A return to the old, yet it’s new…

I had a chance to eat at an old favorite recently – “Friday Saturday Sunday” in Philadelphia.  I have many memories at this place over the years, from dinners with old friends and family, to running into co-workers while there with friends and family.  The restaurant closed about a year ago, changed ownership, and underwent a transformative renovation.

I was nervous to return for fear that it wouldn’t compare to prior visits.  Boy was I wrong!  First of all, the space itself looks terrific.  It’s warm and inviting, but it still feels classy and special.

Second of all, the food was great.  I can even say I think that the food now is better than before.  The prior menu contained a lot of old favorites, which were great.  However, the new menu is food-forward but in a good way.

Fellow eater and I decided to indulge in the pasta special of the day, which was a lamb and goat cheese ravioli with sorrel mushrooms and pecorino cheese.  I’m not a lamb fan but this was delicious.  The pastas are made on premises and you can definitely tell.

FE had the escargot which he really enjoyed (I ate most of the pasta, sorry FE).  FE had filet mignon and I had the grilled shrimp with grits.  Both were excellent.  The shrimp was so flavorful that it didn’t even need the sauce that came with it.

We didn’t try dessert.  I wasn’t in love with any of the choices so I didn’t want to waste the calories.  The homemade ice cream sounded intriguing but I wasn’t wild about any of the daily flavors that were offered when I was there.  Definitely next time!

Finally, the service was stellar as usual.  I was happy to see that Mr. Connelly is still working there, and we were fortunate enough that he took care of us on this particular night.

I’m happy to highly recommend this restaurant, but please don’t swarm it so I can still get a reservation!

A return to the old, yet it’s new…

What I’ve been eating…

I have to confess, I was lucky enough to eat at Barclay Prime yet again recently.  I ate my usual and it was excellent (again).  I did have the coffee ice cream with chocolate brownie chunks this time, which was the special flavor of the day.  Wow.

I was also lucky enough to have a chance to eat at a brand new “fast casual” place called “Verts”.  Verts is on 16th Street between Market and Chestnut Streets in Philly (side of the 1601 Market building).  It just opened on 3/10.  I was walking by around lunchtime so I decided to stop in.  Apparently, half of the Philly lunch crowd had the same idea!  I was about the 25th person in line.  I decided to stick it out to see if it was worth it.  It was.  And p.s. the line moved quickly.

I ordered a rice bowl with falafel, cucumber and tomato salad, cabbage, pickled jalapeños, chickpeas, and red pepper seasoning.  I also had a side of pita chips and hummus.  I decided to go conservative since this was my first time here.  It was delicious.  The falafel was comparable to Naf Naf up the street (also very good).  The toppings were fresh and flavorful.  The jalapeños were so hot that my mouth was numb (also a good sign).

I can’t wait to go back and try the turkey and mushroom meatballs!

What I’ve been eating…

Another excellent meal at Barclay Prime

We had an impromptu “family party” at Barclay Prime in Philadelphia recently.  Fortunately, we were able to snag a last minute reservation in the lounge for our party of five.  Matt took care of us and as always, he went above and beyond in ensuring our comfort and satisfaction.

We had wagyu sliders, truffle mac and cheese, butterball potatoes, kale salad, roasted cauliflower, brussels sprouts, filet mignon, salmon, and ribeye.  Everything tasted great and the pace of the meal was perfect.

We ended the meal with two of the warm deep dish cookies, one with mint oreo ice cream and the other with chocolate chip ice cream.  Delicious!

Fortunately I’m going back with colleagues soon.

FYI the Patriot Parking garage around the corner on Chancellor Street offers validated parking for $17.

Another excellent meal at Barclay Prime

Great eats in Fort Lauderdale

Fellow eater and I spent some time in Fort Lauderdale recently.  We had some great meals so I wanted to share them with you.  I also wanted to memorialize them for the next time we visit.  Here they are in no particular order:

1.Asia Bay – This was our second visit to this Asian gem on a canal on Las Olas.  Las Olas is the main drag in the town.  There are many high end shops, bars, and restaurants.  We were lucky enough to sit outside at a table right on the canal.  We split the spicy tuna sushi and spring rolls, both of which were out of this world.  I had the shrimp fried rice, which had a nice kick to it.  I went with the medium spice level and that was plenty hot.  I was hoping to return for another meal but we ran out of time.

2.Steak 954 – We had both breakfast and dinner here.  This is a Stephen Starr place, somewhat similar to his Barclay Prime in Philadelphia.  The only discernible difference is the weather!  We sat outside overlooking A1A for both meals.  As with all Starr establishments I’ve been to, the service was impeccable and the ingredients were high quality.

I had the wagyu sliders and the scallops as my entree.  FE had a 22 0z. ribeye.  Everything was great.  We shared the ice cream sandwiches for dessert.  OK, OK, I ate most of them.  The red velvet cookies with cream cheese gelato and the gingersnaps with green tea were my favorites.

3.Hoffman’s Chocolates – This is an ice cream place and a chocolatier, also on Las Olas.  The stellar coffee ice cream was great.  I would go back just for that.

4.Kilwin’s – Another ice cream place and chocolatier, also on Las Olas.  The cookies n’cream on a homemade waffle cone was delicious.  FE had a chocolate-covered twinkie which FE thought was great.

5.Seasons 52 – Although this is a chain, we love this location.  The food is always terrific and the place has a great vibe because of the weather.  You can’t go wrong with any of the items here, especially the mini desserts!  I recommend the chocolate peanut butter one.

6.Serafina by the Water – This is an Italian restaurant located on a canal.  The setting is perfect – right on the canal along a row of docked yachts.  The portions are large so we didn’t order an appetizer.  I had the pappardelle bolognese and FE had king crab with squid ink pasta.  This was FE’s favorite dish of the week.  For dessert, we had chocolate mousse and tiramisu.

7.Angelo Elia Pizza – This appears to be a local chain.  We visited the Federal Highway location.  The pizza is fantastic and we shared the arancini appetizer.  We were too full for dessert there so we stopped at Whole Foods for cookies.

Great eats in Fort Lauderdale

Healthy eating in Philly…

A few new places that just opened or are on the horizon in Center City:

1.Real Food Eatery @ 16th and Walnut.  I haven’t tried this place yet but it looks great.  It looks like a Chipotle-style buffet for healthy food.  You pick a protein, a side, and 2 veggies, and there are salads as well.

2.Crisp Kitchen @ 19th and Market.  This place is under construction but the website is appealing.  It appears similar to Honeygrow, i.e. you order on a tablet and can choose a bowl or make your own.

3.Naf Naf @ 20th and Market.  I’ve written about this place before since it’s been in the works for a while.  Apparently, it’s a Middle Eastern concept, again with a Chipotle-style buffet.  I hope it opens by the end of the summer.

I promise to report back once I try them.  Happy eating!


Healthy eating in Philly…

Great meal at A Mano…

I had a great meal this week at a little BYOB gem in the Fairmount section of Philly.  I first heard about this place on FYI Philly and decided to give it a try.

The restaurant itself is beautiful.  The decor is simple with an open kitchen.  There are lots of deep grays and reclaimed wood.

A Mano is the real deal people!  All you can eat Olive Garden garbage it isn’t.  This is real Italian food, not the Italian-American junk you so often find in the USA.  The appetizer and pasta portions are on the small side but you can order a “double” of the pasta portions for a larger meal if you like.  The main dishes were large portions.

Fellow eater and I enjoyed the grilled octopus appetizer, tomato chitarra, lumachelle all’amatriciana, and the chicken milanese.  Everything was terrific.  I would definitely order all of these dishes again next time, though I’d like to try some of the others (I’m looking at you, calabrian seafood stew).

A Mano is located at 2244 Fairmount Avenue.  Keep in mind it is BYOB and cash only.  They have a really nice website at http://www.amanophilly.com.  Happy eating!


Great meal at A Mano…

Out and about in Philly…

So I was out and about in Philly recently and I wanted to mention some great eats I had.  I decided to visit an oldie but a goodie – The Continental in Old City – for lunch.  It was an idle weekday so I decided to stop in for lunch to see what it’s like to be a lady who lunches. It was amazing to see how crowded this place got, even at lunchtime.  I remember it teeming with people back in the day when I hung out there on the weekends but I figured weekday lunch would be dead.  I was wrong!  The food was great, as per the usual Stephen Starr fare.  I had the rad na which was served in a huge bowl and was delicious.  I declined dessert because I had other plans for that (more on that later).

I then ventured to Spruce Street Harbor Park to check it out.  What a cool place!  I imagine on weekends it’s insanely busy but on this particular weekday it was manageable.  They have some great food vendors, hammocks, deck chairs, and games.  My companion commented that if the city wants to compete in the global tourist trade, this is a great start.  I completely agree.

I then stopped at Shane’s Confectionary to check out the candy.  If you’re not familiar with it, Shane’s is an old time candy store in Old City that sells sweets of all kinds.  The shop itself is worth checking out to see all of the candy we ate when we were kids.  It was great to be there on a weekday because it was empty, so I could appreciate all of the goodies.  On the weekends when I’ve been there before, it’s very busy and thus harder to browse.  I went with the mint bark and a dark chocolate covered pretzel to take home for later.

Then it was time for dessert at The Franklin Fountain two doors down.  I believe this is owned by the same people who own Shane’s.  FF is an old time ice cream shop.  All of the ice cream is homemade.  There was still a line of people but it was definitely quicker than on a weekend.  I went for the chocolate chip which was delicious.

The capper of the trip was that we landed a parking space on the street and didn’t get a ticket!  Bravo.

Out and about in Philly…