A breach of silence

We’ve been very quiet the last couple of months, except for the odd Instagram post every now and then. Why I hear you ask? Well, we’ve had our reasons… Allow me to elaborate a little..

IMG_3832

Last summer was one to never forget for the both of us. Temperatures seemed to never drop under 25 degrees (Celsius, that is), which did have us spend pretty much every day outside, near a lake or ocean, from dawn till dusk. Therefore we never really got behind our computers. Actually we started learning to SUP (Stand-Up Paddle), and I also gave it a shot to teach Stefanie how to keep a little balance on a skateboard/longboard. For some strange reason her balance on the water is A LOT better than her balance on land. Maybe the difference in impact when falling has something to do with that, I’m not sure.

IMG_4190

Ofcourse we discovered, and rediscovered, some great food in different Belgian cities too. Recently, in my hometown (Overpelt), an organisation named VeggiePelt, started to convince local bars, pubs, restaurants to put at least 3 vegetarian meals on their menu, and also at least 1 vegan option. For a small town, with probably not a lot of vegans in it, that’s a huge thing. I was, and still am thrilled for it, and i wholeheartedly hope that this temporary project ends in a permanent thing! It’s a start!

Me and Stefanie also quit our jobs, and started new ones this summer.
I started working more locally, still driving a truck, and delivering beer and other beverages to local bars, pubs, cafés…
Stefanie also returned to Beringen, (where we live), to work as a communications coordinator for the city. With us both working really close to home, we can probably get rid of one of our cars soon, and do a lot more by bicycle

We move into our new house! We’re done building it, and we moved in just two weeks ago. We’re still stumbling over some cardboard boxes, but things are finally falling into place (not litteraly).  We’ll probably do a virtual house tour on Instagram, or something like that, because we’re really proud of it. Especially the kitchen area! We finally have one that really fits our needs, and allows us to invite more guests, and share a lot more photos of our culinary endeavors.

IMG_3936

Probably the most significant event of the summer: We got married.
July 20th was our day, and we had an amazing, unforgettable time with our friends and family. We’ll dedicate an entire post on the subject, and the short but sweet honeymoon, soon!!

So I think everyone can imagine we’ve had a lot on our plate the last months. For once i’m not talking about food specifically!!
We do hope everyone had a great summer, and will forgive us for our absense. We’re picking it up where we left it, and will share a lot more in the following weeks!

 

Take care!!
Kristof.

An Invitation To Indulge: Greenway Foods

Last friday we got invited to the launch party for the brand new veggie barbecue package from Greenway Foods The event was held at their Antwerp restaurant, smack in the middle of the city, At the ‘Groenplaats’. The package contains a burger, a sausage and a skewer. (Note: Only the burger is vegan at the moment. They are stlll working on getting the saucage and the skewer vegan too.)

Greenway has 4 restaurants in Belgium (Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven and Brussels), which gives us a chance to visit these on the regular, when we’re in either one of these cities, wether it is for business or pleasure.

This event in particular had Paul Florizoone (founder/owner of Greenway) showing his cooking skills on the barbecue for a select group of people, mainly press, (food)bloggers and influencers.
While chatting and networking with the other guests, we were presented with a welcoming drink. The refreshing homemade kefir lemonade, was a good start to this event.

But then.. the food…
To be frank, it was fingerlicking good!
Vegan garlic bread with melted cheese for starters.
(Greenway Foods is developing a new vegan cheese especially for melting, and let me tell you… it is divine! Can’t wait to buy it in stores!!)
Marinated miso eggplant. A kimchi salad with ‘licorice’ herbs. Vegan tartare sauce. Salt-crusted beetroot (Kristof didn’t succeed in the last couple of years, but Paul did. He turned me in to a beetroot lover! #beetrootrules #beetloversunite )
And ofcourse the burger. It’s a well seasoned spicy burger that works perfect on the bbq, and could be combined with a plethora of cuisines.
You can easily make it work with Mexican, Greek or Asian dishes. Or as an all American vegan burger with for instance, some pickles and corn on the cobb. It would taste great either way!

Since i’m equipped with a rather small stomach, i couldn’t possibly try every side presented on the table, so i limited myseld to the ones i thought the most interesting to try ourselves, at home. Everything looked amazing, and judging by the comments across the table, everything tasted wonderful!

And if that wasn’t enough, out came the desserts…
A perfect vegan lemoncurd cheesecake, which was super flavourful, and light at the same time, and a moist coconut chocolate cake to top things off in a pretty decadent way.

For this event i was joined by my sister Eline. Kristof had no way of ensuring he could get there in time, due to his work. He would have stuck out like a sore thumb too, because all the guest were female.

Thank you so much Greenway Foods and Greenway Antwerp for having us. We had a blast! (And gained ten pounds!!)

What is your favorite bbq recipe? Gimme!
Love, Stefanie

LET US TELL YOU ALL ABOUT EVE

We can imagine that a lot of our fellow vegans are familiar with this.
Non-vegan friends come across a facebook event, a promotional campaign, or basically anything containing the word “vegan”, and without blinking, send us a link, give us a shout, text us like: “Hey, this looks like something for you guys!”
Well, a lot of people gave us a heads up about the opening of a new concept store in our province’s capital Hasselt, that holds the idea of sustainability in high regard.
Safe to say, that we were all ears!

Yesterday was the day of the grand opening, and we wanted to check it out immediately.
The first real cold snap of the year was on it’s last legs, but still ice and a little snow made conditions a bit sketchy. However, that didn’t keep us from going. Carefull not to fall on our faces we made our way to the little shop called All About Eve.

IMG_0480IMG_0481

All About Eve is dainty shop that offers a wide range of cosmetics, skin care products, make-up, perfumes, … all of which are vegan. Evelien, the host, is  a very experienced make-up artist and truly passionate about natural, sustainable vegan products, and is very happy to supply you with the best advice and expertise, as well as giving you pointers in how to apply said products. Stefanie is probably coming back for her wedding make-up 😀

IMG_0479

Upon entering we were offered a complementary drink. We both settled for a non-alcoholic aperitif, a fruity sparkling drink with a raspberry in it!
Our curiosity took us upstairs to the domain of chef Bhumi.
We knew that they would serve some vegan dishes, sandwiches and a fine selection of teas, but had no idea what to expect really. We immediately noticed the very large table in the center of the room, which is an awesome way to seat people, and induce conversation between different guests, and create a very open and home-like atmosphere.
We’re always very keen on mingling with other people, hear about their experiences and stories, and more than happy to tell our own.
From the menu, we selected a delicious coconut chocolate milk to brush off the cold.
We couldn’t be happier with that decision. I want to make a special note about the biscuits that were served with the hot drinks. They are home made, and to die for, really.
If they would sell them seperately, I’d buy them by the truckload.
We took our time to inspect the menu further.

Stefanie opted for the “Aussie Brekkie”: A couple of pieces of toast, with mixed grilled veggies (Mushroom, Eggplant, Zucchini, Tomatoes), a marinated salad with pine nuts, and some sliced avocado.
Kristof’s choice, the Tiny Tempeh (not the rapper), a sandwich containing some marinated tempeh slices, romanesco, lettuce, tomato, veganaise, and ofcourse also some avocado. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals and are compelled to visit this place very, very regularly.

IMG_3230-1IMG_0482

The menu also has a selection of bowl dishes on it, and even some pancakes with vegan ice cream and other stuff. We saw the reaction of the other guests when they had their bowl served before them, and we could tell that everyone was very excited, and so were we.. we’ll have to try out the rest of the menu when we come back. Soon.

 

 

DUNKIRK, A JUMP ACROSS THE BORDER.

Kristof is a gentle fella, but has a weak spot for pretty much everything that has anything to do with either the first or second world war.
Christopher Nolan’s movie Dunkirk (IMDB) made him want to visit the city of Dunkirk, and see some of the locations the movie was shot for himself.
Dunkirk played a key role in one of the most memorable events of WWII. I don’t want to spoil it for the people that haven’t seen the movie, but the evacuation of troops locked in by the German forces closing in, was quite the feat.

27946244_10213102173803414_667582284_o

Dunkirk is pretty close to the Belgian border, but we decided to leave the car at home (the motorcycle too… it was too cold anyway). We opted to go by train. We hopped on the Thalys train from Brussels to Lille, and took a taxi from Lille to Dunkirk. We booked a room at the Hotel Borel, a 4 star accomodiation near the city centre.
Upon arrival we dumped our stuff at said hotel, and made our way to the beachfront for some fresh air. We walked the entire seawall gazing into the grey skies, and green seas on one side, and little bars, bistro’s and shops on the other side. We came across numerous signs that displayed various events and information about Operation Dynamo, the operaction depicted in the movie Dunkirk.

27951219_10213102163043145_457824324_o

We also kept our eyes peeled for menu’s that had any vegan options available, but were a little bummed out by the lack of anything even remotely vegan. We understand that the market may be small for our diet of choice, but no options whatsoever… we weren’t really expected.
Luckily Stefanie always has quite the supply of snacks on her, so we obviously didn’t have to rely too heavily on finding a restaurant. We did however find a recommendation on our Happy Cow app, for the next day. Sweet!

On day two we were lucky enough to get a exclusive tour in Fort Des Dunes.
The fort played a key role during Operation Dynamo in WWII. Operation Dynamo evacuated 338.000 allied soldiers. We were a part of the first guided tour in English, and the whole organisation and touristic exploitation of the Fort is pretty new. They are still on a learning curve, but every beginning is difficult. We did get a lot of wonderful information and we’re sure that this hidden gem will become a very interesting and informative attraction very soon.

If you are interested in WWII history we can also recommend a visit to the Atlantikwall at Raversyde (more info, click here!). Their exposition and guided tours (and audio tours) are available in multiple languages, and can give you a more complete experience. Located about an hour drive from Dunkirk, along the Belgian shore, near Ostend.

We went for a meal in the city centre.
Oponopono restaurant had several veggie options.
There was one vegan burger: the “Steak au legumes”. It’s a vegetable burger with parsnip puree, red onion and fries. Pretty good! Friendly staff and a laid back atmosphere.

27947220_10213102170763338_853920065_o

Afterwards we went for a stroll in the city centre, but the cold was a little too much at times. We went back to the hotel for a warm and cosy evening in our hotel room.
In the morning we checked out. A taxi brought us back to Lille, where the Thalys train awaited us to take us home.

 

If you want to share your war tips with Kristof? Let us know here!

 

2017, YOU HAVE BEEN KIND TO US

With the year coming to a close, we find ourselves remeniscent about what has past 365 days have brought us, while pondering future endeavours.

We went on some amazing trips throughout Europe.
In July we took the bike out for a spin and visited Goes in The Netherlands.
Barcelona was a home to us for a couple of days in september. Sun, sea, beautiful architecture, amazing food AND a proposal, made it a trip to remember for eternity.
Seeing how London is only a trainride away from us in Belgium, we went there for a luxurious weekend in November.

We had some of our favorite food this year on these trips.
The avocado starter and the sweet carrot curry at De Zeeuwse Hemel in Middelburg (The Netherlands).
The Korean BBQ Báhn Mì baguette from Eat Chay at Hackney Downs Market.
I still dream of that baguette!
And the Kare Burosu ramen at Wagamama hit the spot on a cold evening.
We might just plan a trip to London for the food, but end up shopping our proverbial asses off in the process

What were your favorite foodspots this year? Dishes you remember? Places you’ll never forget?

Best wishes for the new year!
We wish you a year filled with laughter, good friends, amazing food an beautiful places!

See you in 2018!

VEGAN CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS

Christmas shopping… Love it or hate it. Busy city streets, shops filled to the brim with either decorations, pretty lights, or people going bananas. Wether you prefer to endure the physical endeavour of visiting the shops, or go on an online shopping frenzy…  we have some tips for you, and your vegan (or non-vegan gift recipients!)
A vegan lifestyle can mean so much more than just a vegan diet, so we’re listing a couple of shops, webshops,… that extend veganism in various directions.

Bazaar Deluxe is a fashion brand that operates from Belgium. Hsuan and Michal design clothes for the vocal vegans among us. Tank tops, t-shirts, sweatshirts… all of which are fabricated in an eco friendly and cruelty free manner!

By Blanch is an ethical and vegan shoe brand, based in France. Owned by Mireia M. Blanch, born and raised in Barcelona, and passionate about cruelty free fashion, and her plant-based diet!
Personally, I’ve had my eye on these pretty green boots ever since I spotted them at the vegan fair in Brussels. Just look at them!!!

Dr. Martens
Many of you might know, some of you might not, But you can get your hands on some awesome vegan Docs. We both like them a lot, and will probably always have a pair in our closet, or on our feet.

Joeke Vandermeer makes some of the most original and beautiful illustrations of animals. Recently she started making mugs, dinner plates, bowls, everything to embellish your christmas table, and wow your guests…
We love her stuff!

Lush has quite an array of vegan cosmetics available, but we’re primarily stoked on the vegan-friendly bath bombs. They have special christmas versions available during the holiday season!

Etsy is also a home for a lot of our creative vegan friends. You can find an almost infinite amount of fun stuff on there, and buy directly from the creator!

Ofcourse a coupon for their/your/our favorite restaurant is always an option.
We love eating at De Gastvrijheid , Loving Hut,  or De Levensboom
All of these restaurants are located in Belgium.

Or choose to support local charities, animal shelters…
They will always welcome helping hands, and donations!!

Happy holidays to you and your loved ones!!!

A LUXURIOUS WEEKEND IN LONDON

A couple of details of our short stay in London will have to remain secret for contractual reasons. However, we will be able to share the most interesting stuff anyway

On November 3rd, we arrived late in the afternoon. We immediately checked in at our hotel,  the beautiful Trafalgar St. James, right at Trafalgar Square, London.
A Nelson Double Queen Room had been reserved for us. Spatious, Beautiful, Luxurious. A lot more luxurious than we would book for ourselves, to be honest, but we wouldn’t want to complain!


After a quick wardrobe change, we took the tube to The Underworld, in Camden.
Battery was scheduled to play there. They supported NY hardcore legends Cro-Mags.
The show was sold out, but through Mike, a good friend of Kristof, who plays guitar in Battery, we managed to get in anyway.
Battery is a hardcore band hailing from Washington, DC. They split up somewhere in the late 90’s, which meant that Kristof had been waiting since his late teens to see them again. I hadn’t heard of them prior to meeting Kristof, and however I don’t regularly listen to hardcore, i really enjoyed the energy during their set, and witnessing the joy in Kristof’s eyes made it a memorable show, to say the least.

After the show, we needed food. I know, we’re predictable.
We decided on Dou Dou. It was right across the street from The Underworld.
Dou Dou is a Chinese and Thai inspired all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant, that serves nothing but beautiful and delicious vegan dishes. And it does so very cheaply too. 5,90£ for lunch, 6,90£ for dinner and during the weekend. If you plan on visiting them, do bring cash, no card payments possible here. (Also take-away possible!!!)
Safe to say we went back for multiple rounds, and tried pretty much everything they had on offer, which counts for about 40 different preparations!!!

It had been a very long day, so after out bellies were full we decided to head back to the hotel, to shower, bathe and relax in the room for a while. We’re not party animals, so a good night sleep was next on the to do-list.

Day Two:

Hackney Downs Vegan Market.
I read some amazing things about this vegan market online, and on other blogs. (fatgayvegan.com) It’s a little out of the city centre but seriously worth the ride. We took an underground and overground to get there.
First piece of advice: Go EARLY! The market’s from 11 am to 5 pm and some of the stalls start selling out already around 1.30. We did get there in time, and the presence of a little rain may be the reason the market was a little less busy than usual.

For starters we shared the Korean BBQ Bahn Mi baguette from Eat Chay.
Liz and Calum were very informative and engaging, and even up for a picture!
The Bahn Mi was out of this world, too good!


We als couldn’t resist the amazing burger and grilled cheese smell from The Temple Of Seitan. If you need a cheeseburger, and you don’t want it to look as healthy as many vegan burgers tend to do? Check out their burgers. but don’t let the looks deceive you. they are 100% vegan, not that greasy and overly delicious!

Once again we ate too much, in too little time. We felt the need to walk it off, and just took the overground back into Liverpool Street Station and went on by foot.
Walking past the shard we rememberd Borough Market. A British couple had recommended it to us, when we sat next to their table at the beach in Barcelona.
We didn’t expect there would be any vegan food, but Big V had a booth there (they were also present at the Hackney Downs market)! So… We ordered the chimichurri. Vegan chorizo, on a crusty ciabatta, spicy chimichurri sauce, pickled peppers & onion! Fingerlicking good!

We went on following the southern bank of the river Thames, on found ourselves at the entrance of the Tate Modern Musuem. Musea, are a must almost everywhere we go, since we are both a little passionate about art aswell. The Tate Modern exhibited a collection of Mark Rothko masterpieces. Kristof’s favourite. We strolled through the rooms like we always do, and even took the time to climb a what seemed infinite amount of stairs to reach the observation deck of the museum. There are elevators though, but they were always full, and we didn’t want to wait it out.

Crossing the Millenium Bridge, passing St. Paul’s Cathedral we headed back towards our hotel to freshen up, and have another little bite to eat.
By now we had lost count on how many Pret-A-Manger places there were (Seriously, how many, in London alone, must be over 300) that we coulnd’t resist entering one, to check out if they had anything vegan for us. We’re thrilled to inform you that they do!
We had a Latte with coconut milk, a peppermint tea, and an avocado & chipotle chickpea salad wrap. And there are more options available, great!!!

IMG_2692

Afterwards we headed over to the Piccadilly and Regent Street area, where city workers were hanging the christmas lights and we intended to do some evening shopping. We got to Antropologie, one of my favourite stores to visit. Everything from fashion to interior design, you can find here. They have a living wall, with plants expanding over 3 stories high, and a special “husband storage”, with a comfortable sofa..

Kristof was a champ and didn’t need to be put there! On the other hand, that meant that he had an opinion about everything i touched. Well, you can’t have it all!
With having walked about 20km (12,5 miles) we went back to the hotel to rest our feet and our bodies.

Day Three:

We got up bright and early for our complementary breakfast. The avocado on toast was pretty great! But… no time to waste. Right on the other side of Trafalgar square the National Gallery basked in early sunday sunlight.
The entrance is free, but you are kind of required to put some money into the donation box. An amount of your own choice.
The National Gallery is an entirely different beast than the Tate Modern. It harbours masterpieces of the most renowned classical artists the world has ever known. From Leonardo Da Vinci, to Van Gogh, Monet,…
We particularly enjoyed the Turners on display. William Turner is best known for his expressive landscape an marine themes. If you want to immerse yourself in classical art, the National Gallery is an absolute must.

We left the Gallery at about noon, and we were supposed to be picked up at the hotel at 3.30pm, which meant we had another 3 hours to spend. If you don’t know is by now, you might be surprised that we decided on spending some more time feeding ourselves.
We knew about a Wagamama restaurant close by. Wagamama is a chain of Asian restaurants that spread over 20 countries, and have over 140 restaurants.
They just started with their vegan menu, and we were very keen on trying some of it out.
It is so refreshing to have a seperate menu for vegans (or vegetarians) with more than one option, in a larger chain of restaurants.
I ordered the Kare Burosu Ramen, which is basically a spicy curry vegetable broth with tofu and grilled mushrooms. Kristof had the Warm Chilli Yasai Salad, with tofu, stir fried red peppers, tenderstem broccoli…

Both were very quickly delivered to the table, and extremely satisfying to eat.
We also took the time to have a little dessert. A pink guava and passion fruit sorbet, and a lemongrass and lime sorbet. Both were delicious, and a very nice touch after a somewhat spicy main course.
Staff were extremely friendly, and interested in hearing about our trip, one of the servers even sat down at our table for a quick chat. That probably won’t happen when the place is packed, but it does feel very nice when it’s a little calmer. As a professional once told us: When the place is a little less packed, it gives us the chance to give a little extra attention to the customer. A lesson well learned here at Wagamama.

That would conclude our little stay in London. A driver in a fancy Mercedes pulled up to the hotel lobby to pick us up, and drop us off ant St. Pancras Station. Right before hopping onto the Eurostar Train back to Brussels, we raided the in-station Marks & Spencer.  We found a Butternut Squash & Tabblouleh wrap, a Chestnut Roast wrap, and Roasted Veg sandwich (with avocado, chilli squash on red pepper bread – our favourite..), all of which were vegan, qnd were happily consumed on the 2 hour train ride into Brussels.

We are very happy that large chains start offering ready-to-go vegan options.
We also hope that a lot of Mainland European chains will follow suit sooner rather than later!

 

Stefanie.

Have you been to London? Got something you want to share with us? Or want to reply to this article, click here.

 

FLASH VISIT TO VEGGIEWORLD BRUSSELS

Veggieworld is an organisation that sets up conventions in multiple European cities, in order to introduce people to a complete vegan lifestyle. So not just food, but also shoes, clothes, cosmetics, animal rights, … the lot.

IMG_2488

This weekend (Oct. 21 &22) Tour & Taxis was home to the very first Veggieworld in the city of Brussels. We went early and on a empty stomach. So clearly today we were particularly interested in food

IMG_2481

Every food stand at the convention, had multiple samples available, and we didn’t skip any of them. We also tasted the eggsalad from V-box. It is amazing, and we had to take some home for lunch tomorrow. They also had a selection of topped donuts available, of which we tried the charcoal chocolate donut. Kristof could not resist..

IMG_2479

After listening to guestspeakers, a quick chat with Hsuan, who makes some real funky shirts and sweaters (check out: https://www.bazaardeluxe.be) and sampling some more we were hungry again! We queued at the “Waffles Veg” stand. Kristof chose a Kentucky Waffle Sandwich with seitan, grilled onions, vegan cheese and a tarragon sauce. I’m a sweet tooth, so I went with a warm Liege Waffle.

To walk off some of these calories, we went on exploring some more booths.
We met Joeke Vandermeer (www.instagram.com/joekevandermeer) , who makes beautiful tableware and prints. Her webshop is gonna be online soon, so hello christmas presents!

IMG_0273

Eva vzw is the Belgian partner for Veggieworld. They had a big booth with a lot of info about going vegan. They gave us a map of Brussels with vegan hotspots on, so expect a Brussels blogpost soon.

After all that food there is only one thing we can do… go home and watch a movie.
On the sofa.. It’s sunday after all.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

 

Stefanie.

If you want to share something about Veggieworld, in Brussels or anywhere else.. or want to reply to this article, click here