5 Splurge Worthy Places

5 Splurge Worthy Places!-2

It’s always fun to explore new places within the city that are splurge worthy but won’t break the bank. Lucky for us, Philadelphia is filled with plenty of amazing places to try.

Here are 5 places that I have deemed splurge worthy.

Mac Mart

This heavenly mac and cheese joint is located in Rittenhouse Square on 104 SScreen Shot 2017-03-07 at 2.21.23 PM. 18th Street. Mac Mart specializes in all things mac and cheese. They offer a wide variety of flavors from the buffalo mac and cheese called In the Buff to their seafood mac and cheese called Crabby Mac. All of their flavors are offered daily and are all piled high. Each type ranges from $8.75 to $11 for a container filled with mac and cheese. Believe me when I say this mac and cheese is life changing.

Sweet Charlie’s

Do you like ice cream? If so then you will absolutely love Sweet Charlie’s located at 711 Walnut Street. This unique store is Philadelphia’s first hand-rolled ice cream shop! At Sweet CharScreen Shot 2017-03-07 at 2.22.37 PMlie’s customers are able to choose any flavor of ice cream or frozen yogurt they would like and it is made right in front of them on a frozen surface. Once completed it is scraped up into neat little rolls and placed in either a cup or on a homemade donut roll. The customer can then choose any toppings they want! What makes this ice cream shop so awesome is that since the ice cream is made on the frozen surface it causes the ice cream to create tiny ice particles that make the ice cream fresh and healthy since no there is no additives or preservatives. You can get a cup full of this delicious ice cream with unlimited toppings for only $7!

Pat’s King of Steaks

Have you truly lived in Philly if you’ve never had a cheesesteak? Unless you are a vegetarian the answer to that question should always be no. Now I know everyone has their own opinion on where the best place to get a cheesesteak is but for me that place is Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 2.25.10 PMPat’s King of Steaks located at 1237 E Passyunk Avenue. This shop’s claim to fame is that the owner Pat Olivieri invented the cheesesteak in 1930. Nearly 87 years later, the family is still making some of the best cheesesteaks around. If you have never been to Pat’s before, you might want to brush up on your ordering technique because the line moves fast with or without you so I recommend bringing a veteran customer with you. Just be sure to bring cash when you go try Pat’s $7.50 steaks since this is a cash only joint!

Federal Donuts

Looking for fresh warm donuts that melt in your mouth? Want a taste of the south while still staying in Philly? Well then, Federal Donuts located at 3428 Sansom Street is the place for you! Federal Donuts is a small little shop that is serving up some of the most delicious donut flavors you could imagine. And the best part is that they are made to order! Some of their flavors are Blueberry Pancake, Cookies and Milk, and Strawberry Lavender. Their donuts range from $1.50-$2.50 each. But donuts are not the only thing Federal Donuts is serving up. Another specialty here is the fried chicken! Federal Donuts offers fried chicken with a choice of seasoning and a honey donut. This tasty twist on a southern favorite of chicken and waffles is the best start to a lazy weekend. I highly recommend trying the Cinnamon Brown Sugar donut when visiting!

Chestnut Street Philly Bagels

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 2.54.09 PMTo me, there is nothing better to start your morning than with a nice fluffy bagel. Chestnut Street Philly Bagels located at 1705 Chestnut St. serves just that for between $2.50-$10. Some of the bagels they offer are Nutella Banana Honey Bagel, Pizza Bagels, and the beloved Tie Dye Bagels. Yes, those trendy rainbow colored bagels that have been getting so much attention are available at this location with a seasonal Birthday Cake Cream Cheese. You will not see these two options offered on their menu online but when going into the store they are front and center in the display case. I highly recommend you go early, as these bagels tend to sell out fast!

So get out there and explore these 5 amazing splurge worthy places. Be sure to comment below if you find another place that you consider splurge worthy!

 

 

Stop Studying and Live a Little

So at this point in the term most people are freaking out. I should know, I am one of them. Drexel is a very fast paced school so it’s easy to get left behind. However, I know from experience the best stress reliever is…yes, you guessed it: Going out with friends and enjoying a delicious meal together. Here are the places that I have gone to in the last few weeks when I really needed a break.

Mama Palma’s

Mama Palma’s located at 2229 Spruce Street in Center City is a cozy little Italian restaurant with exceptional food. All of my friends love to go here with a nice bottle of wine and catch up each other’s lives.

One thing that we love about Mama Palma’s is the fact that they have the most amazing pizza with all different kinds of combinations. We all usually order our own individual sized pizza. Another thing that we love about Mama Palma’s is the fact that they have gluten free pizza since one of our friends has Celiac’s disease.

For dinner my friend Bennett and I both ordered the caramelized onions and prosciutto pizza for $11.25. This pizza is my absolute favorite. The onions and prosciutto give it a very sweet taste in contrast to the pizza sauce flavored with a lot of spices. My three other friends, all ordered the Margherita pizza for $11.25, made with their homemade mozzarella cheese. This was a table favorite for sure.

My friend Cassie ordered the gluten free Hawaiian pizza for $11.20, topped with ham and pineapple chunks in their Hawaiian barbecue sauce. Cassie loved it because the gluten free crust is some of the best she has ever had. She actually thought it tasted so much like regular crust, we had to reassure her it was gluten free.

Devil’s Alley

Right after midterms week, I headed to Devil’s Alley located at 1907 Chestnut Street in Center City. This is one of my favorite places to go for brunch because they have the best mimosas and sangria. This is also the perfect place to go with friends when you just want to roll out of bed and relax. The vibe here is very laid back and young.

I went here with Trevor and Caroline and we all decided to order coffee, water, and mimosas. Caroline and I went for the strawberry mimosa for $7 and Trevor went for the classic mimosa for $7. Both are good, but I highly recommend the strawberry!

For breakfast, we all ordered the Eggs Benny for $10, which came with 2 poached eggs on English muffins, country ham and potatoes. The amount of food they give is just enough to make you feel full but without over doing it.

Sit Back and Relax

These are just two of my favorite places to go with friends to unwind and forget that I am in college with about a million assignments due every week. Sometimes we get so caught up in what work we need to complete for our next class that we forget to live our own lives. We are fortunate enough to go to school in an amazing city. It would be a shame to look back and realize you never took full advantage of that. So next time you are freaking out over classes, take a moment with your friends to have fun and enjoy a great meal together. I promise you won’t regret it!

What better way to celebrate an occasion than over food!

One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think of my birthday is, “Where are my family and I going to go to dinner to celebrate?”

In my family, when it is someone’s birthday we like to celebrate by taking that person out to dinner. All of my siblings and I are at the age now where because of our busy schedules; huge family parties are not exactly feasible. Instead, the six of us get together for a night and enjoy a nice meal out.

For these family celebrations, the people that attend are myself, my dad, my dad’s girlfriend Karen, my brother Bobby, my stepsister Caroline, and my stepbrother Brian. Considering Caroline and I both go to Drexel, this year for my 22nd birthday, my family decided to come to Philadelphia.whitedogucity-0823f

In the four years that I have been at Drexel almost every time my family comes to visit the number one restaurant we go to eat at is White Dog in University City. Since White Dog features food that is extremely fresh and bought at local farms around the area, it scores major points with Karen. Caroline and Karen are both vegetarians so sometimes when going out to eat it is difficult to find things that they would enjoy. However, if you have ever been to White Dog then you would know that they offer a completely vegetarian and vegan menu upon request.

It’s The Little Things That Count

Last Friday was the big night that my family came to have dinner with me. Since we already had a reservation, we were seated immediately. I highly recommend having a reservation for White Dog if you plan on going on a Friday night because the wait can be very long. After we sat down, our host quickly came running back to our table. At first, we were very confused that maybe there was a problem. However, she quickly revealed that she wanted to give me a birthday card on behalf of White Dog. Turns out Karen told them we were celebrating my birthday when she made the reservation so they put together a little something which was very sweet and thoughtful.

If you have ever been to White Dog then you know that the theme of the restaurant is dogs. They have paintings of dogs and little doggy knick-knacks all over the walls and doors. Since we are huge animal lovers, this is another thing that my family loves about this restaurant.

For Starters

To start things off Karen ordered the table an appetizer of the hummus trio for $15. This included a black bean hummus, a lemon garlic hummus, and a roasted red pepper peanut hummus. We were given warm pita slices and crispy hibiscus flatbread to dip with. Everyone absolutely died over this appetizer because all of the hummus was so fresh and flavorful.

My brother and I each ordered a glass of wine to go with our main courses. He got the Oak Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon for $9 a glass and I got the Oakland Vineyards Chardonnay for $9 a glass. Not that I’m a wine snob or anything but this Chardonnay was a little too sweet for my taste but still enjoyable.

Bon Appetit

For dinner, Bobby ordered the Butchers Cut Steak with roasted potatoes and veggies for $48. He said it was like butter because it was so smooth to cut into and just melts in your mouth. (His analogy not mine). Brian ordered the Verlasso Salmon that included charred butternut squash, green lentils, lobster curry emulsion, and crispy leeks for $29. Caroline ordered the Butternut Squash Ravioli that had kennett square mushrooms, sage brown butter, de glae lanchego cheese, and saba for $14.

Karen ordered the Pan Seared Tofu which had braised baby bok choy, spicy chili sauce, and sesame dressed enoki for $18. My dad and I both ordered the same thing, the Green Meadow Double Cheddar Burger with grilled red onion, tomato, smoked bacon mayo, and truffle parmesan fries for $18. Everything was absolutely delicious. Everyone besides me devoured their food completely. If anyone is going to try White Dog I highly recommend ordering the burger when going to White Dog because the meat is so juicy and fresh and the mayo completely changes everything.

Sweet Surprise

After our main courses, everyone was completely stuffed. None of us ordered dessert however, Karen and my dad both ordered a cup of coffee. We were all winding down on the birthday celebrations when our waitress slowly came walking up to the table carrying a plate with a candle on it. She placed it in front of me and started singing Happy Birthday along with the rest of my family.img_2616

When I looked down on the plate I saw the candle was placed in a mini dish of dolce de leche ice cream with a shortbread cookie shaped like a dog biscuit. What was also included on the plate was the words Happy Birthday written in chocolate. This small detail made all the difference since none of us asked for them to do this for me. Even though I was stuffed I still tried some of the ice cream. It was the creamiest ice cream I had ever had.

Overall, White Dog went above and beyond what they normally do and made my birthday dinner even more special. My family and I could not thank them enough. If anyone is looking for a great place to go for a celebration or even for a casual brunch, I highly recommend going to White Dog. I promise you will not be disappointed.

$35 Meal

In my last post I talked about how to maximize your Restaurant Week experience. This week I decide to go out and put my tips into action. I recently wentimg_2552 to The Little Lion on Wednesday for restaurant week. I originally chose this place because I thought the name was cute but after viewing the menu, I knew I had to try it! The Little Lion is located in Old City at 243 Chestnut Street. It’s a quick walk from the subway at 2nd street station from the Market Frankfort Line. The Little Lion is situated inside an old bank building which explains the big stair case towards the back of the room leading up to the second floor. The bar is located in a cozy corner towards the back of the restaurant. This then leads to a more intimate lower level.

I decided to go to The Little Lion with my stepsister Caroline who is a freshman at Drexel and my best friend Trevor. Since Trevor and I are both 21 we each had a cocktail. I ordered the Raspberry Sangria for $8 and Trevor ordered the Blood Orange Paloma for $10. Both drinks were excellent however, I would advise anyone to steer clear of the Paloma if you are not a fan of a strong cocktail made with tequila.

First Course

To start off, I ordered the roasted tomato soup while Trevor and Caroline both got a Lion Salad which included carrots, radish’s, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, with a white peach balsamic dressing. The salad would normally be $8 on the regular menu. The tomato soup was tasty but the preserved lemon was a little overpowering.

Second Course

Next, Trevor and I both ordered the Farmers Cheese, normally $8, that included large fluffy chunks of break drizzled in honey with an apricot jam and mixed cheese spread on the side. The Farmers Cheese was absolutely delicious and one of my favorite parts of the dinner. Trevor, Caroline, and I had some fun trying to figure out exactly what kind of cheese it was but all we came up with was that it definitely had ricotta and goat cheese. Caroline ordered the Potato Fondue, which just melts in your mouth the moment you taste it. We all used the extra bread from the Farmers Cheese plate to scoop up the remaining gooey fondue.

Main Course

For the main course consisted of all three of us ordering something different. Since Caroline is a vegetarian she ordered the Kale Pesto Pasta, normally $16, that included cauliflower, roasted tomatoes, and more farmers cheese. Caroline could not get enough of the pasta but ultimately had to take it home to finish later. Trevor ordered the Ribeye Steak that included horseradish mash potatoes and balsamic mushrooms and onions. He thoroughly enjoyed his meal but since Trevor prefers his steak cooked for 5 seconds on each side, according to him, “It was a little too cooked.” To me that just meant the steak was cooked perfect. For my main course, I ordered the Pork Tenderloin that included brussel sprouts, fennel jam, and a butternut squash puree. The meat was so tender and juicy it was hard not to eat the whole thing.

Our Shocking Discovery

Surprisingly after all of that we still ordered dessert because if its included in the $35 set menu price, why not. So, Trevor and Caroline both ordered the Espresso Crème Brulee that was topped with a nice dollop of homemade whipped cream and fruit. I went with the Chocolate Mud Jar, which was a lot bigger than I anticipated and or wanted. Shamefully I was only able to eat about a quarter of it before completely giving up. It was a little sad to see them take away the dessert since it was so yummy but at that point I felt like that girl in the Willy Wonka movie who swells up to be a huge blueberry after eating the piece of gum.

Shockingly enough after everything we still all paid less than $50. Going out to eat can still be very fun and affordable especially when you go out with a group of people. Even though I felt like a giant marshmallow for the rest of the night, it was worth every calorie.

3 Tips For How to Get More When Eating Out

We all have that one restaurant we love. The one that we wish we could go to and order all the food off the menu. Unfortunately, from a financial standpoint alone, this is not an option for a majority of us. But what if I told you there was a way that you could go to nice restaurants, try a variety of different kinds of food, and still not break the bank. You wouldn’t believe me right? Well what if I told you the answer to that was (drumroll please)…Restaurant Week!

ccdrw_mainpageHow to optimize your experience

I know what you must be thinking, “Not such a big surprise, its restaurant week.” Okay, even though restaurant week is no secret, most people end up missing it. Well even though Center City Restaurant Week has come and gone, University City Restaurant Week will be back in the summer from July 14-July 24.

To get you prepared for the next restaurant week, I have three easy tips to share to make sure you get the most out of your experience. They are:

Make sure to bring friends

This is a no brainer, the more people you bring the more fun you’ll have. If you bring friends with you it optimizes all the different things you will get to try especially if you all order something different, it will be like you ordered everything off the menu.

8766743779_8f51845b1c_z

Visit a place that has many options

Everyone knows that when participating in Restaurant Week there is a three-course pre-set dinner menu for $35 and a two-course pre-set lunch menu for $20. What most people don’t know is that there are actually some places that offer more courses than just that. If you are going to do Restaurant Week, you might as well get the most out of it.

y3ap9oo9pjc-ali-inay

Try something different

Whether this is trying new food off the menu or randomly picking a restaurant, be spontaneous and get out of your comfort zone. You get the chance to go to some of the coolest and most expensive restaurants you want for only $35. Why would you not want to participate in that?

8221733375_9963af1734_b

So mark your calendars and check out this website for suggestions on where to eat next. I hope you don’t miss it and let me know what food you tried!