Night Market South Street

Not too long ago in mid-August, Dave, Adam and I took a walk down South Street over to the Night Market.  The Night Market is a street food festival in Philly sponsored by The Food Trust, featuring the best food trucks and restaurants in Philly.  The goal is to “celebrate up-and-coming neighborhoods and showcase Philadelphia’s diverse food and drinks and vibrant arts and culture scene”.  Sounds like a good time to me!

With so many booths and trucks to visit, the three of us (along with some of our other regulars- Mike and Mer) decided to grab one item from the trucks with the shortest lines and share everything in order to try as many things as possible!  We ended up doing really well and left VERY FULL of delicious Philly food.  Here we go:

1.  Bloody Mary with Old Bay Vodka

2.  Homemade Gnocchi, Mamma Maria’s

3.  Black Garlic Wings, Cheu Noodle Bar

4.  Sausage Cheesesteak on a Pretzel Roll, Alla Spina

5.  Hard Cider, Frecon’s Cidery

6.  Roast Pork Sandwich, Esposito’s Porchetta

7.  BBQ Chicken & Cheddar Egg Roll, Foo Truck

8.  Braised Meatball Wrap, Foo Truck

9.  Pizza, Nomad Pizza

10.  Coconut Hibiscus Popsicle, Lil’ Pop Shop

WHEW!  Okay, now time to drool!

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The boys waiting in line 🙂

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Gorgeous night at the Night Market!  Look at the crowd, soooo many people!

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My 15 Minutes of Fame

Here I think I am… writing about a meal I had at a food truck because I’m so busy with moving that I have no time to cook.  Little did I know that this little post about the fabulous Thai-Mexican Mashup Food Truck, Cucina Zapata… would lead to my 15 minutes of fame.  That is- as long as it makes it to the final cut.

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Today I got to be interviewed along with my new blogging friend Amanda (Amanda’s Blog ) for a show on Food Network & Cooking Channel called Eat St.  We got to order some tacos, curry, and their famous Captain Crunch Crusted Tilapia Burrito and talk about it!  I even got to bring my fellow blogging bff Allie (you should know her by now but… Allie’s Blog)!  We had a lot of fun chatting with fellow C.Z. lovers, hoping we will get to be on the episode.  Keep your fingers crossed!  

In honor of this amazing food truck and special opportunity, here is my post about Cucina Zapata!  

 

It’s about time.  I finally live in the city… and I finally got to eat at a food truck!

The only problem is- I think I’m hooked!  If only I worked in Philly too… hmmmmm…

Anyway, the Food Truck I decided to try was Cucina Zapata in University City.  Cucina Zapata serves the most unbelievable tacos- Thai style.  Just look at their Twitter account profile… “Remember when you were like, Damn, I could go for some Thai food…..in a taco. Well, here it is. You’re welcome.”  That really explains what they’re all about!

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I decided to try the daily Curry, which was Veggie Red Curry at the time.  I also wanted to try a taco, so I went with the Short Rib… really how could I pass that up?

Like, OMG this stuff is spectacular.  Check it out!

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I could NOT believe how much food it was too.  The curry was so hearty and spicy and was served with a whole bunch of Jasmine Rice.  The taco was just pure heaven.  Stuffed with tender meat, fresh veggies like tomatoes, cabbage, and avocado… even just one would be enough for my entire lunch!  YUM!

I absolutely cannot wait to go back… I may have to drive all the way out to University City to try more Thai Tacos!

Follow them on Twitter to see what kind of specials they have everyday!  @Cucina_Zapata

SOWE Restaurant & Bar, Philadelphia (Take 2)

Anyone who knows me personally will be able to back me up on this…

I LOVE my birthday.  June 23rd.  It’s the best day of the year, my favorite holiday, and always bound to be an awesome time.

I don’t see a reason holding me back from talking about that day… two months later!  Why not?!

This year’s birthday was a little bit more tame than our parties in Atlantic City in the past… there was a lot going on this year around that week.  First, I had been cramming and studying every night for my exam I needed to pass for my new job.  Then there was extra stress at work leaving the old job.  There were also some other things too.  It just wasn’t a great time to go party.  So we ate instead.  And ate and ate.

June 23rd is always a fun day.

June 23rd is always a fun day.

I am one lucky girl- BOTH of our families joined Dave and I for brunch for my big day this year, and they came to us… in the city!  YAY!  Picking a spot that could take us all, that wasn’t crazy expensive and had something for everyone to enjoy was tough.  I was excited to come across one of my favorite neighborhood bar/restaurants and realized, hey- I haven’t had their brunch yet!  I picked SOWE Restaurant & Bar as my birthday brunch spot.  What a great decision.

SOWE held our reservation for 7 and saved us a table outside on the gorgeous day.  We ordered some coffees and bloody marys and were surprised by our FABULOUS server with a “happy birthday” on-the-house bottomless Bloody Mary pitcher instead.  Amazing!

I also have to mention that this was the second day I had my brand new camera!  I was so excited to snap some photos of our delicious meal and our pretty faces 🙂

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SoWe has a great bloody!

SoWe has a great bloody!

Here’s the lineup of what we ordered:

We started off by sharing the irresisitable Bacon Beignets (Brown Butter Caramel, Candied Bacon… oh my) for the table to share.

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The Birthday Girl and Mom got the Crab Cake Eggs Benedict (Two Poached Eggs Served Over Pan Fried Green Tomatoes, Creole Remoulade, Brunch Potatoes)

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Chopped Salad (Romaine Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Hard-Cooked Eggs, Haricot Vert,
Cucumber, Radish, Red Onion, Tomato, Crispy Chickpeas, and Creamy Honey-Lime Dressing)

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SoWe Burger (Half-Pound Angus Burger, Fried Peppers & Onions, Sharp Cheddar,
Naturally Smoked Applewood Bacon, Horseradish Mayo on Brioche) – also happens to be one of my very favorite burgers in the whole city!

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Grilled Cheese (Fontina, Sharp Cheddar, Heirloom Tomato and Bacon on Sourdough)

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Grilled Chicken Sandwich, and last but not least Peanut Butter n Jelly Pancakes (omg)!

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The whole crew had such a wonderful meal which made for an even better birthday!  Thanks for the Birthday Love SOWE!

Brick American Eatery, Philadelphia

I know I’ve been MIA for what seems like forever now.  Sorry I’m not sorry!  I’ve been super busy this summer doing some life-changing things.  And I’m not talking about trying some new mind-blowing mac and cheese or the newest dessert fad.  I’m talking actual life changing.

Over the past two months, I have been busy getting myself started with a new career!  I studied my tush off and got my license to sell insurance.  I am working for a company who sells health/life/supps to individuals.  So, hopefully I’ll be helping people and making money finally!  It was a lot of hard work learning something totally new, but I am very excited to start this new chapter in my life.

Not only did I change careers over the past two months, but Dave and I just got back last week from our adventure in Ecuador!  We saw and did so many amazing things.  We went hiking in the Andes, explored Quito the capital, went rafting in Banos, and saw some pretty outrageous creatures in the Amazon Jungle.  I can’t wait to have a good chunk of time available to sit down and write about it for you… we also were able to bring my brand spankin’ new camera and took so many beautiful pictures.

You’ll just have to wait on that because today I want to tell you about our last date night in Philly, which just happened to be the night we were celebrating my passing the licensing exam.

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Dave and I have been itching to try Brick American Eatery in Philly for some time now… after hearing rave reviews from a friend and seeing the same of their Yelp page, we decided to buy a local groupon deal for here.  The funny thing is, we were all ready to go earlier in the summer, walked there in the rain, and had to turn around and go back when we got there- the restaurant had lost power in the storm!  I’m glad we went when we did because it was the perfect place to celebrate my birthday, my passing the exam, and my first time using my new camera.  🙂

Our deal allowed for us to get two small plates/apps, two entrees, and two drinks.

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What was perfect about going on this night was the beautiful weather that allowed us to sit outside:  not too hot, not too windy, not too humid… it was just right.  We started off with two fabulous drinks- I ordered the Peach Palmer (Iced Tea Vodka with Lemonade and muddled Peaches) and Dave went with the Brick Manhattan (Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Carpano Antica Formula, Whiskey Soaked Cherry).

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For our first course, we were just dying to try the special- Smoked Salmon Spring Rolls.  They were so different and absolutely yummy.  Crunchy and warm with a creamy sauce, we devoured these spring rolls right away.  We also ordered the Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Flat Bread which had a thin crispy crust and was topped with peppery Arugula and warm Roasted Tomatoes.  Y-U-M!

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It was so hard to decide on the  main courses since they all sounded so good.  First, we chose the Sea Scallops (Beets, white beans, sun-dried tomato & rosemary cream).  We also were talked into (it didn’t take much I have to add) trying the Lamb Burger, as this Brick specialty was in the running for Philly’s Best Burger.  I obviously had to try it.

The Scallops were excellent.  I would also have to agree that the Lamb Burger should be on the list as one of the best burgers in Philly.  The juicy, flavorful Lamb Burger is topped with Spicy Onion Jam, Manchego Cheese, Worcestershire, and Mayo.

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Looking at these picture is making me hungry right now…

Well, my friends, it is nice to be back!  Thanks for sticking by despite my neglecting you for the last month.  🙂

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Loving this new camera too!

Zahav, Philadelphia

So, it’s only been about six months since I had my amazing experience at Zahav for restaurant week in Philadelphia.  At first, I was avoiding writing this post because I knew it would just make me want to go back.  Then, when I went to write about it, I realized the only picture I forgot to take was of the most outrageous thing we ordered (you’ll find out soon what that was)… BOO!  But as my monthly dinner with my girlfriends is coming up this week, I decided that it’s been way too long and I just couldn’t keep this one from you any longer.

Let me tell you a little bit about Zahav… it is a beautiful modern Israel restaurant located in Society Hill in Philadelphia.  The chef and owner Michael Solomonov was born in Israel, raised in Pittsburgh, and learned how to cook back in Israel.  He really brings something special to the Philly restaurant scene.

I went to Zahav for restaurant week which was a great idea.  When I go out with my girlfriends, we try to order as many things as possible and share everything.  It’s always so much fun.  Since Zahav is pretty expensive, going for restaurant week was the perfect thing for us to do- we EACH got to pick two starters, one main dish, and one dessert.

In addition to the menu that we got to choose from, Zahav provided us with Salatim (SEVEN different salads), Hummus, and Fresh Laffa.  The laffa is similar to flat bread or Naan but is lighter, fluffier, and pretty much the most delicious thing ever.  I have been craving Laffa bread since discovering it in Israel, and Zahav totally gets it right.  I’d come back to Zahav just to get this part of the meal.  Everything was so good.

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We also ordered a pitcher of their signature drink, Lemonnana which also reminded me of Israel.  The drink was refreshing and sweet- Jim Beam, Muddled Mint, Fresh Lemon, and Verbena.

After some serious decision making and friendly debate, we picked out our order.  Now, you wouldn’t normally have debate when ordering food, right?  Well this debate was over a very interesting item on the menu:  Grilled Duck Hearts.  Before you click away in disgust… remember I mentioned that I messed up and forgot to photograph the most interesting thing we ordered!  The Duck Hearts (prepared with Date Tehina, Crispy Onions, and Stone Fruit).  It doesn’t get more interesting than that.  Ricki convinced Mer and I to try them, and we finally gave in.  We did try them, but I honestly did not like them at all!  Our bravery was rewarded though, with several other amazing dishes that we had shared.  Try not to drool!

Crispy Haloumi
Dates, walnuts, apple

Fried Cauliflower
Labaneh with chive, dill, mint and garlic

Marinated Brussel Sprouts
Whipped feta, babaganoush, sumac

Beef Cheek Pastilla
Braised greens, coffee

Kofte
Ground beef and lamb, cumin, peppers, carrots

Hanger Steak
Eggplant two ways, sesame, pine nuts

Merguez
Ground lamb, figs, shallots, cilantro

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Everything was amazing.  I especially enjoyed the Haloumi and will now be on the lookout for this cheese at other restaurants too.  

As if all of these dishes weren’t enough (We were STUFFED at this point), we each got to pick a dessert.  Ricki, who has been to Zahav several times, had been absolutely raving about the Halvah Mousse, so we ordered that along with the Konafi and Rugelach.  All three were outstanding.  Totally worth the calories, and worth the trip… for sure.  And Ricki was right, the Halvah Mousse was the star. 

Halvah Mousse
Chickpea praline, berries

Konafi
Ricotta, apples, labaneh ice cream

Rugelach
Hazelnut praline, date puree

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I was right about something too…  I am now having some serious cravings for Zahav.  I knew this would happen!  

Zahav actually offers the same type of menu on a daily basis, for $39pp… so you can do this too even though it’s not restaurant week!  Hint, hint… boyfriend.

So Crêpe, Philadelphia

 

So cute.

So delicious.

So affordable.

(sorry, I just had to!)

So Crêpe is an adorable little BYOB restaurant on South Street that just opened up this past fall.  They serve both savory and sweet varieties of crepes, all using fresh and natural ingredients.  The crepes are even made with whole wheat or buckwheat, depending on what type you get.

Dave and I stumbled across So Crêpe on our walk home from the subway this past weekend.  What a lovely addition to our neighborhood!  We both decided on trying the “So Smoked” Crepe since we were stopping in for breakfast.

The So Smoked was a huge, and soooo yummy buckwheat crepe stuffed with smoked salmon, avocado slices, sour cream and chives.  MMM!  I couldn’t believe how much salmon was in there for only $8.50 each.  If only we saved enough room in our bellies to try a sweet crepe!

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I also do want to mention that the staff were just fabulous.  I loved how the kitchen was open and directly in the center of the restaurant.  The chefs chatted with us the whole time and I always like being able to watch them make the food.  I cannot wait to come back here and highly recommend it to anyone in the area 🙂

 

Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat on South

Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat is a very popular spot in Philly that just opened up a new location two blocks away from my apartment.  Honey’s is not only famous for their delicious brunch menu, but for their LONG wait.  The menu is a mix of classic Comfort & Jewish food creating some seriously tough decisions when ordering.  

Not to be cheap on a post here… but I think that my Yelp Review of the new Honey’s in my hood says everything that needs to be said.  This place rocks.  I’ll get to the point and tell you all about it: 

Alright… I’ll admit, this place is absolutely worth the hype.  Isn’t that so annoying?!

I’ve been trash talking the new Honey’s on South & 21st since opening weekend.  Really… I was just jealous walking by the CONSTANTLY packed restaurant having never been there.  Every single time I tried to go for brunch, the wait was at least an hour and a half, which is completely not do-able for this girl… since I’m starving about ten minutes after I wake up.

Easter morning seemed like an appropriate time to try it out, and I was right.  We were seated immediately (mind you, it was still only about 10:30)!

Atmosphere:  The restaurant is great, I love the decor, love the chalkboard displaying the specials, and the windows on south and 21st provide so much natural light… it was just gorgeous on a sunny Sunday morning.  There’s also four types of hot sauces and other condiments on the table so I was pretty much in love at first sight.

Look at all the condiments!! We were in heaven.

Look at all the condiments!! We were in heaven.

Service:  Constant refill of water and coffee is typically how I judge service for brunch, and Honey’s had this down to a science!  Our server was also very sweet and friendly.

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Food:  De-freakin-lish.  SO GOOD!  I decided to get an omelet rather than one of the specialties (which ill get next time) because I wanted to try the sides- Home Fries & Biscuit.  Boyfriend did the same but got the Latke.  Sides were so good.  Home Fries and Latke were both great but you HAVE to get a Biscuit and slather it with the softened butter on the table and strawberry preserves.  YUM!  I got a Spinach, American Cheese, and Sausage Omelet which I’d say is the best I’ve had.  Cooked perfectly and the type with the toppings mixed in (my fav) and the Sausage was a great choice- it caught my attention because it is homemade and I was very impressed.

One of the best Omelets out there, I love when the toppings are mixed in and not just in the middle of the cooked egg.  Mine had Spinach, Sausage, and Cheese.

One of the best Omelets out there, I love when the toppings are mixed in and not just in the middle of the cooked egg. Mine had Spinach, Sausage, and Cheese.

Dave's Omelet:  Spinach, Chorizo, and Cheese.  YUM!  He also ordered the Latke as a side which was perfectly crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle.

Dave’s Omelet: Spinach, Chorizo, and Cheese. YUM! He also ordered the Latke as a side which was perfectly crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle.

The Biscuits were so tasty with the fresh strawberry preserves on the table.

The Biscuits were so tasty with the fresh strawberry preserves on the table.

Overall, Honey’s is going to be a favorite of mine for a while, I think.  If you are dying to try it, like I was… I highly recommend sucking it up and waking up early to go so you don’t have to wait.

Visit Honey’s Sit ‘n Eat on South

21st & South Street, Philadelphia PA

Wonder where else we’ve done brunch so far?  Check it out!

Silk City

Silk City

Day by Day

Day by Day

Sabrina's Cafe

Sabrina’s Cafe