Even Vegan Food Can Be Delicious
For those of you who don’t have a lot of tree-hugging friends posting about it on Instagram, today is Earth Day. Inexplicably, despite the gravitas of this enormous day, I was still expected to show up to work today. I know, it’s shocking how little people care about our planet. Nonetheless, some people know how to celebrate Earth Day correctly. Tonight, Vegan Commissary is taking a break from serving its traditional weekend brunch fare and opening up for a four-course $45 dinner.
The menu is heavy on the spring flavors, and right now is arguably the best time to eschew meat and dairy anyway because the produce is just starting to get exciting again. I mean, I'm not going to be a vegan, but I support you if you are.
The first course is a baby arugula salad with rhubarb and strawberries, followed by asparagus and artichokes served with sprouted barley and meyer lemon. The main course is risotto with spring greens, morels, and black pepper ricotta, and dessert will be a caramel coconut budino with pineapple and pistachios.
You can make reservations by calling (215) 964-3232.
Vegan Commissary [official]
Before I begin my story, I’d like to first confess something:
I never believed in vegan food. It always stood as this ridiculous symbol for a movement that tried too hard and failed to prove anything to the “real food” community. It added no substance, and subtracted even more, and in the end, there was always something left to be desired. It was a cuisine full of soul-sucking impostors, phonies and shams. So I gave up on it.
But the movement shifted. Places like HipCityVeg opened—that was my first reentrance to the cuisine. A few years ago, I took a bite of their fajita wrap and lost my mind. A few more trips back, and a visit to Vedge sealed the deal. These chefs weren’t aiming to convince anymore—they were showing off. Vegan options have grown in Philly since—all the way into South Philly, even. Which, admittedly, was expected given the gentrification eruption rolling there over the past decade. Now, on the corner of 11th and Morris, Steve Laurence’s Vegan Commissary exists, and the food coming out of that kitchen is as impressive as it gets in this city’s restaurant collection.
And so it begins: a look into our late, late night dinner, put together by a vegan chef, sharing knives with a steakhouse chef, both in a tiny little restaurant/commissary kitchen in South Philadelphia.
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I don’t have enough thumbs to put up (you know, like thumbs up?) to convey how awesome I think the upcoming Foobooz After Dark event is. So you’ll have to accept my two measly thumbs, but envision many, many more.
The event, which our friends over at Foobooz are hosting (duh), is a one-night-only vegan dinner on Saturday, March 29th, with Barclay Prime chef Jeff Froehler, who will be manning the kitchen sans animal products at Passyunk Square’s new Vegan Commissary. So yes, a steakhouse chef cooking a meat-free dinner. Seriously, y’all: The Foobooz guys tell me this food will be phenomenal.
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