Two Boots (New York, US)

Two Boots (named after the boot-like geographical shapes of Italy and Louisiana) is a chain of pizza restaurants. The first restaurant was opened in NYC in 1987. As the restaurant was very popular they soon started to open in other locations in New York, and beyond, in LA and Nashville. They also do take-out, delivery and catering.

Pizza slices at Two Boots
Pizza slices on display

Two Boots serves pizza, sandwiches and salads, but it is clear the main focus is the pizza. From what I could see there were no vegan sandwiches/salads. They also sell several soft drinks, and a few desserts, like cookies. The vegan items are clearly listed, and there is a little big sign that welcomes vegans! The normal crusts are quite special, they are based on cornmeal. Gluten-free crusts are also available.

"Vegans welcome" sign at Two Boots
Why thank you!

All pizzas have interesting and cool names, like the vegan “Earth Mother” or the “Mr Pink”. Every day there is also a daily special, which will be available at a discount. Some specials are only available in specific cities, like the “Great Escape” which is only available in Nashville, or during specific times like the Swamp Witch which is only available around Mardi Gras.

Interior
Interior at Two Boots

I visited the Hells Kitchen location. The restaurant itself is super colourful and fun! There is nice art on the walls, and jazzy music playing. It is definitively more a casual, bistro-like place to grab a quick bite.

In the display there are slices available, if you want something else you will have to order the full pie (and they are big!) Fortunately there were quite some slices to choose from! One or two slices is enough for a good lunch, but I won’t judge if you want to try them all!

Vegan pizza at Two Boots
Vegan pizzas!

We tried the ‘V for vegan’ and the spicy ‘Vegan night tripper’. The ‘V for vegan’ has artichokes, red onions, shii-take mushrooms, basil and sweet red pepper pesto, and the ‘Vegan Night tripper’ has sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, jalapeño pesto and vegan ricotta. Both are topped with Daiya fake cheese. I really enjoyed the crunchy crust!

Table at Two Boots
Even the tables are fun!

I really liked the pizza’s I tasted at Two Boots, and I actually visited another location (Upper West Side) a few days later. There was a similar cool, arty and colourful vibe. I actually tried one of the other vegan pizza versions but I forgot which one…I just remember it was tasty 😀

Type of place: Pizzeria
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: no
Website (English): http://twoboots.com

Zum Wohl (Vienna, Austria)

Inside Zum Wohl

A few weeks ago I wrote about Vegana Indiana, a fully vegan and gluten-free restaurant that serves delicious food. Today another gluten-free restaurant! While Zum Wohl is not veggie-exclusive, they have a lot of vegetarian and vegan options, which are clearly marked on the menu card. The restaurant is also lactose-free, so many allergy-suffers can eat here without problems. Zum Wohl calls themselves “the restaurant that all can enjoy” and I have to agree with that statement!

Interior at Zum Wohl

 

Zum Wohl has a relaxed atmosphere and a cozy interior, a bit like an older style bistro. It reminded me a of  Spinoza , another great bistro. We visited quite late for dinner, and it was not very busy anymore. There is a large room, and a smaller room in the back where a football (soccer) game was on. We didn’t watch though 🙂 There’s also a nice terrace outside. I believe they also do delivery via Foodora. There is a special, smaller lunch menu and a more extensive menu for dinner.

Ready for food!

Zum Wohl focuses on fresh, regional ingredients, and the menu card actually mentions several of these local suppliers. The food that is served is a mix of more typical Austrian fare, like “knödel” and pancakes, Italian dishes like risottos and pasta, and more exotic foods like a quinoa salad and a chickpea curry. As with all Austrian places I have seen so far, for every dish (common) allergens which might be present are noted.

Beet carpaccio at Zum Wohl
Beet carpaccio

We started with the fermented red beet carpaccio, with balsamic cream and nuts. The sour sauce goes very well with the sweet beets! It is served with a small slice coarse bread, which I like. There was a little bit of salad on the beets but it could’ve been left off because it was looking pretty sad.

Spinatknödel at Zum Wohl
Spinatknödel in tomato sauce with nut pesto

After we tried the “spinatknödel” (spinach dumplings) in tomato sauce, served with nut pesto, and zucchini/carrot noodles in sauce, with herb pesto. I really liked the spinach dumplings, the dough is actually mixed with the spinach, rather than the spinach being packaged in the dough. This creates a very interesting spongy texture, which sounds strange but it was very good! The noodles were served in a sauce with beans and potatoes, which is slightly spicy. I also really enjoyed the pesto which is made of nuts. Both dishes are nice and light.

Zoodles and sauce at Zum Wohl
Zucchini and carrot noodles in sauce

There are also vegan desserts at Zum Wohl! Well there is exactly one, but that is sufficient. The dessert is a vegan ‘panna cotta’, topped with coconut shavings and sour berries. It is not very sweet, but like the mains very fresh and light.

Vegan panna cotta at Zum Wohl
Vegan panna cotta!

I really enjoyed the meal and the ambiance at Zum Wohl. The service was also good! What was also nice is that most vegan dishes are actually cheaper than the non-vegan ones.

 

Type of place:  Gluten-free and Lactose-free bistro
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (German, English) : https://www.zumwohl-gastro.com/

Spinoza (Leeuwarden, the Netherlands)

Spinoza sign outside
“The best bistro of the Netherlands!”

 

I was told about Spinoza, an eatery in Leeuwarden, by a dear friend. Spinoza is ‘vegan-friendly’, which means in this case they have a fully vegan menu! With desserts!

Apart from serving dinner, they do theatre nights, have (vegan) high teas, do take-out, etc. Additionally Spinoza was chosen (by a TV show I believe) to be the best bistro of the whole of the Netherlands ! Of course I needed to check it out. I went with said dear friend (who is non-vegan) to do some fabric shopping and some gastronomic exploration.

Interior of Spinoza
Casual and rustic interior

Spinoza is housed in a beautiful old building. Apart from the large room inside, there is a terrace, and a patio. Spinoza prides itself on being welcoming, and I found the atmosphere is indeed nice, casual, warm, and inviting. As appetizers we got some peanuts, and then we had to make some tough choices.

The vegan menu has 6 starters, 4 mains and 5 desserts. They actually use some interesting ingredients like fake cheeses, and other soy substitutes. To me this is interesting, because apart from some fully vegan places (like the VJFB), seeing ‘vegan cheese’ is not that common in the Netherlands. Though with the introduction of new vegan pizza’s at  Domino’s and New York pizza, this might change **!

Lentil fritters at Spinoza
Lentil fritters

 

And all the food on the menu sounded delicious and quite different from what is often offered.  For example, one of the starters is melon soup, another starter is a sweet potato fritter with soy yoghurt sauce.  In the end I went with the lentil fritters, which were served with a chilli sauce. They were presented in a nice way, and very tasty!

Vegan Lasagne at Spinoza
Vegan lasagne, with fake cheese !

For my main I was heavily doubting between the vegan lasagne and the “Seitan Wellington”, which I guess is a variation on a “beef Wellington”. I changed last moment to take the lasagne, which comes with “Cheddar”. The lasagne is served with a crunchy salad, and the portion is huge! You won’t leave this place hungry!

Side salad at Spinoza
Salad that came with the lasagne

More importantly, the lasagne is delicious, the “cheese” was melted and very nice. My friend took some non-vegan dish, but the sides that came with her food were in fact vegan: tasty baked potatoes, some rhubarb compote which I liked a lot, and some broccoli with curry sauce (which I didn’t particularly like).  My friend also got some fries, which were served with vegan mayonnaise. (I helped her eat them, no worries)

Side dishes at Spinoza
Vegan sides!

Somehow I kept some room for dessert. I had the apple strudel, which is served with speculaas ice cream with home-made soy whipped cream. Not surprisingly, very tasty! They also offer a crème brûlée, which I really want to try next time. It was the speculaas ice-cream that swayed me!

Apple strudel at Spinoza
Apple strudel with speculaas ice cream and soy whipped cream

I really loved the concept, the atmosphere and the food, and the staff is super nice too! I obviously had a lot of questions, about the “cheese” (I got a bit nervous because they say they are vegan-friendly and then put cheddar on the menu…) and how they made the whipped cream…I mean, as a vegan you become slightly paranoid when you see these things, since it doesn’t specify on the menu that they items are not made of dairy !

I also found the prices very reasonable, especially for what you get. I cannot wait to go back!

 

Type of place: Bistro, High-tea, Take-out, etc
Completely vegan: no
Vegan desserts: yes!

Website (Dutch) : http://eetcafespinoza.nl/ 

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