Monday, June 14, 2010

Vegan in Spain: Seville & Granada

Oh my goodness! I'd better hurry up with this retroactive travel blogging, I'm getting quite a back log of new pictures to post!

Overall, I found Spain a not-so-easy place to be a vegan, but Seville was definitely an exception! With the help of HappyCow (my savior!!!) I tracked down some pretty great finds and ate quite well. Seville is a really beautiful city, and I think it was my favorite place that we went in Spain. It was so lively, with spiffy Spaniards, streets and streets lined with shops, international name brands alongside local shops selling flamenco dresses, bakeries (even an all-vegan bakery!), a river (I love rivers!), modern lives and traditions coexisting happily, and my most favorite building EVER, the Alcazar. Oh MAN, that is such a beautiful, beautiful place.

In Seville, thanks to HappyCow, I found this wonderful wonderful bakery called Veganitessen, inside the big Mercado del Arenal. I was so TOTALLY stoked, I was as giddy as a little girl.

The bakery! It was run by a really cool girl (she has a blog, it's not in english, but it's not too hard to figure out some of her recipes anyway!)... I took one look at her and felt as if I was back among my people! There she is, behind the counter, typing away on her laptop (complete with vegan activism stickers on it), selling the most glorious array of vegan baked goodies. Just for the record, I didn't take a picture of it, but in addition to all the sweeties I ate, I also had a very delicious slice of her veggie empanada, which was most tasty and savory. Naturally, I went two days in a row.

Me examining my options - yes, you read correctly: OPTIONS! in Spain! for a vegan! Will wonders never cease. Plus, notice the very special "100% Vegan" sign on top of the display case. Yeah!

Mr. Vegan Eats & Treats and I picked out two sweeties to share... First, a slice of blueberry cheezecake. Mmmmmmm!

Secondly, a piece of lemon cake. This lemon cake was FREAKY GOOD. I wish I know how she did it. I am not usually a frosting person, but that lemony buttercream was so delicious.

I went back the second day for some little lemon tart pies. Soooo delicious. You can see the crazed look of joy and anticipation in my eyes. Mr. VE&T was only allowed one bite. Then I hoarded my vegan goodness like a starving dog with a big bowl of dog food - snarl!

Whaaa?! Just LOOK at all that crazy tastyness. After we left Seville, I kept dreaming of a return to this selection...

Conveniently, her shop of naughty delights was in the same market aisle as the fruit vendors, so we also stocked up on fresh fruits to atone for our sugar indulgences.

Seville, like Morocco and like the rest of Spain, is just full of orange trees. Hoorah! Beautiful and tasty.
Pisto was a fun discovery on this trip... I've seen pisto recipes in various cookbooks, and I think I've maybe even made pisto before, but I didn't realize it was Spanish. I love finding special vegan spots like Veganitessen, but I also really really love being able to walk into any ol' little bar/cafe and order something straight off the menu. We found pisto pretty quickly, and that was my go-to goodie when Mr. VE&T was trying some of the local (read: not vegan) specialties. The pisto was usually warm or room temperature, and is sort of like a chunky version of ratatouille. It was great to have such a savory, tasty, and veggie-packed Spanish menu item be 100% vegan-friendly!

The gal from Veganitessen looked at my list from HappyCow and pointed out "Habanita" as her favorite vegan-friendly spot in town (even though she was a cook at another spot!)... and it was a great recommendation! We liked it enough that we ate here twice during our time in Seville. It's not all vegetarian, but they have a really extensive and flavorful and interesting vegan selection on the menu. Much of the menu is Caribbean-inspired, and it's really fun:

Mmmmm... sangria! I've never been much of a drinker, but I liked the sangria we had. It was light, full of fruit, and not very strong at all. The first night we tried the classic red sangria....

... and the second time we went for the white sangria!

In no particular order, here are some goodies from their menu... Banana Balls in Tomato Sauce = serious yum

Cute little crunchy crackers they bring you

Tomato Salad with Oregano, Garlic, and Parsley. Ahhh, fresh tomatoes!

Thick, tomatoey, and super garlicky gazpacho! Even though I woke up the next morning with some crazy garlic breath, this stuff was worth the sacrifice. It was really intense - almost more like a dip than a soup. Obviously, we polished it off!

Ratatouille!

These black beans and rice were far beyond plain ol' beans and rice. I'm not sure how they did it, but these beans were so good, they were pretty much the menu item that compelled us to come back a second time.

Me digging into some tasty dish

So, next time you are in Seville, I can definitely recommend that you stop in at Habanita for a meal or two! Plus, it's right off of Plaza Alfalfa - which has a great little bustling scene at night, and a very vegan-friendly name to boot! Overall, I think you can see that Seville was actually a pretty good place to be a vegan traveller. We were only there a few days, and there were still places on our HappyCow list that we didn't get to... so, that shows even more promise. Plus, Seville is just a very cool spot - lots of activity, beautiful sights, and plenty to see and do.

I've only got one measley little food picture from Granada, which didn't turn out the vegan thrills quite as much as Seville did.... but, then again, that Veganitessen was a tough act to follow! Nonetheless, this place really deserves mention: Can Guru Buffet (like "kangaroo," get it?!) was just a salad bar type place, the sort you do see around in Spain (mostly a chain called Fresco), but it had really good vegan options - including a lot of bean salad items - in the line up. I'm not a person who can live off of salad, so when I recommend this place, you can be sure it was sufficiently hearty. Plus, it was nice to gorge on lots of super fresh veggies and fresh fruit!!

Me being a dork at the Alhambra in Grenada. This is shortly before Mr. VE&Ts pointed out to me that every time I get my picture taken I stand up perfectly straight and face the camera. Uh... weird? So, after this, I started being all fakey-casual in all the following shots... but alas, this picture captures my dorky ignorance!

One more travel post, and I'll be all caught up: Barcelona & Madrid!

12 comments:

  1. Consider me sold! I could barely do vegetarian in Spain years ago, in fact most people responded with quizzical confused faces when eating situations were explained! You are a foodie inspiration! :)

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  2. Oh yummy! My mouth is watering!

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  3. Looks like plenty of good food along the way. And the desserts from Veganitessen... amazing!

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  4. You look so insanely happy at that cute little bakery!

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  5. Wow, I would LOVE a slice of that lemon cake. I'm drooling right now, lol.

    Everything looks so tasty! I can't wait to do some international travel. Just got my first passport this week! :)

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  6. Awesome finds!
    Love the dorky photo pose :)

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  7. That café looks amazing! I've spent alot of time in Europe and I found that its difficult to be a vegetarian let alone a vegan so that café looks like a godsend! Your travels look so wonderful!!

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  8. While I definitely want to travel the world over, I've always had a special little place in my heart for Seville. Now, you've made that little place grow all big and excited. I'm so thrilled to hear about their vegan-friendliness.

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  9. Thank you for sharing your travelling experiences! I didn't find Spain very vegan-friendly when I went there, but it looks like you definitely found some marvellous foods! I would love to visit a great bakery like that, too. Mmm...

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  10. Whoa! vegan bakery alert! I want to go to Spain, but yeah, I worry about food options. Glad you found things though.

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  11. Thank you for sharing your experiences - I am going to Seville in June this year and hope to visit the vegan places you mention.

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  12. I living in Seville this summer and I thank you so much for this post! I'm a vegetarian who never heard of Happy Cow!

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Happy VeganMoFo! I love comments, they really make my day!