A New Yorker Moves to Philly

Morning Sky Philly
Morning Sky Philly
The Philly morning sky

So here I am, a lifelong New Yorker, living in Philadelphia, PA, since June 6th. That is Philly, the city, not Phillie, the team. (Thanks, Vance.) I am feeling absolutely relaxed and happy in my new city and my new home.

The Mural Wall Ball
The Mural Wall Ball with Amy and Jon.

The question I’ve been asked regularly recently, along with “where do you get your protein,” is “why’d you move?” There was not an absolute a-ha moment, but over the last few years, my visits to Philadelphia have been more frequent, and I felt more at home each time. My daughter-in-law’s family is here, in fact, and her cousin sent me an annotated map of neighborhoods. I stayed a few days after judging the Philly Vegan Cheesesteak Contest earlier this year and began to look at apartments. When I saw this one, I had a heart connection. And there you have it.

With Alice at Soy Café
With Alice Leung, chef, owner  at Soy Café in Northern Liberties.
PS & Co, Philly with chef owner Andrea Kyan, a Boot Camp grad

You may know that Philly is  hotspot for vegans. I don’t need a car in this walkable city, and my location is ideal. I am actually five minutes from Vedge and PS & Co, and ten minutes from VStreet and the Rittenhouse Square Farmer’s Market.  I’m near Hip City Veg, Bar Bombon, and SweetGreen too, and that is just a partial list. I owe special thank yous to Char Nolan; Kate and Rich Landau from Vedge and VStreet; Andrea from PS & Co.; and Alice Leung, of Soy Café for the support, friendship and great meals. (Both Andea and Alice are Vegan Baking Boot Camp graduates.) And thanks too, to Dynise Balcavage, the original Urban Vegan, a plant-based marathon runner and cookbook author, as well as my daughter Tracy and grandson Seth who met the movers for me.

Za'atar Corn from VStreet
My favorite seasonal dish from VStreet: Za’tar Grille Corn
signature carrot plate at VEDGE
The Wood Roasted Carrot at Vedge, one of the signature dishes.

I moved with 80 boxes, most of them cookbooks, although I had donated many more before leaving. With boxes everywhere, the first thing I did was set up my kitchen. I have much more counter space here and room to keep my high-speed blender container on the base. You could say I did the pantry reset activity that is among the first graded activities in the Essential Vegan Desserts Course. I’ve been interested in and impressed by the students’ resets, and am now even more so. I too discarded some outdated ingredients, noted what I needed more of, added labels, had my faithful metro cart cut down to fit under the counter. I was glad I moved an old Elfa basket unit as it fit perfectly into a pantry that had only one shelf. This is a work in progress, but I have been cooking, and so far it’s been a pleasure. The appliances are brand new and the oven is convection! I think I’ll bake something tomorrow to test it.

Knickerbocker Glory Parfait at VStreet
A birhday candle was in this Knickerbocker Glory Parfait at VStreet!
Ambrosia with White Chocolate Panna Cotta
Ambrosia with White Chocolate Panna Cotta, Basil Marshallow Cream, and Almond Dirt from VStreet

Of the surprises I’ve encountered: Trader Joe does not deliver, (Hello, Lyft, as I hadn’t taken my shopping cart), nor does Whole Foods Market – it’s Instacart only. I’m excited that MOMS Organic Market will be opening nearby soon, Char tells me it’s super.


Dynise Balcavage and I at Paris Vegan Day
With Char Nolan (Middle) DNC Vegan Luncheon

The tomato plant on my terrace, a volunteer plant from the my daughter’s family’s garden in Doylestown, is thriving. The Mural Wall Ball was super fun—I can see one of the city’s many murals from my terrace. And to come soon: Blackbird Pizza, Miss Rachel’s Pantry, Charlie Was a Sinner, Govinda, Goldies, and PopUp Summer Gardens. Philly readers, please make suggestions for places I should try!

The Rittenhouse Square Farmer's Market
The Rittenhouse Square Farmer’s Market

Today is National Smoothie Day, and I’ve been drinking smoothies every day since my move to keep my energy up. My favorite is the Cacao, Matcha, and Kale Smoothie from Vegan Chocolate. What’s yours? And again, if any Philadelphia readers would like to offer some tips, please do!


  • Welcome! This is exciting news. I moved to the area a year ago and have been loving all the vegan options. Mom’s is hands down the BEST place to shop (I go to the one in Cherry Hill, NJ). The hardest part of my move last year was leaving behind my wonderful Coop in Burlington, VT, but that cleared once Mom’s opened. Thanks for sharing some new places for me to check out 🙂

    • Hi Courtney,
      Thanks for writing. Coops are wonderful- I know. Char Nolan has been raving at Mom’ and I met some of the folks at the Farm Show a few months ago! I only know my way around walking this area and do not have a car, so Cherry Hill feels too far to shop. I’ll wait until the end of July for the opening!

      • I’d somehow previously missed the fact that you’re moving much closer to family…such a good reason to relocate. I really feel as if NYC will not be the same without you. I’ve never been to Philly, but if we get there, we’ll definitely hope to see you again.

        Looking forward to reading all about your continued adventures in Philadelphia!

        • Well, Mac, NYC is a mere 1 hr 15 from Philly. some people commute. Next time you and the lovely Victoria are in NYC, get on Amtrak and we’ll go to Vedge. Be prepared to have your head spin.

          • That sounds delightful, Fran. We’ll let you know when (and if) we’re on the right coast. As always, we wish you joy and happiness. You are such a gorgeous mensch.

          • and you are such a flatterer- and lucky to see the gorgeous Victoria every day!!

  • I’d somehow previously missed the fact that you’re moving much closer to family…such a good reason to relocate. I really feel as if NYC will not be the same without you. I’ve never been to Philly, but if we get there, we’ll definitely hope to see you again.

    Looking forward to reading all about your continued adventures in Philadelphia!

  • Sounds like you e got some good stuff going on Fran. Wishing you well with continuing satisfaction and enjoyment from this move.
    See you at Summerfest

  • Philly is so much more livable than NYC…and so much more green! I miss living off Rittenhouse Square and stopping at all the different shops for dinner ingredients on my way home from work. It’s such a European style life there, and I know you will just love it. Enjoy every minute!!

    • I am really starting to understand what you mean Rebecca. It’s still a city, totally walkable, but it is easier and I have been doing just what you say. It does have the European feeling. Community too. Today I learned about FANTES, toystore for cooks! And the farmers market at Rittenhouse Square– mushroom =s from Kennet Square!! Other than one conference coming soon, I am having a summer staycation so I can enjoy learning the city! Thank you!

  • That’s wonderful! Sounds like you made a good move. Philly sounds great! It’s only 2 hours away from me in Maryland; I should really make a trip there sometime And yes, MOM’s is a fantastic store! There’s one close to me here.

    • Thank you Dynise for the warm welcome and practible information, including– yoga class! I’m happy to know I’ll be seeing more of you.

  • I don’t know if they still have them but I have fond memories of the fantastic spinach pies (in the Damascus Bakery mode) from Bitar’s in the Italian Market area from twenty years ago when I was at law school at Penn. Congratulations on the move!

    • Cheryl, The Italian Market is on my must get to list. I hope to finally do so early next week. Moving was far more hectic than I thought it would be but the city and people are terrific.

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