Antipasti:  Panecotto, Broccoli Rabe, Cannellini Beans, Garlic, Cruschi Peppers, Pecorino, Olive Oil


Pizze:  Margherita – San Marzano Tomatoes , House Made Mozzarella, Basil


Primi:  Prosciutto and Ricotta-Filled Ravioli, Local Tomatoes, Parmigiano Reggiano, Toasted Bread


Primi:  Saffron “Briganti Hats,” Pork Sausage Ragu, Cardoncelli Mushrooms, Parmigiano Reggiano


Contorni:  Broccoli Rabe “Aglio Olio e Peperoncino”


FACTS:  Located in Passyunk, Philadelphia


After hearing great reviews from my co-worker about Brigantessa’s authentic pizza, it became a priority to try this Southern Italian restaurant for dinner.  We shared an antipasti dish, a pizza, and two different kinds of pastas.

Served in a skillet, the panecotto, broccoli rabe, cannellini beans, and seasonings were a perfect blend of all of all things delicious.

Next, we ordered the margherita pizza, which definitely lived up to its reputation.  Made with house-made mozzarella and baked in a wood-fire oven, the crust was perfect, and I could have easily ordered another.

Home-made pasta?  Sign me up!  We ordered the prosciutto and ricotta-filled ravioli, along with the pork sausage saffron briganti hats.  So that we could try both, we were able to order half portions of each.  But, given my strong distaste for mushrooms, I preferred the stuffed ravioli over the briganti hat dish, which is served with sliced cardoncelli mushrooms.  Both were equally superb, regardless.

For a side dish, we ordered broccoli rabe.  While it was also very tasty, the true stars of this meal are noted above.

I highly recommend this place and look forward to dining here again.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out their menu:

Sweet Charlie’s




FACTS:  Located in Washington Square West, Philadelphia


Off Duty:  Coffee, Doughnut


If you’re looking for a novelty ice cream shop, you’ve come to the right place.  Sweet Charlie’s serves hand-rolled Thai-style ice cream.

Similar to Cold Stone Creamery, all of the ingredients are chopped up and mixed together by hand.  However, unlike Cold Stone Creamery, the ice cream is prepared fresh, thereby being a healthier alternative.  Made on a surface that exceeds twenty below, this technique allows any/all unnecessary preservatives to be eliminated from the cream.  It’s a process reminiscent of spackling that only takes minutes to create, while also providing a great arm workout.

During our visit, we ordered the coffee/doughnut combo.  But, considering that we never saw any real hints of coffee to be found anywhere, I’m hoping that the doughnut was at least coffee flavored…??? That being said, our ice cream didn’t taste anything like coffee.  On a positive note, the toppings were no additional cost, and it was a tasty and fun treat overall.

I highly recommend checking this place out, even to just watch the process.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Beware of long lines!





FACTS:  Located in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia


Small Bites

Pan Seared Scallops:  With Yuzu Cauliflower Puree, Bacon, Bourbon, Trout Roe, Shiso Oil, and Fried Maitake Mushroom


Shrimp Tempura, Spicy Crunch Tuna, and Yellowtail & Scallion


After hearing such rave reviews about Zama for so long, we finally went there for dinner.  Not only did it live up to our expectations, but we also found it to be the best sushi restaurant in Philadelphia.  In addition to the food, I really liked the simple and clean interior.

For an appetizer, I ordered the pan-seared scallops.  Topped with an extremely flavorful sauce and seared to perfection, it was a great way to begin my meal.   In fact, I could have easily ordered seconds.

For my main course, I ordered three different sushi rolls: shrimp tempura (my favorite), spicy crunchy tuna, and yellowtail and scallion.  That being said, they were all tasty, fresh, and filling.

I highly recommend this place and look forward to trying one of their specialty rolls during my next visit.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out the Kokeshi dolls, which are located on the bathroom doors.

Double Knot








FACTS:  Located in Market East, Philadelphia


Chef’s Tasting Menu


Double Knot is located directly next door to and is owned by the same chef as Sampan.  Both are Asian fusion restaurants and share a few of the same dishes.  However, Double Knot also serves Japanese fare, including sushi, sashimi, and various grilled items.

We came here for dinner and ordered the Chef’s Tasting Menu.  Despite how good the food was, I was even more enamored with the hip ambience downstairs.  Dimly lit, the vibe was great and just a wonderful surprise.  Furthermore, the vibe upstairs was also quite fabulous.

Wanting to enjoy both my meal and the company, I did not write any of these dishes down.  But, other than the dessert, everything was very tasty.  As far as the dessert was concerned, I don’t think that serving one petit four per person qualifies as being a real “dessert.”  Therefore, I was extremely disappointed and left yearning for more.

This restaurant is a welcome addition to Philadelphia, and I highly recommend it.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out their menu:

La Colombe






FACTS:  Located in Fishtown, Philadelphia



Bacon, Egg, and Cheese:  Arugula, Smoked Paprika Aioli, Baguette


Draft Latte


Let me start off by saying that I am not an avid coffee drinker by any means.  In fact, I rarely partake at all.  But, what I am a huge fan of is industrial loft space, specialty coffees, and great food, all of which are housed in this fabulous building.

We came here for breakfast, and it completely exceeded my expectations.  Specifically, I ordered the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich on a baguette, which was superb.  The eggs were baked in a wood-fire burning oven, the bread was homemade, and the paprika aoli was phenomenal.  In addition, I really liked how well the arugula tied everything together.

So, considering that I was visiting one of the most popular coffee shops around these days, along with its being the originator of the draft latte, how could I not try one?  Served on tap, this coffee was frothy, creamy, and extremely tasty.  I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely order another.

In addition to the terrific coffee and food served here, this location also contains a rum distillery.  And, as well as serving breakfast, they also serve lunch and dinner.

I highly recommend this place and look forward to returning.


Be sure to check out their website for a location near you:

Kitchen Market








FACTS:  Located in Tel Aviv, Israel


Salanova/Paladin/Quinoa/Almond:  Salad of Fresh Leaves, Paladin Cheese, Crispy Quinoa & Roasted Almond

Pizza/Carbonara/Asparagus/Bacon:  Bechamel Sauce, Asparagus, Bacon & Truffle Oil

Sirloin/Onion/Red Wine/Lettuce:  Grilled Sirloin Steak, Burnt Onions & Seared Lettuce in Brown Butter

Lemon Cloud:  Lemon Tart with Geranium Ice-Cream, Mascarpone & Grapes


Located in the Tel Aviv Port, and directly above the Farmers’ Market, this was easily my favorite dining experience in Israel (aside from the breakfast at my hotel, which is coincidentally owned by the same chef).  Between the ambience, the energetic vibe, and the amazing food, I absolutely loved this restaurant.   And, to top it off, we had a bird’s eye view of the kitchen.  Furthermore, given our long wait, and thanks to the chef, we received a few complimentary dishes (see photos).  But, to be fair, we did not have a reservation, and because of this restaurant’s extreme popularity, seating was limited.

We started out with a salad.  Beautifully presented, it was fresh, tasty, and just all-around fantastic.  In addition, it was my first time being introduced to salanova lettuce and, wow, what a gorgeous head of leaves!

For our second appetizer, we went the savory route and ordered a pizza.  The béchamel sauce, asparagus, bacon, and truffle oil made a winning combination for sure.  Yum!

For my main course, I ordered the grilled sirloin.  Cooked to perfection, it was both tender and delicious.  Of course, all of the trimmings went very nicely with it, too.

Last, but not least, was the lemon cloud dessert.  Dreamy, heavenly, and beautifully plated, it was as refreshing as it was stunning.

In summation, this place is a must, and I hope to visit here again one day.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out their menu:

Elkheir Druze Cuisine





FACTS:  Located in Haifa, Israel


Side Dishes

Vegetable Salad, Hummus, Shulbata, Majadra, Cabbage Salad, Olives, and Rice

Tabbouleh:  Green Salad with Bulgar, Parsley, Mint Leaves, Olive Oil and Fresh Lemon Juice

Mt’abal – Eggplant Salad:  Smoked Eggplant with Chopped Peppers 


Maskan with Chicken and Onion in a Taboon:  Pastry with Pieces of Chicken Breast, Onions, Sumac and Bharat


Kat’taief:  Stuffed with Walnuts and Cinnamon and Natural Syrup

Homemade Knafe:  With Special Cheese

Malabi:  With Homemade Syrup and Rose Water


Thanks to yet another one of Trip Advisor’s recommendations, we ate here for dinner.  And, not only was it completely worth the drive, but it was also the first time we’d learned about the Druze community.

It was rated #1, and deservedly so; all of the dishes were homemade and extremely delicious.  Furthermore, the interior was casual and the prices were moderate.  We started out with a variety of different mezze dishes to share, some of which came with our main courses, and two that we ordered off the menu: tabbouleh and Mt’abal.  Of course, given all of the small plates and bread, we could’ve actually ended our meal there, but no…

For my main course, I ordered Maskan.  Maskan?  A new term for me, this is a Middle Eastern-style pizza.  Topped with chicken and onion, it was extremely savory and tasty.

For the grand finale, we tried three different kinds of desserts, but I’m hard pressed to name a favorite, since they were all quite fabulous.

QUICK TIDBIT:  To learn more about the Druze community, check out the following Wikipedia page: