My daugher Tracy went to graduate school in Philadelphia, and I used to visit her regularly. Because she and I like to cook together, plus she had a lot of studying to do, we mostly ate at her home. I do regret though, that in those days of frequent visits, I never got to Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby’s famed restuarant Horizons, or to their sold out vegetable dinners at the James Beard House in New York City either.
Fast forward, as time flies, and I did get to Vedge, the restaurant the Rich and Kate opened in 2011, after closing Horizons. This is not an easy reservation to get, but Vedge is is unquestionably worth the wait. The menus at Vedge put vegetables in the spotlight in the most creative way, and without using any animal products. I wrote about my first meal at Vedge, for Philly.com.
I visited Philadelphia last weekend, and V Street is where my friend vegan cookbook author, blogger, and marathon runner Dynise Balcavage, aka The Urban Vegan, and I ate what started out to be a late afternoon snack. However, I was so wowed by the menu that I ordered nearly everything. Dynise, who is fueled by plants and training for the Boston Marathon (she did the New York City Marathon too), picked me up at 30th Street Station after winning a race in the morning. Please do not ask her where she gets her protein.
Sitting at the counter that looks out at the street (the better to see the early St. Paddy’s revelers), we ate every morsal of every dish ordered. We were surprised and very delighted to see Chef, partner, Kate Jacoby coming into the restauarant. She asked what we’d ordered for dessert. Although I’d read about the interesting soft serves, we couldn’t manage another bite and we told her so. But, that was until Chef Kate sent out mini cups of the creamy, spicy, crunchy, magic chocolate shell enrobed soft serve of the day. Yes, we ate it. And then we walked and walked.
The food scene in Philadelphia is booming and vegan is the word. Both Vedge and V Street are worth a trip. I’m looking forward to going back. Actually, I expect to be going back this weekend for the Vegan Cheesesteak finals. Vance Lehmkuhl, who got a cheesesteak from Chef Rich Landau for Senator Corey Booker recently, says well over 600 votes have been cast so far. I’ve never had a cheesesteak of any kind but that will change on Sunday. In the meantime, I think I’d better have Dynise start training me!
V Street photos courtesy of Dynise Balcavage except Mexican Chocolate Soft Serve.