Restaurant Rewind: Bday Dinner @ Rittenhouse Tavern

Jeez, 28 crept up on me quickly! I’m usually one of those gals that celebrates my birthMONTH rather than just my birthday, but this year intimate and minimal turned out to be a meaningful approach. I spent most of the day of my birth doing what I love most – cooking – from prepping & freezing portions of my BBQ beef & cauliflower rice stuffed collard greens as soon as I got out of bed to concocting late night Mexican hot dogs with some close friends. But my real foodie birthday celebration came Saturday night as Dre & I joined my family at one of the city’s newest fine dining spots – Rittenhouse Tavern.

I love reading the new restaurant hype in the Philly food scene but usually don’t play into it. I’d rather give a place some time to settle, and for Rittenhouse Tavern it didn’t seem to take long. Despite the pedigreed management & culinary staff at this Restaurant Associates-owned establishment and its prime location on the SE corner of Rittenhouse Square, most of what I’ve heard in its first couple months of service was word of mouth versus plugs on the typical food outlets – Foobooz, Grubstreet, Eater, etc. I take this as a good thing – PR shouldn’t make a restaurant, guest experience should (Yelp feedback of course being an exception) – and “on the street” talk amongst my hospitality & foodie friends was all recommendations & accolades.

Rarely would I notice or comment on my experience with a host/hostesses (unless it’s a bad one), but who knew a greeting and a walk to our table could be such a pleasure. The smiley hostess confirmed if we would still like to sit on the patio (of course we do!) and led us right to our seats. All night, on each trip to the ladies room, I encountered that smile. I think I have a new girl crush.

Now let’s get to the food – that’s what we’re here for, right? I had reviewed the menu a week before we went as I like to ponder what collection of items would give me the most diverse experience of the food. All of that went right out the door when the Farmer’s Market Tasting Menu hit my place-setting… SOLD!

NOTE: If there’s a tasting menu, get the tasting menu. Let the chef show off!

That being said, there was one thing from the standard menu that I couldn’t skip – the deviled eggs with pork scrapple. This wasn’t your typical deviled egg presentation, but the flavor was beyond expectations. I’m not usually a scrapple fan, but crispy, fried, & salty, it served as a perfect base for a swirl of deviled yolk mousse. I could eat 100 of these!

Keeping reading for more food love as I make my way through 5 courses with wine pairings from the Farmer’s Market Tasting Menu. Continue reading

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Status: Izumi

Headed for sushi at Izumi on Passyunk with my sister. Their sushi and non-sushi offerings are fan-fucking-tastic! Tuna tataki, please.

In Other News: Der Patty Melt

I’m about 12 episodes in to Dead Like Me, an unfortunately-demised series from Showtime, and loving every minute of it. The characters convene daily at Der Waffle House so there’s lots of food love on the show, especially surrounding the reaper boss, Rube. Can’t find a link to the awesome Rube food-montage from S01E12, so we’ll have to settle with one of my fave scenes from the show….

Der Patty Melt, my friends.

Quickie: Marathon Catering

I can’t believe it’s been 10 months still I started at Marathon. I’ve learned so much about how a family-run six-restaurant local chain with successful catering & private event departments functions and thrives. My role began as the Director of Sales & Marketing, but when our event planner left, I was tossed right back into the private events world and juggling many hats. There’s certainly pros and cons to every job, but I truly appreciate the times I get to let my talents shine. With the recent update of our catering menu, I had the opportunity to shoot some photos of the amazing food we deliver to Philadelphia businesses every day. Let’s eat!

Rise + Shine

Jay’s Hand-Cut Turkey Sandwich

 Market Salad

Sweet + Salty

I can’t speak of Marathon Catering & Events without a shout-out to my office ladies.
You bring (update: brought) sunshine into each of my work days! Thank you.

Marathon Catering & Private Events
215.561.0500 | www.eatmarathon.com/catering

Restaurant Rewind: Barbuzzo

The food was pretty outstanding. The Salted Caramel Budino is HEAVEN!

The service was fairly underwhelming – pretty typical during Restaurant Week.

The pictures sum it up.

Barbuzzo
110 S. 13th St. | Philadelphia, PA 19107 |215.546.9300
www.barbuzzo.com

Restaurant Rewind: The Very Best…

…Wiener Shop, that is! I grew up spinning on the counter stools at this Pottstown institution. While Sunshine & I love our shopping adventures at Zern’s in search of insanely cheap produce, Lebanon bologna & $1 vintage jewelry, it’s not necessarily a place we stay to eat. On our way out of town, we decided instead to stop for a bite at The Very Best, a downtown deli known for its chili dogs for almost 90 years. I LOVE their perfectly textured tangy chili atop a flat-top seared dog with raw onions & cheese (add mustard for an “everything dog”). With a side of macaroni salad, a fountain coke, & the debate over a slice of their homemade cakes, you can’t ask for a better greasy spoon lunch. It is still is one of the “very best” places to grab a bite in Pottstown…

The Very Best Counter Companion

The Very Best Chili Cheese Dog

The Very Best Aftermath

The Very Best Weiner Shop | Since 1921
252 East High St. | Pottstown, PA 19464 | 610-323-5224
http://www.theverybesthotdogs.com/

Weekend Update: Italian Market Festival

After our Spring Patio Brunch, Kerry came to scoop Tom, Dre, & me to join her at the Italian Market Festival. 9th Street was alive with South Philadelphians, music, arts, &, of course, amazing food! We settled our brunch over a few beers and perused our snack options. Dessert was up first! The Italian Market has always had a battle of the cannoli between Isgro Pasticceria on 10th & Christian and Termini Bros. on 7th & Dickinson. This day, Termini Bros. wins with their fresh “filled to order” cannoli! The cream was a cool, decadent on a hot South Philly day.

Termini Bros. Cannoli - Filled to order with a smile!

Termini Bros. Cannoli

Making our way back down 9th street, we relocated the impressive Trompo of marinated pork for some tasty Tacos al Pastor. Again, “to order” service with a smile!

Trompo of Al Pastor on the Italian Market

The spiced pork was moist & tender and brimmed with flavor & depth. What I was truly impressed by, however, were the tortillas. Each order didn’t just call for hand-shaved pork, but also hand-pressed & fresh grilled corn tortillas. To top them off, literally, were fresh cilantro, mango, and salsas. Taqueria Los Taquitos de Puebla (9th b/t Ellsworth & Federal Sts.) “officially” wins best tacos in Philly!

Tacos al Pastor

UPDATE: Special thanks to Drew Lazor, of CityPaper’s Mealticket food blog fame, for the shout-out! Without you, dude, we wouldn’t be able to do what we all do so well.

Italian Market + Food Love = Al Pastor Lust