Philly Fill Me: Plant-Based in Philadelphia

Philly Fill Me: Plant-Based in Philadelphia

If you’re plant-based (vegan, vegetarian, etc.) then you’ve probably thought, “where can I eat?” while traveling in a new city. Luckily for me (and millions of others who frequently travel to Philly, there are endless plant-based options in the city of Brotherly Love! In the fall of 2019 the annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) was held in Philadelphia. This is an opportunity for RDs and RD2Bs (registered dietitians in training) to check out all things nutrition-related and mingle with their peers. My intern, Edel was one of those lucky nutrition students who was able to attend and she wrote about her experience searching for veg options while in my very own hometown. Check out her guide below and leave a comment with your favorite recommendations for dining out in Philly! Next time I’m back I just might make a trip to one of your spots!

Philly Fill Me: Plant-Based in PhiladelphiaBy Edeljoyce Gelilang

We finally landed in the land of the 76ers. I actually made my first muse of the day when I accidentally mixed up the 76ers for the San Francisco 49ers with our Uber driver. It got quiet and finally one of my friends silently corrected me, and the car jumped with laughter. First impression of Philly: it’s got a sense of humor.

It was a 25-minute ride to our Airbnb and the city was a gaze. The leaves were chestnut, golden, and some mustard. The city looked like a history book and we got to walk through its pages for a weekend. Students and faculty from the University of North Florida awaited long for this trip, the annual Food Nutrition and Conference Expo. It was like the Super Bowl of academia foodies. A year ago when I was a junior first hearing about FNCE, everyone’s first spoken impression was “FREE. FOOD. EVERYWHERE!” Free food is like a holiday jingle to the ears of college students. So you bet I was ecstatic to know that my $235 registration would  include a subtle meal plan!

But I also had an objective to explore the food scene outside the fast-paced lectures and events. Our Airbnb was within the heart of downtown. Once we were dropped off at our Airbnb, we decided to explore the streets for a quick bite before check in at 11am. We were overwhelmed with options at every corner and non-corners. I had planned for us to stop by the local and popular Green Eggs Café, but after we turned the corner, it was a no-go from the heavy crowd outside its doors waiting for a table. Although, this definitely gave a good impression that I started a “must-come-back” list not even being a customer.

Our revised first stop was Hip City Veg, a local and vegan fast-food chain. This was literally the place to have a fresh bite as their kitchen scraps at the end of the day are thrown into the compost so the kitchen can start the next morning with ingredients anew and as locally possible. The setting was modern and cheerful with the soft blue walls. I ordered the Curry Tofu Wrap of which held organic and local tofu, sprouts, spinach, tomato, cucumber, and cumin raita. The friendly manager gladly met my request for extra mushrooms. It was so filling I was only able to consume half of it. For $6.25, it was a bang for my buck, health, and taste buds. To top off my first Philly meal, Hip City Veg also provided compostable straws and cutlery to have a lighter impact on our environment. This Saturday morning, I was a happy me in a happy planet.

Sunday morning rose at 6am and rolled nonstop until 4pm. Oh, but our 10-hour whirlwind didn’t end there. Dinner was waiting for us at PS&CO, which was recommended by an eager friend that was anxious to give the restaurant a SECOND visit on the trip. After about 30 walking turns, we finally set foot into the organic, plant-based, and gluten-free joint. The setting had brick walls, green plants, a book case, and soft lighting which curated a moody and European street night vibe especially with the pastries displayed behind glass that was irresistibly visible. We were seated at a long table in a secluded room and it instantly felt like Thanksgiving. Being in different cities, getting tangled up in frantic schedules and to-do lists, we were thankful for spending this dinner time together. You can never go wrong with pizza so I ordered the Kale + Pesto Pizza dressed with basil pine nut pesto, arrabiatta sauce, miso cheese, topped with baked kale chips. Again, I requested mushrooms on top and they came back with a plate topped with mushrooms! It was a blissful moment lived. A couple moments later, our table was mistakenly given a mystery soup with plant-based meatballs on top. Don’t worry, we notified our server and he let us keep it! I couldn’t find it on the menu and forgot to ask if it was a daily soup special, so until now it remains a mystery soup. It was warm, savory, slightly thick textured, and was comparable to a mushroom cream soup. The night ended fulfilling our sweet tooth with a DIY Sundae with 2 large vanilla bean scoops topped with a brownie, caramelized walnuts, and chocolate chips.

Sunday morning rose at 6am and rolled nonstop until 4pm. Oh, but our 10-hour whirlwind didn’t end there. Dinner was waiting for us at PS&CO, which was recommended by an eager friend that was anxious to give the restaurant a SECOND visit on the trip. After about 30 walking turns, we finally set foot into the organic, plant-based, and gluten-free joint. The setting had brick walls, green plants, a book case, and soft lighting which curated a moody and European street night vibe especially with the pastries displayed behind glass that was irresistibly visible. We were seated at a long table in a secluded room and it instantly felt like Thanksgiving. Being in different cities, getting tangled up in frantic schedules and to-do lists, we were thankful for spending this dinner time together. You can never go wrong with pizza so I ordered the Kale + Pesto Pizza dressed with basil pine nut pesto, arrabiatta sauce, miso cheese, topped with baked kale chips. Again, I requested mushrooms on top and they came back with a plate topped with mushrooms! It was a blissful moment lived. A couple moments later, our table was mistakenly given a mystery soup with plant-based meatballs on top. Don’t worry, we notified our server and he let us keep it! I couldn’t find it on the menu and forgot to ask if it was a daily soup special, so until now it remains a mystery soup. It was warm, savory, slightly thick textured, and was comparable to a mushroom cream soup. The night ended fulfilling our sweet tooth with a DIY Sundae with 2 large vanilla bean scoops topped with a brownie, caramelized walnuts, and chocolate chips.