13 Diners You’ll Find in Philly

Illustration by Jessi Falcone

The Winos | Illustration by Jessi Falcone

We here at Foobooz certainly enjoy Philadelphia’s food scene but that doesn’t mean we don’t occasionally roll our eyes at some of the other dining room’s tables. Here is our list of the thirteen kinds of diners you’ll find in Philadelphia. Who do you recognize, what behavior are you guilty of?   

Compiled by Isabelle Gallicchio, Ela Torres and Alex Tewfik

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Joyless Kale Mars P.S. & CO. Experience

Photo by Emily Teel

Adam Erace checks out the vegan P.S. & CO. on Rittenhouse Square and doesn’t come away impressed.

The initials stand for Pure Sweets, Kyan’s original online business, but they could also mean Punishingly Saltless in the case of the summer roll’s tuft of clover sprouts, oranges, mint, and roasted chile tofu and weak ginger-pickled carrots  wrapped in a double layer of brown rice paper that was like chewing through rubber cement. While local vegan restaurants have been striving for crossover appeal, P.S. takes a more hardcore stance — the tea party Republican of vegan eateries.

The sweets fare better but ouch.

P.S. & CO., a business built on treats, opens a vegan eatery in Rittenhouse [City Paper]
P.S. & CO. [Foobooz]

Try This: Vegan Ice Cream and Ice Cream Sandwiches at Pure Fare

The Sweet Potato Custard Brownie Sandwich and the Roasted Cashew Coconut Custard Sandwich. Yum.

The Sweet Potato Custard Brownie Sandwich and the Roasted Cashew Coconut Custard Sandwich. Yum.

Here’s another spot to add to your list of go-to’s for vegan ice cream in Philly: Pure Fare. The healthy grab-and-go lunch spot used to have vegan soft serve, but they just started making their own vegan ice cream, dairy-free custards (no milk products, but they do contain egg), and ice cream sandwiches this summer.

We took one for the team and tried them out ourselves. I’ll be honest, I was a little skeptical that ice cream made primarily of avocados could taste like the real thing. But let me tell you, all of the flavors were absolutely deeeeelicous and the texture was super rich and creamy. If I hadn’t known ahead of time that I was eating vegan ice cream, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell the difference. Read more »

Restaurant Review: Charlie Was a Sinner

Charlie Was a Sinner | Photos by Jason Varney

Charlie Was a Sinner | Photos by Jason Varney

Just how much sinning do you like to do over dinner?

That’s a good question to chew on at Nicole Marquis’s mysterious new bar on 13th Street, where you can drink bourbon and absinthe beneath a looming hardback edition of In Cold Blood, watch sultry projections of Marilyn Monroe flicker upon the ruffles of a diaphanous wall curtain, and soak up your alcohol with food completely untainted by animal products.

In an era abounding with culinary hobgoblins—gluten for him, fructose for her, GMOs for the guy down the street—veganism still reigns unrivaled as the diet of the ethically upright. But the plant-only jawn feels a little racier at Charlie Was a Sinner, and not just because it’s next door to the last surviving porn shop on this once-seedy strip. Marquis, the woman behind HipCityVeg, named her lounge the way Elmore Leonard started crime novels. Who’s Charlie? Has he—or she—repented? Exactly what sort of sin are we talking about here?

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Adios, Cashew Cheese: Real Vegan Cheese Is Coming

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

A few years ago, during a frenzied Whole Foods shopping trip en-route to a cookout, I accidentally grabbed a block of vegan cheddar “cheese” instead of the plain old cows’ milk variety. I didn’t realize my mistake until later on when, after a good 15 minutes on the grill, the cheese still had not melted onto our veggie burgers, which were now burnt to a crisp. Needless to say, it was a total cookout fail, and I’ve been pretty skeptical when it comes to non-dairy cheeses ever since.

But it looks like my skepticism might soon be a thing of the past: A group of scientists is attempting to create Real Vegan Cheese (their term, not mine), by engineering a vegan version of the milk protein casein, and combining the protein with water, vegan sugar and oil to make a vegan milk of sorts. The vegan milk would go through the age-old cheese-making process, as cows’ milk does, to create vegan versions of your favorites, like emmentaler and parmesan, according to the project’s Indiegogo page. Lots of folks are into the idea, it seems: The project has already reached its $15,000 goal, with 21 days left.

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P.S. & Co. to Launch Vegan BYO Weekend Brunch, Among Other Cool Things

P.S. & Co. | Photo by Emily Teel

P.S. & Co. | Photo by Emily Teel

Last week, our pals at Foobooz posted their First Look review of the recently opened P.S. & Co. cafe near Rittenhouse Square, brainchild of Pure Sweets bakery owner Andrea Kyan. You should go read it to find out what our resident foodies have to say, but we wanted to make sure we brought to your attention a few of the cool happenings coming up at the organic, vegan, gluten-free cafe.

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8 Spots to Get Dairy-Free Vegan Ice Cream in Philly

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

On a hot and humid day like this one, when stepping outside feels more like stepping into a sauna, there is absolutely nothing better than a big, heaping scoop of fresh-from-the-freezer ice cream. But if you’re not down with dairy, finding a shop that offers a vegan cup of ice cream can be tough. Lucky for you, we’ve already done the legwork: We tracked down eight local shops that offer delicious vegan ice cream. Now, all you’ve got to do is brave the heat and head to one of these spots for a scoop.

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Philadelphia’s First VegFest Is This Weekend

Philadelphia VegFestTomorrow, Saturday, June 14th is Philadelphia’s first VegFest. The outdoor festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. under the shambles at Headhouse Square. The event features speakers, cooking demos and of course, lots of vegetarian food vendors.

Among the highlights, Vedge’s Rich Landau, freshly back from Paris will be showing off the plant-based cuisine that will be part of his new endeavor, V Street.

In addition to the food, speakers and cooking demos, the afternoon will also feature veg-friendly vendors and live music.

Philly VegFest [Official]

Gastronaut: The Meat of the Matter

First off, let me say this: I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to portraying Philly as a mecca for twig-and-berry eaters.

gastronaut-kagan-mcleod-400

Illustration by Kagan McLeod

Like just about every other food writer out there, I was won over the very first time I stepped into Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby’s Vedge in Midtown Village. After years of sharkishly eating my way through several major American cities as an itinerant restaurant critic, I’d formed some pretty strong opinions about the depth and limits of vegan cuisine, and all of them were burned away the minute I tasted Vedge’s sweet potato pâté.

This, I thought, is what every vegan restaurant in America should be aiming for. This is a cuisine to be proud of.

Immediately I began telling people about it. Loudly and repeatedly. I brought people to Vedge specifically so I could share the weird sideways joy of finding a groundbreaking and totally unexpected version of something you were pretty sure you were going to hate going in.

And it wasn’t just Vedge. It was the bloody beet steak at the Farm and Fisherman. It was the daily lines outside HipCityVeg, and the vegetarian prix fixe at Le Bec-Fin (which, as things turned out, didn’t go so well), and the sudden explosion of plants on so many menus around town. It was the fact that here, of all places, genius vegetable cookery had become the direct heir of the farm-to-table movement, offering the city’s best chefs a whole new range of flavors and textures to play with. After all, if the people of the city appeared willing to eat turnips and roasted brussels sprouts, someone had to charge them for it.

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