Will You Survive in Wilkes-Barre?

wilkes barre vegan chao lizard

As some of my readers already know, I love getting away to small towns in the middle of nowhere. This time around, I picked Wilkes-Barre, PA, a sleepy little town right next to Scranton (Office fans, yes, THAT Scranton).

Of course, I always take a look before I book at the vegan scene. There were several vegan-friendly joints around, but definitely not enough to go past a weekend (we were already running out of options by the last day!).

We also discovered a few places as we drove to Wilkes-Barre. I will indicate where each place is in this case!

(PS: the featured image is of an adorable lizard I saw in CDE Exotics!)

Loving Hut – 538 NJ-10 Roxbury Township, NJ 07852

We had to stop for dinner before getting to Wilkes-Barre an hour out and luckily, this Loving Hut location was right on the way.

Like your typical Loving Hut, there was a large TV screen with cultish company-produced brainwashy type content being played, which we found mildly entertaining as we ate. I honestly don’t mind because they have excellent food.

Roasted vegan prawns ($12.95): 4/5

We really enjoyed these deep-fried and breaded vegan prawns, which kind of reminded me of the veggie panko-crusted chicken nuggets we love at Vegetarian Palate back home in BK.

The prawns were paired with a sauté of bell peppers, chives and onions, which I enjoyed along with the freshly steamed white rice.

wilkes barre vegan chao
This savory rice dish was our favorite item we ordered!

Singapore noodle ($12.95): 3/5

For some reason I felt these noodles were either cooked too long or had too much sauce, or both. I didn’t love this dish much and kind of regretted taking the waitress’ rec, so next time I will just be following my own stomach!

loving hut nj vegan chao
A bit too salty and gummy-tasting for me.

Bubble tea ($4.95): 5/5

We loved their bubble tea (not pictured because we used our Stogo cup) and had their passionfruit and peach flavors, which were both stellar. It is very milky with more of a “fruity milk” taste rather than a strong tea taste. The bubbles were also cooked perfectly with the correct chewy-soft consistency.

Eden-a-vegan cafe

One of only two truly vegan spot in town is thankfully an excellent spot to get grub (the other one, Umami Gorilla, has very spare opening hours and we unfortunately weren’t able to make it within their timetable.

Steak and cheese hoagie – 4/5

wilkes barre vegan chao eden vegan cafe
Not a great pic, but the sandwich was very tasty!

Very cheesy and satisfying, this hoagie is basically a bodega classic, veganized. I did wish that the hoagie roll was less paper-like/thin. The steak was a nice texture, soft and chewy and the cheese was ample and melty.

Chili – 5/5

We loved the smokey/sweet flavor of their chili, which came as an accompaniment to the hoagie for an extra $2.99 (you can also buy it alone for $4.25 and they probably give you a bigger bowl, but I liked the small half-cup portion I got as the side). Definitely worth trying!

Soup – 4/5

I also decided to get a $2.99 side cup of soup, which was a mix of kale and carrots in a light veggie broth. It was filling and healthy tasting, read: nothing amazing, but it did its job.

Peculiar Kitchen – 307 Penn Ave, Scranton, PA

I found this trendy joint not by using the vegan filter on google maps (which is what I usually do) or HappyCow, but by looking for “ramen” on maps. Lo and behold, I was able to find veg-friendly ramen and a rice bowl!

Salt & Vinegar Yucca fries – 4/5

These fries were divine, with the taste being just a little bit sour from the vinegar. I loved the flavor combo, though I did think it was a tad too salty. I dipped it in their house-made kasundi ketchup (the first time I had heard of it!) as well as sriracha and it made for a delightful flavor explosion.

The fries were also a perfect consistency, being nice and soft on the inside and crispy crunchy on the outside.

scranton vegan chao peculiar kitchen
These yucca fries were perfectly crisp and salty.

Ramen – 4.5/5

It was quite chilly during our stay in PA and this veggie-packed bowl of ramen was much needed. I loved the heartiness of the broth and the selection of veggies (Roasted 3rd Kingdom Mushrooms, black garlic dried shiitake dashi, pickled red onion, roasted corn & edamame, radish) and the unique taste of black garlic, which I don’t usually eat.

scranton vegan chao peculiar kitchen
Shockingly, this ramen was quite tasty!

Prime reserve pork katsu, veganized – 2/5

Since I don’t like me and my dining buddy to be ordering the same thing (esp when they’re my husband and I share!), I asked the waitress what else on the menu would work as a vegan dish and she suggested the pork katsu dish, except with tofu as a sub.

This was way inferior to the ramen, which had a balanced flavor profile. The katsu was extremely salty and spicy and the rice was a bit dry. I would not recommend this dish, though the one good thing was that the portion size was good for the price (three pieces of tofu though was too paltry for me).

scranton vegan chao peculiar kitchen
They need to work on the salt and spice levels of this dish.

Angelo’s Pizza – 4/5

You know a place is excellent when their phone line is constantly busy… that or they refuse to have online ordering (honestly for the better considering how much commission those websites take!).

We waited a good 20-25m for our pie to arrive at our table, but it was totally worth it. They use a ton of daiya and the toppings were pretty basic — they did use canned mushrooms which I wasn’t too happy about, but for $24 for the large pie, I’m not complaining too much.

We also got the “thick crust” option which was just a bit thicker than normal (not Chicago deep dish thick) and unfortunately didn’t read the reviews in time to get their legendary “sweet sauce,” but it was still a delicious pie. The crust was the best part of the pizza, at once soft and fluffy but also crispy on the bottom.

Try finding a large pie in NYC for $20, I dare ya!

Little Angels Cafe – 901 Main St, Stroudsburg, PA

Finding this adorable little cafe was like finding a cozy little vegan-friendly hole-in-the-wall. We were starving on our way back to NYC and this meal was truly a lifesaver. I found this little gem via HappyCow (most restaurants with vegan options weren’t open before noon so their “open now” filter feature was truly useful).

Though their breakfast buffet that was laid out wasn’t vegan, there were ample options to choose from. The waitress kindly let us customize our plates and even offered us some off-menu veg scrambled eggs!

Breakfast platter: 3.5/5

Your basic American breakfast, veganized. I loved the vegan egg (I think it was just egg but didn’t confirm) but the portion was pretty tiny (only about a half cup of egg!) so I took off some points. The hash brown and toast were perfectly crispy. Can’t complain too much for a platter that was only $9!

wilkes barre vegan chao little angels cafe
This off-menu plate had veg eggs, a hash brown and vegan buttered toast slices.

Chik’n nuggets and fries: 3.5/5

Pretty basic, this still hit the spot: perfectly crispy fries and some gardein-like nuggets served in a classic diner basket.

stroudsburg vegan chao little angels cafe
A nice, healthy basket of fried goodness.

Vegan Nachos: 4.5/5

stroudsburg vegan chao little angels cafe
Nacho average breakfast ;)

Um, yum! Not only were these nachos lip-smackingly delish, but the chips were made FRESH IN-HOUSE. They were addictive and went perfectly with the cool smoothness of the vegan sour cream. The lettuce and chili salsa were also so tasty and crisp. The only thing I would say is that the cheese should have been melted.

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