Sunday, August 10, 2008

Veg Out: Brunch Cakes

Mac & cheese and pancakes are top vegetarian comfort foods. Combining the two could mean a glorious, comforting mess, or it could be a disgraceful brunchification of both dishes. As per the recommendation of Foobooz, I brunched at South Philly Tap Room to find out.

SPTR's stepped-up trailer park cuisine gets mixed reactions and turns off a lot of safe players. I like that they take chances. I want someone to have fun in a kitchen. Their playful odes to traditional pub plates recall Shopsins in NYC, the only other place I could direct you for mac-and-cheese pancakes.

After scanning prospects like the Seitan Sloppy Joe Omelet and PBJ Waffles, sides of tofu bacon and poutine, I nearly wavered. Did I yearn for savory or sweet? Mac-and-Cheese Pancakes with Tabasco butter and maple syrup knocks out both teeth. Pressured on by my juvenile curiosity, I did not expect to enjoy it. What if it was Easy Mac and Hungry Jack?

The pancakes came out light, buttery, and ethereal, with pockets of macaroni and cheese that added a lacy crispness and chewiness to each bite. Halfway through, I encountered delightful strings of cheese that oozed from the stack. Tabasco and syrup, when drizzled in moderate amounts, were courteous to one another . Maple and cheddar proved again what McGriddles pronounced years ago: they're a compatible match. This hit with just enough sweetness from powdered sugar, the way that the Tabasco'ed beignets are at Les Bons Temps.

I would gladly fork into this and call it a weekend. I'm entering it into my Brunch Hall of Fame.

It's not like I eat slices of cake every morning. However, continuing my theme of brunchtime caking, I had this lovely hunk of vegan cocoa cake with a thick job of sugar-crusted peanut butter frosting at the Other Green Line Cafe. Its main selling point was that I had no idea who made it and it was not Vegan Treats. I was also starving.

I had intended to grab a coffee and one of the Green Line's limited edition travel mugs with the faux wood finish. Chocolate and peanut butter generally elicits a shrug from me, but I like trying new vegan shit for the hell of it. I'd give it a Nice Vegan Effort sticker, but it wasn't spectacular. Cake part was a little dry/frosting was viciously sweet. Let me tell you, it needed some vegan mac & cheese.

South Philly Tap Room, 1509 Mifflin St.
The Other Green Line Cafe, 45th & Locust

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