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Brunch/lunch rec near 4th & South St.?

I live at 4th and South and LOVE Kanella (10th and Spruce) though not sure how into walking you are. Ethnic, casual BYOB but has the light and brightness of Sabrinas. My personal brunch favorite, actually.

Farmers market is good for snacking but not sure if there's enough there to sustain you if you are hungry for an actual meal...

Oct 16, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Any Abe Fisher reviews?

Did you search the board? I did a report on the soft opening...

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9878...

Oct 16, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

Thanks guys!

Oct 01, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

Ok, so the recipe the bar will be using for the old fashioned is:

OLD FASHIONED Muddle: Brandied Cherry, Orange slice, dash syrup, 3 dash Bitters, 2 oz Whiskey, splash Seltzer

Do you approve?

Oct 01, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

ISO Best French Onion Soup in the Center City

I know you are most likely looking for a restaurant, but (shockingly) this Rachel Ray recipe is super easy and tastes just as good as anything I ever picked up at a restaurant (instead of following her directions on the bread part, I slice and add the traditional amount). Love a good bowl of french onion!

http://www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/...

Sep 23, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

Nice - I was actually planning on getting the Flor De Cana 4 year but when I called Canal's to verify price they said they only have the 7 year in stock. Thanks for reassuring me on the El Dorado... I was going crazy for a day over it, wondering if I should have one of my NYC guests pick up a bottle but then I realized I had crossed the line into crazy bride mode.

Sep 22, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

Sure, I'll have to get back to you on the specific recipe they are using but my bar list is as follows:

New Amsterdam Gin
Bulleit Bourbon
Luksosowa Vodka
Johnny Walker Black
Cruzan Light Rum
Flor de Cana 7 yr Rum
Cointreau
Noilly Prat Sweet Vermouth
Dolin Dry Vermouth

My choices are mostly outside of what the caterers suggested, only because I am a micro manager and wanted to spend the time researching how I could get the most value from brands chosen (ie, scrimping to save $ where possible).

I am a gin drinker so that choice was easy, but things like rum and vermouth I know nothing about - I made my selections based on searching Chowhound and some additional googling. I'm pretty happy with the list, the only disappointment was wanting El Dorado 4yr for my white rum and not being able to locate it anywhere in the Philadelphia/DE/nearby NJ area.

Thoughts?

Sep 22, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Homemade Gnocchi at Restaurants

I am partial to the crispy parisienne style at Kennett, a neighborhood joint in Queen Village. It's always on the menu and served with a seasonal combo of vegetables.

Right now the menu shows it served with pulled brisket, currants, confit leek, carrot, celery & cabbage topped with house made farmer’s cheese

Sep 21, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

Thanks! You may be a good one to ask about this given your bartending background: can you tell me (a bourbon drink layman) the general difference in overall flavor profile between an old fashioned and a manhattan? We had the opportunity to do a maple version of either and I let my fiance make that call but I am curious.

Sep 21, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

This was a really interesting post so thanks for the insight! a recently married friend went your route and staffed their own bartenders pulling from connections at some local cocktail spots - drinks were the Most Important thing to them and that totally makes sense.

Birchtree's (head?) bartender did send me a list of suggested quantities of alcohol to purchase along with recommended brands (about 4-5 for each type of alcohol). After I sent back the exact quantities I was planning on purchasing and reviewed our bar menu (gin greyhound, maple bourbon old fashioned, and two 'virgin' fresh mixers - ginger fizz and a lavender citrus drink) in addition to the usual well type drinks we went through the rentals list and revised final numbers on glassware so they were drink appropriate. Right now our largest order is highball, then equal amounts each of single rocks, double rocks and wine glasses, then a handful of champagne and pils glasses (not doing a toast). This is a great reminder to ask for one (if possible) for sure.

You made an excellent point about extras - I asked the bartender just last week whether they provided bitters so I could be sure to purchase (Birchtree does). The fresh squeezed juice was a special request (of mine). This is a great tip to remember for any future bride/grooms for sure.

Sep 20, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

I didn't actually say... we did go with Birchtree and I do remember reading your post on a catering thread that was about 3 years old and wondering about the issues you briefly touched on.

So far my experience with them has been exemplary - in both food and professionalism. I believe they are a younger company so it is possible they were still working out the kinks at your wedding experience, which definitely sounds problematic. I will be sure to report back after ours next month, but luckily we are doing a plated dinner service so there is no chance to run out of food, and as far as the glassware, that may have been the bride and groom's issue. As the bride, I selected the types of glasses to be used for our reception (ie I am forgoing martini glasses and coupes, so martini drinkers will have to live with a double rocks glass) - it is definitely strange to me there were only wine glasses/goblets available. Hopefully our bartenders know how to make a gin and tonic! Not only is that is my standard drink of choice but one of our signature cocktails is also very similar - gin with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice.

Sep 20, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Philadelphia Wedding Caterers (Report)

When I started planning my wedding about a year ago, I noticed there was not a ton of information on the board regarding wedding caterers. I was lucky to find a venue where one could select any caterer of their choosing, so after combing Chowhound and a few wedding boards, I put together a list of those with strong food-centric reviews. The companies I spoke with are as follows:

Birchtree
Provence
Brulee
Michael Doris
Cricket
Diverse
Feast Your Eyes
Feastivites
Sage
Frog Commissary

I started out each conversation exactly the same, letting the caterer know they had carte blanche to give me *anything* creative and delicious for the menu proposal, no set budget but rather a range as a starting point, just to see what they could do. Some caterers loved it and proposed some very interesting dishes

The Great:
Birchtree, Michael Doris, and Brulee had the most interesting/creative menus.

We did tastings at Birchtree and with Michael Doris at The Mildred (he was a co owner before it closed a month ago). Birchtree uses seasonal and local ingredients which really showed. Standouts include an amazing bacon in a hearty duck cassoulet and beautiful roasted hen of the woods mushrooms used with a housemade pasta. All appetizers tasted fresh and handmade, and a departure from the usual wedding bites. Loved a mini focaccia topped with roast figs and gorgonzola. Everything they make from the bread to ricotta to drink mixers and simple syrup is homemade which I found really impressive.

Michael Doris served us at the restaurant, so it was hard to say if the same level of quality would be achieved without a full cookline. Really enjoyed the sliders (house meat mix) and chicken and biscuits. Flavors were bold and dishes a nice twist on familiar food elevated from the usual boring fare.

*note: Brulee looked really great but when negotiating budget could not match what others offered, so we did not move forward with a tasting. Brulee does have ties to Lacroix, so there's that.

The Middling: Diverse, Sage

We did a tasting at Sage, who we decided were just too 'weddingy' for what we were looking for. Their shortrib was good enough (not great) but they had an excellent rich and cheesy potatoes au gratin which was done almost in a pomme anna style. Unfortunately their appetizers were a little small and did not seem 'special' enough - ie one that utilized puff pastry was done with those precut fluted mini freezer shells. We did attend a wedding that was catered by Sage, and had a really lovely hot appetizer bite of puff pastry, melty gorgonzola and honey, but the main course steaks were all overcooked (well done). The bride did later tell us she was disappointed as she was assured they would be cooked appropriately (not sure if she was told medium, or med well)

We did not do a tasting with Diverse but attended a buffet style wedding Diverse catered. Their crabcake appetizer was full of lump crabmeat and they offered more interesting choices such as a Moroccan spiced salmon but their accompanying cous cous salad was criminally underseasoned.

Provence, Cricket, Feast Your Eyes, Feastivites - Did not make it past the initial consult. This group still sent over a very pedestrian selection of your usual roast chicken, steak/shortrib, pasta variations.

The Worst:
Frog Commissary never even bothered to return my initial phonecall/voicemail to inquire about availability/pricing. I am attending a wedding they will be catering in a few weeks and will update this thread if I remember.

Sep 19, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Trip Report: Dining unexpectedly on a dime

I should clarify - Lee is the quirky owner who has an... interesting deadpan sense of humor.

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Trip Report: Dining unexpectedly on a dime

that 100% sounds like a comment Lee himself would make. pretty sure it was a joke, TU

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Quick trip from DC - Monk's Cafe, Vedge, Hop Sing?

agree with above 100%

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Quick trip from DC - Monk's Cafe, Vedge, Hop Sing?

Another vote for zahav. It's truly the best for both a vegetarian and meat eater to enjoy as well as a great restaurant that is very unique to this city - highly recommend.

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Best Indian Food on the Main Line

Yeah, I miss having a reason to dine that far out (fiance's commute is now local) on the mainline. Their Lamb Pasanda (similar to korma but deeper flavor) was a favorite.

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Trip Report: Dining unexpectedly on a dime

I *think* you are joking but at Hop Sing they card everyone. Before you are let inside. I once saw a woman well above 21 who did not have ID and she was turned away so they are pretty serious about it and also, nothing to do with criminal activity

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Best Indian Food on the Main Line

I live in Center City and as of last year Taste of India was better any any of the options downtown hands down (Ekta, Saffron, and some really awful spots on South Street)

Sep 12, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Best dumpling dive in Phl Chinatown?

Might as well update this - anyone looking for Dim Sum Garden: it's moved north, to 1020 Race street right across from Hop Sing and next to Lan Zhou

Sep 12, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Finally scored a Laurel reservations...any recommendations?

Have to be honest, I dined here soon after it opened and felt very 'meh' about my experience. The food was good, but as mentioned by others in this thread, nothing blew my mind or made me want to return asap. The menu is very small and specific - my partner and I did not have multiple choices we were torn over which to order as at most 'first time dine' restaurants ... we ate what we wanted and felt satisfied having experienced Laurel but would not have gone out of our way to recommend to others.

Sep 12, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Abe Fisher

Abe Fisher (a Cook & Solo restaurant) officially opens today just across from Federal Donuts and next to Dizengoff. I was lucky enough to get a preview of some of the menu items last week:

Kasha Varnishkes - ravioli with buckwheat filling, English peas, truffle butter + poppy seeds. Our server said this was the most popular item in the veg category of the night. It was pretty good, you could definitely taste the buckwheat kasha but did not get any hints of truffle in the sauce which was a bummer

Roasted Carrots - aged gouda, pumpernickel lekvar - this was a nice simple dish but the pumpernickel was a savory pumpernickel bread pudding that was so immensely tasty. If I could get an entire bowl of that, I would.

Hot Smoked Sable - cucumber, dill old bay - this was great. I love the smoked sable dish at Zahav so I knew this would be good. It's simply a breaded fried fishcake with tasty aioli and pickles but oh man the smoked sable flavor! So good.

Corned Pork Belly - challah pretzel, emmental, manischewitz mustard, radish kraut - this dish was a little unexpected in presentation. Instead of it being a hunk of meat, large plate style, it was actually shaved charcuterie/deli meat style. The pork belly slices reminded me a lot of the sliced pig head at Serpico. The challah pretzels were nugget sized and filled with the emmental, but not much cheese or cheese flavor to speak of. The dish had interesting components and was tasty enough I suppose but seems more suited for the beginning of the meal rather than the end.

Dry Aged Lamb Minute Steak - potato latke, redeye gravy - this was delicious, if a touch salty. The thin lamb steak was cooked to a lovely crisp on the fat cap, almost like a chicharron. Great deep flavor all around and compared to the pork belly this looked and tasted like a true large plate. Would definitely order again.

Bacon and Egg Cream - maple custard, chocolate foam - What a fun dessert. Served in a glass and layered: smoked maple syrup, custard, bacon bits, and a chocolate egg cream foam. Would definitely get again, lots going on in this dish.

The table next to us got the hungarian duck tasting and holy moly the smell coming off that duck was mouth wateringly intoxicating, I was a little jealous.

Oh and instead of a bread basket we were served a savory challah monkey bread - buttery shmaltz and spices spiraled around this tender bread, wish we had asked for another!

Overall, a lovely meal, definitely interested to see how the menu changes long term.

Sep 02, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Society Hill Society

hmm... the restaurant was definitely full (saturday night) but i don't remember much about the service timing so i'd think it was pretty standard/nothing noteworthy

Jul 27, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Serpico

the early bird menu is actually the regular portions of each dish, definitely not scaled down - this was also confirmed by our server

Jul 27, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Where's great in Philadelphia

do they? personally i think modern/high end israeli is not something most cities have.. and even then, do they do it notably well? probably not.

the op is visiting a number of other cities that also do american comfort food well, and i would think it makes sense to mix it up with a few options certainly unique to our city that i would also rate as top tier.

Jul 16, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Where's great in Philadelphia

also should add Kanella for brunch/lunch and if you enjoy cocktails, hop sing laundromat

Jul 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Where's great in Philadelphia

Definitely agree on Zahav and Capogiro, and would 100% recommend skipping City Tavern (extremely forgettable colonial food) or even the Italian spots mentioned.

I think Philly has some interesting modern one off restaurants that you cannot find elsewhere, particularly in the other cities you are visiting. Philly cheesesteak is definitely iconic and good to eat once, but it's definitely gut busting casual eating.

Jul 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Society Hill Society

Finally got around to checking out Society Hill Society on Headhouse Square - had a really nice meal. Originally I was a little skeptical (could the name be more lame?) but our two cocktails were interesting and perfectly balanced, the complementary pretzel bread was delicious, and the meal satisfying. Nice to have a place like this so close, they seem to be doing really well.

We had:

jin jawn - gin, tincture of herbs (tarragon, chive, and maybe parsley?), lemon, cane sugar. this drink was sweet with a touch of savory from the herbs, nothing too overpowering, really refreshing

Mind killer - gin, lemon, amaro abano, spiced wine syrup, olive oil, egg white. This was cool - the egg white was whipped and was a foam topper to the drink rather than mixed in like a flip. It was also lightly blow torched and had a meringue/smore quality to it. I was worried the drink would taste too much like spiced wine, but it was far more nuanced

pierogies - truffle, onion jam, creme fraiche - tasty small appetizer of 4 tiny dumplings. Good but kind of pricey at $9.

boneless pork rib sandwich - saurkraut, pickle, mustard - this was a very mustard heavy which kind of turned me off. It was fine, but nothing special.

diver scallops with corn cakes - with fresh peas and baby carrots. This was a great seasonal dish, tasted great and was simple but not boring.

For 2 people the 2 bar dishes and one main was the right amount of food - definitely interested in going back.

Jul 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Latest on Serpico

Serpico recently started offering an early bird price fixe that may be the best deal in the city right now: $40 for four (full sized) courses between 5 and 630pm Sun - Fri. The options are selections from the current menu, when we went it was 2 options for each course but now I think they have added in a third choice.

See below for the menu when we went, I heard that duck mousse and lamb ribs have been added, which I'd love to go back for. We had the head x 2 (sliced thin, prosciutto style) and then everything else offered. Every dish was excellent and had it's own unique flavors.

Jul 05, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Decent lobster roll, off season, Hyannis area - does this exist?

I actually thought their roll was decent - it did not have the shredded meat you describe. for the off season, I would recommend the roll, but would not recommend much else on the menu (which seemed middling)

Mar 31, 2014
kasiav in Southern New England