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While dining in Europe was a dream, there are these little things called plane rides you have to take to get to your destination. In the 2 weeks I traveled, I was on 10 airplanes, which meant I was at the mercy of airplane food more than a few times. Of course, I pack my own snacks, as I know it's unlikely I'll be satisfied or even properly fed while in the air, but I thought you might like to see some of the food given to me. I flew Delta Airlines for all of the following meals & requested the "VGML" or Vegetarian, Non-Dairy meal.
Vegan airplane dinners seem to be pretty standard across the board; a grain of some sort, vegetables in some unidentifiable sauce, an iceberg lettuce salad, & a bread roll. Often you'll be given a "non-dairy margarine" on the side, which has never been vegan in the history of my flights. Delta did a fine job with dinner food, I appreciated the fruit salad one night, & the beans in my entree the next, but they failed when it came to breakfast. Special dietary meals are brought out before the others, so I was handed my breakfast of a pre-packaged croissant with non-vegan margarine, high fructose corn syrup jelly, an unripe banana & juice from concentrate before everyone else. I inquired about the non-dairy status of the croissant & the attendant said it should be vegan, to which I responded, "butter?" & the attendant revoked it's non-dairy status. The rest of the airplane was served the exact same meal & despite mine being labeled VGML, it was very obviously not. The next disappointment came in the form of a sandwich. I unwrapped the plastic wrapped torpedo only to find a thick layer of what could have been butter or "non-dairy margarine" with only tomato & limp lettuce. Vegan or not, no thank you!
So, why am I complaining about this when all airplane food tends to be bad? It's important that airlines know that when they mark something non-dairy, they are expected to provide something suitable for not only vegans, but people with allergies, people with religious affiliations, & others refraining from it. I make sure to write a letter to each & every airline that gives me something in a VGML meal that is not vegetarian non-dairy. I'm diligent enough to check the labels of food they give me, but how many people have trusted them & had milk solids in their salad dressing? What if someone was to get sick? I encourage everyone who runs across similar issues to contact the company, as it benefits everyone.
On a lighter note, Delta's in-flight snack is the best ever! They serve Biscoff cookies, aka Speculoos Caramelized Biscuits. I first found these biscuits in a market in Prague, then the mania swept the PPK & the Speculoos spread was discovered. I can confirm that the spread is crazy good, as a generous friend sent me some it's difficult not to sit & eat it with a spoon. I love these biscuits & I had no problem collecting the un-eaten ones from my fellow flight goers to savor throughout the journey!
I'm sure I've mentioned in my many posts about Europe that I love shopping for food! I went in vegan shops, bio markets, & everything in between in search of exciting treats & boy, was I successful! The photo you see is all the sweets I purchased over the two weeks & brought home. I gave some of it away, but for the most part, we've been eating it & most of it is gone! While Ryan's happily chowing down on gummy cola bottles, for me the highlights include Peppermint Ritter Sport (which are no longer vegan, watch out for butterfat!), Lemon Cream Manner bars, Gelee Bananen, Maple filled Stroopwafel & my absolute favorite, Sonnina Pfefferminz Taler! Seriously, if anyone can find the Sonnina brand, I NEED more of these York Peppermint Patty replicas & will make it worth your while!
Donut Mania is here! Have you noticed? Maybe you've caught the fever as well? It seems Donuts are the new Cupcakes & everywhere you turn a vegan donut company is popping up. I am certainly not one to complain about this trend, as I spent many days sitting on 50lb bags of flour in the back of a donut shop as a child. I've been lucky enough to try most of the options out there, but two remain my top contenders & I just happened to have both of them hand delivered to me in the past few weeks. As I stepped off the plane from Europe, Ryan was coming home from Las Vegas, home of Ronald's Donuts, aka the best vegan donuts on earth. Needless to say, he brought back a dozen of these perfectly raised, doughy gems & I was thrilled. It's hard to say which is my favorite, I do love a basic glazed, or a cinnamon bun, but the apple fritter is pretty stellar as well. These are certainly not health food, they're the corner shop Sunday morning donuts you remember from your childhood!
On the healthier side of donuts are my favorite cake donuts by Mighty O Donuts in Seattle. Once again, a business trip brought Ryan home with an assortment of donuts & there were no complaints here! Everything from French Toast to Nutty Chocolate to Cinnamon Sugar was at my fingertips, but my favorite is the good old Vanilla Cake Glazed, simple & delicious. Not only are these tasty morsels all vegan, they're organic too! If you're in Seattle, don't miss a stop in to their shop or if you have a friend visiting, do as I did & demand some donuts!
Despite all the sugary foods, I have been cooking as well. Shocker, right?! I'm a tester for a few cookbooks right now, which is always fun & keeps me from making the same 5 dishes over & over. Terry Hope Romero of Veganomicon & Vegan Cupcake Take Over the World fame is writing a Vegan Latina cookbook & it's already knocking my socks off! The most recent dish I made was the Chipotle Seitan & Potato Tacos. Terry's homemade seitan is marinated in a beer, lime, chipotle mixture, then grilled & piled in to soft corn tortillas with Roasted Potatoes, crunchy veggies, & topped with a Lime Yogurt Crema! I'm not a drinker, but the flavors of everything played so well together, I didn't even notice the beer. Ryan flipped for these! By the way, Terry & Isa have a new book coming out called Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, have you ordered it yet?
Next week, I'm headed out to Chicago to hang with my favorite Baker & Destroyer, plus partake in potluck & Dandies eating with the folks at Chicago Soy Dairy. Any recommendations on things I shouldn't miss are always welcome! I know new businesses have popped up since my last visit, so here's what I saw last time; Part 1 / Part 2. As always, if you're in the area & you want to meet up, just get in touch!