vegansaurus!

09/23/2013

VEGAN CRONUT!!!! Everybody buy plane/bus/train/rideshare/hitch-hiking tickets to Philadelphia, because shit’s about to get crazy!
Ok they can’t actually call it a “cronut” because that name is trademarked by evil genius food inventor Dominique Ansel (dude: smart move, but DUMB NAME). Yet the fancy-food gurus at Philadelphia’s Vedge have created our very own, animal-free love child of a donut and a croissant, using what can only be called “vast” amounts of Earth Balance, and theirs sounds like most amazingest ever. 
Point 1: “We enjoyed the vegan fritter more than any other of the Cronut copycats we tried around Philly,” says the Zagat post that broke the story. Boo-yah!
Point 2: The early versions, available as of Sept. 19, are filled with apple. Nice move.
Point 3: “Starting October 1,” says Zagats, “the as-yet-unnamed croissant-donut hybrid will be on the regular dessert menu. Expect a version with a tangy fruit stuffing - perhaps cranberries - and a horseradish cream to help cut the sweetness. Yes, horseradish. ‘When you have something like this on the menu, you know everyone’s going to order it,’ [chef-hero Kate] Jacoby says, eyes twinkling, ‘So this is our opportunity to sneak in a bit of something new and different.’” LOVE THAT, Kate! You sneak culture into our crazy desserts!
[Photo by Danya Henninger]

VEGAN CRONUT!!!! Everybody buy plane/bus/train/rideshare/hitch-hiking tickets to Philadelphia, because shit’s about to get crazy!

Ok they can’t actually call it a “cronut” because that name is trademarked by evil genius food inventor Dominique Ansel (dude: smart move, but DUMB NAME). Yet the fancy-food gurus at Philadelphia’s Vedge have created our very own, animal-free love child of a donut and a croissant, using what can only be called “vast” amounts of Earth Balance, and theirs sounds like most amazingest ever. 

Point 1: “We enjoyed the vegan fritter more than any other of the Cronut copycats we tried around Philly,” says the Zagat post that broke the story. Boo-yah!

Point 2: The early versions, available as of Sept. 19, are filled with apple. Nice move.

Point 3: “Starting October 1,” says Zagats, “the as-yet-unnamed croissant-donut hybrid will be on the regular dessert menu. Expect a version with a tangy fruit stuffing - perhaps cranberries - and a horseradish cream to help cut the sweetness. Yes, horseradish. ‘When you have something like this on the menu, you know everyone’s going to order it,’ [chef-hero Kate] Jacoby says, eyes twinkling, ‘So this is our opportunity to sneak in a bit of something new and different.’” LOVE THAT, Kate! You sneak culture into our crazy desserts!

[Photo by Danya Henninger]

03/04/2013

Cookbook Preview! Vedge: 100 Plates Large And Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking  »

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Homemade Brussels sprouts. Recipe adapted from Vedge: 100 Plates Large And Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking. They turned out SO well!

Vedge Restaurant is hands-down the best thing that has ever happened to my hometown of Philadelphia, period. A newcomer on the Philly vegan/fine-dining scene, Vedge has recently made pretty much every top vegan restaurant and “awesome place to eat, ever” list I know of. Even the blokes at GQ love it! Vedge, who recently partnered with Williams Sonoma to make sauces I’ve tried and super loved and you should try too, have somehow catapulted vegetable eating into an art form even fit for, gasp, non-vegans!  Seriously though, bring non-vegans to Vedge and they won’t sheket about how wonderful it is. Kind of miraculous when you consider that all dishes center around vegetables and the fine dining crowd in Philly is usually on their suit and tie shit (tie shit).

I’ve eaten at Vedge a handful of times and have to say it really is the best ever! The only qualm I have with it is that the plates are admittedly pretty small. Patrons are encouraged to order a few of them “tapas style,” which is code-speak for “buy $100 worth per person,” which you have to do if you want a full meal.

To cut to the chase, owners Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau are soon releasing a new cookbook that highlights the fantastic dishes at their restaurant, tailored to aspiring at-home veggie chefs.

I am indeed glad that Vedge charges what other frou-frou fine-dining places charge, and especially that it doesn’t spend a dime of it on animal exploitation. Totally worth it! Still, I am quite thrilled that my all-time favorite Vedge dish, the Shaved Brussels Sprouts With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce, is now available for at-home chefs like myself. Vedge offered a preview to Vegansaurus, and I have had the privilege of making my fave dish at home! Here’s the recipe, reprinted with permission.

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Brussels sprouts served at Vedge Restaurant. Image.

Vedge’s Shaved Brussels Sprouts With Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce*
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serves: 2 to 3

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
½ cup vegan mayo
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 to 3 layers of outer leaves removed and bottom core cut off
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic

Instructions:

1. Begin by making the sauce, whisking together the mustard,vegan mayo, and water with ½ teaspoon of the salt and ½ teaspoon on the pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Run Brussels sprouts through the slicer blade of a food processor or carefully shave on a mandoline.

3. Heat a large sauté pan on high. Add the olive oil. Just as the oil starts to ripple, add the garlic, then immediately add the shaved Brussels sprouts. Sear for 30 seconds, then stir to prevent the garlic from burning.

4. Add the remaining salt and remaining pepper, then allow the Brussels sprouts to sear for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so they brown evenly. Transfer to serving dish.

5. Drizzle sauce directly on top of the Brussels sprouts.

Enjoy! [Note: I used an oven instead of following the recipes because I served these to a dinner party for nine and ran out of stove space. That worked really well too!]

*Recipe from Vedge: 100 Plates Large and Small That Redefine Vegetable Cooking, copyright © Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby, 2013. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available July 2013 wherever books are sold. (omg that sounded so grown up!)

02/25/2013

GQ gets vegan-friendly at Vedge  »

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Vedge is just on a roll. Not long after partnering with William Sonoma, GQ is now calling them one of the “most outstanding restaurants of 2013.” The writing is a bit obnoxious as, well, Standard American Dieters always are. The writer comments that the diners looked “like regular folks. None of the men were pale and languid. None of the women wore a belt made from a garden hose.” A garden hose belt? Hang onto your petticoats, ladies! But really, thank goodness there were no sissy-looking vegan men there. How dreadful would that have been? Imagine. OMG the worst. 

As usual, mainstream media is behind Megan Rascal. I reviewed Vedge right around this time last year. I went there for a belated birthday dinner with my sis. In related news: TODAY IS MY BDAY!

03/08/2012

Vedge: The fancy new vegan restaurant in Philly rules!  »


Gold beets, smoked tofu, avocado, capers, cucumber dill sauce, pumpernickel

My sister missed my birthday celebration in Brooklyn last week, but I am so nice that I let her make it up to me by taking me to Vedge in Philly on Saturday! Vedge is the new(ish) restaurant opened by the owners of the late Horizons. We made reservations Friday night, and the only table we could get for Saturday was at 10 p.m. Make your reservations in advance!

It was quite full for 10 p.m. The crowd wasn’t particularly hip or stereotypically vegan, just kind of older society people. The staff was super nice (especially our server, another Megan!) and the space was pretty cool; it was an old structure with a series of rooms, kind of like a stoic, simply decorated, expensive house, with tables filled in. The tables are nicely spread out, though we still ended up talking to our neighboring table. The one guy went out with Goldie Hawn for two weeks when he was 19! My sis and I totally heart Goldie. [Ed.: Overboard was just added to Instant Netflix! Goldie is THE BEST. —Laura] Things took an odd turn when the guy told Cally he was looking for a nanny…for himself. But he struck me as exceedingly gay, so he didn’t get a knuckle sandwich. 

The food was pretty amazing. The servings are on the smaller side so they suggest you order three or four plates—this is just how I like to eat! A little bit of everything. In the end though, the main plates weren’t actually that small so we did get pretty full. But we soldiered on! I think my favorite thing was the beet and tofu dish above. Cally’s rutabaga salad was pretty amazing too even though we were both scared of rutabaga—not any more!

Roasted rutabaga salad, little leaves, charred onion, farro, pistachio


Spice-cured little carrots, white bean sauerkraut purée, rye toast


Steak-spice-seared tofu, hedgehog mushrooms, kabocha sadeira, walnut picada

My other favorite thing was this “steak-spice” tofu. It was basically pan-seared with really good salt flakes on it. Very tasty. Cally even liked it, though she’s not one for tofu. The texture was excellent. 

For dessert, we got the pot de crème and the apple cake fritters. The pot de creme was AWESOME. I don’t always love pot de crème but this was delicious, and the salt on top was just perfect. The biscotti was really good. Normally I stay away from biscotti unless I made it myself; people often confuse “dry” with “stale.” Biscotti is not supposed to be stale! This biscotti was not. It was perfect. But really, the apple cake fritters won the show. They were like apple-flavored zeppoles! I do love fried dough. 

All in all, I give Vedge a million stars! It’s fine dining, but totally relaxed and fun. It’s a great place for a celebration dinner. I love that they encourage you to try so many dishes! Oh and I almost forgot, say it with me now!: POMEGRANATE SANGRIA. So, so necessary.

Apple cake fritters with Waldorf salad, cider caramel


Chocolate pot de crème with coffee salt, macadamia nut biscotti, and b-day candle!

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