Vegan Philly Cheesesteak-a-thon

Vegan Philly Cheesesteak-a-thon

IMG_2781What better excursion can one take on a day honoring our Founding Fathers than one to the city where our independence was  organized and our government drafted? Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was time to head south on this blustery winter day to take in the blue sky and check some vegan eats off my growing list.

A sucker for themed posts, the vegan Philly Cheesesteak tour was born! With Genny G. as captain, we explored the best vegan cheesesteak options in a wham-bam afternoon.

A few notes: it was my intention to report on cheesesteaks only. There are a slew of eateries in Philly that offer a vegetarian version of their famous sandwich that has no cheese. These places were not our focus. I also hoped to keep vegan cheeses house-made. With several eateries filling the bill, our itinerary was set! We began at an eatery who’s tenure on my “to visit” list overruled the house-made cheese option: Blackbird Pizzeria.

Blackbird Pizzeria was an amazing place to start.

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DSC_0001With scrumptious thin slices of Upton Natural‘s good stuff; greasy grilled onion, green peppers and mushrooms; and Daiya globs, Blackbird’s Seitan Cheesesteak looks, tastes and feels like an authentic Philly Cheesesteak. It was a dream fulilled.

DSC_0004With a couple of hours of driving under our belt, our appetites were ravenous. We bit too soon and burnt the roofs of our mouths. A textural reminder of the sammy that stayed with the both of us for the entire day. No big deal, however. The piping hot cheesesteak was worth the drive… and the burn.

IMG_2790Blackbird is all-vegan. What more do you want? Another vegan Philadelphia cheesesteak? Okay.

Pub on Passyunk East is a friendly corner pub with a super-friendly staff. We stopped in for their Seitan Cheesesteak with house-made vegan cheese.

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DSC_0012The beer-based yeasty cheese sauce was packed with flavor. And their seitan pieces tender. A great effort in veganization! P.O.P.E. gets bar food right and the v-bombs on their omni menu is so very appreciated. They also have seitan wings, too!

DSC_0011The cheese was more like a thick gravy. It’s a salty, heavy dish. Nothing a beer can’t fix!

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Vegan Tree has a lot of different things on its menu. From dumplings / bubble tea / sushi to burgers / pasta / fried broccoli! Had I not known I was there only for a vegan cheesesteak, I would have been a lot more confused!

DSC_0010Clearly they are also all-vegan!

DSC_0007 Vegan Tree makes their own cheese. Yay! But the cheesesteak is that frozen texturized science meat stuff. The bun was real soft, merging with the sandwich’s innards. It was a good, quick bite–and having split the small sandwich we had room for another.

DSC_0009 This sandwich is a Philly staple. I was glad to try Vegan Tree’s version, even though I would prefer another half of that Blackbird one!

IMG_2796What a cute space.

We didn’t hit Govinda’s Vegetarian this time around since I had already reported on them some time ago. They also offer a vegan cheesesteak in their to-go counter spot on South street. The feel of the ordering process seems most like the authentic experiences (as in a bit chaotic, involving a line and clear view of the grill), but the chunks of seitan need a bit of fine-tuning.

I was very much looking forward to trying Home Slice‘s cheesesteak out, especially since they made their own almond-based cheese. But unfortunately I overlooked the big, capital-lettered “CLOSED” on their Yelp review. Wah! There may have been other cheesesteaks with house-made vegan cheeses to report on, but they were not easily found. Burning daylight, we decided we had enough cheesesteak for the day. Even though I had some area Philly no-cheese-steaks on my list for back up: The Abbaye, Fergie’s (which no longer makes its house made tahini vegan cheese for its sammies, despite the menu online), Isabella Pizza, MiLah Vegetarian and Hip City Veg. Am I missing any good ones? Please let me know!

IMG_2788After all, everyone and their mom makes a cheesesteak in Philly!