Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Mad Hatter In America - The Way Home

We've finally reached the last post in my America 2015 series - boo. But I managed to write them all before we go back this year - yay!

As with the outbound journey, we flew back with British Airways. I don't know if we were only given one meal on the way home, or if in my sleep-deprived state I forgot about one, but I only have records of one tray of food on this flight. The flight itself was pretty horrendous to be honest - it was so hot and there were lots of grumpy people around. However, the food wasn't too bad.

We were given a moussaka type dish, comprising of aubergine, tomato sauce and creamy sauce. It was pretty decent.


It also came with the usual bundle of extras:

Spot the VEGAN label!
This salad dressing was so sweet...
Fruit salad
More fruit
The real magic was what we ate once we were safely back in the UK. We decided to book a hotel in London overnight, to avoid any hassle if the flight was delayed. We happened to be staying just up the road from VX...

We got a couple of these absolutely huge kebabs:



And also a couple of cakes. Because you can't go to VX and not buy cake.


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Mad Hatter In America - Getting There

We flew out from Heathrow, so decided to travel down the day before to avoid as much travel stress as possible. Naturally, I did some research around the area that our hotel was in to see what we could rustle up for tea.

Luckily, we were a ten minute bus ride away from Super Singh's! Super Singh's is a 100% vegetarian and egg-free take-away, offering pizzas, burgers, wraps, etc. They do still sell cheese, so just make them aware that you don't want any when ordering. They offered to replace the cheese on any pizza with an extra topping at no charge!


We ordered a huge 14" Meatless Feast pizza to share - what a whopping pizza this was!


Meatless Feast - Veggie sausage, veggie chicken, fried tofu, paneer, veggie kofta, onion & jalapeno (We ordered with no paneer. They had some trial vegan cheese in when we were there, which they asked if we would like to try - of course we said yes!)

This pizza was fantastic. The fake meats they used were really good, and the cheese was tasty.



We also ordered a side of Masala Fries - again, very tasty!


When we arrived at the airport, we found a few vegan offerings - mainly in the way of sandwiches:



Our flight was wight British Airways, and we were provided two main meals as it was a long flight. Fairly soon after the flight set off, the stewards walked around offering snacks - but even though we had booked a vegan meal, there were no vegan snacks on offer.

The first meal was a veg and mushroom cous cous dish, which was okay. In fact, most of the tray was "okay" - which I think is pretty standard for aeroplane food. The exception was the herbed bread roll, which was very tasty!


Then came a second round of snacks, where all the passengers received a whole box of snackable goodies, including cake and crackers. Again, nothing was vegan. I spoke to one of the stewards as we were a little disgruntled to have paid the same as everyone else but not received the same service. The lady I spoke to was lovely, and she let me go through to the back and choose a few snacks from what was presumably the snack pile for the staff. This is what we ended up with, which I was quite happy with:


Our second main meal was Chinese Bean Curd, which took me by surprise! Again, the meal itself was okay - but I was impressed that we got tofu on the plane. The water in a foil sealed tub freaked me out a bit, but as they hadn't brought much water around during the flight, I guzzled it down.


And finally, after a long time travelling, we arrived at our hotel in Anaheim and went to sleep. We woke up to this view the next morning, ready to begin our adventures!



Monday, 24 October 2016

Mad Hatter In America - Misc

There are a few places that we visited that didn't really fit into the other posts I've written about America, but I didn't want to miss them out. Here's a run down...

Cheesecake Factory

We hit up the Cheesecake Factory after being in the Blizzcon merch queue for what felt like days. We all needed a good meal and this definitely hit the spot. There was so much food!

As seen in the Burgers post, Mr Hatter chose the Veggie Burger:

Veggie Burger
A Delicious “Burger” Made with Brown Rice, Farro, Mushrooms, Black Beans and Onion. Served on a Toasted Wheat Brioche Bun with Melted Fontina Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles and Mayo. (Mr Hatter had this with no cheese, no mayo but didn't realise at the time that the bun was brioche - I'm pretty sure it didn't state on the menu when we were there.)


I went for the Vegan Cobb Salad. I couldn't pass up the chance to try something labelled as vegan at a place like Cheesecake Factory.

Vegan Cobb Salad
Crisp Lettuce Topped with Grilled Asparagus, Green Beans, Roasted Beets, Avocado, Cucumber, Tomato, Garbanzo Beans, Quinoa, Almonds and Sunflower Seeds with House Vinaigrette.


Oh my goodness, I was blown away by how good this salad was! It was a massive portion and it was all really tasty. I wasn't expecting the portion to be so big (or, let's face it, the salad to be so amazing!), so I also ordered a size of sweet potato fries. Another ginormous portion that the whole table helped eat!


Healthy Junk

Again, I touched on this in the Burgers post but we bought more than just burgers so I feel it warrants its own entry on here too!


We took a trip up to the Anaheim Packing District, as it sounded like a nice place to look around. It was a good way to spend a Sunday afternoon, although there wasn't a huge amount to do when we arrived. Who cares though when there is vegan food!


We both had the Guac Burger from the daily specials board as our main. This burger was awesome.



Guac Burger
This was a daily special - the description was "Chick Patty - Guac - Tomato & Onion". We added extra bacon.



We also sampled the Curly Yam Fries and the Chili Chez Fries, both of which were very tasty. I picked the yam fries as I've never had yam and wanted to see what it was like! The verdict: strange but nice!

Curly Yam Fries
Mountain of crispy yam fries and side of ranch and BBQ sauce.


Chili Chez Fries
With our homemade chili and chez sauce.


There is so much tasty looking stuff on their menu, I would love to go back there. BUT it is pretty out of the way and there are more new places we want to try!

Gypsy Den



After our huge lunch from Healthy Junk, we wanted to walk some of it off before consuming anything else. We went from a wander around the area, and then popped into Gypsy Den for some hot drinks and vegan cake. We are almost definite that this was the same Coconut Cake we bought from Vegan Pizza on the way back from Blizzcon. It was just as tasty when eaten in a civilised cafe with a nice drink as it was in our hotel room, straight out of the plastic take away container!


Funky water feature in Anaheim Packing District

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Mad Hatter In America - Supermarket Finds

On our first day in Anaheim, we went to Vons and Target to stock up on snacks for the upcoming convention and Disney days. Going to an American supermarket (convenience store?) is a strange and fascinating experience. You can get pretty much everything in huge sizes, and there was a surprising amount of vegan-friendly food. Some of it is a bit on the sketchy side as to whether the sugar is safe or not (as some sugar in America is filtered through bone char - yuck), but I researched these snacks to the best of my ability when we got back to the hotel and they all appear to be vegan - yay!

Sweet Snacks






Larabars are soooooo good

Savoury Snacks

Giant bag of mini pretzels!


Drinks

This stuff was soooo good!
This was Mr Hatter's and was apparently very nice!
Misc

These were really tasty but the almond butter was so firm it was hard to scoop up!
It's always fun to bring things home!

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Mad Hatter In America - Burgers!

America is home to some amazing burgers - and the vegan options are no exception! We had a fair few burgers while we were over there...

Most places that offered a vegan burger gave the option to choose a BOCA patty, with some also offering their own take on a vegan burger. We were prepared for the BOCA patties to be a bit lacklustre with them seeming to be the bog-standard choice, but we were pleasantly surprised. They were really nice, and better than a lot of the vegan burgers we get over here!

I've listed below the various burgers we tried. I've taken the description from the website and noted our modifications in brackets.

Red Robin

We ate at Red Robin twice during our stay, as the food was really tasty and we wanted to try both types of vegan patty! The Garden Burger was delicious - they've done a great job with their in-house vegan patty. The variations we tried with the BOCA patty were also great - I'm pretty sure we'll be going back again this year!

Garden Burger
Our Gardenburger® is topped with pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and our Country Dijon sauce on a whole-grain bun. BOCA Original Vegan Burger patty also available. (We both tried this with the Gardenburger patty. NOTE: The save is not vegan, so we substituted guacamole.)

Garden Burger with Gardenburger patty
Banzai
The burger of beach bums, surfer dudes and hungry people. Glazed in teriyaki and topped with grilled pineapple, Cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo for a taste wave that'll knock you off your board. (I had this with the BOCA patty, no cheese, no mayo.)

Banzai with BOCA patty
Keep It Simple
For those times when less is more. Choose from our fire-grilled beef, Gardenburger® or BOCA Original Vegan Burger patty with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions on the side. Served with your choice of Bottomless Steak Fries® or Bottomless Freckled Fruit® Salad. (Mr Hatter chose the BOCA patty and Bottomless Steak Fries.)

Keep It Simple with BOCA patty
Healthy Junk

We did buy more than just burgers from Healthy Junk, so I will be writing about the cafe in a separate post - but we both decided that this was our favourite burger of the holiday! The patty was huge and really tasty!

Guac Burger
This was a daily special - the description was "Chick Patty - Guac - Tomato & Onion". We added extra bacon.


The Cheesecake Factory

I actually had a salad from Cheesecake Factory (again, I will be talking about this in a separate post) but Mr Hatter tried the burger and was pretty impressed. He usually prefers his burgers to be of the fake-meat variety, so it must have been a good one!

Veggie Burger
A Delicious “Burger” Made with Brown Rice, Farro, Mushrooms, Black Beans and Onion. Served on a Toasted Wheat Brioche Bun with Melted Fontina Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, Pickles and Mayo. (Mr Hatter had this with no cheese, no mayo but didn't realise at the time that the bun was brioche - I'm pretty sure it didn't state on the menu when we were there.)

Veggie Burger
Carnation Cafe

I already talked about our meal at Carnation Cafe in Disneyland, but I wanted to include it here as well because it was a burger!

Chef's Vegan Burger
House-made Bean and Vegetable Patty, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Pickled Red Onions, and Vegan Chipotle-Mayonnaise on a Wheat Roll with your choice of fresh Fruit or Seasoned French Fries

Chef's Vegan Burger