Happy Hour at Adsum


I was kindly invited to Adsum for a happy hour debuting their new menu. While they have been on my radar for quite some time, I’ve been disappointed by their entire lack of vegetarian dishes, and have been ignoring them out of spite. Thankfully, this is no longer necessary!

I started the evening off with a dirty (filthy) martini, smartly served. Then moved on to the pickled vegetables, and the house made potato chips.


Quinoa salad with thin slivers of radish, cucumber, basil and red onion is more of a light meal than a snack, but fresh and with a bright flavor.

I could have skipped the truffled mushroom, drooping without inspiration on crisp rice cracker, along with the predictable edamame, but overall, the vegetarian selections pleased me. Not only does Adsum have a very affordable happy hour, the new menu also features a slew of vegetarian and vegan dishes. If, like me, you had turned away in frustration, now is the time to give Adsum another chance.

Baked Eggs with Yogurt and Chili

This weekend we had a hurricane move up through the East Coast, and I spent most of the weekend holed up in my house, watching bad movies, checking the weather report, baking 10 dozen cookies, and eating. Luckily, we never lost power and I was still able to use my kitchen!

The above dish makes a very comforting, and rich, brunch with a toasted English muffin or a big bowl of ripe melon. Another recipe from the Plenty cookbook, I substituted some wilted baby spinach for the arugula I didn’t have. I may be difficult to tell from the photo, but the dish involved wilted greens, and egg soft baked directly in the pan, topped by a stream of paprika/chili/fresh sage olive oil and a generous dollop of Greek yogurt tossed with sea salt and fresh, chopped garlic.

Soba Noodles with Eggplant and Mango

This soba salad pulls no punches. Piles of fresh cilantro and basil, mango, fried eggplant (and I added tofu) hot peppers, sesame oil, red onion, rice vinegar and fresh garlic (I’m not afraid of fresh garlic. Love me, love my garlic). It has four major components – sauce, noodles, fried things and chopped things – so it takes a little bit of effort. But the flavor is bright and sharp, with a nice earthy balance from soba noodles. The salad itself is so colorful, my camera phone picture is just not doing it justice.

Me being me, I added an extra hot pepper from the garden, some fried tofu, and used some really big garlic cloves. You could adjust as is your want. Another great recipe from Plenty.

Veggie Hoagie, Planet Hoagie, Citizens Bank Park

Lucky me got to go watch the Phillies destroy the Mets last night. From the 8th row. YES. And as much as I love a Phillies game on a beautiful evening, I also love having some food options at the stadium. Especially when I’ve run to a game right after work.

Citizens Bank Park has won the “Best Vegetarian Food” award from PETA for three years, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Last night I stopped by Planet Hoagie (which has a much shorter line than a lot of the other cheesesteak joints) and picked up a “Verdura” hoagie:Roasted eggplant, broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, and sharp provolone. Had the line moved slower, I would have realized that a whole wheat roll was an option, but as it was I stuck with the classic, chewy sesame seed roll. And I added hot peppers. And yes, on that half (on the left) I smeared some mustard on it. I was worried that without mayo or meat juice the roll would be dry, but the roasted red pepper actually worked to moisten things up nicely.

Looking for other good vegetarian food at the Ball Park? Here’s the running list:

Alley Grill (Left Field Plaza)
Southwestern Veggie Burger

Nacho portable stand
(behind Section 122)

(South Philly Market behind Section 128)
Vegan chicken sandwiches, gluten-free snacks and gluten-free hot dogs and buns

Planet Hoagie
The Poppy: Fresh mozzarella cheese, roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers and sundried tomatoes (wrap or hoagie style)

The Vedura Vegetarian Wrap: Roasted eggplant, broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, sharp provolone (wrap or hoagie style)

Any sandwich is a salad: Turn any sandwich from Planet Hoagie into a salad

The Vedura Salad: Roasted eggplant, broccoli rabe, roasted red peppers, sharp provolone

The Poppy Salad: Fresh mozzarella cheese, roasted eggplant, roasted red peppers and sun dried tomatoes

Crab Free Crab Cake Salad

Garden salads

South Philly Market (Section 128, 206 and 318)
Vegan Hot Dog: The vegan dog is also part of our dollar dog days at Citizens Bank Park

South Philly Markets (Sections 128, 206, 318)
Vegetarian Black Bean Burger

Shakshuka

This weekend was full of delicious recipes from my new cookbook love, Plenty. Pictures above is Shakshuka, a dish of caramelized peppers (I substituted greens for yellows) and Spanish onions, burst tomatoes, herbs and saffron, finally cooked in individual skillets with a fresh egg. The recipe called for two eggs per serving, but I stuck with one for a late light lunch. I had questioned the sugar initially, but it gave the onions a deep mellow flavor and more depth to the entire dish.

I saved the remaining peppers/onion/tomatoes and had them, with another egg (this time runnier), over a double toasted whole wheat English muffin and butter, for a savory breakfast. The entire time I kept thinking “I can’t believe I get to eat such wonderful food.”

Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

In the last year, I’ve been raving quite about about the grain, vegetable, and citrus zest-happy recipes from the “Simply Natural” cookbooks. As a recipe-referring cook at best, I was shocked to find a cookbook whose recipes I wanted to follow to the letter. Friends, it’s happened again. After reading rave reviews for Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi<;, I put it on my Amazon wish list, and my sister sent it to me for my recent birthday. Let’s just say WOW. You’ll be hearing a lot about this all-vegetarian cookbook on Veggicurious from here on out.

But lets get to the food. A fresh, sweet corn polenta? A revelation. I didn’t even know you could make polenta from fresh corn, and I have a bundle from my CSA. The resulting texture is lighter, fluffier, with a brighter vegetable flavor. Of course, the added butter and feta (feta!) add a real zing to the sweet corn. And the sauce? A very simple, fried eggplant (I used small, white eggplants) with tomato paste, fresh tomato, white wine and oregano. An Italian-style meal with no garlic? I thought impossible. I was wrong. I whipped this amazing dish up in 20 minutes. Then I moaned aloud as I ate it. I moaned to myself, to the animals, and to my housemate who I forced a bite upon as soon as he walked in the door.

This dish is like discovering a country in heaven that you didn’t know existed. I can’t wait to try more recipes from Plenty.

Summer Vegetable Curry

I love all the fresh, organic sweet corn I’ve been getting in the CSA lately, but I was in search of a new way to eat it. I stumbled across this recipe from Serious Eats requiring corn (check) tomatoes (check) and potatoes (check)a and written by the vegetarian-savvy Madhur Jaffrey. I added a few vegetables of my own – summer squash and green beans – as well as some black pepper, and used two very potent jalapenos. Sadly, I had no cilantro or mint, but I added coriander and I think that with the extra spicy kick, the dish didn’t suffer. Result – delicious, and totally unexpected. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers.