Philly – Vedge Restaurant – One word review: Amazing.

I wasn’t sure we’d manage to visit Vedge Restaurant on this trip. JC was busy doing gaming stuff, and it was not an experience I’d want to have without him.  But luckily, he finished with enough time to spare, and while we couldn’t make a reservation, we managed to snag Vedge’s walk-in table. From the restauranteurs that made (the now closed) Horizons possible, I was excited to try Vedge out as soon as I heard about it. Actually, I had been selling Horizons to JC ever since we decided to go to Philadelphia. “I went to this amazing restaurant” makes it a reasonably easy sell, so when I finally went over to the Horizons website… and saw the “closed” message… there was a moment where my stomach was heartbroken. But thankfully I noticed their new “Vegetable Restaurant” notice. Yes. Vedge. I liked the name, I liked their website design, and the food pictures started up the ol’ salivary glands. I was ready. JC pointed out that they also had a “Dirt List” which had a selection of seasonal vegetable dishes, from vegetables picked locally. Even more exciting! So, did it live up to all this hype and excitement?

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Philadelphia Trip – In the Beginning – Govinda’s and Sweet Freedom

We arrived in Philadelphia bright and early on Saturday morning, taking the overnight bus from Toronto starting at 7pm. After successfully navigating the transit system to our hotel downtown, checking in, and showering – JC still made it to his card game nerd festival (okay it was the Magic Grand Prix, and I think he did quite well.) And I began plotting my day. First stop, a cup of tea and a bath. Next I plotted out my way to Sweet Freedom Bakery and Govinda’s (both happen to be on the same street.) People were walking around in full costume – since it was almost Halloween, there was a brewers conference happening, AND there was an open house at the art institute. So walking down S. Broad street was a total treat. Much like Toronto, Philadelphia has a vibrant street art collection, but in the form of sanctioned murals (and minimal graffiti/street art.) You can see this all over the city, and across from Sweet Freedom Bakery at the World Communications Charter School was the beginning of The Roots Mural Project. The project is in honor of (Philly’s own) Award-winning music group, The Roots. I thought about them when the wind and rain started to pick up, hopefully they still managed have a great time while they could. I visited Sweet Freedom Bakery (1424 South Street, Philadelphia, PA) the last time I was in Philadelphia, and it was pretty great, so I had to visit again. It’s still the nice…

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Vegan MoFo on the Road – Coming home post Sandy.

We’re finally home, albeit a few days later than planned due to Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy. We arrived in Philadelphia on Saturday morning after a night on the bus. Sleeplessness and trying to navigate an unfamiliar transit system made for an interesting time, but we found our way to our hotel, and JC made it to his gaming conference on time. We weren’t expecting the storm that happened, and the weather outside got progressively worse as time passed by. In preparation for the storm, our bus back to Toronto was cancelled. As were most flights, and eventually highways were closed. The hotel lobby was full of people waiting, some stranded, watching TV, wondering about what was going on back home, wondering what was going on outside. It was pretty scary, because we didn’t quite know what was going to happen, or where the storm would hit us, if at all. I think what may have made it worse at the time, was not knowing what was happening outside where we were, while simultaneously not knowing what was happening back at home. Were the cats going to be okay? Family and friends? Was the storm going to hit Toronto severely? The worst kind of worry is the kind I can’t convince myself is unfounded.

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Last few days in Philly – More Walking and food heaven at Horizons.

My trip to Philadelphia wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Philadelphia Art Gallery, to satisfy my inner art nerd, and taking a trip over to Horizons, to satisfy my inner vegan foodie glutton, and luckily, I was able to do both. On Saturday a friend from New York came to visit me in Philly. It always amazes me how easy it is to get around on the east coast. I showed him Sweet Freedom Bakery, it was a great excuse to visit again, but the main reason he came other then to walk around Philly with me, was to go to Horizons restaurant. It wasn’t exactly an ideal day for exploring. The city was at about 96% humidity and covered in a warm (to me) mist, so I didn’t take many pictures of our galivanting around the city for fear of camera destruction. Though we probably walked over 10 miles just because we(I) felt like it. Eventually we walked over to Horizons (611 S. 7th Street Philadelphia, PA) and I couldn’t help but say to myself… this isn’t where I expected this place to be. But it didn’t matter. We walked in, excited, salivating, overjoyed, it’s hard to live up to the hype, but I think for the most part it did. The Host was friendly and sat us  upstairs and onto the side. It was night time, and the restaurant is quite dim and intimate, so conditions weren’t ideal for picture taking. I apologize in advance, I did the…

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Philly Day Two – More walk, less eat.

My second day in Philly was definitely more of an on foot exploration than a destination based exercise. But I did have a few places on my mind when I headed out. In the morning I walked over to The Academy of Natural Sciences (1900 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA), snapped a few photos, picked up a couple of postcards and squished a penny as is my tradition (and slight obsession.) The Franklin Institute (222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA)is just a short walk away, and the Ben Franklin Memorial is in there. I’ve already seen the Leonardo featured exhibit they had going on (at the OMSI in Portland, OR), so I decided to just enjoy the free parts, and skip the learning adventure. It was cool to visit my first Presidential Memorial site, though of course, there were a lot more to visit when I visited DC. I was a bit hungry, so a friend and I went over the the Reading Terminal Market (51 North 12th Street Philadelphia, PA) I wanted to get Philly cheesesteak sandwich from Basic 4 Vegetarian Cafe, because everyone was raving about the “vegan” philly cheesesteak on yelp, but I’m not really sure the soy cheese they use is vegan. It isn’t marked as such on the menu, and I couldn’t get a straight answer from the person working there. I opted to leave, because I didn’t feel like spending 10 dollars buying a sandwich from a rude person. I’m glad I did, because instead…

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Philadelphia Day One – eating in a very wander-able city.

I had planned on doing a blog post planning out my trip to Philly, but here I am in Philly, and no nicely organized trip plan was written up. Besides a scratched up piece of notebook paper, I didn’t do much planning at all. Although I’m regretting not writing one up during last years Vegan Mofo, it’s nice to just go with the flow. Oddly enough, I’m actually doing some work here, so there is more to my time in Philadelphia then just eating great food, visiting old historical sites and art galleries. The only plan I have is to do plenty of everything. We arrived yesterday afternoon after a 10 hour drive from Toronto. My original idea was to head through Baltimore and Washington DC, but due to Snovereaction in Toronto, my bus to Baltimore was cancelled. Luckily some friends were heading down for the Philly Tattoo Convention and let me join them on the road. After checking into the hotel, I figured it was about time to start exploring the city with the goal of finding some food. I was happy to see the vegan options at seven eleven I had heard about, but decided to skip those in favour of some New Harmony Vegetarian Restaurant (135 N. 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA) in Chinatown. Gave me the opportunity to walk through some interesting statue gardens and old beautiful buildings. When I walked into New Harmony, it was kind of on the empty side, but it didn’t matter. When I…

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Last Road Trip of 2010 – First real stop: Philly Cheese-steak

We left Toronto bright and early at 6am, and found our way to Philadelphia at around 3pm. It was a long drive over, with very few stops, a few terrifying moments, and the usual road related fun. I was excited to be in Philadelphia because it was my first visit, and I’ve always wanted to try a “real” (vegan) Philly cheese-steak straight from the source! Cheese-steak is an example of something that I probably never would have ended up eating as an omnivore, now it sounds good, but I think my adventurousness with food is coupled quite closely with the vegan thing. Anyway, when I knew we’d be passing through Philadelphia, I wanted to check out Gianna’s Grill, but when we walked over to the address (507 S 6th St, Philadelphia, PA) it was a Blackbird Pizzeria instead. Luckily instead of just being Vegan friendly like Gianna’s was, it was totally vegan, and still had Philly Cheesesteak. On top of it all, there was cake of some kind. I’m not quite sure what they called it other than delicious, but it was quite good. Then it was time to keep going on to Virginia.

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