Netherlands – Haarlem

949321F5-BE94-494B-8711-7961B39AB69BLast Xmas, my mum, sister, niece and I went to Haarlem. It’s the city my family is from and where almost everyone from my family is born. Once a year we try to visit one city in the Netherlands together. To spend some quality time, do a bit of shopping and to try lots of yummy food. I really wanted to see what kind of vegan places Haarlem has to offer. There are not a lot of all vegan places, but I did find some nice ones that are worth going to. We went by train, so we did not have to worry about parking the car. We left Assen midmorning and around noon we arrived in Haarlem. We needed lunch!

IMG_4652People recommended some places via Instagram and one of them was Chickpea. It was recommended by a girl who works there. So nice! And because another place I really wanted to go, Freaking Vegan, was still closed and we were all really hungry, we decided to have lunch at Chickpea. Chickpea offers very delicious falafel. Served in/with pita bread or as a salad, with lots of salad options you can choose from. They are all vegan and it was very delicious. Beforehand my mum said that she didn’t like falafel as it’s always so dry. Now she knows what good falafel tastes like and she loved it! I definitely recommend this place. It’s great for lunch, but you can also have a lighter bite for a snack. And it was so nice to meet one of my followers at the same time.

C97157FB-5889-499C-B2BD-FF2606BFDEBCWe walked around Haarlem, through big shopping streets and some really nice cosy alleys and I loved it. When we were in a sports store, suddenly there was a lovely smell.. there was a lady walking around with fresh Turkish bread. I asked where she got it from, because the smell was irrisistable. She told me where to get it and that they were still warm. Oh my!! I rushed there and was lucky, because there were only 3 left. It was sooooo tasty. The shops closed early as it was Xmas evening, but luckily I managed to find some nice big golden hoops for in my ears, just in time. I was looking for these already for a while. We wanted to visit a place called Mica Coffeebar, to have a little break, but it 7E5E8920-F6CF-475B-AFE4-95AA262B0D74turned out that a lot of cafes and little restaurants closed at 16:00, because of Xmas evening. We didn’t know this and by the time we got there we only had 10 min. So we tried to look for something else, because my mum asked an old school friend to meet us for coffee. We ended up in a really chic place, that was open until late, but didn’t have any plant based milk. So I just ordered a water. I mean, what is the point of drinking tea without milk? We met my mum’s friend, had a nice chat. We then tried to look for a place to have some dinner.

IMG_4655We were able to use the train tickets we had from 18:30 again, but everything was closed at 16:00 already. I tried calling several places, including the place Freaking Vegan, that I really wanted to go to, but I got their voice mail and I assumed that they were closed too. So we tried to see if there maybe was a pizza place somewhere that was going to be open until longer. When we looked for that, we happened to walk passed Freaking Vegan and it looked like it was open! When I asked inside, the very friendly guy said they were open until 21:00! Woohoo!! It’s a IMG_4654small place and obviously no one was there on Xmas evening, so we had the whole place for ourselves. It’s all vegan junkfood and we ordered a ‘kapsalon’ (chips, a meat substitute that looks like shawarma and salad), a burger, onion rings and chicken style nuggets. We were so happy to find a place that was open. I was so happy I got to go here and best of all, the food was soooo nice! The onion rings were the best I ever tasted, the portions were big and everyone enjoyed it a lot. We got a hot chocolate to share in the end and without rushing or getting bored, we left perfectly in time for the train.

The train was on time and everything seemed to go well. But when we needed to change to our second train, all trains were cancelled, because of a defect somewhere. So we had to get a bus to Lelystad and from there we were able to continue our journey. The bus journey took long, but was hilarious as we made friend, who we had so much fun with. I really enjoyed it! All together, everything took an hour longer though and my niece really started to get tired, she is only 5. She fell asleep in the last 5 min (isn’t it always like that?), but we did all get home safely.

ACAF9AF2-BBE4-45F1-AD77-0DE2E5631A22Haarlem is a beautiful city, especially around Xmas time. There are so many lights everywhere, a big Xmas tree and of course the beautiful and impressive St. Bavo Church in the central market square. I had great fun taking some nice pictures of this beautiful city. I wish we had more time and I had 2 stomachs to try more good vegan food. But I will definitely go back to add to the hotspot list. For now, these are definitely nice places to check out when you visit Haarlem:

HOTSPOT LIST:
– Chickpea: Kleine Houtstraat 2A.
– Mica Coffeebar: Kleine Houtstraat 103.
– Freaking Vegan: Botermarkt 29.

Have you been to Haarlem yet? Or would you like to visit this beautiful city? Please let me know! I would love to hear about your experience and what nice places you discover. You can do this down below or let me know on Instagram via @freedomevermore. Thank you! X

Bob’s Cafe

As a nanny you go to lots of playgroups and activities. Once a week I also go to Kilburn library, to sing songs and read books. There are some lovely shops and cafe’s at Salusbury Road. I often get a nice tea at Starbucks and the farmers market is on every Sunday. There is also a cafe, called ‘Bob’s Cafe’. It stands out because of the nice blue-green colour. After the library we  (the 1 year old I look after and me) went to have lunch there. I did see sweet potato fries on the menu and as you know I really like those. So I was curious what they were like and what I could have with them.

They didn’t have a lot of choice for vegans unfortunately, but they did have a falafel burger. I thought that will go well with my sweet potato fries. I told the waiter I was vegan and that if this one will be alright if the yogurt sauce was left out. He was quite sure, but he would ask just in case. For the girl I look after I ordered toast with houmous and she could share my fries. It both came at the same time, but they gave me normal fries instead of sweet potato. So they were going to change it. In the meantime I had some of the toast and houmous, what was really good. Thickly sliced sourdough bread, properly toasted, very yummy! My fries arrived quite fast, what was nice. The falafel was really good, but when I was nearly finished, I noticed that the bread had quite a particular taste and also looked very golden brown. Then I realised there was probably egg used in and on it. If I was alone I would have said it and made a little bit of a fuss about it, but the baby was tired and we had to go home. Next time I will say something about it and order it with the sourdough bread. I’m sure that it will be very nice like that. My tummy started to feel weird on the way back and I had to lay down at home, because I felt so weird and uncomfortable. So I’m quite sure there was egg on the burger. A real disappointment!

I quite like the interior. They created a nice atmosphere with the booths seating on one side of the cafe, the light walls and the plants everywhere on the wall and hanging from the ceiling. It would have been nice if the plants were all real though. I really like the colours and that there are a few seats outside too. People were using them, as the weather was lovely that day. It’s child friendly I would say and if you go a bit early, like we did, it isn’t too busy. The staff was 50/50 I would say. Very helpful and open-minded (just not well informed). I’m sure if you ask them to put a vegan salad together (and make sure to tell them what is and isn’t vegan) they will. There was one lady though, who looked super moody and didn’t say anything. I think she didn’t mean it like that, but it wasn’t beneficial for the atmosphere. A shame.

WHO? Bob’s Cafe.
WHERE? 77 Salusbury Rd, NW6 6NH.
CUISINE? Diverse.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 6 (nice interior, nice fries/falafel, could have more vegan options, poor knowledge)

Do you know Bob’s Cafe already? Are you going to give them a try? Please let me know! You can do this by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Falafel King

IMG_8513For many people this is their favourite place to get falafel. And I get why. Though it’s quite a simple form, this is what you expect form a good falafel. You can choose between a white or a brown pita bread and it comes with houmous and a crispy salad. I think the simplicity is strength here. Also the falafel itself is truly delicious!
‘Falafel King’ is on Portobello Road near the Westway bridge, on the corner. It’s easy to find as you can’t miss the lovely outside. I think it looks very appealing. The inside is even nicer. Though it’s quite basic inside, the walls are far from that. It almost looks like a museum. There are all hand painted signs, dishes and others things hanging on the walls. I love it! Even think some are worth hanging 13445933_1168470216530413_94304787_oat home. It was a nice surprise. This is probably one of the reasons you’re not allowed to take pictures inside. I always ask before I take a picture somewhere, but here they weren’t very keen on it at first. After a little miscommunication and my explanation why I wanted to take a picture I luckily got permission. Yay!

 

You can’t really sit inside, but there are a few seats outside. So on a sunny day it’ll be lovely to sit there with your falafel. A fun fact is that next to ‘Falafel King’ is the ‘Banksy – Graffiti Painter’. Worth having a look in case you’re into street art.

Some downsides I would say are the opening hours. ‘Falafel King’ is open from 11:00-19:00 every day. There is not one evening where it’s open for a bit longer. One time after 13405678_1168470203197081_509059193_owork I wanted to go there as I had to kill some time, but they were just tidying everything up and so I had to look for a quick dinner elsewhere. It was a shame. Also in my opinion I think they’re quite expensive. You pay £6,00 for 1 portion. You do get a free tasty lemonade with that though, which I think is a lovely gesture.

Overall I think it’s a nice place to get a good falafel. It’s a good place to take a break from all the amazing treasures Portobello Road has to offer. I’m sure you’ll be satisfied and though my personal favourite is still ‘Falafel Point’, I do see myself coming back here now and then.

Where do you get your favourite falafel? Please let me know or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

 

Falafel Point

13441663_1168470193197082_218009075_oYessss I love Portobello Road. That can’t come to you as a surprise anymore. One of the reasons I love Portobello Road is because of the falafel from ‘Falafel Point’. In Portobello Road there are 4 places where you can buy falafel, but ‘Falafel Point’ my absolute favourite! Since the first time I got my falafel from there I’m hooked. Since then, and that is about 1,5 year ago, I actually only go there. Mostly I go on Saturdays, but as I’m in the area a few times a week, I sometimes go on another day. It doesn’t really matter, as it’s always yummy!
‘Falafel Point’ is not a shop, but they have a green terrace tent with white and yellow letters. They used to be in front of the shoe shop ‘Office’, but they changed location and are now a bit further down in front of Holland&Barret. They are in Portobello Road all week (except for Thursdays and Sunday) from 10:00-17:00. On Thursdays they are on the Lyric Square in Hammersmith.

You can choose between large and small and between a falafel wrap or a salad. I mostly go for the large falafel wrap, because.. why not?! On 13410426_1168470319863736_1191346111_othe wrap is houmous, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, fresh mint, tahini sauce and they have their own home made peanut butter chili sauce. This sauce is just the best!! Probably one of the reasons this is my favourite place to get my falafel. It’s amazing! They always ask you nicely if you want all the toppings or to leave some out. So it’s really up to you.
They also have yummy spring rolls or the option you can only buy the falafels. I sometimes buy only the falafels to use them in a salad at home.. at least, that is if I didn’t eat them all on the way. Haha!
The thing I highly appreciate is the very lovely owner and staff! This also just makes you want to go back. Everybody I take here (and I do bring everybody here) agrees with me that they are so friendly and that the falafel is the best they’ve ever had. It’s a real thing in my circle of family and friends.

So for the best falafel from London you go to ‘Falafel Point’!

Do you love falafel as much as I do? Did you go crazy by the words ‘home made peanut butter chili sauce’ and are you going to try this? Please let me know or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X