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 🙂

P1000620

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.

P1000627

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

P1000634

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

P1000635

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!

P1000639

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

P1000637

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

P1000636

P1000638

 

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

C19 Cichetteria Venezia, Philadelphia

Dave and I are in a very serious competition right now.  I mean, a lot is at stake here.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this to you in the past year or not, but Dave and I are using a heart rate monitoring program with my gym called “MyZone”.  Without going completely into the schpeel, MyZone is a belt you wear while working out that measures your heart rate.  Depending on your age, gender, weight, height, and resting/max heart rates, the program will design personal heart rate zones that apply to only you.  Each zone is designated a color (the prettiest and best part of this) and a point value for those zones depending on how hard your working, or your effort.  Since it’s all personalized, the points make it possible to compare workouts to people who are different than you (you know, since guys burn a ton more calories than girls… heavier people than skinny people, etc).

You get your own website to keep track of your workouts and your progress.  This program has absolutely helped me step up my workout game and in turn, helped me lose a lot of weight.

If you’re still following… Dave and I are currently in a MyZone challenge against each other to see who gets the most MyZone Points in March (aka who is working out the most or hardest).  The loser has to take the winner out on a date night in April planned by the winner.  Like I said… a lot is at stake here.

Here's what a Kickboxing class looks like on the MyZone system.  Blue to Green to Yellow is least to most effort exerted.  Great workout, right?

Here’s what a Kickboxing class looks like on the MyZone system. Blue to Green to Yellow is least to most effort exerted. Great workout, right?

Our current standings are:  Beth @ 3153 & Dave @ 3043.  I’m barely holding onto my lead!  You could hardly tell I want to be the winner and choose date night 🙂

Just Stelly saying bye before we leave for our date night!

Just Stelly saying bye before we leave for our date night!

Our last date night was also chosen by me.  I took Dave to a restaurant near where we live called C19 Cichetteria Venezia.  I had actually been to C19 for a happy hour dinner with a group of girls- loved it, and have been telling Dave we have to go since.

C19 is a medium-sized restaurant specializing in fresh, seasonal, Venetian-Inspired cuisine.  It has a bunch of tables in a room with the bar, and then larger tables in the back.  The walls are covered with Italian words that are beautifully hand-painted.  While it has that darker, romantic feel it also is a little funky with the bar covered in orange and red tiles, making it a great spot for happy hour, a date, or just a nice dinner out with friends.

I do also have to mention how wonderful the service is here.  You can tell that the service works as a team, as someone will fill up your water, someone else will take your order and serve your food, another person will clear your plate, and about two other people will check in on you and make sure you’re okay.  Everyone is super friendly and you can tell how much they love the food (and drinks!).

My friend from Penn State, Elisa, and her husband go here all the time and told me to introduce myself to the manager, Kevin.  I had done this during my first visit but it was months before and I figured I should just do the same again.  Once I introduced myself, Kevin not only stopped by to chat about some new items on the menu… but he remembered me.  He remembered who I was with (a bunch of CHOP doctors… lucky girl, right?) and where we were sitting.  Whoa.  Now you have to believe me about the great personalized service here, right?  (Elisa will also tell you a story about a time they asked about a dessert no longer on the menu.  The C19 team went out to buy the ingredients and re-created it for them that night.  WOW!!!!)

Anyway, let me get onto our actual meal.  My tummy is grumbling just thinking about it.  

We started our date night off right with a spicy, sweet, and very creatively named cocktail, Catching Fire.  Adorable, right?  The drink was so good.  Here’s what was in it:   Hornitos reposado infused with jalapeño, passion fruit, fresh lime, combier l’original, hibiscus salt rim.  I probably shouldn’t admit that between Dave and I, we ordered three of these babies!  Worth the splurge, for sure.

Just the perfect amount of spicy, sour, and sweet.  The flash made it look yellow, lol.

Just the perfect amount of spicy, sour, and sweet. The flash made it look yellow, lol.

As soon as our drinks arrived, we ordered our meal and were brought a wooden bowl of olive oil and grilled bread.  It was even still warm… mmm!

After some careful deliberation the starters that we chose for the night were the Pork Belly Brasato & the Roasted Tomato Gnocchi.  Both of us have a hard time passing up a pork belly dish (complete with radicchio, pine nuts, and raisins), so that was an obvious choice.  The Roasted Tomato Gnocchi (served with Duck Ragu & Spinach Pesto) sounded so delicious.  I had to pick it because it was recently added to the menu, but also because C19 is famous for their light and fluffy homemade gnocchi.  Mmmmm… getting hungry yet?!

The Pork Belly with its accompaniments.  One hell of a way to start a meal.

The Pork Belly with its accompaniments. One hell of a way to start a meal.

Perfectly soft gnocchi... loved this.

Perfectly soft gnocchi… loved this.

Next up, we ordered a pizza and a pasta.  I remembered from my first visit to C19 that their pasta is soooo good… fresh and homemade.  It’s hard to resist.  I had never tried the pizza, but we decided to try the Dry Aged Venetian Meatballs on the pizza instead of as an appetizer.  I told you our ordering was thought out.  The pizza we picked had the meatballs, Polpette Mozzarella, and fresh Basil.  The crust was light and crispy, my favorite kind.  Of course the pasta we ordered was the one with Spicy Marinara.  There was some house-cured Pancetta in there too… and I only sort of stumbled over the name “Pasta A’Matriciana“.  Totally didn’t make an ass out of myself.  Don’t you worry.

Saucy & fresh pasta.  So good. This was the large portion, but you could also get a small one to taste test.

Saucy & fresh pasta. So good. This was the large portion, but you could also get a small one to taste test.

Check out this pizza... sooooo good.  The meatballs are fab.

Check out this pizza… sooooo good. The meatballs are fab.

This would have been the perfect place to end a night with delicious cocktails and dinner… but when our server came over to tell us about dessert… I just could not resist!  I am on a Tiramisu kick and C19 seemed like a great restaurant to try it.  I think something like “oh my goddddd” came out of my mouth with every bite going in.  It. was. SO. GOOD.  

Nom nom nom!! Look how creamy this Tiramisu is.  I think I've found a favorite dessert... Tiramisu tour of Philly, anyone?

Nom nom nom!! Look how creamy this Tiramisu is. I think I’ve found a favorite dessert… Tiramisu tour of Philly, anyone?

So, if you’re looking for a nice neighborhood restaurant… try C19.  The Venetian food and huge selection of wines and creative cocktails are some of the best in town.  C19 will also have you coming back for more and often, as they change their menu weekly depending on what fresh local ingredients are available.  And if you go, tell Kevin “hi”… and expect him to remember you!

The Cambridge, Philadelphia

I think we’ve found our new favorite neighborhood spot.  Okay, so it’s not quite in our ‘hood but it’s close enough and I KNOW we’ll be there all the time.

After a great afternoon workout, Dave and I were not in the mood to go home and cook.  We decided to go out to dinner but were inspired to try something new.  I am even more excited about our discovery of The Cambridge on South Street because Dave picked it out… 🙂

First of all, the atmosphere was great.  Casual but comfortable with dark lighting, wood tables and a long bench going down the side of the restaurant.  There are also a few tables in the window looking out onto the street which are probably a great spot to people watch for brunch.  The service was also wonderful, with our waiter checking on us pretty often and other staff re-filling waters and clearing places when necessary.  HUGE plus.

One of the reasons I absolutely love this restaurant is the draft beer list.  It was so hard to pick with an entire menu page of current drafts on tap… but Dave and I decided to get two pretty interesting choices:  the Tres Blueberry Stout by Dark Horse Brewing Co. & 21st Amendment’s Sneak Attack.  I really enjoyed both!  The beer list also includes what’s coming up next to make you want more… what a smart move!

We ordered the Pierogie of the day which was a potato and caramelized onion base stuffed with Buffalo Chicken.  We obviously had to try it out once we heard about the buff chick.  The Pierogies were perfectly hot and crispy and were resting on a plank topped with hot sauce and blue cheese.  The filling was sooo tasty and it was fun to share and dip into the sauces.  We were left seriously wishing for more, since there were only three!

For our meal, both of us ordered the same thing:  The Porker Burger.  We RARELY ever order the same thing at a restaurant.  I typically convince Dave to do a splitsies with me so I can try more things.  LOL.  Well, once you hear what this burger involves, I think you’ll understand too.

The porker burger was super yummy… it is a 24-Hr Brined Hand Ground Pork burger with roasted Long Hot Peppers, Broccoli Rabe, & melty Sharp Prov.  What an awesome take on a Philly classic, right?  The roll was surprisingly the cherry ontop… covered in poppy seeds and so delicious!  The burger also came with their house cut fries which were on par with everything else… YUM!

I’m already trying to figure out the next time we can stop by for a delicious beer and to try out more food… their brunch menu sounds AMAZING!!  Who’s in?!

Crispy outside & soooo creamy inside!

Crispy outside & soooo creamy inside!

YUM!  Amazing flavor combination going on here... You've got the yummy pork, the spicy peppers, bitter broccoli rabe, and creamy prov.  All in one!

YUM! Amazing flavor combination going on here… You’ve got the yummy pork, the spicy peppers, bitter broccoli rabe, and creamy prov. All in one!

photo 3 (13)

Have you been to The Cambridge yet?  … or any of these other Philly spots??

Modo Mio , SoWe Restaurant & Bar Devon Seafood Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace Han Dynasty , Radicchio Cafe Amada , Silk City

Don’t forget to FOLLOW me on FACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAM, & PINTEREST!

SoWe Restaurant & Bar

A requirement of Dave’s when we decided to move was that we had to have a neighborhood bar.  After living in a residential area for two years in his old apartment, he was ready to live somewhere he could walk home from.  You know, a bar where everybody knows your name… that sort of thing.

In the month we’ve lived in the city, we’ve found tons of great restaurants and bars in walking distance from our apartment.  We’re loving the city life.  Of course it took Dave going away for a boys weekend for me to discover what I think will be one of our very favorite neighborhood bars.  Sorry Dave!  We’ll just have to go back!

I took a walk with my friend Emily down the street to SoWe Restaurant and Bar for dinner this past weekend.  We knew it was going to be a great place when I saw the specials written on a pig shaped chalkboard.

We started the meal off with drinks from the cocktail list.  Emily ordered the Fall Fiz (Vodka, Dried Cranberries, Ginger) and I chose to get the Gazer (Hendricks Gin, White Cranberry, St. Germaine, and Cucumber) at the recommendation of our server.  We really liked both of our drinks.  Both drinks were refreshing and not too sweet.  They were pretty too, mine with a light green color and Em’s with bright red cranberries covering the bottom.

For starters, we ordered the Brussel Sprouts and Sweet Potato Fries.  The fries were so good, fresh and cooked to perfection with sea salt and an amazing sweet maple dipping sauce.  The Brussels are cooked with Bacon and Red Bell Peppers in Balsamic Vinegar.  I could eat like three servings of these.  YUM!

I. Love. BRUSSELS.  Especially when they're cooked with Bacon.  MMM

I. Love. BRUSSELS. Especially when they’re cooked with Bacon. MMM

Crispy Sweet Po Fries

Crispy Sweet Po Fries

Next up, Emily ordered the special appetizer of the night for her entree- Fish Tacos.  They sounded too good to pass up!  Em loved the fish tacos which were stuffed with grilled Tilapia, Mango Salsa, and a creamy Jalapeno sauce.  I couldn’t resist trying out the SoWe Burger after seeing someone else’s picture of it on Yelp.  The fries were amazing.  I somehow managed to cut my burger and take half home since it was so incredibly massive (a feat i attempt often but rarely accomplish).  The signature 1/2lb burger comes on a toasted brioche bun.  It’s stuffed with fried Peppers and Onions, Sharp Cheddar, Smoked Bacon, and a delicious Horseradish Mayo.  This is a burger you do not want to miss.  OMG!

Wish this was on the menu, not just a special

Wish this was on the menu, not just a special

Everything about this burger was delicious!  Aghghhhh YUM

Everything about this burger was delicious! Aghghhhh YUM

I think we did a pretty good job of finding a great neighborhood bar with yummy food and drinks!  The atmosphere was laid back and the service was great.  SoWe is a place I’ll definitely be coming back to… I’m thinkin’ next time for some Tuesday $1 Oysters and Quizzo!

Have you been here before?  Check out these other great Restaurant/Bars!

Devil's Alley, Center City Philly

Devil’s Alley, Center City Philly

Manayunk Tavern, Manayunk

Manayunk Tavern, Manayunk

Silk City, Northern Liberties Philly

Silk City, Northern Liberties Philly

Sampan

When Mer asked me if I had ever been to the famous, fancy, delicious Asian restaurant, Sampan… I thought she was crazy.  I tried to explain to her that it’s pretty good but that it was just normal Chinese food… nothing special?  Mer was convinced she heard it was pretty spectacular… so I decided to go to my dear friend, GOOGLE.

Apparently… Sampan is indeed a fancy Asian restaurant downtown, not just the neighborhood place I grew up walking to.

1 point Mer.  0 points Beth.

Once I glanced at the menu, I was sold.  Mer… we’re so in!

We ended up going for Happy Hour on Wednesday for Center City SIPS with both of our guys (Dave and Mike) and their friend Lee.

The Happy Hour Menu is sorta like asian tapas.  Everything is from $3-$5.  Here’s what we picked out (and a fabulous ordering job done by Mer):

Korean BBQ Beef Satay:  Short Rib, Kim Chee, Ginger
Edamame Dumpling:  Truffle, Pea Shoot, Sake Broth
Pork Potsticker:  Kim Chee, Scallion, Shallot
Kobe Slider:  Soy, Swiss, Brioche
Kobe Hot Dog:  Smoked Mustard, Brioche
Pork Bao Bun:  Shallot, Pork Belly, Mint
Chicken Bao Bun:  Chili Sauce, Shallot, Sweet Basil
Kim Chee Fried Rice:  Shrimp, Shallot, Sunny Side Egg

Kobe Hot Dogs… 3 orders! I wished there was more mustard and maybe some kind of topping?

While I was most excited for the Kobe Hot Dog, that was probably the biggest disappointment.  I mean, it was a great hot dog and all… but there wasn’t much to it.  The biggest surprise was the Kim Chee Fried Rice… omg it was heavenly.

The server popped the egg and mixed up the rice for us tableside.

Closeup of the Fried Rice

I had some great expectations for the Edamame Dumplings due to tons and tons of Yelp reviews, and they lived up to their high standards.  The dumpling was really light while the edamame filling was super creamy.

Now, for the great “Bao Bun” challenge… which is better the Pork or the Chicken?  Dave and I are not really into pork so we were thinking the chicken would be better.  I tried the chicken first and thought there was NO WAY the pork could beat this.  It was soooooooo good.

Chicken Bao Buns

Winner, winner, Pork Bao Bun dinner!

Well, let me tell you… the next bite I had was the Pork Bao Bun and it was even better.  Couldn’t believe it!  The sauce it’s cooked in is sweet and tangy and the pork has a really nice crispiness to it.  WOW.

Kobe sliders were great as they usually are.. Kobe anything really… right?

The Pork Potstickers were tasty but nothing special… I guess this is comparing them to the Edamame Dumplings!

Korean BBQ Beef Satay was one of the last things to come out… it was amazing but I was too full to really enjoy it as much as I should have.

Lee let us know that missing dessert wasn’t an option.  We ordered some kind of Peanut Butter Smores Pie… UM WOW.  We almost fought over it.  Not a drop was left on the plate.

We also ordered the Mini-Ice Cream Cones… we were pretty disappointed by these.  Although the “Vanilla-Twizzler” flavor was strangely dead-on to Twizzler… there were only two (despite the fact that there were 3 holes for cones in the holder they used) and they were like… really really really small.  Not big enough to share.

Mocha Chocolate & Vanilla Twizzler Ice Cream… YUM! I want more!

All in all, Sampan in PHILLY is pretty awesome.  The restaurant itself is “trendy” and would work for happy hour with friends, a date, or really anything.  AND, just a little tip for when you go: Lee told Mer and I to check the bathroom… instead of music playing they have classic movie quotes.  How perfect for us two filmies!

Oh, and anywhere that has Sriracha on the table is a fine place for me!

Devil’s Alley, Philadelphia

I have been avoiding writing this post for about a month.  Seriously… I went to this restaurant a month ago.  Why the wait, you wonder?

I have thought about writing this several times this month… but couldn’t commit to doing it, because that would mean that it really happened.  It can’t be over… it just can’t!  It was the best day… ever!

My best friend from Penn State, Melanie and I were given the rare opportunity to spend an afternoon together.

Mel and I have only spent a handful of days together over the past four years.  How much does that SUCK?!  With Melanie in school a year after I graduated, then moving to Butler, PA (outside of Pittsburgh), Rochester, NY… and now finally Fort Wayne, IN… it has been more than difficult for us to see each other.

We have learned to accept the fact that our friendship can survive and grow only talking on the phone… emails… texts… etc.  We’re so the relationship of “today”.  With all of this being said, I have learned to cherish the few moments we are able to spend together.  This afternoon in Philly being one of them.

On a beautiful day this May, Melanie flew into Philly for a friend’s Bridal Shower.  I picked her up from the airport and took her on a mini-tour through Philly and the suburbs and back to my house.  After a quick visit with the pups and changing outfits… Mel and I headed out downtown to spend the day together!

It happened to be the “Rittenhouse Row” Festival, where the street is blocked off for food, drink, and other vendors to celebrate spring!  Although it was awesome, it was way too crowded and hot… we decided to find a bar with good food so we could sit down and catch up- for real.

It was a GORGEOUS day, perfect for the Rittenhouse Row Festival

Mel and I ended up at Devil’s Alley in Center City, Philly.  I loved it here!  The atmosphere was really nice… we were at a table underneath a skylight and were not near anyone else.  It was perfect.  Despite the terrible service (our waiter basically forgot about us), and the slightly high prices, the food was fantastic, and our pitcher of Raspberry Mojito did not disappoint.

A PITCHER of a pretty delicious pink drink seemed super appropriate for the occasion.

I don’t need to delve into the details of our time together… it was absolutely the best day.  However… I do have to tell you about our meal!

Melanie and I (both extremely indecisive) split the Walnut-Breaded Chicken Tenders & the Chorizo Burger.  OMG YUM.  They both came with fries, one with Sweets and one with Regular.  The fries were to die for.  The food was to die for. As if this wasn’t enough… the dipping sauce for the chicken tenders was heavenly.

“tenders with dry rub spicy fries, coleslaw & jalapeño apple jelly” – These were some SERIOUS chicken fingers. OMG. Just delish. The “jelly” was freakin’ fantastic. We devoured it.

A Chorizo Burger… Yes- made with ground Chorizo Sausage & topped with a Fried Egg & Cheddar Cheese. Smothered in Sweet Po- Fries. WOW.

YUM!

The rest of the afternoon was quite an adventure, including a lost (and found) cell phone, forgotten luggage, missed trains, and a whole bunch of laughing!  I cannot wait until the next time I get to write to you about another time with one of my favorite people in the world!  🙂

Lovin’ havin Mel in Philly!!

… I will buy YOU a ferret …