If you're in Philly and you like "fair" food, now's your chance to head over to Reading Terminal Market. Fox & Son Fancy Corndogs opened last week.
And by "fair" food, I don't just mean the associations with stuff like corn dogs and poutine, but it has them in vegan versions, offering fun-food enthusiasts a choice to forgo animal use and its intrinsic unfairness.
Now it's been quite some time since I've had a corn dog, maybe as long as it's been since I've been to a county or state fair. But either way I can say this item - a jumbo-sized soy dog in a crispy, tasty coating on a stick with your choice of condiments for $5.99 - surely hit the spot both nostalgically and fillingly, making me hungry to try Fox & Son's other vegan offerings on my next visit.
I chatted briefly with founders Rebecca Foxman and Ezekial Ferguson, from whose last names the business gets its title. Ferguson said he recalled enjoying the Luzerne County Fair as a youngster, and when they decided to open a place for this "fun comfort food," both partners agreed that "we wanted to accommodate as many people as possible, and also to bring something into this space that hasn't been here."
To that end, the batter for the vegan item is coconut milk-based, with organic sugar, and there's vegan gravy, and even vegan cheese, for the poutine - a friendly, welcoming vibe befitting the carnivalesque menu, which is entirely gluten-free. There is also fresh-squeezed lemonade, also with organic sugar. The duo is also mulling a veganized funnel cake, but that's not yet on the menu.
Foxman and Ferguson are serious enough about the vegan dogs that they're installing a second fryer to cook them in separate oil from the animal products. This setup should be ready in a couple of weeks, but this report couldn't wait, so yes, mine was cooked in the same oil. It was still good! But if that skeeves you out, target early March for a drop-in.
With food outlets throughout greater Philadelphia now introducing more, and more creative, vegan options, I can't spotlight every menu change or venue change, but hey: A block from City Hall? Vegan corn dogs? And they're delish? That's a kind of progress I can get in line for.
Fox & Son could be a good fit for RTM, doing with conviction something a little different but well within the comfort zone of lunching tourists and businesspeople. And the multiple vegan items are a savvy gambit for a growing future, offering food that's fair for all.