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Falafel Again July 9, 2008

Posted by tuimeltje in breakfast, eating out, food, review.
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Last week I took this little exam that I should’ve passed a few years back. This time, despite not actually having physically practiced some of the skills for at least a year, I passed. Go me! (And everyone else, since the other students taking the exam that day all passed as well)
I thought this called for a little celebration and I figured I might as well feel a little more festive about the Maoz falafel I’d promised myself after Bonnie mentioned something about aubergines.

So yesterday I figured I might as well go, since I had the day off and waiting any longer would make the exam results-link a bit fuzzy. Again this falafel ended up being effectively what I had for breakfast even though it was technically speaking early in the afternoon.

My Maoz aubergine with lots of stuff on:
Maoz Falafel

It was very tasty. While the aubergine taste wasn’t very obvious, it was this slight difference, mixed with the falafel, that made the whole thing better. I’m very glad I learned about this option.

It’s been a while since I last visited De Falafel, so I’m not sure I can make a proper comparison but I’m going to try anyway.

-I think the price is about the same at both places. There might be some differences, but nothing huge.

-Both places have green olives as part of their salad bar. However, the Maoz ones still have the stones, which is a little inconvenient.

-The rest of the salad bars are quite similar, with similar veg and similar sauces, though there are some minor differences. I think De Falafel has sauerkraut and that yellow sauce, and Maoz has some salad that looks like it has mayo on it and an extra chili sauce on top of that other red, peppery-looking sauce.

-Maoz, however, has more variety. You can have your falafel with added hummus, aubergine, feta (not vegan, but still. It’s an option), and avocado, and you can have large and small Maoz. They also sell chips. The pictures suggested fresh juice was sold, but all I saw was your basic cooler with bottled crap. Apart from getting those things on their own, you can get one of their menus.
De Falafel is just falafel. You can buy some bottled drinks and choose between white pita or wholemeal pita, but that’s it.

-I think both have both while and wholemeal pitas available, though I didn’t know this about Maoz until the surly guy asked the customer after me what kind of pita he wanted. I’d have gone for wholemeal if I’d known…

-When I visited, both places were staffed by a slightly surly and not particularly inviting guy. I suspect the students work weekends and possibly some afternoons, because I know that, at De Falafel, at least, I’ve usually had generally friendly people serving. Next time I might try visiting during the weekend or something.

Last time I visited De Falafel, things were a bit messy there.

-I have no clue about the labour practices and working conditions in either place, though I know Maoz is one of those franchise chains. As I’ve only seen one of De Falafel, I suspect that one isn’t. I’m not sure it makes much of a difference to me or the workers, though.

-I’m not entirely sure, but I think both places have their hours tied to shop hours so if you want falafel after 6-ish (9-ish on Fridays), you’ll probably have to go elsewhere.

-De Falafel has been too long ago to accurately compare flavour, so I can’t say too much about that.

At this point, I’ll probably divide my falafel-buying between the two, but if De Falafel continues to be somewhat messy or I find that Maoz is actually tastier, this may well change. At the moment the main things De Falafel has going for it is not looking like its part of a chain and my habit of walking in that direction, and I’m not actually sure those things are all that relevant.

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Out May 24, 2008

Posted by tuimeltje in breakfast, dinner, eating out, lunch.
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Yesterday I went to visit my grandparents, something I generally quite enjoy. Apart from liking seeing my grandparents again, I always like visiting them because their train station has a lovely Israeli eatery right next to it, Mc Levi’s, which sells some pretty tasty falafel.
I got me some, of course.

Picture:
falafel

Since I was in a bit of a hurry preparing lunch before running off to catch my train (which I missed, so I needn’t have hurried quite so much), I skipped breakfast, so effectively, this was my breakfast.
I like this kind of breakfast.

After a nice visit I looked for the tourist office to see if I could get my hands on some maps for some of the local hiking routes. However, even though I consulted a map at least four times and it should’ve been just around the corner, I didn’t actually manage to find the blasted thing.
Weirdness!
I’ll admit to being a bit grouchy due to not having eaten for a while, but this should not have impaired my map-reading and orientation skills to the point where they didn’t seem to even exist, so I’m blaming some vague PTB responsible for either city planning, map-drawing, or both there for my inability to locate their precious tourist office.
Anyway, after walking through every street in the general area a few times I decided that, since it was already a bit late to start a proper hike, I’d just walk around the estate near the station (Dutch site) for a bit after finding a nice spot there for eating my packed lunch.

Containers of lunch and liquids:
lunch

Contents (solids only):
lunch

Part of the view:
view

I didn’t manage to eat everything I packed, but it was a very enjoyable meal even if the rice cakes had gotten a little soft.

Unfortunately, my trusty SIGG bottle has been a little leaky since the last time I dropped it. Previously, leaks would miraculously disappear within hours, but this one hasn’t managed so far, so I suspect it’s time to acquire a new one.
Shame, really. I’ve grown rather fond of this print and I don’t think it’s made anymore. Still, it’ll give me an excuse to check out various outdoor shops to see what they have on offer.

While the estate was rather landscaped, it was a nice place to amble for a while. There were many birds, and I even saw me some rodents. One I suspect may well have been a squirrel, and the other I couldn’t quite see well enough to even guess. Probably some kind of mouse, though. A capibara would be most unlikely.

After a decent walk I took a train home (well, three trains, technically). A slightly different route to the one I took to get there, but time-wise it didn’t make much of a difference. I just had to switch trains one extra time. While I normally prefer to avoid this, it did make me getting out at Utrecht CS a certainty. And since Utrecht CS has a Shakies (Dutch site), I was pretty pleased with this non-recommended alternative.

While, according to their website, Shakies still has that vegan artichoke tapenade and rucola option I got last time, it wasn’t actually available here. Then again, the site mentions some wrap thing being available in certain places, Utrecht CS among them, and there was no mention of that either (though I do think I spotted some samosas in the oven. Couldn’t get those last time), so maybe the site is in need of an update. It could certainly use some re-design to make it easier to navigate.
Still, the person behind the counter was completely unfazed by my enquiry regarding vegan toppings and simply put the pesto and sun-dried tomato from two other toppings together to make something vegan, which was very nice of her. The two rather strong flavours made it a bit too rich for me, though.
Unfortunately, the whole-meal bagels are still not vegan, and the vegan shake is still the same berry thing they’ve always had. I was seriously considering getting one of the juices for some variation, but since there are quite a few options there (well, about five…), I couldn’t choose before having to state my preference, so I went with the default.

Bagel and shake:
bagel

It was a good day.

Falafel! April 25, 2008

Posted by tuimeltje in dinner, eating out, review.
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Since my time in Germany didn’t get me any of the falafel I was looking forward to, I thought I might as well get me some right at home.

At De Falafel:
De Falafel

Not too long ago a Maoz opened up fairly close to De Falafel, but I keep going to this one. I’m not sure if there’s a quality or price difference, but De Falafel has less of a chain feel to it than Maoz, which I like. Besides, it was here first.
Also, it’s on a more convenient route to my place. While Maoz is probably not even half a kilometre further away, it feels weird walking that way.
The Stadhuisplein area is just not my kind of place.
Maybe it’s that SkiHut place…

They changed the prices somewhat since I was last there. IIRC, a white pita used to be cheaper than the wholemeal one, but now they were the same price. I think they simply raised the price of the white ones. Not that I really mind. It makes choosing the wholemeal one easier.

Hiding falafel
Falafel, hiding under a bunch of veg and sauce.

While the falafel was good and perfectly satisfying, I was vaguely disappointed about the whole thing.
I’m not sure, but I think I got more falafel last time I went there. And the salad bar wasn’t kept up as nicely as it normally was. The counter was kind of messy and they were nearly out of some things. The beet bits were just a few pathetic strings and there were just a few bits of carrot left. The veg didn’t have that much flavour, either.
The tahini dispenser gave pathetic little squirty blobs of sauce rather than a nice good amount. I had to push the thing a few times before I got what I wanted, when before just one push would do.
I hope it’s just this once. When I went there before things always looked clean and abundant, so I’ll probably go back there next time I want falafel because of habit and convenience. But if it turns out to be the start of a general decline of the place, I might consider checking out if Maoz has wholemeal pitas.
There are many kebab places which sell falafel (most do, I think), but that big freaky meat thing they have hanging around kind of puts me off my food. Also, I doubt they do falafel as thoroughly as falafel places, with salad bars and everything.

Sumo! April 6, 2008

Posted by tuimeltje in dinner, eating out, review.
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Back to food.

About a week ago, I actually went out to dinner for once. Some work-related thing because of someone leaving.

Before dinner we all had some autoped-related fun which was most amusing and got me slightly nostalgic. I hadn’t done anything like that since primary school, which might explain why it left me sore in peculiar places the day after. Worth it, though.

After the sporty bit of the day was over, we went to get us some proper dinner at Sumo, an all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant.
While it wasn’t a vegan restaurant by any stretch of the imagination, there were enough vegan options for me and the waiting staff were very good about me asking about them.

Pictures of some of the things I ate:

soup

Miso soup. Yum! I love this stuff. And, lucky for me, the chefs here didn’t put bonito flakes in it. Go chefs!

Some kind of udon noodle soup. Quite nice, if somewhat salty. The tofu was my favourite bit.

Some of the shrimpy tempura bits (not mine) on one plate and some of the sushi things on the one in the back.

I also had inari, which was some yummy tofu thing, chuka wakame, a kind of seaweed sushi (which can be seen on that last picture), the cucumber (also on that last picture) and pickle rolls, little curry triangles, little potato thingies, and some aubergine and courgette. Onna stick.
And lots of soy sauce. Just because I could. I also seem to have mastered at least the basics of eating with chopsticks. Yay!

It is a lot of fun eating this kind of food with generally pleasant people who enjoy it, i.e., are not afraid of seaweed and anything more ethnic than lasagna and bami.
With the friendly people, tasty food, and relaxed atmosphere, it’s the kind of place that’d be fun to visit with relatives or friends. Provided they don’t object to the occasional bit of nori, at least.

There could be more vegan option, I guess. While I felt there were enough of them, and all on the regular menu, too, there were still less than ten vegan things. Still, I’m generally perfectly content with limited options provided they’re good. If there are many vegan options I just get indecisive and frazzled, utterly unable to choose, which isn’t much fun. (just wondering. Do other vegans get this?)
Then again, the way this is set up, with the possibility to sample little bits and bites of everything, more vegan options wouldn’t necessarily lead to that kind of frazzle. Rather than having to decide what to try, I’d have to decide what to try first, which is a lot easier and a lot more fun.

The other slightly negative thing about eating here is that I was peckish again pretty quickly after getting home. While I didn’t exactly stuff myself, I didn’t hold back, either. I just ate until I was satisfied. Still, it was easily folved with a before-bed snack and is something I’ll just have to remember for next time, should I ever go here, or somewhere similar, again.

~-*-~

Three things I very much love at the moment:

  • The first movement of Elgar’s cello concerto, which can be watched here, as performed by Jacqueline Du PrĂ©.
  • Somewhat related, YouTube, with it’s Alfred J. Kwak opening and closing credits from many different countries and the possibility to favourite videos and make playlists.
  • GNUCash. I now believe I may have had some overly harsh thoughts about accountants in the past. No longer.
  • Books and bagels November 30, 2007

    Posted by tuimeltje in dinner, eating out, snack.
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    Yesterday I didn’t do any proper cooking because I went to Amsterdam straight out of uni to go to the book festival. It’ll be in Rotterdam in two months, but I’m a bit impatient with things like that.
    Because I’d not bothered to get any bread the day before I had little to eat in the evening. Which is why I was eating rye bread for lunch today (yum!).
    It wasn’t really a problem, since I could easily get me some food on the way.
    First I stopped by Eendrachtsplein for my weekly bag of oliebollen. Most places put milk in theirs, but these people don’t so I frequently pay them a visit in November and December.

    oliebollen
    Oliebollen

    Then, because I had to switch trains in Leiden, I stopped by Shakies (Dutch site) for a nice shake and maybe something to eat. For some reason they no longer sell the samosa (haven’t been able to get my hands on one in a while, though it’s still listed on their site), but they have added a vegan bagel topping. And quite a tasty one, as well.
    It’s an artichoke tapenade with a bit of rucola.
    Unfortunately only the white bagels are vegan, though the girl behind the counter very kindly and very correctly assumed I’d prefer a whole-meal one.

    Bagel

    Of course, I did also get their one vegan shake. Though I wouldn’t mind a bit of variety (they could maybe bring back that cherry shake they had for a few months), the berry shake is most tasty and I don’t end up on a station with a Shakies all that often anyway so I won’t get bored with it.

    shake

    The Shakies food was much more satisfying than the oliebollen. Probably a good bit healthier as well.

    The book festival itself was, as always, a lot of fun. I didn’t find that many interesting veggie cookbooks, though. Initially I really liked a book about healthy Jewish food, but when I went through my pile of maybe-books to figure out what my final selection would be, I realised it was far from vegan so I put in on the return table. Because I didn’t want to go home without a veggie cookbook, I gave Rose Elliot’s Veggie Chic another chance. I’d put it on the return table because it was a vegetarian rather than a vegan cookbook and I’m generally not into chic anything. I’d assumed chic food would be mostly elaborate nouveau cuisine-like dishes which require expensive ingredients and obscure utensils, take ages to prepare, and aren’t quite as filling as a decent meal should be.

    However, upon further inspection Rose Elliot’s idea of chic food is slightly different from what I’d expected.
    Though a few of the ingredients might be a little on the pricey side and found in specialty shops, most are basic, easy-to-find fruits, vegetables, and seasonings. She also seems to think food should be fun and easy to prepare so you can get on with enjoying the eating and social bits of the evening. Most of the recipes are simple dishes requiring only a handful (or two) of basic ingredients, and have this little twist that makes them just that bit different from what you’d usually eat.
    And while it’s a vegetarian cookbook, a good many recipes are vegan (and labelled as such) and she provides information to help you veganise most of the rest. Usually only one or two of the ingredients are non-vegan anyway, and for most are decent substitutions.

    Though I’ve yet to make anything from it (and, given my record with cookbooks, there’s a decent chance I never will), I had a lot of fun going through that book and seeing how easily one could make a fancy-looking dish which would impress others.