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 Post subject: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:05 pm 
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Tofu Pup
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"Do you remember that place we used to go to that had the awesome vegan..."

The idea is this - post the name of a Philadelphia restaurant, cafe, bakery, street vendor or health food store that is no longer in business or has diminished in some way (e.g. stopped serving vegan food). There are quite a few places that may be gone from the Philadelphia vegetarian/vegan food scene but for better or worse are still memorable to those of us that ate at them.

I'll start with a somewhat obscure one...

Sunwishes
2027 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA

One of the highlights that I can remember was the Tropical Grilled Tempeh Burger that was comprised of "seasoned grilled tempeh topped with avocado, red onions, and a mango salsa mayo on a caramelized onion focaccia." A couple of the dishes contained soy cheese which was clearly marked as having contained casein but overall the majority of the dishes were vegan and fairly tasty. I used to go there occasionally during my lunch breaks back in 2004-2005 but one day it vanished without a trace...

Does anyone else remember this specter?


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:16 pm 
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i miss viva las vegans lunch truck (used to be on 33rd between market & chestnut, across from the library at drexel). they sold the truck & moved to ny & opened lula's


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:16 pm 
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good riddance to gianna's. so glad blackbird is there instead


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:24 pm 
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_diana wrote:
i miss viva las vegans lunch truck (used to be on 33rd between market & chestnut, across from the library at drexel). they sold the truck & moved to ny & opened lula's
Yes! I arrived just as they ran off. Pastards.

I honestly cannot think of a place from my earlier days that isn't still around or is worth reminiscing about. I miss Mike Nyce and ?uestlove at Fluid, and the hiphop club on Fourth in Old City where Benelux is now, but those doesn't count, right?


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:43 pm 
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Azure in nolibs where cantina now is. They closed in 2008 and was hands down my favorite dining establishment ever in philly. Those seitan tips and polenta fries, ugghh I miss them. I know supercarrot can back me up on this.


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:50 pm 
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xstartxtodayx wrote:
Azure in nolibs where cantina now is. They closed in 2008 and was hands down my favorite dining establishment ever in philly. Those seitan tips and polenta fries, ugghh I miss them. I know supercarrot can back me up on this.

Yes! I was trying to think of what it was called. I only went once, on a really nice first date, and the seitan tips were great, so I have good memories of it!


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 6:55 pm 
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I'm so sad I missed Viva Las Vegans and Azure. And this Sunwishes place apparently. Who were the people running Azure? Can we track them down and ask about new ventures/recipes for seitan tips and polenta fries? A friend of mine sees the Viva Las Vegans people every so often and tries to get them to come back.

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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:28 pm 
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I'm bummed I missed both. When I first moved to Philly they'd both pop up in vegan searches.

RandiJM wrote:
I'm so sad I missed Viva Las Vegans and Azure. And this Sunwishes place apparently. Who were the people running Azure? Can we track them down and ask about new ventures/recipes for seitan tips and polenta fries? A friend of mine sees the Viva Las Vegans people every so often and tries to get them to come back.

I think the owner of Azure stills own the building cantina is in & lives above it. He posts on the nolibs message board sometimes. I guess we could stalk him?

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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 10:14 am 
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There was the short-lived Thoreau, on Spring Garden. I only ate there once and thought it was kind of meh. I thought it had potential though and was going to give it another shot but they closed before I got around to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 3:21 pm 
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The owner of Azure is opening a new place in Fishtown (with seitan tips on the menu) called Interstate Draft House. More info here:

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the- ... Azure.html


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:34 pm 
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Hooray for the reappearance of seitan tips! I ate at Azure a couple of times and it was pretty good.

Anyone remember the old Samosa Indian buffet at 12th and Walnut? It used to be all vegetarian and mostly vegan and pretty consistently good. The owner, Ravi, was so nice. I used to go there for lunch occasionally and totally overstuff myself and waddle back to the office and spend the rest of the afternoon wanting a nap. I once took a whole bunch of non-vegetarian coworkers there and they loved it.

Alas, they then closed for a long time and I heard it was because Ravi had a heart attack. Then I think they opened up under new ownership, and I moved to a different work neighborhood and forgot all about it. Once a couple of years ago I happened to walk by and there was a big sign in the window saying "We now serve LAMB!" (oh, joy.)

I checked out the menu of the current place (http://sansamosa.com/) online, and they apparently have a bunch of "vegetarian imitation meat" items as well as meaty things, but who knows how vegan they are. Anyone been there recently?


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 8:59 pm 
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_diana wrote:
good riddance to gianna's. so glad blackbird is there instead

Let's not forget about Gianna Jr's...

Gianna Jr's
106 South 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA

This satellite branch of Gianna's Grille was located near 20th and Chestnut. Interestingly enough this was the same neck of the woods where the original Gianna's (senior?) was before its final resting place off of South Street. Where it lacked in size, Gianna Jr's made up with its dubious cleanliness. A prospective diner was usually greeted by a couple different pizza pies sitting under a grease-smeared glass display. One or two of the pies were usually vegan (plain and one with an explosion of some sort of soy meat toppings). Once ordered, your slice of choice would then be reheated in the oven. The result was a piece of pizza that was pretty much on par with what Gianna's on South Street produced, but it always made me wonder how long the pies were sitting out. I was never fond of Gianna's sandwiches but I remember having an especially wretched BBQ veggie chicken Freebird at Gianna Jr's (I will spare you the details). The vegan cakes were consistently good but would usually be a bit on the dry side. Does anyone know the story about where the vegan deserts actually came from?


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:56 pm 
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onthevedge wrote:
The owner of Azure is opening a new place in Fishtown (with seitan tips on the menu) called Interstate Draft House. More info here:

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the- ... Azure.html


Such wonderful news!!


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 10:49 am 
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pixel wrote:
I checked out the menu of the current place (http://sansamosa.com/) online, and they apparently have a bunch of "vegetarian imitation meat" items as well as meaty things, but who knows how vegan they are. Anyone been there recently?

Yes, it sucks. They only ever have a couple vegan entrees on the buffet and they aren't nearly as tasty as they used to be.


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 11:39 am 
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I used to also leave Samosa terribly full and claiming I was never going to eat anything ever again. That was the late 90's. Sucks to hear it's not all-veg anymore.


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 7:26 pm 
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Ooh, I just remembered Black Olive! I was pretty excited for about two seconds to have a vegan restaurant in my neighborhood, but it was rather...disappointing. I ate dinner there once and thought it was ok but quite overpriced for what it was.

And then there was the time I went there with two friends for brunch. We walked in and stood around in that weird entryway for what seemed like a rather long time, and then a hostess finally came over and upon learning we were there for brunch, said she had to call the chef who wasn't there yet but he'd be there in ten minutes. This was like an hour after their opening time, it's not like we were beating the door down the second they opened or something. Then they didn't have half the things on the menu, including the pancakes and fruit salad I wanted. They said something about running out of pancake batter and fruit, which I thought was really odd. Like maybe you should have used that hour to make some pancake batter? So I got waffles and sausages instead. I should have been suspicious about why they had waffle batter and no pancake batter- the waffles were quite obviously frozen waffles. Boo.

And then there was something about the whole thing being a front for some sort of suspicious business activity in connection with a charter school.

And then they closed.


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 Post subject: Re: Ghosts of Restaurants Past: Philly Edition
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:31 pm 
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doubleplusungood wrote:
"Do you remember that place we used to go to that had the awesome vegan..."

The idea is this - post the name of a Philadelphia restaurant, cafe, bakery, street vendor or health food store that is no longer in business or has diminished in some way (e.g. stopped serving vegan food). There are quite a few places that may be gone from the Philadelphia vegetarian/vegan food scene but for better or worse are still memorable to those of us that ate at them.

I'll start with a somewhat obscure one...

Sunwishes
2027 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA

One of the highlights that I can remember was the Tropical Grilled Tempeh Burger that was comprised of "seasoned grilled tempeh topped with avocado, red onions, and a mango salsa mayo on a caramelized onion focaccia." A couple of the dishes contained soy cheese which was clearly marked as having contained casein but overall the majority of the dishes were vegan and fairly tasty. I used to go there occasionally during my lunch breaks back in 2004-2005 but one day it vanished without a trace...

Does anyone else remember this specter?


I do!I had a friend that worked there. I remember it being quite tasty!


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