Scarpetta Comes to Philadelphia

As you stroll out of the picturesque Rittenhouse Square and through the revolving doors of Scarpetta, the ultra-modern Italian restaurant and bar that recently opened in The Rittenhouse, the feeling is almost instantaneous.

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.

From the warm and sexy lighting to the bumping bass, the bustling staff and the attentive hostesses, Scarpetta feels like you’ve been transported to a hip Manhattan joint. Everyone we saw, from dates to businessmen, girls groups and buddies, was dressed to impress. The wine flowed like water and the bread baskets flowed like slightly-doughier water.  Scarpetta is a place to see and be seen, a place to bring your boss, a place to show-off to your parents, and a place to woo. I’ve gotta confess:

I loved it.

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So sleek. So sexy.

But I’ll also admit, if you wanna hear about the scene, the square footage, Uwishunu and Foobooz have done a much better job than I ever could.

I’m here to tell you, instead, about one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever eaten.

Remember that bread basket I mentioned? Yeah, that bad boy is filled with some flawless, airy and crunchy foccaccia AND house-made stromboli.

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Heaven in a basket

Served alongside mascarpone butter, citrus infused olive oil, and an eggplant spread that wouldn’t quit, we definitely had them refill this basket (….twice).

Scarpetta’s menu is divided into four parts.

  • Crudo (raw!)
  • Primi Piatti
  • Pasta
  • Proteins (including fish, meat, and poultry)

The folks at Scarpetta were generous enough to give my date and I a little bit of everything, and I’d definitely recommend going that route if you have the opportunity.

The options for the crudo were honestly the biggest challenge we had as every dish looked better than the last. In the end, we had three of four options (don’t worry tuna, we’ll be back for you!)

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Scarpetta manages to elevate each dish in a way that not only let’s the quality of the fish shine but accentuates the natural flavor with expertly chosen garnishes. Our favorite was the  scallops. The pea and aleppo purée brought a zip to the smoothness of the scallop flavor I’d never experienced before.

The primi piatti that spoke to my date and I was something we’d tried at their preview party: Braised short ribs of beef with vegetable & farro risotto.

As expected, it didn’t disappoint. It merely melted in our mouths.

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Up next: the pasta!

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Scarpetta’s signature dish is their spaghetti, a flawless example of the classic dish. But I suggest you get at least one more pasta dish: the duck & foie gras ravioli. Velvety, rich, and drizzled with a marsala reduction, this is easily the most delicious pasta I’ve ever tasted. Each pocket was stuffed with a perfect blend of tender duck and creamy foie gras.

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Dry-aged ribeye, featuring trumpet mushroom, cipollini onion, fingerling potato & truffled spinach. Our “Carne” choice, cooked medium rare and served pink and juicy.

Full to the brim, I assumed we were done.

I assumed wrong.

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I’m so sorry that these photos don’t do the food an ounce of justice. I’m sorry I didn’t feel comfortable enough to bring my bulky DSLR to a gorgeous resto.

I’m also sorry I don’t have a vat of “unknown crunchy bits” to pour over all future desserts.

Scarpetta is a place to be spoiled, and to spoil someone. It’s a place I could easily write a thousand words about, but I’ll let these photos try and make up for about 400 of them.

Just go. Eat here. Be happy.

 

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DIY Juicing on a Budget

In the fall, the term “basic” is tossed around in the direction of those well-coifed women clutching their pumpkin spice lattes and rocking boots and vests for 3 months straight.

I think the summer equivalent would have to be a Lululemon-clad lady, yoga mat swinging from her shoulder strap and a pricey green juice in the other.

And if that’s basic…. I’m guilty as charged.

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you’re damn right I am.

Nothing like a fancy juice after a workout class to make you feel like you’re on a different level of healthy.  Which is why, after 2-3 weeks of straight up INDULGENCE on the eating front, I decided to reboot with juice (let’s take it down a notch from Jordan’s Whole30 experience). 3 days, 5 juices, on meal of vegetable and lean meats.

Unfortunately, Ryan Crown Juice Club seems to be MIA, and is more expensive than I’d be able to handle. Even if I nabbed my juices at Philly’s most affordable “juice bar”, Fuel, it’d be over 20 bucks a day, and I’d be working with what they offer. Even the cheapest “juice cleanse” I found online seemed steep, and I hate paying for what I can do at home.

Luckily, I had all I needed to DIY my juice on a budget:

  • An affordable juicer (the least “budget friendly” portion of this, I received mine as a gift, and isn’t that exact model, but is similar. I’m not going to include this cost in the price, as I received mine as a gift, but “I get it”, they don’t grow on trees.)
  • A few hours of free time

I modeled my juice “recipes” and timing off of BluePrint, one of the better known “Juice Cleanse” companies online (who ships your prepared, bottled juices directly to your home!) And then I made a list of ingredients I needed and headed STRAIGHT to Reading Terminal Market to bring back fruits and vegetables from Iovine Brothers and OK Produce. (This is Philly specific but I’d recommend you just go straight to your local produce market, if possible).

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New FRIENDS!!

Green Juice (2/day)

  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 apples
  • Little bit of parsley
  • KALE!
  • ROMAINE!
  • SPINACH! (the amounts on the greens are up to you, but you truly can’t taste them at all)

Snack Juices (2/day)

  • Spicy Lemonade  (I just used honey instead of “Agave” because we had some)
  • PAM (Pineapple Apple Mint)

Dinner Juice (1/day)

  • 2 large green apples
  • 2 beets
  • 3 large carrots (or 1/3 bag of mini carrots!)
  • 1 lemon
  • Honking chunk of ginger

I got all the ingredients for these (other than the honey, which I already had) for $33.86, or about $11.28 per day. I used the leftover kale for my “greens” and I did buy a pound of turkey for $3.99, making the total cost for all the food-products I put into my body $37.85 for 3 days.

A 3-day “Renovation Cleanse” from Blueprint costs $195 (and does NOT come with turkey, though they do include a sort of dessert juice with cashews and blueberries).

The cost difference is $157.15. That’s enough to buy a juicer and still have money for savings.

I’ll admit, it took me about 40 minutes a night to make the juices for the next day and they didn’t come in sexy BluePrint bottles. Toting them was a bit weird, as I’d have glass bottles in my bag headed to work each day.

But I’ll take a tasty and fresh juice that clanks when I walk if it saves me $157.15…

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This is kinda pretty, right?

After the three days, I actually had enough ingredients for another green juice in the morning. I also felt fantastic and refreshed. I didn’t weigh myself, and I didn’t take photos. I just wanted to remind my body what all those good veggies and fruits tasted like, and see if I could do it on a budget.

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Mission: accomplished.

Now, can someone pass me a carb?