Category Archives: Philly Food Reviews

Philly Restaurant Week: Tequila’s

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Delicious homemade chips and I really enjoyed the charred jalapeños. Matt found them a bit too spicy, but I loved them

It seems as though I have been doing more reviewing of restaurants lately then cooking. I promise that’s only half true but I wanted to share our final restaurant week experience with you! I’ll be back in the kitchen sharing new recipes in no time. Restaurant week will be continuing until February 1st for lunch and dinner and I really encourage you, if you are in the Philly area, to check out what one of many restaurants has to offer! Seriously, it’s one of my favorite things the city participates in because you’re able to try a variety of places and not kill your budget.

Anyhow, as promised Matt and I checked out Tequila’s for lunch for restaurant week. We were able to pick from their restaurant week menu a choice of appetizer, lunch, and dessert all for 20 bucks. It was our first time dining in and I was super impressed with the wait staffs attentiveness. I think that it has a great opportunity to be a lovely place to dine, but unfortunately for lunch they only seat in the bar area and we were the unlucky ones that got seated right by the door. The very, very, very drafty door. I think this really took away from the experience for me. I’m not one that enjoys shivering during a meal. I would definitely give dinner a try and would love to sample a margarita the next time we drop in.

Chicken Taquitos

Chicken Taquitos

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas

The Breakdown:

I ordered the chicken tortilla soup, the chicken enchiladas, and chocolate mousse cake. Matt ordered the chorizo omelet, chicken taquitos, and tres leche cake.

The Review:

Overall, we both enjoyed the authenticity of the dishes we ordered. I think that we have been spoiled with restaurants constantly offering innovative and creative food however. I found the food almost generic in a sense that I could have sampled similar tasting, authentic food at many of the restaurants in our old stopping ground of Indianapolis of all places. I wasn’t blown away by any means, but do think the food tasted good.

Appetizers:  I was quite disappointed in the chicken tortilla soup because it was mostly tortilla strips and nothing else. I literally had two pieces of small chicken in the some what oily broth. Matt however enjoyed the chicken taquitos, they were just okay to me. Perhaps I was too distracted by the cold to appreciate them?

Main Dishes: I ordered the chicken enchiladas and really enjoyed the corn tortillas. The food was severed very hot which I always appreciate. The red sauce was quite tasty and I enjoyed the queso fresco on the beans. Matt had the chorizo omelet which he said was quite good. I’m not a huge fan of omelets so I didn’t snag a bite, but he did say he’d order it again.

Dessert: This was by far the best part of the meal for us. I will be very, very disappointed if they don’t make all their desserts in house. We rarely, if ever order dessert, but since it was included in the price gave it a shot. Look how humongous this piece of cake is! It was so good in fact we ended up devouring the whole thing instead of bring it home as were our original intentions. The tres leche cake was equally as fantastic and has inspired me to start figuring out a recipe because I couldn’t get enough of it.

All in all it was a good experience. No new or innovative flavors that I’ve never tasted but solid authentic cuisine. I would love to check out their dinner menu and dining experience. We’d definitely go back because the food is tasty.

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The show stealer, Chocolate Mousse Cake

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Philly Restaurant Week: Amada

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Restaurant week is a glorious time here in Philadelphia. It gives you an opportunity to sample the finest restaurants the city has to offer at a decent, prefixed price. Lunch starts at 20 dollars per person and dinner at 35 per person. Most include your choice of an appetizer, entree, and dessert. It’s a fantastic way to spend a date night and it’s currently going on here in Philly until February 1st. If you live here or have the chance to visit in the next few days, I’d highly recommend dining at as many places as you can.

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Aged Manchego with Truffled Lavender Honey Cheese Board

We had the opportunity to dine at Amada on Friday night for the first time and it was amazing. Amada serves “authentic Spanish tapas based on the earthy Mediterranean flavors that have long been the passion and expertise of founder and executive chef, Jose Garces – but Chef Garces goes beyond tradition, interpreting centuries-old  tapas recipes.” That’s right, Iron Chef Garces. It was absolutely fantastic. I started off with a cocktail called the Matador that was made with ginger, Bourbon, and elderflower. It was probably one of my favorite cocktails I’ve had in the city.

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Shrimp, Chorizo, Garbanzo Bean Purée Flatbread

The Breakdown

  • For the prefixed menu you were able to select two appetizer sized tapas, a larger entree sized tapas, and a dessert. There were a total of four of us, so we each chose different things to maximize our sampling from the menu. It was a ton of food and we each left more than happy and full. The highlight of the meal for me was the Serrano Ham and Melon. The cantaloupe was perfectly candied and served with a micro green salad on top. It was the show stealer for me. We also enjoyed the Ham Croquettes and the Braised Beef Short ribs flatbread. I apologize that there are not more photos, but food was being served and dishes removed from our table at a rapid pace. For dessert we sampled the Arroz con Leche and the Crema Catalana (Spanish Custard, Pistachio, Pumpkin Semifreddo, and Cranberry).

The Review

  • I was very happy with this dining experience. We all left satiated and happy with our selections. The highlight of the meal, like I pointed out, was the Serrano ham and Cantaloupe as well as the cocktail. We also sampled the Tinto Sangria (Spiced red wine, orange, apple, and cinnamon) that was very delicious. The Arroz con Leche was the only thing that I wouldn’t order again. All of our other tastings were fantastic and I look forward to a return visit soon. 

You still have a few more days to get out and try restaurants! Be sure to take advantage of the great deals if you are in close proximity to the city. We are trying Tequila’s for lunch, I’ll be sure to update you on our dining experience. Enjoy!

Our Favorite Sushi in the City: Doma

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Yum. That’s all I can really say for an introduction. I’ll try harder for you though, because yum isn’t enough to describe how amazing this sushi actually is. We go once a week and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Hi, I’m Meggan and I am a Doma fanatic. They may or may not even know us by name, place our order without talking to us first, and bring us out piping hot edamame. Free edamame I may add because we have turned into that big of regulars. Doma is without our favorite place to dine in the city and though it is a quaint space because we have become such addicts, they always manage to squeeze us into a table with a minimal wait. It can get pretty busy though and I highly recommend making a reservation. Their Tuna Flatbread is to die for. So much in fact, I didn’t even get an opportunity to take a picture. I promise you won’t be disappointed and that it is without a doubt worth every penny.

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This iPhone picture just doesn’t give their rolls justice…

The Breakdown

  • Triple Double Spicy Tuna Roll:  tuna, spicy sauce, siracha, tempura crunch, scallion, seared albacore tuna on top with a  sichimi pepper sweet glaze
  • Naked Salmon: spicy salmon & avocado, over crispy sticky rice, masago and jalapeño slices on top
  • Spicy Tuna Crunch Roll 
Additional Recommendations 
  • Stuffed jalapeño tempura: tuna, cream cheese, scallion, lightly battered topped with eel sauce
  • Tuna Flatbread: tortilla flatbread topped with sliced tuna, fresh guacamole, garnished with jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, sweet glaze and spicy mayo

The Review

We eat here weekly, what more is there to say? It’s amazing! If we caved into our cravings we’d probably eat there more like three times a week…but that would be embarrassing. Another bonus? If you pay in cash, you get 10% of your bill. Enjoy!

Barbuzzo: Center City

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Barbuzzo: Center City

Barbuzzo may be one of my favorite places in the city to get dessert. Their Salted Caramel Budino is quite possibly one of the best desserts I have ever tasted…and it’s only 8 bucks. Fabulous. I will mention it’s accolades–it has won the Best Dessert of Philadelphia a few times and it is worth every single calorie. I would love to create a recipe to try and recreate this at home–but for the first time ever, I’m not even sure where to start. It’s the perfect balance of sweetness, creaminess, and saltiness. I guess I need to get in the kitchen ASAP and try and figure this out. I would love to have a recipe this delicious in my repertoire.

Anyhow, it’s the addition of the salt that really makes this dessert shine. It’s hard to describe just how great it is in its entirety and I’m not certain I can do it justice by just describing it. I think you all need to come to Philadelphia and try it yourself. I’m serious, if you find yourself here just for a day come order it to go—it comes in it’s own adorable mason jar.

The Breakdown:

  • Salted Caramel Budino (Italian word for pudding) with dark chocolate crust, vanilla bean caramel, and sea salt

The Review:

If I haven’t gushed enough about how delicious this dessert is–I’ll say it one more time…it is fantastic. If you do find yourself in the Center City area definitely give it a try and let me know what you think!

Bobby Flay’s Burger Joint: Bobby’s Burger Palace

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Bobby Flay’s Burger Joint: Bobby’s Burger Palace

If you know me…you’d know I am more than obsessed with all things Bobby Flay. I adore his recipes and absolutely love his food. I had the pleasure and privilege to dine at his restaurant Mesa Grill while vacationing in the Bahamas in 2010. Though it was a bit pricey–the food was fantastic and I am eagerly waiting to visit again. I was sadly disappointed to learn that he was actually at Mesa the week before we traveled to the Bahamas! Bummer.

Philadelphia does have a piece of Bobby Flay though! Which regularly satisfies my cravings for delicious food. Bobby’s Burger Palace (BBP) is amazing and much more affordable than Mesa. Matt and I can usually get out of there spending less than $20 bucks. I’ve seemed to have developed a regular order in the Santa Fe burger. The great thing about BBP is you can order any burger with beef, turkey, or a chicken breast. Since I’m not huge beef fan, it’s awesome that I can actually eat at a burger place too! If you do visit–try the Pistachio milk shake, it’s worth every single calorie.

The scene is also really cool–it essentially channels all things great about those old 50s diners but with a much more updated and modern look. The wait staff has always been pleasant and attentive.

The Breakdown:

  • Santa Fe Turkey Burger: well seasoned turkey burger, topped with jalepenos, blue corn tortillas, and queso cheese on a sesame seed bun. Served with a humongous pickle.

The Review:

I have never had a bad experience at BPP. I am always happily satisfied and never leave hungry. I rarely clean my plate–but I won’t lie to you all that I do every single time. Every. Single. Time. It’s so good and I highly recommend it if you are visiting in the area or just haven’t had a chance to check it out yet!

El Camino Real–Northern Liberties

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El Camino Real–Northern Liberties

So we finally made it to the grocery store!

But before we made it– we were both feeling a little grumpy from the lack of breakfast, so we decided to stop for brunch. We were looking for a restaurant close to the grocery store…but we were a little at a loss since we decided to shop at an atypical spot. We parked the car and decided to just walk the main strip in Northern Liberties by the Piazza. We actually ended up stopping at the restaurant we first walked past, El Camino Real, because the smell of BBQ was overwhelming fantastic.

We entered the restaurant and to be quite honest felt a bit awkward because neither of the hostesses acknowledged us. We kind of stood there making uncomfortable eye contact until the hostess finally decided to seat us. I was pleasantly surprised by the brunch menu as there were a lot of options–and a lot of options that included BBQ. Our waitress was sweet and our food came out promptly. Matt decided on the Chicken and Biscuits and I went for the Brisket hash.

The Breakdown

  • Chicken & Biscuits: Fried chicken tenders on biscuits smothered in sausage gravy. Served with a side salad.
  • Brisket Hash: Fried potatoes, various peppers, corn, and onions–topped with an egg of your choice, I chose egg whites only. Served with a side of Texas toast.
Review
Matt was pretty happy with his dish–I though that the gravy was bland and needed a heaping addition of fresh cracked black pepper. This chicken was good–but most likely straight from the freezer to the fryer. The biscuits were a little dense but pretty good flavor over all. He didn’t touch the salad at all because it was drenched in dressing. He gave it about a 2.5 out of 5, with 5 being the best thing he’s ever ate.
My dish was good but was in a DESPERATE need of some sort of sauce to bring it all together. The brisket was tender but with the fried potato combination, it all read as a bit dry. I had to add hot sauce to actually cut some of the dryness–which isn’t like me at all. All in all it was just okay for me…maybe a 2 out of 5. I’m not sure I’d do brunch there again but the scene was cool enough for me to check it out again for a weekend night dinner.