Friday, March 20, 2009


Mea culpa! When friends and family start complaining about lack of blog updates, I know that I've been abandoning the blog! So let's take off where we left off... Last time, Lisa and I had finished our journey through Lille, and we were headed to the Belgian town of Ghent.

Ghent was simply beautiful.

Our host, Karen.

climbing many, many stories to the top of the bellfry, from which we could see the awesome architecture of the town,

...including the cathedral where where we got to see Jan van Eyck's "Adoration of the Lamb", also known as the Ghent Altarpiece.

This piece is magnificent in all it's multi-dimensional Northern Renaissance glory and made an art history fangirl out of me. (The photo is from the web, since no photography was allowed in the Cathedral).

On to the most spectacular stuff: Belgian vegan food and drink!

fresh juices, made to order

a vegan all-you can eat buffet!! there was so much choice there, it was unbelievable. Lisa and I especially loved a cauliflower gratin that they had... I've been trying to emulate that dish ever since...

including dessert and (organic, vegan) Belgian white beer, of course.

good friends (left to right: Lisa, Karen, Tess (another fabulous Belgian vegan), and me)

No visit to Belgium is complete without frites, of course! The menu above shows you all the veggie selections (the ones with *s next to them mean vegan) - and those were just the burgers! There was also a vegan gravy available, gravy being a traditional Flemish dip for fries.

Frites! And veggie burger! And veg. chicken nuggets, oh my! Fried food HEAVEN!

On our way out of town, we stopped in at yet another vegan restaurant, this one a co-op run by volunteers and devoted to fair trade and just, in addition to vegan and delicious, food. Above, just one of the dishes we enjoyed there, an appetizer of hummus served with homemade bread.

The only restaurant where I've ever seen nutritional yeast offered as a side order! Can you spot it in flemish in the menu above?

Ghent was such a lively, lovely, and politically active town. Finding vegan food was no problem at all, especially since our hosts were there to guide us through the best. And at every turn, reminders, like on the plate above, to "think globally and eat locally." I gotta love it.

Speaking of thinking globally, Ghent is an incredibly bike-friendly town! Especially to an American's eyes, this sea of bikes was awe-inspiring! Biking is not just a green mode of transportation, but a way to work off all the insane amounts of delicious vegan food that you'll eat if you ever find yourself in Belgium!

To see all our Ghent photos, click here. Next up, Berlin!

ETA, 22 March: I'm sorry I didn't include the restaurant names in this post! Here they are:

- Tasty World (juices, smoothies, salads and sandwiches: Hoogpoort, 1, 9000, Gent)
- Komkommertijd (all-you-can-eat vegan buffet restaurant: Reep 14, 9000 Gent)
- De Frietketel (frites and burgers! Papegaaistraat, 89, Gent, 9000)
- Lekker Gec (the fair-trade restaurant and teahouse : 5-6 St Pietersstation)

(thanks for the reminders, Karen!)