HUGE veggie sandwiches at POPE

POPE is a veggie and vegan friendly pub with a good rotation of beers on Passyunk Ave. in South Philadelphia. Recently I spent some post-movie time at the bar sampling the latest Flying Fish Exit brew from Victory and eventually some the huge and heavy vegetarian sandwiches. A warning: Don’t go for these bad boys unless you have a serious appetite or you, unlike me, can actually save half a sandwich for lunch the next day. Above is the veggie cheesesteak. Moist and greasy on a soft bun, this sandwich is a winner. You can get it with provolone, like I did, or vegan cheese.

The veggie burger is a killer, and a mean that in a good, huge way. A giant homemade deep-fried kasha patty with cheddar cheese, a fried tomato, red onion and basil mayo, the toppings had my drooling. Served with a side of thick-cut fries and the house slight-chili mayo (seriously) this plate is all about sweet sweet fat. I decided to eat most of the burger, and felt insanely full the rest of the night. But save it up for a great hunger or a hangover and you’ll be in heaven.


Brunch at Marigold Kitchen

I waited tables at Marigold Kitchen in the first year it opened – and what a year it was! We garnered acclaim from Food and WIne, Craig LaBan, and the famously picky Chowhounds. Marigold has switched chefs a few times since then, and I decide to stop back in for brunch on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The restaurant was bustling with families visiting from for Penn’s Parent’s Weekend, but I made a reservation a few days in advance, and all was well.

Marigold offers a seasonal brunch menu with both sweet and savory options and a hit of molecular gastronomy. I was swayed by the zucchini and goat cheese in the daily omelette, the breakfast pictured above, but a bit disappointed that the filling was more cheese than vegetable, and the fried potato rounds a bit dry. The leek Quiche ordered by a neighboring table, however, looked fantastic, as did the cinnamon foam on the waffles of another neighboring diner. Marigold Kitchen is a BYOB, but I seemed to be the only person in the room interested in this option (what? you don’t bring vodka to brunch and want some bloody mary mix?) though I’m sure the staff would be accommodating to a bottle of wine or champagne. I’ll be back to Marigold, both because it’s such a lovely spot in my almost brunch-devoid neighborhood, and because I saw so many things I’d like to try in the future!

You’re Invited! Philly Bites radio show audience

As part of my job at the Kelly Writers House, I produce a live radio show that features 5 writers and one musical guest. The show, hosted by Michaela Majoun, tapes live at the Kelly Writers House and airs the following week on 88.5WXPN. Monday’s show features some exciting local food writers, and you’re invited to sit in studio audience! Just RSVP to

Monday, October 25, at 7:00 pm, LIVE at the Writers House tapes a new episode called PHILLY BITES! Five local restaurant reporters and culinary critics will discuss the savory bits of their craft in a mouthwatering broadcast, topped off with a performance by Philly musician John Francis. Come be part of the studio audience for this tantalizing talk!


LIVE at the Writers House Presents:

a passionate and delicious reading by food writers



and musical guest

Monday, October 25, at 7:00 PM in the Arts Café
Kelly Writers House | 3805 Locust Walk
RSVP to – this event is free & open to the public


LIVE AT THE WRITERS HOUSE is a long-standing collaboration between the Kelly Writers House and WXPN FM (88.5). Six times annually between September and April, Michaela Majoun hosts a one-hour broadcast of poetry, music, and other spoken-word art, along with one musical guest, all from our Arts Cafe onto the airwaves at WXPN. LIVE is made possible by generous support from BigRoc. For more information, contact Producer Erin Gautsche (

After graduating with a B.F.A. in film and television production from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, KIRSTEN HENRI spent the next several years working in the front of the house at several of New York’s leading restaurants. She returned to her native Philadelphia in 2003 and started her career in food writing, as a columnist and later as restaurant reviewer for Philadelphia Weekly, before moving on to work with restaurant website Foobooz. In 2007, she was awarded a scholarship for “Food Writing Passion” by legendary cookbook author James Peterson, which makes her feel guilty since she doesn’t cook at home all that much. Most recently, she was the editor of the Philadelphia edition of New York magazine’s food blog, Grub Street. There’s nothing she won’t eat or drink, although she’s not a big fan of scallops.

BRIAN FREEDMAN is a food and wine writer, wine educator, and food and wine consultant. He is a contributing writer for John Mariani’s Virtual Gourmet, contributing food and drinks writer for Philadelphia Style Magazine, contributing writer for Where Magazine and the annual GuestBook, wine columnist for Affluent Magazine, contributing writer for Sommelier India, and wine specialist and resident blogger, at, for Wine Chateau, one of the largest online wine retailers in the world. He is also currently the restaurant critic and drinks columnist for Philadelphia Weekly, Suburban Life Magazine, and South Jersey Magazine.

As a reporter, DREW LAZOR has covered hard news, sports, education and arts. But he hit on a true passion when he began writing about food for the Philadelphia City Paper as a college intern in 2005. Since then, Lazor has parlayed an arbitrary assignment – a food news beat column called Feeding Frenzy – into a fulltime position overseeing all the dining content that appears in CP. (He’s also the paper’s Web editor.) He launched Meal Ticket, City Paper’s food blog, in October 2008.While most of his work these days deals in all things edible, you can occasionally catch Lazor writing about movies, music and the Internet for CP and a handful of other publications.

FELICIA D’AMBROSIO is the Community and Marketing Manager for in Philadelphia. She spent the last three years writing the food beat for City Paper, as well as blogging daily at City Paper’s food and drinks blog Meal Ticket. Monk’s Cafe, Village Whiskey and Capogiro Gelato all figure into her resume, and she feels equally at home expediting, pouring drinks or bouncing troublemaking trolls out into the street (digital or flesh-and-blood). You’ll find her planning remarkable monthly events for her Yelp Elites, spreading the word about Yelp to Philadelphians and connecting with the community both online and in the real world.

COLLIN KEEFE is the editor of the blog, Grub Street Philly. The local writing vet worked for Woodshop Films/Scrapple TV, PW, Profile Public Relations and City Paper before taking the reins of the blog from Kirsten Henri.

Raised in a Pennsylvania farming town, JOHN FRANCIS started to show his musical gifts at an early age. The Gospel and Folk music of his upbringing happened on Sunday mornings in the choir, and at home gathered around the family piano. The son of musicians and ministers, Francis grew up playing music with his parents in that little country church. Drawing on the deep well of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Folk, and Country, John Francis conjures the spirits of his eloquent brand of songwriting. His live shows range in dynamism from pin-drop intimacy to all the spitfire of a raucous chicken-wire barroom and a big-tent revival all rolled up in one. In October of 2005, Francis independently released the critically acclaimed “Strong Wine & Spirits”, with the single, “Heavy, Heavy Love”. The record garnered extensive radio play in the North East. Early in 2006, the song was in the top ten most played on Philadelphia’s WXPN for three months. The regional success of ‘Strong Wine…’ paved the way for Francis’ feature story on ABC News, and a featured performance on XM’s ‘Live from the Loft’ in New York City. This led to several sold out shows at well-known venues, “Tin Angel”, and “World Café Live”. Francis has just finished his 2nd full-length record, “The Better Angels,” produced by John Carter Cash, in the Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, TN.

soft boiled eggs, greens

I love eggs for breakfast, and with my plentiful CSA, I’m always trying to remind myself to eat more vegetables with all of my meals, including breakfast. This simple Saturday morning breakfast, eaten slowly at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee while procrastinating on much-needed yard work, is made of my favorite things -fresh greens, delicious, farm eggs, salt, butter. I soft boiled the eggs, while quick-braising some lacinto kale in a pat of butter and one crushed garlic clove. When the greens were almost ready (and the eggs resting in their pan of hot water) I tossed in some of my last sungold tomatoes of the year. All together with a generous sprinkle of sea salt, and a lovely breakfast was made.

Fresh Tofu, an obsession

Philadelphia has numerous packaged local tofu options, including Soy Boy, which I often pick-up at my co-op. But I’m obsessed with the fresh tofu options at Saigon Tofu, in the strip mall just south of 11th and Washington. While they make fresh silken and firm tofu daily, they also make “flavored” tofu like vegetable and the lemongrass and with chili tofu pictured above. After I picked up a big box of this wonder, along with some rolls of fresh tofu wrapped in marinated tofu skin, I just had to make a version of Bittman’s thai soup from “How to Cook Everything Vegetarian” so that I had an excuse to eat what I hadn’t finished in the car ride home. Saigon also sells pre-prepared tofu dishes – unlabled so ask for a description before you purchase!