Porcini, Philadelphia

August 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

Don’t even get me or any Philadelphian started on The Barnes Foundation–just watch The Art of The Steal and you will be outraged too. Since I attended high school near the Merion location, the former residence was a popular field trip destination. However, my mom had tickets and my brother was in from CA so the family was going to the new campus. The art is still incredible–an amazing collection of impressionist and post-impressionist work with the largest collection of Renoirs in the world. It should be an absolute top priority if you are planning a trip. After taking it all in, it was time for a great meal

We head to Porcini near Rittenhouse, a fabulous Italian BYO with melt-in-your-mouth handmade pastas. The space is very small and the tables get noisy, which I like. You’ll see the owners schmoozing the guests and it gives the all around feeling that you are at an enormous, Italian family dinner.

Mussels and Prosciutto con Melone. Perfect starters–both light, one sweet, one savory

Pulpo e Calamari. This was perfectly dressed with a light lemony olive oil but it went too quickly for our table.

I ordered the pasta special, penne arrabiata. This version had shrimp and even though it wasn’t the spiciest version I’ve had, the sauce is still delectable. I cleaned my plate.

Gnocchi con Salsiccia. I always think of gnocchi as so heavy but these little guys were so light and delicate. With the sausage though, the dish is definitely filling. More of that amazing tomato sauce.

Vitello Affumicato. The veal was thin and savory and so good, I don’t even think it needed the mozzarella, although I guess everything is better with cheese.

The entree special was halibut and it was perfectly cooked with just a light lemon-wine-caper sauce. Perfection

THIS is the star of the night. I forget the name but it translates to “a thousand clouds” and this was light was air with soft layers of crispy pastry and the sweetest creams you’ve ever tasted. I am a huge cannoli fan but they paled in comparison. Call ahead and see if they have it.

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Audrey Claire, Philadelphia

May 23, 2012 § Leave a comment

Continuing to log my time in Philadelphia, I have to recommend Audrey Claire. It is the most charming little BYO on a street of fairty tale brownstones. They call themselves, “Philadelphia’s own little slice of the West Village.” With open air windows, white washed walls and breezy atmosphere, you’ll feel transplanted to the Mediterranean. It is the perfect spot for a date, to gather with family, or a dinner with girlfriends (especially because it is BYO).

 

Not to mention the food is fresh, flavorful, even succulent! We started with the Grilled octopus w/ feta, salad and it was perfect—nice and light but the octopus was meaty and smokey. After watching 8 orders of mussels go by, we just had to taste. The mussels themselves were enormous and served in a bowl of delicious, spicy tomato broth for which we ordered an extra basket of bread. Finally, the pappardelle w/ portobello mushrooms—I have a weakness for pasta and this made me weak in the knees. The pasta was buttery and soft and the mushrooms were earthy, there was sautéed arugula to balance out the richness and my mom called the whole thing, “The best thing I’ve eaten in a long time.”

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival, Philadelphia

May 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

My trip back home to Philadelphia was timed very well as I got to catch the annual Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival. Each year, more than 50,000 visitors flood Rittenhouse park area (extends down 6 blocks) to take advantage of the music, food, fashion and arts festival.

The weather was downright gorgeous and even with a 3-month-old in tow (not my kid), we had an absolute blast. It’s so refreshing to walk around, uninhibited, beer-in-hand á la Bourbon Street as the area turns into one enormous outdoor café with restaurant booths from Philly staples (i.e. Di Bruno Bros), Steven Starr restaurants (i.e. El Rey) and yes, Philly’s own, not-yet-opened… Shake Shack! If you are thinking about taking a trip in the spring, you must plan your visit around this event. Unless it happens to rain, then you’re on your own.

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