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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brewer’s plate 2012


Fair Food‘s annual fundraiser, Brewer’s Plate, was held for the 8th time this past Sunday. This year’s event was held at the National Constitution Center. Like last year, everyone represented at Brewer’s Plate was from 150 miles of Philadelphia.


The VIP area was home to a cooking demo from Chef Jose Garces, a craft beer presentation by Bill Covaleski (Victory Brewing Co.) and Marnie Old (wine author & columnist), and several restaurants. Supplying some of the good eats in the VIP section was Country Time Farm. Their heritage pork was used to make porchetta sandwiches and bacon wrapped paté.


One of my favorites from last year, The Bent Spoon, an artisanal ice creamery from Princeton, NJ, returned with three new flavors: dark and storm (king) caramel made with Victory Storm King, organic ginger, and salted caramel; nugget apricot nectar sorbet made with Troegs Nugget Nectar; and a bourbon chocolate ice cream made with Yards Love Stout, 61% chocolate, and bourbon. Later on I found out that they had a secret Russian River float! You had to give them the special code in order to get it.


Across the room from The Bent Spoon was North Mountain Pastures with their assortment of charcuterie.


Several breweries and restaurants even had pairings together at the tables. Lancaster Brewing Company paired their Double Chocolate Milk Stout with City Tap House‘s chocolate custard.


One of my favorite plates of the evening was the MLT (mutton, lettuce, and tomato) from Southwark. I should have had seconds!


Bar Ferdinand had a Spanish-German pairing by serving lamb Merguez sausage topped with a Spanish onion kraut alongside Stoudt’s Brewing Co.


As much as I enjoyed the Penn Museum last year, the National Constitution Center served as a great venue to hold everyone in. It was large and it didn’t feel too crowded despite the high volume of attendees. In addition to eating and drinking, you could pose with statues of our founding fathers or dance to the music of The Hoppin’ John Orchestra.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is one of the best food and beer events, don’t miss out next year. You’ll have a great time!

Check out some other photos from this year’s event:

Here’s my recap to last year’s Brewer’s Plate.

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jules thin crust


Work took me to Jenkintown yesterday and I came across Jules Thin Crust for lunch. It’s located in the Noble Square shopping center, off of 611 and close to Noble station on the SEPTA Regional Rail. Jules Thin Crust is a local chain, with two other locations in Doylestown and Newtown, which serves thin crust “flatbread” pizzas featuring local and organic ingredients.


I went with a slice each of veggie pizzas #12 and #14. #12 has organic edamame, ricotta, local organic goat cheese, caramelized onions, mint, lemon vinaigrette, and mozzarella. On the #14 was mushrooms, portobello mushrooms, organic tomato sauce, arugula, and mozzarella. The slices were less than $3 each and weren’t bad. The crust was thin and fairly crisp, though I do think that the slices could have used a little extra zing and crisp.

Jules Thin Crust had several different varieties of pizza. They have about 15 veggie pies and 8 pies with meat. Some of the meat pies looked good. If I find myself back in the area after Easter I’ll definitely look into trying some of them.

Jules Thin Crust
817 Old York Rd.
Jenkintown, PA 19046
215.886.5555

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sketch (vegetarian visit)


My housemate has never been to Sketch. We made sure to change that fact this past weekend. Part of me was upset I couldn’t have a burger made from meat, but the other part was looking forward to trying their vegetarian/vegan options that they had to offer.


On the burger side of the menu, the only options (for me) are vegan burger and seitan. The vegan burger is a housemate patty made from several different types of beans and spices. I asked about the seitan and was told that it was like “pulled pork” and could be served as a barbecue sandwich or even a cheesesteak. As soon as she mentioned cheesesteak, I jumped at the opportunity! I’ve been wanting a vegetarian cheesesteak for the past couple days.


The orders were in, mine was a seitan cheesesteak with grilled onions and cheddar and the housemate’s was a vegan burger with cheddar and chipotle sauce. We both went halfsies so I was able to try some of the burger, too. The burger came on the same LeBus bun that their other burgers are served on. It was topped with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle sauce. The bean burger was tasty and very hearty. The outside had a slight, pleasant crisp to the outside. The inside had a lot of flavor and wasn’t dry. The seitan cheesesteak outshined the burger though, in my opinion. Firstly, the cheesesteak was served on a fresh roll, a definite plus. I originally had second thoughts about ordering it with the cheddar since I didn’t think it would end up as gooey as American. Sketch, however, served that cheesesteak with hot, gooey cheddar! The onions were delicious. They were grilled long enough that they had some caramelization to it. The seitan was some of the best seitan I’ve had. It was juicy and tasted like it was marinated. I’ve only had one seitan cheesesteak before which was good, but this was definitely superior.


Oh, we also got their belgian fries and an additional order of the green chili cheese fries. Yes, I’m aware it’s a lot of food, but I should mention that one of our friends joined us later to eat 70% of the fries! I won’t judge her.

Check out my last visit to Sketch.

If you’re vegetarian or just feel like abstaining from meat for a meal, Sketch has two excellent options for you!

Sketch
413 East Girard Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
215.634.3466

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