Fran Costigan is a local author who lives in another city.
The NYC resident and vegan desserts chef par excellence worked with Philly-based Running Press for Vegan Chocolate, which I raved about (and rightly so!) last fall. A Running Press event brought Costigan back to Philly a couple days ago. Well, that and her daughter in Bucks County, whom she met for dinner.
Here's the thing: Up to this point, Fran Costigan, for all her glamorous globetrotting and bicoastal renown, had never been to Vedge. And finally, Saturday, the time was right, the schedule cleared, for this epic meeting of vegan culinary minds.
I was interested to hear her big-time New York celebrity chef assessment of this Philly gem, and invited her to share it with me and 'V for Vegan' readers.
I felt it was well past time I got there already. My daughter Tracy and her husband Rob were also curious about Vedge. Really, I wondered if it could live up to the hype.
While they parked I entered the space - elegant, warm, tasteful, a high-end dining experience. Kate [Jacoby] came to say hello, which was very nice, and I had a chance to tell her, among other things, that I'd just read her chapter in Defiant Daughters.
We were seated. It has been a while since I felt so excited reading a menu. Many mushroom dishes appealed to our table, as well as the Brussels Sprouts, Eggplant Braciole, Spicy Grilled Tofu and Salt-Roasted Golden Beets. We ordered more than the suggested 3 plates per person.
I asked the waiter for a wine suggestion that would work with this variety of food and he suggested the Riesling. Right on.
My favorite dish? This is hard, but I'd say the Fancy Radishes - and the Wood Roasted Rutabaga Salad. Oh, the Portabella Carpaccio. No, the Roasted Maitake Mushroom...
All the desserts were excellent, and different enough for me to feel very excited. I thought the Sticky Toffee Pudding was like a yummy bread pudding.
Here I have a favorite: The Sweet Potato Arancini. If the people at next table wondered about the lady who was drinking the sauce from the rather large plate, well, so be it.
It's hard when a restaurant is hyped and raved about so much as this one is. At the Running Press party, it seemed everyone who knew I was going there said to have 'Everything' on the dirt list, 'Everything' this and that... So we wondered.
Well, Vedge not only lived up to the hype, it surpassed it.