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Food + beer = delicious tasting tour in NoLibs

First Person Arts, a Philadelphia nonprofit, is hosting a food/beer tasting tour in Northern Liberties hosted by Don Russell (better known as Joe on June 13 from 2-5:30pm. Thought y'all might be interested; the tours are usually a lot of fun--last time's tour of Port Richmond with Rick Nichols was a blast.

Tickets can be purchased at and all proceeds benefit their programming.

Jun 03, 2009
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Jack's Firehouse?

Anyone eaten there recently that can comment on the quality/taste of the food, as well as the service? Reviews online are VERY mixed. Thanks!

Jun 02, 2009
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

we're moving - where to eat before we go?

I agree with Buckethead...the food is okay (and, I'll admit, their burger is good) but not fantastic. If you are leaving the city, never to return, I just find you can get better food elsewhere--not necessarily at a gastropub (though I think Good Dog may give 'em a run for the money on food and service)--but in general. I'll take dinner at Gayle, drinks at Tria, and seafood at Branzino any day.

Dec 18, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Beneluxx Tasting Room

Average sized wine glasses--not as large as Tria's, but not tiny. A word to the wise...they advertise "rare and expensive" wines. They may be both, but we were disappointed in the taste. And the price.

Dec 12, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

BYOBs in Center City

Second Branzino.

Lolita's also a good choice on 13th.

Effie's at 12th/Pine is also a good Greek BYOB.

Dec 10, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Las Bugambilias

Yes! Tons of seafood on the menu--and it all looked delish (we saw several coming out). You can even get the molcajete that I raved about with shrimp (our server said it was divine).

They also had several vegetarian dishes--chile rellenos stuffed with cheese, I believe, plus several veggie specials. I'm sure they could accommodate, too.

Please let me know how you like it!

Dec 09, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

we're moving - where to eat before we go?

See if you can get a reservation at Vetri. Sometimes you can get them within a day or two when people have canceled on (or just call and beg--that worked for us once).

Le Bec Fin is overpriced and snobby.

Have you been to Fountain? It's a nice dinner, if you can't get Vetri.

Talula's Table will be an impossible reservation to get.

Standard Tap is fine, but definitely not a "end-of-Philly" experience.

Lolita is lovely Mexican and I've seen many children there.

Hope that helps!

Dec 09, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Las Bugambilias

Just posted a separate thread a few days ago about this place. We were really pleased with the service, food, and prices. We'll be back.

Dec 09, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Las Bugambilias

Ahhh...Molcajete Mixto. How I wanted to love it. The first couple of times we went, everything was spot on. Food was great. Service was wonderful. Everything was fabulous.

And then...things started going haywire.

Went in once, and they forgot half our order. We waited for awhile, then finally asked them about it. They brought it out 20 minutes later. Didn't even offer to comp the dish (or, heck, give us a free drink). Nada. Acted upset that we pointed out that they completely forgot it.

Went in again, and they over charged us. By $25. There was a phantom entree on our bill that no one ordered. We asked, and they argued with us. For 15 minutes. Finally, we got a manager over and kindly explained that we didn't order the entree we were charged for (and our server actually agreed with the manager but still didn't want to take it off the bill because he had already run the credit card). They gave us a gift certificate. That's right--they didn't fix the credit card bill, they didn't give us cash--they gave us a gift certificate.

I'm giving it to someone I don't really care for for Christmas.

Dec 09, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Las Bugambilias

We went last night after reading a favorable review on and were pretty pleased.

The restaurant, right beside the South Street Diner (on, you guessed it, South Street) was pleasantly decorated with enough Mexican knick knacks to be homey without overly cheesy. We were seated right away (thank god for new restaurants!) though the place certainly wasn't empty.

We got drinks--the mojito was fine, the Malbec was marginal (but at $6/a glass, what do you expect).

The salsas and chips were quite good--the homemade pico-esque salsa had a lot of citrus flavor and a hint of kick, and the smokier salsa was delicious and more spicy. A few chips were soggy, from too much oil, but still good.

Entrees were the real star. I got the steak molcajete. It was eeeeeenormous. Tons of steak, cactus, and cheese in the molcajete, with plenty of tortillas. Rice and beans were fine (I've never been wowed by Mexican rice), and the guac was good. Presentation was also really nice--guac came in an onion flower, etc.

Companion got the fillet, which he raved over. It was far more tender than my skirt steak (obviously), and covered with a delicious sauce. Cheesy corn on the cob, rice, beans, etc., rounded it out.

Portions were good, food was great, and service was stellar.

Try it out if you're wanting some new Mexican.

Now, I'm only hoping it doesn't go down the tubes like Molcajete Mixto did.

Dec 08, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Rose Tattoo Cafe in Philly

We went about a month ago, and were pleasantly surprised. I had the chicken, and companion had the filet. Both were deliciously cooked and tasted great--the chicken really was superb (especially considering it's...chicken breast). Service was a bit spotty, though. Overall, I'd go back...

Nov 14, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Disappointing Meal at Vintage

Had a terrible meal there a few months back...service was condescending and the wine wasn't very good (and, to be fair, we were going by their recommendations and though we're not wine snobs, we're not total idiots on the subject either). I get the feeling it's more of a destination spot than a culinary place...

Nov 04, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

HOT: PLS, Can someone recommend a new restaurant in Philly for tonight?

When I went, the food was fine, but the service was **terrible**. Probably the worst service I've had outside of Beneluxx for a newish restaurant in Philly. The food service was sloooow (half an hour for an appetizer?!) and after we finished it was like they couldn't get us out of the door fast enough (and we're not loiterers). Our server was downright rude; food was fine (but then again, not fantastic). Overall, I'd not go back unless I read many glowing reviews on here...

Nov 04, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

50 Great Meals Under $50?

Thanks for the feedback! I'm not usually a Philly Mag reader, but was interested in their choices, even though they do have the reputation many have listed above.

In case anyone's interested of those I've eaten at:

Honey's--Great brunch; everything else is just so-so.
Nifty Fifty's--Gag inducing.
Ant's Pants--Excellent eggs benedict and bacon stack.
Mama Palma's--Not fabulous, but not terrible.
Sweet Lucy's--Excellent, though I wasn't a fan of buffet night.
Modo Mio--Such terrible service, I'll never go back.

Oct 30, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

50 Great Meals Under $50?

So I picked up Philadelphia Magazine's October issue for the 50 meals under $50. Some I've tried, others I haven't. But I didn't want to take their word for it. Who's got an opinion? Should I really venture out of my safe haven of Center City (or usual Center City spots) for some of these?

Just so you have it, the list (yeah, I know, it doesn't add up to 50...I have no idea why unless they're including random sidebar restaurants):

Under $15
Honey's Sit and Eat
Station House
El Jarocho
Great Burger
Nudy's Cafe
Silver Diner

Nifty Fifty's
Ants Pants
Hershel's East Side Cafe
Alfred's Tomato Pie

Grey Lodge Pub
Su Xing
Mama Palma's
Sweet Lucy's
Boathouse Raw Bar
La Esperanza
Silk City

Geechee Girl Rice Cafe
Kim's BBQ
Beau Monde Creperie
Teresa's Next Door
Thai L'Elephant
Picanha Brazillion Grill

Blue Sage
Modo Mio
Hamlet Bistro

So, folks. Whatcha got?

Oct 25, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Where should we go to next?

I won't go on a rant, except to say I found Vintage to be snobby and overrated.

Places we go a lot and would recommend:
Sweet Lucy's
Honey's Sit and Eat (but don't go for dinner!)

Oct 25, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Halloween-themed food events this weekend?

A couple I spied on foobooz:

Trick or Treat at Ansill
The 3 course menu will be available Mischief Night and Halloween for just $15. eel, beef heart, lamb tongue and more.
First Course
Eel and Squid, Squid Ink Sauce
Second Course
Beef Heart, Veal Kidney and Bacon Brochettes
Third Course
Lamb’s Tongue and Veal Cheeks, Sautéed Pumpkin

October 30th to November 4th.
4-course Day of the Dead themed meal for just $35. Add drink pairings to your dinner for an total of $55.
Birria de Borrego (lamb consomme with chickpeas & rice)
Pozole Verde (pozole with hominy & seasonal vegetables)
{drink option: Xochitl Sangria}
Tamales Oaxaqueños (trio of tamales)
Tostadas de Ropa Vieja (tostadas with shredded beef salad)
{drink option: El Chapulin Colorado}
Pollo con Mole Negro (chicken with black mole)
Salmon con Mole Verde (salmon with green mole)
{drink option: Xochitl Margarita}
Pan de Muerto con Champurrado (traditional sweet bread)
Calabaza al Horno (roasted pumpkin with piloncillo & cinnamon)
{drink option: La Bruja del 71}

Oct 25, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Beneluxx Tasting Room boyfriend was complaining of his eyes burning when we were there (Fri. night) but it didn't bother me. Guess it was the exhaust acting up...the smoke alarm did go off at one point and the people behind the counter didn't even blink.

I did see someone get treated crappily because of the beer pours (I agree; terrible system--is 3 ounces of beer really worth losing a customer?) They walked out shortly afterwards.

The excuse we got every time and heard them telling others? "We just opened a week ago."

We made a point of telling the ever-friendly folks at the ever-awesome Tria how disappointing Beneluxx was. I think they were worried about competition. I can't imagine it will have any negative impact on their clientèle if others are getting this treatment.

The Tria manager also told me why one of my wines probably tasted exactly like rubbing alcohol: it was. That's what is used to clean the taps on those fancy contraptions...they apparently didn't flush out the lines well.

Mmm...I had 3/4 an ounce of rubbing alcohol with my $6 ounce of wine! And to think I was giving them the benefit of the doubt and blaming the taste on bad wine selections...

Oct 25, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Beneluxx Tasting Room

The cheese we had (Manchego, a truffled cheese, and a random goat cheese) were fine, but paired with seaweed characters (what!?). The dinner items (ham and cheese panini and the wild board crepe) were fine but not overwhelming. The wines we had were AWFUL for the price. They have so many varieties (and we tried 7) that I won't bother listing, but for the price, I was completely disappointed. At one point, my dinner partner said "the 3 wines I've tried had little to no body and not much there nothing better you can recommend?" and they said "well the only thing you'd like is the $50/glass wine here." He switched to beer. Not a fan of this poorly constructed Tria-clone. Go there instead.

Oct 20, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Beneluxx Tasting Room

For anyone interested, has the menu:

All prices are per ounce

Robiola di Lombardia (di Bosco) $1.41
Reblochon $1.79
Taleggio $1.02
Rochetta (3 Milks) $2.03
Chatalain Camembert $2.00

Semi Soft
Orval (Belgium) $1.75
Cottswold - English cheddar style with chives $1.43

Firm to Hard
Prima Donna Gouda $1.36
Roomano Gouda 5yr $1.63
Mahon Reserva $1.44
Sottocenere $2.12
Piave Vechhio $1.60

La Serena $2.04

Semi Soft
Cacio di Roma $1.21
Cana de Oveja $1.31

Firm to Hard
Pecorino Toscano $1.64
Manchego 1 yr. Raw Milk $1.55
Lamb Chopper - Cypress Hill – USA – Gouda Style $2.16
Ewephoria Gouda Holland $1.57

Semi Soft
Crottin de Chavignol $3.91
Ibores $1.46
Monte Enebro $2.52

Firm to Hard
Garrotxa $1.90
Drunken Goat $1.43
Balarina Goat Gouda $1.40

Gorgonzola Dolce $1.14
La Peral $1.75
Roquefort Raw Sheep Milk $2.12
Point Reyes Blue $1.47

price per 25 grams (approx .9oz)

Valrhona Ivoire (White) Feves
CL1 White Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
Ivoire is a delicately flavored low-sugar white chocolate which makes a delicious match for the taste of fruit or liqueur. 1.59

Valrhona Equatoriale Dark 55%
CL3 Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
A balanced chocolate taste this is Valrhona universal dark chocolate. 1.25

Valrhona Manjari 64% Cocoa
CL5 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
Fresh, sharp bouquet. A blend of precious Criollo and Trinitario beans from Madagascar, Manjari releaes red fruit notes that captivate the senses. 1.65

Valrhona Guanaja 70% Cocoa
CL7 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
Made with a blend of the finest cocoa beans from South America. An exceptional bitter chocolate, its intense flavour, enhanced by floral notes, has a powerful, lingering intensity. 1.57

Callebaut White (Wit-Blanc)
CL7 White Chocolate, Callebaut (Belgium)
We have not sampled yet to describe… .61

Callebaut 60% Cocoa Thick Bittersweet
CL20 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Callebaut (Belgium)
No description yet .59

Blanc Satin Pistoles (White Pistoles)
CL9 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
Silky milk taste laced with a sweet natural vanilla 19.8%
Milk 29.2% Cocoa .87

Barry Callebaut Milk Chocolate
CL18 Milk Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
We have not sampled yet to describe… .55

Mi-Amère” 58% Cacao
CL13 Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
This dark couverture is widely praised for its consistent aromatic rounded fl avor, as well as for its tantalizing suggestion of vanilla.
Very slightly sweet and with an abundance of character .79

Cacao Barry 60% Pistole
CL14 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
We have not sampled yet to describe… .87

64% Extra Bitter Guayaquil pistoles
CL15 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
A hint of youthful pepper tones, aniseed and liquorice, and on the other, fl oral, wooded, red fruit and black olive suggestions, lightly shaded by Arabic coffee notes. Extra-Bitter Guayaquil renowned for
its much appreciated lingering bite. .96

Valrhona Jivara Milk, 40% Feves
CL2 Milk Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
Intense hints of caramel and vanilla. 1.55

Le Noir Gastronomie 61% Cocoao
CL4 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
A blend of the most fragrant cocoa beans from Caribbean and Indian Ocean plantations. Its balanced taste comes from a light touch of acidity 1.26

Valrhona Caraibe 66% Cocoa
CL6 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
This chocolate is the result of the combination of the finest cocoa beans from the Caribbean islands. Aromatic and long in the mouth, its fruity and barely sweet taste reveals the delicate savours of almonds and roasted coffee. 1.65

Araguani 72% Cocoa
CL8 Bitter-Sweet Dark Chocolate, Valrhona (France)
The result of a harmonious blend of two rare cocoa beans, Araguani releases intense aromas of liquorice, raisin, and chestnut over its distinctively bitter base notes. 1.79

Callebaut Milk (Melk-Lait)
CL11 Milk Chocolate, Callebaut (Belgium)
We have not sampled yet to describe… .81

Callebaut Semi-Sweet 52% Cocoa
CL19 Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate,Callebaut (Belgium)
We have not sampled yet to describe… .56

Tanzanie Single Origin
C16 Semi-Sweet Dark Chocolate,Cacao Barry (France)
A dark chocolate made from single-origin Tanzanian cocoa beans. Combines subtle fruity flavors with natural vanilla for a distinctly rich taste. 75% cocoa content. .98

Cacao Barry Gianduja
CL10 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
The perfect match of a full-bodied dark chocolate and a pure hazelnut paste 31.3% Hazelnuts 22% Cocoa 1.64

Cacao Barry 50% Force Noir
CL12 Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
With a minimum of 50% cocoa, have a consistently robust and well rounded flavor. The product possesses a biscuity texture, and top notes that evoke gingerbread to the discerning palate. .65

Blanc Satin Pistoles (White Pistoles)
C17 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
Containing 29.2% cocoa blended with rich creamy milk, Cacao Barry Blanc Satin possesses a silky smooth texture for extra lusciousness so delicate on the palate. accentuates caramelized notes with a hint of the finest vanilla. .61

Cacao Barry 75% Tanzanie pistols
CL16 White Chocolate, Cacao Barry (France)
Made from rare prized Tanzanian cocoa beans and has a 75% cocoa content, delivers a wild richness and remarkable lingering finish .98


Soup Du Jour
Please ask server for today’s soup. 5.99

Mixed Marinated Olives 5.99

Mesculin Salad 6.99

Beer Cheese Soup
Five cheeses blended with a blonde ale beer and smart popcorn 5.99

Beneluxx Salad
Mixed greens topped with roasted beets 7.99

Caesar Salad 6.99

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese, prosciutto, fresh basil, and “ugly” heirloom tomatoes 8.99

Potatoes, Onion, Beef, Egg, Cheddar Cheese 9.99

Chorizo with La Peral Blue Cheese, port Dijon cream, Spanish onions and peppers 9.99

French style featuring onions, olives, shrimp, fennel and goat cheese 8.99

Traditional Swiss
Grùyere and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses,white wine, garlic, nutmeg,lemon and Kirschwasser. 8.99

Featured Cheese
Chef’s choice of seasonal and special cheese fondue.
Ask your server for pricing.

Cheddar Cheese
Aged, medium-sharp Cheddar and Emmenthaler Swiss cheeses, lager beer, garlic and seasonings. 8.99

Fondue Accompaniments
Fingerling Potatoes $4.49
Apples $3.49
Chirizio $5.49
Fresh Vegetables $4.49
Garlic Herb Chicken $5.99
Beef Tips $6.99

Cibus Hilleli (Hillel’s Snack)
Croque Monsieur Bechamel
Ham, Gruyere Cheese and Classic Bechamel Sauce in a Panini style 8.99

Portobello Panini
Meaty Mushroom, herbed goat cheese, sweet red peppers, hummus 8.99

Chicken and Spinach Panini
With garlic, fennel, chicken and spinach 9.99

Roast Pork, Ham, Swiss Cheese, Pickle and Mustard in pressed bread 7.99

Parma Panini
Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh arugula 8.99

La Robiquette
sausage in a galette crepe

Wild Boar Robiquette
with port wine and five spice marinated cherries 6.99

Duck Robiquette
with seasonal melon , shaved Grana Padano, and truffle vinaigrette 6.99

Venison Robiquette
with vanilla infused pineapple and reduced balsamic vinegar 6.99

Beer Brat Robiquette
with veal demi glaze 6.99

Oct 17, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

birthday dinner in University City

I have to say I haven't been to Rx in a year or so, so things may have slipped. However, before then I always had good service and food. I'm not a fan of Marigold at all...but, maybe it was just a bad timing issue?

Oct 10, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

good early morning breakfast near Rittenhouse

Go to Ants Pants ( at 22nd and South. Great eggs, french toast, etc. and they open at 7am.

Oct 10, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Dock Street Brewery/Philadelphia

The neighborhood is fine. Parking is a cinch. Food is okay (we had a good pizza, though I don't know if things that aren't "out of the oven" like burgers would be good). The beer's good, service is fine.

I think kids might be welcome, but I wouldn't say it's a kid-friendly environment. And it's VERY, VERY, VERY loud.

Oct 10, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

birthday dinner in University City

I found Marigold Kitchen overpriced, the food was merely adequate, and the service was a nightmare...I wouldn't recommend it for dinner, much less a special occasion. Rx is far better, though I haven't been there recently, so it may have had a downward spiral.

Zocalo isn't terrible.

Go for Pod or Nan.

Oct 08, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

In Philly during all of Oct -- help me chow down!

Some suggestions:
1. Ants Pants for a yummy breakfast on South Street...around 20th, I believe.
2. Tria is a nice place for pre-dinner cheese+wine+beer. Sundays are a great deal, as they offer one of each at half (or more) price. 12th and Spruce.
3. Lolita is a nicer Mexican place (definitely a spendy place). I believe right at 13th and Locust. Far better than El Vez, which is across the street.
4. If you head up to Northern Liberties (a bit north of the Philosophical Society, but around 5th) you can get some mean tacos at Taco Riendo...a block above 5th and Girard on 5th.
5. The Reading Terminal Market is not to be missed (see other responses).
6. Good Dog has an excellent burger (see other reviews). As does the Misconduct Tavern, which is around 15th and Locust somewhere (I'd google it).
7. Get a cheesesteak at your choice...there's plenty of threads debating this.

I'm not a fan of Naked Chocolate Cafe (I may be the only one, but I found it very overpriced and not very good). Stephen Starr places are a bit...well, predictable.

Oct 08, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Phila University City - (Drexel) cheap eats

This is a bit of a walk (or short trolley ride) away, but Dock Street Brewing Company at 50th and Baltimore is pretty cheap and quite good. We were there last night, and really enjoyed it. Great beer, and excellent pizza. Their 10" pizzas run you about $10, and are delicious. Lots of options...most of their sandwiches/calzones/etc. will run you less than $8.

A warning: it's very, VERY loud.

Sep 15, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Breakfast - Easy, On the Go

Nope, no liquid--the sausage/cheese provide just enough. It does take some arm power,'ll mix (I use my hands) for awhile. You'll know it's ready when it's a pleasantly thick consistency. Think slightlier thicker than biscuit dough.

Sep 08, 2007
cussbucket in Home Cooking

A Full Plate Cafe

I've been pleasantly surprised...

The fried pickles are whole gherkins, and fairly tasty, though I prefer slices. Similar cooking style with the fried okra--whole okra is fried; it's not cut up. Both were good, though admittedly not overwhelming. Okra wasn't in season at the time, though, which may have been part of the problem.

I had the pulled pork sandwich, which was quite good--not "best bbq ever" good, but still quite good for a place that doesn't market itself as a bbq joint. Companion had the Chicken Divan kabobs, which he raved over.

I'd say go there if you think the menu looks good, but don't expect to be over or under whelmed...

Sep 06, 2007
cussbucket in Pennsylvania

Help me turn my boyfriend into an okra lover

Don't make it too hot--cast iron conducts heat really well. Just enough to where if you drop some batter in it'll sizzle. Maybe medium/high? I don't do I can't help there.

Don't crowd too much okra into the pan--batches are fine. If you overcrowd, okra will stick, get mushy, and not cook evenly.

More coarsely ground cornmeal is also your friend, it helps it crisp up a bit.

Hope it works out! :-)

Sep 05, 2007
cussbucket in Home Cooking

Give me a salty cookie, please

My favorite salty cookie is an insane recipe concoction.

2 c. flour
2 c. Rice Krispies


2 sticks butter, melted


1/2 lb. (2 full cups) sharp grated cheddar
1/4 tsp. red pepper (more to taste)

Melt butter and soften cheese. Add Rice Krispies and flour. Mix with hands, make small balls. Press on cookie sheet with fork. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes.

I swear, it's delicious.

Sep 04, 2007
cussbucket in Home Cooking