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
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?