Sunday, 3 July 2011

Adventure, excitement - a Jedi craves not these things.

I decided to cover the last two days of our holiday in Brighton in this post because there was so much to cover. I hope you're still awake by the end.

Day 4 (Thursday):

We started off with brunch at Wai Kika Moo Kau. We both had the vegan full breakfast, minus the tomato because the pesto was made with something I'm allergic to. I had a lovely chai latte with my brunch. The food was average - I'm pretty sure the beans and shrooms (at least) came from a can, and the sausage was probably Linda McCartney (though I can't really remember). They subbed baked tofu for the fried egg - unseasoned, unmarinated baked tofu, which was kinda weird.

Then we went to the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery. It was, again, a bit of a hodge-podge - everything related to Brighton, but stuff like the Ancient Egypt exhibit felt a bit incongruous next to the "life in Brighton"-type exhibits (which most of the rest of the museum was). But it was good. We were gonna go to the Royal Pavilion, but Mike was bored/tired, so we skipped it and instead did a bit more shopping. We checked out Taj, which was like a cross between Real Foods and Maqbool (the shop across from the AI building on Potterow). Then we got Mike a new t-shirt - a gray shirt with Clyde, the orange ghost from Pacman, on the front. We then got some snacks at Waitrose, including the elusive Isis Luxury Belgian Pralinoir - I've looked at both Edinburgh Waitrose locations for this stuff multiple times and never found it. It's amazing - more on it in a later post.

Mike decided that he was too tired for dinner, so I went to Loving Hut (again) by myself and got the burger and fries (and also grabbed a few more Go Max bars). Honestly, this was one of the best meals I'd eaten the whole trip - it was exactly what I wanted in a burger and fries. I also got a piece of the cheesecake. I stupidly forgot to ask what was in it - I even thought about it but decided not to ask (mostly because I'd already paid for it). Mistake!

About 2 bites in, I started to feel tingly in my mouth/throat (I assumed it was made from cashews). I calmly took my plate inside (I was eating outside because there were too many people inside when I got there) and took 2 Benadryl, which usually does the trick. I got something for Mike to eat and went back to the hotel. At this point, my eyes and pallet started to swell, I couldn't breathe through my nose, and I broke out in hives. We ended up having to go to A&E (in a taxi - the NHS Direct nurse said, since I was still breathing, she couldn't justify an ambulance). They gave me more meds, kept me there to see I got better, checked me out again and sent me home. They wanted to give me a scrip for an epipen, but I would've had to get it filled at their pharmacy (which was closed at the time), and we were leaving the next day, so they strongly suggested I speak to my dr about getting one. And I will - promise! They also sent us to an all-night pharmacy to get some OTC stuff, and the pharmacy turned out to be closed. And then it turned out that the taxi driver didn't take cards, so we had to be taken to a cash machine so we could pay him. We eventually got sorted and got back to the room and crashed for the night.

Day 5 (Friday):

Last day in Brighton! We started off with a trip to Infinity (the shop) to pick up some stuff I don't have access to here - Pepperjack, Bacon, and Bleu Cheezly and Tofutti sour cream (which seems to be available everywhere but Edinburgh). We then went to the Infinity Cafe for brunch. We both had the vegan full breakfast, which was so much better than the one at Wai Kika Moo Kau. First of all, it contained veg! The sausage was the same as the sammich I'd had a couple of days earlier, and they just threw the beans on top of the toast. But the mushroom (a big-ass portobello) was delicious - garlicky, meaty, a little salty - and I got two since Mike doesn't like shrooms! It was incredibly filling - shrooms, spinach, potato wedges, beans, toast, rashers and sausage. Some evil bastard bought the last piece of mocha cake, and the only other option that would've been appealing the day before was the cheesecake, of which, by that point, I was terrified, so we didn't get dessert. Then we walked to the train and went back to London.

Our first stop in London was Ms Cupcake. We got a half-dozen cupcakes (3 each), a sandwich cookie with chocolate frosting (they were out of vanilla), and some Plamil milk chocolate spread (I buy the plain almost exclusively, so we wanted to try this other option that we don't otherwise have). I'll talk more about Ms Cupcake in another post, but know this - if you're vegan and in London, it's worth the trip no matter what part of town you're in.

Despite the fact that we'd just eaten a giant-ass sammich cookie, we decided to go to lunch first, then find a place for Mike to sit at the station while I went to my next destination. Lunch was at Mestizo - their vegan menu isn't online, but they do have a separate one that you can ask for.

We split an order of panuchos

and an order of the enchiladas with salsa roja.

The panuchos - corn pastries filled with refried beans and topped with a red sauce and marinated onions - were incredibly delicious. The enchiladas - potato with probably the same red sauce, served with black beans and rice - were perfect. The whole experience was excellent - perfectly seasoned beans, fluffy rice, red sauce wasn't too spicy, potatoes were cooked properly. I wish I didn't have to go to London to get that again, but if we ever do have to go to London again, we'll definitely be hitting Mestizo for a proper meal (because I could eat the hell out of a couple of orders of panuchos).

After Mestizo, we got back on the Victoria line and headed for King's Cross. Mike found a convenient place to sit, and I headed up the road to Vx. It's a small shop that manages to pack in a ton of stuff - mostly vegan junk food, but also fresh-baked sweet and savoury goods from Ms Cupcake, shirts, shoes, accessories and a few cosmetics. I got 2 packages of fake Oreos, some chocolate-covered vanilla sandwich cookies (prepackaged), another Ms Cupcake sandwich cookie (this one with vanilla frosting, which I prefer), some Ms Cupcake sausage rolls, a donut stick, and a tube of chai spice lip balm. Then I went back to the train station - this whole trip took all of 30 minutes, so we still had about 2 hours to kill before our train at 7.30 (last one out until the sleeper).

About an hour before our train, we discovered that there had been a fatality at Alexandra Palace (I think), so all the trains were delayed. We thought we'd be sitting in the station for a few hours, but luckily Mike checked on our train and found that we'd been assigned a platform. When we got on the train, we realised that we were sharing with the 7pm train, so there were no seat reservations. Luckily, we found two seats together. Of course, it being first class, there were bound to be some privileged, entitled middle-class white folks who got their knickers in a twist because people were sitting in "their seats". We explained to them that there were no reservations because the trains were combined, and they continued to bitch and moan - but as they walked through the door, so I didn't have to pay any more attention to them. We left near 8pm, and then we were further delayed for some other reason, so we ended up being about an hour behind schedule. We finally got in to Edinburgh around 1.15am, and then we had to wait for a taxi. The taxi rank was full of people but empty of taxis because, of course, it was well past the time for the last train. But some kind soul at the station called one of the companies, so the taxis started arriving, and we managed to get home just before 2am.

Overall, it was a decent trip, though I have to say that I preferred Nottingham. I guess I just had my expectations too high, so I was disappointed on a lot of fronts. But I'm super picky about my food, so others who are less so would probably love it. I also had to contend with someone who, let's face it, doesn't really like to do stuff, so actually doing anything other than eating was a bit of a chore. Maybe next time, we'll agree a couple of things to do together but otherwise explore separately (or, more accurately, I'll explore while he reads in the hotel room). I'd still recommend Brighton to anyone, especially if you're more able to explore or are more inclined to Brighton's other amenities, like the pier or beach.

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