What I Ate in New York (Part 1)

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The first thing I learnt in New York was to not buy things from street vendors. This was a “chilli dog” I bought for $5. It was disgusting, but I have heard lots of other worse stories so I think I may have gotten off lightly.

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The second thing I learnt was that if I forgot to eat the whole day and then at around 4pm went to the first place nearby, I’d end up eating crappy food. Here is a cob salad I had at TGI Fridays. I seem to remember eating at TGI’s in Miami and really loving their salads, but this wasn’t so good. But yay for avocado!

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NOW we’re talking! I wanted to compare 5 Guys and Shake Shack, and ended up finding a 5 Guys first. I loved it. I loved the burger, I loved the peanuts and I loved the malt vinegar to go on the fries. Love love love.

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I had to go to Magnolia Bakery. I have to say, being a person who is not too fond of cupcakes normally, this was one of the best desserts I have ever had.

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A little over exposed, I apologise. I walked around for SO LONG trying to find K-Town, the Korean part of New York. It sucks relying on screenshots of maps I took in the morning. But when I found it, I was HUNGRY. There were so many places to choose from so I ended up going for Kunjip. Luckily for me, Kunip appears to be one of the best places in town and was super busy with people wanting to try his top restaurant.

I was seated with a young lady (whose name I have forgotten – sorry, if you’re reading this!!) and we had a blast talking while we ate our bibimbaps. The food was excellent value for money (less than $10) with loads of sides. My only thing about it would be that there wasn’t any sesame oil to put in the bibimbap, which would have made it taste even better.

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I was trying all the glitter polish in Sephora…

On the way out of K-Town I decided to try some frozen yoghurt! It was soooo good. So good, in fact, that I had more every time I went by a red mango place again!

Recent Photos

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Top left – The fish in the work canteen looked horrible so I took the other lunchtime option – rice pudding. Winning. Top right – My friend went to Japan and brought back a Sherlock manga. I never even knew this was a thing. Bottom left – GERMAN FOOD OM NOM NOM. Bottom Right – The carnival in Frankfurt a few weeks ago.

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Left – I stumbled across the Chinese garden in Frankfurt. Top – Someone left a Bible and a Christian message for people to read on the U-Bahn train. Bottom – Gluten free ham?! …Did it contain gluten to begin with??

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And lastly, one of me in New York! 2 days in and my legs are DYING from all the walking! But, I just love love love it here. The whole place smells like donuts and every single person I’ve come across has been so friendly and passionate about what they do. I’ve been taking quite a few selfies and this is me at the top of the Rockefeller building. I just kept staring at the skyline for ages not believing that I’m actually here and what I’m looking at isn’t the opening for a rom-com or a movie. Pinch me now!

Things I Ate in London (Week Two)

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As you’ll see, my food-based adventures took a less than healthy turn in my second week. I just went for comfort food all the time, probably because I was pretty tired and the hotel bed was small and not so nice and I was beginning to wish I had British things available to me all the time. Is it possible to feel homesick for the place you’re still in?

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Probably one of my favourite restaurants of the trip was Mother Mash – a restaurant that only serves mashed potato, sausages and pies. I’d found it on the TripAdvisor app but couldn’t really find it. It was only when I got lost in Soho that found it!

I had the colcannon which, I must say, wasn’t as good as the stuff my Irish ex used to make me, but the lamb sausages were really good – and the gravy. Omg. The gravy.

There are vegetarian and gluten free options so everyone is happy!

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When I read that my hotel’s breakfast might not be the best around, I did a little google for other breakfast options in the area. One of them was Koya – an udon restaurant. I miss Japanese breakfasts SO MUCH but don’t have the time to make them at home usually. The above breakfast was pretty expensive at 20 pounds, but to be fair it did fill me up for the whole day and I didn’t eat a thing else until breakfast the next day!

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I paid extra to have natto – fermented soy beans. Very much an acquired taste and they pong a bit too but they are SO yummy on rice. Natto is so stringy I always end up getting some on my chin, which stinks for the rest of the day…

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I’d heard very good things about the cafe at Foyles, a massive (and wonderful) bookshop. There was free wifi, gluten free cakes and so many different teas and quirky drinks to choose from. The seats were old church pews which were nice but made my bum hurt after a while.

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It’s no secret that Camden Market is my favourite place in the world. I stayed very much in Soho for most of the two weeks and only left once – to visit my favourite place.

I skipped most of the market as it just doesn’t appeal to me as much as it used to (it’s so full of tourists and the items on sale tend to be random things imported from Asia) so I headed straight to the food market.

Camden’s craft beer seems to be a big thing right now, and I tried the Hells beer. It was really light which meant it went really well with the food on offer…

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…especially the Christmas cake brownie I chose over real food!! AHHHH that brownie was SO GOOD and the girl selling it said that the Christmas one was the least popular!

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Very near to work was a Mexican restaurant called Tortilla. It’s a fast food restaurant which was a shame as it would have been nice to spend a little longer with my meal there, but it was really yummy anyway. Everything is fresh and this is very much clean eating. There are vegetarian options (though they say they don’t serve refried beans as they are too unhealthy) and I had the corn tortillas instead of wheat.

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TripAdvisor wouldn’t stop trying to get me to go to Bodeans – a BBQ restaurant. I was a little worried about going there since I’d not been eating very healthily but then I gave in and gave it a go.

With all the groups queuing up outside, I felt really cheeky being able to slip through since I was eating alone. Hehe.

One of the things I loved about Bodeans the most was the wide range of rare beers available. It took me ages before I was able to choose which one to have – but it was really yummy!

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A slightly annoying that there were mirrors in front of me – I don’t want to be watching myself eat messy food!

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I chose the pork sandwich, which was apparently voted the best sandwich in London! The sandwich itself was ok. I think I would have been happier with a burger (…I’m always happier with a burger…) but I chose sweet potato chips instead of regular chips and that was a very good decision. The sauce was super yummy too.

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Everyday we would take it in turns to choose where to have lunch, and when I was writing the post about what I ate in my first week in London, I noticed that Leon had a very yummy sounding Christmas wrap so I decided to have that for lunch. It was DELICIOUS. SO good. I love the chips there too – being big and crinkly, it just makes them taste even better.

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In an effort to find the nicest wifi cafe near to me (I’d need a year in London to find the best on in the city!) I went off to 5th View, which is on the 5th floor of the massive Waterstone’s at Piccadilly. Sadly, they’d switched it up a bit and turned it into a cocktail bar and it was so busy I couldn’t get a seat by the windows. I sat at the bar, gazing over the tops of people’s heads to look at the London skyline. I decided not to eat properly there and just had some snack sausages and a lovely cordial drink while I internetted.

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As I was going round the most British of shops, M&S, I decided not to eat out but to eat from their ready made foods. They had a great selection of yummy foods from which a certain amount of the money goes to charity. I had a very yummy and slobby dinner on my bed watching tv!

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On the last night the people I was working with treated me to a slightly posh dinner at Newman Street Tavern. It was a lovely modern pub, with great atmosphere. I started with a chowder (note to self: start making chowder again…)

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And ended with a shepherd’s pie. OM NOM NOM!

Well, as you can see, my second week wasn’t exactly green, but I think at Christmas it’s perfectly fine to eat a little more than normal. Comfort food ahoy!

There were so many places I missed off my list that I hope I can make it to London again soon to finish them all off…though I think London will ALWAYS have something new to try!

A Foodie in Istanbul

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Did you come here today to find some food porn? I HOPE YOU DID! Because that’s what you’re getting. Here are the best photos of the food I ate in Istanbul. All but one is vegetarian, and I’ll try to give the description and restaurant name for each. Here’s a link to my tripadvisor page so you can have the whole list of places I ate at.

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This menemen was probably one of my favourite meals. Meant for breakfast, it contains eggs and tomatoes and was perfectly warming without being spicy. Here’s a great recipe for it, but we ate them at Nakka.

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Fast food for Turkish people is the simit – a pretzel with sesame seeds on it. The main chain selling these is called Simit Sarayi and actually there’s one in Frankfurt very near to where I live. I love their potato börek and was dying to see what they taste like in Turkey. I’m pleased to say that they tasted exactly the same – so I know that the shop near me is giving me the real deal! OM NOM NOM!

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Dolma” means to stuff, and we had our chance to try a few stuffed vegetable dolma. On the left there’s seasoned rice wrapped in vine leaves and on the right there’s stuffed tomatoes. As expected, the vine leaf version is pretty difficult to make at home (but they are common in supermarkets, I think) but we had these at Fuego.

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We liked Nakka so much we went back there for an evening meal too! My meal (the falafel) was pretty awesome but Boyfriend wasn’t so pleased with his pasta. I guess I just choose awesome food (hehehehe!)

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Baklava are pretty much one of my favourite things now. Imagine biting into pastry that explodes into gooey honey buttery yumminess in your mouth. That’s a baklava. Luckily I have a Turkish bakery very near where I live so I can get these even in Frankfurt. YAY!

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Here’s another kind of baklava – with pistachios sandwiched between the gooey casing. It was SO yummy, and I got it from the spice market.

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This is çiğ köfte, which means raw meat in Turkish. And yet it’s vegetarian! How? Why? WELL! They used to use raw mince in this dish but, (as a Turkish friend explained) when Turkey wanted to join the EU they stopped doing it with raw meat and instead used bulgar wheat and ground walnut instead. You can eat it in a lettuce like I did above, or in a wrap. It was SO yummy. It’s vegetarian and vegan friendly, so check it out!

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Here are two examples of simple vegetarian food we got from a small fast food shop. Stuffed aubergine, mashed potato, beans, greens and bulgar wheat. Was very good and very cheap!

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I usually eat meat or fish once a week. I do it because I don’t want meat and fish to become alien to my body, while I live as a vegetarian most of the time. I had my one weekly non-vegetarian meal at one of these floating kitchens, where they grill freshly caught fish and stick it in a sandwich for you. I chose to eat here because they don’t use boats that go out and overfish, they use fishermen who are stood on the bridge behind, fishing with a rod.

In all honesty, I didn’t like the fish sandwich. The smell was pretty strong and it was a bit too much bread for my liking. There was one other part that coloured how I felt about the meal…

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You’re meant to drink it with this pickle juice… Now, I’m a big fan of pickles. I would even eat a gherkin and peanut butter sandwich (no, really. Try it. It’s awesome) but this was way too much. It was like drinking salty sea water.

Needless to say, I regretted wasting my one meat meal a week on this. :(

So that’s what we ate in Istanbul! I should add that, since we had loads of meze plates, I took lots of gluten free bread with me – that would be my one big tip for any celiacs going to Istanbul. You can tell me that you’ll choose something else from the menu…no. When you see the amazing hummus and dips and stuff you’re going to want to dunk some bread in that mess and eat it all up. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not full allergic, I’m just sensitive so I can eat a little bit. I came back with a bit of a rash next to my nose (from the gluten I ate) but it was nothing compared to what my face was like when I came back from 4 days in Berlin.

Hope that satisfied your food porn needs!

Eating in Berlin

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You know me. I like my food. It’s very important to me.

I must admit, Berlin food and I did not get along. In fact, it’s probably the biggest factor in me not liking it there so much.

Berlin and Frankfurt are very, very different creatures. In Frankfurt, people often have great jobs and eat out at least once a week, so they demand a lot of good food. Team this with Frankfurt being a pretty small town and you have a recipe for foodie heaven where you have loads of food options on your doorstep.

In Berlin people seem to be paid much less. Rent is very cheap. The food is also very cheap (about 5 euros for a dinner). People just don’t seem to eat out as much. Also, Berlin is very, very big. So with this you have restaurants dotted around the city, but not all huddled together in clumps like in Frankfurt.

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One downside to traveling is that you can’t often carry on the food habits you’d have normally. For me, it’s important that I don’t eat too much wheat because it causes a nasty rash next to my nose. For the boyfriend (and myself when we are together) it means finding vegetarian food. I keep finding myself compromising (especially at breakfast when there’s a buffet with meat, wheat and cheese) and just eating some bread. I can eat (and drink!!) a little, but I did come back from this long weekend with a small mountain range on my face.

I did make a list of lots of gluten free restaurants but with Berlin being so big, it would have taken us nearly an hour to get to any of those places from where we were, and we just assumed there would be good places to eat at all over the city.

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One wheat-ness I did feel happy having was this beer from Bamberg. It’s smoked, and tastes absolutely wonderful. If you ever happen to be in a place that has lots of different beers, do look out for it – it’s called “Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier“.

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Here’s a list of the places we ate at (all vegetarian/veggie friendly):

Arabic Karun

Sahara Sudanese 

Yam Yam Korean

I used this really awesome blog for gluten free recommendations in Berlin…but sadly didn’t get round to visiting a single one.

If you’re gluten free or vegetarian…or have any other challenging eating situation, I’d love to hear any tips you have for traveling and staying away from the things you shouldn’t eat, as well as surviving when there’s nothing that fits your diet.

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Vegetarian Curry Restaurant – Saravanaa Bhavan

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I’d been watching for a few weeks as a generic dirty German bar closed down and signs for a vegetarian Indian restaurant were put up. It didn’t seem particularly stylish or swanky, but most of the best places around the main station in Frankfurt are the ones that don’t look that nice.

The new restaurant is Saravana Bhavan and it’s my new favourite restaurant.

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It’s always a good sign when a restaurant serving food from far away places is full of people from that place. I was the only white person in the place for most of the time when we finally visited, and the food got the boyfriend’s thumb of approval for being authentic.

But omg. This food is so good. So so good. On the menu there are long lists of dosas, which are filled pancakes, but they have two thali taster plates too. The photo at the start of this post is the northern Indian thali, and the photo below is the southern.

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My favourite is the southern thali. It is SO good. And even has a yummy little dessert with it!

Find Saravanaa at Kaiserstrasse 66,  60329 Frankfurt am Main

Awesome things to do in Japan – EAT!


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When exploring the world, I think one of the things that gets people excited the most is food. Well, maybe that’s just me. Boyfriend and I are going to Turkey soon and the first thing we arranged was to go on a food tour in Istanbul. It’s very important to us!

But when I was in Japan, I had so many interesting and rare food opportunities, so I thought I’d share some of them with you. I spent ages on my computer searching for lots of photos I’d taken of food from Japan and it was so much fun reliving the memories. I guess it’s a good thing I am obsessed with taking photos of food!!

The photo above was taken in Kobe. I’m sure many of you know that Kobe is famous for it’s beef. Japanese people have a very different view on what makes good meat – they much prefer it if there are ribbons of fat going though as they say it makes the meat sweeter. They are really shocked when westerners go to Japan and cut off the fat on their steak, or turn down meat that has a high fat content.

Kobe beef has fat running through it and this makes it EXPENSIVE. I went to Kobe with my colleagues from the junior high school (like a school trip…but for teachers haha) and in the planned itinerary we went to this really expensive Kobe beef restaurant. The lunch alone was 7000yen – around 50 euros. I was ok with this price as I was doing well for money but there was a catch – I had a stinking cold and couldn’t taste a thing. Luckily, at the table where the man was preparing our food, there was a small mountain of wasabi mustard. I decided to take a mouthful of wasabi that opened up my nose, then crammed in a bit of the beef, which I could only taste for a few seconds before my nose closed up again. I was SO sad.

Luckily I lived near to Matsusaka which has very similar beef and so I could try something similar again, but I was just sad that I couldn’t taste my 7000yen lunch!!

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When I was studying in Nagoya, I didn’t make so many friends with the Japanese students at the uni. My closest friends were actually the Korean exchange students. They were all very warm and welcoming, they spoke very good Japanese so I didn’t miss out linguistically, and they were just very open and wonderful people. One of the closest friends I made there was a girl named “Arumu”. I’ve visited her in Seoul twice now and I am planning on going again next year.

When we were studying together, Arumu had a part time job in a Japanese restaurant. But this wasn’t just any restaurant; it was a Nagoyan speciality eel restaurant. I would go and visit her and she’d show me how to eat it (the meal shown above). First, you eat half of the food in the top left bowl. It’s basically rice with grilled eel and sauce. Then, once you’ve eaten half, you pour green tea from the tea pot into the rice and eel and eat the rest with a spoon. It’s SUPER yummy.

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Towards the end of my working life in Japan, the city invited me to speak at a formal event with some government officials. Basically, they wanted to know how to make Japan/my area more appealing to foreigners and I was chosen to speak about the kinds of problems we face on a day to day basis there. I have no idea why such high up government officials were interested in our little city but anyway. It was a huge deal.

After the event, there was a buffet for us all. It was the most lavish buffet I have ever seen; they really went to town. I hovered over the plate in the photo above. I knew that I didn’t like the things in the shells (sazae) because they get really bitter if you eat the tip and I never know how much to bite off to avoid hitting that point. So I stuck to the yellow meat to the left.

I put two or so pieces on my plate then turned away from the table to eat a bite of one. I came face to face with the minister for tourism. He asked me if I knew what it was that I was eating. I replied that it was pretty chewy so perhaps it was some kind of squid…but he replied saying that it was shark meat. I dropped the piece I had on my chopsticks and listened as he told me how Japanese fishermen often partake in cutting the fins off of sharks and then throwing them back in the water to die a slow death, and how we shouldn’t support that. I didn’t eat any more of the shark after that…(it wasn’t that tasty anyway).

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**For some reason the penis hot dog photo doesn’t show up…have this photo of me talking to tv cameras about penises.

You’d be forgiven if you thought there was something a little rude about that sausage. That’s because it’s a penis sausage. No, it doesn’t contain penis (to my knowledge) but I ate it at the fertility festival in a town near to where I studied in Japan. The festival started with a parade of massive wooden penises, where I (as one of the few white people in the crowd) was invited to kiss the penis for “good luck” (translation: great headlines – “FOREIGNER LOVES PENIS”.. yes I was on the news that day). Then we made our way around the festival stalls where they were selling phallic foods like bananas and sausages, as well as wooden penises of our own to take home.

Although it was way too crowded and I wouldn’t go again, it was certainly an experience I won’t forget!

Now a question for you! What’s the strangest food you’ve ever eaten?

 

Friday’s Letters 20/09/13

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Dear soba noodles in tomato sauce, I’m sorry I shunned you for so long. You have taught me that even things that are not authentic can be extremely delicious.

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Dear Princess Nerina, no, my black tshirt didn’t look much better with your fur all over it, but I appreciate your efforts in trying to make me look nicer.

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Dear noodle shop, thank you for reminding me that translators shouldn’t worry about being replaced by Google Translate. Yet.

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Dear Heath bar, why why why are you not sold in Europe? In fact, I can answer my own question. It’s probably because of all the corn syrup, right? Either way, you are DELICIOUS and I very much enjoyed eating you.

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Linkies!

Wait But Why has a great article about generation Y and why we have such high expectations in life. I agree with a lot of what the post says, but it doesn’t take into consideration that life has been ruined somewhat by the previous generation. In fact, here is a great video that expresses all of my opinions on the subject…

Miss America isn’t white and this caused low-life racists to come crawling out from under their bridges to tweet ridiculous things.

The Telegraph tried to put people off becoming expats. Haha, nice try.

Living in Another Language posted a great piece about having the expat blues. I’ve written many times about “stage 2″ in culture shock and she has some great ways to get out of that!

Here’s a cool map with boundaries drawn to provide equal populations. Pretty cool, huh!

Finally, my favourite site of the week is Taste Spotting. This is where I go to when I need food inspiration. It’s like Pinterest, but just for food. Warning – it’s a dangerous place to go when you’re hungry!!!

Burrito Bande – Mexican Food!

20130801_123955I know it’s probably not very good writing two food posts in a row but this post has been sat here for ages and I keep promising people I’ll blog about it.

One day at work, my grumpy next-desk-neighbour brought back a flyer he’d found and grumbled about how he didn’t know what it was about since their website wasn’t finished. I did a Facebook search and found possibly the best thing to happen to Niederrad since they closed Ginger; a food truck called Burrito Bande. A quick message to them on Facebook confirmed that they are in Niederrad every Thursday lunchtime, so I went to check them out.

2013-08-14 08.27.43I had the vegetarian burrito which had their home made soy bolognese sauce. It was SO good. The boyfriend had to tell me off because I mentioned it to him no fewer than 6 times.

I’m told the meaty versions are also good – so everyone is happy! I recommend getting extra guacamole and also trying out their lemonade, since that’s super yummy too.

The van is in various parts of Frankfurt (and beyond) throughout the week, as well as having one-off engagements as well. Follow them on their Facebook page for all the info you need!

EDIT: Another awesome blog wrote about this and linked to me, so I’ll link to them too! They have more info (in German) on the wraps you can get there. Check it out HERE.

Taco Haus – Mexican in Frankfurt

2013-07-21 20.23.10A few weeks ago I saw the lovely people at the Drinkstag group were checking out a new Mexican place called Taco Haus and I knew I had to get in on the action. The boyfriend and I were in the area and so decided to take a look.

We checked out the menus online beforehand and there were about 4 or 5 vegetarian options, and we both set out hearts on what we’d like to eat.

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However, the menu was much much smaller in real life. There were only two vegetarian options and when the one I wanted wasn’t available. As I chose the same as Boyfriend’s, the waitress asked me why but didn’t offer an alternative when I replied that I chose the same because there was nothing else for me to eat. I’d expect a good restaurant to make something else if the vegetarian option I wanted wasn’t available.

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Fun fact: I love nachos. All the nachos. The dips were simply delicious as well. Om NOM NOM.

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The main course was, however, disappointing. Our veggie option was basically baked beans and tinned corn in a very cheap and basic tomato sauce, covered in cheese. Fair enough, you say. But for 11 euros I do expect something a little more than that.

The tortillas were hand made which was nice, and they give you 5 corn and 5 wheat ones. When we asked for only corn ones to cut down on my wheat, the waitress was very confused. I just ended up giving them to Boyfriend.

Overall, we weren’t impressed. Perhaps if you are a meat-eater you’ll get a better deal here. But the filling was bland and the service was ok. It’s not in the centre of town either so you’d have to go pretty much specifically for that.

You can find Taco Haus at Hamburger Allee 59, 60486