March 19, 2015
S TEVE LAURENCE, 63, of Bella Vista, is founding partner and chief operating officer of Vegan Commissary, on 11th Street near Morris in South Philadelphia. The biz includes a restaurant that uses only plant-based ingredients, sells wholesale to other restaurants, and caters and hosts special events. The eatery opened in December 2013. Q: Where'd the idea for Vegan Commissary come from? A: I managed MilkBoy [at 11th and Chestnut] and left to do consulting. Some friends who rented space in Comcast Center asked me to make prepared foods.
March 13, 2015
WITH SNOW melted, temps in the 50s instead of the 20s and evening daylight, spring suddenly seems imminent. And next Friday, March 20, on the first day of spring, Weavers Way in Chestnut Hill will host the final judging event of our contest to name the Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly. This will be part of an all-day celebration of the Great American Meatout at Weavers Way, which also will feature vegan cheesesteaks at its hot bar that day. Our panel of judges - author and M.D. Ana M. Negron, Councilwoman Cindy Bass, registered dietitian and activist Ed Coffin and Pat's Steaks proprietor Frank Olivieri Jr. - will taste the top three qualifying sandwiches on the philly.com ballot (find it at philly.com/vegancheesesteak )
March 6, 2015
WITH 25 NOMINEES and counting, the 2015 Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philadelphia contest is in full swing, and the competition is already getting fierce. If your favorite is among the existing nominees, you can vote for it once per calendar day here: philly.com/vegancheesesteak . And if it's not, write it in! The top 10 vote-getters will be listed in the Daily News on March 19. The top three qualifying finalists will submit sandwiches for final judging at a gala event at Weavers Way Chestnut Hill on March 20 at 4 p.m. Our judges will be: * Frank Olivieri Jr., proprietor of Pat's King of Steaks and grandson of cheesesteak co-originator Harry Olivieri.
February 27, 2015
LAST YEAR, the Daily News inaugurated our contest to find the best vegan cheesesteak in Philly. We were curious to see how many places offered a meatless, cheeseless version of the iconic Philadelphia sandwich. The public nominated 23 venues, and, in the final tasting event, Blackbird Pizzeria took the honors. Yet, even as the greasy foil wrappers were being wadded up for disposal, cries of "wait till next year!" were heard among the runners-up. Now Blackbird aims to defend its title as we seek the 2015 Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly . Voting opens today and ends at noon on March 18. One voter chosen at random will win dinner for two at Flora Restaurant, in Jenkintown.
February 5, 2015 |
Queen Bey kicks off vegan biz Cavort in delighted bliss, oh, ye healthy eaters! Beyoncé has come to your rescue - including here in Philly! With her trainer and biz partner Marco Borges , Bey has just started 22 Days Nutrition, a home-delivery vegan food service. And they deliver to Philly, yo! Meals run between $9 and $15, and they tell us they're pure, good stuff, fresh, never frozen, much like Bey her lovely self. Bey and hub Jay Z went famously vegan for a time in 2013, Instagramming their food, even (but what filters did they use?
January 16, 2015 |
Cocktails in hand, donor guests at the opening of "Body Worlds: Animals Inside Out" at the Franklin Institute hovered around a carving station. Instead of roast beef or turkey, however, the Frog Commissary Catering server sliced away at whole roast cauliflower, plating the "filets" with a dab of smoked tomato coulis and a scoop of kabocha squash, kale, and wheatberry pilaf. It was a convincingly hearty, savory dish for a cold evening, particularly given that the entire event was vegetarian.
January 9, 2015
VEGAN restaurants tend to share an origin story: Earnest vegans, cooking food to nourish the heart, soul and planet, share their culinary activism with the public at large. Sometimes it works, sometimes there's more sincerity than cooking aptitude. But in Jenkintown, the new Flora is a novel case: a vegan restaurant started by nonvegans (with a nonvegan chef) on the notion that it's good business. "Yeah, in-between Blue Sage [Vegetarian Grille, in Southampton] and Center City, there weren't a whole lot of vegan dining options," explained Dan Brightcliffe, a co-founder who also doubles as low-key host and waiter for the cozy, 16-seat venue, on Old York Road between Greenwood and West avenues.
December 12, 2014
CORY BOOKER is known for blazing his own trail, jumping into the national spotlight as mayor of Newark, then winning a 2013 special election to become the first black U.S. senator from New Jersey. Booker won a full term last month and, since that day, the vegetarian since 1992 has been conducting an "experiment" to eat strictly vegan for the rest of 2014. After that, who knows? He could become the first vegan U.S. senator. The day he tweeted his intentions was the same day that Center City vegan restaurant Vedge was named "Top Food" in Zagat's new Philadelphia Restaurant Survey.
November 7, 2014
ON A RECENT Saturday afternoon, I finally went hunting. I was outfitted to fight the elements and loaded for - not bear, but certainly hen of the woods and other kinds of wild-growing edible mushrooms. Armed with a knife and an old grocery bag, I set out with fungi enthusiast and local photographer Michele Frentrop and expert mushroom collector Felix Giordano to earn our food just like our ancestors did. Well, Felix's ancestors, anyway. I doubt mine ever had a plant-based meal that didn't originate in a freezer.
November 7, 2014
YOU DON'T have to hunt wild mushrooms to enjoy earthy dishes. In Happy Herbivore: Holidays & Gatherings (BenBella Books) Lindsay Nixon has portobellos stand in for beef in a warming dish she pairs with polenta (recipe below) or mashed potatoes. PORTOBELLO POT ROAST 2 cups vegetable broth, divided 1 small onion, sliced thin 3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced 2 to 3 carrots, sliced 1 parsnip, sliced (optional) 4 portobello mushrooms, de-stemmed, cut into strips 1 cup water 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 6 to 8 sprigs fresh thyme 1 sprig fresh rosemary Vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)