When you live in one of the greatest cities in the world for restaurant dining, you can get a little jaded eating out in other cities. But while NYC may arguably have the best of everything, it does not have the upscale vegan restaurant Vedge.
Vedge, in Philadelphia, has been on my bucket list since it opened in 2011 and we finally secured a reservation for a Saturday night. Philly has become a top foodie destination and Vedge is at the forefront, with fanatically flavorful veggies that thrilled even our carnivorous friends.
We dug into as many dishes as we could, sampling the heirloom tomatoes because it’s summer, (outstanding) beets with avocado, smoked tofu and rye because – well, beets, and the smoked carrots because our server said they weren’t to be missed. I don’t even like carrots much, but these were spectacular. a white bean puree added a depth of flavor that I never knew carrots could achieve.
Those were just the appetizers.
We also ate meaty roasted maitake and trumpet mushrooms and grilled seitan with pickled turnips and za’atar, plus sides of brussels sprouts and more mushrooms. Everything was so outrageously delicious that I think it probably doesn’t matter what you order. Just go.
There are also well crafted cocktails, great beers on tap and interesting wines.
Pop Up Park
We skipped dessert to get ice cream and explore the pop up Spruce Street Harbor Park at Penn’s Landing. There are hammocks, lawns, Adirondack chairs, floating barges and a beer garden – an amazing way to while away a summer day or night.
Spend the Night in Philadelphia
Every time I stay at a Kimpton, I amazed at how well they run their hotels. It used to be, only some of the luxury boutique hotels in the chain offered free bikes; now they all do. I could swear the cocktail ‘social hour’ used to be just on weekdays, but it is every night. Dogs are welcome across the chain and everyone, from the front desk to parking attendants to housekeeping, is super friendly but not overbearing.
We spent the night at the Monaco Philadelphia, which has a second social hour, just for kids. This one, held only on Saturdays, features board games in the lobby, plus a variety of candy. What a nice way to unwind after a day of sightseeing!
Our room overlooked the Liberty Bell, so the hotel is incredibly well located for those seeking out Philly’s historic sites. We strolled over to Franklin Square, where the free storytelling benches offer a peek at history, and a miniature golf course and carousel provide further family friendly amusement.
Kimpton Hotels always have excellent fitness centers, and this one was no exception. The facility boasted a full array of cardio machines, free weights, and goodies like bosu balls, stability balls, hula hoops and steps. There are also two free weekly exercise classes, both on Wednesdays. We were able to work off all that tofu and seitan.
The Hotel Monaco has a “Where The Wild Things Are” package that includes valet parking, a goldfish in your room and tickets to the zoo or aquarium or a Ride the Ducks Tour. We headed to the Philadelphia Zoo to see the new animal trails; the Big Cat Crossing just opened, where links, tigers and other felines roam overhead.
Note: We paid for our meal at Vedge, but our stay at the Monaco was complimentary. Opinions expressed are my own.