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The Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly contest: 2019

The Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly contest: 2019

In 2017 the husband and I attended an amazing event—the Best Vegan Cheesesteak in Philly contest. And it really lived up to the hype that had been surrounding it for the first 3 years of the contest. Let me tell you; it did not disappoint!

Five restaurants presented tempting cheese steak options. Blackbird Pizzeria took home the honor but all of the offerings were really spectacular. The final judging took place at The Ethical Society. A lovely local right on Rittenhouse square—each restaurant had a large table set up and the whole lower floor was set up with chairs and room to mill about while talking, eating and enjoying the evening. There were even desserts and tickets were just $5!

With the 2018 event having been cancelled, the husband and I were looking forward to this years contest with some pretty high enthusiasm.

I have one word to describe the 2019 contest: disappointing.

There were only 3 restaurants serving cheesesteaks and, for whatever reason, one place that had little puff pastries filled with a pate of some kind that was certainly not cheesesteak related at all….

No desserts either this go ‘round. And the venue, The Rotunda at Penn, is pretty small which made navigating the few restaurant tables that were there quite difficult. There was a cabaret this year for some reason, but as far as I’m concerned I was there for a cheesesteak contest and I didn’t really get one.

To top it all off, the tickets for today’s event were $15. So, three times the cost of the 2017 contest for only 60% of the cheesesteaks.

The restaurants that served up their fare were good, so no complaints there.

Soy Cafe:


This was pretty good—the mustard style sauce at the bottom of this lovely cheesy and meaty goodness was a wonderful little surprise. I also really like the red onion. The one complaint I have is that the “meat” was a bit chewy—as though really fatty beef might be.

Triangle Tavern:


I really liked this one! The cheese sauce was remarkably smooth and creamy, like an American cheese. The “meat” pieces were smaller chopped up than I’d have preferred but the flavor and texture was delightful. I’d certainly go and eat one of these any night of the week!

Colonial Diner:


So this was a bit of a different take on the cheesesteak as it’s a cheesesteak hoagie of sorts. I felt like the “meat” was chopped up too much and the shredded cheese wasn’t exactly the right flavor for the rest flavors but I like that they did something different. Their menu looks pretty amazing though and with so very many options I’ll certainly be tasting a whole lot more from them!

I'm (Pea)Nuts about this sauce!

I'm (Pea)Nuts about this sauce!

Easy as (hand) pie!

Easy as (hand) pie!