Date Night in Philly: Cake Life Pastry Pairings

Philadelphia is affectionately known as the City of Brotherly Love. And, though we do have a history littered with a few not-so-brotherly moments (cough Santa cough), at the end of the day, if you love Philly, it’ll love you right back.

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Promise, we can be nice, too.

There’s nowhere this is more evident than in the numerous collaborations our chefs, restaurateurs, and purveyors of adult beverages put together on a regular basis. I’ve noshed on lamb Barbacoa dumplings from Han Chiang of Han Dynasty & the gang from South Philly Barbacoa, nibbled Sweetgreen’s salad designed by Zahav’s Mike Solomonov, and, most recently, got to enjoy a pastry and drink pairing courtesy of two of Fishtown’s sweethearts (and neighbors!) – Cake Life and Kensington Quarters.

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Last week, the team from Cake Life and Tim Kweeder of Kensington Quarters, along with Jason Malumed of MFW Wine, banded together for an epic guided pastry & beverage pairing. While the wines were sourced from the region of Southwest France, the pastries were the brain-children of the brilliant minds of Lily & Nima, Cake Life’s co-owners.

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This was the fifth in a Summer Series the shop hosted highlighting either wines or spirits, and was one of the most fun nights I’ve had all summer. From 7:30-10(ish… five courses and wines in, and time was a loose concept), Jason and Tim led us through South by Southwest France – using tunes from the notorious music festival as a soundtrack.

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This tray is what dreams are made of…

We enjoyed savory and sweet treats highlighting seasonal ingredients like melon, tomato, and peaches. We salivated over syrupy sausage rolls and SOME of us may have even licked our plates after a particularly mouthwatering almond-plum cake, our final course of the night.

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Oh, that’s just a prosciutto crisp topping that Melon Tartlet

The time and consideration that went into the wine pairing was evident with each sip, and Jason and Tim brought us on a whirlwind tour through Southwest France that had me checking Google flights and vineyard tours.

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Sauvignon Blanc & goat cheese / tomato jam Croisstini – think the most elevated take on pizza & wine 

While the Summer Pairing Series is done for the season, Cake Life has a lot more up their sleeves… Keep your eyes peeled for similar, seasonally appropriate pastry-pairings to go down monthly. PLUS if you wanna get an amazing taste-tour through Cake Life’s goodies, try one of their Second Saturday Tastings, where duos can eat their way through the shop’s pie, tart, or cake flavors and fillings (BYOB at night – making this the ULTIMATE date night activity!)

Thanks Cake Life for making Philly (and Fishtown) a little sweeter and to Tim and Jason for livening the mood and making us look at Sauvignon Blanc in a way we never had before.

the sweet life: farm tour with sweetgreen

You write / read about food enough, you’re bound to hear a regular deluge of food trends. Going into 2017 alone, predictions included:

One trend that never goes out of style: sustainability.

It’s this very tenet that brought me to A.T. Buzby Farm in the middle of  Pilesgrove, NJ (of Cowtown Rodeo fame) with the team from sweetgreen. We were going to get behind the scenes at the family produce farm to celebrate summer, sustainability, and locally-sourced goodies.

sweetgreen’s four food ethos (scratch cooking, transparency, sustainability, and local sourcing) were all highlighted on this tour, as we were seeing exactly where they source their zucchini for the NY locations. PLUS – gorgeous day (minus a few drizzles) exploring a gorgeous farm with this dapper dude!

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Eric Buzby – Second generation farmer, full of life lessons and pride

Eric and his mother, Dawn (one of the cofounders of the farm) brought us around just a small portion of their 170 acres, showing off their gorgeous sweet corn fields, a pretty cool pickling process, and their friendly farm pups!

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It was incredible to hear the (honestly, quite romantic story) of his parents deciding to buy a farm together (which served as an informal proposal of marriage, because who buys a farm with someone unless they’re truly in love?)

We discussed the importance of a values driven market, and how sustainability is more than just environmental. Other discussions of sustainability included:

  • Financial – A.T. Buzby Farm was able to stay afloat in the early years using the mechanical skills of the founder, Andrew Buzby, who fixed many of their used machines by hand. They also have adapted their business model to include revenue from multiple sources, from local farmers markets to their popular CSA to wholesale with groups like sweetgreen!
  • Social – Less than 2% of Americans make their living farming, and the average age of farmers is over 40. A.T. Buzby employs local high school and college students to keep the  culture of agriculture going in the next generation.
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These cherry tomato plants are meant to be metaphorical – only by tending to the new crop of farmers can the agriculture industry stay alive and well!

(The metaphorical tomatoes were also delicious, as Dawn plucked us a ripe one right from the vine to nibble.)

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Sifting through the cuke crop to separate the pickles from the rejects

I was not alone in leaving the farm feeling energized, more connected to my food, and overwhelmed by how much effort and time goes into growing the veggies that are tossed into those tasty salads I happily shell out $9-12 for on a regular basis.

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Meet me in the Kiwi Berry Fields

If you’re dying to try some of the Buzby Farms produce (which I’d totally recommend), you can nab some at the Headhouse Farmer’s Market on Sundays in Philly, from 10am-2pm.

Or, you can check out one of the 15 New York sweetgreen locations and add some zucchinis to your harvest bowl.

Summer at Opa: Cheese Pies & Blue Skies

Summertime in Philly…

The temperatures are sweltering, the weekend trips to the shore test our patience, and Center City Sips has filled the streets every Wednesday with drunken 20-somethings rocking suit jackets and teetering on heels.

But there’s a distinct joy that comes with some of the sweat – Summer Menus are hitting the Philly Restaurant Scene. Seasonal produce and ingredients, seafood, and creativity galore. And Opa, known for contemporary Greek plates in Center City, is bringing out the big guns. Or, in this case, the small plates.

The highlights?

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Dakos – Barley toast with sour cherry marmalade, fresh chevre, and fennel.

I may be on a toast kick lately (check out my latest post from Fitt for the Top 9 Spots Artisan Toasts in Philly!) and Opa’s take on the dish features a tart cherry marmalade that I want in all food and drink in the future.

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Aritchokes stuffed with crab, fresh herbs, Meyer lemon, & squid ink romesco. Then topped with cheese. Whoah.

Anything stuffed with crab is a-okay in my book, but this artichoke dish had us scraping the plate clean.

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Beet Cured Salmon – carpaccio style, melon, vidalia, arugula, pickled pepper

Lox comes to dinner with Opa’s beet-cured salmon. The little melon cubes add a hint of sweetness, though the pickled peppers are ENTIRELY too hot to eat.

So, ya know, don’t make the same mistake I did.

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Spaghettini – lobster, spicy tomato, olive oil crumbs

That spicy tomato is NOT A DRILL. But neither are the chunks of juicy lobster scattered throughout this dish. A small enough portion to not weigh you down, but large enough to satisfy for a summer dinner.

And now my FAVORITE two dishes:

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Lamb Loin – filo, lamb demi, charred spring onion, potato purée

Beef Wellington goes Greek! The filo is crispy, flakey, and buttery. The onion is perfectly charred, and the lamb is juicy AF. For only $10, this dish is the star of the new menu offerings.

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Tiropita Kataifi – kefalograviera & robiola, filo, orange, honey

Cheese. Pie.

Typically speaking, that’d be enough for me. BUT for your sake – I’ll hit you with some thoughts. Crunchy pastry strings surround a core of kefalograviera (a hard Greek table cheese typically made with sheep milk) & robiola (y’know – more cheese). The whole mess is drizzled with honey and tastes of bright citrusy orange.

Dessert has arrived. It’s unexpected and whimsical and delights the tongue.  Try not to fight over the last bite.

Chef Bobby Saritsoglou and his team are making a serious name for themselves in Midtown Village, and I can’t wait to see what fall brings. Just try to keep your visits limited to Thursday through Tuesday – those Wednesday SIPs crowds are an unforgiving lot.

 

 

Zahav x Momofuku: Isreali Breakfast

“Oh, you write about food? What’s your favorite restaurant?”

It’s a question I field regularly, from travelers coming to Philly for the weekend to casual acquaintances at networking events; from friends and family to total strangers that ALSO wanna gab about food. And, to be honest, there’s an easy answer, but it hurts to share.

Zahav hits every checkbox in my dream resto:

  • Diverse array of tastes served in one meal
  • Impeccable service, from the hosts to the folks tidying up the table between courses
  • Killer soundtrack (seriously, who’s curating the Zahav Spotify playlist, and can I get your info?)
  • Masterful presentation (from the open kitchen to plating of individual dishes)

This is unfortunate because, in addition to being one of the most wonderful places to dine, it’s also one of the toughest reservations to get in Philly, so I try not to boast too much when I do manage to get a meal on my calendar. But this… this was something special.

Zahav collaborated with the team from Momofuku’s Ssäm Bar (known for some killer Korean-style meat and Asian fusion dishes) for a one-time Israeli breakfast for the ages.

When I saw the tickets go up live Thursday, May 18 I’d purchased a table for 4 before 7:30am. When an opportunity like this occurs, you pay first, ask questions later. I had no trouble finding three willing dining companions and, Saturday at noon, we were seated with no idea what we’d be eating (but a certainty that it would be delicious).

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I’m going to do that thing that some people love and others hate, which is rehash the menu, so if you don’t care for that kinda thing, feel free to scroll through the photos.

First Course:

  • Israeli Breakfast Breads – we’re talking Kubaneh (linking to David Chang’s Lucky Peach article, keep it in the family) and a sweet Rugelach (perhaps date flavored, I must admit that detail was hazy)
  • An insane rose(?) and strawberry jam that I wanted to drown in (yes, we ordered extra)
  • Bentons Bacon Salad – frisée, poached egg, and smoked / cured egg yolk
  • Country ham – sliced paper thin, served with red-eye coffee gravy
  • Beef tartare – made with Yuzu Kosho (an incredible citrus chile condiment you should put on all dishes) and MORE egg yolk
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That beef tartare, though…

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Making frisée fun again…

Second Course

  • Short Ribs Al H’aesh – this was an incredible dish that was (I believe accidentally) brought to us three times. I apologize, Zahav, for not mentioning our second and third portions, but if you bring me short ribs on a skewer, I will eat them all without question.
  • Shakshuka – with smashed English peas, tomato, Saffronella, and an egg. I wish Zahav offered this for dinner, too.
  • Spicy pork sausage with rice cakes – easily my favorite dish, this dish had texture, heat, and an egg. What more could a girl ask for?!
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Shakshuka & banchan (Korean side dishes like kimchi and ginger scallions, that went with EVERYTHING!)

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Added bonus to spicy sausage dish – when your friends can’t take the heat, you get extra.

We were promptly rolled out of Zahav and into the street, where we blissfully walked the 20 blocks home on cloud nine, stuffed with the best foods around.

Zahav – you dog. You got me again. I’m unabashedly enamored with the entire CookNSolo restaurant group (and like to maintain a healthy obsession with Federal Donuts), so just keep doing what you’re doing, and I’ll keep blindly throwing my money your way.

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Gratuitous food pics

honeygrow: crossing broad & fitness squad

What’s that phrase all the #fitspo folks post on Instagram? You know, the one I’m pretty sure Taylor Swift lives and dies by…

OH!

Find your tribe. Love them hard.

Yup. That’s the one.

There are heaps of tribes in this city. You’ve got yogis, runners, lost Lithers, the Soul Cyclists and the Flywheel fanatics, Freehouse folks, barre babes, and those die-hard November Project kids.

Whether you’re a member of one, of none, of several, or just an occasional visitor to a few, there’s one thing they all have in common: they gotta eat.

Luckily, hometown-hero honeygrow gets it. And they’re taking this idea of tribes, and fueling these fitness fans (and anyone else who’s hungry for some tasty, local, and fast fare) and running with it. And they just recently decided to run right across Broad Street to their newest Philly location on 11th Street!

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Fun Fact: Local Artist Martha Rich created this mural using snippets of conversation she heart whilst dining at honeygrow

I was able to swing by their friends & family opening and try some of the goodies, scope out the scene, and hear a little bit more about what honeygrow’s got planned for Philly (+ other locations) when it comes to fitness.

The space is beautiful, which is no surprise. They’ve got a number of the hg classic features, from their board listing where locally sourced ingredients come from to their futuristic touch-screen tablets for ordering.

Then, they went ahead and dropped some old-school tech on us with this AMAZING board which announces when orders are ready. (Trust me, Instagrammers, this thing is Boomerang gold).

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The new order board at hg 11th Street – going old school

And, as per usual, the eats are as tasty as they are nutritious.

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Spring Thai-m Salad (crammed with crispy shallots and shrimp) & FOUNTAIN green tea! 

In addition to offering fuel, honeygrow’s also recently brought a new aspect of the company to the table: hgAthletics. According to their mission statement:

…a platform for well-being within honeygrow; we are hgAthletics. By exploring exciting curiosities + tangible realities, we foster unity in our neighborhoods, appreciation of our environments and pride within ourselves.

They kicked off their summer in Philly with some killer rooftop yoga at Bok with PLUSgives and that’s just one of many activities lined up for this summer in Philly, DC, Delaware, and beyond!

Check their Calendar of Events for updates, but here’s a little taste:

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I’ll admit, I haven’t found my tribe. I dabble a bit in quite a few, and sometimes [ok, a lot] fancy myself a one-woman wolfpack lifting in the gym.

But it’s great to know that there’s a group of hungry, like-minded fitness friends out there in hgAthletics ready to run, bend, and train with me all summer long.

And if honeygrow happens  to hand out 20% off coupons after every FREE workout… well, that’s just a bonus.

 

Taste Testing with Chef Jose Garces

Slamming my phone into my pocket, I raced out of the office building. I scanned the street and, as luck would have it, spotted the trolley pulling up along 36th and Market. Flashing my SEPTA pass, I hopped in and prayed for a quiet ride to 22nd Street. Time seemed to be moving too quickly, the trolley too slowly, for this to ever work. But I jumped out the vehicle, scampered up the stairs, and dodged snow piles and construction as I made 23rd Street my 40-yard dash (ok, more like my 500-yard walk-sprint, but who’s counting?) I collected myself for a moment, hoping I didn’t look exactly like the sweaty mess that I knew I was, and walked inside.

“Donkey Sauce.”

And, just like that, I was in.

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Nestled in the back of 24, Garces’ newest Philadelphia venture (“Italian-inspired wood-fired fare”, overlooking the Schuylkill River), is Estudio, the test-kitchen of the Garces Group, the restaurants that make up the Chef Jose Garces EMPIRE!

In this kitchen, Garces and his team get to play mad scientists with menu items for any of the 16 restaurants in the family. And, in a brilliant move, Chef Garces decided to open this kitchen up to four lucky fans using Instagram to give out a secret password (hence the rushing to be one of the first four and the breathless gasp of DONKEY SAUCE.)

My sprint through Philadelphia was handsomely rewarded, though, with a special treat: we were testing the early stages of brunch development for Distrito, Garces’ modern take on Mexican taqueria fare.

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Chilaquiles verdes with chicken, crema, queso fresco, avocado, and egg

I’ve gotta say, food always seems tastier served out of its own cast-iron skillet.

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Sope benedict featuring poached eggs, guajillo hollandaise with just a slight hint of heat, and chorizo

Whoah. New favorite take on an eggs benny.

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Torta ahogada (“drowned sandwich”) – this torta was stuffed with carnitas, glazed onions, and eggs, then smothered in a red chile sauce 

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Huarache Desayuno (sort of like… a Mexican breakfast flatbread, topped with black bean puree, crispy potato, egg, tomatillo/poblano salsa and queso mixto

Though I did not partake in the alcoholic portion of the breakfast cocktails, even the virgin versions were tasty enough to tip back with enthusiasm!

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Yup, that’s MORE chilaquiles – This time served with a Mezcal Maria (hold the Mezcal) – Typical garnishes include shrimp AND olives.

Also on the cocktail menu:

  • Carlito XO – Garces & Sons Espresso, Patrón XO Café, Kahlua, Brown Sugar, Canela, Mexican Chocolate and Crema.
  • My TOP choice A Mango Bellini (or was it with vodka? Hard to recall when you don’t choose the booze!) PLUS a smoky spicy rim

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Throughout the experience, Chef Garces answered questions AND took constructive criticism. In fact, he welcomed it. When one of us suggested an ingredient or flavor, he not only noted it, but chased our commentary with some other ideas of how to best incorporate the concept.

One of the first meals I had in Philadelphia was a lunch at Amada in Old City. I was hooked.

When Bar Volver opened, I visited five times in one week, bringing different friends and family each time to share the amazing concept and cocktails. Village Whiskey serves the drippy, finger-licking burger of my (and my sister’s) dreams. I remember eating a birthday dinner at Tinto and periodically adjusting my tiara, because I kept tilting my head back in pleasure with bites of tantalizing tapas.

My experience at Estudio was exceptional. However, the opportunity to dine one-on-one (well, four-on-one) with the man who’s made so many of my culinary dreams come true… That was extraordinary.

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GIVEAWAY! Spring Has Sprung: Run (& EAT!) with Blossom – WINNERS!

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UPDATE: CONGRATULATIONS to Meghan and Bridget! The random number generator chose YOU!

The salmon-colored shorts are out in full force. The parks are full of picnics. The Rosé is flowing like water, and the sweetgreen Spring Caesar made it’s way to the app.

Yup, spring has sprung in Philadelphia.

If you’re anything like me, some of the best parts of the city thawing is the ability to both eat and exercise outdoors. Long time readers know of my obsession with springtime food festivals, and lately I’ve even been voluntarily running outside. Must be the fresh air…

Lucky for all of us, there’s a way to celebrate both of these in one perfect night!

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The Blossom Philadelphia 5k Night Race is the only weeknight race grandfathered in by the City of Philadelphia. The course meets at the Art Museum takes place on West River Drive on Thursday May 25, 2017 at 7pm. Immediately following the race is an epic After Party featuring some of my FAVORITE food trucks! Baby Blues BBQ, Sweet Box Cupcakes, Taco Mondo, The Cow and The Curd, The Tot Cart and Undrgrnd Donuts will be bringing the heat (and, in some cases, the meat. Or the sweet.)

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The Tot Cart with some extra melty goodness….

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THE COW AND THE CURD slinging those sweet cheese curds!

You can register for the 5k (comes with a t-shirt), the after-party (comes with four tickets, valid for a drink, appetizer, a main course, AND a dessert!), OR get the best of both worlds with a 5k + After Party COMBO (Yup, that’s all of the above)

Oh yes, that drink I mentioned: Victory Brewing is going to be hosting a beer garden all night long! (Don’t worry, there will be heaps of root beer for the kids, this is an incredibly family-friendly event!)

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All this can be yours for the early bird price (before April 13th, 11:59 p.m.)!

Register HERE

All proceeds from the race help Blossom achieve their mission: to change the lives of children and adults with disabilities (cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, head trauma, and any condition that limits a person’s ability to function independently) in the Philadelphia area.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

But, hey, if you’re feeling lucky, you could enter to win one of TWO free registrations for the Race + After Party Combo (Up to a $60 value!)

That means, you could be joining me May 25th in running + eating our way right into Memorial Day weekend!!

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Feel free to lay right next to me in blissful post-run food coma!

All you need to do to enter to win is check out the Blossom Philadelphia site and tell me one cool / fun / interesting fact you learned in the comments!

You have until Friday, April 28th at noon to enter!

GOOD LUCK and I’ll see you at the Art Museum!

The Top 5 Things You May Have Missed at the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show

The Philadelphia Flower Show is a tradition like no other. Every year, right at the tail end of a dreary winter, the Philadelphia Convention Center transforms into a taste of spring with millions of blossoms (okay, I don’t know if it’s actually millions, but the entrance bridge had over 30,000 so I’m ballparking).

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Bulbs and Bulbs – GET IT?!

This year’s theme was “Holland: Flowering the World” and, no surprise, the show had Philadelphians and out-of-towners alike tip-toeing through the tulips for nine straight days. And though a “snowstorm” did make for a bit of a hiccup on day 4, the Philly Flower Show went on without a hitch.

I’ve been to the PHS Flower Show before. once during grad school and once on a pretty ridiculous date sponsored by Yards Brewery (long story, but click away if you’re curious.) But every year I go, I find something new to love. This year was no different. So yes: there was the epic flower bridge at the entrance… but some of the bits and pieces that were my favorite, a lot of my friends missed. SO here you have it:

The Top 5 Things You Might Have Missed at the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show

  1. PEDALS: The White Bike Plan
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    While you may not have MISSED this exhibit, it is possible you didn’t realize exactly why there was a huge exhibit all about white bicycles in the middle of the show. Turns out, it was an ode to Witte Fietsenplan (translation: The White Bicycle Plan). This was actually part of a Dutch counter-culture movement from the 1960s called Provo, and  one of the very first bike-sharing plans in the world! We’re all newly spoiled with Philly’s Indego, turns out Amsterdam had the idea over 50 years ago!

  2. Open Bar
     

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    Let the St. Germain flow!

    Truth be told, I learned this little gem from a fellow student during my income-light grad school years. Never underestimate the ability of a grad student to find free (or deeply discounted) drinks. If you’re looking to channel your inner bee and go through the Flower Show with a buzz, the folks at Fine Wine and Spirits are ready to pour you an endless array of samples from 2pm-7pm.

    Seriously. It’s the ultimate pregame.

  3. The Philly Belle

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    Well, if you missed this flower, you missed something pretty special. This gorgeous, unique tulip is named the Philly Belle, and is a one-of-a-kind tulip bred specifically by Remarkable Tulips for the show. I recognize that geeking out over a flower is not something I’d normally do, but this vibrant, fringed tulip was like nothing I’d ever seen.

  4. The Design Gallery
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    Yup, that is a flower.

    I really don’t know much about gardening. I have kept an air plant alive since I moved to Philly nearly 5 years ago, and that is what I consider my greatest green-thumb feat to-date. That said, the Design Gallery is probably the most impressive portion of the Flower Show to me. The things people are able to make with plants, seeds, flowers… from jewelry to sculptures to miniature scenes, it’s insane.

  5. Butterflies! Loads of ’em

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    This could’ve been you, but you were playing (Image courtesy of PHS Flower Show)

    Did you see the 1,000+ butterflies floating around at the Philly Flower Show? Probably not, unless you strolled out of the main expo hall and over to Butterflies LIVE!. Just imagine… hundreds of butterflies flitting around, landing on you, giving sweet butterfly kisses to your face because they think maybe you’re a flower. It cost $5 and yes, there was a line.  But if you’ve never had a chance to be a butterfly landing pad…. just saying.

What was your favorite part about this year’s show? Did I miss anything spectacular?!

Major Key: Philly’s Florida Keys Cookoff

In 2014, I saw a very long line for a photo opportunity. It was at the Southernmost Point of the continental United States. Luckily, I was able to push my way to the front by letting the line know something especially important:

Hello, everyone. In three years, I’ve got this cooking competition I’ll be doing. If I win, I get to come back. Would you mind if I snapped a quick shot?

And, just like that, the crowd parted and I nabbed this gem.

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Finally, last week, the time had come.

I, along with 23 other hungry bloggers, radio hosts, and news anchors, filled the kitchens of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College  for tours, tastes, and tests of skill. Our assignment seemed simple enough:

  • Cook up two dishes.
  • One will be seafood.
  • One’s a Key Lime Pie.
  • You can bring ONE special ingredient for your Key Lime Pie.

Now, I’ve gotta say, this event is not WHY I got into blogging… but my WORD it was easily the most fun, and certainly the type of event that keeps me putting all these words out into the ether. (P.S. Thanks for reading. Seriously.)

The team from the Florida Keys and Key West, in hopes to encourage us chilly Philly folks to head south more often, wanted us to bring a Taste of the Keys to town.

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My very official station

We started with dessert. Because we’re grownups and we can.

My secret ingredient was a way to bring a taste of Philadelphia to the Keys: Pretzel Crust! The crust recipe was loosely based on The Gold Lining Girl’s Recipe, but I pulverized my pretzels at home and added a teensy bit of cinnamon to my crust.

We had 50 minutes. We were given all the other ingredients.

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Almost no one drank the “cooking wine”. We all tried to avoid mixing the seafood ingredients with the pie ingredients.

At times, things got a little sticky…

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Probably flexing for the camera. Definitely cramming butter sugar pretzel dust into a pie tin.

I’ve never made a Key Lime Pie. It’s SO easy. You should try the Florida Keys Key Lime Pie Recipe at home. I personally would recommend the pretzel crust but (spoiler alert) that probably won’t win you a trip to the Florida Keys.

While our pies cooled, we were able to sample some of the cocktails downstairs AND mingle. I even got to mingle with the most petite chef of the night, Emily of HerPhilly!

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And then it was onto the seafood. In this case: SNAPPER!

My dish was a blackened yellowtail snapper with a mango and lime salsa. I didn’t have an exact recipe but I’ve linked to a similar one.

Things really heated up…

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Moments later, I switched to a cast iron skillet, making this a simply useless photo

In the end, I was pretty pleased with what I produced:

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Sure, I didn’t win. But I did immediately look for flights back down to Florida ($98 RT to Miami from PHL, in case you were wondering…)

All in all: I LOVED living my TopChef dreams. In case you weren’t sure if I had fun…

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The MOST fun

Thank YOU to everyone, from Aversa PR  for the invite to the Restaurant School  for hosting us to the Florida Keys crew, for bringing the heat to West Philly!

 

Revolution Taco: Now so much more…

Look, I love Taco Tuesday as much as the next millennial. It’s not that we NEED an excuse for tacos any day of the week, really. It’s just that alliteration is fun, themed days are fun, and tacos are delicious.

Unfortunately, for my health, I have to eat things that aren’t tacos sometimes. Part of a balanced diet or something (though some have tried this “all vegan taco diet“, I’m gonna need a bit more meat in my life). Enter: Revolution Taco.

I know what you’re thinking, and Yes, they DO have a taco heavy menu. (Sidenote: They’re all flippin’ delicious, order the duck/scallion pancake for a real mouth-party). But, since man can’t live on tacos alone, the team has added some new kids to the bloc– er… menu.

Up first: Arroz con Pollo WEDNESDAYS! February Wednesdays, let Revolution take care of dinner for you.

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Arroz con POLLO!!

I tried their first week’s take (Classic Arroz con Pollo) and, for $11 per order, was greeted with a MASSIVE serving of moist and juicy chicken and some zesty rice. But the kicker here, each week you’re getting a new take on the classic dish!

February 1
Fried Chicken Arroz con Pollo
Fried chicken served with Creole Style Dirty rice

February 8
Coq Au Vin Arroz con Pollo
French red wine braised chicken served with fried risotto cake

February 15
Char Siu Arroz con Pollo
Chinese BBQ chicken with seared sticky rice, pickled mustard greens

February 22
Confit Duck Arroz con Pato
Duck leg slow cooked in duck fat, served with mushroom arancini

Pigs Fly Fridays!

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “When pigs fly…”, but if you thought that was impossible, you’ve probably never seen Pig Wings.

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Come to Mama!

Clear out your Friday plans, because you’re gonna wanna get as many of these braised pork shanks into your mouth (and schedule) as possible. From dry rub to Korean BBQ to Chipotle, these juicy hunks of pork fall off the bone quicker than you can say “¡OLE!”

For ten bucks, you get three of these succulent spears with a side of rice and beans. Trust me, you’re gonna wanna go hungry, because you’ll be leaving full.

Also on the menu (ALL THE DAMN TIME): TAMALES!

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Peel back the husk for a salty surprise

Tamales are tasty pockets made of corn dough that is steamed in a corn husk, and since there was a serious dearth of them in Rittenhouse, Revolution said “Don’t worry, we got this.”

$4 each, a perfect appetizer, lunch bite, or shared app with a friend.

Here’s the thing: I’ve already been going to Revolution Tacos more often than I’d like to admit. But with those pig wings on the menu… If you’re looking for me on a Friday night, you’ll know where to start.