Articles by Benjamin Sylvester
Oct. 16, 2015
Hip City Veg offers pricey yet delicious vegan options
I walked into Hip City Veg before the Penn medical student lunch hour rush. On a normal day, you’ll either hear classic hits from the 70s or 80s, or just the song “Gold” by Spandau Ballet. Disregarding their radio selection, I noted that indeed, as its neon sign radiates over the cashier’s counter, that I do “look great.”
Oct. 2, 2015
Blackbird’s offers great vegan pizza and wings
As I walk through the double doors of Blackbird’s entrance, I have to remind myself that I am not just entering a punk rock art gallery with only the aroma of pizza permeating my nostrils. It is in fact a pizzeria with amazing options for a hungry vegan.
Nov. 7, 2014
Mull On That | Species evolve but the hierarchy does not
I read a book (whoa!) this summer called “The Naked Ape” by Desmond Morris. Now before you all criticize me, and rightly so, for wasting my time, I do take away the basic and surface level motif of his argument, which is that we are all basically naked apes that get dressed up and try to avoid the fact that we’re still animals.
Oct. 31, 2014
Moo Over This |Staying vegetarian during Halloween
Most candy in the fun-size packs that we see our little cousins, brothers and sisters gorge on have some sorts of animal products, whether they be milk, eggs, gelatin or honey. The overwhelming amount of sugar might be enough to get people to lay off the sweets, but unfortunately Halloween is the time of year where we forget our glucose levels and proceed to wolf down the M&M’s. I used to be a huge fan of Milk Duds, which the Simpsons so hilariously renamed “Milk Chuds,” and you can imagine how my teeth felt the next day.
Oct. 24, 2014
Mull On That | Mobile devices rid our minds of imagination
I stood in line today at Starbucks, and most people stood staring at their phones. I get that. It sucks to be in line, but most of us are pretty patient — even the instant-gratification millennials that we are. It would seem like a good time to check your email, Twitter, Facebook and maybe even bank accounts. I wonder what we miss though.
Oct. 17, 2014
Moo Over This | How to get more burrito for your buck at Chipotle
Every time I go to Chipotle, I have a stratagem for how I ask for my burrito. Some people don’t realize that you can ask for more of the ingredients they offer. If you are going to pay $7 or $8 for a burrito, you might as well make it worth your hard-earned (or hardly earned) money. In an ideal situation with a shorter line, I ask for both beans (yes, both. This is America, for Lincoln’s sake!). A long time ago, their pinto beans had pork bits in the mixture, and Chipotle either wasn’t making enough money on them or realized there were people who didn’t want pork in their burritos. For rice, it depends on how I feel. I usually stick with one scoop of either brown or white, but sometimes I feel adventurous or emaciated and do double duty. When you get to the “humane meat” section, do me a favor, and ask for the sofritas — it’s tofu, spices and deliciousness without the “mooing” or “oinking” or “clucking.” Or, be a real thrifty human and skip the protein, because then you’ll get a scoop of guacamole for free. Salsas come next, and if you’ve got some hair on your arms, ask for all of them. The mild and medium salsas are chunkier and will “beef” up your burrito, while the hot salsa will make your head sweat. It’s basically a workout in a burrito. I don’t do sour cream or corn. Sour cream is formed from bacterial fermentation of regular cream, which sounds funky and not vegan. I honestly don’t know anyone in my family who can digest corn either. Always do lettuce. It is not a waste, because it balances some of the hot salsa and adds a bit more crunch. Now here comes the tricky part. To guacamole or not to guacamole? It is extra money, but, as Walter says to the Dude about his rug, “it really ties the room together.” I always get guacamole. With the double beans, double rice, sofritas, triple salsa, lettuce and guacamole, they might have to put an extra tortilla wrap on the whole thing to encompass the burrito baby you just ordered. It’s a three serving burrito for one person. If you know ahead of time you don’t like to deal with that mess of food or want to save the leftovers, start out with a burrito bowl and ask for a tortilla on the side—it’ll be heated and wrapped in aluminum foil. The moral of this story is that you can do this not just at Chipotle, but also at lots of other restaurants. Since you are not ordering the “main meat” of the dishes, you can ask for extra because for the one or two vegetarians a place will serve per day, the amount of vegetables you ask for will impact their budget very little. Most times, restaurants are sadly throwing out food. The food trucks will put extra peppers on your sandwich, and sit down restaurants will give you sides usually for free that you can add to your salad or veggie burger. The key is to ask, because you should get the most out of your money as a vegetarian. Unless the food is already wrapped and even then, ask for more. The worst that will happen is that someone will say no. Most times, shop owners and workers are happy to accommodate. Now that is something to moo over! Benjamin Sylvester is the president of the Drexel Animal Welfare Group. He can be contacted at [email protected] “Moo Over This” publishes biweekly.
Oct. 10, 2014
Mull On That | Do more than the bare minimum, help others
When I was in high school, I overheard two of my classmates discussing assignments for a course. The gist of what they were saying was, how could they pass the class while doing the least amount of work possible? In other words, how can we get by while doing only what is absolutely required?
Oct. 3, 2014
Moo Over This | The ripple effect of vegetarianism
You don’t have to look too far anymore to find great vegan and vegetarian foods around the corner from Drexel and in Center City. Plant-based foods have come a long way since the latter half of the 20th century. There are now vegan beers, faux cheese steaks and — believe it or not, Philadelphians — vegan scrapple! How has vegan and vegetarian gotten so popular, and why do even omnivores enjoy vegan food?
Sep. 26, 2014
Mull On That | Climate, interconnectivity affects humans globally
This week’s philosophical read delves into the ethics and ideas of Tetsuro Watsuji, whose extensive background in Western philosophy as well as his effort to bring old Japanese ethics out of obscurity led him to become a major philosopher in recent history.
Sep. 19, 2014
Moo Over This | Pros and cons of eating apple skin
As we head into fall, apples don’t fall far from trees, literally! For everyone, omnivores and herbivores alike, apples will be abundant and ready for homemade pies. For the small amount of vegetarians out there though, apples have a little problem with how they are mass-harvested.