Fitler Dining Room

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FACTS:  Located in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia

WHAT I ORDERED:

Starters: 

Crab Louie Salad – Iceberg, Maryland Crab, Lardons, Cucumber, Red Onion, Russian Dressing

Mains:

Braised Short Rib – Parisian Gnocchi, Cauliflower, Gremolata

Sweets:

Lemon Verbena Panna Cotta – Strawberries, Walnut Crumble

MY ANALYSIS:  

Fitler Dining Room is the quintessential neighborhood restaurant.  Having enjoyed its lovely décor, warm ambience, and gourmet food, I highly recommend it.

I started out with the crab Louie salad as an appetizer.  Mixed with Russian dressing, it was as refreshing as it was tasty, especially on a hot summer’s night.  Crisp, fresh, and proportionally generous, this salad is one I will be sure to order again.

For my main entrée, I selected the braised short rib. I really enjoyed this tender and flavorful dish very much.  Furthermore, I could’ve easily devoured an entire bowl of their gnocchi alone.  Not only was it a great addition, but it was also cooked to perfection.

As usual, I topped off my meal with a dessert: lemon verbena panna cotta.  Unfortunately though, since it lacked both flavor and zest, I found it to be somewhat disappointing overall.

In summation, Fitler Dining Room was a wonderful place to spend a Friday evening dining with friends.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to take a stroll around the neighborhood afterwards.

Silence Dogood’s Tavern

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FACTS:  Located in Old City, Philadelphia

WHAT I ORDERED:

Starter: 

Polpettini – Home-Made Small Meatballs, Gravy, Shaved Parmesan, Garlic Knot

Parmesan – Fresh Made Chicken Cutlet Fingers, Mozzarella, Gravy, Garlic Knot

Flatbread:

Sprout – Pancetta, Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Sweets:

Mason – Cheesecake, Graham Cracker Crumbles, Strawberries

MY ANALYSIS:  

If you’re looking for a tavern that serves both delicious and affordable fare, then I highly recommend Silence Dogood’s.  The food is fresh, homemade, and extremely tasty.

Tonight, we started out with the following appetizers: meatballs and chicken cutlet fingers, both served with garlic knots.  While either dish could proudly be served at any Italian fest, the chicken cutlet fingers are a must.  They are marinated overnight and fried upon ordering, and you will be hard pressed to find better.  And, other than garlic knots, I can’t think of a better accompaniment to help soak up the remaining red sauce.

Based on their vast selection of flatbreads, I opted for the roasted Brussels sprouts and pancetta.  Not only was the flatbread generous in size, but the dough itself was as chewy as it was crunchy.  In short, I will surely be back for more.

Adding insult to injury, I ended the evening with an order of cheesecake.  Served in a mason jar, along with a side of strawberries, this sweet treat was simply divine.  Creamy, smooth, and flavorful, it’s easily one of the best cheesecakes that I’ve ever tasted.

I clearly enjoyed my meal here and know that you will too.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out Big Ass Slices, located directly next door, as well.  The pico de gallo slices alone are worth the visit.

Fallingwater

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MY ANALYSIS:  

Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater, has been on my bucket list for the past few years.  And, thanks to our visit over Memorial Day Weekend, I can finally check it off that list.

Of course, if you’re a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, this experience is a must.  Between the brilliant architecture and the gorgeous surroundings, you will not be disappointed.

However, considering that this is a food blog, and neither an architectural nor a nature-based blog, there are two specific house tours that I must mention:

  • The Sunset Tour (hors d’oeuvres)
  • The Brunch Tour

Both serve meals on the terrace, along with providing a more comprehensive tour of the property.  But, since both tours were sold out during the timeframe that I was seeking, I’m unable able to give an accurate description of either.While, undoubtedly, the house itself is the main attraction and the food merely an afterthought, it’s a great place to visit either way, and I highly recommend it.

QUICK TIDBIT: Be sure to check out all of their tours: http://fallingwater.org/

Rangoon

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Crispy Watercress Salad:  Fresh Watercress Fried and Topped with Garlic, Thai-Pepper, Lime Juice, and Coriander in a Basil Dressing

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Spicy String Beans:  String Beans Stirred Fried in Garlic, Hot Pepper, and Spices

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Northern Burmese Noodle:  Stir Fried Noodles with Shrimp, Chicken, Scallions, Bean Sprouts, and Spicy Seasonings

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FACTS:  Located in Chinatown, Philadelphia

MY ANALYSIS:  

“Burmese?  Hmmm…  What could this possibly taste like?  And, where exactly is Burma located?”  These were just a few of the questions racing through my head after learning about Lloyd’s interest in dining here.  However, after reviewing the menu, along with trying the food, I found an undeniable Thai and Indian influence.

We started off with a “crispy” watercress salad, which actually turned out to be synonymous for “fried.”  Lloyd really liked this dish a lot.  However, because of my aversion to certain spices/cuisines, I wasn’t nearly as excited about this meal as he was, despite how flavorful everything was.  That being said, I didn’t enjoy the spicy string beans or the Burmese noodle dish as much as he did either.

While I wouldn’t ever dissuade anyone from visiting this restaurant, I’m definitely not in a rush to return any time soon.  But, in all fairness, I’m sure that Lloyd would be more than happy to.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out their extensive menu:   http://www.rangoonphilly.com/

Positano Coast

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FACTS:  Located in Old City, Philadelphia

WHAT I ORDERED:

Grilled Artichoke Salad: Red Belgian Endive, Arugula, Shaved Parmesan

Tuna Tartare: Avocado, Chile, Chives, Cilantro Pesto

Baked Cannelloni: Stuffed with Ricotta, Spinach, Ground Rib-Eye, Mozzarella, Marinara

Zucchini Crabcake: Jumbo Lump Crabmeat, Herbs, Spices, Roasted Peppers with Spinach, Potatoes & Lemon Butter Sauce

MY ANALYSIS:  

Despite this restaurant’s popularity, I was none too interested in ever visiting.  However, with some persuasion from Lloyd, I agreed to dine here recently.  And, to my surprise, I actually regretted not coming sooner.

More specifically:

  • The grilled artichoke salad was terrific and the salad dressing alone was superb.
  • The tuna tartare easily hit all three F’s: Fresh, Flavorful, and Fabulous.
  • The baked cannelloni, stuffed with ground rib-eye, is a must.
  • The zucchini crabcake was nicely plated, creative, and simply delicious.

So, not only did the food end up exceeding my expectations, but I definitely look forward to returning, regardless of my distaste for their interior design.  On that note, I highly recommend this place.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out their website:  http://www.positanocoast.net/

Izumi

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Kani Salad

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Gyoza: Pork Dumpling with Pickled Cumber and Jalapeno

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Rock Shrimp Tempura with Wasabi Aoli

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Braised Beef Short Ribs: Whipped Okinawan Potato, Tempura Onion Ring

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Sushi and Sashimi

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MY ANALYSIS:  

We recently dined here with the same friends who’d introduced us to this restaurant.  With the beautiful spring weather, terrific company, and delicious fare, it was a good time had by all.

We started out with the following appetizers to share among the four of us: Kani Salad, Gyoza, Rock Shrimp Tempura, and Braised Beef Short Ribs.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with kani salad (like myself), it consists of imitation crab meat, cucumbers, tobiko, Japanese mayonnaise, and sesame seed oil.  Turns out, I wasn’t very fond of this dish, but I am happy to have tried it, nonetheless.  Of course, I was beyond thrilled after spotting rock shrimp tempura listed on the menu.  And, even though it was prepared a little differently than I’m accustomed to, I enjoyed it just as much.  As for the braised short ribs, which are actually served as a main entrée, I found them to be both tender and savory.

Last, but not least, we ordered a large platter of sushi and sashimi.  The fish was beautifully presented, and most importantly, extremely fresh.

Overall, I found the food to be really tasty, and I highly recommend this place.

QUICK TIDBIT:  BYOB

Traditional Greek Easter Dinner, courtesy of The Geanopulos Family

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FACTS:  Located in Montvale, New Jersey

MY ANALYSIS:  

Over the past three years, we’ve attended the Geanopulos family Greek Easter celebration because of Lloyd’s close and long-standing friendship with Mike Geanopulos.  Hosted by Steven and Maria Geanopulos, this is one event that we always look forward to.  The food is fantastic and the company is equally lovely.

Without hesitation, I must first give props to Maria for all of her outstanding cooking skills, along with Steven, for manning the grill for hours on end.  On this occasion, you will find everything from roasted lamb on the spit to grilled octopus and homemade sides.  And, considering that it doesn’t get any more authentic (or blogworthy) than this, I thought that it was about time that I finally share some of the incredible dishes that are traditionally served here.

Thank you again to the Geanopulos family for all of your generosity and hard work!