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The political buzzword Philadelphia did not expect to be in the discourse this week: crudité.
Yes — we do mean the vegetable platter that’s a mainstay of family reunion barbecues, office holiday parties, and Super Bowl viewings everywhere.
Why? Because Mehmet Oz, the Republican nominee for Pennsylvania’s soon-to-be vacant Senate seat, has seemingly never shopped for vegetables at a grocery store before. In a since-deleted video first posted to Twitter in April that went viral this week, the wealthy-person-turned-political-hopeful is filmed shopping for the most bemusing veggie tray Billy Penn has ever seen — at a Pennsylvania supermarket that does not exist.
What’s on it? A head of broccoli, a scattering of asparagus stalks, enough carrots to make 10 carrot cakes, guacamole, and — inexplicably — salsa, which we are to believe is a favorite of Oz’s wife, Lisa. Not included is tequila, which is apparently a requirement for any good crudité.
The point of this video is to bemoan how expensive it is to make a good crudité (twenty whole dollars for an appetizer no one asked for!). But as the Washington Post points out, the price of those eclectic ingredients is going down. Even Oz’s beloved salsa is a whole dollar cheaper than it was in April 2021.
The easily meme-able video had the entire internet dunking on Oz, from the state’s commercial food workers union UCFW Local 1776 to the original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter. Of course Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman got into the action, and already has a sticker commemorating the gaffe.
Still, we have plenty of questions: Isn’t crudité just a veggie tray? How many (and what types of) vegetables constitute a crudité? Is it different than a mezze platter? Should I be eating it with salsa? And, most importantly, where can I find some in Philly?
We’ve rounded up a short list of Philly’s top veggie platters — tequila optional.
3636 Sansom St. (University City)
The revamped version of Steven Starr’s beloved Pan Asian sushi spot offers a delectably colorful take on the standard veggie platter with a mix of watermelon radish, red pepper, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, and cucumber. There’s also two dressing options: sesame ranch for the crudité purists, and sunflower seed chili paste for spice enthusiasts.
Tequila?: No shots to go around, but you can order the Thank You Peary Much, a fruity tequila cocktail with Asian pear, celery, and a salted pear chip garnish.
210 W. Rittenhouse Square (Rittenhouse)
The high-end French restaurant in the Rittenhouse Hotel just resumed dinner service in the spring, which means you can order the crudités de légumes du jardin (French for “raw vegetables”) alongside a spread of other pretty-sounding vegetable sides, like eggplants with elderflower and roasted lettuce coated in brown butter.
Tequila?: Inside Lacroix is the swanky Bar 210, where you can most definitely order a shot of ~ top shelf ~ tequila.
220 S. 17th St. (Rittenhouse)
Another hotel restaurant, this acclaimed Mediterranean spot from semi-TV celeb chef Jen Carroll (she was a finalist on “Top Chef”) offers a Turkish-inspired take on the veggie tray, complete with two types of hummish, garlic yogurt, and punchy berbere crisps to nosh on.
Tequila?: A lot of it. Spice Finch offers 17 tequila and mezcal options, from Espolon’s Anejo variety that was finished in bourbon barrels to the illustrious Don Julio 1942.
1800 N. American St. (Kensington)
The more upscale sister restaurant to Washington Avenue’s homey BYOB Cafe Ynez, Sor Ynez serves up a Mayan-slash-mediterranean crudité interpretation in the shadows of the Neon Museum. Order the Sikil Pak, a mayan pumpkin seed hummus topped with pomegranate and crudité and house chips for dipping.
Tequila?: Sor Ynez has two tequila cocktails: The Frida, where the alcohol is infused with charred-corn, and The Cucumber Jawn, which name drops 1800 Blanco and tastes like summer.
1040 N. 2nd St. (Northern Liberties)
Admittedly, calling this a crudité is a bit of stretch, but in a world where asparagus makes the cut, anything goes. Apricot Stone specializes in a delightful mish mosh of Mediterranean and Syrian dishes, so their “crudité is a chose your own adventure of three dips and salads plus fresh veggie strips. Our recommendations: The Muhamara, a red pepper dip with walnuts and molasses, and the Iman Bayaldi, or tomatoes, peppers, and onions served in a baked eggplant.
Price: $10 for the 3 dips, plus $4 for the fresh veggie strips
Tequila?: Technically, no. This place is a BYOB, so the tequila is on you.