Vava’s Crêperie Café – An Exciting New Crêperie in Bethlehem, PA With Vegetarian Options!

 

 

by Michael Wilkins

 

I grew up in the town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where the biggest industry was the manufacturing of steel and Bethlehem Steel was the biggest employer in the Valley. My father worked there all his life and retired from the company before they went bankrupt. I have many fond memories of the city and it’s culture, but in my entire life I never encountered a place like the Crêperie.

 

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The Crêperie is is a little French café located in a strip mall right around the corner from the Marriott hotel properties near the airport. When I arrived at the hotel, I inquired about local places to have breakfast that served vegan food and I was directed to the Crêperie. I went for breakfast the following morning and had a great conversation with Kathy (the owner) about how she cooks her food and what brought her into this line of work. She told me her story about leaving corporate America and opening a small restaurant serving food that she enjoyed while growing up. Her grandmother, which she affectionately calls Vava, was a major influence in her life. This is how she came up with the name Vava’s Crêperie Café. We both grew up in a family of six children which gave us the opportunity to exchange stories about our places in the pack. One of her fondest memories is coming home after school to crepes with homemade raspberry jam.

 

Crepe

 

I must admit at this point she almost had me drooling as she described the crepes her grandmother made with great affection. She uses the recipes her grandmother used to make crepes when she was a little girl. Let’s face it folks, don’t we all want to eat the food our grandmothers cooked for us when we were younger. It takes us back to a happy and comfortable time sharing meals with our family in grandma’s kitchen. This is the atmosphere Kathy has tried to create in her café.

 

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As is the case with many people working in corporate America, Kathy became disillusioned with her work and decided to open the Crêperie. Her goal was to create a similar atmosphere to a French café, mimicking the recipes her grandmother had made for her. Much of this information is locked away in her memory of growing up as a child. She went back to visit Mery, France her grandmother’s birthplace, which gave her the inspiration for the Creperie. The personal touches with which Kathy has imbued her café is obvious the moment you walk in the door. I had conversations with several of the patrons, all of whom heartily endorse Kathy’s creations. The café is small and friendly, which lends itself to an atmosphere of interaction. The Crêperie is evidence that the culture of the city of Bethlehem has changed a great deal from what it was when I grew up. The breakfast of choice for the blue-collar workers in Bethlehem was quite different from what Kathy has created in her restaurant.

 

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As you pick up the menu or look at the choices on the wall where the daily offerings are written, your mind starts to spin trying to digest all of the choices available. You can order anything from a Montecristo, to a peanut butter and banana crêpe. The nice thing about this place is that you can also create your own crêpe from a large list of choices available. The categories include a source of protein, cheese, vegetables, and sauce. There are no strictly vegan options at this point since the crepe batter contains eggs and milk. After our discussion, Kathy has agreed to research vegan crepe options and hopes to have them available in the future.

 

Recommendations

 

The sauces range from a balsamic glaze to a pesto created by Kathy. She prepares everything from scratch and obtains her produce from local sources. I had a blast ordering my meal and going through all the choices available to create my crêpe. Kathy prepared for me a whole-grain plant-based crêpe which included spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions, tomatoes, sautéed peppers and a pesto sauce. Needless to say, by the time I received my breakfast, my mouth was watering. The taste was fantastic and took me back to a time when I was having breakfast with my brothers and sisters in my mom’s kitchen.

 

Menu Board

 

There are plenty of choices here for carnivores and vegetarians. My bet is that everyone will walk away from here delighted with what they have experienced. The Crêperie has been open a little over a year. If you are like me, when you travel it is fun to experience new and different places to eat. It’s great to have an opportunity to experience food that is prepared with affection and passion. Nowhere is that more evident than at the Crêperie. Bethlehem has finally acquired a little slice of French cuisine. I plan to tell everyone I know about what Kathy is doing here so that she has enough business to allow to continue fueling her passion.

 
 
 

Michael Wilkins is a respiratory therapist, an avid scuba diver and an accomplished photographer. He has been living with hepatitis C for more than two decades and is a cancer surviver. Michael has kept liver cancer at bay by employing the healing properties of a plant-based diet.

A year later, after a strict plant-based regimen, his tumor markers are normal and his MRIs are clean! This has made Michael more passionate about staying on a vegan diet. He has met lots of wonderful passionate people with amazing stories while walking down this path. Michael’s area is Northeast Florida, particularly the Jacksonville area. Contact Michael to share your restaurant finds, make comments, or just to say hello!

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Gosh Ethiopian Restaurant – Healthy Plant-based Dining In Knoxville, Tennessee

by Danielle Busssone

 

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On one of our pilgrimages to Knoxville to visit the Apple Store and the most wonderful Asian market EVER (Sunrise Market on Kingston Pike), we discovered a restaurant we have somehow missed on previous visits to this bustling city. Gosh is one of the few family-owned restaurants in Knoxville where you can find a healthy, plant-based meal without the bother of a litany of questions. Ethiopia has a long history of religious fasting days in which no animal protein is allowed, so whenever you order vegetarian at an Ethiopian restaurant, vegan is what you get. You can count on that!

 

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The menu offers individual stews a la carte from $7.99 to $8.99 each or you can opt for a vegetarian (actually vegan) four dish option from the vegetarian menu, plus a salad for $9.99. Finally, there is the option of six vegetarian dishes plus salad for $11.99.

 

We chose the six veggie combination plate including Kik Alicha (mild pureed yellow split peas seasoned with onions and turmeric), Yemiser Wot (red split lentils cooked in a uniquely Ethiopian spice blend called Berbere), Yemiser Alicha (red split lentils cooked in a mild sauce of onion, garlic and curry), Tikil Gomen (a mild stew of carrots, potato and cabbage), Gomen ( a mild stew of collard greens cooked with onions, garlic and jalapeño peppers), Shurro Wot (ground split peas cooked in Berbere spice blend with onions and fresh garlic), as well as a house salad. This is served with a special flatbread native to Ethiopia called Injera, made from teff, a highly nutritious grain that is fermented to give the bread its unique sourdough flavor. It’s texture is somewhere between a crepe and a pancake and it is used not only as the lining of your plate, upon which the various stews are placed, but will also serve as your utensils. To eat Ethiopian food, unroll a piece of injera and pinch a portion of the stew within the folds of your injera. Then just pop it into your mouth!

 

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Hot Woks Cool Sushi – Super-Charged Sushi In Chicago!

 

 

To celebrate a wonderful week filled with friendship, family and sport we went out to Hot Woks Cool Sushi to celebrate. Combining the philosophy of balancing Ying and Yang in our bodies, the restaurant has two separate kitchens: one for cold dishes (Ying) and another for the hot dishes (Yang.

Kate Strong-9 Menu

 

Hot Woks Cool Sushi offers many choices for vegans and omnivores – a good compromise for my family as I am currently the only plant-powered person. Introducing my family to spicy edamame beans was a big hit with my (very food-stubborn) father declaring that these are now his favorite pre-dinner nibble!

Kate Strong-10 Edamame

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Christian’s in Charlottesville Virginia’s Downtown Walking Mall – Vegan Pizza Just Doesn’t Get Better Than This!

 

by Danielle Bussone

 

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This is a post that is long overdue. In June of this year we attended the Richmond Vegetarian Festival and stayed in neighboring Charlottesville at a homey Air B&B where our dogs were welcomed. After the festival we arrived back at out lodging, tired and hungry. We sought out the quickest solution for a vegan meal. Calling around to various pizza establishments, we finally settled on Christian’s in downtown Charlottesville. Located in the walking mall it was a barely over a mile from where we were staying, at Fairhaven Guesthouse, located just minutes from downtown. (more…)

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Enjoy Fresh Local Fare At Mossfire Grill, Jacksonville, FL!

by Michael Wilkins

Today was my best friend’s birthday so we went out to dinner to celebrate at the Mossfire Grill. The food here is outstanding and one of the reasons is because this enterprise is a farm to table restaurant.

For those of us who are not carnivores they offer dishes that include tempeh and tofu. The Mossfire Grill has a Southwest flair to their offerings and is located in the community of Riverside in Jacksonville. The specific area is called Five Points and the restaurant is a short walk from the five points intersection in the Riverside area of Jacksonville.

Mossfire Grill Exterior

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Native Foods Café – A Concept Of Truly Healthy, ALL VEGAN, Casual Dining For The 21st Century!

by Danielle Bussone

 

Native Foods Cafe Exterior

Danielle Bussone with Cherle Link

Danielle Bussone with Cherle Link

 

With heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, dementia and other common and often fatal maladies on the rise, people are finally beginning to awaken to the fact that good health begins with what we choose to put on our plates. With mounting evidence that a diet largely consisting of plants can prevent and reverse many of these debilitating diseases, the world is beginning to embrace a plant-based, healthy lifestyle. That’s right, veganism has become cool. And it is high time.

 

Super Slaw

Super Slaw

 

Many fast food restaurants are jumping on the bandwagon and have begun to offer vegan options. Chipotles offers a couple of healthy vegan dishes, even eschewing the use of GMOs, and  Wendy’s is now rumored to be creating a veggie burger. It’s a beginning.

On VOAA’s trip to Chicago to participate in VeggieFest Chicago this past weekend, we were blown away to discover Native Foods Café, a gem of a restaurant that offers nothing but healthy plant-based fare made from scratch. All vegan, all the time! What a concept!

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