I've had a fantastic weekend! On Saturday I met up with a very good friend and we went to the Hugh Lane Gallery. On the way we picked up a soya latte from Insomnia and some sushi and a curry from Kokoro, to eat in the Gardens of Rememberance opposite the Gallery. Kokoro didn't seem to have all its veggie and vegan sushi on the shelves, so all I got was the avocado, cucumber and sweet tofu rolls with a ginger soy sauce dip. My vegetarian friend got their tofu curry and we totally forgot to ask if it was vegan for the purpose of the blog! She said it didn't taste like it had any dairy in it though. The sauce tasted like a much better version of chip shop curry sauce, and the squash, cauliflower, peppers, onion and courgette were tenderly cooked. At just over €6.00 she was really impressed as it was a very decent, filling portion. My sushi cost €5.95 for 10 pieces and the dip, although when all the vegan sushi is available it usually comes to around €8.00 for a fuller bento with more pieces. I would have been so much happier if they'd had the oshinko and kampyo rolls available, as I find cucumber sushi quite boring...
We passed by the Nutz stall in the Ilac shopping centre. I am not sure how I managed to resist buying bags and bags of their treats, but I did! I love their dark chocolate brazils, peanuts and pieces of ginger. They also sell Japanese rice crackers, dried fruit and roasted / coated nuts.
After visiting the Hugh Lane - having a good nose around Sir Francis Bacon's studio and having fun deciphering the strange artwork of Ronnie Hughes - we went to the Live Food Market in Temple Bar. I love this place! My friend got a raw vegan cocoa & coconut energy bar from Natasha's Living Food stall to take home with her - I'll have to find out how she liked it. I remember getting it when my father was over and I really liked it, although I must admit that I can make nicer and cheaper ones at home from my Rawvolution book, and at the time I was really jealous of the blueberry cashew raw "cheese" cake that my father got! The fake cheesecakes and tarts were melting in the sun, which is why my friend opted for the more solid looking bar - but I guess that's not usually a problem in Dublin! I had to content myself with trying a few samples of their raw vegan flaxseed crackers and kale crispies, as I'm not rich enough to justify buying such decadent treats. Their salads and burgers always look so appealing though, so I'm determined to try these in the near future.
I decided to get some Indian snacks from the vegetarian Indian stall at the market, but as we were there quite late in the day most of their food had gone, which demonstrates just how good it is! I managed to nab the last Spicy Kofta, which they confirmed was vegan, as well as a vegan potato savoury. I think their samosas are also vegan (as most samosas are), and all their ingredients are listed on the labels. My friend bought a block of traditional Indian fudge, made from condensed milk. I used to love fudge and find vegan fudge rather expensive, so I just have it as a birthday or Christmas treat... I'm sure my teeth thank me for that!
We went for dinner at the famous Dublin vegetarian and vegan restaurant Cornucopia. I cannot emphasise enough how amazing this place is! If you ever come to Dublin, this is the place to go. I was still quite full from lunch (and my breakfast of BBQ baked beans on toast) so I asked for a small salad. I wasn't really expecting much for €4.50, but I ended up with a HUGE bowl of sprouted bean salad and a rice salad with tofu and mixed vegetables! The dressing on the sprouted bean salad was heavenly (lemon and ginger from what my tastebuds could determine?) but I wish I'd chosen a different salad to the rice one as it was nowhere near as nice as the sprouted beans and was rather heavy. My friend got the Lentil Dhal (for around €12.00), which came with brown rice and a choice of two salads. She struggled to finish it, so luckily for her I was on hand to help! We were both busting at the seams after this so we didn't get a chance to try dessert this time. I love their tofu cheesecakes. In fact I love ALL their vegan cakes! I think next time I go there I'll just go for a coffee and a cake :)
We visited the Secret Book and Record Store, a very well hidden little shop just down the road from Cornucopia which also houses Freebird Records, and I managed to pick up a virtually brand new copy of How it All Vegan for €6.00. I love this book and can't wait to try it out! Not only does it have the usual food recipes, but it also tells you how to make vegan toothpaste, lip balm, cleansers, cleaning products, face masks, scrubs, baby oil, sunburn lotion, perfume, bug repellant, mouthwash and treats for your pets, amongst loads of other really cool things! We stopped into Lush as well and my friend bought some of their solid Karma perfume and some Vanilla soap. We love Lush, there are so many vegan friendly products there that it's impossible to choose what to get!
Sunday was another good day. I had the Marks & Spencers Vegetable Curry for lunch, that I purchased last week, along with the Kofta I got in the market the day before. It was really good! The Kofta was really crispy on the outside and tasted quite like an onion bhaji, but the inside was soft and full of mashed carrots, sweet potato and laden with the usual lovely Indian spices.
I was going to cycle out to Ikea this afternoon, but when I met the boy from work I was already dripping in sweat from the mostly downhill cycle, so we decided it was WAAAY too hot to cycle all the way out there. Instead we moseyed into town to do a bit of clothes shopping. Look at the lovely stuff I got below, from H&M, Top Shop, Pull'n'Bear and Awear - and it was all vegan, even the knitted hat (made from acrylic fibres). We grabbed a quick bite to eat from M&S and had a picnic in the sun - I had falafels with a hummus dip, some oven baked crisps, and an orange and raspberry smoothie. The boyfriend had a brie, cranberry and grape salad sandwich (a vegetarian option - I'm so impressed with him!!), some of their vegan onion bhaji crisps, and a vanilla yoghurt drink (booooo!). I liked the falafels, I've had them before, but I was NOT impressed at all with their baked crisps. They tasted like cardboard, no lie! They also didn't taste very vinegary, so I was very disappointed. I hijacked the boyfriend's onion bhaji crisps instead and they were really good, I wish I'd got those instead!
I'm spending this evening sitting in the garden with a couple of cold Scotch whiskeys and some coke... this weather is just too damn good to be true! I wish we could have predicted it and had a barbecue! :) Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend.