First came Vedge, the fine dining vegetables-only restaurant in a Locust Street brownstone. Then came the more casual V Street, a vegan globetrotter specializing in cocktails and street foods, located just off Rittenhouse Square. Vegan cheesesteak shop Wiz Kid was next — first in the new Rodin Square Whole Foods and a second opening (eventually) right next door to V Street.
And now, Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby are on to new cities.
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Philadelphia has become like a strange dreamworld for New Yorkers and those other Big City devotees who read (or write for) the New York Times. It’s a place they come to deliberately have their expectations exceeded, to begrudgingly fall for while they’re here and then pine for while away. We are the Westworld of cities at this moment–the place you come to make all your dreams come true.
And also to murder robots.
So today, the Times ran a piece by Robert Draper titled “A Four-Day Feast In Philadelphia.” And alliteration aside, it did exactly what I mentioned above. First, there was the de riguer mention of those same tired cultural touchstones (gritty neighborhoods, soft pretzels and cheesesteaks). Then the sudden “discovery” that there are things here which are like the restaurants in New York, only, you know, not in New York, which seems to always confuse New Yorkers. The fact that these restaurants are good? That this entire city is not peopled entirely with sweatpants-wearing troglodytes gruntingly double-fisting hoagies while squatting around trash fires in the Italian Market like some lost tribe of East Coast cargo cultists? That’s almost too much to take in at first. The shock too extreme.
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Vedge | Photo by Michael Persico
Rich Landau’s lauded vegan restaurant, Vedge has turned five years old and is celebrating with a special tasting menu. Available now through mid-December, the five-course dinner is $55 per person and offered on weekdays. Among the highlights, Landau’s bewilderingly good take on ramen and a maitake mushroom “shepherds pie.”
Check out the full menu »
V Street will take over the EYEsite building on 18th Street.
A liquor license application in the window of V Street shows that Rich Landau’s vegan empire is expanding next door. The building is the current home of EYESite, which is moving around the corner to 17th Street.
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Dining at Vedge was Sietsema’s defining moment in Philadelphia | Photo by Ashley Catharine Smith
Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema ranks America’s top-ten food cities and places Philadelphia at number six, ahead of the likes of New York, Chicago and unranked cities including Seattle and Nashville. Portland, Oregon gets Sietsema’s number one spot with San Francisco in the second spot.
Sietsema cites “falling head over heels for the vegan menu at the elegant Vedge restaurant, featuring a whole roasted carrot transformed into a marvelous meatless ‘Reuben.'” as Philadelphia’s defining moment.
Check out the video for delicious takes on roast pork and more on Philadelphia’s highly touted food scene.
The 10 Best Food Cities in America, Ranked [Washington Post]
The new 50 Best Restaurants List | Photo by Samuel Markey
If it seems too soon for another 50 Best Restaurants issue, you’re right. For a long time, this list was something we put together every two years. But now that’s changing. Because it has to.
Philadelphia’s restaurant scene moves fast today—too fast for the kind of monolithic thinking that says a list of the best restaurants in this city could possibly stand, fundamentally unchanged, for two years. Fortunes rise and fall over weeks, not years. Opinions shift. Focus drifts. There was a time when a list of the best restaurants in Philly could have some breathing room—would be just as true (or nearly as true) six months or a year later as it was on the day it hit the stands. But today that sort of thinking seems as quaint as cedar-plank salmon or those bicycles with one big wheel in front—an artifact of another time.
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Photo | Brian Howard
“Anywhere But Here” is a new, occasional feature where we choose a restaurant that we loathe and tell you, the loyal Foobooz reader, all the other places you could go for better food, booze or service. We know you know this stuff. We’re just here to help. And we’re launching this new project with…
Today is National Cheesecake Day and, unsurprisingly, the brand spankin’ new Cheesecake Factory that opened last month at 15th and Walnut is celebrating its namesake holiday with half-price slices, a new flavor (salted caramel, because no one’s tried that yet…) and god only knows what else.
But you know what? This is Philly. And we can do better than settling for the Cheesecake mothership. So with that in mind, we’re giving you some options–for cheesecake, cheese and cake because we don’t care how you celebrate, so long as you do it Anywhere But Here.
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This, and many others, are bringing Philly’s best bites to your kitchen.
Usually when we talk about food news here, we tell you what’s new and cool, and then we tell you where to go to eat it. This post, however, requires little more than a trip to Barnes & Noble, or (for the remarkably lazy, like myself) an Amazon account.
Philadelphia and the nearby areas have some pretty amazing food and drink, and now many of the recipes are down on paper for your cooking pleasure. We’ve talked cookbooks in the past, but it’s time for a round up of all the delicious (local) stuff that’s been printed since January.
So order a book, even order your groceries, open a bottle of wine. With these books, all the awesomeness of the city’s food scene can now happen right in your own kitchen. And you know what’s better? Even if you burn it all, you’re never too far from the recipe’s source, allowing you to give up at any point and make nothing more than a reservation.
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Kate Jacoby, co-owner, manager and pastry chef of Vedge and V Street, with her husband, Rich Landau, at Vedge. Photograph by Gene Smirnov
No tattoos. No cursing. No meat, no fish, no eggs, no dairy. No drama. This is a successful chef?
Rich Landau plops a pile of spongy, chalk-colored tofu into a big stainless steel bowl. “This is the most clichéd part of my job,” he says, leaning into the bowl with both hands and tearing the tofu limb from limb, or whatever it is you do to the curd of soybeans. Landau calls tofu “the evil icon of vegetarianism,” and it’s obvious he’s worked with it a few times — check that; a few hundred thousand times — before. Read more »
UPDATE 5/7/2015 12:30 p.m.: The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has announced that Thomas has been charged with theft of services for the Tuesday night incident at Vedge. Thomas remains in custody in lieu of $35,000 bail, of which she needs to pay ten-percent.
The strange, sad tale of Philadelphia restaurant thief Janeen Thomas continued on Tuesday night with her being arrested after she dined at Vedge, the popular vegan restaurant on the 1200 block of Locust Street in Philadelphia. This photo was taken by a bystander as police were taking her into custody. According to the Philadelphia Police Department, charges against Thomas are pending. Read more »