Philadelphia


I visited Philly a few times during college and remember being unimpressed. Now that I’m a local, I find the same city amazing.  Something I never caught as a visitor, but love as a resident is the Schuykill Path which extends along the river for miles and miles. One minute you’re in the heart of the city competing for roadway with cars and the next your on an endless path with other bikers, runners, strollers, rollerblades…moving , active people basically. My bf and I love riding along the path to the next town over, Manayunk, and getting lunch on the river.

Roundtrip is almost 20 miles and takes about 2 hours. Its great exercise, beautiful scenery, and the break for lunch makes it perfect half day activity. Today’s 90 degree weather made the ride a bit more challenging, especially when my shorts seemed to glue themselves to my skin.

Our favorite place for lunch is the Manayunk Brewery. Does anything really beat eating on the water?

We had been here before in the spring and I was bummed by their salad selection (I think the options were garden or Caesar)  but now that its’ summer the salad options had expanded. This was my choice:
Riverside Salad
Jumbo lump crabmeat with marinated roasted shrimp, served over fresh field greens drizzled with sweet roasted red pepper vinaigrette and garnished with shitake mushrooms, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Review: Generous portion of field greens (I hate when restaurants are skimpy on the greens), the shitake mushrooms were cooked perfectly, big chunks of crabmeat, and the dressing was one of the best I’ve ever had out, as in I asked for it on the side and proceeded to use all of it.

My beer choice was the Blueberry, which was thirst-quenching and gave me an instant buzz 🙂

I love activities that get your heart going and lead to something yummy. Does anyone have any fun ideas for Philly?

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Oh Bibou – I heart you. I’ve been moaning about how its been so long since I had something truly amazing to eat. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate the apples and yogurt and bread that I consume on a daily. I just mean I wanted something from a chef that really made me appreciate the culinary profession. Thank you Bibou for finally giving that to me.

Bibou is a small, intimate but not stuffy, cash-only, bring your own wine kind of place. My friend and I were the youngest people there, which is just fine with me. The owners are a married French born couple (adorable) and Bibou is their first restaurant (also adorable). She runs the front, he runs the back. The chef has worked in the kitchens of Daniel and Le Bec Fin so experience is not lacking.

The menu is made up of 5 appetizers and 5 entrees. If you have a great dinner companion, like I did, you can try almost 50% of the menu.

For the appetizers:

  • Escargot – Snail ragout, fava beans and mushroom
  • Foie Gras – Pan seared, sautéed red grapes, banyuls vinegar sauce

both appsIf you read my blog than you know, I can go a very long time without meat protein. Its not something I notice – I’m just naturally drawn to vegetables and most of my protein needs are met by beans and yogurt. However, I am a foodie at heart and believe that even controversial foods like foie gras deserved to be enjoyed, with rarity. This foie was flawless. It was the perfect consistency, the inside was still warm, and the sauce had to be sopped up with the bread until none remained.  For the escargot, the snails were weak in comparison to the perfectly seasoned wine-based sauce they were presented in.  They were good, I just want to stress the perfection of the sauce. The bread below was used as the vehicle for consuming every last drop of both sauces as well as to try the butter imported from France. The butter was creamy and rich (obviously) but lacked salt.

butterFor the main course:

  • Seared Halibut, artichoke fricassee, carrot julienne, barigoule sauce

halibutThe fish was cooked perfectly. But the real star was the artichokes. I’d give anything to know how to make an artichoke taste so chewy and full of sage.

  • Veal medallions, Brussels sprouts and orzo, sage veal jus

vealThe actual veal was the most uneventful part of our dinner. The miniature brussels sprouts were quite tasty though. A solid dish with again a perfect sauce.

The NY Times and I were pretty aligned on this one. Take a quick read for more info about Bibou. Next time you find yourself in Philadelphia, I say give Bibou a try. Plan ahead though, they’re pretty sought out on Open Table.

  • Healthy Options: 2 out of 5. Other than the small portion sizes there is nothing healthy here.
  • Food: 4.5 out of 5. Superb. Would be a 5 out of 5 if the dinners were as good as the apps.
  • Service: 5 out of 5. Not a single complaint. Perfect service.
  • Seating: 5 out of 5. No wait. Perfect timing.
  • Ambiance: 4 out of 5. Cozy, romantic, intimate.
  • Price: 4 out of 5. Expensive, for app, dinner, tip $50 per person. Saving grace is that you bring your own wine.

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