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.

 

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Quintessence=My Second Favorite Vegan Restaurant in Town

Taco, Caprese Pocket, Gochuchang Fofu

Taco, Caprese Pocket, Gochuchang Fofu

Sushi Roll Entree

Sushi Roll Entree

I had an expiring groupon at Quintessence to use, so I went with M. It was packed at 7 p.m. on a cold Tuesday night. Who else wanted to eat raw food on a cold night? East Villagers’ dinner time is after 8 p.m. What happened to that?? We were told that it was a 30 minutes wait. A waitress took M’s phone number. We walked around. 40 minutes in, we got a call letting us know our table is getting ready. When we walked in, we were told to wait outside (again) until she set up the table. But it was 16 ºF outside… I asked her if we could wait just by the door. She said NO. She was firm. We went outside and watched her set up 2 tables rather slowly fiddling napkins’ positions a few times. It’s a tiny space, so that I understand that she needed space to work, but she didn’t make me feel welcomed. When we were finally seated, it was 7:52 p.m.

We ordered 3 appetizers (Caprese Pocket, Gochuchang Fofu, Taco) and a Sushi Roll Dinner. They were all very good and that put a smile on my face. We were hungry and I ate as much as I could, but we couldn’t finish the sushi rolls and no space for deserts left. Gochuchang Fofu was creamy and kimchi-spicy. Caprese Pocket was refreshing, creamy and pesto-y. Taco was not a regular taco. It contained plenty of guacamole and something grainy and hummus like paste in a sweet hard shell.
Since our last visit on Valentine’s Day in 2013, Quintessence has changed their menus. They are no longer raw food only. They took off Creamy Curry Plater which M loved, but added quite a few cooked dishes. They still have enough raw dishes.

Cafe Blossom–My favorite vegan restaurant in NYC

cb-TofuBenedict

Tofu Benedict

Country Breakfast

Country Breakfast

I had an old childhood friend visiting from Japan last week. I took her to my favorite vegan restaurant in NYC, Cafe Blossom (Upper Westside). She ordered Country Breakfast, so I had to order tofu Benedict. Yum yum! A few days later I ordered Country Breakfast at the original location on 9th Ave. They looked very different. Here at Upper Westside, scramble tofu, sweet potato hash, and sauteéd mushrooms were separate as I expected. at 9th Ave location, they were all mixed into 1 mound. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of that. It was still tasty.