Famous 4th Street Delicatessen

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FACTS:  Opened in 1923; located in Queens Village, Philadelphia 

WHAT I ORDERED:

Sandwich:  Pastrami, Corned Beef, Russian Dressing, and Coleslaw

Side:  Potato Pancakes

MY ANALYSIS:  

Based on my level of excitement after witnessing towering heaps of food pass by, along with wondering how to tackle my own sky-high sandwich, I couldn’t have been any more delighted to dine here.

As happens at most Jewish delis, we were immediately served a bowl of half-sour and sour pickles.  However, unlike at most Jewish delis, we were served their “Health Salad” instead of coleslaw.  “Health salad?”  Well, as it turns out, this is actually a more healthful version of coleslaw, minus the mayo and mixed with vinegar dressing instead.

As far as our monstrosity of a sandwich (which we split) was concerned, I decided to attack it with a knife and fork.  The sandwich was served on rye,  and we ordered the following ingredients: 50% pastrami, 50% corned beef, Russian dressing, and coleslaw.  Not only was this sandwich incredible, it was worth every single calorie.  The meat was tender and juicy and the bread was soft and chewy.  Delish!

With each sandwich order, you may also select a side dish, so, of course, we chose the potato pancakes.  They were crisp, delectable, and very cute in size.

If you are looking for an exceptional Jewish deli in Philadelphia, I highly, highly recommend this place.  The longevity of this establishment is understandable, and I can’t wait to return.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out their fantastic menu:  http://famous4thstreetdelicatessen.com/index_flash.html

Dizengoff

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FACTS:  A “hummusiya” named after a well-known street in Tel Aviv; located in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia 

WHAT I ORDERED:

Hummus:  Israeli Salad and Potato with Schmaltz

Drink:  Frozen Lemonade

MY ANALYSIS:  

After devouring the best hummus ever at Zahav, Dizengoff, which is owned by the same restaurateurs, easily topped my list of new places to try.

Offered a wide variety of hummus to choose from, we selected the following toppings: Israeli Salad and Potato with Schmaltz.  While the hummus itself was fantastic, I was very disappointed with the Israeli salad.  As it was comprised primarily of radishes and kohlrabi, I didn’t care for this version whatsoever.  In addition, I wasn’t fond of the cinnamon spice flavoring. However, I really enjoyed the potato with schmaltz.  It was rich, flavorful, and delicious.  And, of course, once can never go wrong with warm, fresh pita bread.

On this rare occasion, I decided to order a drink, as well: “Frozen Lemonade.”  However, because of the added mint flavoring, it was much too sour for my liking.

Although the space was small, the ambience was lively and colorful, similar to the jar of Israeli Bazooka Bubble gum, located next to the cash register.

So, if you love hummus, then I highly recommend this little hipster joint.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to also check out  Zahav:  http://zahavrestaurant.com/

Kripalu

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FACTS:  Nonprofit Health and Yoga Center; located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts 

MY ANALYSIS:  

Over Thanksgiving, we drove up to the Berkshires for a little R&R.  More specifically, we were headed to Kripalu for three nights.

Kripalu offers a wide variety of classes to choose from, ranging from yoga to meditation to continuing education.  And, considering that the facility is set in the Berskshires, the grounds couldn’t be any more spectacular, allowing for fresh air, hikes, and a beautifully landscaped labyrinth walk.  That being said, the activities are plentiful, along with being extremely well organized.

Kripalu’s philosophy is to use as many organic and local ingredients as possible.  As a result, I found the food to be both healthful and tasty.  Furthermore, the dining hall is reminiscent of a school cafeteria where you are served three meals a day, buffet style. While my photos contain only a small portion (no pun intended) of what I actually ate during my stay, some of my other favorite dishes (not included in the photos) were the cold sesame noodles, split pea soup, and Thanksgiving Day luncheon.  But, hands down, their freshly baked breads were my absolute favorite.

While Kripalu may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I enjoyed my experience, and it’s one that I’ll remember for years to come.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out their website for more information:  http://www.kripalu.org/?device=c

Butcher and Singer

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FACTS:  Located in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia    

WHAT I ORDERED:

Caesar Salad

Stuffed Hash Browns

Green Beans Amandine

Dry Aged Porterhouse (for two)

MY ANALYSIS:  

Because of an insatiable steak craving, along with an excuse to try Butcher and Singer, the bar was set pretty high from the get-go. However, from the grand scale and history of the building to the outstanding food and waitstaff, it was clear that we’d made the right decision.

We started out with a Caesar salad.  And, given how terrific the dressing was, not one shred of lettuce was spared.

Deviating from our usual sides, creamed spinach and mashed potatoes, we decided to try the stuffed hash browns and green beans amandine.  Stuffed with sour cream and served as one large hash brown, this dish is a must.  I thoroughly enjoyed the green beans amandine as well.  Crunchy, buttery, and flavorful, a welcome change.

Of course, the dry aged porterhouse did not disappoint either.  It was served medium rare and cooked to perfection; we couldn’t have asked for a more juicy or delectable steak

I highly recommend this restaurant for any occasion.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out all of Stephen Starr’s restaurants:  http://www.starr-restaurant.com/

Kanella

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FACTS:  Located in Washington Square West, Philadelphia    

WHAT I ORDERED:

Organic Pork and Sieftali Kebab:  Housemade Cyprus Sausage with Berkshire Pork Kebab in Pita, with Greek Chips and a Choice of Tahini or Pickle   

MY ANALYSIS:  

After walking past this popular neighborhood restaurant numerous times, we finally stopped by for brunch.  And wanting to take full advantage of the beautiful fall day, we opted for sidewalk seating.

Avoiding any/all breakfast items, I ordered a pita stuffed with pork and sausage and served with fries, a small salad, and tahini sauce.  I thoroughly enjoyed each and every bite.  The meat was tender and savory, the tahini sauce was fantastic, and the salad dressing was out of this world (reason enough alone to return).

So, if you like Greek food and are looking for a brunch menu that offers more than just eggs and pancakes, I highly recommend this place.  Furthermore, I really look forward to coming back for dinner sometime.

QUICK TIDBIT:  BYOB

Kisso

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FACTS: Located in Old City, Philadelphia  

WHAT I ORDERED:

Salad: Seaweed Salad

Maki Sushi A La Carte: Yellow Tail w/ Scallion and Shrimp Tempura Maki  

MY ANALYSIS:  

For starters, I really loved Kisso’s Soho’esque storefront, along with its simplistic interior design and orange color scheme.  The sense of familiarity and calmness that I immediately felt was exactly what the doctor ordered after a hectic work week.

Never straying too far from my “norm,” I began with a seaweed salad, which I found to be healthy, fresh, and authentic.  As for my two sushi rolls, they were also extremely fresh and very delicious.

In summation, I highly recommend this place and look forward to returning.

QUICK TIDBIT: BYOB

Vetri

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FACTS: Located in Washington Square West, Philadelphia  

WHAT I ORDERED:

Tasting Menu

MY ANALYSIS:  

Since it was noted as being Mario Batali’s favorite Italian restaurant on the east coast, it was mandatory that we dine here.

Set in a townhouse, the design is both classic and traditional, and I found the ambience to be warm, sophisticated, and cozy.  And, as expected, each and every dish was beautifully prepared/presented, and the service was impeccable.  Furthermore, my fiancé and I were served two completely different tasting menus, allowing us to try a multitude of items.

Tonight, I thoughtfully eliminated any/all note taking. However, I hope that you enjoy the pictures.

I highly recommend this restaurant for special occasions.

QUICK TIDBIT: Be sure to check out the tasting menu:  http://vetriristorante.com/