Co-owner Sofia Baltopoulos
Photos by Tina Garceau
Blessed with a fervent affinity for feeding folks, especially through her involvement in the music industry, a vocation whose success includes her conducting catering for the Warped Tour, Kate Hiltz loves to look for opportunities to experiment with foods, ultimately desiring to deepen her recipients’ regard for incredibly healthy options. Deeming Philadelphia “a mecca for vegetarians and vegans,” she gladly commutes from Asbury Park, N.J., to prepare offerings at The Tasty, 1401 S. 12th St.
“This is such a great part of the city through which to have these sorts of health-conscious foods,” the 43-year-old said from the nearly three-month-old space that she owns with South Philadelphians Sofia Baltopoulos and Ben Pierce. “There’s enthusiasm for the type of approach that we have to ethical eating, so it’s fun to address what we can do to better lives through nutrition.”
The Garden State inhabitant and her peers have already come to count regulars at the Passyunk Square site, joining local establishments such as Miss Rachel’s Pantry, 1938 S. Chadwick St., in promoting selections heavy on providing nutrients and devoid of inspiring regrets. Having maintained a vegetarian lifestyle for 31 years and a vegan way of life for a decade, Hiltz has gone from being “a picky eater” with some awareness of her choices’ immediate rewards to a committed commentator on the joys of making adjustments to one’s diet and comprehension of longevity through proper intake.
“People can and definitely should eat what they want, and if they want to see what gains they can make from stopping here, we’ll be thrilled to serve them,” she said of what the location’s Facebook page dubs “a vegetarian dinerette and coffee shop.” “We’re a total breakfast and lunch joint, so having that open niche appeals to us in so many ways.”
True to her penchant for touting tunes, Hiltz suggested the name for the business, paying homage to her favorite guitar, a 1979 Gibson Les Paul Custom, in doing so. Thanks to a steady stream of customers, she and her contemporaries have had their wares acknowledged as tasty quite often, with the triumvirate electing to share the recipe for its Tempeh BLT with Kale Salad.
“It’s one of our most popular lunches,” Hiltz spoke of the item. “Everybody knows how in-demand kale has become, too, so this is something that I think people will have fun trying to make. It’s definitely in line with my thinking that it’s better to get vitamins and minerals from food than from supplements.”
8 slices of your preferred bread
1 package of soy tempeh
1 small head of romaine lettuce
1 small container of Just Mayo
1 bunch of green kale
1 ripe avocado
Canola or vegetable oil
Black pepper, sea salt, olive oil
Bring a six- to eight-quart pot of water to a boil, and boil the tempeh block for 15 minutes, draining when done. While that cools, prepare the marinade by whisking in a medium mixing bowl 1/4 cup of canola oil, four tablespoons of tamari, one teaspoon of liquid smoke, 1 tablespoon of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper.
Slice the tempeh widthwise into 16 pieces, approximately 1/4-inch thick, and lay out on a baking sheet. Coat in the marinade. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees, turning once and re-distributing the marinade after 10 minutes.
Toast the bread slices, and lay out for easy assembly. Spread the mayo on each slice, and divide the lettuce into four piles that are the shape of the bread and three to four layers thick. Slice the tomatoes, and use 2–1/2 slices per sandwich. Use four slices of tempeh per sandwich.
Wash the kale, remove the biggest ribs, and use your hands to tear the greens into one-inch pieces. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, one teaspoon of sea salt, and two tablespoons of nutritional yeast, and use tongs to coat thoroughly and mix into the greens. Roughly chop the remainder of the tomatoes, and distribute evenly. Dice the avocado, and use 1/4 of the result per salad. ■
Owners: Sofia Baltopoulos, Kate Hiltz, and Ben Pierce
Opened: May 21
1401 S. 12th St. 267–457–5670
Photos by Tina Garceau