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 »
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? Read more »
Terrain at Styers
We love a good brand collaboration, especially when said collaboration results in a delicious vegan dinner with Vedge chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby. The two are hosting a five-course dinner at Terrain in Glen Mills next month featuring dishes from their cookbook Vedge. Read more »
One of the coolest things about the Philly Gayborhood is the fact that it is infused with so many other “straight” businesses, so to speak. Sure, we have a ton of gay bars, but there are also great eateries that cater to anyone who wants a fantastic cocktail and a delicious bite to eat. We rounded up our picks of five great places in the Gayborhood to grab happy hour that aren’t gay bars, but given their proximity in the ‘hood, you’ll be joined by plenty of great company as you wash down some tasty nibbles with a cocktail or two.
The bartenders at Garces Trading Company know what they are doing, and their happy hour is a perfect time to test out the wide variety of drinks the restaurant offers, plus sample their amazing wine selection. The newly-expanded bar means that there's room for everyone, plus the awesome food deals will satisfy any appetite: I love the $5 Margherita flatbread and the house-made mozzarella. Happy hour Monday-Friday 3 to 7pm, 1111 Locust Street
One taste of the $4 edamame dumplings and you'll be hooked. The Asian-inspired eats at Sampan's 7-day-a-week happy hour are enough for you to fight for a bar seat, but the drinks are also amazing: There's a rotating cocktail on special every night, plus a ton of other wines and beers to wash down the ridiculously cheap (but amazing) food selections. The tofu lettuce wraps are my favorite, and who can pass up the little, bitty soft serve ice cream cones at the end of your meal? Happy hour 7 days a week 4 to 7pm, 124 South 13th Street
Let's get this out of the way: You do not have to be vegan to fall in love with Vedge, and if you're in the mood for a well-crafted cocktail, this is the place to be. They do rotate their happy hour drink selections frequently, but the gin buck is pretty awesome. Also, you must get the Korean seitan taco (trust me on this one), and I'll bet you'll be ordering more than one after you taste it. Happy hour Monday-Friday 5 to 7 pm, 1221 Locust Street
You honestly won't mind squeezing into the tiny, quaint bar at Zavino during their happy hour: The best pizza in the hood is only $8 and is made fresh before your eyes in a brick oven. There are also a ton of wine and beer specials to wash down those carbs, and the friendly, warm, and cozy environment is a great place to take a date. Happy hour Monday-Friday 4:30-6:30 pm, 112 South 13th Street
Sure, Valanni isn't "gay" so to speak, but it seems to attract just about everyone in the hood for their happy hour specials: half-off speciality drinks and wines by the glass, $5 you call it, and $3 Yuenglings, plus an assortment of tasty tapas. The cucumber martini is my go-to weapon of choice, plus the people watching and awesome dance beats make this the early evening spot to be seen. Happy hour Monday-Friday 4:30-7 pm, Saturday 12 to 3 pm, 1229 Spruce Street
And this, in a week that has already had some pretty good news in it AND some great news about lunch in it. So that’s really saying something, even though it’s only Tuesday.
The very first time I sat down at Rich Landau‘s bar, I wanted to know when the place was going to be open for lunch. So much more casual and approachable than Vedge, it just seemed like the kind of place that would be perfect for a long lunch, a couple cocktails, and a few little fried (vegan) snacks from the kitchen. I asked Landau if there were plans for lunch. He said yeah, but not, you know, soon (because the place had pretty much just opened). But starting on Thursday of this week, my wish will come true and V Street will begin serving lunch from 11:30-2pm, Monday through Friday.
And, of course, we have a menu.
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From left, Laurel chefs Kyle McCormick, Edmund Konrad, Nick Elmi, and Paul Becker.
| Photo by Michael Persico
Three months. That’s about how long it takes us to eat at every important restaurant in the city. And then eat there again. And, sometimes, again.
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Coren at Vedge. He called Vedge, “the best vegan cooking I have ever had.”
Times of London restaurant critic Giles Coren was in Philadelphia this spring filming his TV show Million Dollar Critic for Canada’s WNetwork. The show visited five Philadelphia restaurants in order for Coren to bestow one of them with his million dollar recommendation (because the review could be worth more than a million dollars in business).
Coren visited Vedge, Cheu Noodle Bar, Avenue Delicatessen, The Mildred (now closed) and Kanella. In the end, Coren heaped the most praise on Kanella, the Cypriot BYOB by Konstantinos Pistillides.
Kanella is the sort of place I wish I could review every week: a buzzing local taverna on a lively city corner, people of all ages and ethnicities sitting at outside tables, simply decorated inside, full of laughter, friends and family, and charming staff serving a cuisine rooted deeply in a foreign culture rather than just ripping it off, with a deadly serious chef at the helm.
Read the full review of Kanella on Huffington Post’s Canadian edition.
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