Does anyone make an actual vegan cheesesteak?

After years of eating vegan cheesesteaks in Philly and anywhere else I see them on the menu, it’s clear most people just call it a day after adding some sort of veggie meat to a long roll with some vegan cheese.

Don’t get me wrong, most of the time it’s a delicious sandwich well worth the money that I’ll rave about to friends. But it wasn’t close to a cheesesteak. Blackbird in Philly nails it. I’m sure other places around the world pull it off, but I haven’t had them. Usually it’s seitan chunks or crumbled up veggie meat, nothing resembling a proper cheesesteak. They’ll often have some sort of marinade or sauce which screws up the fact that cheesesteak meat is pretty damn dry without the cheese.

The same issue applies to recipes I find online. Lot’s of just “hey! just break up a veggie burger or use some tofu!”. Lauren Toyota gets it, I’ve got issues with the peppers, over flavored meat and nacho sauce for cheese. But the thinly sliced/shaved seitan with a mandolin is on point.

If you look up how to make your own non-vegan cheesesteak you’ll see it’s all about very thin slices of ribeye steak. It’s a meat consistency I haven’t seen many people pull off.

So that’s why I’ve been working on making a proper one myself.

I started experimenting with Beyond/Impossible(same results with each). Basically, I press them real thin between parchment paper then freeze that slab for 15-20 minutes, just to firm it up. Then I cool that whole slab like a Steak Umm. 3 minutes a side, sprinkled with Lawry’s Seasoned Salt(thanks to Thee Burger Dude for turning me on to that) on each side. Take it off, then slice it up. The salty seasoning is perfect, it’s dry enough. Not perfect but the closest I’ve been able to come up with.

Back to the sandwich, after it’s sliced, put it back in the pan (you probably already cooked up some onions), cover with 2 slices of Violife provolone. Cook it a bit longer to melt the cheese a bit but you don’t need it crazy melted for a cheesesteak. Then get it back into a nice long roll — cheese on the bottom.

This is a work in progress. Pictures to come.

10 real Philly vegan cheesesteaks to try during DNC week

I was assisted in pulling this together by Philadelphia Vegan Cheesesteak Czar Jonathan Bagot, who also provided commentary on his top three places. Bagot, one of the first judges in the Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly contest (maybe
the first, with his last name earliest in the alphabet), had started the first Web site listing of vegan cheesesteaks in Philly, which evolved into”

Check it out!

And the best vegan cheesesteak in Philly is…

Read the rest of the details here:

I was truly honored to be chosen as a judge in this contest. All the sandwiches(and burrito) were amazing and I think Philly vegans would be incredibly lucky if those were our only choices. However, there are a lot of other amazing vegan cheesesteaks out there that barely got voted for because they just don’t have the social media muscle. So get out there and try them all. Maybe next year we can see if Blackbird is able to defend their championship against a newly discovered favorite.


name change, new domain

when i first purchased at about 3am on some morning back in 2007 i thought it was just going to provide me a slightly entertaining domain that quotes a notorious big song(hypnotize). i never thought it would still exist over 5 years later. and here we are.

i’ve gotten a lot of traffic and a lot of very nice emails from people over the years — thanking me, recommending places, etc. so i figure why not make the address a little easier to remember with less typos.

so here we are.

hopefully with this format i’ll also be able to write about some non-cheesesteak items i find around the city.

thanks for visiting.