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 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.
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.
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 I too discarded some outdated ingredients, noted what I needed more of, added labels, had my faithful metro cart cut down to fit under the counter.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.
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.
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!
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!