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Not-So-Subliminal Messaging, Basic 4 Cafe, & Vegan Tree – Philadelphia, PA

Part of the reason that Philly was so successful at courting me had to do with the weather. The entire time I was there it was warm and sunny (well, you know what they say). Not a single overcast- or rainy day. Simply perfect.

The timing of this love affair was great too because I was just coming out of a bit of a low time and was finally in a better state for new self evaluation, growth, and kindness. As I was walking to downtown Philly for lunch I literally stopped to smell the flowers. When pretending to be a cool artist or photography I like to call this pic Pretty in Pink on S. 7th St. ;) These blossoming trees were all over the city. So beautiful.

Throughout my near two-week stop over in Philly I discovered a few other not-so-subliminal messages throughout my walks around the city. It’s almost as if they were placed here just for me. :)

Pink flowers on South 7th St. Philadelphia, PAHang in There - Philly, PA

On this day I was scheduled to have lunch with Vance, the writer behind’s V For Veg column. Upon Vance’s recommendation we met at the Reading Terminal Market to dine at Basic 4 Vegetarian Cafe.

Reading Terminal Market Place, Philly

Vance suggested that we meet by one of the Reading Terminal Market landmarks, the brass pig. Having never been here before I thought I’d make it more interesting by asking around, “Excuse me, I’m looking for a statue of a pig.” It only took two tries and I was pointed in the right direct. Ha. Nice.

Reading Terminal Market Place, Philly

Basic 4 Vegetarian Cafe – 80% vegan

Reading Terminal Market
Philadelphia, PA 19107

We had a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich and pita wrap that I can’t remember the name of. Pretty good, pretty good. A few weeks after I left Philly Vance interviewed me for his column on Check it out.

Basic 4 Vegetarian Snack Bar, PhillyBasic 4 Vegetarian Snack Bar, PhillyBasic 4 Vegetarian Snack Bar, Philly

The nice thing about the location of Basic 4 are all of the other little eateries and shops within the Market. On my way out I got a freshly made juice to-go. Slurp!

Fresh Juice, Terminal Reading Market

After lunch I found an internet cafe to do some work in before dinner time. This super cute and cozy place called Cake & The Beanstalk had lovely art based on kids books and other inspirational works. Check out The Giving Tree chair!

The Giving Tree chair art, phillyKeep calm and carry onWoah, I just noticed the guy standing behind me in the reflection of this pic. Eep!

After some writing, and waiting for my belly make the room, I headed to Vegan Tree for dinner. It was definitely an unexpected winner in my book. I hadn’t heard much about this place other than it might have once been a Loving Hut but was then reverted back to Vegan Tree.

Vegan Tree – 100% vegan

742 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

I enjoyed the atmosphere in Vegan Tree. The energy felt light, fun, and positive. There were vegan resources (papers, magazines, brochures, etc.) all over the place. They were playing 50’s and 80’s music and if someone stopped to read the menu from outside one of the servers would greet them to answer any questions about veganism.

Vegan Tree restaurant, PhillyVegan Tree restaurant, PhillyVegan Tree restaurant, Philly

I indulged in some mango bubble tea. It was light and delicious, more like juice than heavy creamy teas I’ve had in the past. The avocado spring rolls were great. And their peanut sauce… holy goodness gracious it’s amazing, and perfectly compliments the rolls.

The deep fried broccoli was wonderful as well. It was not over done, not too heavy or oily as far as fried things go. It had a salty, buttery flavor and definitely hit the spot. I found the mix of some mango bubble tea with some broccoli, together made for a very tasty combination. True story. :)

Spring rolls and bubble tea, Vegan Tree restaurantDeep fried broccoli, Vegan Tree restaurant
These are Vegan Tree’s shrimp rolls. I’ve never been a fan of faux seafood but I must say that this restaurant does vegan shrimp quite well. The best I’ve had so far. The rolls also had a mix of rice and quinoa within, avocado, cucumber, tofu, and carrot wrapped in nori. Some of the best sushi I’ve had. Seriously. Excellent!

As a complimentary dessert I received these sesame seed dough balls filled with sweet date (I think) cream. Quite nice.

Nori rolls, Vegan Tree restaurantDessert balls, Vegan Tree restaurant


  1. Wow! I never heard of the Vegan Tree before. The first thing I thought was that maybe it used to be the Loving Hut. I can’t wait to see where else you go!

  2. did the sesame seed balls seem like it might be sweetened black or adzuki beans? usually those types of things are made with sweet beans as opposed to a fruit.

    i’m glad you didn’t get a juice from basic 4. i got one once not realising it was mostly honey, and it was a punch in the face. not even my husband who was still transitioning to vegan could finish it.

    • Ooh yes, I think it was adzuki beans. You’re right. Good call! :) Oooh, I didn’t know that about their juice. I have also heard conflicting stuff about their cheese (if it has whey and what not in it) so I avoided that as well.

  3. ariela

    damn those sesame balls look good haha

  4. ariela

    so sad, i went today and they didn’t have those sesame balls :( boo!

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