Let me tell you, this was the best girls’ night out.
Terry Hope Romero is a New Yorker who knows more about Philly than many natives. Terry’s website, VeganLatina, lists her as a foodpunk and nerd and she’s an author, with books like Vegan Eats World, Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, Viva Vegan!, and Salad Samurai. She came to stay overnight with me in Philadelphia on very short notice when our friend Charlene Nolan alerted us to an all day culinary conference at the big Parkway Library of Philadephia. This all day conference by Journee, an organization I knew in NYC, highlighted Philly industry leaders who shared inspiring stories about building their careers. Among the speakers were Michael Franco of Baril, Jezabel Careaga of Jezabel’s Cafe, Chloe Grigri of Good King Tavern, Ben Miller and Cristina Martinez of South Philly Barbacoa.
Terry, Char, and I met at the library, and we enjoyed fair-trade coffee from Joe and vegan bowl lunches from Sweetgreen. After the wine tasting, I left to do my live event for Rouxbe, Can This Dessert Be Saved. I returned to the library in time for the guest get-together on the beautiful roof. This is some library. Just look at photos of the culinary teaching kitchen.
As soon as I knew Terry was coming, I wasted no time getting a reservation at Vedge. As it was Char’s anniversary, she wasn’t able to join us, choosing dinner with her husband Patrick instead, of course, but our friend Dynise Balcavage, aka TheUrbanVegan and MasteringRunning.com met us at the restaurant, after her workout- of course.
Vedge prides itself on being a “foodie’s” restaurant – for omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and carnivores alike. And that it is. Husband and wife team Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby are the chefs and owners of Vedge (V Street and WizKid, too). Chef Rich Landau was in the house that night, and I did a double take when he said to me, “Hi Philly Girl!” Not too bad to live five minutes from Vedge, I tell you.
We basically ordered the menu, and I know that’s a pretty regular thing to do at Vedge. This restaurant is worth a trip, but reserve well in advance.
We were having so much fun, that we forgot to get a photo of the three of us together. But we took plenty of pictures of the food, and we ate every bit off every plate. We also closed the place. Dynise’s photos were much better than mine, so she gets the credit here.
Rutabaga Fondue – You will want a straw to get every last drop – even Food & Wine thought so! Today’s soft pretzel, yesterday’s pickle, and charred onion.
Portobello Carpaccio – Deviled turnip, caper puree, and nigella grissini. I’m not a fan of raw mushroom preparations, but I went back the next night, sat at the bar to eat a plate of these again.
Nebrodini Mushrooms as “fazzoletti”, tomato, basil. You’d swear this was pasta, the best you ever ate and it’s gluten-free and layered with flavor.
Pea Leaves flash seared, smoked onion dashi, beet ‘sashimi’. I had never had pea leaves before. Amazing.
Ssamjang Glazed Tofu – Edamame puree, burnt miso, cucumber, sea beans, toasted nori. A stunning plate of “vegan protein” and delicious.
Eggplant Braciole – Smoked eggplant, Italian salsa verde, cured olive. This dish is so delicate, yet you will swear you are eating sausage at the Italian market.
Ambrosia Fruits of the Season, with basil marshmallow, white chocolate panna cotta, and almond soil. I enjoyed this new to the menu dessert at my birthday dinner. I wasn’t expecting this plate to be so complex based on the name, “ambrosia”. The “dirt” is almonds with activated charcoal. A must order but remember, food at Vedge is seasonal.
Blueberry Cheesecake – Lemon gel, lavender-poppy ice cream. No offense to any of the other good vegan cheesecakes I’ve enjoyed, but this is the first one that tasted like the cheesecake I grew up eating in New York City. Still, the just right portion size and accompaniments, makes this total delight.
Strawberry-Sorrel Bread Pudding – Strawberry gazpacho, saffron ice cream. Another surprise – a light but lively bread pudding, with, well you see….
Chocolate Uber Chunk – Malt custard, pretzels & peanut butter, stout ice cream. This dish, served in a ball jar like a budino, isn’t light but that didn’t stop us from eating every last lick of it. See the photo in the main dessert photo.
Have you eaten at Vedge? What are your favorite dishes? What would you order? Go!