Friday, April 9, 2010

Snackin' in Scranton: Eden, a vegan cafe

I love vegan food and baked goods. But let's be clear about one thing: I'm NOT vegan. I hope I didn't break any of your hearts. I was vegetarian for about 10 years, and vegan for 2 of them. And of course, there's that whole lactose-intolerant thing. But every once in a while you'll catch me eating potato pizza or fish tacos or using butter in my pie crust. (My vegan crust is pretty tasty, but you just can't beat butter sometimes! sigh...) 
In Philly it's pretty easy to eat vegetarian. Most of the bar/restaurants I frequent have awesome menu standards and specials that are cruelty-free and delicious. But a place that's 100% without a doubt, no ifs-ands-or-buts about it VEGAN? None in Philly. You've got to go to Scranton for that. 
Yeah, you heard me right. SCRANTON. It's quite lovely up there. And they've got yummy places to eat. Like Eden- a vegan cafe. If you follow along with this blog, you'll know I stayed home an extra night while visiting for Easter just to make sure I could grab lunch there. That's how delicious it is. And the service is super friendly, and the place is bright and airy and pretty and they're on the coolest block downtown (on Adams Ave, right across from the best bar in town and the awesome Thai place, but those are for another post...). And the owners are big PHILLIES fans. And if you live in the Scranton area or if you're like me and from Scranton but go home frequently to visit, then you need to go. Immediately. And thank me later. 
Eden's got a full menu with soups, appetizers, salads, sandwiches (hot and cold), and desserts. They've also got weekly specials. I've yet to have anything from here that I didn't think was snack-tastic. 
Before hitting the turnpike on Tuesday, I grabbed lunch with friends. This time around, I got one of the specials- the Waldorf Chicken Salad sandwich. Soy Protein "chicken" salad with Vegenaise, diced apples, sliced grapes, walnuts, romaine lettuce and tomatoes. It came on a multi-grain wrap, but I got mine on a hoagie roll. (Sometimes I just want some bread, and they're really accommodating at Eden.) The result was super delicious. The textures and flavors blended so well: the tart apple crunch, sweet squish of grapes and earthy chewiness of walnuts. The "chicken" was also spot on. I'm always really impressed with the faux meat products Eden uses. I usually get freaked out by the texture of seitan (which most restaurants use for their veg dishes), but I don't think they use it at Eden.
With their sandwiches you get your choice of side. I usually order a super double secret side dish whose name I can't divulge, but I will show you pictures of it. As for the rest of you mortals, I'd recommend the slaw. I dream about their coleslaw some nights. OK, most nights. Alright, EVERY night. For REAL. Their smashed potatoes are most excellent too. (Surprise! The Irish girl loves potatoes too! Moving on...) I've never seen anyone order another side because both of those are so tasty, but I hear they have other options. 
Carolyn got the unofficial "Michelle Williams" turkey club, which is a typical turkey club but with avocado slices. Why is it called the "Michelle Williams"? Because that's what Michelle ordered when she stopped into Eden before the Wilco show in Scranton. Yes, that Michelle Williams. Yes, that Wilco. Yes, in Scranton. Yes, I was confused too. Let's get back to the food. 
The turkey club at Eden is the kind of thing that's so good I have a hard time ordering anything else. And I'm a firm believer that avocados can improve anything, so they managed to take this mighty sandwich to the next level of delicious. "Turkey" slices, vegan bacon strips, lettuce, tomato, Vegenaise, and avocado slices layered on whole wheat bread. But the avocado may have sent it over the edge, as it was pretty messy and Carolyn said she needed a bigger mouth to eat it (and she's got the biggest mouth of anyone I know). 
This led Carolyn, the philosophy professor, to start talking about the turkey club paradox: "How could there be a sandwich too large for the largest mouth to fit? If you take a layer off is it still a turkey club? Does it's essence change in any way?"... and then Louie started arguing with Carolyn (like they always do) about her Aristotelian snack-theorizing, and I stopped listening and continued eating my hoagie. At the end of it all she said the turkey club was like a "sandwich explosion, but an explosion of deliciousness." Which are the best kind, obviously
Louie had a Turkey Cobb Wrap (with avocado, bacon bits, ranch and lettuce) and Matt had the Waldorf wrap, both of which got two thumbs up. Dan joined us later and tried the Agave Nectar Mustard Salmon Wrap- grilled salmon strips, glazed with an agave nectar and Dijon mustard sauce, grilled pepper strips, and leafy greens on a multi-grain wrap. He was too busy snacking to get a comment, but it looked super yum!
Of course, before we left I had to try some dessert (it's research, people!) and got the Banana Chocolate cheesecake. I'm not a fan of cheesecakes (real or vegan), but I know the girl that they buy the cheesecakes from and I promised her I'd give them a try. I'm so glad I did. The filling was nice and soft, with a mild banana flavor marbled with smooth chocolate on a thick bed of graham cracker crumbs. Kelly, please keep making these delicious cheesecakes. So I can keep putting them in my belly. I also took some slaw for the road, and had a super yummy post-drive snack in Philly. 
I've only got one gripe about eden, and that's their hours. I wish they were open more! They close early most Saturdays and they're closed on Sundays and Mondays, which make it difficult for me to get there during my visits home. And leads me to stay in town longer than planned or beg friends to pick up orders. The slaw is that good! If I still lived in Scranton, I'd eat there everyday, and harass them into selling my treats. (Maura and Christian, I've gotta bring you guys some Casbah cupcakes or some Diddy cookies next time I'm home...)
So go to Eden! What are you waiting for? That trip you've been meaning to take to Scranton to take the "Office" tour? Do it now! And stop in Eden for lunch and you might see the sexy crew above. Or if you work or live downtown or at the University of Scranton, order some takeout and a cute boy who looks suspiciously like Buddy Holly will deliver it to you on his bike (though don't get too excited girls, his lady-friend is way hotter than Mary Tyler Moore). But whatever you do, eat there soon!
344 Adams Ave
Scranton PA 18503
(Become friends with them on facebook too!)


  1. Colleen, fantastic blog! You are awesome.

    for special order cheesecakes email:


  2. Eden is always my #1 choice for lunch when I'm in Scranton!

  3. actually, there are totally vegan places in philly. Horizons is one of them

  4. also, whats in the cup in the photo next to the to go bag? It looks awesome.

    Next time I'm home I'll try to swing by. The cheezecake looks great

  5. Where is Horizons? I don't think I've ever heard of it.

    It's coleslaw in the cup. Their slaw is OUT OF THIS WORLD.