let’s just get this straight: i am an omnivore. i like meats, cheeses, veggies, fruit, bread and most things alcoholic, not that that constitutes food, but most alcohols are made from grains or fruit so they qualify as some kind of food source. maybe just food for the soul. i say this because c, my sister and i recently enjoyed a meal at a restaurant called Vedge that was one of the best meals we’ve ever eaten on all of our years of eating out. here’s the kicker: it was all completely vegan.
now, c and i are good cooks, i’m a pretty good baker and we have pretty high standards when it comes to food. that’s been amplified because of our recent weight loss because we’re no longer mindlessly eating food. if it’s not very delicious, we’re not eating it.
i can confidently say that every single item i ate at vedge tasted delicious, was beautifully presented and that the entire experience was inspiring.
if you haven’t been to vedge, you must go. <img src="” alt=”” /> owners and chefs rich landau and kate jacoby are brilliant ground breakers making amazing cuisine. they’ve earned all kinds of accolades nationwide over the past year, all of it well deserved.
the menu is set up as small plates, so they recommend you order three or four dishes each, and trust me, you will want to order three or four dishes for yourself, or probably everything on the menu.
we started with charred shishito peppers, peel and eat lupini beans and an assortment of green olives to accompany our cocktails. i grew shishito peppers this summer and c and i sautéed them in good olive oil with just a pinch salt and thoroughly enjoyed them. these were as delicious as those. none of us had ever had a lupini bean, but i will hunt them down to eat now. done in a spicy oil, they would remind you of a mild fresh lima.
next, i had a yellow beet, avocado, smoked tofu and capers dish, kind of a savory napoleon of deliciousness, c had the funky kim chee stew, spicy and wonderful and ch had the fancy radish dish for which vedge is famous
which presents five different radishes of varying heat, some cooked, some raw. next course ch and i had carrot swarma style with lentils and harissa,
a beautifully composed dish with a range of savory, sweet and spicy flavors and c had the roasted miatake mushroom, which he reported was quite delicious. both c and i had the fingerling fries, easily one of the best potato dishes i’ve ever eaten. not like any kind of fried potato you have ever eaten.
finally, we all indulged in dessert. personally, i shied away from anything dairy-like since vedge is vegan, thinking that even the best effort would fall flat. both c and ch enjoyed their “ice cream” and “cheesecake” respectively, though noted that it paled in comparison with the real thing. i enjoyed the sticky toffee pudding,
which was one of the best desserts i have ever eaten in my life. vegan cake is so often dense and gummy, but this was like a sponge cake. here’s the recipe and you’ll never guess what substitutes for eggs in this cake.
what they are doing with food reminds me of what alice waters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/alice_waters started back in the 1970s with chez panisse, but even more revolutionary because it’s vegan. i feel compelled to say the standard, “you won’t even miss the meat”, but that’s not doing justice to the cuisine at vedge. the fact is, not only will you not care whether there’s meat on your plate, you will be so enamored with the inventive flavors of your food that you’ll be asking, “what’s meat?”
thankfully, landau and jacoby are opening more locations for vedge and have just published a cookbook, so we can attempt to replicate their dishes at home.
as a little point of pride, here’s a blogger who wrote about vedge and about a first visit to philadelphia, giving both rave reviews.