Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sunday Brunch at MiLah Vegetarian Restaurant

For Valentine’s Day this year, Brian treated me to a delicious brunch at MiLah Vegetarian Restaurant, a new-ish place in Philly that I’ve wanted to visit since at least around Christmastime 2008. My interest was reinvigorated after a fellow attendee at one of Christina Pirello’s boisterous vegan cooking demonstrations at Essene said I just had to try MiLah's Sunday brunch. She said something about scones and that’s all I needed to hear.

I’ve long bemoaned Philly’s lack of vegan brunch stops. Sure, there are plenty of places that will scare up some tofu scramble for you but a carb lover cannot subsist on this dish alone. Where’s the French toast, the waffles, the banana chocolate chip pancakes, the scones, the muffins? Okay, Memphis Taproom has a pumpkin-stuffed French toast that I have yet to try but that’s it.

MiLah has finally got us covered. Whether your craving errs on the hot and salty side or if you just want some sweet baked treats, Mi Lah's got it. And they give you plenty of it. Mi Lah’s prix fixe Sunday brunch includes a plate of fresh fruit, scones, muffin, and cake slices and that alone is worth the price of admission ($20). Brian and I knew we could fill up on just that plate so we behaved in an uncharacteristically moderate way by saving half for later.

In addition to your plate of fruit and baked goods, brunch comes with a pitcher of virgin Bloody Mary or an orange, grapefruit, and ginger Mimosa mix. MiLah is BYOB so tote along some booze if you please. You also get coffee or tea. I selected a hot pink grapefruit tea.

Then, if that isn’t enough for you, you get to pick an entrĂ©e. Like Tofu Benedict or chocolate banana pancakes. Or beer battered seitan with waffles. Or sausage and biscuits with gravy. Or a lot more where those all came from.

Brian selected the Lumberjack Special, which included two pancakes, tempeh bacon, red and sweet potato homefries, and tofu scramble.

I ordered up something I’ve never had as a vegan or otherwise—the Tofu Benedict. I so often regret my dining choices when Brian and I eat out. He always seems to pick the more enjoyable dish but this time I picked a winner. The Hollandaise sauce was silky, mustardy, and entirely lickable. Rather than vegan Canadian bacon (MiLah eschews so-called faux meats for the most whole, least-processed selections), my Benedict was topped with oven-roasted Roma tomatoes and avocado and it was perfect. I loved their salty and herby mixed potato hash. My entire entree was so amazing, even though I was more than full about halfway through, I had to eat it all.

MiLah’s upstairs dining area is sunny and bright, the music selection perfectly nondescript and atmospheric for better Sunday lazing, and the staff friendly and efficient. I can’t wait to go back and try their lunch and dinner menus. Go early and expect to a bit wait. The place was hot and poppin the entire time. Despite the restaurant’s name, their menus are entirely vegan except for one lunch item that contains optional feta cheese.

Pictures by Brian and Joselle

MiLah Vegetarian Restaurant
218 South 16th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 732-8888

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Win a Copy of Vegan Soul Kitchen

Want to win a copy of Bryant Terry's new cookbook, Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine? Just head on over to Vegans of Color where I am giving away one copy to any U.S. resident who leaves a comment telling me what their favorite soul-warming dish is.

Even if you don’t win the copy, check out this book, which includes mouth-watering food and drink recipes like Cajun-Creole Spiced Tempeh Pieces with Creamy Grits, Frozen Memphis Mint Julep, Roasted Plantain Pieces with Roasted Garlic-Lime Dipping Sauce, Sweet Cornmeal-Coconut Butter Drop Biscuits, and many more.