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!

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

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!

Devon Seafood Grill

This weekend, I had the pleasure of celebrating my boyfriend Dave’s birthday at an amazing restaurant with his family.  Dave’s parents took us to Devon Seafood Grill– a beautiful restaurant overlooking Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.

We had such a great experience at Devon!  The food is absolutely outstanding, starting with the buttermilk biscuits that are hand delivered hot and fresh to the table (I had two!).  We ordered a bottle of wine for the table and tried out the Fried Calamari.  The calamari was hot and crispy and there was lots of fried jalapenos and carrots sprinkled around the calamari too.

What’s really awesome about Devon Seafood, is that the menu is printed every single day.  That means that they serve the freshest fish at all times.  There were so many types to choose from!  Our server was really attentive and was able to answer ALL of our questions about the different kinds of fish.  After a long time of deciding, we all picked our entrees:  the Swordfish (grilled), the Hawaiian Opah (Blackened), the Crabcakes, the Red Snapper (blackened), and the Blackened Chicken Penne Pasta.  There were so many other things I wanted to try too!

Everything was so yummy.  Dave and I split the Snapper and the famous Crab Cakes.  Besides being able to try two really yummy dishes, that meant that we got to have a few bites of FOUR different sides!  MMM!  We chose the Grilled Asparagus, the Roasted Cauliflower, the Yukon Mashed Potatoes, and the Parmesan Roasted Potatoes.

The Red Snapper (blackened) with Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes

The Red Snapper (blackened) with Roasted Cauliflower and Potatoes

The Opah with Sweet Potato Gratin (OMG) and Green Beans

The Opah with Sweet Potato Gratin (OMG) and Green Beans

Swordfish with Roasted Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus

Swordfish with Roasted Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus

Blackened Chicken Penne

Blackened Chicken Penne

... and finally the Crabcakes!  With Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus

… and finally the Crabcakes! With Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus

Devon Seafood was the perfect place to go as a family for a celebration dinner!  There was something on the menu for everyone and the food was fantastic.  The service was amazing too… and they accept reservations!  If you’re looking for a beautiful, nice restaurant with amazing food… look no further!  

*PS- Check in on Yelp when you go for FREE Calamari!!*

Check out a few other fav restaurants you might like…

Foxfire Restaurant @ the Stone Barn

Foxfire Restaurant @ the Stone Barn

Sampan in Philly

Sampan in Philly

 

Radicchio Cafe in Philly

Radicchio Cafe in Philly

 

 

 

Bistro La Baia

I’m finally deciding to write about this place in the hopes of putting some kind of good energy out in the atmosphere, inspiring someone to take us back here for dinner… and soon.  Parents… anyone…? 🙂

Bistro La Baia is a small little Italian BYO in Rittenhouse Square.  We actually came to BLB by accident!  My group of friends from my Israel tour and I had reservations at another Italian BYO nearby for 10 people at 9pm on a Saturday.  When we arrived at the restaurant and our reservations (which had been confirmed twice) had been “lost”… we thought we were screwed.  There were 10 of us at 9pm and we had come prepared with a TON of wine, where could we go?!

Then we found Bistro La Baia.  They had one big long table available and welcomed us with open arms.  At this point, it was clear this place was going to be a good one!

Eli & I enjoying our meal and some wine

Eli & I enjoying our meal and some wine

Donny & Lauren

Donny & Lauren

We started off with a few shared apps:  the Caesar Salad, the Mozzarella La Baia (mozzarella cheese with roasted peppers, tomatoes and basil), Grilled Calamari, and theFunghi Gratinati Con Gamberi- baked m ushrooms and shrimp with garlic parmesan cheese and herbs.

Love grilled calamari

Love grilled calamari

The mushrooms- fab

The mushrooms- fab

Tons of fresh Mozz

Tons of fresh Mozz

Both of the Daves sharing apps :)

Both of the Daves sharing apps 🙂

While everything was so yummy, the highlight was the mushrooms… wow!

For our entrees, some of us got pastas, some got the lamb chops, and some got chicken.  ALL of the pastas were fantastic-  Cooked perfectly al dente with deliciously rich and flavorful sauces.  MMM.

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Papardelle and Sausage

Papardelle and Sausage

My pasta... check out that portion size! OMG

My pasta… check out that portion size! OMG

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Pork Chops

The dish that was our absolute favorite though was the Lamb Chops… omgggg!  I wrote about this on my Yelp review, that these lamb chops converted my boyfriend Dave into a Lamb lover!  I have always liked them, but these were by far the best.  In fact, we’ve been trying to go back for the lamb chops ever since!

I could hardly snap a pic of Dave's Lamb chops before they were gone!

I could hardly snap a pic of Dave’s Lamb chops before they were gone!

So, if you’re in Philly looking for a great restaurant to go to… I would recommend BLB.  The cozy cash-only BYO has a great atmosphere where you’ll feel welcomed and comfortable while you shove your face with some wonderful, warm Italian food.

 

Check out these other great Philly spots:

Sabrina's Cafe

Sabrina’s Cafe

Stella

Stella

Alyan's Restaurant

Alyan’s Restaurant

 

 

 

Day by Day, Rittenhouse Sq Philly

Apparently I’m on a brunch tour of Philly.  While I’m loving it, it totally isn’t on purpose.  Or maybe it is.  First, Dave and I have ventured to Fairmount @ Sabrina’s, Northern Liberties @ Green Eggs Cafe & Silk City, and now this past weekend we found our way to the Rittenhouse Square area for a BYOB brunch at Day by Day.

My first impression of Day by Day was not exactly a great one.  My large group of 7 called and put our name on the list and was told to arrive at 12:30 (an hour wait).  We arrived at 12:30 on the dot and was told the wait would be another 30 minutes.  BOO!  We were starving.  After taking a deep breath and rubbing my grumbling tummy, my day (by day) was immediately brightened  by something called an “Apple Jawn”.  How Philly.  Adorable.  One of our friends saw that you could purchase pastries to go, so he bought us one of their Apple Fritters (Jawn, duh) and Iced Cinnamon Buns to split while we were waiting.  They were sweet, sticky, and so so good.  Iced pastries are definitely enough to keep me patient.

Outdoor Pastries while we waited… the perfect touch.

Everyone dig in!

Part of our group 🙂 These are the clowns I was telling you about from my Israel Trip! What a great weekend.

Soon after we finished attacking the pastries like vultures, we were called in for our table.  Day by Day is a BYOB spot, so we brought along a big bottle of champagne, some vodka and bloody mary mix.  We got a pitcher of fresh squeezed OJ to go along (only $10 for the entire thing, which was surprising) and started off on our drinks.  OH- how could I forget to mention, they serve my absolute fav La Columbe coffee.  In heaven.

Cups and cups and cups! Coffee, water, OJ, Bloody Mary, etc.

To start off, after ogling at the special menu posted outside, we all decided to split the Pumpkin Stuffed Challah French Toast.  “HOLLA”!  It was ridiculous.  YUMMMMM!  It was def too decadent for one person to eat, so each of us having a 1/2 of a slice was perfect.

Pumpkin Stuffed Challah French Toast… say whatttt?

So good!

I went against everything I believe in about brunch and ordered a lunch item.  Gasp!  I went with the BLT w/ Horseradish Mayo.  The sandwich comes as is for only $6.50, which is ridiculous for the amount of food you get.  They give you an option of +Avocado and +Fried Egg for $1 each.  Yes please!  They actually forgot my avocado, but once I saw the sandwich, it was all okay… it is freakin’ huge.  I had to eat the thing with a fork and knife.

Somehow this is considered a sandwich! My BLT w/ HorseyMayo

This only lasted one bite! But it sure did look good.

Dave ordered what I thought was the best thing I tried there; the Chorizo & Sweet Potato Hash.  OMG.  It’s even better than it sounds, and you can add Scrambed or Fried Eggs on top of that too.

The Chorizo Sweet Potato Hash w/ Scrambled Eggs and Toast

Some other notable decisions were the Potato Pancake Benedict with Smoked Salmon and Poached Eggs, Huevos Rancheros, and even just their Omelettes looked amazing.

So pretty- Smoked Salmon, Potato Latke Benedict

Our server was very attentive, good with coffee refills, and patient with our general 7-people-at-a-table obnoxiousness that comes with my group of friends.   He also happened to be wearing this Bill Murray shirt so we liked him even more: