Carmen's Pizza? Never heard of it? Well I don’t know if I ever would have either if I didn't work close by. I searched on HappyCow when I first started work just to see what was around in case I ever forgot my lunch. When I stumbled upon their menu a few months back they did have many vegan options like cheese steaks/tomato pies, ect. which all sounded great. Since Lauren isn't a fan of tomato sauce, I contacted the owner and asked if the spiced garlic loaf was vegan for something we could both enjoy. He replied back that they indeed were and also informed me later that week that they were trying to source DAIYA cheese… I had never had this mystical Daiya cheese yet, but had heard so many great things. Prior to this, Carmen's used a soy cheese that contained casein due to its melting characteristics. The website had implied that the they wanted to switch to a vegan cheese but did not want to compromise on taste/quality/melty-goodness.
When I got word that they were now using Diaya cheese on their pizzas/strombolis/cheese steaks/ect. I knew it was time to check it out! As luck had it we had some flooding rain one day in which I rode in that morning but it got a bit nuts later on. Luckily Lauren being as nice as she is came all the way down and picked me up. I was chomping at the bit and asked if we could order some food and pick it up. She looked over the menu and I ordered a large pizza with the gourmet pan pizza crust and a spiced garlic loaf. I was tempted to go with the whole wheat pizza crust (which is certified organic), but I wanted the "all out" pizza experience.
We picked up the pizza and on the way back to the car we were already digging into the spiced garlic loaf... I was impressed. It was topped with garlic and cracked pepper cloves which gave it a nice heat and came with marinara, which I was a big fan of. I didn’t hit the pizza until we got home and got my first taste of this Daiya I've been hearing so much about. The pizza was light, the gravy sweet, and the Daiya was very gooey and stuck to your mouth just like I remembered cheese to be. I added the usual toppings, red pepper flakes, granulated garlic powder, oregano, and nutritional yeast to the rest of my pizza after inhaling the first piece.
Before we dominated the garlic loaf.
I could be mistaken but I believe this is the only pizza place around Philadelphia that carries Daiya. I know Whole Foods sometimes has it on their pre-made pizza/stromboli but I'm not counting that as a pizza establishment. Overall I was very pleased and can't wait to get back to try both the stromboli and cheese steaks as well as the whole wheat and thin crust pizzas.
They have a very informative website with ingredient lists and a special note to vegans as well! There aren't many places out there that will go out of there way to make life easy for us vegans let alone who go up and above in order to track down vegan cheese. For this alone I will be a loyal customer and now need to figure out the best way to transport a pizza back to the city on my bicycle... So if your every heading down I-95 near Ridley Park, make sure to stop and check out Carmen's Pizza out, you won't be disappointed!
And the pan pizza topped with Daiya.