A late lunch at Green Earth in Osaka

Lunch at Green Earth in Osaka

Before getting hangry, I search through the restaurants on my map. There’s plenty of options, but they are all a train ride away. I’m not sure if I feel like figuring out train fares and transfers. It’s a 20 minute walk to the closest vegan restaurant, Green Earth. The beauty of this place is that it doesn’t close between lunch and dinner, so it’s perfect for jet-lagged travellers.

When I arrive at Green Earth, the place is empty. This can be a bad sign, but considering it’s a weird time I don’t let it throw me. It turns out to be a good thing because I get served quickly before fellow travellers and locals start to trickle in. Since I’m starving, I order the mysterious lunch of the day.

Each daily special has a different type of main and soup, and is served with rice and two salads. I love meals that consist of multiple dishes in one course. The variety feels like a mini buffet for one. I like to sample each dish, and save my favourites for last. This proves to be a difficult task since every flavour in my lunch is spot on.

The stew is rich and hearty, and goes well with the rice topped with sesame salt. The hot soup is comforting. The salads are lightly tosses in divine dressing, and sprinkled with roasted nuts for a nice crunch. My adventurous choice pays off. I’ve read that in Japan it’s considered wasteful to leave food behind, but I don’t have to worry because I’ve devoured every last crumb.

Since Green Earth is close to my hotel, I’m tempted to save it as a backup for when other places are closed. But everything was so delicious that I definitely want to return sooner to taste the rest of the menu.


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The All Nippon Airways Experience

The All Nippon Airways Experience - Danielle Geva

When booking flights to Japan, I was willing to endure a couple of layovers to get to fly with All Nippon Airways within my budget.

My main concern with long flights is the food. There is little you can bring through security, and you can’t rely on the options at the airport. Some airports have decent food, but it’s difficult to plan ahead since food varies from terminal to terminal, gates may be announced late or change, and places may be closed around departure time. That leaves you with notoriously awful airplane food. Worse yet, there were times where the airline didn’t even have a meal for me.

ANA impressed me from the get go. For starters, their site lists several different meal options that worked for my dietary restrictions. Another reassuring sign, was a glowing review of ANA’s food that included a useful timeline of when to expect the meals. As if that wasn’t enough, ANA’s meals were actually voted on and chosen by customers.

Despite these high expectations, ANA still delivered above and beyond. The food was delicious, and the incredibly friendly crew members made it taste even better.

The All Nippon Airways Experience - Danielle Geva

After takeoff, a crew member confirmed my meal choice and put a sticker on the top of my seat to avoid confusion. Shortly after, it was snack time. This wasn’t your typical dry pretzels though. ANA’s snack was amazing seaweed rice crackers. The sweet and savoury treat was clearly marked as vegetarian, and a crew member also reassured me it was suitable for me when they handed it out. I spent the rest of the trip searching for a similar snack in grocery stores.

The All Nippon Airways Experience - Danielle Geva

It wasn’t long before the first meal arrived. The hearty main consisted of rice, spinach, and tofu marinated in a vegetable tomato sauce. There were also two sides, and a dessert. The leafy greens came with lemon dressing, which I used for the grilled tofu and vegetables side. The dessert was juicy fruit pieces. It’s worth noting how ANA’s attention to detail made the meal exceptional. The tofu in the main was cooked in flavourful sauce to keep it from being bland, while the grilled tofu and vegetables weren’t drenched in oil. The salad had a variety of leafy greens, rather than the standard iceberg lettuce. Finally, the fruit wasn’t dry or artificially sweetened, instead it actually tasted like freshly sliced fruit.  

The All Nippon Airways Experience - Danielle Geva

The drinks in between meals were also lovely. The hot/cold Japanese green tea, and the Aromatic Kabosu were both welcome changes to the concentrated juices usually served on planes. If you travel in First Class with ANA, you’ll also get to enjoy an authentic bowl of matcha.

The All Nippon Airways Experience - Danielle Geva

Before the final meal, I woke up to nibble on a cute finger sandwich filled with grilled vegetables. Then two hours before landing, a mouth-watering vegetable noodle dish was served. There were sides, but I was fully focused on the perfect seasoning of the noodles. This was definitely a meal I can’t wait to replicate at home.   

The All Nippon Airways Experience - Danielle Geva


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Carry-on snacks

Danielle Geva Travel Snacks

When I’m last-minute packing for a trip, I always throw in a couple of snacks in my carry-on luggage. Here’s what I packed for my flight to Japan.

Danielle Geva Travel Snacks
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Chocolate Milk or Juice Boxes

Before I even make it to the airport, I have a snack for the bus, train, or cab there. It’s usually too weird of a time to eat, so a chocolate milk or juice box make for the perfect alternative. It’s a good way to get some energy, and calm down the anxiety and motion sickness. After security, I refill my reusable water bottle with more liquids to avoid getting dehydrated on the flight.

Tic Tacs

Yes, the first snack was consumed hours before departure. And yes, Tic Tacs aren’t technically food. However, Tic Tacs are also must-have on any journey. Beyond freshening my breath on this ~30 hour trip, they’ll come in handy if the food isn’t great (either to get rid of the weird taste or distract from my hunger). Tic Tacs also help prevent my ears popping during takeoff and landing as I fidget nervously with the container. Can you tell I’m not at all stressed about flying?

Granola Bars

The only thing worse than bad airplane food, is no food. Last time I travelled to Japan, there was a mixed up with my meals. Both ways. Luckily granola bars are very filling for their size. This time around, I have 6 different varieties since I get extra picky when I’m overtired. The vegan Clif Bar is a white chocolate macadamia nut flavour, which used to be my favourite Tim Horton’s cookie. I have the Chocolate Chip, Mixed Berry, and Strawberry MadeGood bars. These vegan bars somehow contain one full serving of vegetables, which makes them sound even healthier. Finally, I have Nature Valley’s Sweet & Salty bars. These are a family favourite, since we grew up on peanut butter. Instead of the traditional peanut butter though, I went with almond butter and toasted coconut.

Maria Biscuits  

When I don’t feel well, I crave bland foods. I used to travel with a loaf of bread (yes, really), but have since switched to Maria Biscuits. Growing up, I had Marie Biscuits (the British version), but apparently Maria is the original name. These biscuits are the equivalent of toast and butter to me, as they provide comfort and some sustenance without an overwhelming flavour.

Hopefully this list helps you pack from your next vacation. If you’re thinking of visiting Japan, I’ll be sharing my favourite foods from Osaka and Kyoto next!


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Sweet Endings

Sweet Endings Danielle Geva

Mantra Raw Danielle Geva

Last October, I travelled to France and Italy with Francois to celebrate our birthdays. While in Milan, I planned to dine at Mantra Raw. Even though I’m not usually a fan of raw gluten-free food, the plant based restaurant seemed like the perfect treat for Francois. Mantra Raw’s reviews were all extremely positive, and best of all they served Matcha. Another selling point was their grab-and-go market. That way if we were running short on time, we could pick up some snacks for the way.

Mantra Raw Danielle Geva

Three days flew by, and after our last dinner in Milan we were ready to call it a night. Since Mantra Raw was a couple of blocks away from our hotel, I insisted we at least stop by. As soon as we entered, we decided to stay longer. The restaurant decor was gorgeous, and it had a wonderful vibe. We ordered tea while looking over the many appetizing dessert options on the menu. Seeing as we were in Italy, tasting the Tiramisu was a given. Then we narrowed it down to the Tiramisu and Lime & Ginger Cheesecake.

Mantra Raw Danielle Geva

When the dessert was served, it threw me off that the cheesecake was deconstructed. I find that overly fancy foods usually have much better presentation than flavour. However, I was quickly proved wrong. Every bite of the cheesecake was more heavenly than the next. The Tiramisu didn’t disappoint either.

Mantra Raw Danielle Geva

After devouring both of the delicious cakes, we couldn’t resist ordering another. We chose the bold Persimmon, Orange, & Pistachio Cheesecake. Right before the trip, I watched a video about persimmons. Weirdly, it has been years since I’ve heard about the fruit, but suddenly it was everywhere. Especially in Italy. The adventurous choice paid off, as it was the perfect sweet ending for our final day in Milan.


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