Vegan pie

Vegan pie – a migraine miracle made from mushroom, refried beans, onion, garlic and a dash of red wine. NaBloPoMo and migraines don’t play well together.


Sintra is roughly a 30 minute train ride from Lisbon. It has mountains, forests and castles. It has a high level of pretty. The pretty was not captured by my camera as my camera had met with an unfortunate falling off the table recharging accident. I hate those.

Pena Palace,Sintra one of the many palaces in Europe. It's fantastical and shows how pretty cement can be.

The walk to Quinta da Regaleira

Roughly translated "Vegans are more sexy"

One of the turrets at Quinta da Regaleira. Fun for the young at heart.

From inside a grotto at Quinta da Regaleira. We explored lots of dark underground passages and climbed out through a 25m deep well

Kitchener and Creature Comforts

1 January – 3 January

Kitchener. Small city. Brother and his friend cook excellent vegan food. Must gain mastery of the seitan. Dumplings, noodles, salads, good wine. Good coffee at Matter of Taste. See movie of True Grit. Good adaptation of Norwood’s book of same title.


22 December – 31 December 2010

In the interest of this travel blog catching up to some time remotely near the present I will enlist a listing strategy.

  • We caught Amtrak’s Airondrack to Montreal on the 22nd December. It was cheap, comfortable and long. I liked watching the climate get more and more icy.
  • It was snowing in Montreal.
  • We stayed at Auberge Espace Confort. The first night, after we had gone to bed, the fire alarm went off. There were no staff in the building. The fire brigade arrive. Our room, with all the electronic appliances unplugged and a lack of fire, was the culprit. We went back to sleep, safe and unburnt.
  • Walking through the Latin Quarter, the Old Quarter and the Old Port.
  • Ice-skating at the Old Port.
  • Extremely good meal at L’ Epicier in the Old Port. They accomodated vegan requirements without a reservation. The best creme brulee of my life.
  • Contrasted by the number of homeless people and mentally ill having to walk and walk all night in sub-zero temperatures. The lucky ones were in the ATM rooms and subway stations.
  • Christmas day in Trois Riviere with a Montreal family.
  • Moved in with S., a friend of my brother, who very graciously acted as our tour guide.
  • The archaeology museum has an unusual method of incorporating First Nations into the history of Montreal for the 21st century. The level of ‘Hoorah’ left me somewhat uncomfortable.
  • Saw Black Swan. No surprises.
  • Mont Royal is pretty. Recommend the view over the city at nightime.
  • Otto Dix exhibition. Amazing art, bad exhibition space for that amount of people (not) moving through it. I wanted to punch someone after ten minutes of it and one of our party was physically stuck and unable to move for an hour.
  • Don’t eat at L’Avenue unless you like having lunch after four, waiting in line, doof doof music and waiters who are more interesting in chatting/feeling each other up than serving your meal.¬†We were also unfortunate in that one of our four meals was cold by the time it was served another rendered me queasy for 24 hours. For the love of god, go across the road to any of the other exceptionally good restaurants.
  • Strombolini excellent.
  • Blue Nile african restaurant also excellent.
  • So much good food and wine…
  • The Food Pyramid

    December 2010

    The quest for pyramids is hungry business. Fortunately there is a lot to eat in New York. There is so much to eat that the city of New York has had to enlist the entire population to eat it. The exact chain of food supply, distribution and waste management is not well understood. In 2010 Columbia University published a brief study trying to identify the basic elements of food supply for New York City. City Harvest collects 35,000kg of leftover food a day and redistributes it to New York’s hungry.

    Our contribution to consumption was modest. For those who appreciate vegan food, I recommend Ozu’s almond cream, azuki mousse, chocolate tofu pie and jasmine tea; Peacefood Cafe‘s peanut butter cheesecake, chocolate ganache, dumplings, soup and Daiya ‘cheese’; Wild Ginger‘s menu in general and; Quantum Leap’s Big Leap Burger. Happiness indeed for the vegan in New York City.

    In the non-vegan category and in general there were many many cheesecakes, cheeseburgers and cheap pizza slices of happiness. Good coffee was hard to find. Roasting Plant Coffee on 7th Avenue had some groovy pneumatic tube grinding and roasting contraption that resulted in tasty coffee. Ecopolis in Brooklyn on Smith Street was also above par. I didn’t partake but who can object to street stands selling milkshakes and cupcakes…

    Cupcakes outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    3 December 2010 – In transit to New York

    View over San Jose, California.

    We arrived in New York at 9pm on 3 December. We rode a shuttle bus to the International Student Center (the cheapest hostel in Manhattan) on 38 West 88 Street. A slight administrative error had resulted in our accommodation being booked for the 4th, not the 3rd. The slight administrative error may or may not have our reading of the calendar. The International Student Center graciously found us a reasonably priced bed at the Chelsea Star Hotel (302 W 30th Street). This hotel had narrow aluminum corridors with burgundy floor runners, yellow walls and brassy mirrors. It was loud. Some might say fun. The reasonable price was due to the lack of heating in the room. I checked for bed bugs. There were none. We got dinner at Amadeus Pizza across the road. The Hawaiian pizza was good and cheap. A homeless person got Matt’s mushroom burger as the mushroom burger comprised less of mushroom and more of beef. We walked passed Penn Station to Times Square at midnight. It was as loud, busy and garish as television suggested.