A Morning at P.S. & Co. in Philadelphia

My diet has drastically changed over the years. Living in Southern California, I admit that I certainly can take things for granted. Organic this, cold-pressed that. During my short time in Philadelphia, there was no lack of excellent food. I even found a Whole Foods that made me feel at “home.” Yet cafes touting organic, gluten-free, vegan, and kosher? There may be a dime a dozen in SoCal but one of the few places able to provide all of that in one stop is the incredible P.S. & Co.

P.S. & Co. is short for Pure Sweets and Company. They’re located in the affluent Rittenhouse district. Think Philadelphia’s version of New York’s Upper West Side. The streets are tree-lined with cozy cafes and boutiques with locals walking their dogs. As soon as I arrived, I knew it was my kind of place to daydream and stroll. And devour a healthy slice of cake. Literally.

It was humorous to be standing in line with folks in Expo East badges. The Natural Health Products Conference Haven was in town and I’ve covered their Expo West a few times. P.S. & Co definitely speak “our” language.

P.S. & Co. in Philadelphia

Beginning at eight am, the cafe is grab-and-go. There’s a slew of fresh juices, smoothies, coffees, teas, and pastries. Once the clock strikes 10 am, tables and chairs are available for dine-in service with a mouth-watering breakfast and lunch menu. The menu made my eyes widen as it’s four pages long. Everything is vegan, gluten-free, organic, and kosher. So, nothing was off-limits for me.

“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t eating organic.” P.S. & Co’s ambitious Proprietor, Andrea Kyan, tells me over our email chat. “I’ve been a vegan since 2007, and a vegetarian since 1992. I became vegan after visiting an organic dairy farm and learning the animals there were treated just the same as non-organic-fed cows and chickens. Once I saw with my own eyes how dairy and eggs were produced from suffering animals, it didn’t make sense for me to stay vegetarian if I was doing so for the welfare of animals.”

Since her life partner is gluten-sensitive, this makes Andrea 95 percent gluten-free herself and committed to providing the best foods she can for those also following or interested in a gluten-free lifestyle. I was surprised to learn many in Philadelphia don’t just pop in since everything is fresh, healthy, and incredibly good. “Most of our guests are gluten, dairy, and egg-free. They are staying away from ingredients for health reasons or have food intolerances. I wish more people would come to us because it’s delicious, but Philadelphia is a tough crowd.”

Arriving to P.S. & Co. (c) Mary Farah
Warm and cozy cafe. (c) Mary Farah
The Yerba Mate Latte. (c) Mary Farah
Porridge bowl. (c) Mary Farah

Enjoying Breakfast

I knew I wanted a warm drink with the stormy weather outside. Usually, I’d zero in on a green juice but the yerba mate latte called me. It sealed the deal that my server, Molly, made the nook’s recipe. I sipped and savored my cup. No joke, I’ve been attempting to recreate it at home. Results? I’m getting there but have nothing on Molly.

For breakfast, I decided on their protein-packed amaranth porridge. The portion was huge which made for a dilemma since I planned to order cake and cookies on my way out. The bowl, with its spices and berries, reminded me of being a kid on Christmas morning. It was such a comforting way to start my day. Did I mention it was an ample bowl?

Have Your Cake and Eat it, Too

Getting back to their cakes, I decided to get a slice of their vanilla blueberry. I truly have never felt like eating a piece of cake was healthy. Leave it to P.S. & Co. to make it happen. “My strategy was to make the healthiest desserts and prove to everyone that healthier tastes better,” explains Andrea. “(We make our) cakes with organic almond flour, freshly ground organic oat flour, organic olive oil, organic maple or coconut sugars, and more. The creams are a base of organic coconut meat, organic cashews, and organic maple syrups. The buttercreams are (a blend of) organic cane and powdered sugars, and Miyoko’s butter.”

She continues, “I believe if you start with amazing ingredients the final product will show the fruits of your labor. Too often, vegan and gluten-free desserts lack depth of flavor, are overly sweet with cheap sugars, and taste dry or texturally off. I think it’s because they’re using not the best ingredients. Their clientele (is) probably used to eating that way and would rather pay for a less expensive product.”

They’re also famous for their chocolate chip tahini butter cookies. Made fresh daily. Just saying.

P.S. & Co. is open daily with a mix of hours. On the weekends, they do brunch as well as prix-fixe dinners on select Saturdays. I cannot recommend visiting them enough no matter what one’s dietary preferences are. It’s just great food. Learn more and see their menus HERE.