V for Veg goes meatless in the 'burbs

VANCE LEHMKUHL / PHILLY.COM VGE's David Selby entices from Bryn Mawr with a vegan treat.
VANCE LEHMKUHL / PHILLY.COM VGE's David Selby entices from Bryn Mawr with a vegan treat.
Posted: July 26, 2013

BOY, remember that long early spring where it seemed the cool, dreary weather would never change? What wonderful times, huh?

When it did start warming up, V for Veg urged you get out and explore your environs - specifically, to find animal-free offerings just outside Philly. I shared some and asked you to send your suggestions of spots I might not know about. And you did!

Now that it's plenty hot, you may not feel like jumping in the car for a trip, but come on, put on those flip-flops and pile in-we're gonna get ice cream!

That's right, vegan soft-serve is the latest addition at Bryn Mawr's VGE (845 W Lancaster Ave., 610-527-3091), as I found out from a photo shared by Lee Hall. I high-tailed it over there and yes, not only is fun, cooling, creamy vegan soft-serve on offer, but it's touted on a ginormous street sign. Can't miss it-and you won't want to!

Further afield, in Montco, is Pottstown's iCreate Cafe (130 King St., 484-312-0404), which comes recommended by Chris Reinke. "The menu is almost all vegan and items that aren't can be made vegan," he noted, adding that the baked falafel is a fave.

Continuing clockwise, both Norristown and Chalfont have an Aman's ( Aman's Authentic Indian Cuisine, 2680 Dekalb Pike, Norristown, 610-277-5565; Aman's Indian Bistro, 3326 Limekiln Pike, Chalfont, 215-997-6555). Neither is a vegan restaurant, but Rachel Bleefeld has found "lots of options," adding that the manager at Chalfont was "super helpful with ordering." She especially likes the Tadka Daal.

In Hatboro, Lisa Harris El Mouaquite wanted to be sure that the Mediterranean-themed Kasbah Cafe was included in our veg roundup. She offered that it's "my husband's place," adding that both husband, Karim, and his chef, Zach Ftouh, are "from Casablanca."

Intriguing. Did they come here for the waters? I neglected to ask, but did learn that Kasbah's vegetarian tagine is vegan - seasonal vegetables and "a great combo of spices" - plus homemade falafel, babaghanoush, lentil-&-yellow pea soup and iced hibiscus tea.

As for Southamption, several people spoke up for Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille (772 2nd Street Pike, 215-942-8888), which has served the area for many years with a vast selection of vegan or veganizable dishes. The first speaker-upper was Dr. Fred Birnbaum, who summed up the enduring appeal of Blue Sage in six words: "Eclectic menu, great soups, falafel, desserts."

Over in Newtown is Green Straw Smoothies (243 N. Sycamore St., 267-685-0539), which Charlie Minanno calls "the best smoothies I have ever had. The mango tree is one of my favorites, because it's tropical sweet but still green."

Minanno is an organizer of the Bux-Mont Vegan Society, a local meetup group that goes to various veg restaurants in the area. He said he's "very health conscious, so I love the fact that Green Straw offers fresh juices and wheatgrass shots."

In South Jersey, Dawn Carlock keeps track of vegan happenings, and recently posted on Vegan Fazool ( veganfazool.blogspot.com) with the latest. She gives shout-outs to the Tofu in Crunchy Lettuce Wraps and the Sauteed Five Spice Tofu with Chive Blossoms at the Cherry Hill Sang Kee Noodle House (1601 Kings Hwy. N., 856-310-2388), as well as the nearby Han Dynasty (404 Rte. 70, 856-428-0088), with "several entrees that can be ordered with tofu as the protein," and where the Spicy Crispy Cucumber and Cold Noodles (with Sesame or Chili Oil) is a favorite appetizer.

And in Collingswood, The Pop Shop (729 Haddon Ave., 856-869-0111) is "a family friendly modern diner with a 50's style soda counter and tons of ice cream (including vegan ice cream!)," says Carlock. She added: "Best vegan pancakes *ever!* Their 'Vegan Bettys' are soft, fluffy, redolent with vanilla and served with powdered sugar. Pop Shop also has a great vegan cheesesteak!"

That's all the mileage we can squeeze into our summer suburbs column, so get out, get some sun and try some of these, but keep your eye out for any others we should know about!

V for VeggieFest: Two of the suburban places from our spring column, Malvern's Su Tao and Devon's Raw Can Roll, will be exhibiting at CARE VeggieFest on Sat. Aug. 10 from 12-4 in West Chester. Info: ChesterCountyCare.com.

Follow Vance Lehmkuhl on Twitter: @V4Veg.

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