Vegetarian – let alone vegan – food is difficult to find abroad and now I’m back from my short break in El Medano in Tenerife, I wanted to let you know how I got on finding vegan food there. I’m going to say now though that I hadn’t planned on being vegan throughout the holiday but would choose a vegan option if available.
Let’s start with the airport. Tracey – my friend and travelling companion – had booked us into the No. 1 Lounge at Gatwick Airport where she said we could get unlimited food and drink (including alcohol, yay). There was a printed menu listing the food on offer but it was only about 11am and I didn’t fancy anything big to eat so I got a couple of vegan-looking salads from the table (the ingredients were listed so I avoided the salad that contained honey). Tracey said a day or so later that most pasta has eggs but when I got home and investigated, it seems that that’s mostly fresh pasta, not dried, so I’m going to assume Gatwick used dried pasta and my salad was vegan. (I should probably confess here that yes, I did choose vegan food but got myself a hot chocolate from the machine, which probably wasn’t vegan.) It’s a good thing the food is unlimited, as Gatwick must have borrowed the plates from Weight Watchers, they were so tiny and you’d definitely need to go back for more.
Tracey ordered beans on toast and I thought, ‘oh, I could have that without butter, then it’d be vegan’. Her beans on toast arrived in a tiny ramekin and was more toast on beans, than beans on toast. She later on ordered two more – one for me and one for her. In the meantime, we took advantage of the unlimited alcohol (which was only a couple of drinks as the queue was massive. You can always rely on free alcohol to create a large queue).
We arrived in Tenerife at about 6:30 and, after dropping our bags at Tracey’s brother’s apartment (lucky sod lives there all winter with his fiancée, Jo), we went straight to a bar/restaurant where I ordered a pizza without cheese. Go me.
Damn, this pizza was shit. It wasn’t even the worst pizza I’ve eaten – it was the worst anything I’ve eaten. The base was cracker-like, topped with a watery sauce that was an insult to a tomato and some embarrassed-looking undercooked vegetables had been scattered on top. I was pleased I dodged the cheese because NOTHING would have improved this thing. It soaked up some of the beer though, I suppose.
The next day, I thought I was being clever when I ordered a teacake and only spread it with the jam, not the butter. It was only while getting the photos ready for this post that I thought, ‘Are teacakes vegan? They might be made with butter.’ And guess what? Yep, they’re usually made with butter and/or eggs. Oh well, it’s the thought that counts, right? (In case you’re wondering, yes, I did have a non-vegan hot chocolate to go with it. We did ask if they had soya milk though but, alas, they didn’t.)
I’m not sure if it was later on this day or the next day that I had a salad baguette. It was called ‘Special Vegetarian’ on the menu and if Tenerifians, or whatever they’re called, think warm (the baguette was toasted) lettuce is special, then they’re thinking of the wrong kind of special. I can’t find a photo of it so just imagine a toasted tomato and lettuce sandwich.
On our last night as we drifted about looking at menus in windows, I was spectacularly excited to see a dish labelled ‘vegan’ not only once, but twice. Get in! When it said ‘vegetable pasta’, I thought it meant vegetables and pasta but no, this was spiralised courgette and carrot. The tofu bolognese was tasty – I would have preferred normal pasta but vegans can’t be choosers on holiday and I’m just moaning for the sake of it as it really was fine. Plus, thinking about it now, the restaurant probably makes its own pasta which means it probably would have had egg in it which means there would have been nothing vegan on the menu so I should definitely not be moaning about it.
Tracey (a vegetarian) had the ravioli with spinach with mushrooms but without the Gorgonzola, as Gorgonzola is never vegetarian, and the waitress checked with the chef to make sure the Gorgonzola wasn’t inside the ravioli.
And that was the last thing I ate in Tenerife. I’m going to ruin everything now by saying, as I didn’t eat before getting on the plane at 2pm the next day, I got mega-hungry and in the absence of anything vegan on Monarch Airline’s menu except salt and vinegar crisps, I had a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich.
It wasn’t a bad vegan effort on the whole on my part though. Especially given how much I drank and how big the drinks were.