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).

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 1.56.57 PM.png

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
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 2.22.47 PM.png

That beef tartare, though…

18952794_10104641179406088_6942474859675884034_n

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?!
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 2.30.24 PM

Shakshuka & banchan (Korean side dishes like kimchi and ginger scallions, that went with EVERYTHING!)

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 11.05.25 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 11.05.12 AM

Gratuitous food pics

Advertisements

Yelp Philly’s Freedom to Party

Sickness, school, and sleep have really gotten in the way of me writing this post (doesn’t my life sound fabulous?), so it’s about a week late. But that comes with the territory, right? The grad school territory, the cold season territory, the winter in Philly territory… I feel like a hibernating bear. But I did manage to come out of my lady cave for a few choice hours last week to head over to Revolution House in Old City for Yelp Philly’s Freedom to Party!!

Yelp goes hard in the paint.

I brought my pal Martha after her demonstration of being an excellent +1 at the Confections and Cocktails party at Williams-Sonoma and, moments after we hopped off the El, we rolled into Revolution House. Once inside, we were treated like VIPs (VIY[elpers]?) as we enjoyed some of the finest food and drink that Revolution House had to offer.

Rev Dog - beef hot dog, guacamolesweet & sour peppers,  cheddar cheese, carmelized onions

Rev Dog – beef hot dog, guacamole
sweet & sour peppers, cheddar cheese, carmelized onions

 

Pizza and Beer - My kind of joint

Pizza and Beer – My kind of joint

IMG_8710

Sexy Sangria

Other than just a-MAH-zing food and drink (seriously, those Rev Dog bites were decadent), this event had it all. Feats of strength (watching Chef Luca lift trays full of salmon), excitement (As the sandwich chalk-board tumbles towards us all, imminent doom looming, will we be saved?!), laughing, crying (don’t worry, it was just from laughing), chills (from icy cold beers), heat (from the dreamiest heat lamps known to mankind), and, of course, the gorgeous movers and shakers of Philadelphia’s chosen ones: The Yelp Elite. I’ll admit, before this event, I’d only ogled Revolution House as I walked to various bars in Old City, assuming it was just some restaurant. How wrong I was….

You know what you can’t see from walking past Revolution House? THE HEATED ROOF DECK!!

Is there anything better than a nice warm deck on a chilly Autumn night?

I submit that there is not.

IMG_8734

Don’t mind the bushy brows, I’m channeling my inner Frida.

From a champagne toast to start the night to a decadent Winter warmer of boozy cider, Revolution House brought out the heavy hitters.  The tiny ladies pouring the wines and beers downstairs were an ABSOLUTE JOY, and started my night off the right way. But, as things started dying down in the bottom of Revolution House, I wondered what mysteries awaited me upstairs. I followed a tray of crab canolis (the only dish that I tried which didn’t excite my palate and awaken all of my other senses like a rapturous alarm clock inviting everyone to the party) up the stairs and was excited to see even more treats.

Gimme that fishy!!

Gimme that fishy!!

And, despite Martha spilling and making a GIANT MESS (tsk tsik), we both left full of the holiday spirit (or holiday spirits? Jeez, there were a lot of bevvies….) It was a glorious way to celebrate the end of my FIRST HALF of final projects. But don’t worry, there’s plenty more finals where those came from…. guess I’ll have to head back to Revolution House for their Mad Elf/Mad Dreams party next Friday. Shucks….

Tiniest tenders ever.

Tiniest tenders ever.

Thank you, Revolution House and Yelp Philly. You sure know how to show a girl a good time.

Off to study. Or nurse this cup of Theraflu…

What’s your favorite type of bar to hit up during those chilly winter nights?!

 

Rehearsal Dinner at Open Door Gastropub

Good evening, we made it to Wednesday!  Hope everyone celebrated in the right way (namely, No Pants Wednesday). Even though I have volleyball tonight, I’ve taken a break at home to enjoy some No Pants time…  and some blogging time.

Though I teased you all with some tidbits of my cousin’s wedding this weekend, there was more to it than silly mustaches and food on a stick.  In fact, there was a whole weekend of fun.  And it all started with the rehearsal (and rehearsal dinner!)  We were running a little late due to traffic from that crazy Occupy Wall Street stuff, so we went underground. Namely, to the subway!

Get her to the church on time!!

Luckily, we just made it, and the church was stunning.  Having been featured in Godfather II, Moonstruck, Men in Black, and Confessions of a Shopaholic, the Church of St. Anthony of Padua was picturesque, to say the least.

My camera just doesn't do it justice.

After watching the rehearsal go down (since I was giving a reading!!) we hopped a cab back to the hotel, which was luckily a stone’s throw from the location of the rehearsal dinner!  The location of the dinner was Open Door Gastropub  and, after reading some Yelp reviews and checking out their menu, I was specifically stoked for the extensive  drink menu. I decided, with so many options, it was definitely going to be a beer night.

Bottom's Up!

I started the night off with a Goose Island IPA which was tasty but not incredibly hoppy. A good way to start the night.  Also a good way to start the night?

Mini Beef Wellingtons... I'll be wolfing you down all night.

The appetizers were quality bar food, and also included pigs in a blanket. Pretty much a party in my mouth.

The best part of the night was definitely when my oldest brothers finally arrived!!

The Golden Age!

Despite our massive amount of love for my youngest brother and sister (the one I just had the Sister Date with!), the three of us always joke that we’re the “Golden Age”, as it took 3 years for all of us to be born, and 4 years later came the babies.  Well we were reunited in full force!

After all the tasty beers and appetizers, I was not all that interested in the food, but it was a pretty impressive spread.

Hot bar!

I was really looking forward to the infamous Mac and Cheese here… alas, no luck.  But let’s be honest, the real focus fell to the massive selection of beers.  Over the course of the night, I enjoyed:

  • Goose Head IPA
  • Southern Tier 5 Boroughs BPA (Something I’d NEVER seen before!)
  • Chimay Trappiste
  • Ommegang  Hennepin Farmhouse Saison
  • Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyner Schneider Hopfen-Weiss
  • La Chouffe
And mayyyybeeee a few more that I forgot to document on untappd.  Clearly, it’s a top notch spot for (affordable) craft beer in NYC, if you’re looking. Oh well, the drinks come, the focus switches from beer listing to family fun!

My lovely lady cousins! (the bride's the one in red...)

Getting our drinks after a looong wait!

Mini cupcakes from Crumbs. Oh my goodness...

Don't worry, I had no interest in this vodka.

My cousin, on the other hand.

All in all, it was a beery, bar-y fun time had by all.  But I still don’t understand the name, Open Door.  Darn doors were closed all over the place.

Or lead to nowhere.

Maybe they were being ironic?

I heard that’s big in NYC.

What’s your dream rehearsal dinner spot?

I’d love something with lots of tasty beers, comfort food, and good music!!

 

Tri-Foodie Tweetup: Jujube Style

Hey all you crazy dreamers out there….

So, I’m sure a few of you out there like to enjoy that wonderful social network of the Twitterverse.  And if you haven’t, you’re missing out on a lot (namely: following me!!) But honestly, Twitter’s given me the chance to go from just an onlooker of food, beer, and wine events in the NC Research Triangle to an active participant. And one of my big goals with this year, as well as this blog, was to become even more active in the awesome world of food and beer in this blossoming culture.

To sum it all up in layman’s terms: I wanna be more of a mover/shaker and less of a parasite sucking off the teet of the shakers and movers out there.

One of my favorite recurring events that goes on is called the #trifoodietweetup. In the past, they’ve been hosted by such fantastic Triangle locations such as Four Square, Six Plates, Fearrington Village, and (most recently) Jujube in Chapel Hill! Andrea Weigl and Johanna Kramer know how to get great venues, and set up some classy evenings.  Tonight’s theme: Asian Tapas and Artisan Rum Cocktails.  I believed, when I was going, it’d be more like a small sampling of cocktails and tapas all included in the cost (a bit more than $11) but when we showed up, the menu listed the food as included and the drinks were separate.  Also, nothing felt all that Asian (except some spring rolls they served later in the night, but that weren’t on the menu).

Tasty menu offerings!

I couldn’t resist one of the drinks, listed, a Traditional Daquiri with white rum, luxardo maraschino, lime, and cane syrup for $8. I have to agree, this was a delicious cocktail, and I was pretty happy to pay for it, I think it was worth it.

Close up on the drinkies!

I also saw there was a Dogfish Festina Pesche that I knew would be my last drink of the night.  But anyway, onto the foods.

First Course: salads

The pink salad on the right was a Watermelon Cucumber salad with piqant mint dressing and Johnston County country ham. This. Was. Brilliant. Seriously, I was so surprised by how well the watermelon paired with the ham. It was almost as if it drew out the natural flavor and maybe some sort of spice in the fruit. The cucumber was nice and crunchy (which actually was a wicked bummer with this tooth infection, but would’ve been enjoyed otherwise). The salad on the left was an Octopus-arugula salad with orange and sorrel. The octopus… was not worth writing home, in my opinion. Loved the orange and arugula mix though, good little wilted quality.

Won ton (and some progress on the cocktail in the back...)

Up next was a fried lobster-shrimp won ton with lemon, miso butter. The first batch of these were great. Alas, when I got another one a little later, it was more won ton and less filling, and was just too much crunch for my liking, like the flavor was fried right out of it.  The blend of lobster-shrimp inside was fantastic though, and left me very excited for the next offering.

Been spending most our lives living in a fried-stuff-paradise...

This is where the party really got started. Clockwise from the upper left: Tempura fried prawn (and okra, eaten already) with a little heirloom tomato conserve; Porcini and tellegio stuffed rice fritters (the tan fried balls of awesome); Shrimp-zucchini fritters with grilled chile aioli (cute pink phone… that’s mine.)  The breakdown: the tempura fried prawn was great, mostly because it was so simple. Just a prawn, covered in fried batter. hooty hoo. That being said, the fried okra was no bueno, just too dried out.

The rice fritters: ethereal! The tellegio cheese inside kept the fritters moist and delicious, and though I’m not normally a fan of mushrooms (pretty sure that’s what porcini is, right?) they just blended into the tastiness.

The shrimp-zucchini fritter might have been my very favorite, though. The chili aioli added the perfect amount of spiciness, and made me wanna guzzle down my daquiri (which I did. Classy.)

The star of my show

I’ll admit, I’d been waiting anxiously to try the Dogfish Head Festina Peche.  From the brewer:

It is delicately hopped with a pale straw color and served as an aperitif or summertime quencher. To soften the intense sourness, Berliner Weisse is traditionally served with a dash of essence of woodruff or raspberry syrup.  In our Festina Peche since the natural peach sugars are eaten by the yeast, the fruit complexity is woven into both the aroma and the taste of the beer so there is no need to doctor it with woodruff or raspberry syrup – open and enjoy!

I’ve said it before: I love summer seasonal ales, especially if they’ve got some fruit in there somewhere. And this was one of the finest I’ve tried. The peach was there and more reminiscent of a peach I had last year from the Durham Farmer’s Market, fresh and even a little earthy. Not all all like I imagined it would be (which would be like when a candy company tries to make a peach flavored treat… overly sweet and chemically). Coming from a bottle, I didn’t have a glass to check the color, but it had a nice medium amount of carbonation and was tart enough to compete with my fried frittery treats.  It rounded out this evening perfectly.

Big thanks to Jujube and the fine ladies who threw this event together (even though I didn’t win a cookbook) and it just goes to show you the moral of this story:

Even if you have an aggressive gum infection on your wisdom tooth, you can utilize half of your mouth to enjoy the flip outta some fried Asian tapas and badass cocktails/brews.