Dos Caminos (New York, US)

Dos Caminos Interior
Inside Dos Caminos**

Dos Caminos is a chain of Mexican restaurants with several locations in New York. I passed by the Times Square one when I saw a sign with a specific mention of a vegan taco (served with vegan cream!). So I knew I had to check it out!

Dos Caminos is a bar and restaurant. It prides itself on having many different types of tequila, and the food served is Mexican, both street-food style and classic dishes. They also do delivery and take-away.

Dos Caminos interior

Dos Caminos has a brunch, lunch and dinner menu, but I believe the latter two are about the same. The menu is quite extensive, and at first glance not very vegetarian/vegan-friendly: the dinner menu is divided as follows: a guacamole section (several veg*n options), seafood dishes, street-food (several vegetarian options), taco’s (1 vegetarian that can be made vegan), traditional plates (1 vegetarian option), house specialities (no vegetarian options) and sides. There were some salads that seem vegan-isable too. I was happy to spot empanadas too, but unfortunately they cannot be made vegan.

Nachos at Dos Caminos
Nachos with three salsas

I was not surprised by the lack of vegan options, since the Middle-American cuisines tend to be pretty meat heavy and I came for the taco’s anyway 🙂

We started with the nachos with 3 salsas from the guacamole part of the menu. We expected there to be in fact guacamole, but we got indeed nacho chips and 3 salsa’s, but no guac! It seems that the guacamole here just means that it is a starter of some sort. The salsa’s were quite liquid-y and a bit sauce-like rather than chunky. They tasted okay, a bit spicy as expected. The nacho chips were nice, and we actually got a free refill since we were still snacking on them while waiting for our mains. So in true American style we took some home 🙂

Vegan tacos at Dos Caminos
Tacos with vegan cream served on some artsy contraption

The vegan tacos come in a set of 3 and are served on some metal construction, a bit strange, but I guess it is to keep their shape. It was not very easy to eat from though (#wewantplates). The filling consists of mushrooms, guacamole, onions, tomatoes, vegan cotija cheese and vegan cream. The filling is a bit spicy, but definitively not too much. It is also possible to order the tacos as a bowl, but I prefer the original format:)

Sides at Dos Caminos
Papas fritas with mole ketchup and plantains!

For sides we also tried the sweet plantains and ‘papas fritas’ with mole sauce. The plantains are very nice, and the ‘papas fritas’ (which are fries) nicely crisped, but needed some extra salt. This may sound like a weird combination with taco’s but we wanted to test some different things!

Papas Fritas as Dos Caminos

Unfortunately there are no vegan desserts available. Overall Dos Caminos was a nice place to have some taco’s and huge amounts of nachos. I am sure that in New York there are many more places to find good Mexican food though.

Type of place: Mexican restaurant
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (English): https://www.doscaminos.com/

** When editing the pictures for this post I noticed a lot were not properly focussed and very dark 😦

Cuppins (Geneva, Switzerland)

Cuppins is a concept shop, first opened in 2011, in Lausanne. A few years later, in 2014, a second location was opened in Geneva. Cuppins consists of a tea room, where coffee (soy milk available) and tea are served, together with all sorts of cupcakes and pastries. Being a concept store, they sell cute items like jewellery and baby accessories. The (cup) cakes can be bought online from their website. Cuppins also create wedding cakes and do cupcake baking workshops.

Cuppins interior
Syrups on the counter

The interior of Cuppins can be described in one word: cute. Many cafés and tea rooms nowadays get into the more ‘rough’ minimalist decoration, no such thing here. There is a lot of pastel items and sweet drawings. For the pastries they often have a vegan cupcake version available, and they do gluten-free options as well.

Interior at Cuppins

We tried the only vegan option of the day which was a chocolate-peanut butter cupcake. The cupcakes come in both small and normal sizes. The normal sized ones are still pretty small. It was tasty, which is of course the most important!

Coffee and cupcake at Cuppins
Soy cappuccino with a vegan chocolate-peanut butter cupcake

This is such a cute place to have a coffee or tea! Though the amount of seats is small, the atmosphere is very relaxed and nice.

Interior at Cuppins
Teapot-shaped lamp!
Type of place: concept store, tea room
Completely vegan:  no
Website (French) : https://www.cuppins.ch/

Cookoomela Grill (Athens, Greece)

We found Cookoomela via Happy Cow; most vegans know about this great website, and if you don’t go check it! It is very useful to find vegan eateries in many different cities all over the world. For my blog, I prefer to write about places that are not ‘known’ to be vegan-friendly or listed on HappyCow … everyone likes to be the first to discover and report on a cool place! Honestly, it is difficult to find really “uncharted” new places since HappyCow is pretty extensive…. #firstworldveganproblems 😀 So I don’t mind to give a longer review on a “known” vegan place once in a while **

Cookoomela Grill

Cookoomela Grill is a completely vegan street food-style eatery. They make gyros, a traditional Greek meat dish,  from mushrooms and they serve kebab made of lentils. The place itself is very small. There are a few places outside to sit, and it was very busy. I believe they do mostly take-away. Fortunately, this type of food is made to be eaten on the go!

Cookoomela grill
Mushroom ‘gyros’ on the grill

Cookoomela Grill offers a few variants of stuffed pita, fries and a salad. We tried two of the pita, the “Cookoomela Kebab”; the lentil kebab with potato, homemade tomato sauce, salad and almond cream cheese, served wrapped in a pita, and the “Cookoomela Red”, a pita with mushroom gyros, avocado, home made tomato sauce, vegan mayonnaise, salad and potatoes (I only got a blurry picture of this one, it was already pretty dark!)

Ingredients at Cookoomela Grill
Pita ingredients

Even though Cookoomela is very small, they serve vegan desserts. Cannoli (are they the new hip vegan dessert?) in two flavours: chocolate and vanilla.

Lentil kebab pita from Cookoomela Grill
Lentil ‘kebab’ pita with veggies and almond cream cheez

 

I really like the street-food style and the vegan interpretation of classic dishes of the Cookoomela Grill. It was great to see this small place so busy as well. The only downside is that there’s not so much space to sit, but the food can be eaten while walking pretty easily.

** Not an ad (I wish!)

 

Type of place: vegan street food
Completely vegan:  yes
Vegan desserts: yes !

Website (Greek, English) : http://cookoomela.gr/ 

Taco Rico (Geneva, Switzerland)

Sign outside Taco Rico

Fresh, quick, authentic, delicious. That is how Taco Rico, a TexMex bistro in Geneva (at two locations) describes themselves. I cannot vouch for the third point, but the rest seems very much true.

Interior at Taco Rico

A while ago I wrote about the Burrito Brothers and there are some interesting parallels between the origin stories of both these places. The Burrito Brothers was founded by two Mexican-born, California-raised brothers. Taco Rico was inspired by a Swiss person staying in New York, who, after eating a delicious Mexican meal, decides to open a Mexican restaurant in Geneva since such a thing didn’t exist yet. The staff at Taco Rico was trained by a Mexican chef, and all food is home-made. The founders’ family also work in the restaurant.

Taco Rico
Ingredients for the filling the tacos

The ambiance of the place is quite nice, with cheerful 80s-90s music (a tad loud maybe). There is some nice art on the wall and comfortable seats. On the menu you can find the usual suspects; burritos (also available as salad), tacos, quesadillas and nachos. The nice thing is that for both the burrito and the taco a vegan *and* a vegetarian option is possible. Many burrito places offer just a vegetarian option!

Nachos with guacamole at Taco Rico
Nachos with guac because of course

When I visited I tried the vegan version of the burrito and the tacos, and nachos with guacamole. The filling is the same in both cases: basically everything that is available that is vegan, so rice, beans, corn, a bit of salad, tomato, onion, guacamole and peppers (you can pick & choose the ingredients as you prefer).  The spicy sauce is also optional, and there are several hot sauces available if you decide you need more spiciness. The burrito is pretty expertly wrapped, almost nothing fell out!

Burrito at Taco Rico
Expertly wrapped burrito with all the fillings

For drinks there are the soft-drinks, coffee, tea, beers and even Margarita’s. They serve some desserts, but nothing vegan.

Tacos at Taco Rico
Tacos!

Obviously, I cannot help but comparing Taco Rico with Burrito Brothers, since both places serve quite similar food at a similar price point. The variety of ingredients at the Burrito Brothers is larger, they have for example mushrooms as well, but they only have pre-defined combinations (obviously you can ask for stuff to be left out). For me, the big downside is that you have to pay (quite some) extra for guacamole, even if you leave out the cheese and sour cream from the vegetarian options.  Personally I preferred the ambiance at Taco Rico, it was just a bit less fast-foody, there is more space to sit and the chairs are more comfortable.

Hot sauces at Taco Rico
Need more spice?
Type of place:  Tex-mex Restaurant/take-out
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no

Website (French) : http://www.tacorico.ch/index.html

Screamers Pizzeria (New York, US)

Screamers pizzeria

All vegan pizza today! Screamers Pizzeria is a cool place in Brooklyn with a nice punk-rocky vibe and is all about the vegan pizza! Screamers is very small, but there are some places to sit (just be aware, there is no bathroom). They mostly do take-away and delivery.

Pizza at Screamers pizzeria
Pizza on display

You can order either slices orwhole pies. You can pick a pie from the menu, which includes veganised classics such as the Margherita (tomato sauce, ‘mozzarella’ and basil) and the Hawaiian (vegan ham, pineapple, vegan cheese), and interesting creations such as the Vampire (onions, garlic, ‘pepperoni’ and almond ricotta). Or you can get creative and think up your own version. They also offer a calzone and garlic knots (and I am not sad I didn’t try those!). Of course they sell some soft drinks and root beer.

Pizza at Screamers Pizzeria
First round: tomato/cheez and mushroom pizza

When we visited there were several options available, we tried the mushroom and tomato/”cheez” slices, and in the second round a “cheeze”/cauliflower and seitan pepperoni pizza slice. Overall the pizza crust was a bit less crispy than those from Two Boots but the amount of choice at Screamers is much more overwhelming!

Slice of cauliflower pizza at Screamers PIzzeria
Cauliflower & cheez pizza slice
Slice of Seitan pepperoni pizza at Screamers Pizzeria
Seitan pepperoni!

There are even vegan desserts: cannoli; which are ‘tubes’ of pastry dough filled with creamy chocolate filling. The non-vegan version contains ricotta. I am not sure what was in these but they were good! The dough and cream were not too sweet, I really liked it.

Cannoli at Screamers Pizzeria
Cannoli ! Looks small, tastes great 😀

 

Inside Screamers Pizzeria

Type of place: pizzeria
Completely vegan:  yes
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (English) : http://www.screamerspizzeria.com/

Ice Queen Gelato (Athens, Greece)

 

Short review today! It might be a bit cold for ice cream in Switzerland (first snow of this winter has fallen!). However, if you happen to be in Athens (now, or when it is actual ice cream weather) I can recommend Ice Queen Gelato!

This ice cream shop has several vegan gelato flavours, even beyond the standard sorbets. And, while they do not have vegan cones, but they do have both vegan (bubble) waffles and vegan crêpes. They also serve drinks, like smoothies and coffee (according to HappyCow they serve soy milk). I believe they also sell some other snacks.

athens
Pretty Athens

Since Ice Queen Gelato was conveniently located near where I was staying in Athens, of course I tried both these versions. Like most gelato places, there is a small terrace where you can sit and eat, which was specifically useful in the case of the crêpes 🙂  But the waffles and ice creams are of course more portable.

Vegan ice cream at Ice Queen Gelato
Vegan ice cream flavours

The first time we visited I tried a crêpe with banana, vegan chocolate sauce and the vegan coconut ice cream. The crêpes are made with an actual crêpe maker, and they were thin like the non-vegan crêpes I remember. The ice cream itself was very good and creamy. I haven’t seen crêpes being offered as ice cream ‘vehicles’ often, but it works great.

Crepe at Ice Queen Gelato
Crêpe with ice cream with vegan chocolate sauce ❤

Ice Queen Gelato has both standard and bubble waffles, and since I never tried the latter, I made plans to return to try these special waffles!

I tried a bubble waffle with vegan hazelnut praliné, again banana (gotta get your 2 pieces of fruit per day in!) and a scoop of vegan ice cream. I have read that in some bubble waffle versions the bubbles contain sauce, that was not the case here. The waffles are a bit more tricky to eat than from a standard cone, but so, so good!

Bubble waffle at Ice Queen Gelato
Bubble waffle with ice cream and hazelnut praline sauce!

The staff was friendly, and the service good. The first time we visited they were almost closing, but they were still willing to fire up the crêpe maker (which was already turned off for the day) to provide us with vegan crêpes. Can recommend!

 

Type of place: Ice cream, café
Completely vegan: no

Website: https://www.facebook.com/IceQueenGelatoAcropolis/

Be Kind Cafe (Geneva, Switzerland)

Exterior of Be Kind Cafe
Bio, vegan, home-made

This cute café in Geneva has opened only a few weeks ago! I had read about the opening of Be Kind Cafe, and since the initial opening coincided with a day I was off of work, I was excited to visit! Unfortunately, the opening was postponed due to water issues.  It took a while before I could visit, since they are only open during the week and I have a full-time job in another city. So when I finally had the chance to be in Geneva around lunchtime, of course I directly wanted to visit the Be Kind Cafe!

Counter at Be Kind Cafe
Cookies on the counter!

Be Kind Cafe offers breakfast foods, coffee and pastries, and lunch. There is a daily lunch menu, with some standard items but the exact ingredients are different per day, and change depending on the season and availability, since they use almost exclusively biological and local products. There are some larger dishes, like a burger and a savoury pie, and smaller foods like sandwiches and soups. For drinks there are juices, hot drinks like coffee and tea, but also wine and beer. You can eat in the café itself, but they also do take-away. The atmosphere of the café is very relaxed, it was quite spacious, hip and still cosy. A place to sit with a nice cup of coffee and a delicious vegan meal.

Inside the cafe
A relaxed, cosy atmosphere

When I visited I tried the daily bagel with a side of roasted potato wedges. The bagel was on the smaller side, and contained salad, roasted pumpkin, vegan ‘ricotta’ and almonds. The tastes went very well together! The bagel bread is very tasty and toasted rather than soft. The potatoes were well-seasoned, large, nice and crunchy.

Be kind Cafe food
Bagel with a side of potato

For a drink I tried the kefir with figs. I know kefir as a yogurt-product, but this was rather a fermented fruit juice.

Bagel close-up at Be Kind Cafe
The bagel was properly stuffed with vegetable goodness !

There are several desserts available, there are some standard on the menu but there are also some daily variations. I tried the apple crumble with oats, with vanilla ice cream on top. With it, a coffee of course 🙂 The crumble was great!

Dessert at Be Kind Cafe
Apple crumble with oats and vanilla ice cream

I really like the Be Kind Cafe, the food is good and service great! The only downside is that they are only open on weekdays. I really do have to get back one day for their breakfast menu though; vegan croissants! Also I’d love to try the vegan burger they offer. And the other cookies I didn’t try yet…so yes, I will be back 🙂

Type of place: breakfast, lunch, café
Completely vegan: yes
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (French): https://www.bekindcafe.ch/