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.
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.
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…
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.
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!
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 ;)
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+!
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.
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!?
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!