December 28, 2012
I MAY NOT BE the first to notice this, but, geez, what a year, huh? I mean for veg dining in Philly, of course. Long a pioneer in this area (hey, without us there would have been no American Vegetarian Society back in 1850), our town is really moving into the big leagues. This year saw the opening of four noteworthy plant-based businesses, each carving a slightly different niche in a different neighborhood. HipCityVeg has taken Rittenhouse Square by storm (superstorm?) with its mix of burgers, salads and green smoothies.
December 28, 2012 |
Food marketers can toil in the trenches for years before cinching the kind of deal that basically fell into Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby's laps. The food/housewares giant Williams-Sonoma has three sauces branded with the name Vedge, the couple's upscale vegan restaurant in Center City. They are to go on sale this week ($14.95) at more than 150 stores in the United States and the Middle East, and starting Jan. 17 on its website. The arrangement began simply. In the spring, a Williams-Sonoma executive visiting Philadelphia had a good meal at Vedge and called, said Shannon Gomes, a Williams-Sonoma spokeswoman.
December 14, 2012
THERE'S A saying about not giving a man a fish for one meal but instead teaching him to fish, so he eats for . . . well, as long as there are still fish to catch. As V for Veg eschews the gifting of animals (not really ours to gift), here's a better idea: Help your gift recipients learn to cook healthy and flavorful animal-free meals. Our 2012 holiday-gift tip is to pick a special person or two, get them a lovely cookbook - AND make one of the recipes, delivered along with the book (the dollar store has cute holiday tins)
December 6, 2012 |
Growing up in West Chester, in a family of Italian cooks, Christine Sheller appreciated the love that went into the meals she and her siblings ate, even if she sometimes rolled her eyes at the endless foodfest in the kitchen. "Saturday at 5 a.m., you'd be lying in bed and the smell of garlic would be wafting upstairs. It did not appeal," she recalls with a smile. These days, Sheller, 39, a graphic designer living in Philadelphia's Blue Bell Hill neighborhood, has embraced her family's culinary legacy - with one significant change.
November 30, 2012
IF YOU STARTED November as a junk-food junkie, it was kind of a rough month. Papa John's threatened a 14-cent-per-pizza hike. A Denny's franchise (soon contradicted by the parent company) promised a similar 5 percent surcharge. And Hostess, in a fight over union benefits, pulled the plug entirely. All just after President Obama's re-election. Geez, does first lady Michelle Obama's healthier-foods crusade really wield so much clout? If only. Whether economic outcry or postelection posturing, these blips won't budge the monolith of U.S. junk food.
October 18, 2012
OCTOBER IS stuffed with autumnal sights, smells, tastes and traditions. Pumpkins loom large in kitchens and on front stoops, icons of the ongoing harvest and upcoming Halloween festivities. As I noted last time, October is also Vegetarian Awareness Month. This year, it's also the Vegan Month of Food, when food bloggers unleash a daily torrent of plant-based how-to's, affirmations and creativity. Founded in 2007 as a takeoff on NaNoWriMo (National Novel-Writing Month, which participants spend attempting to write a novel)
October 4, 2012
WERE YOU AWARE that October is Vegetarian Awareness Month? No? OK, we just have to try harder in the 27 days we have left. Fortunately, there's a campaign now picking up steam that makes the job easier. Volunteers with the Humane League of Philadelphia are connecting with veg-friendly eateries to tout their plant-based and cruelty-free offerings. They've come up with a small but eye-catching sticker the businesses can affix to an outside door or window that says "Vegan Options Inside.
October 4, 2012 |
Brave! Nicole Marquis is so brave. Visionary, too. In April, she opened HipCityVeg, an organic apple's toss from verdant Rittenhouse Square. Let us pause for a moment and parse her restaurant's name. Hip. City. Veg. For an eternity in Philadelphia, only one of those adjectives ever held true. You know, the city part. Philadelphia was so many things, but hip and healthy were not two of them. The first time I saw Marquis' place, I did a double take. The line was snaking down South 18th, coiling around Sansom, the young and not-so-young, including swells who were clearly not vegan, a Birkin-packing woman with her companion sockless in Guccis.
September 21, 2012
AH, THE CORNUCOPIA: symbol of food abundance. A "horn of plenty" overflowing with food. And all of it 100 percent vegan. Wait, how can that be? Where's the deprivation, the scarcity, the righteous self-denial? Who came up with such a crazy symbol? It's actually logical, of course, because the cornucopia is a "harvest" icon, which means plant produce - and nowadays plant foods are being shared in more abundant variety and diversity than ever, if you know where to look. After I covered Bethlehem's VegFest, I reaped a bumper crop of comments pointing out veggie celebrations, although smaller-scale, much closer to home.
August 10, 2012 |
IT WASN'T that long ago that sidling up to the bar for a beer and a veggie burger was a comical incongruity. But as vegan food goes mainstream, pubs around Philly are now stepping up to serve us not just burgers but creative sandwiches and snack concoctions that often rival their meat-based mainstays. Some intrepid pioneer had to map this territory by drinking all over town. I couldn't pull it off alone, so I teamed up with the man who knows the ropes: Joe Sixpack. Through word-of-mouth and help from vegpa.net , I had found about a dozen spots around the city with standout items (see philly.com/veganpub for a list)