Back in February, which feels like a goddamn lifetime ago, I nipped off to Germany to do another Poppadom Preach with ace team mates Zenib, Liv and Heather. I wrote about the supper club here, but (obviously) there was quite a lot more on the food front to talk about than curry alone. I spent a lot of the trip holding back tears of joy upon finding a vegan calzone section of Veganz (So. Many. Parks & Recs. Quotes. To. Choose. From) and schlepping kilograms of seitan on the U-Bahn back to Neukölln. It was freezing, my silly leopard print coat losing all of its irony against the Berlin chill, our nights seeping into the early mornings and lunchtimes, recipe testing, blizzards, celebratory Old Fashions savoured in tiny cocktail bars, 5am bar tabs and Turbo Mate.
Here are some of the extra places I got to try this time around:
Berlin does vegan burgers in a way I just haven’t ever found anywhere else in Europe. Toasted burger buns, huge, huge piles of proper chips, ridiculous fillings. They’re absurd in all the right ways. After Poppadom Preach we stayed up most of Saturday night and then went straight out to Yellow Sunshine for the plates of wonder way up top of this post. After a lot of menu soul searching, I chose the vegan cheese and chicken burger with gherkins, salad, vegan mayo, fries and a vanilla cappucino. Heather chose the Mexican burger with tacos (as she's modelling above) and black coffee.
Interestingly enough... Heather isn't a vegan (but she does eat a lot of vegan food) and wasn't that into her burger- I loved mine but on reflection, you may only get the full appreciation of somewhere like Yellow Sunshine if you are vegan: It's a lot about that specific joy of eating something you thought you had to give up a long time ago. I wouldn't recommend planning to eat here every day- you won't be able to move- but I loved it for a biiiiig treat, and the prices are NICE.
Endless Club Mate, caffeine and fried food are basically the best reward for Official Days of Rest after supper club hard work. Oh, and watching Pixar’s Inside Out on Heather’s insistence and crying before the opening titles had finished.
On Monday, Heather had to go back to work so I had a day off to myself- I hopped on the U-Bahn to see Liv and we went for lunch at Goodies. It was pricey for Berlin but ace to be able to order a good selection of food (it's not all vegan so just ask a member of staff for help if you're not sure), drink strong coffee and chat to Liv about that #freelancegame and everything we’ve got in the front and back burners. I went with a grilled aubergine bagel, a vegan spin on macaroni cheese, coconut water and strong-ass coffee.
I actually live too far out to try Deliveroo in London, but it’s already arrived in Neukölln and I loved using the app for the first time. It’s designed so you can search by vegan menus and a lot of the local takeaways in the area do great vegan options you can find all from the comfort of your own hungover bed. It was about 7pm on a pitch black Sunday night and I ordered up glass noodles, vegan soups, summer rolls and the Shao Lin BBQ bowl with seitan, jasmine rice and mushrooms. We took the summer rolls to work the next day with hoi sin sauce and it was the easiest take-out ever. What I especially loved about using the app was the laze factor: I never would have found somewhere like Pho Hoi (which is in a slightly different neighbourhood to Neukölln), but thanks to AWESOME TECHNOLOGY those peeps could still get my money and I could eat brill vegan food on a cold February night with snow drifting down outside. It's apps like these that are empowering the small guys in business so they can compete, and I think that's pretty cool.
The all-star of the trip this time was Veganz. If you haven’t heard of Veganz, it’s an entirely vegan supermarket chain dotted right across Germany (and two others in Prague and Vienna)- there are three branches in Berlin. It’s incredible- even their own-brand stuff is great, and if you’re exploring the city for a day, I’d recommend Heather’s tip of buying packs of Doppelkeks biscuits to shove in your bag and nibble every time you get a bit hungry. I think I made about four trips to Veganz in five days. This is where I found the freezer section full of ACTUAL VEGAN CALZONE, as well as seitan flour, an abundance of vegan cheese, grains, soaps… it’s just endless. On my last day I stocked up on Club Mate for the airport and some biscuits for my boyfriend, as well as presents for Heather and Petra who had me to stay once again. Heather and I went out for wine and in the morning I eventually dragged my suitcase through snow back to the airport.
Until next time you wonderful, wonderful city.