Local & Sustainable in Philadelphia

We’ve been to Philly a few times in the past year, and I thought these places were worth sharing.

Marigold Kitchen – recommended, sounded great, but didn’t eat there. Adorably set in the 1st floor of an old house in Western Philadelphia.

White Dog Café, University City, 3420 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA
A fabulous local and sustainable restaurant in Western Philly with a chalkboard that lists the farm/origin of each ingredient they use. I’m assuming their menu is seasonal ☺ Just about everything we ate was spectacular. We sampled a bunch of appetizers. The tomato/cucumber gaspacho: (peppery and a little spicy) – you can can get it with or without crab meat. It’s vegan without the crab. Proscutto and melon: red and yellow watermelon was fantastic, duck proscutto was pretty fatty, but pork was lean and more tasty. This was actually the least exciting appetizer. The bacon wrapped quail was the highlight. Served with arugula, I will see my husband smiling for days in memory of that dish. Lamb Ragu with Ravioli: our only entrée with spinach, also a little spicy and usually served with what I’m sure is an awesome ricotta…
All wines are domestic and beers are local. They did have a vegan chocolate pie for dessert which was more like fudge in crust, not great, but the vegan raspberry coconut ice cream was delicious.

Lamb shoulder,
Salads, lavash & hummus
Desserts (halava mousse blueberry parfait)
Coconut milk & peach, peach sorbet

overall Zahav was highly recommended and good, but not amazing. the salads/appetizers were by far the highlight of the meal.

16 & Sansom
great local and vegan options

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Vegan Hamentashen!

One of my favorite cookies tie into one of my favorite holidays (Purim) where you dress up and make lots of noise. Tasty vegan baked goods are hard to find, but these are surprisingly delicious.

4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

4 3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup margarine at room temperature (I used earth balance)

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup water

2 tsp vanilla extract

filling  – pie filing is fine, I prefer fruit preserves (apricot, raspberry, etc)

In a large bowl, beat flour, baking powder, salt margarine, sugar, water and vanilla with a mixer set on medium.  Add a small amount of additional water if necessary to smooth. (I added close to 1/2 cup more)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 2-3 cookie sheets.

Roll dough to 1/4″ thickness. Cut out 3″ circles with cookie cutters or the top of an upside down glass.

Place spoonfuls of desired filling into center of each circle and fold into triangular shape. Warning, these need a lot of room in the pan – they expand quite a bit!

Bake for 10-20 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Baking time may vary depending on your oven.


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Vegan Latkes (potato pancakes)

There’s nothing like good fried food… Having never made latkes I had no idea there were eggs in them. Well, it’s just not necessary, these came out great and the kept the guests asking for more!

Vegan Latkes Recipe
Adapted from VegNews Vegan Latkes

1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes (I used red and yellow potatoes)
1 small yellow onion
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Safflower oil, for frying (I used canola)
(vegan) sour cream and applesauce


Peel and grate potatoes, then place in a colander and set over a large bowl. Using your hands, squeeze out excess liquid from the potatoes. Pour off liquid and place potatoes in bowl. Grate onion and add to potatoes along with parsley, flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat a thin layer of oil. Take a heaping tablespoon of batter and flatten it before gently placing it in hot oil. Make three or four more potato pancakes this way, and add to skillet without crowding pan. Fry until golden brown on both sides, turning once, about 8 minutes total.

Repeat with remaining potato mixture, adding more oil as necessary. Remove cooked potato pancakes to paper towels to drain, then transfer to an ovenproof platter and keep warm in oven until all pancakes are cooked.

Serve with sour cream and/or applesauce.

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East Village night out


12th St & 1st Ave, NYC

An expensive but locally sourced restaurant. Food was good and fresh, but not amazing. The burrata looked amazing with its homemade mozzarella like cheese.  The warm vegetable salad was good, the chicken for 2 was moist and lightly spiced, the greens side were tasty but salty. Desserts were mostly packed with butter, so dessert needed to be had elsewhere. They did have a beer pairing menu which sounded good. Overall ok.



10th St & 2nd Ave, NYC

AMAZING. This gem across from St Mark’s church is vegan, gluten free & organic. They carry dark chocolates, baked goods from babycakes, and other treats as well, but the ice cream is the main focus here.  They don’t use refined sugars and they use sustainable/biodegradable materials. But most importantly, they make great tasting exciting ice cream!!! I tried a bunch of flavors, one just as good as the next, but settled on the soy based Salted caramel  pecan and hemp based chocolate. Both were delicious.  It’s not cheap either, but worth every penny.  I’ll be back – soon and often!

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Dairy free lasagna

While I was never a fan of meatloaf growing up, my mom made a killer lasagna.  Every so often I crave that melted cheese goodness and today was the day to try and tackle it! without cheese…  I was pretty excited that it turned out pretty tasty.  Feel free to make your own variation.


4 oz Ronzoni Oven Ready Lasagna

8 oz Daiya mozzarella style shreds

10 oz Follow Your Heart Mozzarella Vegan Gourmet Cheese Alternative, sliced

1 zucchini, sliced in circles

1 jar tomato sauce (I used Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomato)

Vegan Ricotta:

14 oz. box silken tofu
1 large or 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 c. olive oil (or a little less)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp kosher salt (or less, to taste)
dash of black pepper

9×9 in pan

Mash tofu. Add all other ingredients. Continue mashing until it has a ricotta-like texture. If you want it super smooth, you could put the tofu in a blender or food processor before adding the other ingredients. I actually used silken soft tofu and it turned out quite nicely, but the recipe comes from here and recommends otherwise. I only needed a fork to combine the ingredients.

Spread a thin layer of sauce over the bottom of the pan. Add pasta. cover pasta with ricotta mix, zucchini, mozzarella slices and shreds. repeat until you run out of ingredients!

Bake at 350 for 30 min covered by tinfoil, then another 15 min uncovered or until bubbling.

Serves 3-4.

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Store bought comfort food and snacks

One of the benefits of traveling and living with artists usually involves good food.  Having the benefit of a kitchen has let me explore the possibilities of suburban Boston during my residency at Brandeis.

The Waltham Farmers Market is ok, and only on Sat mornings, but Hannaford happens to be a great supermarket. It’s one of the few chains I’ve found to have a house brand organic line, Nature’s Place Organic.  The Maple & Brown Sugar oatmeal is not too sweet, Honey Crunch-n-Oats cereal is a great alternative to Honey Bunches and they even have house brand almond and soy milk, popcorn, etc.  The list of their products is really quite long.  If you live near one, I’m officially jealous 🙂  If you’re traveling to the Northeast, make sure you stock up!

In addition, Hannaford carriers a bunch of vegan and gluten free foods.  I actually found a Dairy Free Shells and Chreese organic pasta dinner! (also soy, lactose and cholesterol free) Thankfully the manufacturer Road’s End Organics has a website where there’s even a couple gluten free options. Very exciting for those moments of comfort food cravings!  The rest of their website has a ton of products and some great sounding recipes. Worth exploring!

Then there’s chocolate pudding. I was a huge fan of swiss miss growing up.  While the closest I’ve found is whole foods homemade silken chocolate pudding (hard to find), I’ve found Soyummi in multiple locations lately.  I’ve only tried the dark chocolate pudding, and the consistency is pretty light, but know there are other flavors that I haven’t tried. They’re Dairy & Gluten free, non GMO, vegan & organic.

Lastly, as a former Snickers and peanut butter cup lover, I found the best vegan alternatives yet!  If you too need something that really satisfies every now and then, check out Jokerz candy bar and Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Both were also quite satisfying. Justin’s had other nut butter cups available in the stores as well. I found both at Whole Foods, but in addition to retailers listed one their respective websites, they are also available online.



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Vegan Cookies

While I love to cook and bake, sometimes as a busy person one just wants to satisfy a sweet craving. When allergic to dairy this is almost impossible along any stretch of highway without forethought.  Enter Whole Foods.  While I’m still upset about the whole GMO fiasco they’re in (basically throwing their hands up to Monsanto) they do have some pretty great products that are difficult to find elsewhere…  I’ve been to 3 different Whole Foods to check it out, and while they all carry vegan cookies in the regular bakery case, but their variety and stock tend to differ.  This of course could vary by the day.

In West Roxbury, MA I found the value pack of 10 chocolate chip and 10 ginger cookies. yum!  The chocolate chip cookies definitely filled my craving, but the ginger were by far a superior cookie. They did also sell them individually, but the value pack cut the price per cookie in half.  Great if you’re sharing and/or a cookie monster.

In Columbus Circle (NYC) they only carried ginger cookies individually.

In Greenwich, CT they had chocolate chip, ginger and double chocolate chip cookies sold individually, but no value packs.

The best reviews were by dairy eating skeptics who tried them cautiously and emerged pleasantly surprised!

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