Hearty Vegan Food at Nancy’s of Ardara – Restaurant Review

I often find myself lazing around my house at weekends, and as someone with mental health issues and a habit of hibernating out of season, I felt I needed to get out of the house last weekend. I’m so glad I made a plan and saw it through – that in itself is good for mental health – as I had a wonderful time with my family exploring Donegal.

nancys restaurant review

Naturally, explorers get peckish after a while and I was absolutely ravenous after we got to Ardara. We had driven through Ramelton, Glenties and we had yet to go to Donegal Town, so it was time for food!ย nancys restaurant review

I was a bit dubious at the prospect of finding a place that offered some hearty vegan food options for me, but after seeing a menu option for a ‘veggie burger’ at none other than a SEAFOOD BAR, I realised Ardara was not quite like other places! It was way ahead!

We decided to pop in to ask if the veggie burger was vegan-friendly and thank God it was because otherwise I might have turned my back and not experienced the delish food on offer at Nancy’s!

nancys restaurant review

The bar/restaurant is like a labyrinth inside; there are so many little hidden hallways and doorways and staircases and it’s so ‘old Irish’ charming. The staff as well are very friendly and they engage you with you at the table, which is always nice.

nancys restaurant review

They had a whole section of vegetarian food available and all of it could be modified for vegans. Their menu also specifically stated that their soup was dairy free (the menu was LAMINATED, so it’s here to stay ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) and it was so refreshing not to have to ask. They also had a vegan carrot cake on offer for the troopers who managed to get through their portions!

I also had a soup to start, which was so thick it was more like a stew than anything else. It was delish! Though it came with Dairygold butter, so obviously I avoided that and just enjoyed the soup on its own.

nancys restaurant review

I had a veggie burger with – wait for it – chilli on the side! I thought this was a bit strange (chips weren’t available), but although I could’ve gotten baby potatoes as a side instead, I really wanted to try the chilli because it’s a main option on the menu as well. Two birds with one stone! Not that I’d excuse violence towards birds, but you get the idea!

I didn’t opt for the carrot cake because I was absolutely STUFFED but I imagine it would’ve have been fab as well. The moral of this review is that you shouldn’t judge a restaurant or cafรฉ by its name or by the food it specialises in; you CAN be surprised!

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Mango Cake & Lentil Spaghetti – A Weekend Of Vegan Eating

This weekend was totally indulgent for me. Saturdays and Sundays offer me the time to cook more varied foods than I would during the week, as I’m not tired from work and in a hurry. My boyfriend came to visit this weekend so I made an even bigger effort with our meals than I usually would. He isn’t a vegan but he always eats vegan when he’s with me, and as we’re soon to move in together, here’s hoping he’ll finally make the plunge and ditch the dairy ๐Ÿ˜‰

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He arrived late on Thursday night and he was starving. I wanted to give him a hot meal rather than just a sandwich or something like that, so I threw on some Linda McCartney sausages and sautรฉed some garlic, onion and red pepper with a little soy sauce and smoked paprika. I plated up the sausages with some potato wedges and ladled on the cooked veg with a hearty dollop of relish and some cut-up grapes. I got the idea for the grapes when I was up at Grianan of Aileach in Donegal; there was a little caravan cafรฉ nearby that made me a grape and cranberry toastie which was DIVINE!

On Friday I had a craving for pasta so I decided to put together some spaghettiย bolognese. I’ve made this before with Quorn mince (this was about a month into my vegan transition when I hadn’t realised it was vegetarian rather than vegan) but I hadn’t had it since. I knew I had some green lentils and some Tesco brand tomato sauce so I got to work.

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Usually I would make my own tomato sauce but my brother had used up all of my oregano and that’s a pretty essential ingredient for a pasta sauce, so I went for the jar of ready-made! I fried red onion, garlic cloves and mushrooms and added them to the sauce with the drained lentils, peppers and chopped tomato. It was very filling and super tasty!

On Saturday morning I really wanted to pop and get some soup for lunch, so we went to Wholegreens, my favourite cafรฉ/restaurant in town! Unfortunately the only soup on offerย was broccoli and that didn’t really tickle my taste buds so I opted for a mango coconut cake instead.

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I know, not exactly nutritious, but the deliciousness made up for it! My boyfriend had shepherd’s pie with beetroot sauerkraut and wedges. You can’t go wrong with Wholegreens, especially for a hot healthy meal or a tasty dessert.

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On Saturday evening we met up with some friends of ours (four of whom are vegan – not including two babies who are being raised vegan) and, to our delight, we realised that a local restaurant had just come out with an official vegan menu. Nowhere else in town has an omni restaurant offering a vegan menu (and this one was LAMINATED so you know it’s here to stay!)

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I got a veggie burger with tobacco onions and chunky chips on the side, while two of my other friends got a coconut thai curry with cauliflower rice. Both meals were delicious (I had a sneaky taste of the curry – it was fab!) and we rounded off the evening with some banana splits without the cream. It was so nice being able to sit down and have a proper meal that isn’t a stir fry or a fruit salad.

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On Sunday I was feeling generous so I brought my boyfriend breakfast in bed; sliced oranges with tea and soy milk as well as some toast buttered with Pure sunflower spread. I also made us a pineapple, orange and banana smoothie, which was perfect for a

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sunny day like today! For lunch we had falafel wraps with crisps on the side and a fruit salad and blackberry yogurt. Delish!

Then for dinner we were feeling lazy so we ordered a pizza from Dominoes (the base and the tomato sauce are both accidentally vegan – just order a veggie pizza without the cheese!) and I made my own garlic dip (the one from Dominoes has milk in it!)

Needless to say, we were beached whales this weekend ๐Ÿ˜€ It was easy to find yummy food the past few days, and it only gets easier, with so many companies and brands coming out with vegan alternatives and creating options for vegan customers. It’s so great to see!

 

Seaweed and Vegetable Korma | Exploring Donegal

Hey all!

My mammy and I took a trip to Kilmacrennan today to leave my brother off at a gaelic match and while we were there, we took a look at some of the gorgeous scenery. One thing you just couldn’t miss were the cutest little cottages this side of Donegal. There was actually a museum inside but we got distracted by a veggie cart and forgot to go in! I’ll have to put it on some kind of list to remember to go back.

I picked up some Donegal dulse (dried seaweed) from the cart so I’m going to fry that up with some herbs and have it with Linda McCartney sausages and beans on toast tomorrow. Delicious!

It was the sunniest of days today (which anyone living in Ireland will know is super rare) and I had Lavera suncream on my face but none on my body. I was convinced I’d be lobster red by the end of the day, but thankfully I avoided sunburn by jutting in and out of shady patches!

There was a car boot sale at the church across the road from the cottages in aid of the Northwest 10k but although we went to take a look, there wasn’t much there. Though I did have my eye on 70s style upholstered chairs that turned out not to be for sale! Sickened, but it’s probably for the best. I need to save more!

There was also the cutest little caravan next to the veggie stall selling tea and muffins and the like. I got really excited when I saw a chalkboard menu with the words ‘VEG’ in front of something, but it turned out not to be vegan unfortunately. It was a really unique little business, though, so hopefully they’ll expand their choices in the future to include at least soy milk (fingers crossed!)

We had hungry bellies so we drove back into Letterkenny to get some food at Wholegreens, an (almost) vegan cafe that serves delicious, filling food for vegetarians and vegans alike! I got a vegetable korma and picked the plate clean. I would highly recommend it if you’re in the area.

If you haven’t checked out my vegan haul video, check it out to see the vegan treats I picked up for myself in town as well!

Overall it was a gorgeous day and I so wish I’d gone to the beach as well. Next time!

The Hatter Tea Room | Vegan Food in Donegal

As I chronicled in my last vlog, I went to Stranorlar last week to check out The Hatter Tea Room with a friend of mine and her baby. The cafรฉ is breastfeeding-friendly so that was a big reason for going in the first place, but I was even more excited to find out that they sell vegan treats.

This is a big deal to me as not many regular cafรฉs/restaurants in Donegal (or many places in Ireland for that matter) sell any vegan food whatsoever. I messaged the owner on Facebook the day before we went and asked if they had vegan options and he was very helpful, offering me several choices. He also said that they had a selection of vegan sweets available so, needless to say, I was buzzing about trying those.

Although I initially thought the cafรฉ was called the Hatter Tea Room for no reason, it does actually have an Alice in Wonderland theme. It’s so pretty inside and the atmosphere is lovely and peaceful, with plenty of seating and light.

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You can immediately see the vegan food on offer when you walk in the door, as a selection of Natasha’s Livingย Food kale crisps were displayed as well as chocolate treats from Lazy Day Foods. SynerChi’s kombucha drinks were also available to buy (I reviewed the drinks recently) but Iย decided to go for a coconut cappuccino instead. The cafรฉ is well known for it and it’s one of those things that’s accidentally vegan and absolutely delicious!

I bought millionaire’s shortbread and a chocolate chip cookie from Lazy Day Foods and they were both really good. Tiffin was also on offer. I tried both flavours of kale crisps available but I preferred the lemon and pepper variety over the spicy tomato flavour, though both were good. It was my first time trying kale crisps and I’m pleasantly surprised seeing as they look like crunchy leaves!

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Overall, the staff were fantastic, the free wi-fi was a great touch and the food on offer was brilliant so I’ll definitely be back again. If you’re looking for breakfast or a snack or just a nice coffee, definitely check them out if you’re in Donegal.

Eating Out As A Vegan In Donegal, Ireland

In this week’s video I talk about eating out as a vegan in Donegal and the challenges of eating out as a vegan in general. I recently went on a trip to Stranorlar with my friend Casey and her baby (who are both vegans) to check out the Hatter Tea Room and Kee’s Hotel and Restaurant. The Hatter Tea Room is breastfeeding friendly which is why it was such an attractive option for my friend, and I made sure to call ahead to see if they had any vegan food on offer. Thankfully, they already had a few options available including a breakfast option, salads and vegan treats. I love it when that happens!

When it comes to eating out, make sure to call ahead and just ask if they have a vegan option. The worst case scenario is that they don’t have anything to offer you and won’t try to rustle something up, but generally people are nice and try to accommodate you. Preparing ahead makes eating out as a vegan a million times easier. Nobody likes turning up somewhere and realising they can’t eat anything.

Do you know of any vegan friendly places to eat out at in Donegal? Let me know in the comments!