Memorable Vegan Meals

Posted: July 17, 2008

I found it surprisingly easy to eat out as a vegan after my recent transition to meat-and-dairy free eating. Below are some of my favorite spots.

In this city, Horizons Restaurant, 611 S. 7th St., 215-923-6117, is vegan heaven (that is, they have both a vegan menu and a liquor license). Landau's love of the Caribbean is in evidence in his Hearts of Palm Cakes, with their fluffy interior and crispy exterior, and spicy-sweet Jamaican BBQ Seitan. Both are legendary among his loyal clientele.

A few other spots come through in a pinch:

Grab-and-go lunches belong to the Basic 4 Vegetarian Snack Bar, Reading Terminal Market, 215-440-0991. Their Mock Tunafish and Vegeburgers are made of real vegetables and taste nothing like the rubbery soy-based stuff you buy anywhere else. Govinda's Gourmet Vegetarian, 1408 South St., 215-985-9303, is another favorite lunch spot, with vegan sandwiches and new twists on Indian favorites.

Chinatown's Singapore Restaurant, 1006 Race St., 215-922-3288, is my favorite for vegan Chinese, with a friendly atmosphere and an owner who makes you feel like an old friend, but there are others, too. New Harmony, 135 N. 9th St., 215-627-4520, and Kingdom of Vegetarians, 129 N. 11th St., 215-413-2290, with their expansive dim sum menus (and you thought you had to give up steamed pork buns) are also worth a visit. Dahlak Eritrian Bar Cuisine, has two locations 4708 Baltimore Ave., 215-726-6464 and 5547 Germantown Ave., 215-849-0788 and a vegetarian mesob, or platter, that's overflowing with vegetables, spices and sauces. Once you try the spongy injera bread, which is used instead of utensils, you'll daydream about it.

For suburban dining, Southampton BYOB Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille, 772 Second St. Pike, 215-942-8888, is always packed, and for good reason. They'll leave out dairy if you like, but with vegan choices like sweet, chewy, crunchy Green Curry BBQ Summer Rolls and the Cubano Supper, which features plantain pastries stuffed with sunflower seed and red pepper pesto, why bother?

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