Monday, August 3, 2015

36 Hours in Philly: Summertime Eats

A couple of weekends ago, I met up with H in Philadelphia. We stayed with my cousin and her husband and we ate a ton of delicious food and did a lot of fun stuff. You can scroll down for the food or click over to my travel blog for the fun stuff. The food in Philly really impressed me. I ate so many amazing dishes that I am determined to recreate at home.
It was a sweltering hot weekend but we thanked the universe that it didn't rain. We just made the most of it and ate al fresco whenever we could.

PHS Pop Up Garden
If you're looking for a Pinterest and Instagram gold mine, head to one of the PHS pop up gardens. We hit up the South Street location and it was a gorgeous little oasis nestled between the concrete, brick, and metal of the city.

There's a healthy selection of beer and food available from popular food trucks and tons of seating. If you're lucky enough to score one of the alcoves, then congratulations and have a great time. We ended up sitting on a vintage-looking bed frame.
I tried a pint of the blueberry wheat to start and then had a coconut chocolate porter. I thoroughly enjoyed both.
Because drinking on an empty stomach always ends badly, we went and got ourselves a little sustenance from Dietz & Watson: a German style dog, candied bacon, pretzels & dip, and parmesan fries with Sriracha aioli.
We were all mesmerized by the gorgeous pink flowers, fairy light-laden pergolas, and the happy crowds sipping beer.
Vic Sushi Bar
The snack food wasn't enough so after the beer garden, we headed to Vic's for their crazy affordable sushi. There's a deal where you can order 3 rolls (8 pieces each) for $11. The sushi is super fresh and the rolls are really well made. We each made an order and then took our haul to Rittenhouse and enjoyed our raw fish al fresco.

Since the sushi bar itself is tiny (with enough seating for maybe eight people total), its proximity to Rittenhouse is awesome and I highly suggest taking your fare to go, weather permitting.
 Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co.
After sushi, we thought we needed a little more liquoring up because we were celebrating the occasion of "Friday" so we headed to Franklin Mortgage. The main bar (downstairs) was full so we headed to the 'Upstairs Bar.' It was an incredibly hipster establishment with quirky decor. The leather booths did seem to scream, "investment banker!" but the crowd was mostly yuppies.

I started with the 'fever bay' cocktail and then once the happy hour specials started, I got the campari and Pils tall boy beer. The beer and shot pairings were actually really awesome because they were super purposeful. The shot and beer complemented each other perfectly.

Prices here seemed cheap to me, but that's also because I've spent the bulk of my legal drinking years imbibing in New York City where a bottle of Coors costs $12. Anyway, the fancy cocktails are $10 each and the happy hour specials were all $7 or under.
1 Tippling Place
After Franklin, we wanted to go to the Ranstead Room but there was a wait. We stuck around for a few minutes but got too bored so then we headed to Tippling. It's a swanky looking bar with an upscale crowd. I got the Hemmingway Daiquiri (I don't know if the double 'm' was a typo but that's what the menu called it). My cocktail was sweet and tart and delicious.

This is definitely a spot to hit up if you're looking to feel a little fancy schmancy. The prices are a bit steeper, with cocktail prices between $12 and $15, but I think you're also paying for the ambiance.

And Tipping was where we ended our Friday night shenanigans. We decided we were tired and had enough so we hopped in an Uber (my promo share code is f3aoa if you're interested in saving $20) and headed home for the night.
Green Eggs Cafe
For brunch the next morning, we headed to the Green Eggs Cafe (which was right around the corner from the house) with our rumbling bellies. S and H both ordered the creole shrimp & grits, which were so delicious, it was almost scary. The grits were really creamy and cheesy and I need to learn to make grits like these.

E had the lox eggs benedict. Crisp toast was slathered in cream cheese, topped with smoky lox, a thick slice of tomato, and topped with perfectly poached eggs and then blanketed in creamy hollandaise. The thick slice of tomato really made these for me. It added a freshness and a juiciness to offset the saltiness of the lox and the crunchy fried capers added a great texture.
I had the short rib benedict. The short ribs were so tender and impressive and went really well with the unctuous egg yolks and spicy horseradish hollandaise. I also really loved the cheddar potato pancake on the bottom. It was a fun alternative to bread. The most impressive part though, was the humongous portion of short rib. I couldn't even finish it and we took most of it in a doggy bag to go.
Dizengoff
After brunch, H and I split off on our own and rode around the city on bikes. It was really hot (90F but felt like 100F with the humidity) so despite our strenuous morning of pedaling, we didn't really work up an appetite. But, after an hour or so of shopping on Walnut, we decided we needed some libations so we went in search of a wine bar. On our way to Tria, we remembered that Dizengoff was close by so we popped in to try in the infamous hummus instead. I know that hummus isn't exactly a substitute for wine, but that's kind of what the heat does to brains.

We went for the chicken bowl, which was super tender and flavorful but the star was definitely the hummus. It made me understand the hype. I also fell in love with the harif. The girl working at the counter described the harif as a spicy condiment made with burnt onion, lemon, ancho chiles, and spices. It was delicious and it's another thing I need to add to my list of things to try and recreate at home. The hummus itself was super creamy and so delicious. It didn't have any of that weird acidity that store bought hummus has. Instead, it was smooth and nutty and we wondered if they used dried chickpeas (instead of canned). I'm going to have to give it a go.

To assemble, we tore off pieces of pita, slathered them with hummus, piled them with chicken and cucumber salad, sprinkled on some harif, and then shoved it into our greedy mouths. H and I both agreed that if we worked anywhere in the vicinity, we'd definitely be here for lunch (daily).
And although they weren't serving wine, we were more than happy to settle for a couple of shandies. Ice cold beer and frozen lemonade combo? Yes, please.
Llama Tooth
H and I biked back to the house after our hummus and shandies, showered, indulged in a movie on Netflix, and then met up with E and S at Llama Tooth. I found this place through Thrillist on their list of best outdoor eating areas and it did not disappoint. There are several umbrella-covered tables snuggled between two huge and colorful murals and plenty of fairy lights zigzagged between them.
Because the sun was starting to set, it was much cooler but we were still in need of chilled beverages. I went for the white sangria, which was fruity and fresh.
There were so many awesome looking things on the menu that we decided to do a makeshift tapas-style meal and ordered several dishes to share. The fondue for two (which ended up being a fondue for four) was really good. The cheese sauce was studded with giant pieces of bacon and I felt like I could just drink a gallon of the stuff.
We also got three different mac and cheeses and each was made with orecchiette pasta, which was a first for me. The first to arrive was the buffalo mac which had a hot sauce flavored cheese sauce and crispy breadcrumbs to mimic the texture of crispy chicken skin. It was really delicious and I can't wait to recreate this at home.
We also got the barbecue pulled pork mac, which was flavored with a sweet barbecue sauce. There were also several bites of pulled pork stirred into the pasta.
My favorite was the mushroom truffle mac. It was fragrant with the scent of truffles and the crunchy panko topping contrasted with the soft pasta and the delicate mushroom pieces was really nice.
While waiting for the second round of food, I took a venture inside to take a look at the llama-themed art. This restaurant is so fun and delicious, I highly recommend it. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the main reason we added this to our itinerary is because H loves llamas. She was a big fan of this place.
For round two, we got a beet salad, potato fries, and pickle fries. Oh, and because we were curious, we got an order of kimchi.

The beet salad was great. The sweet beets contrasted nicely with the bitter and spicy greens and the sharp goat cheese.
The kimchi was pretty spicy and surprisingly good.
The pickle fries were a bit salty for my taste, but still delicious. The breading was light and crisp and went well with the creamy dipping sauce.
The seasoned fries were crisp and golden. There wasn't anything particularly special about them, but they were good and they hit the spot.
La Colombe
I'm not a big coffee drinker but I can agree that La Colombe makes a mean cup o' joe. On our final morning in the city, we decided to venture up to City Hall because H wanted to get a selfie with the Love sculpture. To get an energetic start to the day, H and I each got ourselves a cup of iced coffee. I flavored mine with some simple syrup and a good glug of almond milk and I was a happy girl.
Noord
H lived in the Netherlands for two years and is a self-professed Dutchophile. So, whenever she can, she hits up Dutch eateries. So for brunch, we went to Noord where the chef is of Dutch descent and the menu is full of authentic Dutch dishes.
H got a Hollander mary with pickled herring. She let me have a sip and it was so good. With a hint of Worcestershire, a good punch of fennel seed, and a little spice, it was a refreshingly sharp brunch cocktail.

For her entree, H got the blue crab omelet. The eggs were super fluffy and crammed with crab meat. The crispy potatoes were drizzled with whole grain mustard and mayo and I've decided that's how I want to make my potatoes from now on, even though I'm not even a fan of mayo.
For my meal, I went with the chicken and mushroom kroket. The kroket was super crispy with a delicious creamy and potato-y interior. The salad was a delicious accompaniment and the pickled vegetables stole the show. The yellow heirloom tomato wedge had been pickled with basil and it really blew me away. I'm going to try and make these too. I have a lot of recipe developing on my to do list.
For dessert, we shared the stroopwafels. Crispy wafer-like cookies with caramel isn't something I turn down when it's offered to me.
Capogiro Gelato
After brunch, H and I met up with E and S at Capogiro. There are several amazing flavors of gelato and I went for the honey gelato. Seriously the best gelato flavor I've ever had! It was floral and sweet and creamy and the distinct flavor of honey made me feel like I was chugging from my favorite bear-shaped bottle.
Green Aisle Grocery
Before heading home, we stopped by the Green Aisle Grocery to browse their curated stock. It's an awesome store for foodies and really adorable.
We had a crazy delicious weekend and I can't wait to do this again.

xoxo.

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