Hey guys. This week I am all thrown off. Last weekend I went to Ocean City with my husband since we got invited to a friends beach house. We went on Monday and came back Tuesday, for a little mini vacation. Then we went into Brooklyn to visit my sister on Friday night and came home late Saturday night. I have a bunch of cool posts to do about Brooklyn, a little tour guide of things to do in Williamsburg/Bushwick if you will. I went to Ocean City during the off season… so I really don’t have many good vegan tips of places to go there. I don’t know guys, the Jersey Shore isn’t my thing. Maybe I will make a travel guide about the beaches near Fair Haven where I grew up (and where Alexa is now).
It is really windy here. Some of the smaller trees have been uprooted, and the power went out while shopping! It was very weird going shopping at Target and Wegman’s with only the emergency lights on. There were also weird little things that weren’t working. Espresso machines were down, the conveyer belts at the registers weren’t working. And I feel like everyone was in a panic because of the power being out, at least I felt a little bit like there was something severely bad going on. Oddly my power is doing just fine so I can make this post of the top reads for your Sunday.
I might be a little late in the game with posting this article, but it is still something good to read. Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a great article about why we should care about the casting choice for Nina Simone. Many people who read about social justice is probably aware of the issue already, but Coates write beautifully and I think explains the situation that is understandable to anyone new the topic.
As someone who loves to track their health stats, I found this article interesting. I use MapMyRun, Ovia, and have downloaded a pedometer app in the past. Then I like to combine them all together in my Apple Health app because I love graphs. But the article points out that you can’t keep topping yourself, and that might drive some people nuts. I don’t want to say FitBit and other fitness trackers are pointless, but we need to be careful about how to we sell them.
Am I outing myself as a New Yorker fan? You betcha I am. I found these hilarious, and plausibly real.
Emileigh from Flashback Summer has really been crushing it lately. Some of you may not know, but I love vintage clothing. I’ve largely stopped blogging about fashion mostly since I haven’t been spending much on new clothes. But I’ve showcased some vintage articles of clothing on the blog (both dresses, vintage hat, and dress). As many may know, vintage clothing has a lot of styles that might be called out today for cultural appropriation- the squaw dress, the tiki bar craze, blackamoor jewelry, and now Emileigh breaks down whether or not is culturally appropriate to wear a wrap. I like how she quotes various people with different ethnicities and background and does some historical research, and urges that if you aren’t doing the research yourself, don’t wear it.
I rarely make cocktails from Gastronomista, mostly because I am cheap and have a poorly stocked liquor collection. But the photos of the Arsenic & Old Lace is amazing. Naturally I don’t have any of those liquors- and finding creme de violette might be hard but I will keep it in the back of my mind when looking around.
Heart Beet Kitchen
I think I am cursed. I lived in Philadelphia and went vegan. Although I had plenty to eat, it seemed that once I left so many all vegan restaurants opened up. Then I move out of the Haddonfield area and what happens? An all vegan restaurant opens up within walking distance of my house. I am very glad that veganism is speading, but I do wish these places would be available when I actually live in the area. And does that window reflection look familiar? Well, I reviewed that lime green store, Espressit, back in the day, as it has many yummy vegan options.
But let’s talk about Heart Beet Kitchen because I really do love this place. It opened towards the end of 2015. They serve gluten-free and vegan meals that are locally sourced. The place is set up so you order at the counter, you get a numbered jar (with a napkin and utensils) and sit down, and your food is brought out to you. So it is a pretty casual setting that reminds me of P.S. & Co.
The menu is mostly raw, and is very light. I got the peanut-free pad thai, and enjoyed it. The noodles were spiralized zucchini, edamame, marinated mushrooms, carrots, purple cabbage, peppers, sesame seeds, and tossed in a sauce. The meal was surprisingly filling and perfect for lunchtime. The price was a little bit on the higher end, but if price is a concern you can easily grab any of their salads which a little bit cheaper. Note- I am not saying that the price is particularly high for what you get, it is just a little bit more than what I am use to spending on such a casual styled setting.
There is also a wide selection of drinks to choose from. This is the first place I’ve been to that has on tap kombucha. They use locally brewed kombucha from Inspired Brews in Philadelphia. If you check out their website you might see honey listed in the ingredients. I contacted the store owner and she said that they get specially made honey free kombucha. But I do give heads up that she said that sometimes they get requests from customers for other flavors that have honey. So if you are buying a bottle, check the ingredients to make sure there isn’t any honey. On tap kombucha should always be vegan.
Not into kombucha? They have a list of different smoothies to order from and some fresh pressed juices that you can grab from the fridge. If you want something creamy they get almond milks made by origin almond milks, a South Jersey based company. I tried their dark cacao milk and it was very tasty and rich. If you want something hot they have coffee and espresso options using beans from Revolution Coffee Roasters in Collingswood and a variety of teas. Need a drink on the go? There’s maple water and boxed water (I think).
What I really like about this shop is the atmosphere. The owner really spent some time and money to make the place look amazing. I could picture myself coming again and getting just a drink and sitting down with a book. They are very animal friendly, and I saw people bring their dogs in briefly to pick up some food. The whole place was a big departure as I’ve gotten use to the more “junk food” vegan culture with places like Blackbird, Papa Ganache, Glory Donuts, VLife, and Dottie’s Donuts. Everything is light and super vegetable heavy which is something that can be hard to find when eating out.
Hey guys! It has been weird. I think most everyone has been experiencing some warmer weather… and now snow. Well, it isn’t that big of deal, it snowed a little in the evening, but nothing really stuck except for a few flakes on some cars that were sitting in a shadow. Nothing huge, but I was getting use to not having to bundle up on runs. I don’t mind the cold as much as I hate the time it takes to get all the layers on. But yesterday I drove out to my Grandmother’s for “easter dinner” with the family. I am not a religious person, but still use certain holidays to make my way out to visit family members. I mean I love my Grandma but I hate Long Island, I even wrote a post about it 2 years ago. I made spinach florentine casserole, roasted chickpeas, cauliflower, and olives, and peanut butter blondies for the meal, and everything seemed to be good.
Anyone using the Dysh app? It is a fun new app where you take a photo of what you are eating, rate it, and post it. I think it can be a fun way to see what vegan food people are ordering at restaurants, though it isn’t an exclusively vegan app. I started to post old dishes I’ve eaten overtime, and Alexa signed up as well. If you want to follow us check us out at ONERAWBITE and MEOWLEXA. I’m vegan, Alexa is pescitarian, so we can help you cut to the chance of what to eat at restaurants (mostly in NJ ^__~).
So what is really rad right now? Well, lots of cool YouTube video, but also PERFUME IS COMING TO NEW YORK CITY! I am excited! I’ve talked about my love of Nakata Yasutaka before (back when we did fashion posts.) Alexa and I went to see Kyayu Pamyu Pamyu in concert and she is a little crazy. But now we can see Perfume… who is a little more mature. You might of seen Perfume before, they are in the iPhone commercial and the beginning of the OK GO’s I Won’t Let You Down (which I recommend watching because it is a great video.) Along with the tour they will be releasing their first full length album in over 3 years!
Anyways I thought I would share my favorite music video by them- Natural ni Koi Shite (Fall in Love Naturally) which was released in 2010. I think it is their most unique video, since most videos is kind-of mostly special effects with singing girls. This one I find to be a bit of a jab at high end shopping culture in Japan. When we think of Japanese fashion you will probably think of Fruits, but there fashion there is pretty basic. And there is a big culture for expensive western brands, particularly the Ginza district which has all the top Western brands that we know of. Pretty much the girls shop and drop, and then reveal they are in an artifical setting, perhaps with an artificial happiness? Maybe I am reading too much into it, but technology and optical illusions is their thing… hell, their new album cover is an optical illusion! I’ve been a fan since Sweet Donuts, so I am excited about that. But truthfully I am excited for FUCKING AWESOME SHOW!
Totally stumbled upon this video. Samantha Bee talking about how if it isn’t Trump, we are still fucked with Cruz. Ugh. Yes, it is a scary time to be an American. And frankly I do get why so many people HATE Hilary Clinton. I prefer Bernie (with like 90% of the 30 year old and youngers in the USA) but I am more concerned about Trump or Cruz, and I do hear a few people say that Hilary is “worse” than them. What? How?! Anyways, I just need to get a few laughs from this dismal situation.
What a video of cocktails AND glassware?! Sign me up. I remember LOVING the idea of having my own adult home bar, probably just to own tons of pretty glasses. Do I need to mention how much I love cocktails? Part of my problem of trying new drinks is figuring out which glass. I love makgeolli but I find drinking it out of a bowl weird. So I finally found my perfect glass- a champagne flute. As a Western drinker I think it makes sense to have it for the light carbonation, and the long flute helps slosh the rice sentiment back up in between drinks.
The Brain Scoop explores what species means. She explains the version you have probably heard in school, but goes into the various ways people in the scientific field define or try to “prove” an animal is their own species. This can be important for understanding animal behaviors better or trying to conserve certain areas and animals. This is something that I’ve read articles about before, but it is nice to have all the information together in one video.
I love hearing good news about younger generations. One thing I want to try and not do as I get older is talk about how the “youths” today are going to shit. I am always hearing my bosses complain that kids don’t get outside enough or don’t know cursive, but they don’t actually know any kids directly that have this to be the case (you know, just hearing it from a customer who’s daughter told them that their grandchild isn’t taking gym *rolls eyes*) This is a quick video reading into some studies that show kids get the same amount of exercise as in the past, do less drugs, drink less, and are in general more awesome people. Yes, there is hope for the planet.
It is weird that I get so excited about vegan bakeries but always get reminded that I don’t actually liked them much? I think it has to do with the fact I grew up with home baked goods. I never really got the prepackaged cupcakes or cookies, so maybe I lust after bakeries since it was something my friends always did. Or maybe it is because I grew up in a very heavy Italian area and just never liked those cookies? Or that I am super specific about what I want from a baked good? Who knows, but what I do know is that we need someone else to bake a cake for special occasions from time to time. When I had my wedding, I remember trying to find a place to bake our cake, I wanted to go with a vegan only bakery. There wasn’t anything nearby so we went with a regular bakery that was happy to make a vegan cake, and it was awesome. But if this place was open at the time, I would of been super happy to have the cake made by them.
Papa Ganache is located in Matawan New Jersey near one of Alexa’s favorite bars, so you could always plan a dinner of cupcakes and grab some beers afterwards. The store participated in Cupcake Wars, and have won! It is the People’s Choice Awards episode, if you are wondering. The bakery does catered events, special orders, and sells wholesale baked goods as well. They also make some gluten free goods, though they are not an exclusively gluten-free kitchen. Not into baked goods? There is a small selection of savory foods you can pick up at the store. There are some soups that you grab and go, and their website lists other meal options. We personally didn’t see many options but we came later in the day, so you might have to get there closer to lunch time or special order them.
They have a huge selection of different baked goods to choose from, including an apple pie pizza. But seeing how they won cupcake wars we figured we should stick to their classics. They have a massive amount of cupcakes to choose from but we narrowed it down to two- the creme brulee and s’mores. The frosting was super whipped and kept it’s structure. We were pretty excited and ate the cupcakes fast, but if you are eating there, I would recommend letting your cupcakes sit for a little bit so the frosting softens up.
I personally liked the creme brulee cupcake the best. I like the frosting to cake ratio. They also put a small layer of sugar on top and melted it, so you get a delicious burnt sugar topping. Alexa was a little bit bias with the s’mores cupcake since it is her favorite flavor for everything. We both thought there was a little too much frosting on top, but still super yummy. We also got a sandwich cookie for Alexa’s mother, which she seemed to enjoy a lot.
And if all these baked goods didn’t put you in a sugar coma, they offer lots of vegan candies. Getting a stomachache yet? I actually liked this idea because they carried Premium Chocolatiers, an all vegan candy shop based in New Jersey. They are very allergy friendly, having nut and gluten free factory. You might of seen some of their candy from Vegan Cuts but if you want to buy it person, this is a place to go. I personally find their chocolate too sweet, but are great for little kids.
Overall, I don’t see myself going to this bakery often since I am not a sweets sort of girl. But they do know what they are doing and have classic all American baked goods. I always love the idea that bakeries give a person the option of just buying one cupcake instead of making a batch of 12. I also know where to go for my next cake for a special event.
Last Monday I was able to hang out with Alexa and try out two new restaurants. It was amazing. But one thing we talked about was our diets, cuz that is what vegans and weight lifters do. Alexa mentioned how she is eating a high protein diet, trying to get about 113 grams of protein and 150 grams of carbs. It made me think about my diet, as I have started to shift towards a very carb-veggie heavy diet. I hit my protein requirements, but I like trying out new recipes. One thing I learned in art school is that sometime making rules for your art can actually help you creatively. So you might see more protein heavy recipes on the blog.
This recipe was already slated to be posted on here, but it fits Alexa’s dietary requirements. High protein and low fat. I used tofu originally in the recipe, but you can sauté some seitan and stir it with the noodles, mushrooms, and bean sprouts at the end. So how much protein? Well I actually shocked myself a little once I crunched the numbers- 52 grams of protein, 63 grams carbs, and 10 grams fat! That means 44% of the dish protein, 30% is fat, and 26% are carbs. The numbers will shift a little depending on the tofu brand you use or if you use seitan instead of tofu. The dish is pretty hearty, and is 550 calories, which might be a little too big for one person to eat in one sitting, as I can imagine with Alexa (I am usually the one cleaning a plate while she tends to just save it for later)
So where is the protein coming from? Well it is comes partly from the Explore Asian bean noodles. These noodles have particular texture so you might not want to just sub them for normal pasta. But they work well with lots of asian style dishes where they use noodles that aren’t made with wheat. That is why I think they work so well with this hot pot. A quarter of a package has a total of 25 grams of protein, making it the highest protein noodles out there…. well the same protein content as Banza chickpea noodles. I used the adzuki bean noodles, since I like the taste of red beans. The prices I am finding online are around $5 a pack, but I was able to get them at Wegman’s for $3.50, making each serving around 88¢, about 50¢ for the tofu, and $1 for the mushrooms (less if you sub for carrots or a cheaper mushroom). I am not really sure how much the rest would cost as I made the kimchi and broth at home. The other ingredients might cost a bit at first, but the last for a long time.
So let’s talk about the soup outside of nutritional content. Let’s talk about the cultural context. So many people know that kimchi is a korean pickled cabbage. There is also a popular korean stew called kimchi jjigae. Kimchi jjigae has become so iconic and has become a popular dish in Japan- translating into kimchi nabe. The differences are subtle, but my vegan version is a little bit more like the Japanese version… with protein noodles. If you are interested about the differences, Just One Cookbook does a good job explaining all the differences.
I’ve mentioned how I love my individual sized hot pots, or donabe have been a life saver. I admit, they are kind-of pricey. You can use other types of pots, and you can find similar things in Asian food markets for a discounted price. Take a look around. But since the dish is designed to be eaten by one person, the recipe is small. So if you are using a normal pot for everyone, adjust accordingly. It is easy enough to double or triple the recipe for however many people will be eating with you.
If you do buy a donabe for this recipe, I found a blog post about seasoning your pot! Most pots don’t come with manuals, so I had no idea this was something that needed to be done a day in advance. It will make your pots last longer and doesn’t take much effort to do.
So our computer turned off and wouldn’t turn back on last week. So my husband was extremely stressed by this since we could technically afford a new computer, but it wouldn’t be the best thing for our wallets. Not to mention the computer we currently have is really sweet. Luckily it wasn’t that bad, we just had a bad memory stick and the wonderful Mac Store scanned all our memory to find out which ones were the bad ones. So we have half the RAM… but we still have 16 gigs, and I don’t notice any difference in speed. So I’ve been spending most of the week trying to catch up on blogs and articles that I’ve been wanting to read from earlier.
I am also starting to feel the spring cleaning bug. I am cleaning out my garden of all the stones so we can start planting some flowers. It might take awhile though, we have SO MANY stones in our small garden space. I am also wanting to start painting out bedroom. It was suppose to be the first room we redo along with our powder room. And now we have settled down and probably will have the time to actually start making our house FEEL like ours. And maybe even start to organize our framed art in a manner that makes sense. Most of the stuff is just smacked on random walls, partly because I was trying to wait until we painted the rooms. So maybe there will be pretty pictures of the newly decorated house in the future.
I also was able to hang out with Alexa last Monday and we will be having THREE new vegan restaurants to feature. Two in central Jersey and one from Delaware. And I just found out of a new all vegan restaurant in Collingswood, so I am pumped to try that out sometimes soon with Alexa or my beau. But Alexa started talking about how she is trying hit certain macros and I thought I would try as well. Well, I am never as close to the protein requirements that the one website calculated for me, but it has been getting me thinking about my calorie intake and protein intake. I definitely do not think this is a way of eating I would enjoy continuing, but it is an interesting way to think since I know there are some people trying to hit a large amount of proteins.
Anyways, I’ve been keeping all these articles in the same post draft to share with you guys. I hope you’ll find them as interesting as I did.
This is an interesting article talking about how a scientist who could of possibly discovered expanded territory of an extinct species. How? Well he used DNA from a knife handle that was made from mermaid ivory. I found this article really interesting as it talks about a old animal product that I’ve never heard the term for. Mermaid ivory is the tusks and bones of sea mammals like walruses and the like. It is an interesting article about the flaws in this man’s methods.
Part art insulation, part science. This is an interesting look at a potential answer to the question of what to do with all the plastic. This fungus breaks down the plastic, but the scientists took it a step further, they make meals from them. The article has two videos but has a link to their website to show some of the special tools they made to eat these fungi eggs.
Gastropod is starting to become my favorite podcast. Yes, I like many others but I love how much research and technical skills go into their podcasts. But remember that review of maple water I did in the past? I wasn’t a huge fan of it, but I wouldn’t help but think there IS a bunch of benefits of maple water over coconut water (mostly economical and environmental). But at the end it made me want to pick up some more for a cocktail! This is a great episode about the all American maple tree with interesting insight for the future of the maple industry.
A great NPR article about how a farmers market moved in Flint. It moved to a lower income area that was closer to a bus stop and surprise, people started to come. I hear a lot of people complain poor people eat garbage, and that is an unfair judgement. I’ve been to low priced markets, and sometimes they just don’t have many fresh foods. This is proof that lower income families are happy to get healthy fresh foods.
I would say I am very interested in science. In fact sometimes I wonder why I didn’t try and study more biology, then I remember it is because I just didn’t feel like dealing with animal poop. Granted there are lots of questionable way to deal with animals to research them, but this opinion piece is pleading for scientists to start accepting animals have feelings. It seems pretty silly but I am always a little shocked to hear scientists dismiss animal behaviors, saying it is naive to assume animal think like humans. I always think it would be naive to think they are completely void of feelings.
There is a lot in this article I already knew, but it introduced me to the term “pink tax.” I do get comments from my husband how some of the things I buy are so expensive, which is funny since I don’t think I buy particularly expensive things it is just expensive compared to what he gets. It is a great article that makes you stop and think before you buy something.
Love, love, loving this article! If you are half aware of the body love movement or are aware of various eating disorders you might of read a bunch of people who are totally against fasting. And I know where they are coming from, and mostly agree. But there are various studies that show that fasting limiting calorie intake could be good for our health. This article does a great job explaining what fasting is, what type of fasting they are talking about, the short comings of the studies. A nice read for anyone who is interested in dietary health but don’t want all the worthless hype of fasting.
Gena from The Full Helping had to take the SNAP challenge for her nutrition class. The SNAP challenge is to live off of $40 for a week per person to simulate relying on food stamps. Gena does a great job talking about the challenges other people faced, and talks about how the challenge isn’t accurate. It is very much worth the read and it thoughtfully written.
UPDATE: Indeblue is no longer located in Collingswood NJ. This review is based mostly off of that location. The main differences will be store (clearly that photo is not correct for the Philly location), there is a liquor license in the Philly location, and some of the menu items might have changed.
I’ve been a long fan of Indeblue. I remember visiting it with Jon and his father when it was starting out in it’s first small location, which is just across the street from their current location in Collingswood. I went with my husband and my Father-in-Law, my Father-in-Law just went nuts with ordering. I’d be looking at the menu and say I was thinking about ordering the soup, and BAM he would just order the soup for us to try without me deciding if I really wanted it or not. I don’t think I actually had a vegan dinner, as it was years ago before I was fully vegan. Since then they’ve moved to a much bigger building and had expanded their menu. They also have a location in Center City Philadelphia, but I haven’t visited it. Why would I? It is much easier to go to the one in Collingswood. So how vegan is it now?
Very vegan friendly. They might not have a massive selection of vegan options, but there is enough that if you go in you will have some choices. We went during a Sunday for their brunch and we were pleasantly surprised. If you want to drink for brunch, prepare before hand. Collingswood is a dry town, so you need to bring your own booze. This can save you some big bucks on the overall menu. Most places in the town are prepared to make cocktails for you if you bring your own drinks. They have a bloody mary that was to die for. I loved it so much that I had to make my own at home. The only downside is that there is a lot spices in there and the drink is really thick. I didn’t know at the time that worcestershire sauce is used in bloody marys, so if you are interested, make sure you ask. You can buy it by the glass or pitcher. If the bloody marys do use worcestershire sauce, you can get orange and mango juice that you can mix with some vegan champagne.
What I really like about IndeBlue is that all their vegan options are labeled easily along with gluten free options. Some of them overlap. They even list things that are easily made vegan so you can just state “make it vegan” when ordering, you know instead of saying “instead of no cheese and mayo can I….” Once you look at the menu you then realise you have tons of options to pick from. I know Jon and I had a hard time picking what we wanted when we got there.
I got the chole bhature made vegan, pictured above. I was so hungry that I didn’t ask what made it non-vegan. The end results was super yummy, but very spicy. There is a big puffy piece of bread that I spooned the chickpeas onto. The chickpeas were in a curry sauce made from tomatoes and a pomegranate juice, balancing the spicy, sweet, and sour flavors into a delicious brunch. This was super filling, and I actually took some home to eat later.
My husband got the uttapam, pictured below. Uttapam is a lentil pancake, that comes with two different chutneys to dip into. My husband loved the savory pancakes, and appreciated having some protein in a normally carb heavy breakfast food. in fact he was a little too stuffed by the end of the brunch.
One thing I can say is that the menu can vary greatly between the Philadelphia location and the Collingswood location. A lot of restaurants do this because the cities have different markets, and it also keeps things a little interesting between the two places. It does also appear that the Philadelphia location does have a liquor license so they have a few cocktails to choose from. If you go during dinner time there is an entire section of vegetarian dishes, make it easier to select your main dish. But if you go during lunch your vegans options are very limited unfortunately.
Personally I love the idea of an indian brunch. I am not a big brunch fan, and usually favor more lunch like options. So coming here is a great compromise. And as mentioned, the vegan options make it easy to pick because nothing is more annoying than having to ask the waiter a bucket full of questions.
Blackbird Pizzeria opened up my last year of college. I vaguely remember spending my last few months of my senior year hearing about an all vegan pizza place. As many vegans may know, people get things confused, maybe they meant all vegetarian or organic. I was in disbelief that there would be a vegan pizza place, especially considering that at the time vegan cheeses were pretty pathetic (and that wasn’t that long ago!) We heard a bunch of people say things like “I THINK it is on 6th between South and Pine….” and I would walk right by the place.
So fast forward to the future, I get my shit together and go full vegan. I heard all my friends who live in New Jersey talk about all the great vegan places in Philly. Clearly I missed my opportunity to try lots of fun new restaurants. But one place that got mentioned often was Blackbird. Then it hit me- it was the pizza place that refused to believe in! In my defense, people were right in which store it was, I was just scared. When I went the first time it all seemed so familiar, walking down 6th street staring at the store front, was it even open? Apparently. And it still is.
Today Blackbird Pizzeria is an important part of Philadelphia’s vegan scene. The place is always busy, and has no frills. The place really punk, and my husband and I joked that it was filled with some stereotypical punks, vegans, and hipsters. But their customer base is really diverse with a large range of people coming in. Our most recent visit included a woman who came in with her 12 month (or less) baby, several single guys, a young couple, and large group of two families. The owner encouraged some of his workers to make vegan donuts, and started a business named Dottie’s Donuts who started by distributing donuts throughout Philly. They are now going to open a shop in West Philly, which I will be sure to review when it opens up. But for now I wrote what I thought of the donuts in my review of Grindcore House.
So what should you expect when you come? Well there is take out and tables to sit at. There isn’t anything glamorous about their set up. There is one bathroom, the sink is outside of it (which is brilliant!), you can even see how they set up their soda machine. The goal of the restaurant is just to provide awesome food, not create a specific atmosphere. It is an order and sit sort of place. They will bring your food out once you order, and usually as the food is ready so don’t be surprised if you get your single pizza slices before your wings.
So what is available? They basically have pizzas, calzones, a few pan pizzas, hot sandwiches, a few cold wraps, salads, and seitan wings. They do have some sweet sold in the store and are kind-of done at random and on a first come, first served basis. You can pre-order desserts online. One of their popular desserts is the compost cup, where it looks like a plant is growing a cup full of dirt. I assume it is made with ground up oreos. I regrettably should of gotten on for the review. The soda selection is from Maine Root Sodas, they are all pure cane sugar based, fair trade, and made in the USA.
Before I talk about the specific foods, keep in mind restaurants change their menus all the time- at least good ones. “Really?” you might think, but it is true. It is a sign that owners are willing to improve recipes, and adapt to any changes in the public tastes. So if I post saying there is a certain type of pizza and it isn’t there when you go a year from now, don’t be too surprised. I know from reading old reviews of Blackbird there was a portobello mushroom melt, and it is nowhere to be found on their current menu.
Since I knew I would be making a review of Blackbird I figured it was time to try something other than the pizza. I see that Blackbird always tries to win best veggie cheesesteak in Philly, in fact they won in 2014. Apparently they changed their recipe since that victory, but it still rocks. I never gotten a “real” cheesesteak before since I was never an all meat sandwich type of girl, but this is one you shouldn’t miss. The sandwich features seitan that was made on location and thinly sliced just like a traditional cheesesteak. There is a yummy cheesey sauce with some grilled veggies in a crispy grilled roll. It is heaven. I think next time we go my husband might want to get this sandwich instead.
Other hot sandwiches? There is a chicken parm, a fried chicken sandwich, and a cubano made with tofu. They have two cold wraps if that is more your style, but truthfully you can a vegan wrap almost anywhere. Can you get a hot crunchy vegan sandwich anywhere else? Not as common.
If you are the sides type of person you have a few options. You have some non-traditional healthier vegan ones like a side of sauted kale, side salad, and chickpea salad. But you if you want traditional pizza food you can get some french fries, cheese fries, or seitan wings. The wings are super noteworthy because they are just amazing. There three different sauces to choose from- smoked habanero, root beer BBQ, or spicy sweet. I assume the smoked habanero is closest to a buffalo styled wing, but I like how they have other options to pick for people who are a little more heat sensitive.
Now I’ve had vegan wings from Good Karma, and yes they were tasty, but nothing compared to these. If you don’t believe me, they were ranked as top 10 wings in the United States by PETA. They were even trying wings from non-vegan restaurants. Blackbird takes their homemade seitan and makes them have enough surface area to get a nice crispy outside. When eating them you get the same crispy and meaty variety that you would get with real wings. We were feeling a little crazy and tried their root beer BBQ and it was fantastic. I’ve always wanted to try that southern sort of BBQ that uses soda to sweeten the sauce, and I wouldn’t surprised if they got really close to that.
So now let’s talk pizza! This is what Jon and I normally get after walking 5+ miles to the art museum and back. These are honestly my favorite pizzas in Philadelphia, vegan or otherwise. I remember really missing pizza during my college days and part of the problem was that I didn’t order out often and I had high standards to live up to. The dough at Blackbird is crisp on the bottom and chewy in all the right ways. Not too much daiya (which I find most pizza places sprinkle WAY too much on) and excellent toppings. These are the various pizza’s I’ve tried, and I have yet to be disappointed.
- Balboa Pizza – Roasted cherry tomato, seitan sausage, baby arugula, pumpkin seed pesto, tofu ricotta, chili flakes, olive oil
This one is my personal favorite. It is more like an artisan pizza with the arugula, ricotta, and cherry tomatoes. It all works perfectly with each other.
- Brunchbird Pizza – Tofu scramble, crispy coconut bacon, sauteed spinach, garlic butter, daiya cheese
This is the pizza that gave me the idea to put tofurky deli slices on pizza. This is a joy to eat, and you can order this any time of the week or day (I’ve heard some places make them weekend exclusive)
- Haymaker Pizza – Seitan sausage, red onions, garlic butter, tomato sauce, daiya cheese, fresh oregano
This is the pizza pictured above. My husband loves the seitan sausages. This is a great pizza for anyone who use to love a typical meat lovers pizza.
- Funghi Pizza – Assorted exotic mushrooms, fresh thyme, truffle oil, garlic butter, mozzarella style daiya cheese
I love mushrooms, so I really like this pizza. So creamy and the mushrooms were tender. I particularly like how they switch up the mushroom selection and don’t use canned mushroom. Yuck.
- Marinara Pan Pizza – Tomato sauce, roasted cherry tomato, fresh oregano, sliced garlic, olive oil
I still have a soft spot for a tomato pie. Apparently it is a New Jersey speciality, and I’ve grown to like it since I can’t do the whole cheese thing. This definitely will fit that bill if you are craving some good old tomato sauce.
- Nacho Pizza – Avocado, caramelized onions, Jalapeño peppers, tomato sauce, cheddar style daiya cheese
I am still unsure how I feel about hot avocados. This was really awesome but truthfully I think I would just ask for no avocado, or have it subbed with something else
If you haven’t already guessed, I love coffee. I love liquid snacks. I mean pretty much all these vegan snack attacks have just morphed into posts about coffee, liquids, and chocolate. Okay, well, I will do a spoiler and say I will be posting a review on the new Ben & Jerry’s vegan ice creams, but for now I have this coffee. What makes this drink so special is that it is nitro infused. Being the shameless hipster that I am, I am go ape shit for nitro. If I am at a brewery and they have something nitro infused on tap- I get it. I’ve heard about how some places are playing around with nitro infused coffee, and I so desperately want to find a place that serves it- which there are, I just need to get my butt to one.
But until the day I get my shit together in Philly I have this- Stumptown Cold Brew Nito Infused Coffee. I found this can at Whole Foods, which makes it easy for people across the USA to get a hold of. If you aren’t aware of Stumptown as a brand, well, it is probably because it does have a little bit of a hipster niche. Their website mostly features a sparse set up that is uber trendy. They have 12 oz of beans for $18 and tons of overpriced gift sets. They have a handful coffee shops scattered across the USA, but mostly located on the west coast.
I am not usually the type to encourage overpriced items that appeal to people by creating exclusive products, BUT IT’S NITRO INFUSED! I couldn’t get myself to drink coffee in a can, so I poured it into a glass. There was a beautiful head on coffee, and it lasted for a good amount of time. The bubbles definitely added some great body and some flavor as well. The whole thing made me think of espresso stouts, which makes this drink a great beer substitute if you are coffee stout fan. I really enjoyed this drink, which really makes me excited to try out a nitro infused coffee in a coffee shop.
Downsides? Hands down, the price. Whole foods is selling this coffee for about $5 and I am not sure why. Let’s put it this way, I’ve bought 4 or 6 pack beers that are nitro infused for $10 or maybe $15. So what is making this coffee $5 a can? It doesn’t add up. Sure maybe there is something special. Maybe the coffee plants have people message their leaves? Maybe there is something super duper special about keeping the nitrogen in the coffee compared to beer? I don’t know.
I probably won’t be buying this coffee again, mostly because of the price. Seeing some of the coffee shops in Philadelphia, their freshly tapped nitro coffees are cheaper than this can. If I lived in a small town and couldn’t ever get my hands on something else, maybe I would think about buying it again. Also keep in mind that some coffee shops use the nitro infusion to make lattes with dairy milk, so keep that in mind and make sure you ask before buying.
So how about you guys? Anyone heard about nitro infused coffee? Or have tried it?