Loco Rita's

Thursday 26 January 2023

Being one of Dundee’s 3 fully vegan eateries, Loco Rita’s is one of our favourite places to visit. I was trying to work out why we never covered it as Vegan Dundee, but realised we had popped in for ice cream back when it was Underdog, and then the pandemic happened, and the blog fizzled out. It was top of my list for dining in with my camera, so when our friends asked if we wanted to go for lunch and said we could choose the place it was a done deal.

Loco Rita’s is a Mexican Cantina and bar with a colourful exterior and casual dining style which is family-friendly. We were seated in a slightly chilly spot by the door but our friends had a pram so I think that was for convenience more than anything. The table was the first thing we noticed as it was so bright and colourful being made from recycled plastic (this was a little challenging having such a busy background for photographing!).

I think by this point we’ve actually tried everything on the menu - I love that with it being small plates you get to have a little bit of lots of things. They recommend 2-3 plates per person. We chose our food with coordination for sharing in mind. Loco Rita’s also has lots of gluten free options and the menu is clearly labelled for this which is always handy.

First to arrive was the fully loaded nachos, these are so fresh and zingy and come with little pots of salsa and guacamole to add to the already well-topped jackfruit and beans tortilla chips. Next up our selection of tacos - our table had chosen cheeseburger, crispy shrimpz and barbacoa carrot this time. I’d ordered the shrimp as this was my favourite the last time we were eating here, but the cheeseburger is a close second - the beer cheese is fantastic. The cheeseburger loaded fries also came slathered in house-made beer cheese with tasty crumbled burger bits. Finally, we had some veggies in the form of elote ribs (Mexican street corn) and two plates of crispy cauliflower wings; one with lime crema and the other with chipotle and mango.

You wouldn’t think we’d have managed dessert after this, but we’d been chatting about churros earlier so couldn’t resist ordering some to share. These came drizzled with chocolate sauce and a wee bowl of delicious soft-serve ice cream. There are also whippy ice cream sundaes made with this and we were told it's the only vegan soft serve in Scotland.

Though I didn’t have a cocktail on this visit, we sometimes treat ourselves to a frozen margarita from the specials board. It was a bit chilly for it on our mid-January visit, but they often have flavours like passion fruit and watermelon.

If you’re free on a Tuesday or Thursday then you’re in luck, as Loco Rita’s has a fab Taco Tuesday offer (half price tacos) or grab 4 tacos and a frozen margarita for £15 on a Thursday.

Find Loco Ritas at Old Hawkhill, Dundee, DD1 5EU


Tuesday 17 January 2023

Reboutique sadly closed in August 2023, you can still follow Uppertunity CIC to see the work they are doing.

We had been meaning to pop into ReBoutique for a while (they opened last March) but kept being in town on the wrong days for their opening hours, or just being in a bit of a rush. When I saw that they had been busy revamping their space over the Christmas break and were now hosting an open day I made sure to put it in my diary.

Reboutique is a social enterprise dedicated to reinventing, reimagining, and reusing unwanted and throw-away items into new useable items. It’s part of Uppertunity CIC which works with over 16s who have a range of barriers. Everything they sell has been made as part of their Uppmakes project which provides opportunities to learn new skills.

It’s such a sunny and welcoming space. Lots of seating in the cafe area, a section for plants, upcycled furniture in the centre area, quirky candles, handbound notebooks, and reworked fashion - plenty for having a nice browse. Oh and I love the little paint pots idea, instead of wasting leftover paint it makes it affordable for small DIY projects at home. There were lots of craft materials too; fabric bundles and jars of colourful beads. After having a good look around we thought we’d grab a coffee.

As part of the open day, all of the hot drinks were free. I had an oat chai tea latte, while David opted for an oat mocha. Given that the drinks were free it would be rude not to have cake, especially as everything is vegan. We chose a lemon muffin and an Oreo tiffin which looked very much like a rocky road. I love that the crockery is all mismatched, it’s just so in keeping with the brand. The drinks and cakes were delicious, as to be expected given Serendipities is also Uppertunity’s cafe.

We had picked a cheerful spot with comfy yellow chairs by the window which was perfect for people watching, I would happily have spent the whole morning there. Next up, we did a little shopping. I chose a tiny concrete planter which will be a lovely wee photoshoot prop and David treated himself to a little painted glass. We also bought a gift which I won’t mention here just in case! I was very taken by the craft kits - embroidery and candle making especially - so might have to pop back for one soon.

ReBoutique also launched The Local which is a new rewards app that lets you collect points and redeem offers such as free coffee or discounts. The app will feature other businesses too, at the moment you can also find Serendipities on there. 

As well as shopping and coffee, ReBoutique offers community workshops and activities. These are a chance to get creative and learn new skills such as sewing, wood work, and furniture repair. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for upcoming events in such a lovely space!

Find ReBoutique at 33 Castle Street, Dundee, DD13AD.

Marwick's Vegan Kitchen / Italian Week

Sunday 8 January 2023


Marwick's Vegan Kitchen is back! We were delighted to see that to celebrate Veganuary, Marwick's world food menus are available to order for delivery every Thursday this month - the first one being Italian.

These menus are fab as the food comes chilled, prepared, and ready to heat at home up to 48 hours from delivery. I love this as you can choose when you're going to have it and it means I can enjoy setting up a cosy date-night table while it's in the oven. Oh, and there are hardly any dishes! 
The delivery zone is DD1-DD6, KY15 & KY16 with delivery typically between 4-6pm.

In previous years we'd had their afternoon tea delivery (which we ate in the sunshine in the garden - hard to imagine at the moment!), Christmas dinner, and a few other around-the-world meals. These were all so delicious I knew we had to order this time.

You can choose your number of courses (1 course £14.50, 2 courses £20, or 3 courses £25) and the portion sizes are very generous. We ordered two between the two of us and had enough left over for the next day. The heating and serving instructions are very easy to follow, and there are little pots for dressings, so you can add the right amount for yourself.

For Italian week we had arancini filled with basil pesto and served with an arrabbiata sauce to start. Arancini is my favourite and this did not disappoint! It's something I never make so it was such a treat. 

Next up was Lasagne al Forno, with Caprese salad and bruschetta. I did a terrible job of serving up the lasagne (I'm going to blame my utensils) so please keep that in mind when looking at the photos. Mike had made the pasta for the lasagne and mozzarella for the Caprese and you could really tell! The mozzarella was so fresh and creamy and it was a deliciously rich lasagne.

We both agreed that the bruschetta was incredible, I would happily eat that every day. The bread came with pesto to spread on top before popping in the oven then you added the tomato topping and balsamic glaze afterwards. Yum! 

Last but not least, the dessert was tiramisu. There was even dark chocolate fudge for afterwards - it would have been perfect with an espresso. Tiramisu was one of our go-to desserts pre-vegan so we were very excited. The homemade mascarpone really made this, it was so light and velvety. 

Next week's menu theme is Vietnam with crispy stuffed jackfruit pancakes, Vietnamese meatballs, spicy tofu, rice noodles, and more. You can check out the menu and order here. We would definitely recommend it for a January treat!

You might have noticed that Marwick's has now split its food and retail into separate brands (and websites). Marwick's Vegan has a winter sale on which I'd definitely recommend checking out - we did lots of Christmas shopping as there are so many great vegan and sustainable goodies on there. 

Jesmonite Workshop with Nine Angels

Wednesday 4 January 2023

Last year, I was delighted to hear that Melissa of Nine Angels* was launching Jesmonite workshops. For those who aren’t familiar, Nine Angels offers a range of colourful Jesmonite homewares and polymer clay jewellery, all handmade in Dundee. Jesmonite is an eco-friendly composite material which makes really tactile objects.

Melissa launched the workshops at an introductory price so I snapped up two tickets, one for me and one for my Mum’s birthday. We always say we’d like to do things like this, so it was the perfect opportunity.

The workshops are held at Fresh Studios, 4-6 Staffa Place where Nine Angels HQ is located. There are lots of other businesses in there which I’ll have to check out in future; Andie the Label & Sewing School offers classes that I’m very keen to book.

When we arrived there were lots of moulds laid out, sparkly glitters and bottles of coloured dyes. It all looks very tempting and we were spoilt for choice. Melissa explained how the session would go (I won’t go into too much detail as I know this one was a bit more of a guinea pig run so it might be slightly different now), told us about Jesmonite and showed us how to measure and mix.

Next, we got to choose our moulds. Me and my Mum decided to share a pair of snowflake moulds, these could be made thin for hanging or thicker to be free-standing decorations. My Mum added silver leaf to her mould and I choose pink and gold flakes, she then poured her lilac Jesmonite in and I mixed up a pale pink. Jesmonite is so satisfying to work with! It’s much quicker to set and become a finished object than I expected.

For my next make, I chose a trinket tray mould which I wanted to make for my sister’s spa - it had to match her colours perfectly so I spent a wee while faffing with the shade of green but I love how it turned out with the bronze glitter and flakes. My Mum also made a pair of candle stick holders for the Christmas table with a lovely grey-green colour and green metallic leaf.

While the Jesmonite was setting we had a coffee break. I’d told Melissa it was my Mum’s birthday so she even got some little (vegan) cupcakes in which was super thoughtful. While we drank our coffee we kept an eye on our moulds to see if they had cooled down - the Jesmonite heats up as it sets so this is how you tell when it’s ready to pop out.

Once the Jesmonite was set we de-moulded the pieces and got to work sanding and sealing. It was lovely to see the variety in everyone’s makes. There were so many beautiful colour combos with everything from coasters to pots and pendants.

I absolutely loved this workshop, it’s been so long since I’ve done anything properly crafty and I’d love to do another. Nine Angels have more workshop dates on their website including a new lamp workshop which looks very cool. You can also buy Jesmonite kits if you’re interested in trying it at home.

*Nine Angels is a client of mine through JillyJilly

Introducing: Wee Dundee

Monday 2 January 2023

It’s been a while, so long in fact that you might have forgotten that Vegan Dundee (the blog) existed. If you do remember, then Vegan Dundee has now become Wee Dundee! This has been on the back burner for some time now as I couldn’t work out how best to take this change of direction. After a Christmas break with lots of time to think about it, I think we’ve figured it out. Oh and don’t worry - we’re still vegan!

Wee Dundee will be a guide to indie businesses in Dundee, from food and drink to shopping, events, and activities. At the moment the categories are Shop Small, Food & Drink, Things to Do, and Wee Scotland. Here’s what I hope they’re going to cover:

Shop Small
As well as local business features, there will be shop small gift guides, sustainable swaps, and charity shop challenges. Eventually, I’d love for this to become more of a directory but that’s going to take some time!

Food & Drink
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. This category is where you can find the old Vegan Dundee posts - sadly lots have been archived as many of the businesses are no more. As with the old days, we’ll be on the lookout for Dundee’s newest vegan offerings.

Things to Do
Think workshops, classes, markets, cute wee walks, date nights, mate dates, and more! This category is basically an excuse for us to try new things and see what Dundee has to offer. I’ll be sure to include free activities too.

Wee Scotland
There are so many fab indie businesses outside of Dundee to see too, so it would be a shame to completely rule them out. While this will mainly be the nearby surrounding areas, sometimes we’ll feature day trips and mini break ideas elsewhere in Scotland.

As you can see there’s lots planned and it’s going to take some time to grow this wee blog. It’s one of the reasons I’ve not launched sooner, but with the cost of living it’s certainly a make or break time for many an independent business. It might just be a side project for me, but if even a handful of people find out about a business through one of Wee Dundee’s posts it would be amazing.

Before I go, I should probably introduce myself. I’m Jilly, and previously I ran Vegan Dundee with my friend Falda (who’s now living in England). I’m a brand designer & photographer who works with indie businesses - for transparency I will point out when a blog post features a client. I’ll mostly be out and about blogging with my husband David, but occasionally other friends will pop up.

If you’d like to stay up-to-date, you can find Wee Dundee on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok (that’s right, I’ll also be attempting video content this time around). I’d love to hear your thoughts or if you have a business that you’d like to be featured. You can also email me at hello@wee-dundee.co.uk.