Eating Our Way Through Philly

As you probably know, Amy spent the last three weeks in Philly at an artist residency at the Philadelphia Art Hotel (PAH) (whose most excellent proprietors Krista and Zak are both veg, btw!). You’ve seen the awesome Swedish pancakes they made. We also spent a little time out and about exploring and, of course, eating. After three weeks, Amy had learned the lay of the land and took me on a little tour.

One of our first stops downtown was the Reading Terminal Market–a huge indoor market with assorted shops and restaurants. Being in Philly, our first stop was the pretzel stand (the Pennsylvania Dutch [a bit of a misnomer–they came here as Germans–Deutsch] are known for their pretzels–be sure to ask for these without butter). This gave us just enough fuel to finish wandering and check out the Liberty Bell, which–unbelievably–was free. It’s nice to know there are a few elements of our heritage that have yet to be fully commercialized.

For some reason, I was expecting it to be much bigger.

Before our friend Shelby gave us a tour of the Paula Wilson and Mel Chin (Fundred Dollar Bill) shows at the Fabric Workshop, we headed back to the Terminal Market for a slightly larger meal, this time consisting of a vegan meatball hoagie and Philly cheesesteak sammich from Basic 4 Vegetarian Snack Bar.

The meatball hoagie was pretty good. The cheesesteak sammich was about how it looked: greasy and gross, but tasty. I don’t think we’d normally eat this type of stuff, but since we were in Philly, it seemed like the thing to do. Philly’s not famous for its salads.

Later that night, however, Amy surprised me with the best tapas (and sangria) we’ve ever had at Amada.

While not exclusively veg, they had a really good selection of veg options and the staff was very knowledgeable about what was vegan and/or could be made vegan. We got Ensalada Verde (green chopped salad, with asaparagus, favas, and green beans), Habas a la Catalana (warm fava and lima bean salad), Escalavida (roasted peppers, onions, eggplant, and tomatoes), Garbanzos con Espinacas (a chick pea and spinach curry), and Setas (a variety of AMAZING wild mushrooms). Our meal and service were outstanding.

On our last night in Philly, Amy took me to a local favorite, the Memphis Taproom. They serve a great variety of both local and non-local brews (apparently Pennsylvania, like Michigan, is a big time micro-brewing state). They’re menu featured a bunch of very clearly labeled vegan burgers and sides, all of which looked quite good (word has it that one of the owners is vegan). We went with the Smoked Coconut Club (grilled tofu & coconut bacon [yes, coconut bacon! it was awesome!]) and the Hefeweisen Hummus (with deep fried chick peas). The Club was truly something else. Shaved, smoked coconut as the bacon. Whoever invented that deserves a medal. Awesome. (Amy had this on four separate occasions.) Aside from the great food and beer, the staff were really nice, and Jawbreaker was playing on the stereo when we left.

I didn’t have a chance to check it out, but Amy and crew hit up North Bowl one night. Not only can you drink and bowl, bowl and drink, but you can get vegan buffalo wings! And portobello fries! And tater tots! If you have the time, definitely worth hitting up.

Let freedom ring.

2 comments ↓

#1 lazysmurf on 08.26.10 at 5:14 pm

I love Philly! I haven’t been in years I can’t believe the Hefeweisen Hummus!

#2 Mihl on 08.27.10 at 3:28 am

That sounds like a great trip! The idea of Hefeweizen hummus cracks me up. Beer in hummus? I think I have to try that. And then I have to make my Bavarian friends taste it.

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