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.

Surviving South Street Spring Festival (or any Street Festival in Philly)

South Street’s Spring Festival is this Saturday, May 2nd from 11am-8pm. This, along with last Sunday’s Flavors of the Avenue and I think it’s safe to say that Street Festival season is upon us. Philly really flourishes as the weather gets warmer, and all everyone wants to do is be outside.

The only problem is that EVERYONE wants to be outside. These festivals are packed, and with good reason. Over 35,000 people have already RSVP’d to the 3rd Annual South Street Spring Festival and there are over 30 restaurants participating, musical performances, arts and crafts, and a genuine German Maifest at Brauhaus Schmitz. All the things you’d need for a killer Saturday. That said, festivals like this can be overwhelming, intense, and INSANE. Here are some tips and tricks from a seasoned pro (I seriously can’t get enough of giant outdoor eating parties) who ALSO got a little preview of the event last week.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

DO have a game plan

Like I said, there are a LOT of options. Check the list here. I’m not saying you need an itinerary… but know where you REALLY wanna go, and you won’t have to waste valuable time, money, energy, and stomach space on spots you either visit regularly or you’ve got no interest in.

Redwood Bistro: NO JOKE! Their sliders and Spanish fries are, as the kids say, "on fleek"

Redwood Bistro: NO JOKE! Their sliders and Spanish fries are, as the kids say, “on fleek”

DON’T go it alone

Round up a posse. Divide and conquer. Split up to minimize queuing time and maximize noshing time. You find your foodie friends, split up, and reconvene armed with tacos, cheese curds, popsicles, sliders, and daiquiris. Spread the wealth, and everyone wins!

Don't have to earn these beads, Fat Tuesday's will give them to you!

Don’t have to earn these beads, Fat Tuesday’s will give them to you!

DO pace yourself

There’s plenty of time. Trust me. But if you fill up within the first hour on booze and burgers, you’ll miss out because of your food baby fatiguing you. Consider it a marathon, not a sprint. Too many banana puddings can take out even the strongest contender.

I'll take three. Err... wait.

Sweet Life offers… I’ll take three.
Err… wait.

DON’T limit your experience to the food alone

The downtime between bites can be an excellent opportunity to check out the CONSTANT stream of music on three different stages. And if you’re not ever unsure of who to check out, might I recommend these rockstars in lederhosen?

unnamedDO try new things

Some spots will be offering things that you don’t normally see on the menu. I, personally, am a sucker for something exclusive. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for cocktails made with cream of coconut.

Maybe it’s both.

The Staycation: A Tattooed Moms Festival EXCLUSIVE!

The Staycation: A Tattooed Moms Festival EXCLUSIVE!

DON’T skip dessert

Three words. Cracker Jack Sundae. Bridget Foy’s has the tastiest ice cream treat I can recall in recent history.

Popcorn and peanut butter ice creams/caramel popcorn/caramel peanuts/chantilly

Popcorn and peanut butter ice creams/caramel popcorn/caramel peanuts/chantilly

I seriously can’t speak highly enough about this sweet delight. That said, there’s seemingly endless options to satisfy any sweet tooth, so if Cracker Jacks aren’t your style a) you’re a lunatic b) you’ll be able to find something to enjoy, I promise.

My final tip actually isn’t mine. But I think it’s valid, so I’ll leave you with the wise words of the folks at Sweet Life.

You've got it.

You’ve got it.

Cheers, and I’ll see you on the streets.

Bottoms up!

Bottoms up! Watermelon cooler from Bistro Romano!

I’ll be the tall blond with a drink, and probably a taco, in hand.

Flavors of the Avenue (East Passyunk Avenue, to be exact).

If you’re wondering where I’ve been, I have no excuse. Except one:

So, this one time, grad school happened.

Hopefully that’s enough for y’all.

But last night, something incredible happened. Something so delicious, so inspiring, so exciting…. I just had to come out of temporary retirement to share with the gang. I was invited to be part of a lucky group of bloggers, journalists, Twitter-heads, Instagrammers, and general men-and-women-about-town to get a little taste of one of the most delicious spots in Philadelphia. East Passyunk Avenue! Named a Top 10 Foodie Street in America by Food & Wine Magazine and the Top Food Neighborhood in Philly by Zagat, East Passyunk is a bit out of the way of my standard Center City fare, so I haven’t been out terribly often. MY MISTAKE! 

We started at POPE (aka the Pub on Passyunk East). Admittedly, I’d only been here for beers before, so I wasn’t sure what was in store, edibly. Luckily, they eased me in with a familiar friend.

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Ah, beer. Opened with a genuine East Passyunk Avenue bottle opener of my own! Lagunitas IPA, to be exact, a personal favorite. 

On the menu: Thai spiced wings, habanero mole, and a chipotle tomato soup with a parmesan tuile. This ain’t your mama’s pub fare.

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The thai wings rocked my mouth with heat (I blame the IPA, probably my bad… I couldn’t resist). The mole wings were much more chocolatey than expected, making me wonder if I should rethink my feelings about cooking dishes with chocolate…. But my favorite was probably the soup. Maybe because I’m a firm believer that adding the word (and ingredient) “Chipotle” to anything immediately improves it at least threefold.

Up next, Ippolito’s Seafood Market.

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At first glance, one might wonder “Wait… this isn’t on East Passyunk… why was it included?” I’ll respond to that by saying DON’T QUESTION WHEN SOMEONE OFFERS TO FEED YOU SEAFOOD and also, apparently they provide a lot of the seafood to the businesses that are on the Avenue, so there’s a healthy relationship. Speaking of healthy relationships, I made a very healthy one with this very photogenic tuna tostada (though it sort of looked more like a taco to me…) with spicy mayo and a squirt o’ lime.

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And, since we’re ballers, a few oysters (Cape May Salts) on the halfshell. Some folks were wary… but they came around.

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(And there you have JP’s first homemade GIF in a post!)

Next stop, to keep things fancy, was Fond, contemporary American cuisine and one of the cutest spots I’ve seen. Starting today, they’ll start offering outdoor seating, too, so go forth and develop your own fond feelings for Fond. Oh, and try the chicken liver mousse with pickled red onions.

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If you could also do yourself a solid and grab a glass of prosecco, ideally consumed after a happy toast with Tory Keomanivong, the dining manager…. well, consider yourself blessed. We also had a few folks that were wary of chicken liver, but I was less aggressive in my urging of them to dig into the crostinis. Selfishly, of course. TWO FOR ME! And none for Gretchen Wieners.

One word. Four syllables. Get ready to wanna say this all the time: Bitterballen. Literal translation: fried pork meatballs made with nutmeg, served with mustard. Pronounced “bYitter-ballen”. Best served al fresco from the arms of Chef Joncarl Lachman of Noord. My first foray into Scandinavian/Dutch cuisine, I couldn’t have asked for a better guide.

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And the inside of the restaurant…. stunning space. Take me back.

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You might be thinking, that’s a solid four restos. You probably had enough, right JP? 

This isn’t amateur hour, we’ve only just begun.

Chiarella’s Ristorante, a cozy old-school Italian spot, has tables great for large parties, recently was featured on Kitchen Nightmares and, according to Philadelphia magazine, survived and has benefited from Gordon Ramsay’s criticism. If their eggplant rollatini is any indication…. they’re not just surviving, but thriving.

ImageConfession: before last night, I’d never tried anything rollatini.

What was I thinking?

Breaded eggplant stuffed with goodness? Get your head in the game, Jordan.

Izumi was our next stop, featuring trays of pork gyoza with Pickled Cucumber (which, IMHO, made this dish).

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Pardon the crummy photo, gyoza gobbling happened so fast I hardly had time to snatch my camera out!

At this point, I was stuffed so full of food, complimentary wine, and Instagramming that I’ll be honest, strolled over to Marra’s in a bit of a daze. I’m pretty SURE it was Marra’s. However, I struggled to fit more foods into my body. But I mean… just look at it.

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Please, gnocch-me that gnocchi. I couldn’t resist a few small bites….

The after party was at a not-so-secret soon-to-be Townsend, featuring some cupcakes I sadly had to pass up (40 days of no sweets has turned into quite the test of my will)… But hopefully y’all are sated enough by the mounds of food pr0n I’ve offered up that you won’t hold it against me. And if this hasn’t made your salivary glands (and the rest of you) yearn for the goods on East Passyunk, I’m clearly rusty.

Big ups to the folks at Aversa PR, especially the media mogul Kory himself, for the invite. You’ve brought me out of blog-hibernation in the most delicious way possible….

 

 

Six Pack Sunday: Asheville Eats!

Asheville: It’s a hell of a town.

Even though I was there for less than 24 hours (whoah, didn’t even realize that until now), I certainly didn’t go wanting for food during any of those hours.  My mother flew in on Friday night and, after whipping up a DELECTABLE cream cheese dip which we nibbled on and enjoying several cocktails, we hit the hay hard with alarms set for 7:30 am.

We drove across North Carolina in a few hours, and before I knew it, we were in the mountain hippy HQ, Asheville!

Quality State, that North Carolina

And while I’ll write more about the trip later, I figured a PERFECT Six Pack Sunday would be on the fantastic foods I enjoyed during my stay.

1. Corner Oak Chocolate

Mmm mm good.

Upon arrival at the Corner Oak Manor, our B&B for the weekend, we were welcomed with my FAVORITE of the Ghiradelli chocolate squares.

It was a perfect, pepperminty way to be welcomed to town.

2. Reuben Romance

Oh, it is love.

This photo truly doesn’t do the Turkey Reuben from Julian’s Gourmet Sandwiches in the Biltmore Village.  The hot turkey, the 1000 Island Dressing, the marble rye…. it was a dream come true. AND, in a true game changer, I actually liked the (not-so) sauerkraut. Our first meal in Asheville was served with Kettle cooked potato chips, and fueled massive amounts of shopping.

Wait, this one might do it justice.

Much better, good to the last bite.

3. Pretzel Pairing

Match made in heaven

So it’s not like I didn’t know this before, but something about pretzels and beers together just make both taste exponentially better.

My first trip to the legendary Bruisin Ales was timed right, apparently, as there was a tasting of Sierra Nevada beers.  Word on the street is that the West Coast brewery’s looking to set up shop on the East.  Well, I personally think that Asheville’s got Sierra Nevada written all over it.  Just saying….

4. Olive & Kickin’ (Get it?)

EVOO bar?! Yes, PLEASE!

Ok, after looking at that picture, I want you to read the description of my new favorite store concept.

Olive & Kickin’ sources the freshest extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from hand selected growers.  They are held in the store in stainless steel containers called Fusties that allow you to sample the individual flavors of each prior to buying them.

So basically it’s a store that sells Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. And you can sample all of it. Chipotle EVOO? Garlic EVOO? Cranberry Pear Balsamic?

I wanted to gargle with it.

The women who run the shop, Karen and Vic, are nice as nice can be, and we could hardly control ourselves as we sipped gourmet oils and b.v. If you go to Asheville, do NOT miss this shop!!

5. Shrimp and Grits that Just Won’t QUIT!

Creamy, spicy, decadent, delightful

Tupelo Honey Cafe.

Recommended by more people than any one spot in Asheville, this establishment lived up to the hype.  Described by the restaurant:

Brian’s Shrimp and Grits » When your chef puts his name on a dish, he has to be pretty proud of it. Such it is with our shrimp and grits – seven large delectable shrimp served over Goat Cheese Grits and anointed with a spicy roasted red pepper sauce

It couldn’t get any better. The creaminess of goat cheese lent itself so well to the grits, and the shrimp, plump and fresh, were spicy in that way that demands you keep eating it.  Don’t worry, I did. I virtually licked my bowl at the end, and that last bite was like saying farewell to a best friend.

A best friend that you’re about to digest.

6. Putting the Breakfast in B&B

From Karen's Kitchen!

Corner Oak Manor was actually the first B&B I’ve ever been to, and I loved the Breakfast B just a little more than the Bed B. Creamy eggs with spinach, tomatoes, and feta served with fresh fruit and pepper bacon was a great way to fuel the long trip back to Durham.

It was a most delicious weekend, and rest assured, I’ll write more about the trip later. Now I’m off to digest and (hopefully) finish my applications.

Asheville, I’ll be back, I promise. And I’ll definitely come hungry.