Memphis Taproom Phila. PA ~ Restaurant Review

Memphis Taproom
2331 E. Cumberland St. Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 425-4460
Located in the Kensington section: Border of Port Richmond & Fishtown neighborhoods.

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Just to quote myself again from my Coconut Bacon post,

[“The first time I ever realized that coconut ‘bacon’ was even a thing was at a restaurant in Philly called the Memphis Taproom when I tasted their vegan sandwich called the Smoked Coconut Club! This sandwich is so incredible and was even featured on the Food Network’s show Diners, Driver-Ins & Dives. Seriously, if you are ever in Philadelphia, try this sandwich, they actually use a smoker to smoke their coconut. Since that experience years ago, I was inspired to make coconut ‘bacon’ myself, however, using smoked flavoring instead of an actual smoker. Since then I’ve added it atop my black bean burgers, put it in my version of Spaghetti alla Carbonara, in Mofongo and even attempted to recreate the Taproom’s Coconut Club”]

I would categorize this restaurant as a dive. I know people go for the beer (hence ‘Taproom’) and they have a beer garden too, but we went for the food! Although having no vegan entrees they do offer vegan sandwiches and appetizers on their menu. The Smoked Coconut Club (Grilled Lemon Garlic Tofu, Smoked Coconut with Tomato Herb Mayo) is truly divine. A favorite amongst vegans and non-vegans alike. I’ve had their Spaghetti Sandwich (Lentil Meatballs, Marinara and Vegan Mozzarella – Daiya) in the past also.
My brother is getting married soon and Saturday morning was his future wife’s surprise Bridal shower. These past few weeks have been hectic with preparations – centerpieces, décor etc. The bridal shower was a success, Breakfast at Tiffany’s themed! Everything was beautiful. Given the theme and the time of day, brunch was offered. There were no vegan selections for Jasmine and I, however, since the guys were hanging out at my brothers until the shower was over it turned out to be the perfect opportunity for us to hit up Memphis Taproom before heading home.
This was my first time trying the Hummus (Hefe-Weizen Hummus) served with Grilled Pita, Carrots, Cucumbers, Kalamata Olives sprinkled with Sumac. The hummus was amazing, warm, flavorful and devoured very quickly (evidence below)…we stopped eating for a moment when I remembered to photograph it. 🙂
(Excuse the cell phone pics :-/)

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Although I’ve recreated this sandwich in the past…I don’t have any pics today to share of my creation, however, combining a few of my prior posts you can easily re-create a similar sandwich.

Coconut Bacon:
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Baked or Grilled Tofu:
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Try with my Russian Sauce (Although I have tried my hand at the Tomato Herb Mayo)
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If you’re in Philly check out the Memphis Taproom! Enjoy.

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Love. Restaurant Review – Morimoto Phila. – Quality Time

Friday – Love.
I wanted to talk about my weekend a bit. Schools out for summer so the children spent the week visiting family which meant Seth and I had Friday night all to ourselves. The perfect night for a Date night!
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Relationship Advice
To my fellow readers continue to date your spouse, significant other, husband/wife or partner. Don’t allow your life and relationships to become stagnant or stale. Don’t settle for the monotony of the day to day. You and your relationship(s) are better than just ‘going through the motions.’ Keep that passion that brought you together. I love my husband intensely everything about him – his great mind and intellect, smile, friendship, his heart, I love the way he looks at me, love our conversation. We have Passion. Loyalty. Trust. Devotion. Friendship etc. 🙂 Okay okay I’ll spare you all of my mushy loving thoughts about my hubby. Before we go get a room…I’ll just get back to my original thoughts as I’m googly eyed and can easily get lost in my thoughts. So please go out on Dates, Flirt, show affection towards each other, talk – it’s so important to converse with one another keep an open dialogue, Respect Each Other. Love each other the same way you have since day one.
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So about Friday night…
It’s nice to live so close to a big city, Philadelphia, if you’ve read my ‘Cheesesteak’ post than you’ve already read some things about the great city of brotherly love. My husband and I love dining in the city. There’s something about dressing to the ‘nines’ and going out that excites me. The ambiance and great service of an upscale restaurant along with good company and good vegan food, its perfection. Yes good Vegan Food – it’s wonderful that most of the more upscale restaurants very easily accommodate a vegan diet these days. A quick ‘shout out’ to R2L one of my favs – 500 feet above the city on the 37th floor of Two Liberty place boasts an amazing view of the city, love it at night. Or how about Vedge – Upscale and all Vegan – I love beautiful food.
Restaurant Review – Morimoto: 723 Chestnut St. Philadelphia. PA 19107
This Friday night we dined at Morimoto. Yes, that would be Iron Chef Morimoto’s restaurant. 🙂 This restaurant has an open atmosphere, it didn’t exactly have that intimate feel but still has the ambient lighting. Speaking of lighting… the table light seemed a bit phallic-like or more similar to a vibrator.. :-/ (sorry for the honesty) but in hindsight I’m sure the idea was to maybe express something similar to an adult lava lamp. The waves along the walls had an oceanic feel, which paired well with the Japanese menu. Contemporary and sleek with Stephen Starr’s name written all over it. We love and have eaten at most of Stephen Starr’s restaurants. While at Morimoto’s we sampled several items from the menu – I always get multiple items to provide a proper and fair review upon my first time visiting, plus I love vegan food!
Hot Appetizer: “Edamame – Fresh Soybeans with Sea Salt” (Pictured below)
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Noodles: “Cha-Soba – Chilled Green Tea noodles with chopped scallions, fresh wasabi and dashi-shoyu sauce for dipping.”
Soup: “Yasai Ramen – Vegetarian broth, rice noodle, Japanese vegetables.” Our server was gracious enough to let us know that one of the components of the soup (eggplant) was fried in the same fryer with the fish. We opted to have ours without the eggplant.
(Pictured below)
IMG_6793 Entrée: “Ishi Yaki Bop – Rice dish prepared at our table in a hot river stone bowl” – we subbed the meat protein with tofu. (Pictured below)
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Vegetarian Rolls: Seasonal Vegetable Maki.

Overall each dish was seasoned perfectly, the flavors were fresh and bold – the veggies and ginger really popped. The portions served were very filling and the presentations were beautiful. All the moving parts of the restaurant from the host to the server were cohesive. The service was superb and I will definitely dine here again.

Saturday
My cousin celebrated her 30th Anniversary on Saturday, so beautiful. I love to see the longevity and pure happiness. Her eyes still light up when she talks about her husband still. 🙂

Sunday
With the kids back home – we missed them dearly so we spent some quality time together this day. I love making a big breakfast – I made cinnamon toast. 🙂 We enjoy playing family games together Jasmine chose Scattegories. I always get very competitive against Seth especially. He’s so damn smart and kicked our arse of course. So afterwards I challenged him to a game of cards, I always beat him at cards. Hehe.
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Coconut Bacon!

Coconut Bacon!
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The first time I ever realized that coconut ‘bacon’ was even a thing was at a restaurant in Philly called the Memphis Taproom when I tasted their vegan sandwich called the Smoked Coconut Club! This sandwich is so incredible and was even featured on the Food Network’s show Diners, Driver-Ins & Dives. Seriously, if you are ever in Philadelphia, try this sandwich, they actually use a smoker to smoke their coconut. Since that experience years ago, I was inspired to make coconut ‘bacon’ myself, however, using smoked flavoring instead of an actual smoker. Since then I’ve added it atop my black bean burgers, put it in my version of Spaghetti alla Carbonara, in Mofongo and even attempted to recreate the Taproom’s Coconut Club.

Ingredients:
2 Cups Coconut Flakes
2 Tbsp Tamari Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke (vegan friendly)
1 ½ Tbsp Maple Syrup or Agave
½ Tsp Smoked Paprika

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Directions:
-Preheat oven 350 degrees.
-In a large bowl combine all ingredients.
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-Place coconut flakes on baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes. Shake or flip halfway through so they bake up evenly.
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Let them cool.
I’ve ran out of Maple syrup in the past and have made this with Blue agave and it came out okay too. Enjoy!

Spaghetti alla Carbonara – Pictured below.
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Philly Cheese Steak – Vegan

Philly Vegan Mushroom Cheesesteak

(Makes 4 Sandwiches)

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Philadelphia – Greek for Philos (Love) Adelphos (Brotherly)…The City of Brotherly Love. I love Philadelphia. The history, culture, museums, life…the architecture, buildings, infrastructure, sites. The Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House, Philadelphia Museum of Art (don’t forget Rocky), City Hall, Independence Hall, Comcast Center, PSFS Building, PECO Building, SEPTA, Philadelphia Navel Shipyard, One Liberty Place, Franklin Institute, Please Touch, Boat House Row, African American Museum, Rodin Museum, Academy of Natural Science, Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul…Penn’s Landing, Penn Relays, Broad Street Run, Puerto Rican Day Parade, 76ers, Flyers, E.A.G.L.E.S., Phillies! Lincoln Financial, Citizens Bank Park, Fairmont Park, the Arts…public art, murals, graffiti, nightlife, Kimmel & Mann Centers, Chris’ Jazz Café, Philadelphia Orchestra, music, ballet…The motto: Philadelphia Maneto (“Let Brotherly love endure”)…William Penn, Ben Franklin, Betsy Ross, Kevin Hart, Kevin Bacon, Joan Jett, Bradley Cooper, Kobe Bryant, Will Smith, Billie Holiday, Hall & Oates, Jill Scott, Sherman Hemsley, Questlove – The Roots, Grace Kelly, Richard Gere, Joe Frazier, Frank Rizzo, Charles Ramsey, Ed Rendell, John Street, Michael Nutter, Bill Cosby and Noam Chomsky…LOVE Park, Jewelers’ Row, Morris Arboretum, Walnut Street, South Street, Chinatown, Italian Market, Reading Terminal Market, Stephen Starr Restaurants, Le Bec-Fin, Amada, Four Seasons’, Vedge, Morimoto, Vetri, The Capital Grille, Serpico, Figs, Memphis Taproom, R2L, Volver, Warmdaddy’s, Ms. Tootsie’s…Tomato Pies, DiBruno Bros, Amoroso’s, Stromboli, Tastykake, Water Ice, Soft Pretzels and the Philly Cheesesteak!

Ah, the Cheesesteak…developed in the early 20th century and often debated of who originated this creation, which cheese to use or who makes the best. Pat and Harry Olivieri are typically credited for the invention. The cheese – originally popular with provolone, the Whiz of Cheez has now dominated since the 80’s. Pat’s, Geno’s, Tony Luke’s your guess is as good as mine on who makes the best. So try my take and uncover the vegan within. This version of the popular sandwich “wit whiz” of course and minus the beef/steak, milk, whey, caramel color, modified food starch, etc. is so simple with mushrooms, fried onions and a cheez sauce. The simplicity and amount of love will surely do Philly proud.

Alternatively, I do make a version with homemade seitan in addition to the mushrooms. Mom’s seitan recipe is a long process so that version of the recipe is best suited for another day.

Ingredients:

2 (8-10oz) Pkgs White Button Mushrooms

4 Portobello Mushrooms

1 Medium Sweet Onion

3 Tbsp Canola Oil, divided

½Tsp Garlic Powder

½ Tsp Salt

½ Tsp fresh ground Pepper

½ Tsp Liquid Smoke (vegan friendly)

4 Hoagie Rolls (6 inch)

¼ Tsp ground Cumin, Optional

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Cheez Sauce:

Ingredients:

2 Small Baby Gold Potatoes

2 Small Carrots

1/3 Cup Water (use water carrots/potatoes were cooked in)

½ Cup Vegan Milk (Almond/Coconut blend)

3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

½ Tsp Garlic Powder

1 Tbsp Vegan Butter (Earth Balance)

¼ Tsp Turmeric

1/3 Cup Raw Cashews

½ Tsp Salt

¼ Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper

½ Tbsp Soy Sauce

¼ Tsp Smoked Paprika

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Directions:

-Cook carrots/potatoes in saucepan until fork tender. Remove potatoes/carrots and reserve water – 1/3 cup.

-In blender – combine potatoes/carrots with remaining cheese sauce ingredients.

(Note: My cheez sauce recipe is not specific to this cheesesteak, which means you will likely have leftover sauce – store and use remaining sauce for another dish. This sauce is also great for nachos, macaroni, dip with veggies/chips or in a burrito).

-Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent about 3-5 mins. Add salt and pepper and continue to cook on low until golden but not quite caramelized, stirring occasionally. Remove onions from pan and set aside.

-While carrots/potatoes and onions are cooking prepare mushrooms. Clean – wiping with damp cloth/paper towel, careful not to submerge mushrooms in water. Scoop gills from Portobello mushrooms and remove stems from buttons.

-Slice (6) of the button mushrooms and (2) of the Portobello mushrooms – then chop the remaining mushrooms.

-Sauté mushrooms in pan over medium-high heat in batches; cook for 5-8 minutes and remove from pan and set-aside after each batch. Add remaining oil to pan after half of the mushrooms have been cooked. (Note: Be sure to divide mushrooms and cook in multiple batches. If you throw all the mushrooms in the pan together at once they will get watery and steam up instead. You don’t want to over stir or season yet either. You’ll want mushrooms that have released their moisture and sizzle into a golden color).

-Once all the mushrooms have been cooked through return to pan. Toss with remaining seasonings and liquid smoke just until warmed through. Serve and top with cheez sauce then fried onions. Enjoy!

(Optional: Add 2 Peppers – poblano or green bell pepper. Seeds/Ribs removed then sliced and sautéed in pan after onions over medium-high heat until peppers are soft).