Road Trip Part III: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If you’re following along on our recent road trip…

The next stop on our trip took us to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It was my first time to visit the city, and I immediately fell in love with it — and in a major way.  If it weren’t for the cold and snowy winters, Philly would be on my short list of places I would want to live, should we ever leave Kansas City.

It was fun visiting the touristy, historical sites, especially with Erik, an early American history buff.

Us at Independence Hall

Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Christ Church, Betsy Ross House - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania But more than that, I was just enamored with the whole vibe of the city.  My favorite part of our time in Philly was simply wandering down the city streets, getting a glimpse of the studios, shops, houses and people.

And then there’s the fact that the City of Brotherly Love is also very loving to vegans.  There is a plethora of vegetarian and vegan restaurants from which to choose!

Our day in Philly started with a bit of excitement when we got to sit next to a celebrity — that is if you, like us, consider a former “The Bachelorette” finalist to be a celebrity (hey, no judging!) — at Pure Fare.  Pure Fare, a “fast, casual lifestyle brand,” is on a mission to help you eat more healthfully and meet your nutritional needs.  In addition to clean foods and high quality ingredients, they have an online component to their store that you can register for to help track what you eat to see how it stacks up.

Pure Fare - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania I heard that they have great vegan soft-serve, but since it was still morning, we opted for the raspberry donut and a brownie (so much for it being morning!).  The gluten-free raspberry donut, made with quinoa, gave great first-impression flavor, but it was immediately followed by an overwhelming, earthy aftertaste.  Erik’s parents got one, too, but they didn’t even notice.  Perhaps ours was a fluke.  The brownie, made with one of my all-time favorite foods, sweet potatoes, was sublime.  Soft and rich, with a nice crumble, I was kinda bummed I had to share…

Raspberry Donut and Brownie - Pure Fare - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Pure Fare is located at 119 South 21st Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

As soon as we decided that Philly would be a destination on our trip, I knew that we would be making a stop at Blackbird Pizzeria.  We l-o-v-e love pizza.  And I’ve always l-o-v-e-d loved the song “Blackbird.”  It had to be a sign!  Blackbird Pizzeria is 100% vegan, and in addition to some fabulous specialty pizzas, they have a nice selection of sandwiches and soups.

Blackbird Pizzeria - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Erik’s parents each got a Chickpea ‘Tuna” Wrap.  We regularly make “tuna” sandwiches at home using chickpeas, so it is a method we (and many other vegans) are very familiar with.  Blackbird’s version had artichokes, lettuce, tomatoes and red onion mixed in.  I got to grab a bite and I loved it’s freshness and mellow flavor–the artichokes were a great touch!

Chickpea Tuna Wrap - Blackbird Pizzeria - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Erik and I split a slice of pizza and two sandwiches.

While you can buy a whole pie or buy by-the-slice, your by-the-slice choices are limited to what is currently available.  Luckily, they just slid a Haymaker pizza — Erik’s top pick — into the oven as we walked in.  The Haymaker includes garlic butter, a superbly-spiced seitan sausage, onions, red sauce, mozzarella style Daiya and fresh herbs.

They do not skimp at Blackbird–toppings were aplenty, and then there’s the humongous size of just one slice!  Everything about it was just right.  It is one of the best pizzas we’ve ever had.  Erik went completely “ga ga” over it — his words ;)

Haymaker Pizza - Blackbird Pizzeria - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania You can’t go to Philly and not get a cheesesteak sandwich.  The cheesesteak at Blackbird consists of thinly sliced seitan, grilled onions and peppers, crimini and white mushrooms and mozzarella-style Daiya.  My first Philly Cheesesteak experience definitely gets an A+!

Philly Seitan Cheesesteak Sandwich - Blackbird Pizzeria - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Thanks to a recommendation from fellow VegNews Street Teamer Shiny Happy Vegan, we tried the Smoked Tofu Cubano.  I know you can’t see too well from the picture, but seriously folks, this is one amazing sandwich!  House smoked tofu, seitan pepperoni, pickles, caramelized onions, grain mustard aioli, Daiya cheese — so much depth.  This may take the cake for best sandwich ever.  Yes, ever.

Smoked Tofu Cubano - Blackbird Pizzeria - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania We grabbed a Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie to nibble on during the two mile walk back to the car.  What’s not to like about an incredibly light and fluffy peanut butter cream surrounded by two pieces of the softest chocolate cake!?

Peanut Butter Whoopie Pie - Blackbird Pizzeria - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania I’m not sure if you can tell, but we kinda liked Blackbird.  At one point, I even found my husband at the counter trying to convince them to open shop in KC.  Pretty good idea, if you ask me.

Blackbird Pizzeria is located at 507 S 6th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Our plan was to spend another day in Philly, on our last day in Pennsylvania.  But due to car troubles, it was not meant to be.  We had a list of restaurants we wanted to hit up, including Hip City Veg and Vedge.  We were even hoping to catch a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park (when it was announced this week that it was named the most veg-friendly major league ballpark in the country, I was even more disappointed we missed out!).  But the day we did have there was phenomenal, and there is some consolation knowing that there’s always next time.  We loved the city too much not to visit again!

There’s obviously so many places we missed in Philly.  I’m already taking notes for the next trip — what places do you recommend?

Next stop:  Hagerstown, Maryland!


  1. says

    I’m sorry to hear about your car troubles! I hope it wasn’t too costly! Blackbird looks AMAZING! The sandwiches and the pizza make me want to visit ASAP. That’s too bad that you weren’t able to visit Vedge. I’ve heard it’s incredible, but there’s always next time! It’s funny that you say that the snowy winters make Philly a no go. Is it that much worse than Kansas City?

    • says

      It was pretty costly, but what can you do? We were just thankful it didn’t happen while driving through the mountains (without service) on the way home. While the car was in the shop, we spent the day with Erik’s parents in Lancaster, letting them show us around their town. We had been so busy up until that point that we hadn’t had time for that, so I’m glad we got that opportunity.

      Everyone we talked to highly recommended Vedge, so it will be numero uno on our list next time!

      Haha…good point. Winters in KC can be bad, but I think they’re generally milder than those in PA. In any event, IF we ever had to move, I’d want an upgrade in the winter-department! :)

  2. Molly Drake says

    Looks like you had too much fun, minus the whole car trouble thing, of course! Philadelphia is one of those cities I’ve dreamed about visiting for some time. I will have to make a note to go to Blackbird cause everything you got looks scrumptous!

  3. says

    I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Philly and still haven’t had the chance! Been drooling over some of their veg-friendly restaurants for years.

    Ok, I have to ask – because (I’m a little embarrassed to admit) the Bachelor/Bachelorette is the only reality show Matt and I watch (we don’t know why, either!) – who was it you sat next to at Pure Fare?! :P

    • says

      Amber, you would LOVE Philly!

      It was Reid from Jillian’s season. We really liked him on the show, so it made it especially exciting ;) I didn’t start watching until a few years ago when a marathon came on in the background one day while I was doing housework. Every season since then I say I’m not going to watch, but several episodes in we inevitably check it out on hulu–and then we’re hooked.

  4. amanda says

    definitly try out hip city veg its got some awesome sandwiches and burgers and the place is all vegan, also sweet freedom is an all vegan bakery shop and jar bar is an all raw vegan lunch spot theyre all in center city and all amazing


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *