govinda’s gourmet vegetarian – chicken cheesesteak


Sometimes I really miss having meat. More particularly, I miss having burgers and occasionally cheesesteaks. I heard Govinda’s had a popular soy chicken cheesesteak. It wasn’t too far from the office for lunch, so that’s where I went last week.

Govinda’s chicken cheesesteak comes on either a sesame or whole wheat roll, with mozzarella or soy cheese, grilled peppers, olive oil, and hing. The chopped soy chicken is cooked with the peppers on the grill where they top it with the mozzarella. Despite how it looked, it thankfully wasn’t dry. It had some good flavor, but was lacking something. There were so few peppers that it seemed nonexistent in the sandwich. I also believe this sandwich could benefit from a much meltier cheese.


They have a pepper steak amongst many other sandwiches on their menu. Has anyone ever had em?

Govinda’s Gourmet Vegetarian
1408 South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19146
215.985.9303
215.545.5452 (take-out)

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varga bar – veggie burger


In the beautiful weather we had a few weeks ago, I enjoyed Varga’s veggie burger while sitting outside along 10th street.

The patty is made up of a whole bunch of different veggies. It’s got a slight orange color to it and I believe it’s mainly put together with chickpeas(?). Some notable ingredients were corn, pepper, and scallions. I’m sure there’s more but I couldn’t make it out. The patty is topped with English cucumber, a Bluemoon organic salad, cheddar, truffled aioli, olive oil, and white balsamic vinaigrette. The accompaniments are a mixed arugula salad and a pickle.


The veggie burger is hearty yet somewhat light and refreshing due to the toppings. I enjoyed it except for the patty falling apart halfway through consumption. I can get over that though, it tasted great.

Varga Bar
941 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.627.5200

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monk’s cafe – lost abbey beer dinner

Guest blogger Erin is back to recap her experience at last Tuesday’s Lost Abbey beer dinner at Monk’s Cafe.

Tuesday night, I was lucky enough to attend Monk’s annual beer dinner with Lost Abbey’s Tomme Arthur. I first discovered (and loved) Lost Abbey’s beers last year, and on a trip to California in August, was able to visit the brewery and sample plenty of their Belgian-inspired brews. When I heard that Monk’s was hosting a Lost Abbey dinner, I knew I didn’t want to miss out.


The dinner started off with a fluke and smoked scallop ceviche, with just a touch of jalapeno, and was paired with Devotion, one of Lost Abbey’s year round beers. Devotion is one of their more hoppy beers, and it went really nicely with the heat from the ceviche.


Next up was a duck confit spring roll with a cherry dipping sauce, and paired with Cuvee de Tomme (which was also used in the cherry sauce). This is a big brown beer, (11%!) which is fermented and then sits in bourbon barrels for a year with sour cherries and wild Brettanomyces yeast. The end product is a complex beer with strong raisin, cherry and sugar flavors coming through. I thought this was the star pairing of the night. The roll was perfectly crisp, and the flavors of the beer really complimented the duck.


The third course lightened things up a bit. Lost Abbey’s Carnevale, a bright saison ale, was paired with a chicken roulade of ham, spinach, goat cheese, pesto, and mushroom sauce. The roulade was a really nice blend of flavors, and the pesto packed an herbacious punch that was balanced by the gravy.


Course four was definitely the boldest pairing of the night. The beer was a strong golden ale called Gift of the Magi, a seasonal winter offering, and was paired with a massive lamb shank. When I say massive, this thing was HUGE. Braised with Gift of the Magi, it was served with carrot, turnips, onions, and parsnips. The beer was a good match for the strong gamey flavor of the lamb.


Next was a cheese and beer pairing. The cheeses were L’Amuse Gouda from The Netherlands, two years aged with hints of caramel and vanilla, and Lauren’s Pride, a house made raw cow’s milk cheese washed with Deliverance, the accompanying beer. Deliverance is another big beer (12.5%), and is a blend of bourbon barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy barrel-aged Angels Share. The booziness of this beer was balanced out by the cheese, and even tempered the pungent Lauren’s Pride.


The final course was a warm apple pie topped with extra sharp NY cheddar, and paired with my favorite beer of the night, Red Poppy. Red Poppy is a brown ale that is blended with sour cherries and aged in oak barrels with wild Brettanomyces yeast, resulting in a deliciously sour beer. The sweet apples and buttery, flaky crust complimented the tartness of this brew.

The meal was really enjoyable, and Tomme popped in around each course to talk about the pairings, his history, and love of Monk’s. If you haven’t checked out Monk’s or Lost Abbey, I highly recommend both.

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national mechanics – national veggie burger


I’ve added the National Veggie Burger at National Mechanics to my lenten burger list ever since I read about it on Mac & Cheese. Since I’ve been working in Center City a lot last week, it was the perfect opportunity to try it.


Accompanied by steak fries and a pickle, the National Veggie Burger is served on a fresh roll with your choice of cheese (I went with cheddar), lettuce, tomato, and red onion. The bun was perfectly crusty with a light, airy inside. The veggie patty consisted of julienned carrots, zucchini, broccoli, and mushrooms. It was slightly crisp and flavorful; you could taste all the veggies in it. Glad to have a veggie burger that wasn’t made up of beans, not that that’s a bad thing. You just don’t find beanless veggie burgers very often.

Also, National Mechanics has a burger special, Monday to Friday from 11 am – 7 pm. $7 for the National Burger or National Veggie Burger. Not a bad deal at all!

National Mechanics
22 S 3rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215.701.4883

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pudge’s steaks & hoagies – eggplant parm


I was slightly lazy and didn’t pack my lunch on Monday. I also was not looking forward to having pizza or a cheese hoagie from a deli or Wawa. Lucky for me, my coworker suggested Pudge’s Steaks & Hoagies. I quickly Googled the menu on the drive over and immediately had my heart set on an eggplant parm.

Growing up, I found eggplant to be pretty repulsing. It was seedy, grainy, and just tasteless. It was only until 3 years ago that my attitude changed when I had this tasty eggplant rollatini from an Italian restaurant in North Jersey. I am now a fan, especially eggplant sandwiches.


Pudge’s offers several different types of sandwiches, though their signature seems to be their cheesesteak, which I have to return for. The eggplant was cooked with a slight crisp to it’s exterior (a good thing). They didn’t skimp on the sauce and I requested sharp provolone which was nice and melted throughout. The sandwich used a tasty, fresh roll.

Come hungry though, they unfortunately don’t offer sandwiches less than a foot.

Pudge’s Steaks & Hoagies
1510 Dekalb Pike
Blue Bell, PA 19422
610.277.1717

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