If you haven’t heard of the Vegan Roadie, also known as Dustin Harder, it’s time you get to know him. The plant-based chef (and theatrical dog trainer!), has been traveling around the country trying all the vegan dishes he can at all the restaurants he can squeeze into his days, all so he can create a roadmap of sorts for vegans across America. So far, he’s made it to over 20 cities — and did I mention he’s been filming his travels for his web series, The Vegan Roadie?
The sixth episode of The Vegan Roadie goes online tomorrow, and guess what city he’s in this time? Philly! Harder checked out a slew of vegan restaurants, but tomorrow’s episode will highlight Vedge and P.S. and Co.
We chatted with Harder to find out what he thought of Philly’s vegan scene as a whole, and, of course, to find out what the best vegan food he ate in Philly was. See what he had to say below.
Why did you start The Vegan Roadie?
“I’ve found that a lot of people are intimated by veganism. I’m trying to make it fun and accessible. Sometimes you say “vegan” and people won’t even try it. So, my approach is to not really preach about it but to let the food speak for itself.”
What did you think of the vegan scene in Philly?
“When you talk about vegan food in Philly, all you ever hear about is Vedge. But when I started researching Philadelphia, I found so many other options, and I was so stoked. I had so many different places to go! Philadelphia lived up to the high expectations that had been set for it.
“I also met people like Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau [of Vedge and V Street] who are really just changing the world. When I was talking to other vegan business owners, they had all these great things to say about how encouraging and nurturing Rich and Kate are, and that’s amazing.”
Which restaurants did you make it to when you were in Philly?
What was the most delicious thing you ate while you were in Philly?
“The meal I had at Vedge was out of this world, and I had someone with me who wasn’t vegetarian or vegan, and they couldn’t have cared less; they still thought everything was great. And I kept going back to P.S. and Co. for the Key Lime-Avocado Tart and the Elvis Smoothie. Their food made me feel so good. But I went searching for the best vegan Philly cheesesteak in the city and found myself at Blackbird Pizzeria, and that cheesesteak, in my mind, was the best.”
What’s the best thing you’ve eaten since you started touring the country?
“There’s a new restaurant in Rochester, Vive. It’s a plant-based French bistro and bakery. They had a vegan cheese plate that blew my mind. Whenever I see a vegan cheese plate, I’m like, Yeah, right. This one had cheese brie, blue cheese, boursin and candied figs. It was beautiful, and as delicious as it was gorgeous.”
What’s your best traveling-while-vegan tip?
“Set yourself up for success from the beginning. Get excited and create a list about what your want to try wherever you’re going. And always carry a Nutribullet with you, in case your options are limited. You don’t want to leave it to chance.”
You can catch The Vegan Roadie’s trip to Philly in the series’ sixth episode, which you’ll find here tomorrow.
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