Birthday in the City

May 18, 2010

Could I have asked for a better birthday? absolutely not. It was full of a lovely craft fair, visiting galleries, walking (and missing) the city, the franklin institute, and (of course) lots of amazing food.

(Tasha McKelvey‘s adorable table at the Art Star Craft Bazaar)

(Peg and Awl)

(KG + AB)

(I was so in love with this bowl  by PinkKiss Potery )

(Continental Mid-town)

(Small Favors V show at the Clay Studio)

(so in love with these lovely little dogs by Katie Parker)

(View from our dinner alone on the terrace at XIX)



Lunch at Parc

January 22, 2010

We decided to revist Parc for lunch after picking Frank up from the airport from his latest excursion for work.

I had a Lamb sandwich that left a bit of spicy kick in my mouth
and he had a “very good” cheeseburger.

and of course, the pommes frites were salty and addictive
…and I don’t even like french fries.

Out to eat…

January 19, 2010

Another lovely dinner in Positano Coast‘s Sopra Lounge before
boyface flew off for another job….

Positano Salad

Veal Tenderloin

Steak Bolognese & Whipped Potatoes


Chocolate Mousse

Pizzeria Stella

January 10, 2010

When it comes to Stephen Starr it seems everyone in Philly either loves him, or hates him. Personally, I’ve come to like him.

I love the imagination behind each restaurant. From old-school diner style to a french bistro to some sort of brady bunch living room inspired lounge, each one is unique and intruiging. They remind me of myself if I owned a restaurant empire (although, I must admit that sometimes I wish he would go even a little more overboard and see that every detail is unique and completely thought out – but hey I’m just crazy like that).

Pizzeria Stella is a definite Starr creation.

The name itself is charming. “Stella” is the italian word for “Star”. Very cute.

The moment I stepped in the door I could have easily closed my eyes and assumed I was in Lorenzo’s or Renzi’s. It certainly smells like a pizza joint.

From there the interior certainly is unique, although me and Frank both commented on its resemblance to Co. where we had dinner this past summer during our excursion to NYC. It’s walls mainly covered with a mixture of wood panneling and modern takes on the traditional pizzeria red and white tiling. The wall of firewood is quirky and I loved the far right wall covered in systematically colored photos of the leaning tower of Pisa.

I’ve been trying to stick to my only new years resolution I’ve ever made by doing my best to stay away from dairy as not to make my stomach angry. That said, I went with the Marinera Pizza, while Frank got the Pepperoni. Even with a packed restaurant, it didn’t take long at all to get the food at all.

I think we’re a good pair to fairly judge a place like this. If anyone is a “pizza connoisseur” I think it would be Frank. He would have no problem with having pizza for every meal for the rest of his life. Most pizza places in south jersey actually recognize him. As for me…I’m typically not a fan. I can take it or leave it – and since most pizza is drenched in cheese, I mostly leave it.

We both loved it. I actually told him that I could totally eat pizza everyday too if I lived next door to Stella. The sauce is sweet with plenty of garlic and oregano (and what’s better than that combination anyway?) and the pizza is super thin with slightly crunchy crust. Frank even had me try one of his pepperoni’s, even knowing I am not found of them, and I must say that they were pretty tasty as well.

In all, we absolutely enjoyed it. I know I’ve seen a few bad reviews of it on yelp and such, a lot of people complaining about prices and such but honestly, we didn’t feel like it was bad price wise at all. I mean, it’s definitely more than getting pizza from the place down the street, but it’s much more than the place fown the street. We will definitely be re-visiting, so I’ll be sure to post any updates and let you know if I change my oppinion changes.

But for now, I will let it’s deliciousness and charm lend itself to my memory for the time being.

Table 31

January 7, 2010

Here I am, FINALLY getting around to posting about our NYE dinner!
We actually forgot to make reservations and ended up just revisiting Table 31 to give it another shot.

We have been to Table 31 twice before and have absolutely nothing but great things to say about the food – it’s always perfectly delicious.
as for the service… I’ve most definitely had better.

The first time around everything was wonderful, so we decided to go back for dinner not too long after. The second time the service was fairly bad. Our waiter spent about 15 minutes in conversation with a friend at one of his other tables while we waited for our check, and when he was present his attention seemed anywhere but at the table. I must say, this time was substantially better than that, but still lacking the sort of service I expect at a restaurant of that stature. I will say though that it was new years eve, so I should give them the benifit of the doubt for that.

Beyond that, it’s lovely. A very modern atmosphere located at the bottom of the comcast center. I enjoyed the second floor as opposed to the first which occasionally gets a little loud from people at the bar. It was fun to even see Chef Scarduzio milling about talking to friends and customers that night.

For dinner on NYE Frank went with the 24oz Porterhouse…which was insanely huge….

He also had mashed potatoes of course.

I had the homemade Potato Gnocchi with bolognese sauce…

The picture is horrendous, but you get the idea right?

Both were exelent.

Like I said, the food is great and if the service was consistently good than it would definitely be a top of the list for me.

Here are some of the things we’ve gotten before…

“city sliders” unfortunately they don’t serve these anymore – they were tasty though!

Chicken Au Jus

Filet Mignon…

Estia Restaurant

December 22, 2009

I love Estia.

Last year, when I was living in Philly and me and Frank were really begining to get into the Philadelphia restaurant scene we were constantly looking for new places to have a bite to eat. He takes pride in how well he picks out restaurants (sure, there have been a few duds, but for the most part he always picks a great place) and still mentions how he was the one to suggest Estia (apparently I’m expected to know where all things greek are in the city). He’s so funny.

Anyway, we made our way to Estia the other night, gliding past the snow covered fields of Jersey to find our place in the city. If you’re familiar with Philadelphia, than Estia is a cinch to get to. It’s right off of broad street on locust, going toward Rittenhouse. It’s a large restaurant with stone ceilings and heavy wooden beans hanging down. Even when it’s full, it’s never loud or overwhelming. Greek rembetika plays softly in the background. You feel as though you’re in Greece visiting family, it’s like a home away from home.

The three times we’ve dined there (not counting the one lunch I had with a friend) I’ve tried a different dish and they have all lived up to and exceeded expectations. So far I’ve tried Arni Piadakia (Lamb chops marinated for three days in olive oil, lemon and fresh herbs served with potato tiganites and tzatziki), Kotopoulo (Organic chicken roasted served over caramelized onion and yogurt orzo with a lemon chicken thyme jus), and Arni Trahana (Lamb shank braised and de-boned served over cracked wheat pasta with tomato kampama and shaved mizithra cheese). While they were all unique dishes as well as delicious, my favorite would deffinetely be the Arni Piadakia – the taste of it has stuck in my mind since I got it the firsttime we visted the restaurant, and the tzatziki was phenomenal.

Frank compares the Filet Mignon to “almost” that of the late Brasserie Perrier, saying that if it was just a tad less dry it would be just as good (although he gets it well-done so part of me wonders if that may be the culprit). The whipped potatoes are a story all their own. Even as a non-mashed potato fanatic as he is, I do enjoy a bite or two. They are deffinetely made with olive oil and some sort of spice that I can’t pinpoint, that gives them a completely unique taste all their own.

As for dessert, the last two times I’ve just gone with a little bowl of gelato, as I’m usually almost stuffed and can’t imagine eating anymore. But I did try once, the Galactobourico which is Semolina custard wrapped in filo with orange, lemon zest syrup. It was deffinetely worth make the extra space in my stomach for. Frank love their chocolate lava cake and gets it everytime. I can tell you from trying a bite of it that it is pure chocolate, so for all you “chocoholics” out there, this is for you.

Here are the photos I got from the first visit (I forgot my camera the other night). Sorry about how horrid they are, but the restaurant is very dark, which is nice to enjoy a dinner in, but horrible for photos.

(Arni Piadakia)

(Filet Mignon)

(Galactobourico & Greek Coffee)

(Chocolate Souffle)

Oh, and I must mention, that if you happen to go for lunch, get the Estia Chips. They are so amazing – me and my friend could have eaten them for meal!


After a lovely afternoon of laying around at my grandparents house me and Frank decided to go up to Philly for some “grub.” So I tried to make myself presentable and threw on a dress and switched all my stuff over to a different purse. It wasn’t until half way there I realized I forgot my camera. tsk tsk. oh well.

We decided to re-visit one of our favorites from the past – Butcher & Singer

Whether you like stephen starr or not, you have to admit, the guy really does have a knack for making you feel like your somewhere else completely. You feel almost like you walk right into a 1920’s steakhouse and it successfully makes you want to have a glass of whisky and a big ol’ cigar (well, not really, but you know what I mean). The high ceilings, the decor and crazy chandiliers, even the all out black and white tailcoat waiters attire. The best though would have to be a tie between the painting of dogs having drinks at a bar or the incredibly quirky ladies’ and men’s rooms signs on the restroom doors. It’s a fun experience and the food is really quite good.


Like I said, this was actually our second time going so we already had some things in mind to try this time.
To start I got a french onion soup. Besides forgetting it was topped with cheese and having to screape it off to try to save myself from severe stomach pains later, it was very good soup. The broth was to die for – delicious
The first time around Frank had Filet Mignon with Mashed Potatoes (both very good), this time he switched the filet for the porterhouse. I actually tried a piece because of how good he said it was, and I have to agree. I’m not a huge steak fan in general, but it was so tender with a lot of flavor and almost perfect in my opinion (although I’m not steak-expert like Frank is).
I actually decided to go with the same entree as last time, which was the Butcher salad. It’s a fairly basic salad although it had strips of salami in it and little bits of cheese (which I forgot about). I remember be in love with it last time we went but it was fairly disapointing this time. I know! It’s just a salad – what could possibly go wrong? I have no idea what changed but it didn’t seem the same at all to me. I did have a side of mushrooms as well and they were good.

Last time we went we shared the chocoalte cake which was phenomenal, I remember. But this time we decided to wait to have dessert so Frank could get his favorite chocolate cake in the entire world (which is actually technically a torte) and I could see my old friends at the restaurant I used to work at when I was living in west Philly.

Zocalo is a really authentic mexican restaurant with some truly delicious food. Now you might think I’m just saying that because I used to work there and I still have friends there, but really – I do not like mexican food but I always enjoyed my meals in the back room or shoved in a corner of the kitchen at Zocalo. It’s been there for over 20 years now and the head chef/owner has worked there since it opened and just bought it over a few years back, and his wife is right from mexico so it’s stayed true both to it’s past as well as being just really authentic.

If you go during dinner please for goodness sakes do not ask for a taco. This is not taco bell, its a restaurant. I highly recommend one of the Molcajete Cuanajo or the Cochinita Pibil (really though, everything is great and I’m not just brainwashed to say that). As for desserts the chocolate torte is phenomenal and the Holjadre de Chocolate (or just “the chocolate puff pastry”) is also a favorite of everyone who tries it. My favorite drink there is definitely the Tamrind margarita and second favorite is a paloma. I gotta give it to their fabulous dinner bartender (who just happens to be a BFF lol) she’s been doing it a while now and is great at it (and I’m really not just saying that – I swear!).

in review – go. try it. love it. and say hi to gabby for me.