A Fresh Dille

philly’s quite delicious

Posted in FAMILY, FOOD, SHOPPING, TRAVEL, VEGAN by clairedille on May 18, 2010

I must say that I ate pretty well while in Philadelphia over the weekend.

The first night, after a ten hour drive, we went to a restaurant near our hotel called Fork. From the rainy cobbled sidewalk, I saw the restaurant and commented on the curbside appeal before venturing inside. The decor was simple and chic, yet rustic with an open view of the chef’s preparing the dishes. I wasn’t quite in the mood for such a haute dining experience but I was surprised to find some things that were easy and comforting. The waiter suggested the special soup which was a purée of English Peas. It was scrumptious paired with a fresh multigrain dinner roll. On the side I also ordered the sautéed Broccoli Rabe. This was too bitter and after both my parents tasted it, they could sense that the garlic was burned, and sent it back. This is something I am not fond of doing in restaurants, especially ones with well-respected chef’s with probably much more intellectual palettes than myself. The Broccoli Rabe returned to the table with less overcooked garlic, but was still too bitter to enjoy fully. I continued to make my way through the soup and roll (and wine to celebrate) with a few forkfuls of the side fitting its way in there at times. I wish there were photos to share but this was after a 10 hour drive, I was simply too tired to photograph and over excited to see my younger sister for the first time since the holidays.

The next morning we went out in search of flowers and stumbled upon a restaurant I knew I would enjoy fully. FARMiCiA was just what I was in the mood for with a bright sunny atmosphere and an emphasis on food crafted from local, organic, and artisanal producers.

Although the menu was extensive, I was craving oats (not on the online menu for some reason….) since it was still pretty early and I knew I had a full day and night ahead of me and I wanted to start off on a good start. The bowl came with a side of berries and I asked for a side of peanut butter in addition for some healthy fats. Most mainstream restaurants don’t offer soy/almond/hemp milk so I made sure to tell them to cook the oats in water instead of dairy milk.

This bowl of oats was then doused with peanut butter and filled me up for hours until we finally met up with my younger sister for lunch. We ventured over to Reading Terminal and I was so impressed by the huge array of stands with local produce, baked goods, juices, and ethnic cuisines.

I picked up a few of the local magazines to read up about local eats and going ons in the Philadelphia area. Jillian told me about Basic 4, a vegetarian cafe that I couldn’t wait to see and maybe grab something for a later time. Unfortunately, it is closed on Saturday’s but after reading the menu, I could tell that it was just the place for me. If I had more time in the city I know I would have gone back for any of the vegan eats.

Walking around Philadelphia, I fell in love with a few stores. One is Vagabond, a clothing store my sister loves. It has a great compilation of vintage, local designers, and some of my favorite contemporary designers. I freelanced for a high-end showroom a few times post college graduation and found a few of those organic designers in Vagabond (blog). Humanoid, a dutch company (sold here) and Organic by John Patrick are two clothing companies I am so attracted to and knew after seeing the pieces in the store that it appealed to my style. They also carried some lower priced lines like Jeffrey Campbell and local hand-knitted slouchy sweaters that I would crave in the winter months. I went out empty-handed but that store would be very dangerous if I ever live in Philadelphia.

Amada was the restaurant my father chose for a late lunch. Since my parents just came back from Spain, tapas was just what they were up for. My sister and I also love tapas but for me it can be hard as a veggie. Spanish menus tend to be pretty meat and cheese heavy and this was no exception. I can’t complain though, because the Ensalada Verde was a great tower of a salad with greens, avocado, asparagus, favas, and green beans. The avocado coated the lettuce and it was well dressed with a lime vinaigrette.

I also munched on some olives, Habas a las Catalana (warm fava & lima bean salad), and Patatas Bravas (spicy potatoes sans cheese topping) that were delicious.

The rest of the plates ordered by the rest of my family were just as beautiful and supposedly very tasty. Here is one dish my mother, father, and sister raved about, the Albóndigas (lamb meatballs & shaved manchego).

We all decided to finish off our meals with coffee or espresso because the Fashion Show wasn’t until 8 p.m.

As I wrote about earlier, my dinner consisted of a vegan banana chocolate chip cupcake. Saturday was quite a culinary filled day in Philadelphia and I was so happy to find another city in the U.S. with so much that I adore.

Other things:

-I am overwhelmingly behind in blog reading after missing a few days. I promise to start reading and commenting more soon.

-We went to my aunt’s house today where she has some chickens. It has been quite a while since I have eaten an egg but after seeing her wonderful chickens and their amazing lives, I am tempted. If I eat one in the morning before our long drive back to the midwest, I decided that I will not be upset with myself knowing that these chickens are ALWAYS cage free and roaming around her property. It is a hard thing for me because not only does my family (mostly my father) feel I should eat them, but I also know that after a weekend with limited protein sources, I am really needing some.

-How do you feel about this? Are you a vegan or not into eating chickens who aren’t free range? I am weird about labels but when at a restaurant, telling them I am vegan just makes it easier since I do eat an entirely plant-based diet. I don’t buy eggs at grocery stores and can’t remember the last time I had one, but I did once love them and always want to eat what I want without feeling restricted. Aren’t they beauties?


15 Responses

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  1. kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com said, on May 18, 2010 at 12:42 am

    even if u eat an egg id still call u vegan since most of the time u would be vegan anyways. in my opinion eggs are quite cruelty free really! hens produce eggs all the time.. the only time that they turn into babies are when the hens are fertilized by the rooster (a.k.a they get it on lol) .. so if hens always produce eggs what a waste if no one ate them and they just sat there to rot. hmm just my opinion- eggs or not, whatever works for you<3

    i just checked out that vintage store ur sis loves and omg im freaking out over their blog and the photos of some of the otfits/garments! they have the cutest little blue and white striped romper that i want so bad! i need to travel so i can get out to philly and do some shopping- and eating!! omg vegetarian bar- YUM<3

    • clairedille said, on May 18, 2010 at 12:48 am

      I know, the rompers were so cute but I already have some that I don’t wear enough…so I couldn’t buy another! The girl on the blog was actually the lady who helped us and the sales people were so sweet!

      It is hard for me because I do feel most chickens aren’t raised in great environments (humane-wise) but my aunts DEFINITELY are so I don’t have guilt attached.

  2. healthyexposures said, on May 18, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Philly looks like an awesome place to visit. Of course, i’d love to visit any place with a restaraunt that offers oatmeal, or “the Basic vegetarian Snack Bar”. So cool! I think I’d get a kick out of ordering oatmeal so I can compare it to my daily ones, though 😛 I’m weird.
    Your sister sounds incredibly talented. Good for her!
    And, I’m not vegan – but ever since food inc and becoming more aware of my food in general, I’ve been a lot more picky about my eggs. Since I go through random phases of when I want eggs, though, I rarely buy them, and rather will just take two from my mom’s carton. I try to encourage her to buy eggs from a local farm, and sometimes we do – but sometimes we don’t. I’d certainly have no problem with one of your aunt’s eggs, though.

  3. brandi said, on May 18, 2010 at 8:22 am

    Sounds like a great trip 🙂

    I’m not a vegan, but I do make a point to get my food as close to the source as possible, which means buying from local farms that grass-feed their beef, bison, and chicken and eggs that come from free range chickens, as well.

  4. Teri [a foodie stays fit] said, on May 18, 2010 at 8:57 am

    yay for amada! When we went, ours was seafood heavy but not meat heavy, which was great.

    My mom raises chickens so I never had to worry about getting them from sketchy sources. And now that I don’t live near home, I have some friends who have chickens so I get eggs from them a lot or other local farmers.

  5. Lauren @ Health on the Run said, on May 18, 2010 at 9:30 am

    Sounds like you had a great weekend with your family — with some amazing eats!! Makes me want to visit Philly! 🙂

    Also, I can’t say what you should do about the eggs, but I do think that the fact that you find yourself wanting one does say something. As you mentioned, the environment these chickens are raised in sounds extremely humane, and personally, I would love to try one (they look beautiful and so fresh in the pictures!!!). However, if you’re just going to regret having an egg right after you eat it, then it’s not worth it.

  6. Amanda @ . seek . said, on May 18, 2010 at 10:06 am

    A weekend full of great food and great clothes? Sounds amazing if you ask me! Glad you had a great time 🙂

    I struggled with the issue of eating eggs for a long time and eventually came to realize that I was avoiding eggs for the wrong reasons so I decided to include them back into my diet. We get our eggs from a local farmer that we know; the eggs are cruelty free and I knew it wasn’t guilt or an interest in animal welfare holding me back. Rather, it was a desire to stick to a particular label or way of eating, and it was also a form of restriction for my disordered eating. Eggs are really healthy for us, and I don’t see a problem eating them if they’re cruelty free, especially if you liked them before.

    Ask yourself why you don’t want to eat them if you know there’s no cruelty attached to them, and maybe that will help you figure out whether to start eating them again or not.

  7. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine said, on May 18, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    I’d definitely eat an egg (or drink milk, for that matter) from an animal that I saw with my own eyes had a happy lifestyle. I mean, chickens are going to lay eggs, so if they’re kept as “pets” and not going to be fertilized, I don’t think there’s an ethical issue at all!

    I’ve been to Fork, but now I’m dying to go to Farmica! Looks so good- there are so many awesome places to eat in Philly!

  8. Jillian (back to the nest) said, on May 18, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    GREAT choices! I feel bad about Basic 4…if you’re ever back in Philly, I’ll take you there. But I’m glad you liked Fork…it’s one of my favorites in the city. Those pictures are nuts. I literally just finished a filling lunch, and now I’m hungry again! 🙂

  9. Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries said, on May 18, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Ahh what beautiful foods! I was born in Philly and lived there for about a year but certainly never ate at awesome places like these. I supposed a one year old wouldn’t appreciate it would they? =P
    I loove olives! And that berrylicious oatmeal looks fab as well.

  10. Rachael said, on May 18, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks for the Philly reviews and suggestions – I’m headed up there for a month and it looks like it’s a pretty sustainable-living-friendly city.

  11. Katie said, on May 18, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Those restaurants sound fab! I was in Philly over New Years and saw so many places I wanted to try.

  12. Jessie (Vegan-minded) said, on May 18, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Hi there! I just found your blog and I must say that your photos are beautiful! I am vegan and have often wondered if I would eat eggs if I had my own farm of free roaming chickens. I am pretty sure the answer would be no since I feel bad about taking the eggs away from the mother. I think I would also find them pretty gross after not eating eggs for 5 years! 🙂

  13. actorsdiet said, on May 18, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    love all the philly spots – my in-laws live there and am always looking for places to go when i visit.

  14. Emma said, on May 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Mistake= reading this post while hungry…. arg.

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