Vegan Fast-Food

universo veganoI never thought I’d be in Rome and stumble across a Vegan fast-food joint, but I did. If you are vegan/vegetarian or need a break from a meat centric diet then check out Universo Vegano @ Via Verdi, 4 – 21013.
The burgers are gigantic and should definitely be shared. Universo veganoThe fajita-like wraps look awesome, I really wanted to try the Veghani Lupino but it was sold out. They offer more like soup, vegan hotdogs, a bunch of sandwiches and potato and soy croquetas. If I was them I’d offer fries instead of their croquetas, they are just too heavy and more than enough bread after eating a burger or sandwich. If you eat here you will be fine ordering less than more because the portions are bigger than you’d expect.

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Madrid Pizza

En Guay Si NYC Pizza: this is not NYC pizza but it is tolerable ninja turtle style pizza with a sub par sauce.  We ate it once but I could have done it again (Tom wouldn’t).  And It just wasn’t worth the commute.  However, they got some good reviews and the guys were nice.  They seemed to have a following.

vesuvioPizzería Vesuvio: One of our favorites.  This place can be hit or miss depending on the man making the pizza.  Madrileños seem to love lots of cheese and toppings overflowing their pizza (as I’ve found some west coasterners like too).  But we are all about the plain old well done margarita pie.  Vesuvio has learned to do this well but when it gets busy it can get too cheesy.  Either way this place, the vibe and the people are great.  I love supporting this place.  And to top it off you can order to go from the street and they have awesome mini pie boxes and a margarita pie runs a little over 5 euros.  You can’t beat that really.

Fratelli d’ Italia: the fairly new up and coming pizza joint in the hood of lavapies.  Good Italian pizza made by Italians, can’t really go wrong.  We like to get the margarita to go because we can always pop it in the oven if it is undercooked and it is cheaper than the other pies.  But they have other types of pies and slices, even secilian slices sometimes.  And it is hard to turn down their cannoli and tiramisu.  Fratelli isn’t your regular pizza quickie joint, they also offer Italian meals but I have yet to try one.

I’m a big fan of Fratelli’s and Tom’s a big fan of Vesuvio; either way you can’t really go wrong with these joints when you’re searching desperately for decent pizza in a mal-pizza educated country.

I could name all of the sub-par places we tried, and maybe I will eventually but all you need to know is that these 3 places will get you by if you have the craving.

Planeta Vegano

planeta veganoI love this place.  They fairly recently expanded and now offer everything you can imagine.  If they don’t have it, just ask and they may be able to order it for you.  This place has all kinds of substitute meats; a variety of sausages, slices, gluten, tofu (although cheaper at the Asian markets), frozen stuff etc.  Every grain and bean you can imagine, sauces, tahini’s, oils etc., veganaise, nutritional yeast, allergen free detergents, coconut oil soap, greenie dog treats, the list goes on and on.  I think they even started to add cosmetics like natural hair dye and nail polish.  I can’t wait to see what they have when I come back.  The owners/workers are super friendly and everything is 100% vegetarian and mostly vegan.

Go support the movement @ planteta vegano  c/ave maria, 34 -28012

Cosmen & Keiless

There are great little hidden bakeries and holes in the wall that have incredible breads or treats but I stumbled upon one the other day and it had a lot more to offer.  It is a tad on the pricy side and it may even be a chain but the vegetarian quiche I had was amazing (no tuna!) and everything I bought was a large proportion for a decent price (and was delicious!) It was a hit at our girl’s tea time get together.  The store front that I stopped in was at Calle León, 10. 28014 Madrid -#913-690-587 but they also have other locations. Check them out; you won’t be disappointed.

Ecocentro

ecocentroWhen I first arrived in Madrid I was faced with jamón, jamón, jamón.  Even vegetarian dishes would arrive with jamón splayed all over or bacon sprinkled on top, or tuna hidden in the dish.  It was impossible to eat out as a vegetarian without knowing the ropes.  Then I stumbled across Ecocentro and was pleasantly surprised to find super fresh greens, salads, veggies, everything you could ask for.  The catch was that you pay per pound so it can add up if you aren’t careful.  All in all the food is good, the service is buffet style so quick, and if you haven’t found a local affordable health food store near you yet then you can find some hard to find items in their market around the corner (but also super pricey).eco

The best place I have found so far, pricewise etc. is Planeta Vegano in Lavapies. What are some of your good health food/vegetarian finds in Madrid?

Calabaza!

calabazaWhen in Barcelona you must visit Calabaza on Sardenya, 240 (cantonada Diputacio).  It is the best lunch for your money in Barca and they have vegetarian options!

toms phone 235It’s a cozy place with friendly staff and the owners are always working.  You can eat in or take out buffet style homemade delicious food.  And the empanadas are to die for!  Open from 11:00 a 16:00 Saturday -Monday and 11:00 a 21:00 Tuesday -Friday.  Also available for caterings (#93 531 33 67).

Teleferico to Madrid’s Farmer’s Market

The first Saturday of each month a farmer’s market is held near Casa del Campo in Madrid.  Exact address is: Pº de la Puerta del Ángel, 4 – Recinto ferial Casa de Campo – 28011 Madrid.During the fall and winter months it is mostly wine, beer sellers and olive oil with a couple of cheese stands here and there.  But it is a good time to be had with friends because you can purchase a wine glass for €1.00 and sample all the Spanish wines.  The market is open from 10am – 3pm.

telefericoYou can do what we did and take the Teleferico from the Estación Teleférico Rosales to  the Estación Teleférico Casa de Campo; it’s a lovely walk through the park to the farmers market.  The Teleferico costs €3.85 one way and you can take the subway back from  Estación de Lago which has the line 1 metro back to Madrid center.  Or have a picnic in the park and take the teleferico back, a round trip ticket costs €5.60.  Just make sure it is running on a normal schedule the day you go.

Tapapiés

Living in Lavapiés, taking part in the 2 week long Tapapiés was unavoidable.  This was the second year that many of the local bars showcased their best tappas for  €1  or a caña (small draft beer) and tappas for €2.

As vegetarians, going out for tappas brings little excitement as most are served with ham or some type of meat inside.  However, Tapapiés was just what we needed to size up our options.  You get a map of all the participating bars and what tappas they are offering.  You can pick up these maps at any of the participating bars or follow online.  There were more participants this year than last so we lucked out with about 7 options out of 47 (more if you eat fish).  It was great because each bar had a different vibe to it.

The first bar was blasting Britney Spears American Pop songs which didn’t seem to match the ambiance nor clientele at all but their hummus tappa was ok even though it wasn’t listed on the map.

The wine bar Alma Café was more relaxed with a mid 30s + crowd.  Their Canasta Griega tappa was real good but the best part was the lil old grandma cooking them in the back.

We tried a few more but the one I loved was the Cono Alabanda from the bar Alabanda.  It was a delicious pastery puff cone with vegetables, goat cheese, white truffle oil and a little side of mashed potato and pumpkin.

And since we couldn’t sample all the bars we didn’t spend too much money.  Although 2 euros for a sample and a tiny beer can really add up when you’re bar hopping.  If you are in Madrid near the end of October this is a must.  And if you are new to the neighborhood it is a great excuse to scope out the bar scenes in your area all in one night.