FACTS:  Located in Old City, Philadelphia


Dim Sum Sampler:  Chicken & Ginger, Shrimp, Vegetable, Edamame Dumplings served with a citrus-soy dipping sauce

Black Pepper Beef:  Wok Tossed Ribeye, Crispy Bird’s Nest


Having previously dined at Buddakan in New York, I found their Philly location to be reminiscent of a combination of TAO and Asia De Cuba (the original locations, also located in New York).  But, regardless, I really liked the ambience, along with my meal.

Tonight, we decided to share a dim sum sampler as an appetizer.  And, of the four different options to choose from, I’m actually hard pressed to select a favorite.  However, if I had to choose from top to bottom, the order would go as follows: edamame, chicken and ginger, shrimp, then vegetable.

As for my main course, I ordered the black pepper beef.  Served in a crunchy bird’s nest, this dish was extremely flavorful, generous in size, and very delicious.

In addition to the fact I’ve always enjoyed the food here, I’m particularly fond of the interior design as well.  That being said, and given the lounge-like ambience, I highly recommend checking this place out for either drinks or dinner.

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

The Dandelion




FACTS:  Located in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia


Warm Roast Beef: Watercress Salad, Horseradish Mayonnaise, Beef Gravy, Sourdough Bread


An English-style gastropub located in the middle of Philadelphia?  With a touch of elegance, as well?  The Dandelion, which is yet another one of Stephen Starr’s ventures, serves both English fare and afternoon tea.  So, if you have a hankering for either, I highly recommend checking this place out.

We recently dined here for lunch.  Considering the ninety-degree temperature outside, I opted for a warm roast beef sandwich, served with watercress salad, instead of shepherd’s pie.  However, my go-to is usually the latter.  As expected, this sandwich did not disappoint, along with being a great alternative.  But, in all seriousness, can you ever go wrong with roast beef, gravy, and horseradish?

While one can certainly enjoy this pub any time of the year, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’d much prefer it during the cooler seasons, given some of the heavier menu options.  That being said, I’ll definitely be back for the shepherd’s pie, once we hit below fifty degrees.

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



The Vedge Bar

Rutabaga Fondue: Today’s soft Pretzel, Yesterdays Pickles


The Dirt List

Fingerling Fries: Creamy Worcestershire


Hot Kitchen

Spicy Grilled Tofu: Gochujang, Edamame, Roasted Miso, Yuba Cracklin



Blueberry Cheesecake: Lemon Gel, Lavender-Poppy Ice Cream


FACTS:  Located in Washington Square West, Philadelphia


Given that this was my first venture into the world of fine vegan dining, the bar has now been set at an all-time high.  In fact, I found Vedge to be superb on every level.  And, in spite of being the carnivore that I am, not once, during any part of my meal, did I even notice the fact that this restaurant is completely animal free.

Wanting to try an entrée from every facet of the menu, I began with rutabaga fondue.  Served with warm and fresh pretzel bread, this dish was clearly a passage way into the gates of vegan heaven.  The fondue was light, yet ideal for dipping, and the bread itself was absolutely divine.

Yearning for something a bit more substantial than just vegetables as a side, I ordered the fingerling fries with creamy Worcestershire. Thankfully, this dish was as hearty as it was tasty.  So, not only were my needs fully met, but the creamy Worcestershire sauce was purely an added bonus.

For my main course, I selected grilled tofu.  And, despite the fact that I dislike tofu in any format other than grilled, I was pleasantly surprised to see it listed on the menu.  Resembling grilled salmon, the tofu was spiced to perfection, and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every bite.

Last, but not least, I ordered the blueberry cheesecake for dessert.  In addition to exceeding my expectations, it turned out to be one of the most delicious cheesecakes that I’ve ever tasted.  Furthermore, considering how rich and fabulous it was, I still can’t believe that no dairy products were used to make it.

In summation, I found the food to be exquisite.  Between the creativity, the beautiful presentations, and the overall taste, it was an experience worth repeating over and over again.  This place is a must!

QUICK TIDBIT: Be sure to check out their incredible menu:   http://vedgerestaurant.com/

Big Gay Ice Cream



FACTS:  Located in Washington Square West, Philadelphia


Salty Pimp – Vanilla Ice Cream Gets Injected With House-Made Dulce de Leche, Sprinkled with a Bit of Sea Salt, Then Dipped in Chocolate.


Big Gay Ice Cream recently opened in Philadelphia.  And, to my delight (and surprise), this is a soft-serve only shop.

Straying from my usual, vanilla with rainbow sprinkles, I ordered one of their most popular specialty cones, the “Salty Pimp.”  Considering that I’m not too fond of either chocolate-dipped ice cream, or dulce de leche, what was I thinking?  As a result, and not surprisingly, I ended up regretting my decision soon after.  In all fairness though, and despite the fact that the “Pimp” turned out to be way too over the top for my taste, I highly recommend it for those of you who enjoy such decadence.

That being said, I really liked the bright and cheery ambience and will happily return.

QUICK TIDBIT: Be sure to check out their Manhattan locations as well: http://biggayicecream.com/




FACTS:  Located in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia


Coal Oven Pizza with Bermuda Onions


After walking past this restaurant numerous times and seeing how fabulous the pizzas looked, I finally dined here for lunch.  Keeping it simple, I ordered a regular pie with Bermuda onions; it was truly fantastic, I might add.  Sweet onions and savory red sauce will forever be one of my favorite combinations.  As for the crust, it couldn’t have been any tastier: chewy and soft, yet perfectly firm.  Of course, I will always welcome the addition of fresh basil.

I highly recommend this place and look forward to returning.

QUICK TIDBIT: Be sure to check out their additional locations: http://pietrospizza.com/

Green Eggs Café



FACTS:  Located in Washington Square West, Philadelphia


The “Kitchen Sink” – Three Eggs Scrambled with Sausage Crumbles, Gruyere Cheese, Potatoes, Peppers & Onions, Topped with a Homemade Jumbo Biscuit and Country Style Pork Sausage Gravy in a Cast-Iron Skillet

Crème Brulee Latte – Vanilla Bean, Caramel Sauce, and Crystalized Sugar


On any given Sunday afternoon, the wait at Green Eggs Café can fall upwards of thirty-to-sixty minutes.  And, considering that they only take reservations for parties of seven or more, we, a party of two, had to wait it out.  But, on this rare occasion, given that our wait would only be twenty minutes, we opted to stay and were seated in just ten.

Admittedly, I’d been wanting to try The “Kitchen Sink” for over a year now.  I couldn’t wait to try this savory dish which was served in a cast-iron skillet.  Between the biscuit, sausage gravy, potatoes, and scrambled eggs, it was a melting pot of all things delicious and, yes, I would happily order it again.

Veering from my norm, I ordered a latte.  More specifically, a crème brulee latte.  Topped with vanilla, caramel, and sugar, it was really a nice departure from my usual morning tea.

In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed brunch here and think that you will too.






FACTS:  Located in Queens Village, Philadelphia


Spinach Pie

Pan-Fried Scallops


Surprisingly, this restaurant ended up exceeding my expectations. In fact, I thought that the food was beyond superb and it turned out to be one of my favorite meals ever.

For an appetizer, I ordered the homemade spinach pie. Hands down, it’s the best spinach pie that I’ve had anywhere.   Cooked and seasoned to perfection, it’s simply unforgettable.

Pan-fried scallops! Not since Taverna Kyclades, in Astoria, has my scallop dish been this fantastic. Served with rice and escarole, it was also quite filling. And, just like the spinach pie, the scallops were cooked to perfection and couldn’t have been any tastier.

Whatever ambience this place lacks, it definitely makes up for in quality. That being said, I highly, highly recommend dining here.