January 16, 2008

Europe has fabulous history, art, fashion...and vegan food!

I was lucky enough to spend eight months of last year in Florence, Italy and around Europe (Paris, Cannes, Amsterdam, Greece, Barcelona). And let me tell you...I LOVE EUROPE! I'll be honest it did make me miss Eugene so, so, so much. I mean there really just isn't another place like it especially trying to eat vegetarian/vegan.

Alas, I did find some pretty yummy vegan dishes in Europe.

First of note: For my 21st birthday (June 17th) my aunt and uncle (who live in Paris) took me to a great restaurant in a part of Paris where they used to live called Neuilly-sur-Seine. I was skeptical because eating out in France as a vegetarian or vegan is quite the undertaking (I came to be 100% sure of that after spending three weeks in Cannes). But I saw they had a vegan/organic special. So I thought I can't go wrong here!

Boy was I right! The all organic vegetables were delicious coupled with organic brown rice. The colors of the summer ripe veggies made for a eye-catching photo as well. All-in-all it was a yummy, yummy birthday dinner with family and friends. I'm sure the champagne helped a little....

Second of note: I had the most amazing opportunity to go visit two of my best friends from UO with one of my other best friends on the small island of Kefalonia, Greece. It was far and above my favorite European adventure (maybe tied with living on an organic farm in Tuscany). We rented scooters for three days and got to see most of the island. Plus being with AMAZING people anywhere is nice. Being with AMAZING people in paradise...there are just no words. We made yummy dinners. One of particular note was a pasta with veggies and artichoke hearts. Fresh veggies from Greece...yum!! I will never forget that dinner because we were all so drunk by the time the artichoke hearts were ready for the pasta (aka MIDNIGHT) we were all pretty much sleeping in our food. Ahhhh the memories! None-the-less the stir-fried veggies were delich.

Lastly of Note: Living in a city like Florence is a once in a lifetime opportunity...at least for me. There were things I ultimately disliked about the city, which is really a town, mainly the absurd amount of foreign tourists that steal the beauty and charm right from Florence's belt. But anyways...what I did love about Florence besides my friends, my internship and the art/culture was the Mercato Centrale. The entire upstairs was filled with fruit and vegetable sellers with the best, most beautiful produce you'd probably ever see. I would wonder up there for hours practicing my Italian just feasting my eyes on all the goods even if I knew I wasn't going to buy a thing. My favorite stand belongs to an old Italian man who dries pretty much any fruit or vegetable you can imagine. Starfruit and strawberries were my favorite. He also sells a fabulous assortment of nuts. You just tell him what you want and how much (I usually just said un po', which means a little...Italian skills lacking...). This stand definitely gave me happiness in the times when I felt like I was a stranger in a strange land...


S. said...

I'm so jealous! I'm hoping to study abroad in Europe at some point. I mean, essentially I'd love to live there...but New York city is my Eugene : )

I'm looking forward to hearing more from you in the blogging world!

River said...

What luck - My dh and I will be in Paris for a few days late spring and I've been looking (on the net - Happy Cow, etc.) for some good vegan restaurants. There are a few, but most look pretty basic. Sometime it'd be nice to eat out vegan AND with style LOL With your encouragement I'll not hesitate to try some of the more interesting ones I've found (and yours too, if I can find the address).

Lovely blog - thanks so much for telling me about it! I'll add your link to my blog :)

Keep it up - a great blog already and going bigtime fast!!!!

Love and hugs!!!!!