The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Philly: Vegan Brunch Edition
*Welcome to our occasional feature, The Best Thing I Ever Ate in Philly. We’re on a mission to find the most delicious, indulgent restaurant dishes for every kind of dieter—whether you’re gluten-free, vegan, raw and more. We’re all about occasional splurges, and that’s what this series is all about. We’ll talk to foodies to find out their favorite eats, but feel free to add yours in the comments. Bon appétit!
Searching for good vegan brunch is kind of like searching for a breeze in a Bikram class: pretty much impossible to find. Which is a bummer, because brunch — a time where you get to gorge on pancakes and mimosas at 11 a.m. without feeling bad because, well, brunch — is the greatest thing ever.
Sadly though, if you’re vegan, oftentimes, it’s more worth it to sleep in than go out to a brunch where you’ll be forced to eat a plate of sliced tomato and avocado with salt in lieu of any other brunch options while your friends happily chow down on waffles right in front of your face with no regard for your feelings.
So, to help make brunch something our vegan friends can actually look forward to, we asked six local vegan foodies, who really know what they’re talking about, to dish on the best vegan brunches they’ve ever had in Philly. And while many of them admitted it’s slim pickins out there, they did have some go-to favorites. Check ‘em out below, then put eating one of two of them on your to-do list for this weekend. Because sleeping through brunch is no way to live your life.
“When I go to brunch, I go to brunch. I want freakin’ great food and jacked up flavor, so there is no other brunch spot on the planet for me than Sabrina’s at 9th and Christian Streets in South Philly. There’s nothing like watching the waiter saunter to my table with a platter of spiced tofu, peppers, spinach, garlic and shallots scrambled to spicy perfection, a side of their ‘homies’ and slabs of multi-grain toast. Top me off with a mug of their seriously strong java and I am fueled for the day.”
“The best brunch item I’ve ever had, that stands out the brightest in my mind, is a vegan donut from Dottie’s Donuts that I had last November. It was a chocolate peanut butter Oreo donut and no, it was not the healthiest brunch option ever, but it was delicious and, you know, cholesterol-free. The way that the flavors worked together, both blending and contrasting was fantastic, and I found myself chuckling at the self-defeating stance of those who don’t try vegan products because they “can’t be as good” as animal-based. Their loss, and all the more donuts for me!”
“The Vegan Rooster at Memphis Taproom is my go-to brunch. It’s a dish with a variety of vegan breakfast options: tofu scramble, potatoes, and, drumroll please … smoked coconut bacon AKA vegan bacon heaven. Oh! And their Bloody Mary is totally vegan, too!”
“I enjoy brunching over at OCF Coffee House in Fairmount. Not only do they serve vegan pancakes, but you can also get tofu scramble and potatoes if you want to balance your sweet out with something savory. They also make their own cream cheese in house and have multiple vegan flavors — the jalapeño is definitely my go-to!”
“The best vegan brunch I’ve ever had was at Miss Rachel’s Pantry. She does unique, three-course meals that are AMAZING every time. On this particular day, I had the hearts of palm ‘whitefish’ salad, berry french toast with seitan sausage, a tofu scramble with potato hash and coconut bacon, and a tiny strawberry shortcake. It was my birthday and it was worth every bite.”
“My favorite Philly brunch is at Grindcore House. Unsurprisingly, I have a huge sweet tooth (Editor’s note: She does co-own a bakery, after all), so I love to grab a Dottie’s Donut with my iced coffee. My favorite donut flavors are coconut and horchata, but I am always excited to see what other new flavors the boys at Dottie’s are dreaming up. If I want something a little more savory, I generally lean towards the whole-wheat everything bagel with scallion cream cheese or the Greenwich! I also love that GCH has gluten-free bagels and pastries for anyone who has an allergy.”
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