Friday, September 30, 2011

Southern BBQ In Philadelphia

    Where’s the next closest “South” you can get BBQ that’s in Philadelphia? Tricky question... with an answer. Percy Street BBQ! Texas style food with a little extra on the side. Sometimes I want to go out to eat and use my hands even though they offer silverware. Percy Street captures the classic Texas atmosphere with their weathered chalkboards with the menu and drinks listed. The decor was old fashion farm house meets Texas country land. For larger groups than 2-4 they had these neat bench style tables where everyone could share the food. The bright red and blue glazed table tops took be back to classic America. Even the lights were hanging inside old glass jars. Once we were seated a waiter immediately came to our table and filled our glasses with ice cold water and c-clamped a role of paper towels to our table. That was cool! 

    Before I get too deep into my dining experience, I was planning on eating here a few weeks ago for my boyfriend’s birthday, but was deterred when it was closed for a private event I didn’t know about. The manager, Don I wrote an email to about the incident responded quickly and professionally. Having received a gift card in the mail I made sure to make the trip back soon. So when I got their last night with my boyfriend he was there and came to my table to apologize once again and to make sure I was taken care of, also to make sure my boyfriend spun the birthday wheel! Thank you Don for making our dining experience incredible :)

    After we put our order in the waiter came back with a tray of their signature sauces; which consisted of a mild to hotter sauces. 

For a appetizer we ordered the BBQ fries which was topped with chopped brisket and cheese. Kind of reminded me of a Philly cheesesteak which was a good thing. They came out hot with the cheese melting on top and chunks of tasty brisket. I made sure and tried all the sauces and I think my favorite was Old Faithful. Other than washing these down with water we ordered some drinks. The drink list was very extensive, including cocktails, whiskey, and canned beers. What first struck my interest in this restaurant was the canned beer. I don’t see much of that around here, and the quality of the beer in a can was impressive. 

    For the main course we got meat. Oh yeah it was good meat! The simple salt and pepper rub than smoked in a pit spoke for itself. I got the brisket with some moist and lean slices. It came with coleslaw, pickles, and onions wrapped in butcher paper. For my choice of side I got collard greens. The dinner was served on a silver platter; seriously ha! More like a silver lunch tray with a moist cloth. The helping of coleslaw and collard greens was plentiful and tasty. The waiter also brought out slices of white bread if we wanted to make sandwiches with our meat. The brisket came out hot and smokey. Yummm :) I cut up some slices and ate it as is which was so juicy and packed with flavor. I tried some with the sauces and also made a little sandwich. The presentation of the food and the white bread had a real old western country feel.

    Key Lime Pie was for dessert. Don brought it out in addition to a slice of their Pecan Pie. He was asking how our dinner was and was nice enough to bring a extra dessert. Both were rich in taste. The key lime pie had the perfect citric after taste and the pecan pie was topped with the creamiest, cold vanilla bean ice cream I’ve had in awhile. The pecans were sweet and crunchy with a perfectly baked crust.

    After eating we spun the birthday wheel and got a free root beer float. I think that was nice to have something like that, it will keep you coming back. 

The location was on the heart of South street and the food had that perfectly smoked southern taste. Next time I go I have to try their cornbread.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

#FF MS 150...

This Friday I'm preparing for my MS150 city to shore bike ride.

Thank you all who donated to this great cause and the fight against MS!

Look out though for next week; I'll have a juicy write up on Percy Street BBQ  and a restaurant that should have Stephen Starr shaking in his boots :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Margarita of Fort Washington

Since Tequila Joe’s closed in my neighborhood its been hard to find a good quality authentic Mexican restaurant with the right salsas and traditional margarita. Sure there are plenty of places in the city but I don’t always want to drive down there. Catina Feliz is a perfect distance from my house and just as enjoyable as if I were in the city.

Tucked down and around Butler Pike is a beige office looking building with the Catina Feliz sign outside. When you walk in it’s a whole other world. The vibrant colored walls and traditional Mexican murals and decor fill the restaurant from front to back. I was in the right place. There is a lot of seating and a beautiful bar right when you walk in. It’s filled with the best tequilas and beer. Their menu is as authentic as it can get. The salsas, guacamole’s, and tortilla chips were fresh and tasty. The taco shells, enchiladas, and re-fried beans you can’t find anywhere else. The margarita’s, oh yes! Get em fresh :)

 I could tell Tim Spinner, the head chef definitely learned under the great Jose Garces. Knowing his style of food and restaurants then stepping into Catina Feliz I could make the connection. Tim and his close friend Brian Sirhal are going to do good in the town of Fort Washington. Mexican places are something of a favorite in the area. 

Make sure and check out their events! Coming up, Oct. 1st Tim will be teaching how to prepare Mexican street food!
As always any successful restaurant can be found on Twitter and Facebook

Photos Copyright of Perretti Photography 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Restaurant Review: La Campagne

    I’ve found my secret oasis back to France only having to drive about 45min. Just over the bridge in New Jersey is this adorable white farm house turned french cuisine restaurant. The elegance of the farm house makes the dining experience VERY romantic and perfect for a date. It is a BYOB so you can really impress by bringing your own bottle of superb wine to pair with your meal.
    I found out about this spot because it was a featured restaurant in SJ Magazine about a month ago which I photographed and knew I had to come back just by photographing one of their desserts. (It looked that good). Also this gave me the opportunity to find out the history of the restaurant and how they prepare their food. All they had to say was homemade and I was sold!
    I looked over the menu before I went and I decided to get the Gourmand Tasting Menu which consisted of six courses. This included a Amuse Bouche, which is a hors d'oeuvre dish smaller than a appetizer. Then a choice of appetizer, fruits de mer/salades, entree, cheese course, and dessert.
    For my hors d'oeuvre they served me a sliced tomato from their garden with homemade balsamic and oil drizzle over a freshly sliced piece of mozzarella. That refreshed my pallet for the coming dishes and was a nice introduction on how they really stick to homemade; freshly and locally grown.
    For my appetizer I had to get their Escargot Bourgogne because I had to see how it compared to my escargot experience in France at Le Mont Saint-Michel. Their escargot was so rich with a buttery garlic brandy base served with a piece of their homemade brioche toast. The escargot was just like I remembered, savory and melting in your mouth. The textures mixed very well and you had to get a little bit of everything on your spoon and the taste just exploded in your mouth.

    The next dish I chose was the tomato salad because their garden grown tomatoes like my first dish was amazing. They were plump, juicy, and the perfect ripeness to cut up and eat with a basic balsamic vinaigrette with diced ricotta cheese and red onions.
    The main entree I went with was Fish du jour Provencal which was grilled perfectly on both sides and not a single bone. (I hate bones in my fish, pet peeve) The cut of fish was very meaty (poultry...hmm..), if that makes sense and was paired with cooked zucchini, potatoes and tomatoes in a white wine broth.

    After the main entree they brought out the cheese tray which was meant to clean the pallet. It was presented on this round, thick wooden cheese block. It consisted of artisan and farmstead cheeses served with their house made croutes, mustard, jam, and apple slices. It was a buttery, creamy goodness in my mouth. The mustard seeds in the mustard really gave it a spicy kick. To tone it down, pair a piece of the cheese on a croute with some jam on top. Then have a slice of the apple and do it all over. 
    My favorite dessert of all time is a french classic, creme brulee, which they had at the top of their dessert menu. I ordered that without question. It came out in the shallow porcelain dish with the perfectly fired shell of sweetness. Once you broke the surface, underneath was a creamy vanilla custard you scoop with the sugary surface and eat that in one bit. It’s sweet, crunchy, creamy all at once. The dessert though that I photographed before was their Apple Tarte Tatin which is just as good.
    The whole experience of dining there was about 2 hours. The dishes were brought out in a timely manner allowing the food to digest. The portions were small but that’s usually how the tasting menus work. You end up feeling just as satisfied.

My overall experience was great and I would recommend treating yourself here once a year. Their menu is ever changing just like the seasons and their garden would also change with the season.

*FYI- These are my Iphone images, not my professional images. Thank you -Felicia (still copyrighted)