Road trip: Blackbird Pizzeria in Philly! »
I was in Philly again, because it seems I’m always in Philly again—it’s that dang Bolt Bus! So cheap and easy! I like my buses like I like my women. On the other hand, I like my men like I like my sandwiches: vegan and cheesy. Lucky for me, everyone in Philly was talking about this new vegan pizza spot Blackbird! And Blackbird, it turns out, has one of the best vegan cheesesteaks in the city. And you know I’m an expert.
My sis went to Blackbird with me and she got the chickpea salad sandwich (pictured left). She was totally into it! She said she might have to get it even when I’m not around—high praise from an omnivore. Back to the cheesesteak! In the parlance of my youth, it was BANGING! It comes with peppers, onions, and mushrooms so if you are crazy and don’t want that stuff, say something. Lately people in Philly keep serving me mushrooms that are clearly from a can! WTF? Don’t they know who I am?! Blackbird is not using canned mushrooms, I can tell you that. The seitan is sliced very thinly, like a real cheesesteak would be (or at least a quality one). And the cheese is Daiya,* which I have been down on lately, but this sandwich revitalized my taste for it! The Daiya was all up in there; it was a gooey delicious mess. I loved this sandwich! It gets 5 out of 5 Veganstaurs! I almost went back that night and got another but I took the bus to New York instead: WRONG DECISION.
Things I want to do next time: try their yukon gold pizza! It’s pizza topped with potatoes! PIZZA topped with POTATOES. Did I stutter?! Amazing. They also had vegan whoopie pies—pumpkin and chocolate—I’ve GOT to get one of those next time. And next time I will not let bus schedules dictate my dinner! Vegan cheesesteaks all around!
*Has everyone else heard this rumor that Daiya is releasing a pepper jack next month? Exciting!
Vegansaurus NYC: S’nice! »
After I reviewed the V Spot in Park Slope, all my commenting pals were like, “You got to go to S’nice!” Well pals, I’ve been there like 80 times now! And I’m a big fan. I do love a sandwich. Ohhhh and the banana chocolate chip muffins! S’great. S’wonderful. Let me s’top.
First I was all about the curried cauliflower and chickpea wrap. I don’t love wraps but this one is decent. I love cauliflower! I would marry cauliflower! I would make sweet love to cauliflower right in front of broccoli’s face! But I will have to get my cauliflower from somewhere else because now my thing is the vegan panini. It’s super! It has tofu slices, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto! On ciabatta! Now to be completely honest—I can be honest, can’t I?—the tofu is on the bland side. It’s trying to look like mozzarella but it just tastes like flavorless cooked tofu. But the pesto! Oh, the pesto! And sun-dried tomato! And ciabatta! It’s delicious.
To do a thorough review, I had to try the vegan Philly cheesesteak, as you know I’m the expert. I give it 3 out of 5 Veganstaurs on the cheesesteak scale. It’s not that authentic, though it’s definitely as greasy as a cheesesteak. It comes with fried onions and peppers so they’ve got that right. The bread is not really the same as a Philly cheesesteak, but it’s good nonetheless. The main discrepancy is that the “meat” is chopped kind of thick—wrong, wrong, wrong! However the cheese is gooey and yummy.
Other things of note: there’s like a million vegan cookies but I haven’t tried any of them yet. I prefer my cookies in dough form, you see. Oh, I’ve also tried the breakfast burrito; it’s decent. It’s good for, I don’t know, breakfast. They make an excellent Arnold Palmer! Like, perfect. I hate complaining about lines but the line kind of always takes a while. I can’t tell if it’s just because they are so darn popular or if the service is just slow. It’s not the worst though. All the tables have these signs that say, “no computers at this table between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.,” or something like that. I don’t want to work on my computer there anyway but the signs annoy me. Nobody tells Megan Rascal what to do! You can sit outside, which is nice, but it looks like you have to keep your dog tied up on the other side of the gate: LAME! Though I’m sure if they met the notorious F.I.G., they’d make an exception, considering he’s THE MAN.
I went to the Manhattan location once. It was alright. It was on the crowded side and our waiter was just plain mean. I took my omnivore friend Kevin and, boy, what a baby! He ordered the Cuban sandwich which is like fake ham, pickles and swiss cheese on bread. Fake ham, pickles and cheese. Surprise! It was gross! Alert the media! Protect the children! Crazy omnivores. It’s sad though because now he’ll never go there with me again. Boys are goddamn babies, I swear.
In summary, S’nice is nice for sweets, sandwiches and Arnold Palmers!
Review: Phat Philly! »
At the end of the week I’m flying into Philadelphia to make my way to the Inauguration (AND I’M NOT COMING BACK UNTIL OBAMA IS VEGAN OR UNTIL MY RETURN FLIGHT ON THURSDAY) and I’ve been gearing up for eating many vegan Philly cheesesteaks at Govinda’s in Philadelphia by eating many vegan Philly cheesesteaks in California. If you access the Fat Logic part of your brain, that makes perfect sense.
Lucky for me, Phat Philly* opened up about a block from my place last month. They offer a few vegetarian sandwiches that can be made vegan by taking away all the flavor. All of their delicious-sounding sauces have mayo in them and of course, no vegan cheese. We got the tofu sandwich and it was basically tofu stir-fried with some onions and peppers and put on a roll. Not horrible but certainly no Jay’s. Other options include grilled veggies and portobello mushroom, and if you’re looking for a grilled veggie sandwich (BLAH), this would be a good place. Just remember to bring your own condiments. One thing I will say, the waffle fries are the JAM. It’s been a while since I indulged in some waffle fry deliciousness and those suckers tasted GOOD. I recommend taking them home and making your own special sauce of ketchup mixed with Wildwood vegan aioli (or Vegenaise) and then dunking each fry completely in that magic and going straight to heart attack heaven. If you’re feeling extra-awesome, you could make that sauce at home and bring it with you to Phat Philly and make your sandwich taste better.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m stoked that they are thinking about vegetarians (and vegans, to some extent) but I’d love some more options. From eating at Govinda’s and at Jay’s, I know a really tasty vegan Philly cheesesteak is possible and will bring in a shit-ton of customers. Never underestimate a vegan’s ability to travel to great lengths to get something awesome. I mean, I’m basically going to the Inauguration so that I can eat cinnamon rolls from Sticky Fingers, YOU FEEL ME?
*I woulda gone with Fat Filly because that’s hella clever, right? And then your logo could be a fat horse eating a sandwich. GENIUS, NO?
[photos via yelp]