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Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards 2011 – Best Specials

Tomato Panzanella Salad - Vegan Entrée Special

Specials are just what they imply; they aren’t regularly on the menu and can be looked forward to on occasion. New restaurants and ones that are in the process of changing locations have enough difficulty in establishing their new menu and can delay the adding of specials for a while. Places like Jayyid Harvest do have occasional specials but they are still getting in the groove of even being open. Longer established restaurants can use their most popular specials, like Luna 2 did with their award winning Woodgrilled Portobello Sandwich, to become favorites on their regular menu. Small cafes or food trucks where the entire menu changes almost every day or week can offer surprises but you can’t really call them specials.

Chickpea Spread, Smoked Tempeh and Marty's Sprouts - Vegan Sanwich Special

I can’t imagine the wonder of living in a place where I could just walk into a restaurant and throw all caution to the wind and say, “Give me the special.” Without looking carefully at the menu and asking meticulous questions about everything on the special, right down to the toppings and garnishes. Bacon, when wrongly used as an herb, is rarely mentioned and can be thrown on as a final flourish on any given special.

With the recent closure of The Enchanted Kitchen, we have no easy access to any vegetarian only restaurants in Pennsyltucky, the closest is Jayyid Harvest and in Harrisburg. When visiting vegan restaurants like, Eden or Quiet Storm (vegetarian), it’s overwhelming to even look at the specials when the entire menu is, well.. special. Even then I do try to order a special in case I am ever fortunate enough to return and can try something different.

Tomato & Cheddar Pie, Vegetarian Entrée Special

It takes a distinctive place to commit to vegetarian specials and this year Elk Creek Cafe + Alewroks has done just that. We knew if we would take the time to venture over Nittany Mountain and drive up the valley to Millheim that we would be treated to a Vegan Bowl with grains, greens, root vegetables and perfect seasonal seasonings or a vegetarian creation that would always please our palettes. The Tomato & Cheddar Pie was unbeatable this year. A special or two, like the Chickpea Sandwich, seem to have made their way to the most recent menu update but we look forward to what they will surprise us with next year.

Hooray for Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks (restaurant review in full here) for being awarded Pennsyltucky Veggie 2011 Best Specials.Do you know of a Pennsyltucky restaurant’s specials that you think can beat Elk Creek’s in 2012? If it’s in central PA (see map here) and is a regular vegetarian menu item, let me know and I will include it in the judging next year! Drop me, Pennsyltucky Veggie, a line or feel free to leave a comment!

About trueindigo

vegan, runner, blogger, mom, model, artist, tarot reader.

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