Tag Archives: Philadelphia

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Vegan Mofo is asking for us to share our regional dishes. Many people in the US will say this is a little bit of a tricky one. Yes, we do have foods we are proud of and only found in certain parts of the US, BUT we are a melting pot here. I think it becomes most obvious in places like New Jersey, where we are sandwiched between two major cities. It isn’t that we don’t have local foods, but it more like people say it is a “Philadelphia” food or a “New York City” kind-of food. It is more obvious to me, since I have went from North Jersey to South Jersey, and can see all the local foods get snatched by the cities.

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One very regional food is the Irish Potato. One might think two things- one that the food is really Irish and two that the food would have potatoes. I am not sure how this weirdo dish came to be, but it has no potatoes, and no Irish roots. The food gets it’s name because they resemble a small potato. And although they don’t have Irish roots, they are a seasonal treat with the Saint Patricks Day holiday.

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And if you are sitting here thinking “I’m from New Jersey and I’ve never heard of an Irish Potato!” then I am going to guess you are from Central/North Jersey. I never heard of these guys until I moved to Philadelphia. My roommates (one from Northeast Philly, the other from South Jersey) thought I was crazy that I never heard of these things. One told the story about how for class their assignment was to make a food from their heritage. So Italian kids made lasagna, German kids schnitzels, and Irish kids would make Irish potatoes. As laughable it maybe for a kid to mistake “American” food with “Irish” food they are a great food to make with kids. They are super sweet and super easy to make. You just need an electric mixer, or a really good potato masher.

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So what is an Irish potato made of? Well, they are like small candies on par with a fudge. They are pretty much just butter, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and coconut rolled with a cinnamon coating. As my roommate described it “They should be really disgusting, but you can’t stop eating them.” Oh I think I should note that most people use Crisco over butter in the recipe!

But I couldn’t just leave it be simple. I took another region dessert from the United States and mixed it. Needhams. These are a Maine treat that use potatoes, powder sugar, butter, and coconut flakes, that is covered in chocolate. The snack uses potatoes to balance all that sugar and fat, which is probably what Irish Potatoes need.

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I made the batch and sent to my husband’s work, putting it to the true locals test. Turned out that everyone loved it, and couldn’t taste the “vegan” parts of it. Plus most people liked how the potatoes cooled out the sweet parts.

I technically made this recipe almost 2 years ago before I “opened” the blog up. But I thought I should update the photos. I only had two pictures, and I remember taking it with a very-old not-so-hot camera. These are such a local food, that I think they need to be shared around more often.

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Sweet Freedom

1424 South Street Philadelphia, PA 19146
577 haddon Avenue Collingswood, NJ 08108
1039 W. Lancaster Ave Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
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I first came to Sweet Freedom because I friend told me about a vegan bakery in Philadelphia. I went in and got a root beer float cupcake and a oatmeal cookie sandwich. My husband and I scarfed down our snacks and as we left I saw a big “yes, all food is gluten-free.” I had no clue at the time! I shouldn’t of been so surprised that the food was going to be so delicious. I knew before hand that they were on the show Cupcake Wars (season 2 episode 8). In fact Sweet Freedom is the most dietary friendly bakery I’ve ever seem. It is soy-free, corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, refined sugar-free, peanut-free, and gluten-free.

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I think I would be lying if all the desserts were totally undetectable of being so allergy friendly. Some foods work better than others, and some are kind-of awesome as their own product. For example their “cake balls” are my favorite. They go by many different names, cake truffles, cake pops, whatever you want. From the non-vegan cake pops I’ve eaten in the past, they weren’t that great, in fact they tasted like undercooked cake in my opinion. But Sweet Freedom’s cake balls aren’t too sweet, and much drier (in a good way). I can safely say that I prefer their cake balls over traditional ones.

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Their biggest selling point is their cupcakes but they dapple in lots of other desserts. They have cobbler bars, cookies, cookie sandwiches, bars, sweet breads, donuts, and even eclairs. All of these desserts can be found at all three of their locations. They started out in Philadelphia, and then expanded into Collingswood New Jersey. At the new location they decided to give juices, smoothies, and ice cream a try. Then they opened another location in Bryn Mawr Pennsylvania where they seem to carry the same things as the Collingswood location.

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So what do I recommend getting? Well, if you want to get a cupcake, I suggest their root beer float. But any of their cupcakes are pretty awesome, though I much prefer their chocolate frosting over their vanilla. I love their facon-bacon topped donuts, and their magic bars. Any of their cake balls are awesome as well.

I would say to skip their juice or smoothie if you go to their Collingswood or Bryn Mawr locations. They have always been hit or miss for me. It isn’t something they make frequently so I found that not all people working there make it with the same consistency. But I do recommend picking up one of their lattes or hot chocolates. They are very rich. I personally ask for half creamer, half coconut milk to make it not too rich.

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And let’s talk about their ice cream! I love this stuff. They don’t serve it as plain ice cream you would scoop into a bowl. They instead make them into ice cream sandwiches and ice cream pops. They are both amazing. They ice cream is fairly light, making a great reward for a hot day. You can focus on the ice cream flavors with the pops, like with their fruit flavors such as peach or strawberry. But their ice cream sandwiches are pretty much to die for. I am unsure how many of their locations offer the ice cream, but I know their Collingswood location does.

Their newest addition to the stores are gluten-free and yeast-free breads. I am not too wild about them, but some loafs would make a great bread option for sandwiches. They also carry some breads that are hard to find vegan versions of like Challah bread. And if you aren’t into the sweets, they usually make a tomato pie once a day that is pretty tasty as well.

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Which location is the best? Well, the Collingswood duh! It has ice cream! Okay, so each place has their own strong points. The Collingswood location is a little nice since it is slower and you can get a little bit more privacy. As mentioned, they have coffee, smoothies, juices, and ice cream. They will also appear at the Collingswood Farmer’s Market. I have sadly not been to the Bryn Mawr location, but from what I understand carried many of the same foods as the Collingswood location.

The Philadelphia location, from what I understand, mostly just does the baked goods. They may offer coffee, and the last time I checked doesn’t do the juice, smoothies, or ice cream. This location is pretty busy and you will probably see a bunch of people coming in and out. There is more seating as this location compared to their Collingswood location.

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Overall I can say this is one of my favorite bakeries. I am aware if I bake a cake at home, it probably will be like more universally accepted as “cake like.” But I am not restricting the type of sugar I use or not excluding gluten. But I think their baked goods are sweet but have something light and addictive about them.

I think overall what I like about their baked goods is that I always feel great afterwards. I never feel “super horrible” after eating a chocolate cake, but I do feel a little sluggish. With Sweet Freedom’s sweets, I barely feel like I ate anything in the same way I feel after eating a piece of fruit. I love buying their agave sodas and a cookie sandwich and sneaking them into the movie theater. Much better than popcorn!

Who would I recommend checking this place out? Health food nuts who want great sweets and people who don’t like things too sweet will love this place! The owner does a great job taking complex flavors from the various flours and making them work with the featured flavor of the dessert. I may love this place, but I know that it isn’t for sugar junkies. If you dream cupcake is light fluffy and half frosting then turn around and bake something at home.


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P.S. & Co

1706 Locust Street Philadelphia, PA 19103
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I’ve heard so many mixed reviews about P.S. & Co. Many people on The PPK Forums have bashed the establishment for being overpriced and having rude cashiers. But the reviews on yelp seemed generally very good (but there were still complaining about an elitist atmosphere.) What should I think?

When I arrived, the place seemed huge. There is seating on the sidewalk, seating in the front where the cashier is. Then you can walk down the hallway to more seating in the back, which seems perfect for larger crowds. Once you are in the back you can see a hidden garden area. Yes, you can sit there. It is beautiful and secluded, though it is connected to an alley so someone might toss something in a dumpster, which happened at one point while I was sitting back there. (Note, it wasn’t a restaurant staffer, just a random person walking their dog)

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The person helping me at the counter seemed nice and well education. She seemed to up to date with prices of the food, and reasons why. For example she was explaining why there was a price raise on the smoothies, as certain ingredients were having trouble with farming. She seemed to know regulars and was quick to help get a puppy some water.

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I ordered the avocado nori roll ($6.45) and the salty dog cookie sandwich ($8.00). The wrap was really tasty, but the rice wasn’t quite sticky enough to hold the wrap together. As I was eating it, pieces of rice kept falling out (perhaps they should of had a blend of brown and black rice?). The flavors worked very well with each other. There was some avocado dip off to the side, which helped keep the rice in the wrap.

The cookie was amazing, and super filling. If I knew I probably would of just gotten the cookie as my main lunch. It is, I am faily certain, was a mostly raw cookie-wich. The outside tasted like it was made mostly from peanuts, almond meal, and dates. The filling is a little bit of a mystery to me, but I am guessing it was a caramely date paste with pecans butter.

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I know what most of you are thinking- THAT COOKIE IS $8?! Well, I didn’t notice at the time because I probably would of opted for something cheaper like their tiny little macaroons. But this brings a great point. Organic can be cheap, sometimes not so much. And there are reasons why so many places don’t do all organic. Prices on the menu range from reasonable to absurd. No I don’t think the store is jacking up the price, they are pricing according to the cost of food.

So what should you do? I recommend sticking to coffee, tea, and their savory foods. Organic vegetables tend to overall be cheaper than fruits and nuts. I found their nori wrap yummy and comparable to the price of the sushi wraps at whole foods. I would get that wrap again in a heartbeat. Their desserts are on the higher price range, and I have to say that cookie was yummy and probably worth $8 worth of food, it was very filling guys.

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So what’s the verdict? It might seem like a hard bullet to swallow for the such a high price for such casual dining, but you aren’t going to save that much more by making the exact same organic meal at home. You are also getting a great environment when you come there to eat. The back has a beautiful garden area, the seating is huge unlike most places in the city.

Yes, the prices might be high sometimes, but you just need to ask how much things are before ordering. I found everything light and refreshing, which is a style I like to eat sometimes. I plan on coming back, and not dine and dash. I plan on sitting down and enjoying myself, because that is the type of place it is. One that is inviting and relaxing. Anyone who claims that the staff is stuck up or elitist have their own problems. I found the place welcoming and comfortable. The food was delicious, I can’t think of many reasons not to come back.

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Shirt: Comme Toi via Modcloth | Skirt: Downeast via Modcloth | Necklace: Similar styles on Modcloth | Shoes: Rocket Dog | Sunglasses: Target

I had some posts started before I fell far behind last week. But I think I should talk a little about my weekend. I don’t talk about “new” things about me as much as I would like on my blog. Lately they have been mostly restaurants, recipes, and educational stuff. I think the fashion posts and the sunday reads posts were spots that I could just talk about what I have been doing everyday. I like more structured posts since it gives me a chance to explore new areas, help people with purchases with reviews, and learn new important things about veganism. 

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First let me start by pointing out how bad ass I look? My husband is a delicate flower when it comes to photography, he is so worried he will mess it up. I don’t blame him since I have pretty high standards. I complained so much in college that my friends would post every single photo on facebook. It wasn’t like they were posting bad photos of their friend to make them look better, the photos of themselves were equally bad. I finally came to the conclusion that they just had no clue how to photograph people. So when my husband takes a photo of me, he panics. And worst, I want him to take photos of me in PUBLIC- in front of other people!

So while walking around there was a cute government protected historical building, that had it’s gates opened, so I asked if he could snap some photos since it was kind-of out of the way. I posed, he snapped, and he even took some photos of me candidly! Wow! Maybe it is because he is helping with coding of the Free People website that he is getting some fashion blogging tips. I even got some bad ass wind gently blowing my hair. Well, it just means I will probably bother Jon to take more fashion photos when we go out. XD

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I’ve been into Philadelphia a lot this week. Monday I was antsy and had to get out of the house and went to P.S. & Co to read. Then on Thursday my friend Justine (check out her new youtube vlogs) came to visit from Portland so we went into Philadelphia for the day. She is thinking about moving to Queens or Philadelphia, so I gave her lots of reasons to move closer to me. We ate pizza, got great coffee, and went to Spruce Street Harbor Park where we drank beer and talked with our old school mate.

When the weekend rolled in, my husband was getting antsy in the apartment too, so we thought we could go to Spruce Street Harbor Park too for beer and seeing the tall ships that were there that week. Boy that was a huge bust. There were so many people. We aren’t the type to like crowds. I rather go to beaches during off seasons because the crowds are too much. I remember loving the water parks in Florida during February because it was “too cold” for the locals. So after about 10 minutes we decided to get the fudge out of there. 

We still had fun, we enjoyed walking around town enough. We even got to cross the rainbow crosswalks in the Gayborhood. And we are really excited later this month when the oval opens their pop-up park. It was never as crowded as Spruce Street Harbor Park, and I liked how close it is to the Art Museum. So we will definitely plan a day where we see some art and get some beer outside. 

What have you guys been enjoying this summer? Any good beers or beer gardens I should be checking out?


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My goodness this has been a super busy week. Monday I was so annoyed at my apartment that I had to get out, so I went into Philadelphia and walked around. So I figured Tuesday afterwork would be when I make a post. Midway through a HUGE storm came in and I had to shut the computer off since the lights kept going out. Then the next day I found out that the storm was super awful. There were tornado warnings, heck there WAS a tornado. Apparently my husband drove home from work during the height of the storm, which wasn’t cool. The next morning my husband finds out his work didn’t have power, I find out my gym class was canceled because of power outages, and so I called my work, which luckily had power. 

Anyways, my husband hogged needed the computer for his work the next two days since it took so long to get the power back up. So I couldn’t work on the site. I also had my best friend who is currently living in Portland come to visit so we spent a day in Philly. Which was pretty cool. Then the next day I went out to dinner with my Mom, oh and got to watch the USA play against China. So I am PUMPED for the Germany vs US game, but I’m a little scared. It will be an intense game.

Anyways, I’m pooped today. I ran 5.3 miles and thought “Yeah today would be another great day to walk a lot in Philadelphia.” So I proceeded to walk 4 more miles in Philly with my husband. We originally were going to see the tall ships and the rubber ducky but the lines were crazy. And decided that it wasn’t going to be fun in the end. Oh well. Here are reads we picked this week and my list of produce:

Farm Round Up:

What I got:
1 quart of green beans
1/3 bag snow and snap peas
buttload of lemon & purple basil
nappa cabbage
1/2 bag bok choy
scallions
1 large kohlrabi
1 bunch beets + greens
2 large summer squash

What I’m cooking:
Black Bean Tempeh + Snow Pea + Nappa Cabbage Stir-fry
Bok choy + Tofu Stir-fry with vermicelli noodles
Kohlrabi + Red Lentil Curry
Purple Basil Ice Cream
Pickled Peas in a lemon and basil brine (recipe will be posted)
Chili with squash
Lentil Burgers with a side of green beans

Fun:

This was an interesting article about the richest witches in Romania. The photos are just simply an interesting look into a world that virtually unknown in the US.

We all know that technically tomatoes are fruit, but did you know blackberries aren’t berries? My mind got blown away from this SciShow video.

These photos of the Mermaid parade really put a smile on my face.

This tea mix sounds super tasty for the summer. If only my fridge was packed with greens.

Kaylah managed to find so many animals in the desert. How did I mess that up when I would visit my parents in Utah?!

I am excited that they are reopening the pop-up park near the art museum! That means one night will be beer after the art museum!

Political:

Emily from Bite Size Vegan interviews a man who is vegan and in the military. It is pretty interesting and brings up and important issue about how the military can support vegans better.

Ted wrote a really interesting post about a local restaurant, but it isn’t vegan. In fact it might make a vegan’s stomach turn, or maybe not at all. What the difference between cooking pig’s head and a pig’s belly? But then he takes a big turn and starts talking about illegal immigration, and I think brings up lots of great points. It is a great story that everyone should read, skip the first few paragraphs if you don’t want to read about stewing meats.

Living in an apartment in Philadelphia we had mice and cockroaches. The mice didn’t bother me as much as the cockroaches and house centipedes (I don’t know small things that go fast, mice are just big enough to not bother me.) Traps had been set, and I feel a little bad about it. Which is why I loved this article reflecting on all the housemates the author had over the years.

I loved this post about a guy who tries to eat all “women food” for a month. Which I like since I’ve had some guys who refused to eat something because it was targeted for women.


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Charlie was a Sinner

131 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Located between Walnut Street and Samson
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I am a very big fan of Chalie was a Sinner, but I am aware it isn’t a place that I go to often. It is fairly high end, and your bill can build up pretty fast. My recent trip added up to $90 for two people (not including tip). But on the flip side, if you are just going to drinks with friends, you can enjoy fine cocktails and drinks without it getting too crazy financially. It is also a great bar to go to with a friend who doesn’t drink alcohol, as there are virgin cocktails that put a Shirley Temple to shame.

Charlie was a Sinner is a seasonal tapas bar. So whatever I put into this review may not be on the menu when you go. I’ve been twice, and some drinks have changed, and all their desserts have changed (previously was flan, hot cocoa, and some baked fruit with ice cream if you are wondering). Having seasonal dishes assures that you will get the best tasting food.

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The setting really sells the place. The lighting is really low, so that made photography a little hard (hence why there is only photos of drinks and the outside). The room is colored with royal blues and turquoise, and the place is decked in fine wood and upholstered seating. There is seating in the front for more casual drinks, while there is some seating in the back for dining. In the back there are hanging chandeliers and an abstract video projection.

Waiting staff has always been helpful, and generous. The first time I went we were accidentally given the wrong dessert, and started to eat it. They apologized and gave it to us free of charge, along with the correct dessert. When we went the second time, we got lots of feedback about how much to order, which dishes were delicious, and the waiter was very knowledgeable about the liquors.

I don’t go out for drinks often, so I can easily justify the higher prices. And their cocktails are truly exceptional, once you try one, you will get quite fussy about cocktail quality. Even better is that they rotate their drinks for the seasons, so every time I go there’s always something new to try. Of course, it can be hard to pick since there are many mixers that I tend not to know before hand. Try not to let that scare you, and feel free to ask the servers. They will probably know.

That being said, the list below are the drinks and food that we had while there recently. As mentioned I’ve been twice but the first time I was there I wasn’t taking notes about the cocktails I drank or the desserts we ate. Nor were the desserts still available the second time I went. So the reviews below are to help people who will visit soon and give an idea about the quality and style of food and drinks that they offer.

051715-oMARINATED BEET SALAD
cauliflower panna cotta, apple horseradish vinaigrette
Our server suggested starting with a salad, so we ended up getting the beet salad since it seemed like something we would never do at home. The salad was interesting since there was some greens tossed in a vinaigrette and topped with the cauliflower panna cotta. The beets came in a jar off on the side. The two worked beautifully together, though I would of liked a little more flavor from the panna cotta.

AVOCADO TOAST
habanero aioli, radish, tarragon, red onion
My husband wanted to try this dish badly. I was skeptical of paying so much for such a simple dish, but we ordered. Let me say it went beyond my expectations. The dish seems simple enough, toast, avocado, onion and aioli. The toast was more like bruschetta by being served on toasted baguette slices. The avocado was perfectly ripe as well, which probably makes or breaks the dish. The aioloi adds a kick of heat without giving a Mexican influenced vibe.

CRISPY TOFU ROLL
dashi aioli, shiitake, chili relish
The best way to describe this dish is to call it a tofu sushi roll without rice. Although the dish was incredibly tasty, I am not sure if it fits with the other dishes that we picked out. The other ones are very western while this tofu roll had lots eastern flavors with the chili relish and dashi aioli.

GRILLED ASPARAGUS
garlic truffle aioli, parsley breadcrumb
Perfection is the best way to describe the asparagus. The size of the asparagus was a little thick, which usually results in a stringy dish. But they were cooked perfectly where they could be easily cut into but didn’t have a bitter overcooked taste. The aioli adds a perfect little burst of flavor, while the breadcrumbs add a nice texture.

HEIRLOOM BEANS
hazelnut-tomato vinaigrette
The name can be decieving. I was expecting a bean that was like a butter bean or a fava bean. But they were more like green beans. At first I wasn’t a big fan since the beans were very mature and a little woody, reminding me of green beans from my farm when a crop is on their last legs. But the hazelnut-tomato vinaigrette saved the dish. The tomato was in a thick paste, which gave a punch of flavor. Although I would preferred a more tender bean, I might try making a dish that’s similar on my own.

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WHEATGRASS SHOT
green chartreuse, wheatgrass
When working at Animo I use to try and take wheatgrass shots regularly, but when I got out of the habit I found the smell revolting. So when I saw this drink on the menu I thought it must be amazing, right? Or why would something so gross be on the menu? I asked the server and he seemed to genuinely enjoy the taste. He also raved about the liquor in the drink, 130 different herbs infused for 8 hours by monks. The drink definitely tastes like wheatgrass, but much sweeter. It honestly tastes like the smell of freshly cut grass, flower and all. The chartreuse cuts through the weird earthy flavors in wheatgrass, making a well rounded drink.

ESCAPE VELOCITY
tobacco infused johnnie walker black, carpano antica, cherry heering, orange bitters
DUMMY’S GUIDE: tobacco infused scotch whiskey, sweet vermouth, cherry liquor, and orange bitters
This drink is a strong one. If you like to taste you whiskey in your whiskey sour, you’ll enjoy this drink. It is served in an old fashion glass (the same in the photo above) with a large ice cube. The drink will get most of the sweetness from the carpano antica (sweet vermouth) and cherry heering (cherry liquor) which helps keep the drink strong.

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GOIN’ DOWN EASY
lemongrass infused beefeater, yellow chartreuse, lemon
DUMMY’S GUIDE: gin, yellow chartreuse (no seriously don’t know what to compare this to), and lemon
If I had to describe this to someone who only gets common cocktails, I would say this is a tom collins served like a whiskey sour. Okay so it isn’t served in an old fashioned like a whiskey sour. But it is strong and a little sour like a whiskey sour. There isn’t any added sugar like a tom collins would be, but instead the sweetness comes from the yellow chartreuse. The lemongrass blends perfectly with gin, making a drink the feels light, but packs a lot of booze.

EAST OF EDEN
bulleit, tea infused dolin blanc, lillet, fig
DUMMY’S GUIDE: bourbon, vermouth, aperitif wine, and fig
Pretty much this is a variation of a Manhattan. The difference is that there isn’t any bitters, and has a hint of fig flavor. I would probably say this was the most boring of all the cocktails that we had. Not to mention the fig doesn’t photograph well (it kind-of looks pathetic on that glass).

Some of the drinks listed seem to vary in descriptions on older blogs. I can only assume that the cocktails change as liquors are available. I like how they are willing to give rarer, small batch liquors a try and therefore your drink might not be exactly the same as a few months ago. I love the wide range of drinks and aperitifs to choose from (simply put a liquor or wine that is drank before or after a dinner).


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Grindcore House

1515 S 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147
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Grindcore House is a coffee shop that is off the beaten path in Philadelphia. It is located in South Philadelphia and take about 30 to 60 minutes to walk from Center City to the coffee shop. So why the long trek? Well, Grindcore House is Philadelphia’s only all vegan coffee shop. They are known for serving coffee, vegan food that’s savory and sweet, and playing grindcore music. 

The atmosphere is pretty laid back, and made me feel like I was getting coffee with all the visual arts major from my school (I went to the Philadelphia’s University of the Arts). There is a small area where you can order, and a small hallway leads you to a sitting area. In the sitting area features plenty of seats and couch to sit on. There is also a big bookshelf filled with various reading materials, including fiction, non-fiction, and even Marvel comic books. Despite the name, they don’t just play grindcore music, there is a wide range of metal and indie music.

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I came to Grindcore for two reasons, coffee and donuts. You can find your average selection of coffee at the shop, drip or espresso. But unlike most coffee shops you have more milk choices. You can pick between soy, almond, or coconut milk. I tried a coconut milk latte, and it was alright. I think it was mostly based on my choice of coconut milk over soy. But the actual coffee was pretty good, I would recommend sticking with soy when having a hot latte.

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The donuts on the other hand are amazing. I can safely say that no one would be able to tell the difference between a regular and these vegan donuts. They are yeasty and fluffy, and covered in a yummy glaze. Who makes these donuts? Dottie’s Donuts. 

The company was started by two guys who worked at Blackbird Pizzeria, another all vegan eatery in Philadelphia. The two started to make donuts and ship them to other coffee shops, Grindcore House being one of them. They are thinking about opening a storefront in West Philly, making a second all vegan coffee shop in Philly. I picked the elderflower and matcha donuts (the elderflower donut is pictured) Both were amazing, and will make vegans and omnivores salvate.

donut

Positives:
Dottie’s Donuts: I think the trip to Grindcore House is worth it just for the donuts. There are donuts available in other locations closer to center city. But Grindcore House is one of the original locations to get these goodies.

The Coffee’s Pretty Good: Despite my very “meh” description of the coffee, it is still pretty good. I would rank it higher than the local coffee shops I go to, which I have four to choose from in less than a mile radius. As mentioned I would stick to soy milk for hot drinks. There is something about steamed coconut and almond milk that never seems to work. 

Environment is Nice: If hardcore music isn’t your thing, you’ll be surprised how much you will still like this place. The music is never too loud. The store is on a corner so there is lots of natural light in the store. There was always a certain amount of traffic flow, so it isn’t awkwardly quiet.

Unlimited Selection: Okay they only have SO much food, but it was the first time walking into a coffee shop and not thinking what I can’t eat. There is plenty to choose from including sandwiches, pastries, and chocolates from other vegan companies. This is the reason why I plan on coming back over and over again.

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Negatives
It’s Off the Beaten Path: No, this store isn’t in the middle of nowhere, but if you aren’t from the area, you have to go out of YOUR way to get there. If your visiting in Philadelphia, you’ll have walk at least 10 minutes past South Street, the closest tourist site I can think of. Most of the people in the shop looked like they probably lived near the area.

Wobbly Tables: This seems silly, but I didn’t feel too great sitting at some of the tables. They swayed a little more than I liked. And probably need to be replaced. Anytime I shifted I could feel the chair joints move.

Grindcore Music: I like some heavy and intricate music, but sometimes this music tested me. It was less distracting in the sense I could of wrote, researched, studies, talked, or searched the internet all perfectly fine. But read? No way. I can’t really pinpoint why it was so distracting to read a book, but it was.

Getting There
Remember how I said Grindcore House is off the beaten path? Well, it is neighborhood that is more residential, and google maps can take you down some not so hot neighborhoods. So here is my recommendation to walk or bike all the way down 4th Street, until you hit the coffee shop. By going down 4th Street you will go down Fabric Row, pass some newly built housing, a church, and an abandoned hospital. Plus it is very easy to cross Washington, a major street in Philadelphia, from 4th Street. If you choose to drive, there should be fairly easy parking to be found.


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Dress: Old Navy | Jacket: Francesca’s | Boots: Unknown

It’d been quite some time since I had seen Jenny or been able to venture into Philadelphia, so when I had to get my passport I figured that was the perfect time to meet up! I know what you’re saying … ‘Alexa, you’ve never had your passport until now?’ and the answer is no! I have never travelled outside of the country before and my Step-Father was supposed to have some work offered to him over in Belgium. Sadly, that seems to not be happening as soon as I’d hoped…but at least I have my passport. 

The weather was perfect for going into Philly. It was sunny and probably around 70 degrees which isn’t my ideal weather for October, but who am I to say anything?! Jenny and I walked all over the city before and after obtaining my passport and got to eat at Hip City Veg, which is definitely my new favorite food destination! But more on that later…notice anything different?

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 “Alexa?! When did your hair become candy colored!?” …my parents will wonder (Mommy was okay with it, just shocked. I still haven’t seen Dad or my Step-Mommy yet so we’ll see). My amazing friend Carolyn has done it once again and made my hair super fun. I have wanted pink hair since college but for some reason I never pulled the trigger. I had tried it once before on my own but the pink completely washed out and I had Anna’s hair before it was cool. 

Who Wore It Best? More like Who Wore It FIRST?

Who Wore It Best? More like Who Wore It FIRST?

Now that I know someone who understands hair and it’s alien properties I can go crazy and try new things with a professional opinion and it’s so exciting! Carolyn is seriously amazing and wonderful and I don’t think I can say it enough. 

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My accessories from the day were a mish-mosh, as per usual. The two necklaces I was wearing are both from Urban Outfitters (before I completely stopped shopping there for a multitude of reasons), the one pictured is made of pyrite. It is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry because it looks like someone dug these stones right out of the earth and wrapped them in a chain, like something someone would find in an adventure-type film or show. There’s just something so natural and beautiful about it (even though I know this was made in a factory…obviously). My bracelets are a mix of Alex and Ani, Pandora, my favorite skull bracelet and my “Blaze” engraved bracelet on my other wrist. 

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And then Alexa transformed into a magical girl.

And then Alexa transformed into a magical girl.

 The dress is from Old Navy and is probably one of the best items I have ever purchased from there. It’s a bit of a heavier material but because it’s black I can wear it during every season. It fits perfectly and flows nicely, the only problem I have with it is how easily it started to pill once I wore it a few times. The jacket is from Francesca’s, it is a lovely teal color that goes with almost everything I own currently, and I like it because it’s a bit of a heavier material as well which means I can wear it in the fall, spring and summer without another jacket on top. The hood is a super cute touch too. I got my boots for $20 from a store in South Carolina when I was visiting my parents, and I’m not too sure what the brand name is, but they’ve lasted me up until now since last winter, so I’m pretty pleased!

My name is Alexa and I love food.

My name is Alexa and I love food.

Hip City Veg was certainly the highlight of the day. Not only were Jenny and I starving by the time we got there, but the food was DELICIOUS. I can honestly tell you that I don’t remember exactly what I ate, I know it was some sort of amazing veggie burger Hip City Ranch Burger, sweet potato fries that Jen and I split, and a refreshing green lemon-aid. I just remember everything being perfect and wishing that my stomach wasn’t full so I could eat more, because I’m classy like that. 10 out of 10, will visit again. 


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Last week I thought it would be a good idea to take the train into Philadelphia. I live close to the Patco (or speedline for any South Jersey/Philadelphia readers) so going into Philadelphia only takes 15 minutes. Once I paid for my ticket, went through the gates, I overheard that the trains were delayed. Someone was hit by a train at 8th and Market, and trains were delayed. I was then “blessed” with hearing 40-somethings bitch and moan about “these things don’t happen in other cities.” I even heard (this was my favorite) that “we were all pawns in someone else’s big vendetta.”

And for the record, people being hit by trains is a much more common than what people might think. I am constantly hearing about this from my Mother-In-Law who has a very lengthy 3-hour commute (each way) into New York City. There have been some nights she unable to come home because someone jumped in front a train and delayed trains during rush hour. It was a little insulting hearing some passengers compare delays due to rail-wor to delays due to suicide. 

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But moving on. My train was delayed and I was starving by the time I went into the city. I had plans to stop in the city and grab something from HipCityVeg. There are lots of rave reviews and online hype for the mini-chain. Truthfully, when my friend first told me about it, I remember being frustrated that nothing on the menu clarified what was vegan or vegetarian. It was so hard for me to believe that there would be an all vegan restaurant at the time.

Man things have changed. I remember not believing people that there was an all vegan pizzeria when I was living in Philadelphia. I also didn’t think I could ever get my husband to go to it. Now he told me he is going to have a hard time choosing between Blackbird Pizzeria or HipCityVeg when going into Philadelphia. Little does he know about the many other vegan venues we have yet to go to!

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By the time I made it to HipCityVeg (the Center City location) I was so hungry I couldn’t wait for my food. So I grabbed their seasonal shake, Apple Pie flavored. It tasted a little too “appley” in an artificial way, but I was so hungry it tasted awesome anyways. I also grabbed their Udon Noodle Salad. I wasn’t really reading the item so I was surprised by the faux chicken bits on top. I have to say, they were VERY chicken-y. Actually more chicken-like than some of the cheap chicken that is available.

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Dress: Urban Renewal | Necklace: Flair | Shoes: Nature Breeze

I haven’t done a fashion post in almost a month! So when my husband and I went into Philadelphia this weekend I knew I had to take a photo. Plus, the side streets are always great scenery! I was able to wear this dress my sister handed down to me. It is super soft and quick to put on. We went to go see Spirited Away by Hayao Miyazaki. It is one our favorite Miyazaki films. My husband says he can’t pick between Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro as his favorite, but I can easily say Spirited Away is my favorite. 

I love how the main character is a female but the end of the story is not about how she fell in love. She saves her parents (spoiler alert her parents don’t get eaten… which is pretty obvious considering it is a kids movie) and helps many people around her. His visuals are amazing, and he uses animation in creative and beautiful ways.

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