Vedge: the best vegan restaurant in Philly

I went to visit my childhood friend in Philadelphia. She was dying to take me to Vedge, the best vegan restaurant in Philly. Since none of her family members were vegan or vegetarian including herself, she didn’t have much chance to go there. Another friend of mine who lives in New York City cherished Vedge. She is not vegan, either. My verdict? Yes, I agree with them absolutely. I didn’t even have to visit other so called vegan restaurants in Philly. Another one, V Street, is created by the same chefs from Vedge any way. However since V Street has more ethnic influenced menus, I’m going to visit them next time when I’m in Philadelphia.

Everything I ate at Vedge was absolutely delicious. Their dishes are very creative and labor of love. You don’t want to cook them at home. Too much effort. Each dish requires multiple steps if they were not complicated. Vedge is a fancy tapas bar/restaurant. Each dish is small and bit too salty to eat by itself. But if you pair them up with a drink, it is fabulous. I can not drink! Too bad. I had to drink 3 glasses of water with this meal.

Vedge-appetisers

Our choice of appetizers at Vedge

Vedge appetizers: Salt Roasted Gold Beets with smoked tofu, capers, dill, avocado,”pastrami”; Asparagus in peapod dashi with yukon gold noodles; Nebrodini Mushrooms as “fazzoletti” basil, roasted tomato.

Dished we ordered were all delicious and quite creative. Asparagus was not what I expected though. I’m trying to pick one favorite among these, but I can’t. Mushroom noodles with grape roasted tomatoes was one of the best Italian appetizers that I ever tasted. But the best creativity reward goes to the Salt Roasted Gold Beets. The naming is not quite right, because beet is not the main in this dish. Smoked tofu and avocado had the equal impact.

Eggplant Brociole: smoked eggplant, italian salsa verde, cured olive

Eggplant Braciole: smoked eggplant, italian salsa verde, cured olive

This one was a home-run. It looks like a sausage, but it melts in your mouth! I was curious what else was in it because the description on the menu was not everything that I as tasting. It turned out that roasted cauliflower and tons of awesome olive oil were mixed in it. Over all, Vedge uses a lot of high quality olive oil. I mean a lot. My stomach had a slight bloating 10 minutes after I ate. My friend suggested that it was because we ate late. She could get us only a 9:30 p.m. reservation. The reservation on a Friday night was tough. At the last minute, they awarded us 9 o’clock reservation, but by the time our order was in, it was 9:30 p.m. any way. And I don’t remember how long it took for the first course to arrive. I ate after 9 p.m. for 2 weeks while I was in Spain and I was fine with it, so I doubt it was because of the lateness made my stomach bloat. I can not eat that much of oil at once, even if it’s a high quality olive oil.

Vedge-Miso Grilled Tofu

Miso Grilled Tofu: edamame puree, roasted miso, yuba crackling, sea bean

Very good, but compared to the eggplant, this was ordinary goodness. The miso dressing was special. We were all puzzled by sea beans. We asked about them. We googled them. We were still mystified by them.

Vedge-maitake

Sheared Maitake Mushroom: celery root fritter, smoked leek lemoulade

Maitake mushrooms are yummy just by quickly cooked with olive oil any way. So yes, once again, this was very good dish, but not in comparison to the eggplant dish.

Vedge-desserts

Dessert: Chocolate Bar and Sour Cherry Cheesecake

Chocolate Bar: elderflower caramel pecans, blackberry jam, lavender ice cream
Sour Cherry Cheesecake: moroccan mint pesto, halva ice cream, za’atar candied pistachios

Chocolate Bar is not gluten free, so that I could not taste it. I tasted the sour cherry cheesecake (minus crust) and the nut icecream. Creamy, sweet and tart, cold, lovely.

My boyfriend said that if they could do vegan desserts well, they are the top notch vegan restaurant. For me, I don’t expect them to do desserts well, but definitely if they can do a gluten free vegan dessert well, I will give them another star. Vedge has one gluten free dessert, but we opted out because when we saw sour cherry on the dessert menu, we had to have it.

 

Tough Choices for Vegana+sin Gluten in Barcelona, Spain

Alright. I knew it would be tough to be a vegan and gluten free in Spain. But Boy, YES, it was really really tough. There are plentiful beautiful vegetables and fruits at local vegetable stands, and they are not expensive. 2 big bundles of baby green asparagus was 3 euros. I walked onto an organic farmer’s market by Ave. del Paral-lel on the last day there. It was Saturday. There were a few green produce vendors and their produce was flying. There was a preserve shop where I really wanted to buy a jar of preserves, but couldn’t find the one I liked.

Yet, to find a pure vegetable dish in a restaurant was a mission impossible. The common vegetable dishes you can find in a restaurant there were potatoes and pimientos. Once at a tapas bar in a mercat, I saw green asparagus and I had them. They were fine, but 12.60 euros for 6 green asparaguses was ummm, a bit too much. Especially when you can have a complete meal with vine and dessert costs the same or less.

There are a handful of vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona, and most of their dishes are pretty good, but if you can’t eat gluten/eggs/cheese, well, then your choices would become half. Here are my favorite dishes that I had at Sésamo, one of the top 10 vegetarian restaurants in Barcelona.

Cauliflower Bomb at Sésamo

cauliflowerBomb

This was totally a cauliflower bomb. I forgot its real name. Roasted whole head of cauliflower with tahini sauce and pesto sauce drizzled over it. I didn’t think I could finish this only with another person, but of course I did.

Killer Desserts at Sésamo

deserts

Dark Chocolate Fondue with fresh fruits, Mango/avocado/chia seeds pudding, and chocolate caramel truffles. I know caramel is not vegan, but when I saw them, I had to try one. The pudding was good and interesting, but the dark chocolate fondue was absolutely my fave. I licked the glass.

Chow for Now=a vegetarian friendly charming neighborhood bakery cafe

Asian Chop

Asian Chop

I wanted to go out for a brunch, but just to a low key place nearby. Chow for Now is what a good vegetarian friendly local bakery cafe should be in every way. They have a few vegan baked goods. I felt like just a big bowl of salad with a few bites of yumminess as accent. Asian Chop was just that. When a waiter brought this bowl to me, I said, “It’s huge!” He smiled and said, “I’d like to see you finish it.” Well, he did.

Sacred Chow=yum yum!

Tapas at Sacred Chow

Tapas at Sacred Chow

It was a very interesting food experience at Sacred Chow last night. I’m using “interesting” in the originally intended way, not one of those times you say it when you are not quite sure what to say. For one, they are not kinds of vegan food I make every day. Yes, I make marinated grilled tofu and meat balls, but theirs were different than mine. Meatballs were chewy and more meaty texture than mine. The tomato sauce on them was just like mine=very good. M voted Chinese Crepe to be the best among them. Ha! I voted Korean BBQ Jerky to be the best. They were both specials of the day.

We had 6 tapas. 3 tapas for $19.50  is not cheap, but worthy it. From the left top, Grilled Nama Gori, Korean BBQ Jerky, Chinese Crepe with some kind of grilled tofu filling with plum sauce. From the right top, Lentil Sunflower seeds Pate, Meatballs with tomato sauce, Thai Ginger BBQ Seitan. Thai Ginger BBQ Seitan was very good, too, but its taste was expected one, no surprise was there. Lentil Sunflower seed Pate was good, but very salty and peppery.

It is a tiny place and it seems to be only 1 person cooking. The service can be slow and a wait can be long. Go there at off hours if you can. Then you can enjoy the best of them. I rank Sacred Chow as my second favorite vegan restaurant in town (the same place with Quintessence).

Indie Food and Wine at Lincoln Center

Quinoa Salad and Side of Cauliflower

Quinoa Salad and Side of Cauliflower

I went to Amphitheater at Lincoln Center the other night with a friend to see an art film. Afterwards, I was hungry, but my friend was not. We peaked in the cafe in the theater and decided to go in. It was a nice choice. They have a few nice salads and sides to make a vegan meal. I chose Quinoa Salad, which was more like arugula salad with a scoop of quinoa thrown on it, and a side of spicy cauliflower. My desert was the only vegan choice, chocolate mousse. The menu changes every day. It’s nice to know that they are right there.

Wild Ginger!

House Bibimbap

House Bibimbap

Carrot Ginger Salad

Carrot Ginger Salad

Oh oh oh, this is my new favorite vegan restaurant in my hood. I wanted to try this place and in fact, I sent friends over there, but I’ve not been there until today. I ordered Carrot Ginger Salad because I was not that hungry and wanted a salad. I loved their carrot ginger dressing. It was simply done, yet tasted fresh and yummy. The house bibimbap is a must have. 8 yummy toppings (seitan, avocado, green & black seaweed, chick peas, spinach, mango, salsa & kimchee) over coconut rice come with sweet sesame and sweet kimchee sauces plus pumpkin soup. I’m mildly allergic to coconut milk, so I had a few small bites, but it was tasty. I have to go back there to try some more soon!

 

Peacefood Cafe

Coconut Bean Soup

Coconut Bean Soup

Chickpea Fries

Chickpea Fries

Roasted Squash, Cauliflower and Mashed Potato

Roasted Squash, Cauliflower and Mashed Potato

We were on our way to a movie theater and saw this cafe, and decided to give it a try. Squash in roasted squash dish was spaghetti squash, and that’s one squash I don’t care about. If I’ve known it, I ordered a different thing or substituted it with un-chicken cutlets. The best part of this dish was the mushroom gravy. The mushed potato was simply done, but good. It was just too much of it. I wish this dish came with a few more different roasted vegetables, and cauliflower was too hard. The coconut bean soup was interesting and good, but I didn’t taste much of coconut. The popular chickpea fries were really good, but even between hungry 2 adults, we couldn’t finish them because they were oil heavy and felt heavy on our heat tired stomach. Well, they are “fries”, and chickpeas soaked up a lot of oil. The waiter told us their homemade veggie burger after we ordered. I said I will order it next time, but when I saw their menu, there was no veggie burger listed although there are a few vegetable panini listed. I wonder which one he meant by it.