philly’s quite delicious
I must say that I ate pretty well while in Philadelphia over the weekend.
The first night, after a ten hour drive, we went to a restaurant near our hotel called Fork. From the rainy cobbled sidewalk, I saw the restaurant and commented on the curbside appeal before venturing inside. The decor was simple and chic, yet rustic with an open view of the chef’s preparing the dishes. I wasn’t quite in the mood for such a haute dining experience but I was surprised to find some things that were easy and comforting. The waiter suggested the special soup which was a purée of English Peas. It was scrumptious paired with a fresh multigrain dinner roll. On the side I also ordered the sautéed Broccoli Rabe. This was too bitter and after both my parents tasted it, they could sense that the garlic was burned, and sent it back. This is something I am not fond of doing in restaurants, especially ones with well-respected chef’s with probably much more intellectual palettes than myself. The Broccoli Rabe returned to the table with less overcooked garlic, but was still too bitter to enjoy fully. I continued to make my way through the soup and roll (and wine to celebrate) with a few forkfuls of the side fitting its way in there at times. I wish there were photos to share but this was after a 10 hour drive, I was simply too tired to photograph and over excited to see my younger sister for the first time since the holidays.
The next morning we went out in search of flowers and stumbled upon a restaurant I knew I would enjoy fully. FARMiCiA was just what I was in the mood for with a bright sunny atmosphere and an emphasis on food crafted from local, organic, and artisanal producers.
Although the menu was extensive, I was craving oats (not on the online menu for some reason….) since it was still pretty early and I knew I had a full day and night ahead of me and I wanted to start off on a good start. The bowl came with a side of berries and I asked for a side of peanut butter in addition for some healthy fats. Most mainstream restaurants don’t offer soy/almond/hemp milk so I made sure to tell them to cook the oats in water instead of dairy milk.
This bowl of oats was then doused with peanut butter and filled me up for hours until we finally met up with my younger sister for lunch. We ventured over to Reading Terminal and I was so impressed by the huge array of stands with local produce, baked goods, juices, and ethnic cuisines.
I picked up a few of the local magazines to read up about local eats and going ons in the Philadelphia area. Jillian told me about Basic 4, a vegetarian cafe that I couldn’t wait to see and maybe grab something for a later time. Unfortunately, it is closed on Saturday’s but after reading the menu, I could tell that it was just the place for me. If I had more time in the city I know I would have gone back for any of the vegan eats.
Walking around Philadelphia, I fell in love with a few stores. One is Vagabond, a clothing store my sister loves. It has a great compilation of vintage, local designers, and some of my favorite contemporary designers. I freelanced for a high-end showroom a few times post college graduation and found a few of those organic designers in Vagabond (blog). Humanoid, a dutch company (sold here) and Organic by John Patrick are two clothing companies I am so attracted to and knew after seeing the pieces in the store that it appealed to my style. They also carried some lower priced lines like Jeffrey Campbell and local hand-knitted slouchy sweaters that I would crave in the winter months. I went out empty-handed but that store would be very dangerous if I ever live in Philadelphia.
Amada was the restaurant my father chose for a late lunch. Since my parents just came back from Spain, tapas was just what they were up for. My sister and I also love tapas but for me it can be hard as a veggie. Spanish menus tend to be pretty meat and cheese heavy and this was no exception. I can’t complain though, because the Ensalada Verde was a great tower of a salad with greens, avocado, asparagus, favas, and green beans. The avocado coated the lettuce and it was well dressed with a lime vinaigrette.
I also munched on some olives, Habas a las Catalana (warm fava & lima bean salad), and Patatas Bravas (spicy potatoes sans cheese topping) that were delicious.
The rest of the plates ordered by the rest of my family were just as beautiful and supposedly very tasty. Here is one dish my mother, father, and sister raved about, the Albóndigas (lamb meatballs & shaved manchego).
We all decided to finish off our meals with coffee or espresso because the Fashion Show wasn’t until 8 p.m.
As I wrote about earlier, my dinner consisted of a vegan banana chocolate chip cupcake. Saturday was quite a culinary filled day in Philadelphia and I was so happy to find another city in the U.S. with so much that I adore.
-I am overwhelmingly behind in blog reading after missing a few days. I promise to start reading and commenting more soon.
-We went to my aunt’s house today where she has some chickens. It has been quite a while since I have eaten an egg but after seeing her wonderful chickens and their amazing lives, I am tempted. If I eat one in the morning before our long drive back to the midwest, I decided that I will not be upset with myself knowing that these chickens are ALWAYS cage free and roaming around her property. It is a hard thing for me because not only does my family (mostly my father) feel I should eat them, but I also know that after a weekend with limited protein sources, I am really needing some.
-How do you feel about this? Are you a vegan or not into eating chickens who aren’t free range? I am weird about labels but when at a restaurant, telling them I am vegan just makes it easier since I do eat an entirely plant-based diet. I don’t buy eggs at grocery stores and can’t remember the last time I had one, but I did once love them and always want to eat what I want without feeling restricted. Aren’t they beauties?