to check out the rest of the menu.

Follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more pictures from Edinburgh and to be notified when I post my travel guide on what to see, eat, and do in this beautiful city.

Parisian Street Art (the 10th arrondissement)

The 10th district of Paris is abundant with colorful street art and lively characters. It is not what one would expect when thinking of Paris. I personally loved seeing this side of the city, covered in music posters and graffiti, because of its contrast to the classic Parisian architecture.

Paris grafiti art

Paris street art

Paris street art

These graphic stickers of random faces could be found on various corners throughout the district.

Paris street art posters

Along the canal were plenty of pop art posters promoting local events and concerts.

Paris canal

fun Paris street art

Paris canal art

Stickers saying “J’existe”, or “I exist” in English, were stuck all over the canal barriers and street signs.

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This area could easily be considered the Shoreditch or East Village of Paris for those of you familiar with London or New York. If you love street art and exploring the younger scenes of cities, then visiting the 10th district of Paris, by the canal, is a must.

Follow me on Instagram for more photos of the world’s best cities and their street art.

London’s Best Restaurants

It is no secret that I like food. Ok… I more than like food; food has become a hobby for me in all aspects. I love hunting down new restaurants, trying new flavors, photographing dishes, and cooking healthy meals for myself. Being a foodie truly is a lifestyle!

While I was in London I had a chance to try many different restaurants all over the city, each a different type of cuisine. Many people say London has poor tasting food; well they clearly weren’t eating at the right places. Here are my absolute favorite restaurants in London, each a favorite for a different reason.

Oka in Primrose Hill

Oka describes itself as a traditional and fusion Japanese restaurant. They offer sashimi, sushi and stir-fry meals. My absolute favorite thing on the menu is the chili edamame, as shown below. It is something so simple yet bursting with spicy flavor.

Oka Primrose Hill London

Another one of my favorites, and an absolute must-have if you are a sushi lover, is the salmon jalapeño roll. The flavors are fresh and subtle, which is what makes it so good. The wasabi at Oka is even homemade, adding a special touch to every sushi roll.

Oka sushi London

Be sure to book this spot in advance if looking to dine here in the evening. Don’t forget to hike to the top of Primrose Hill, first, and enjoy the sunset!

Da Mario in South Kensington

A favorite of Princess Diana, this restaurant is a go-to when looking for yummy Italian food in London. All of the pasta is homemade and the sauce is to die for. Not only do they offer pastas but they make their own pizzas as well. I love how friendly and welcoming the staff is to everyone that walks in. My favorite here has to be the potato gnocchi; the gnocchi is so plump and melts in your mouth!

Sketch in Chelsea

If you are Instagram obsessed like I am then you have definitely seen pictures of Sketch’s decor. As soon as you walk in the door you feel like you have fallen down the rabbit hole and ended up in Wonderland. I was lucky enough to visit during the Chelsea Flower Show when the entire restaurant was covered in pink peonies and roses.

Sketch London breakfast

While the afternoon tea is quite expensive and usually booked months in advance, the breakfast option is usually always available and not nearly as expensive. I enjoyed some porridge and fruit with a few cups of the matcha green tea.

Sketch London breakfast fruit

While the food is certainly delicious, what makes Sketch one of my favorites is the one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Each room is decorated differently; whether you are sitting on pink velvet couches or in a forest of flowers, the experience is magical.

City Best Kebab in Shoreditch

I had to add my favorite post-night-out spot to this list; the perfect spot for a cheap and quick meal. London is filled with falafel shops so it can be quite hard to find the best one. Luckily, this one was right around the corner from my flat and has the best falafel I have ever tasted. You never know what kind of crowd you are going to come across either, which is what makes it so entertaining.

Pacata in Covent Garden

I purposely saved the best for last with this restaurant; ironic since this was also the last meal I ate in London before leaving. Pacata specializes in thai comfort food, making the best tom kha soup and pad thai.

best pad thai in london

I know I’m making a big claim here but this may have been one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I am a huge fan of squid ink pasta and order it whenever it is on a restaurant’s menu. Pacata had squid ink pad thai, a combination of two of my favorite things. The flavors were so unique and worked together so well. If you are near Covent Garden you must try this dish!

Stay tuned for more of my favorites in London and other European cities by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

 

 

The Many Sides of Dubrovnik

Croatia is a country with many different sides… There are beautiful hikes, crystal blue waters, islands galore, and a city whose architecture makes it feel like a fantasy land.

Dubrovnik city center

Dubrovnik cable car

Dubrovnik architecture

The terraces of each building makes for the perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea in the morning or glass of wine at nice.

Croatian coast

The greenery of the coast contrasted with the blueness of the water.

Dubrovnik city center Croatia

Dubrovnik city walls view

Orange roofs speckle the sky up into the mountains.

Croatian coast

painting Croatia

Croatian boat port

Boats float around in the port, moving with the calm waves of the Adriatic Sea.

Dubrovnik Croatia city center

For more information on the places to go while in Dubrovnik check out The Ultimate Guide to Dubrovnik- What to See, Eat, Do. Follow me on Instagram for more photos of my travels.

The Ultimate Guide to Dubrovnik- What to See, Eat, Do

Last month I traveled to Dubrovnik, Croatia for a little spring getaway before my finals began. Croatia is a beauty unlike any other city I’ve visited. The crystal blue waters, marble city floors, brightly colored roses, terracotta roofs, sloping cliffs… The beauty cannot be put into words, or even pictures for that matter.

Dubrovnik is a city I would recommend everyone to visit, even if you aren’t an avid Game of Thrones fan. It has a little bit of everything; from the beaches and hiking to the city life, it is the perfect destination no matter what your typical travel style is.

To See…

Dubrovnik Croatia streets

Walking the stairs that take you around Dubrovnik’s alleys is a must when trying to see the city. This is the way to find the best restaurants and tiny shops. I found a beautiful art shop with the most amazing gold-leafed paintings. The view down the alleys from the top of the stairs, with the colorful laundry blowing in the wind, is like no other.

dead sea lokrum island

Just a 15 minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik is an island called Lokrum. There are no inhabitants on this island except for some beautiful natural wonders and wild animals. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the bunnies hop around and the peacocks spread their feathers. My favorite part of this island was the Dead Sea, which was just a short walk from where the ferry drops you off.

After much, MUCH searching, climbing through bushes, and scaling down rocks, my friend and I were able to find the cave which we came to the island with the purpose of finding. We saw this on a famous travel blogger’s Instagram and had to hunt it down. Little did we know we would have to walk the entire island and its many hills just to find it in the place where we started the adventure.

Lokrum Island Instagram blogger spot

Travel bloggers make finding magical spots like this seem so easy and care-free. I am here to tell you that that was not the case at all. We climbed the rocks and almost fell in the water multiple times just to get the perfect shot. We even almost got stranded on the island and had to hitch a ride from a maintenance man back to the ferry which was leaving for the day in 2 minutes. Maybe I should have sacrificed for the sake of my blog and slept on the island for the night? Regrets…

To Eat…

Croatia is known for its incredibly delicious seafood and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Being the seafood connoisseur that I am, I took full advantage of all the seafood the country had to offer.

Our first stop after landing was, of course, Dubrovnik’s city center for some mussels, octopus and anchovies. This restaurant, Kamenice, was recommended to us by our Airbnb owner as having extremely fresh seafood. There are many different places with similar menus so be sure to pick the places that the locals recommend!

croatian octopus

Dubrovnik food blogger

I love my sushi so any chance I have to get a spicy tuna roll made with the freshest of seafood, I jump on it. These rolls at Shizuku were made of big chunks of fish marinated in soy sauce. While this restaurant is located on the outskirts of the city, it is well worth the Uber ride there.

Dubrovnik sushi

In addition to seafood, Croatia is known for their wine. It is absolutely essential to visit a wine bar and educate yourself (and your palate) on the flavors of the country. I sampled a flight of red wine at D’Vino Wine Bar which was a lovely experience. The waiter even informed us on all the different types of wine that the country grows and the flavors of the grapes from each region. I was surprised to learn that the white Zinfandel, now grown in California, originates in Croatia.

To do…

Dubrovnik Croatia view

Climbing the Dubrovnik City Walls will give you the most impressive views of the city center and the buildings that make it up. It is a beautiful sea of orange. Warning: you will take thousands of pictures of the view (trust me, I learned the hard way). Walk around when the sun isn’t too bright and take in everything that you are seeing without a lense in front of your eye.

Dubrovnik Croatia view

Of all the beaches in Dubrovnik, Banje Beach was by far my favorite. It is so small and intimate, making it the perfect place to lay out and relax. The beach even has a club on it with yummy drinks and lounge chairs that are well worth the money.

banje beach croatia blogger

After visiting the port, follow the cost and you will come to steep stairs leading down to the beach. The beach itself is free so if you are looking to save some money be sure to bring your own towel and/or chair to lounge on.

banje beach dubrovnik

If you love breathtaking views then the Dubrovnik Cable Car is for you. And if you don’t like views (or are scared of heights), it is well worth facing your fear. The cable car scales 778 meters up the mountain, giving you a view of the entire east coast of Croatia.

Croatian cable cars

Not only can you see the entire city of Dubrovnik, but you can see the mountains and countryside surrounding it. I was surprised to see that the other side of Croatia is completely covered in mountains and farmland.

Dubrovnik cable car

After enjoying a cup of hot tea in the restaurant on the mountain we hiked our way down in order to find some beautiful city outlooks. We came across a spot covered with boulders and yellow flowers. I am a firm believer that you need to venture off the typical path in order to find the true gems.

fashion blogger dubrovnik

This smile says it all. Croatia is a country filled with happiness, beauty,and life and that just radiates from within yourself when visiting the country.

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