Manayunk Tavern

I never get to do Happy Hour!  I pretty much exercise every day after work is over, so getting to a bar for cheap drinks and food never seems to happen for me.  EW!

I briefly mentioned on Monday, that this past Friday I had enough of this… and made a point to get out of work and get down to Happy Hour!  My boyfriend Dave and our friend Adam and I headed over to the artsy, adorable, bar-infested area of Philadelphia called Manayunk.  It couldn’t have been more of a beautiful day and we were determined to get a table outside.

For all of you NON-Philadelphians… it’s pronounced Man-EE-Yunk!

I’m loving fresh Margarita’s this season!

After the boys had a beer and I had a Margarita at Derek’s, we were able to get a PRIME seat at the Manayunk Tavern.  Our table was the first one outside of the restaurant, which was the perfect spot for people watching.  SO FUN!

I was pretty pumped because they had my favorite beer on tap!  Have you ever tried it?  It sounds really weird… and it is… but it’s SO GOOD!  It’s the 21st Amendment Brewery’s “Hell or High Watermelon“.  It’s a wheat beer, and yes, it’s flavored with watermelon.  It has a really refreshing flavor and surprisingly it works really well.  I know I’ve had it before from Wegmans, if you’re looking for it.

YUM!

I’ve been to Manayunk Tavern for dinner before, and I absolutely love their soups.  They are always made fresh and really creative.  They have a spectacular butternut squash soup in the fall… i am craving it now!  It was too hot outside to get soup, so the three of us decided to try out the Calamari.

Great calamari!

You know how sometimes you order fried Calamari out at a restaurant, and it just sucks?  There are so many ways to screw it up, and I always feel such disappointment!  It can be soggy, too breaded, not seasoned well, not hot enough, etc…. ew!  Well let me tell you, this Calamari was fantastic!  It was fried to a crisp and was tossed with enough fried Jalapeno slices to give it a nice hot kick!  Easy A!

For dinner, I had to go against my attempt to “quit” cheese and order a really decadent burger.  It sounded so interesting I couldn’t resist… and I don’t even like bacon on burgers… but I had to do it!  I ordered the “Smokey” Burger, complete with a Smoked Paprika Dry Rub (on a burger?!?! right!?), Applewood Bacon, Smoked Mozz, Chipotle Remoulade, Lettuce, Toms, and Onions.  WOW!  It was awesome.  I chose the Sweet Potato Fries as my side, but they were a little too greasy so I didn’t eat that many.

The boys ordered a Filet sandwich which was loaded with good stuff… I’m sorry I don’t have a picture, but we all dug into our food so fast I didn’t get a chance!  lol.

Afterwards, we saw The Avengers.  Has anyone else seen it?  Thoughts?  I enjoyed it but was pretty unimpressed.  (although it did inspire Dave and I to watch Captain America on Saturday!)

The Tomato Bistro

Who doesn’t love a great deal?  I do!  I recently purchased a Groupon for The Tomato Bistro in Manayunk.  The Tomato Bistro is the newly renovated “upstairs” at the Couch Tomato.  The deal was $25 for a FOUR course meal for TWO!

I felt like this would be a perfect time to mention- until about five months ago, I have hated, and I mean HATED tomatoes my entire life!  It’s actually just raw tomatoes that get me.  The seeds, the goo in the middle… it’s disgusting!  Everything ordered in a restaurant, sandwiches, salads… I always had to request “absolutely no tomatoes please”.  When the kitchen would forget (this happened often, since who doesn’t love a good tomato??) someone else at the table would have to pick them off for me, since I couldn’t bear to touch them.

Thankfully, I recently forced myself to try a cherry tomato on a big bite of salad with a friend of mine in Philly.  I could hardly taste it but decided then and there that I was over my fear of tomatoes, and have been eating them ever since!  It took some getting used to but I do enjoy them now, and even choose to include them in my sandwiches and omelets!

The Tomato Bistro 3rd Floor

Now, back to the Tomato Bistro!  One of my close friends, Allie (who is my inspiration for starting my blog) was the perfect date for the four-course evening.  When we arrived at the restaurant, we decided to sit on the third floor.  The atmosphere was bright and happy but cozy, perfect for our date.  Along with our wine, the waitress delivered us a small cup of their Tomato (duh) Bisque and a few cheese croutons.  It was an unexpected nice touch and it was so yummy!

Sample of Tomato Bisque

For our first course, we were able to pick any three items from their small plates menu.  Allie and I decided on trying the Crab Crepe, the Cornflake Chicken, and Popcorn Mac & Cheese.  Everything was so good we couldn’t decide what we liked better.  Allie also convinced me to try grilled artichokes- one of the only things i don’t like to eat these days.  Turns out, I was pleasantly surprised and wished there was more of it!

Our Three Tapas

Crab Crepe:  Leeks, Carrots, Jumbo Crab, Dijon Cream

Crab Crepe

Cornflake Cicken:  Artichockes, Prosciutto, Cornflakes, Caramelized Onion, Ricotta, Arugula

Cornflake Chicken

The Popcorn Mac & Cheese is actually not listed on their online menu!  Weird!

Popcorn Mac

Crispy Artichokes:  Baby Long-Stem Marinated Artichokes, Olive Tapenade, Lemon Aioli … we ate this one too fast to snap a picture!  DUH!

Next, we got to pick a salad and a pizza.  The decision was so hard, but we finally decided on the Prosciutto Di Parma Salad & the Mushroom Pizza.  Neither of our boyfriends eat mushrooms, so we jumped on the opportunity to be able to order them.

Prosciutto Di Parma Salad:  Arugula, Red Onion, Olives, Piave Cheese, Prosciutto, Grapes, Lemon, Olive Oil

Prosciutto Di Parma Salad

Mushroom Pizza:  Garlic Oil, Assorted Mushrooms, Goat Cheese

Mushroom Pizza

I didn’t love the salad, but the pizza was to die for!  The thin crust was perfectly crusty without being burnt, and the goat cheese tasted amazing with the mushrooms.

We also got to choose a dessert, but we had already talked ourselves into (or I talked Allie into) making a stop at Whirled Peace, the DIY Frozen Yogurt place down a block or two.  We did try Tomato Bistro’s Lavender Scented Crème Brûlée.  It was a perfectly tiny little dessert for a bite or two, but the garnish was pretty strange, don’t you think?

Creme Brulee

Overall, the Couch Tomato’s new sister restaurant “upstairs” Tomato Bistro was delish.  Maybe it was the creative tapas, maybe it was the crispy crust pizza, or maybe it even is the FREE vallet service (so clutch in Manayunk, for this non-paralell parker!) …  but I think it’s my new found respect for the TOMATO!

By the way, you can find my awesome date Allie’s food blog here!  She started it over a year ago, and has some amazing suggestions and recipes.  ENJOY!