LOCATION: 1919 E. Passyunk Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148. Not to be confused with 19th and Passyunk. It gets confusing. Use Google maps or GPS, unless you are a pro at navigating South Philly. Seriously, I get lost every time I go there.
CUISINE: A vegetarian-friendly flavor fiesta
VIBE: Located along the impressively happening East Passyunk Avenue, Adobe Café offers the perfect environment to enjoy the animal-free Southwestern Cuisine that you didn’t know you were missing out on. The dim lighting, festive decorations and t-shirt and jeans style of the dining room put me right at ease. The staff is really cool and the waiter was nice enough to humor all of my corny jokes like yelling, “hail seitan” after I ordered. There is definitely a kitsch factor to the restaurants appearance with its strung up Christmas lights and awesomely eccentric howling wolf mural. They also have an adorable looking bar and a bro-tastic backroom with a dartboard and foosball table. The fun, down to earth, laid back atmosphere really offers a right at home feeling, if my home had awesome wolf murals that is.
HIGHLIGHTS: Before I even begin to talk about the food I have to provide a quick disclaimer that Adobe Café is not 100% vegan or vegetarian and falls more into the veg-friendly category. I would urge you not to write this place off though because you can definitely get a satisfying meal there even if the menu options are somewhat limited. It is a great place to take your non-veg family and friends, avoiding the whole, never ending, “where should we eat” debate. You guys know what I’m talking about. Adobe Café’s homemade salsa really set the tone for the entire meal. It is super fresh, moderately spicy and addictive as hell. Forget everything your parents ever told you about filling up on the free chips before the meal and dig right in, I promise I won’t tell. It’s actually kind of liberating. I seriously suggest that they start offering salsa to go because I would love to take some home. Their guacamole sent me into a state of full-fledged guac shock. I’m not even a huge fan of guacamole but I found theirs to be particularly smooth and the chunks of fresh tomato really won me over. Combining the salsa and guacamole on one chip creates a crisp and savory blend of flavors.
The Texas Ranchero Seitan Wings are the best thing on the menu, hands down. These are the best vegetarian hot wings that I have ever had and they honestly make the whole trip worthwhile. They come out dripping in wing sauce and they are legitimately spicy, reaching that perfect level where your mouth is on fire but you can’t get enough of them so you just keep masochistically devouring wing after wing. The jalapeno mayo dipping sauce that comes with them serves to make them just that much more delicious, turning down the spiciness just a pinch and smoothing out the flavor with its cool, mild creaminess. I really don’t know how to describe how much I love these wings but it’s a good thing that they are boneless or I would have ran a serious risk of choking. The Skillet Seared Seitan Tips are my second favorite thing at Adobe Café and yes, they are exactly as delicious as they sound. They have a great blackened steak taste with light spices and just enough onion to add flavor but not overwhelm. They come with a stack of tiny tortillas and jalapeno mayo so you can make tiny tacos that are a unique break from every day cuisine.
LOWLIGHTS: I have to admit that I was a little disappointed after my initial appetizer overload. The entrée was not as good as I was expecting. I ordered the vegetarian combo and I only enjoyed one of four parts of the combo. They seemed to have a problem melting the vegan cheese which ruined some of the entrée for me and some of the options just really weren’t my style. I wouldn’t advise against trying the dinner options for yourself but you might be better off just ordering a drink and getting down with their amazing apps.
PRICE RANGE: Appetizers range from $6 to $10. Entrees are $15 to $20.