LUI (Groningen, The Netherlands)

Last Sunday I caught a train to Groningen, which, for those who do know, is a city pretty much in the very North of Holland. This was the Dutch city where I did my Master’s Degree and where I spent what was one of the best times of my life. *Fun fact about it: “61% of all trips into the city are made by bike” (thus, calling it a “bicycle-friendly city” is quite an understatement haha)

I went to Groningen to visit and catch up with a good friend of mine, who is still living there. It was great to spend some quality time with her. It was a lovely sunny day, which made it easier to notice how dazzling tulips and daffodils were starting to bloom everywhere.

Roaming the same streets that I used to bike on every day just over two years ago left me feeling a little bit nostalgic. It brought me so many memories back. Though I must say that experiencing the bittersweet feeling of nostalgia about this time of my life does not necessarily mean that I would want to bring it back if I was given the chance to. To feel a longing for times gone by is a natural human emotion. I am a firm believer that things happen at the right time. Life is constantly changing and it has its own seasons. So, all we can do is to recognise that there is a season for everything.. and with that in mind, we can choose to cherish and treasure those beautiful memories. That is how we keep them alive. ♥

Anyway, sorry for digressing. Back to the main point of this post: a review of the cafe I got to visit last Sunday!

Because nothing beats a great catch up over a great cup of coffee, my friend and I decided to go to a cafe in town that apparently has only opened November of last year. It is called “lui”, which in Dutch means “lazy” (hence why the sloth in the big front window).

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The cafe is not hard to find as it conveniently located in the city centre. It is fairly small but because it has a big window that lets the natural light come in, I’d say that it is the perfect definition of “coziness”. There are even a few pairs of fluflly slippers right at the entrance of the door in case you want to put them one and get that true warm fuzzy feeling. Another curiosity about things they have available for customers are board games! It is quite a typical thing at Dutch cafes because this is an activity the Dutchies love doing when the sun refuses to make an appearance.

The cafe is just gorgeous inside and emanates a feeling of spring due to being full of plants. Actually, since you seem to be able to buy some of the plants in pots, it is almost like a plant shop in simultaneous. Totally love the concept and I can see why this cafe is one of my friend’s favourite.

We got there at around 3pm and I think we were very lucky to get a table. The people sitting at it were just about to leave when we arrived. What a win guys, what a win.

We ordered two oat cappuccinos (almond milk is also available), which despite being very tasty, lacked some cute latte art. However, the fact that the ratio of espresso/milk/foam was absolutely nailed made up for it. My friend advised me to get one of their homemade sweet treats claiming that they were absolutely scrumptious. Guess what? She was darn right. I got myself a slice of their raw berry cake and, boy was it good.

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I was just so nutty, fresh, creamy and coconutey. It was perfectly sweetened with natural sugars and so darn YUMMY. If you are an avid reader of my blog, you would know by now how I love raw desserts. This one surely did not disappoint. My friend had a slice of their mocha cake, which she also loved. It had a white frosting with big chocolate chunks on top. Sorry for not having a picture of it but…I guess I was way to busy with eating mine? Oops.

I was so positively surprised to hear that all their four available homemade sweet treats were vegan *what an happy me jumping for joy*. The mocha cake is the only one I would most likely happily skip because its texture and look were more like cake. As I have said earlier, I am not a big sweet tooth and if I am craving something sweet, I would hardly go for fluffy, spongy cakes with cream or icing. Anyway, the other two cakes available (carrot cake and a more traditionally looking cheesecake) were more to my taste. The carrot cake looked super moist and nutty, just how I would like it to be. Though, I would also be very eager to try the more traditionally looking cheesecake. Now that I actually come to think of it, I haven’t had a cheesecake that is not the typically vegan raw one since I stopped consuming dairy… Well, I guess that I will have to change that soon. I am sure I will  be coming back here again given the fact that I have two very “sweet” good reasons for it haha.

Even though the price for the oat cappuccino was quite ok (2,75€), the sweet treat I ordered was not particularly cheap (4€). However, that is a price I am happily willing to pay given how pretty the cafe itself is and the quality of the food/drinks served. Plus, the staff was also very welcoming and friendly with us.

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Overall, I would hand-on-heart say that Lui is worth a visit, whether you come with friends or on your own. In my opinion, it is just the perfect place to spend some quality time catching up with friends, reading a good book or even journaling whilst sipping a good cup of coffee. Plus, in you case you are in for something sweet or savoury, you can rest assured that you will have a good variety of vegetarian and vegan choices to choose from. I am going to certainly come back here when I happen to be in the city again! 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed this post and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Wish you all a lovely week ahead xx

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

what if writing hotspot reviews is the answer I need to overcome what I am going through? What if I use to challenge myself more? Because I want to expand this section in my blog, I go try more places, I go try different foods, I challenge myself and I don’t even notice.. (what makes me tick the most, the posts where I feel like my writing just flows)

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Juice by Nature (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

It was a lovely Saturday afternoon and I was feeling like trying a new place in Amsterdam to have a good cappuccino and perhaps a sweet treat. I had already looked up Juice by Nature on Happy Cow and since it had lots of vegan options and it was conveniently located in the city centre, I decided to give it a go. I loved the place as soon as walked into it. This hidden gem is now on my top favourite food spots in Amsterdam! This is not only because of all the amazing vegan food served but also because of  how lovely and clean the place looks inside and of how helpful and friendly the employees are. They will most likely greet you kindly as soon as you enter and you can ask them whatever you want to know about the food options served (what ingredients were used, how they were prepared, etc..). They will happily help you on that. The entire menu is VEGAN and has such a wide variety of options; from breakfast stuff, colourful salad bowls, soups and sandwiches to refined sugar free sweet treats that are allergen-friendly and appropriately labelled as being “gluten free”, “nuts free” and “lactose free”.

I ordered myself a slice of raw carrot ginger cake. Though I have come across with various “raw vegan carrot cake” recipes online, I had actually never eaten it before. I even had a friend sharing her recipe with me,  but oh well, I never got to it (shame on me, I know). Anyway, as soon as I saw that they had it, I was just like:”yup, that is it. you are getting right into my tummy!”. It was the only slice left and I am so glad I was the one having it because oh wow, it was so yummy!! When it comes to raw desserts, the ones that I am most familiar with are cheesecakes, bliss balls and the like. As I am not much of a cake person (especially when they too sugary, fluffy and with lots of cream on them), this raw carrot ginger cake looked very appealing to me. Aaaand guys, let me tell you, it was extremely delicious: moist, mildly spiced and with a subtle hint of ginger. The frosting was so dayum good and not too sweet. The cake is made of real and simple ingredients like carrot, red fruits, spices (ginger, cinnamon, etc..), maple syrup, dates and cashews. I was not very sure about the combo of carrot with red fruits but trust me, it works perfectly! I paired the slice of cake with a cappuccino with coconut milk, which disappointed me a little bit. I like a good frothy cappuccino and this one came served with no foam on top whatsoever…Anyway, it was still tasty.

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It is visible that the people managing this place put a lot of love, effort, quality and care into the service offered and space itself. As the photos below show, it is so pretty, clean and neat. I love its nature vibes!

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As a bonus, the people managing Juice by Nature also care about the environment and do not support the single use of plastic. Plastic free straws are available as well as 100% recyclable napkins. All their takeaway food come in biodegradable and recyclable packaging.

So, all in all, and just to wrap it up: delicious healthy and high-quality food, chilled and lovely atmosphere, environmentally-friendly place with simply cute decor, friendly and helpful staff and affordable prices. There is really not much to dislike, is there? Thus, if you happen to be in Amsterdam looking for a central and healthy food spot tucked away from the hassle and bustle of the city, then come here. I am pretty sure that you will be delighted with all the vegan food options offered as well as with the inviting, clean and chilled atmosphere.blog 1.jpg

(coolest toilet door ever – can I have it, please?)

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

SNCKBR, Utrecht (Holland)

Heya x I hope you are all doing great on this fine Wednesday!

I have recently got the chance to go to the largest vegan restaurant in Europe (that just so happened to open in Utrecht) and I would like to share my review with you.

As you can imagine, I got extremely excited with the news that SNCKBR, the largest fully plant-based restaurant in Europe, was going to open in the Dutch city where I live in! As my curiosity spiked as soon as I read these news, I decided to read more into it. So, apparently the workwear of the personnel is fair trade, the restaurant’s interior is completely leatherless, all the ingredients used are sustainable (i.e. biologically grown whenever possible) and all dishes are free from refined sugar and E-numbers. Pretty awesome, right?

As my boyfriend was coming to visit within just a couple of weeks, I decided to wait for him to try this new vegan place in town. After all, great food tastes even better when shared with great people, right? ♥ Even though my boyfriend is a meat eater, when I told him about how cool the whole concept of this restaurant sounded, he said that he was totally in for it (possibly due to seeing my over the top excitement but oh well …haha)!

We went to SNCBR on Saturday for a sort of brunch. As soon as we got in, the first thing that struck my attention was the decor. I am of the opinion that a great interior can do to a cafe or restaurant as much as great food/drinks can. Despite its quite discrete exterior, the interior is well-designed and the seating is super lush! I loved the trendy vibe created by the decor neon lighting. I must also add that you would never say that the restaurant is so big that it has actually space for 110 people just from looking from outside. What a hidden gem!

Food

First of all, I found the menu to be quite creative and unique, offering a diverse selection of plant-based starters, mains, sides and desserts. Contrary to what the restaurant’s name may suggest, this is definitely not a typical snackbar. The menu offers some healthy comfort food options, such as steamed bar buns filled with eggplant, zucchini and other vegetables or cauliflower/pumpkin and sage pizzas! It took us quite some time to choose what to order because there were several dishes that we were eager to try! After careful consideration and much thought, we finally made up our minds and ordered our food.

Here it is:

imageImage-2.png-6Image.png-5The way the food was presented ,clean, appetising and just beautiful, left mesmerised.

 

My boyfriend ordered a no-chicken wrap, which consisted of a tortilla filled with crunchy vegan soya-based “chicken”, guacamole, tomato, iceberg lettuce leaves and tomato salsa & a side of fries with truffle mayonnaise. He said that his wrap was average at best. It was good but not incredibly good if you know what I mean. He was especially disappointed with the tomato salsa, which was not very rich or spicy as it should. However, he really loved the crispy (not soggy) fries with the truffle mayo.

I ordered some pecking “luck” (not duck!) pancakes that came with marinated soya chunks, sliced spring onions, cucumber, pretty edible flowers and plum sauce.  The pancakes were perfectly made: thin and not greasy (just how I like them to be). When it comes to the soya protein chunks, I must say that, sadly, I was not that impressed. Even though they had a lot of seasoning, I found them to be quite dry. Despite not being big on sauces, the plum sauce was so good that made it all taste much better. I also ordered some grilled veggies as a side and, contrary to the soya protein chunks, their taste did not fail to fulfil my expectations.

We also shared some yummy gyozas filled with shitake mushrooms, miso seasoned tofu, Chinese cabbage and Vietnamese sauce. They were my favourite! So scrumptious, rich in flavour and, from far, one of the best that I have ever eaten! I love gyozas sooo much that I could seriously make an entire meal out of them! #sorrynotsorry

It is also worth mentioning that, for those of you who are allergic, intolerant or simply avoid gluten, eating here would not be a problem at all since the menu has various options free from it. One great convenience regarding the menu is that it not only indicates the dishes containing gluten, but it also clearly points out which dishes contain nuts, peanuts and soja.

Service/Staff

The overall service provided by the staff could have been better to be honest. It was rather slow (even though they were not that busy). This is something I normally don’t mind much because it may be just a sign that the chef is putting all his love, care and attention in the dishes he/she is cooking. However, when we realised that the waitress forgot to bring the fries that we ordered and pointed it out, she was not even apologetic… Of course that the sort of negligent service we experienced might have just been an exceptional case, rather than the norm.

Location

The restaurant location is absolutely great! It is right in the city centre, super close to the Utrecht Central Station.

Price

Even though our portions’ size were reasonably good, I found the overall prices to be a little bit over the top. Just to give you an idea, the price of the wrap was 12,95€, which I find quite pricey given what it is.

 

That being said, I don’t want my mixed opinions on the food and service to be deceiving or put you off. I think that it is great to have a fully-plant based restaurant in town; particularly one offering a good variety of healthy (and ok less healthier) food options that are also original and different than the “typical” vegan dishes you would normally expect to find at a vegan restaurant/cafe (e.g avocado/hummus toasts, curries or buddha bowls). I am definitely going to go back to SNCBR so I can try other dishes! 🙂 I feel like only then will I be able to fully make my mind about this restaurant.  have recently changed their thing worth mentioning is the fact that they change the menu regularly. Hence I am sure that I will be extremely eager and excited to try a new bunch of dishes when I next go there!

Just to wrap it up, I think that due to being opened for just a few months, SNCKBR has still some untapped potential, which, in my opinion, is bound to change as time goes by. Thus, if you happen to be around, whether you are vegan or not, do go to this restaurant and try some of their food. I doubt you will regret it. Plus, I am all for supporting any projects and businesses with true soul behind and that strive to make real positive impact on the community.

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*Two things worth noting:

  • This restaurant has also two other branches in Holland. One is located in Amsterdam and the other one in Eindhoven. However, the one in Utrecht is the only one that is 100% vegan.
  • The kitchen closes at 9pm

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

 

Karibu Cafe (Utrecht, The Netherlands)

There is nothing better than waking up right next to your significant other and slowly (but happily) realise that it is weekend. I can enjoy a slow start to my day, with no alarm to disable or rush to get up.

This was what happened last weekend. It was Saturday morning and my boyfriend and I decided to go for a hearty late breakfast at a recently opened cafe in town. Luckily, the weather was fairly warm and beautifully sunny and we had a lovely morning walk to the cafe.

The place we went to is called “Karibu Cafe” and is situated in Utrecht, Holland. It is an African inspired cafe that resembles a green oasis. I absolutely love the jungle vibes it irradiates.

 

The inside is very spacious, colourful and oh-so-pretty! I absolutely love the jungle vibes this cafe irradiates due to being filled with green plants and the use of wood all over it.

This is definitely the spot to chill with creative souls/your most beloved ones over some yummy food or to simply get some work done.

They also serve breakkie all day. How awesome is that? Seriously?

I ordered an Acai bowl that came with homemade granola and toasted nuts, avocado/raspberry/date mousse, chia pudding, coconut and seasonal fruits! It was so delightful and heavenly that just the thought of it waters my mouth! If you happen to come to this lovely cafe and feel like having a healthy (i.e. antioxidant-rich), refreshing and naturally sweet breakfast or snack, I’d totally recommend ordering it.

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My boyfriend went for the huevos rancheros that came with a crispy veggie tortilla topped with black beans, melted cheese, two fried eggs, fresh tomato salsa,
jalapeños and sour cream. According to him, if you feel like eating something savoury and are vegetarian (or just someone who eats animal products), then this would be also a tasty food option. He has also ordered a fresh homemade apple juice that did not disappoint.

 

What do I like the most about this coffee shop?

  • Hearty servings at a reasonable price. Plus, you can see and taste how food dishes are carefully prepared using fresh ingredients
  • The diverse vegan options available in the menu, from healthy salad bowls to naturally sweet treats and fresh cold pressed juices
  • The inviting atmosphere with fantastic light and welcoming touches of nature
  • Friendly and hospitable staff. I love going to places and feel that the staff are really happy to work there. They are friendly and welcoming not because they should be but because they genuinely want you to have a great experience
  • It is such a hidden gem! The fact that this cafe is tucked away, being situated just outside the city centre, is actually a plus for me. Otherwise, I am sure that it would be hard to find a place on a late Saturday morning

The only downside I would point out is its schedule: open from Wednesday till Saturday from 8:00am – 4:00pm. The opening and closing times during the weekdays and weekend are, sadly, not the most convenient for someone who has a full-time job.

Anyway and all in all, this place has not only met but also exceeded my expectations. It is a cafe with soul and a real paradise for foodies just like me. It has effortlessly became one of my absolute favourite places in town. ♥ So, if you happen to be around, please go to Karibu cafe and let it amaze you.

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful