Sunday, August 15, 2010

MiLah Vegetarian

Wade's Take:
Philly Foodies went Veg Head for our August brunch.

The healthiest member of our blog tribe, Jess was the one who heard good buzz about MiLah. This made me wonder, where do you hear veg restaurant buzz? I imagined her in the produce aisle of Whole Foods - stealthfully eavesdropping through a pile of broccoli and squash on two hipster moms as they dish about MiLah. Or perhaps, more likely, she just read it online.

Anyway, this place is hot. Literally. The restaurant air temperature was in the muggy 80's. Perhaps we were meant to perform some sweat yoga after our meal.

Now to the food. It was most excellent indeed and worth the buzz.

I selected the tofu benedict and a side of veggie bacon. Eggs, salmon, now tofu benedicts have been my trend over these past few meals and I wanted to see how the herbivore variety stacked up.

The silken tofu was in large squares, placed symmetrically on toasted whole wheat English muffins. Their hollandaise sauce was poured over top. I wondered how you make hollandaise sauce without butter and egg yolks - but this one was fair. It was mildly tart with lemon juice and light. The roasted tomatoes that lay on the side weren't anything memorable, but the kale and home fried were very much delicious. The kale was sauteed, yet still crisp. When layered on the benedict it made an even better combination. The sweet potato and red bliss homefries were small chunked potatoes, lightly pan fried and delectable. The veggie bacon was good, but nowhere close to fooling me that it was related to the real deal.

3 out of 4 veg heads.

Jess’ Take:

This might be my new favorite brunch spot. If not, it certainly comes very close to Beau Monde. Wade was semi-right. I heard about this spot from a personal trainer friend of mine; definitely a non-meat eating type of guy. I was amazed that I’ve actually walked by this place dozens of times and never really noticed it. I thought they might be able to use better marketing, but when we walked in we grabbed the last of the open tables, so clearly I’m the one who’s not in the know.

Their brunch isn’t just vegetarian, it’s fully Vegan. I was very interested to see what they would present and the chef did not disappoint. The descriptions were mouthwatering. I went for veggie sausage and avocado on oven-fresh biscuits in mushrooms gravy with sweet potato fries and bronzed coconut king mushroom. Um, that sounds amazing. And it was. I typically don’t like a veggie substitute parading as meat, which the veggie sausage clearly was, but it did such a good job that I couldn’t be annoyed. I can’t decide what the highlight of this dish was – the biscuit or the sweet potato hash browns. It’s still up for debate.

I also went for a side of veggie bacon. I should have realized that the crispiness I love about bacon cannot be recreated in a veggie form. It lay limp on the plate, unsuccessfully parading as meat. Next time, and there will certainly be a next time, I’ll skip it – and maybe order an extra side of sweet potato fries in its place.

4 out of 4 crunchy vegans.

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Spring Mill Cafe

Wade's Take:

Suburban brunch done right.

The Spring Mill Cafe is a charming, homey restaurant that looks quaint and worn from afar. You sit in an eclectically decorated dinging room that once served as the restaurant's general store. Worn books partially fill the room's many bookshelves. Their tattered covers reflect the origin of the Spring Mill Cafe's chef. A "Tour of Morocco," "Modern French Baking," "Gladwyne: A Historical Perspective," ... these books tell of the varied past of Spring Mill Cafe's owner - Michele Haines. Michele's history with food shows in all the dishes.

I chose the truffled chicken liverpate as my starter. It was served with slices of crusty french baguette, bitter gherkins and grainy Dijon mustard. The pate was smooth, yet rich. It didn't have the lingering bite of bitter that some pates can have (e.g. the ones I make at home). Combined with the gherkins and mustard, I was loving life.

My entree was the smoked salmon sandwich. Thick slices of flaky salmon snuggled with cucumbers and a dill spread in between hearty slices of pumpernickel. It came mix a mixed green salad that had the perfect sprinkling of her lemon vinaigrette atop the leaves. This dish was light and refreshing.

Coffee by La Columbe and and air of relaxation made the Spring Mill Cafe even more desirable. I will be back, with more friends!

3.5 out of 4.

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