• Silantra

    2016-03-12 12.39.02

    The menu pretty much says it all.  You pick a wrap, or bowl.  Obviously, you’ll want to pick the mushrooms.  If ‘shrooms aren’t your thing, no worries, as you can add everything except coleslaw and cheese.  The sauces are all vegan.

    2016-03-12 12.18.53

    They also do something really awesome that I haven’t seen before.  They grow their own scallions.  They then use the scallions in their homemade pancake wrap.  Really cool stuff happening here.  Definitely, check them out.

    2016-03-12 12.38.55

  • Root

    It’s so strange that the current reality is, a vegan bar just opened, in Lancaster, PA.  It’s next to a yoga studio, in Lancaster, PA.  There goes the neighborhood.  The hippies are taking over.  Anyway, there’s no point in delving too much into the vegan options, here, because it’s all vegan.

    We started with a couple of appetizers, spinach dip and pierogis.

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    2015-12-21 19.38.36

    For entrees, we chose the Reuben and E.L.T (eggplant, lettuce and tomato).

    2015-12-21 20.00.59

    2015-12-21 20.01.12

    It’s a really cool spot and, from what we saw, reasonably priced.  The service is awesome.  It sounds like they’re going to be changing the menu on a regular basis.  The current menu is a nice mix of appetizers, salads, pizzas and sandwiches.  I wouldn’t hesitate to bring a non-veg friend here.  In short, support this place.

  • 551 West

    Lately, I’ve been running out of places to try.  I keep thinking I’ve exhausted most of the places to find vegan food, around here.  551 West was one of the places on the “eventually” list.  As we were reminded, again, sometimes the “eventually” places turn out to be real surprises.  Dan, our waiter, was just trying to learn what vegan really means.  He really cared, and wanted to get it right.  He went the extra mile, to make sure our needs were met.  Although the menu is clearly marked, with several :vegetarian” dishes, only one was marked “vegan’.  It was the 551 Vegan Beans and Rice.  Dan came back a couple of times to tell us suggestions that the chef made.  Note that the black bean patty is not vegan.  We started with the chopped salad, minus the bacon, cheese and dressing.  We were provided oil and vinegar.  The salad is a meal, in itself.

    2015-12-11 18.37.05

    For entrees, we chose the 551 Vegan Beans and Rice and the 551 Vegetarian Chili and Rice, made vegan.  Dan came out to tell us that the chef wasn’t happy with the rice and to ask if an extra 15 minutes was okay.  I love that they have people that care that much about quality, and respect the customer’s time.  It didn’t bother us, in the least, but they were still very apologetic.

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    Both were great, but the beans and rice were our favorite.  The owner, Chuck, stopped by to talk to us, for a good bit of time.  He said a new menu is coming and they hope to add even more options.  Either way, we’ll be back.  He’s got all kinds of amazing ideas and genuinely cares for his customers. I’m a fan.

  • How To Get Better Results, When Dining Out Vegan

    Research

    Whenever possible, look at the menu, on-line, before stopping.  Chain restaurants sometimes have sections, on their websites, that list ingredients.  Sometimes they have an allergen page that will also help.  Take note of any components of a dish that are vegan.  That info could be helpful, later.

    Call Ahead

    Call and ask what the vegan options are, or if anything can be made vegan, with small changes.  They’ll usually say something like “yes, just let us know when you get here”.  If they are unsure, but willing to help, point out the ingredients that you found while doing your research.  That  might help them think of something they can alter.  If they are reluctant, or unwilling, thank them and move on.

    Go Fine Dining

    In finer-dining places, you will almost never encounter a problem.  They tend to prepare food at the time of order and can easily substitute ingredients on the fly.  Here’s a fun tip that I use frequently:  If they say the chef can make something, that’s not on the menu, and ask my preferences, I always leave it up to the chef.  I ask them to relay to the chef that I appreciate them helping me and am excited to try whatever is made.  Chef’s get used to making the same items over and over again.  They’re creative people and enjoy being creative.  It’s amazing the number of times non-vegan friends, or other customers have seen what I’m served and comment on how good it looks.

    Request A Menu

    You don’t want to be in a situation where you’ve been seated, only to find out that there’s nothing for you to eat.  Ask for a menu, at the door, and refer to the previous tips.  Ask questions before being seated.  At Indian buffets, this is very important.  Make sure to specifically ask about butter and cream.  People are usually understanding and want to help.

    Go With It

    We’ve all been there.  Our friends, or family were meeting at a diner, or chain restaurant, where options can be limited.  In these times, I sometimes have to remind myself that I can grab something afterwards, or settle for fruit and a bagel.  However, more often than not, you can make it a little more interesting.  Years ago, I was at a business meeting for a few days, stuck in a hotel, in a business complex, with only a Chili’s within walking distance.  I sat, for what seemed an eternity, just staring at that menu.  There was nothing.  I almost left.  Then, I spotted the sides menu, hidden in a corner.  The waiter confirmed that my selections met my requirements.  Every day, I had my plate of rice, beans and steamed broccoli, and it was good.

    Be Thankful

    The restaurant business isn’t easy.  Special requests can make it harder.  Be patient, be thankful and, be generous.  Extra effort should be met with extra acknowledgement.  You’ll always get better results.  Most of the time, they’ll remember you and sometimes, the vegan options increase.

    Please share your tips!

  • 2015-09-19 12.49.11

    Espino’s Pizza

    2015-09-19 13.42.00

    Espino’s Pizza is what appears to be just your average city pizza place, on the corner of Lemon and Concord, in Lancaster.  We walked through the door for a Saturday lunch and were immediately greeted by an incredibly friendly Dominican man, who turned out to be the owner.  He happily answered all of my questions and vegan concerns.  The man is obviously passionate about what he does and lets you know that everything is fresh and home made.  His enthusiasm is amazing.  As we were browsing the menu, it became pretty clear that the man would do anything he could to make his customers happy.

    Take a look at the menu here.

    We ended up with a couple of small pizzas, a calzone and rice and beans.  Crazy combo? Yep, but the guy’s Dominican and Lancaster Vegan jr. (LVJ, from here on), loves rice and beans.  We were told that the rice has artificial flavors, which I’m guessing is sazon, a pretty typical seasoning in Spanish food.  He says he can make it without, if you call ahead.  The gluten free dough is from made from rice flour and is also vegan.

    2015-09-19 12.34.31

    Out came the rice and beans.  LVJ. was all over them, after dumping on some of the house-made hot sauce.  The little man claimed they were some of the best he’s ever had.  He’s somewhat of a connoisseur.  We told him to slow down, so he had room for pizza.  No cares were given.  The plate and a bottle of OJ disappeared.

    2015-09-19 12.48.34 2015-09-19 12.49.11

    Then came LVJ’s pineapple pizza and Mrs. LV’s calzone. My veggie pizza is not pictured.  LVJ polished off half of his pie.  Weighing in at 82Llb, the kid can throw down some food.  (As I write this, he’s capping off his meal with some dark chocolate macadamias, from Lemon Street Market).  The crust for the pizza and calzone was nice and crisp.  The owner popped in to proudly explain that the sauce is home made, from local tomatoes.  I love this guy!  We’re the same kind of crazy, when it comes to food.  What’s funny, is I still don’t know his name, because he had to dart out the door, to run lunch home to his wife.  What a guy.

    Anyway, we loved everything about the little place.  I strongly urge stopping in and carbing out on some Dominican and Italian awesomeness!

  • Ma(i)son

    I recently decided to start visiting restaurants that don’t typically have vegan menu options, but are open to making meals for vegan customers.  Ma(i)son became my first target, mainly because my photographer friend, Jeromy Dobson, was interested in trying them.  You’ll be able to tell by the quality of the pictures.

    DSC_0352

    The inside of Ma(i)son is a small, but comfortable area, with the chefs in plain view.  Their weekly menu is posted on a chalk board.  Everything on the menu is local and seasonal.  While none of the items on the menu were vegan, they were more than happy to accommodate this vegan diner.  One option is to look at the menu and let them veganize any item that appeals to you.  I like to be a little more adventurous and decided to let the chef prepare two courses of whatever he wanted.

    DSC_0341

    The first course was a salad, with tomatoes, beans, pickled cantaloupe and watermelon.  Fruit on a salad is not typically my thing, but it ended up being very nice.

    DSC_0348

    My entree was vegetables and small pasta, similar to couscous, baked in parchment paper.

    DSC_0351

    The coolest thing about the dish was the ridiculously small patty pan squash.  I’ve never seen squash that small.  Overall, it was a very enjoyable experience.

    Notes

    • Good atmosphere
    • Great service
    • Best possible ingredients, although I’m not sure how much of it is organic
    • They are BYOB and do have a corking fee
    • Prices are what I consider high, for Lancaster. My salad was $13 and entree $25.
    • Make reservations
  • Upohar

    Upohar Ethnic Cuisines (FB)

    241 W Roseville Road

    Suite 2

    Lancaster, PA 17602

     

    Upohar is behind Savemart, at Fruitville Pike and Roseville Road.  Upohar is a BYOB world buffet and catering service that offers living-wage employment to refugee women.  All of their food is vegetarian or vegan, and labeled as such.

    2015-07-25 20.11.23

    Menu

     

  • Not Near Lancaster #1 – Richmond, VA

    When I heard that one of my favorite bands, Gwar, was opening a restaurant, I had to investigate. It didn’t surprise me to see that they had several vegan offerings. On a whim, the family and I decided to spend a night in Richmond, just to check out the GWARbar (FB). We drove down on Friday morning, which took longer than expected, due to heavy traffic. We arrived in Richmond at around 2:30 and headed straight for lunch. We chose Fresca on Addison (FB).

    2015-07-03 16.02.27

    Even though we were terribly hungry, it still took a long time to figure out what to get. Everything sounded amazing. No need to point out the vegan options here. It’s all vegan, or can be made vegan.

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    We started with the Avocado, Seitan Asada and BBQ tacos. They might have lasted a minute.

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    Then, the sandwiches. I try to steer clear of bread, these days, but the made-to-order pita bread sounded too good. And, hey, vacation.

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    Both the Lentil Burger and the Veggie Panino were  really good.

    We couldn’t leave without trying the Pear Dessert Pizza.

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    In short, go here, eat this.

    We had no agenda, besides dinner. We spent the afternoon, walking off lunch, at Maymont Park (FB), based on the advise of the lovely lady at Fresca.

    I find food wherever I go. Rosemary.

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    We plan on going back to Richmond, just to have more time in Maymont Park. It’s huge! It was good to have a distraction.

    Right around 8:00 PM, we headed to the GWARbar. I’m not gonna lie, I did a little dance. Just entering the great gate that guards the place was a bit overwhelming for me. Behold.

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    I was frozen in my seat, as Oderus looked over us.

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    Then, the menu.

    Gwar Menu1Gwar Menu2

    I think I blacked out, and then this showed up.

    2015-07-03 20.17.48

    Please forgive the quality of the pictures. The gaze from Oderus apparently masks everything in black.

    The buffalo cauliflower is, like Gwar, from another planet. These alone are worth the drive to Richmond. Seriously, they’re that good. Our sandwiches followed.

    2015-07-03 20.42.00

    Sadly, This is the only one Oderus allowed me to post. We enjoyed the hail seitan and vegan flattus. The fennel slaw side is crazy good, especially if you like a vinegar tang.

    Mike Derks, Gwar guitarist and head johnson, of the joint, was gracious enough to come over and allow me to live. We left, with some sort of vegan dessert brownie, that we devoured at the hotel, with our hands.

    We awoke, the following morning, and decided to find breakfast, before heading home. Richmond has tons of options. However, it was July 4th and most were closed. We did find the 821 Cafe (FB) open and bustling.

    821 Cafe Menu

    The vegan breakfast burrito was quite good.

    Before heading home, we went for a drive around town, just because. I parked at a random trail that lead to this.

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    And now, we have another reason to return to Richmond. Our son had climbing and jumping from rock to rock. I think it was part of this.

    We still had a little bit of time, so the driving continued.  Cary Street (FB) was our last accidental discovery and was an amazing way to end the trip. Once again, another reason to revisit Richmond.

    While walking, I saw this.

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    Nile (FB), I’m coming back for you.

    We came in to this short trip with no expectations and no plan (except GWARbar), and left with a laundry list of reasons to hurry back to Richmond.

     

  • GWARbar

    Right around 8:00 PM, we headed to the GWARbar. I’m not gonna lie, I did a little dance. Just entering the great gate that guards the place was a bit overwhelming for me. Behold.

    2015-07-03 19.58.54

    I was frozen in my seat, as Oderus looked over us.

    2015-07-03 20.13.55

    Then, the menu.

    Gwar Menu1Gwar Menu2

    I think I blacked out, and then this showed up.

    2015-07-03 20.17.48

    Please forgive the quality of the pictures. The gaze from Oderus apparently masks everything in black.

    The buffalo cauliflower is, like Gwar, from another planet. These alone are worth the drive to Richmond. Seriously, they’re that good. Our sandwiches followed.

    2015-07-03 20.42.00

    Sadly, This is the only one Oderus allowed me to post. We enjoyed the hail seitan and vegan flattus. The fennel slaw side is crazy good, especially if you like a vinegar tang.

    Mike Derks, Gwar guitarist and head johnson, of the joint, was gracious enough to come over and allow me to live. We left, with some sort of vegan dessert brownie, that we ate at the hotel, with our hands.

     

  • Fresca on Addison – Richmond

    Fresca on Addison (FB).

    2015-07-03 16.02.27

    Even though we were terribly hungry, it still took a long time to figure out what to get. Everything sounded amazing. No need to point out the vegan options here. It’s all vegan, or can be made vegan.

    2015-07-03 14.56.59 2015-07-03 14.57.09 2015-07-03 14.57.18

    We started with the Avocado, Seitan Asada and BBQ tacos. They might have lasted a minute.

    2015-07-03 15.00.37

    Then, the sandwiches. I try to steer clear of bread, these days, but the made-to-order pita bread sounded too good. And, hey, vacation.

    2015-07-03 15.05.01 2015-07-03 15.05.26

    Both the Lentil Burger and the Veggie Panino were  really good.

    We couldn’t leave without trying the Pear Dessert Pizza.

    2015-07-03 15.52.08

    In short, go here, eat this.

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