Ten days in Philadelphia, what to do, what to do? Well in fact I didn’t have that much free time in between attending and presenting papers at both the International Boys’ Schools Coalition Annual Conference and the American Association of Teachers of French Annual Conference but in the little time I did have, I made the most of, seeking out uniquely Philly foodie experiences, like the Reading Terminal Market.
I also had the great fortune to connect with a few bloggers – Jen from My Kitchen Addiction helped me make my Kitchen Bootcamp entry for this month and both Casey from Tastestopping and Amy from EssEppis agreed to meet up for a meal with me at either end of my trip. The food blogging community is truly a wonderfully warm and welcoming one and I cannot believe that in the space of just over a year, I have made so many good friends, some of whom I have had the pleasure of meeting in real life!
I was thrilled to meet Casey on Day 3 of my trip at Zahav. Having only eaten conference-type food for the 2 days prior, I was ready for a real meal. “Zahav” meaning “gold” in Hebrew, is a modern Israeli restaurant, established in May 2008, aiming to showcase the authentic flavours of Israeli cuisine. Offering a “small plates” menu, Zahav allows diners to experience the wide variety of flavours that influence in Israeli cuisine – Eastern European, North African, Persian and Eastern Mediterranean.
We ordered the TA’ YIM – a Taste of Zahav – which included the Salatim (daily selection of 8 salads) & Hummus and then got to choose three plates (meat, dairy and grill items) each and a dessert for $36 per person. I also started with a Midas Touch Beer from Dogfish Head Brewery. A sweet beer with notes of honey and saffron, this definitely did not taste like it was 9% alcohol. Wish we could get this in Canada…
Of the eight miniature salad bowls, Casey and I really enjoyed the fennel salad:
From the “main” dishes we picked, my personal favourites were (from top left, clockwise): Lamb moussaka, “Monsier Merguez”, Crispy Halloumi (uh, fried cheese? Yes Please!) and Duck Two Ways.
237 Saint James Place,
After my foray into the Reading Terminal Market, I headed to Garces Trading Company to meet Amy. I was excited to try this place out after taking a look at their menu online. It’s a beautiful space, both inside and out:
The website states that Chef Garces wants this to be a multi-purpose space, “perfect for a quick in and out or a casual sit-down meal at any time of the day, from breakfast until night.” The eclectic menu reflects this philosophy, with the brunch menu featuring soups, salads, sandwiches, pizzas or the more formal $25 menu featuring two small plates and a dessert of the chef’s choice.
For dessert we couldn’t go past these:
They were just *ok* to my disappointment. Their little domes were not shiny, which I kind of like, and the buttercream fillings were way too sweet and overpowering. Oh well… They looked pretty though!
This is a great place for a light meal at any time of the day and the bonus? There is a wine store built-in to the restaurant so you can BYO! Perfect!
Garces Trading Company
1111 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5890,
On Independence Day, my friend (who had joined me from Toronto for the second conference) and I headed down to the waterfront eager for some fresh air after a day in hotel air conditioning. We stumbled upon the gorgeous Moshulu boat (read about its fascinating history here) featuring an upscale restaurant a little out of our league and then we spied this:
Bongo Bar (above the Moshulu Restaurant)
401 South Columbus Boulevard,
Of course a trip to Philadelphia cannot be complete without a cheese steak, right? Fairly dubious about this legendary food, I was fully expecting to dislike this, even though the basic ingredients (cheese, beef, bread) are all things I like. My friend and I were both extremely pleasantly surprised at our first experience which we had at Jim’s Steaks.
After that dinner, we SO didn’t need anything else. That is, until we spied this:
235 South Street,