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
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)
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.
October 31, 2014
SEVENTY years ago this month, Donald and Dorothy Watson, of Britain, took "the beginning and end of vegetarian," coined the word "vegan," and with a couple of dozen vegetarian friends formed the Vegan Society. That auspicious beginning is celebrated on Nov. 1, this Saturday, as World Vegan Day. The celebration's taking a local turn this year with Philly Vegan Day. There's never been a better time to check out vegan food and vegan living, because this joint will be jumpin' with vegan activity of all sorts.
October 19, 2014 |
CHARLIE WAS A SINNER. 131 S. 13th St., 267-758-5372; charliewasasinner.com If you didn't know vegan cocktails were a thing, you will after a night of "plant-based" imbibing and nibbling at this sultry lounge revamp of a seedy old strip bar on 13th Street, reimagined with some literary pretension by HipCityVeg owner Nicole Marquis. The small-plate menu created by opening chef Michael Santoro and continued by successor Max Hosey is one of the more sophisticated vegan efforts in Philly, and strongest when avoiding mock meats.
September 19, 2014
DID YOU hear that Dunkin' Donuts has almond milk as a dairy-free coffee alternative at three-quarters of their locations? If you didn't, that's OK, because none of those locations are near Philly. "Greater Philadelphia region is not currently one of the markets" with almond milk, a representative told me, though the company does "anticipate this market will offer almond milk in the future. " When in the future? Could be, I was told, as early as "some point in 2015. " Next year?
August 22, 2014 |
Q. I am a vegan. I'm finding this is an issue for some women I date. Take this one girl: She brought a big, greasy cheesesteak to my apartment after I invited her to come watch a movie with me. It stank my whole place up. She sat there and ate the whole thing. It didn't stop us from getting busy, but later after she left, I wondered how to take it. Should I have said something? Mia: She knew you were vegan and brought a big, stinky meat sandwich over to eat in your presence. Dude, that was her way of giving you her middle finger.
August 22, 2014
VEGAN road-tripping can be fun, or it can be a pain. Usually it winds up a mixture. On this summer's family road trip south I took notes, for once, on what worked and what didn't. We drove from Philly through North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains, on down to Key West. Stopping at a number of interesting spots, I learned lessons I hope other vegan travelers can apply elsewhere. The first and foremost lesson: You cannot possibly plan ahead too much. Look at where you're going - and where you might go, with a slight detour, using your phone and Web connection while still at home.
July 25, 2014
I WAS a teenage soda jerk. Nowadays, I'm just . . . a vegan columnist. Obviously, I don't drink the cow-derived milkshakes I used to guzzle at the end of a shift. But I still love the creamy goodness of a tall chocolate shake, minus the original's sad backstory. Fortunately, as I've predicted in earlier columns, vegan ice creams are proliferating in Philly. I know, ice-cream cones are fun, but those of us who want to mainline ice-cream deliciousness know that the milkshake is the format that delivers.