Day 217: Manna

Hello my darlings.

What began as a blog about becoming a vegetarian has slowly morphed into a place where I share so many different aspects of the life of The Silly Asparagus. Soon, I want to tell you about non-veggie related things, such as work experience and graduation. So today, I want to make this post about the veggies.

On Friday, I ate at my first vegetarian restaurant. And wow, was it impressive. I thought I would review it and encourage you all to go.

Where: Manna. Vegetarian Restaurant. 4 Erskine Road, Primrose Hill, London, NW3 3AJ.

First, I’ll talk you through the food. I’ll then tell you all the little details you should know. I went to the restaurant with Mr. Carnivore. I promise I wasn’t eating two dishes per course! Most of the dishes are also suitable for vegans. I’ll add a ‘(v)’ to the dish name if it is vegan-friendly. Apologies that the images aren’t great, but I only had my low-battery phone on me. The food looks a lot more appetising in reality…

To begin…

Organic Hummus and Bread (v)
Considering I have been veggie for over seven months, it may be hard to believe that this was my first experience of hummus. It was really, really good and the bread was fresher than fresh.

Starters… 

Savoury Basil Pancakes (v)
‘A tangy gram and basil pancake filled with a tamari and garlic smoky bean curd, mushrooms and garden peas.’ These were very soft and very delicious.

Basil and Cashew Cheese Croquettes (v)
‘Basil and cashew cheese croquettes served on a bed of watercress and pea sprouts, with homemade chilli jam’. Amazing, especially the chilli jam.

Mains… Mr. Carnivore and The Silly Asparagus both opted for the specials, which you won’t find on the menu.

Pasta in a creamy white wine sauce, with cherry tomatoes and broccoli.

Spinach, courgette and garlic pie. Accompanied by a pea puree.

A side of seasonal mash and gravy (v).

 Dessert…

Lemon Cheesecake (v)
‘Lemon cheesecake, served with stem ginger vegan ice cream’. The cheesecake was delicious, but it was the ice cream that stole the show. The ginger flavouring was so prominent and spicy. It seemed that some smart taste technology had been used to create it.

What you need to know…
  • It isn’t cheap. If you’re eating on a smaller budget, try elsewhere. The meal above, for two diners, cost just under £80. I feel it was worth every penny. However, a can of (organic) coke will set you back £3.
  • This is a vegetarian restaurant. They do not serve any meat at all.
  • The choice is brilliant and the dishes contain so much detail. Because of this, meat-eaters should not be put off. Try it!
  • So many of the dishes are suitable for vegans. There is also a great gluten-free variety.
  • BOOK! The restaurant is extremely popular. Unless you make reservations in advance, you are unlikely to get a table here.
Talk to you soon.
With Love,
The Silly Asparagus

Day 111: My McLife

Today was not blessed with a yummy roast dinner.  Some of us are far less conventional and enjoy spontaeneous Sunday outings to McDonald’s.

I went up to the counter and asked for a veggie burger.  The response: “I’m sorry, we don’t do veggie burgers”.  The lady then raised her hand and pointed to the Deli menu.  Is McDonald’s now looking for Michelin stars?!  I definitely had a plain veggie burger at a McDonald’s about two weeks ago.  Maybe I just went to a posh one this time?

So, instead of having a veggie burger, I had the Spicy Vegetable sandwich.  It was yummy, and guess what?  It tasted exactly like a veggie burger.  This asparagus is silly and needed to pick out the salad.  Here was the meal…

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It doesn’t look great, but it tasted good.  People have asked me if I have lost weight becoming a vegetarian.  I can confirm that I have not.  I may not have consumed a BigMac, but I did consume this…

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In other news, today is Mother’s Day in the UK.  Happy Mother’s Day to all mummies out there and those that are no longer here.  Mother Asparagus does not read my blog (she is still coming to grips with things like laptops and iPads), but here are some old photos of the pair of us that adorn my wall:

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Enjoy what remains of the weekend.

Veggie McLovin’

The Silly Asparagus

Day 109: Ich bin ein Spargel

Hello.

Today is partly a confessional and I hope that you will be understanding.  Since becoming a vegetarian, I have been tempted to eat meat 4 out of 109 days (only tempted)…

Those four days were during my time in Berlin, about three weeks ago.  Before turning vegetarian, hotdogs were one of my favourite foods.  I quite simply loved them.  I would go to the cinema, mainly for the hotdog and not for the film.  I would slice frankfurters and sprinkle them on pasta.  I would have hotdogs on the BBQ.  Considering I am fussy, it was a weird food for me to like anyway — goodness knows what sort of meat they are made from.

Anyway, Germany is home to the sausage.  You can buy a coffee and a bratwurst / frankfurter for €1!  I ended up with a bratwurst in my hand.  Mr. Carnivore bought us one each on our third day.  A kind German man even covered it in ketchup for me…

So, I was about to eat this rather amusing looking food, but I just couldn’t do it.  No matter how much I used to love them, I am now a vegetarian and they are off the menu.  To his delight, Mr. Carnivore ended up with two.  The asparagus won.

I loved Berlin.  If you are looking for a cheap city break then I would recommend it.  When I went to Paris, I paid €7 for a Diet Coke.  In Berlin, you can get drinks from as little as 45¢!

Here are some more photos of the German food journey…

Standard airport breakfast…

Airport breakfast

Playing it safe with a pizza Margherita.

Dunkin' Donuts are everywhere in Berlin!

I adore the Hard Rock Cafe and the one in Berlin was no disappointment. As a starter Mr. Carnivore and I shared potato skins. Half had bacon on and the other half were without.

I had never seen whipped cream in soup until this trip...

Ich liebe dich, Berlin.

I hope you are impressed that I managed a post about sausages without making any puns.  Keeping it classy.

With love

The Chubby Asparagus.

Day 7: You’re having a giraffe!

Sunday seemed like the perfect day for an asparagus adventure.  After going to see Arthur 3D at the cinema, it was time for lunch.  Eating at restaurants can either be an enjoyable experience for me, or a very, very miserable one — a lot depends on my then-relationship with food.  I didn’t hold out much hope for today — as well as being a seven-day old vegetarian, I am also being a fusspot when it comes to counting calories, carbs and naughty fats.  This is where I allow you to say, “Get a salad, eat it, shut-up”.  The trouble is ladies and gents, I hate loathe lettuce.  Lettuce sits on the ‘cannot eat’ shelf, alongside cucumber, melon and a few other things.  The watery texture is so unpleasant.

This is where I stop moaning.  The food gods answered my prayers with…

I had never been to Giraffe before, but I will definitely return.  I began with a delicious and nutritious smoothie.  The ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’ contains pineapple, passion fruit, mango, banana, pomegranate juice and a giraffe’s head.  So far, so good.

It was judgement day, the meals had arrived.  ‘Mr. Carnivore’ boyfriend opened his steak-sandwich with slight disappointment.  You had to search for the steak beneath mounds of onions, tomatoes and lettuce (see, I told you that lettuce was the devil!).  I, on the other hand, was overwhelmed with yummy grub.  Drumroll please, as I introduce to you the Vegetarian Brunch…

Mr. Carnivore dealt with the bread and the mushrooms (another texture that gives me shivers).  I have never met an avocado before, but he has an odd squishy texture too, which unfortunately means we can not possibly be friends.  At least I was a good asparagus and tried it though.  Every thing else was ridiculously scrummy.  I recommend Giraffe to you all!  It was busy, but service came promptly and with a smile!  I can’t complain about their reasonable prices either.

I left a very happy customer.

Oh, and look!  The rather darling giraffe somehow found its way in to my bag and all the way home ;).

Have a happy Monday,

with love,

the asparagus and her very cheeky giraffe.

PS: Arthur is a very funny film for those looking for some festive cheer.