Friday, October 26, 2012

AroundTheWorld: Philadelphia

Say what you will about its sports teams and fans, but when it comes to its food and restaurant scene, I really like Philadelphia a lot! I've been a few times over the last few years, and always had great meals. This past weekend was no exception.

Some friends took us out to a really cute, "classic Philly" restaurant in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood. Friday Saturday Sunday has been around for 37 years, and from what our friends told us, the friendly atmosphere and great food hasn't changed much over time.

They are best known for their cream of mushroom soup, made with 40 lbs of local mushrooms that the owner selects himself every week. It looked so simple, but was so delicious. It definitley lived up to the hype!
Kennett Square mushrooms, chicken broth, cognac, creamFriday Saturday Sunday
Photo credit: FriSatSun

Baked Three Cheese Eggplant Roulade
Ricotta, parmesan and fresh mozzarella, with
garlic spinach and tomato-basil sauce
eggplant, spinach, ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella

Stuffed Acorn Squash
Roasted squash stuffed with beef, topped with mozzarella cheese

Wild Mushroom Ravioli
Sage-shallot brown butter sauce
Sage-shallot brown butter sauce

The wait staff was so friendly and helpful.  Their slogan is "Friday Saturday Sunday Loves You Every Night," and it couldn't be more accurate.  When one server accidently spilled our wine that then knocked over a candle, he apologized profusely and whispered that desserts were on them.  Totally above and beyond what they needed to do, but it was really appreciated.  The chocolate mousse pie, chocolate chip cheesecake and banana bread pudding were all SO rich and so incredible. 

While there are so many other great restaurants to try in Philly, it will be hard not to want to go back to Friday Saturday Sunday the next time I'm there! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

AroundTheWorld: Washington DC

My travels this year have taken me to some incredible places this year. And while my last few destinations have been domestic, they've still made for some great food experiences. I went down to DC a few weeks ago for my cousin's wedding and stayed with my brother. He's always jealous of the great restaurants in NYC, but every time I visit, we have such great meals there too!

Right now is Maryland blue crab season, so we ventured to the Maine Avenue Fish Market. Here they sell tons of seafood that you can purchase raw or that they'll cook for you on the spot.

I am not a crab eater, but it was very entertaining watching my brother go to town on those things! They even sell wooden mallets to help you get crackin'.

For dinner one night, we went to a well-known Neopolitan-style pizza place called 2AMYS.  There are some really interesting and gourmet things on the menu. Yet over half of the tables had highchairs and strollers at them.  The volume in that main dining room was unbearable!  Not sure why parents would bring their 3 year olds to a place like this.  Luckily, we found a few seats at the "big kids" bar and ordered a few appetizers and drinks while we waited for a table upstairs and away from the kiddie chaos.

Rabbit stuffed with currants, pine nuts, and fennel, wrapped in prosciuto

Eggplant with roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh ricotta

Pizza with green tomatoes, ground sausage, grana cheese, and topped with a fried egg

Margherita DOC with tomato, mozzarella di bufala, and basil

The wedding was so nice - Mazel tov to my wonderful cousins GS and PB!! It was held on a beauty morning in a gorgeous Victorian mansion. The food was fantastic...Nutella stuffed french toast, crab cakes, salafs, fritatta, the works! I take photos of food pretty often, but Miss Menu draws the line on taking food pictures at formal occasions. So you'll just have to take my word for it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

AroundTheWorld: Canada

I was very excited to visit a new city for a friend's wedding: Ottawa.  In addition to a weekend full of wedding festivities and events, I was excited to have a little time to explore the beautiful city.  And of course, I managed to find some great and authentic food along the way.  Oh Canada!

Canadian cookies

Started off the weekend with a great Canadian beer
Canadian beer

Unbeknownst to me (just a stupid American here...), Ottawa is right across a river from Quebec. So some of those traditional Quebecois foods made their way to Ottawa restaurants including POUTINE!!!
Fries topped with cheese curds and gravy - why does this not exist at more places in NYC?!

Another delicious Ottawa delicacy was called a Beaver Tail -
perfect late-night treat for the walk home from the bars to the hotel!
Nutella and fried dough

It's a thin piece of fried dough that tastes like a funnel cake, usually topped with Nutella...
Nutella and powdered sugar

...or Nutella and Reese's Pieces!
Nutella and Reese's pieces

It was really fun exploring the ByWard Market that sold some great looking produce

And even Ottawa knows how to do Italian well! 
A few pics from the rehearsal dinner

Oh Canada, thanks for feeding me well on this long holiday weekend!

Monday, October 8, 2012

AroundTheWorld: Russia

A few months belated, but couldn't put off posting about my final stop on my European vacation from this summer. Saint Petersburg was an absolutely amazing city - probably my favorite of the whole trip.  It was so interesting to experience a city that looked so much like cities of Western Europe, but felt exactly like what you'd expect of Russia.

Even as I type this blog post, I still can't believe that I went to Russia. I never thought my life's travels would take me there, but am so thankful that they did!

All of the cities that we had been to before this point had absolutely no language barrier and were very warm and welcoming to tourists. We were definitely a little anxious about what it would be like in Saint Petersburg, especially when it came to finding restaurants. We agreed that this would be the city where we were both very ok with eating at American fast food long as we did get in a few authentic Russian meals as well.

Our first meal in the country was pretty authentic restaurant called Ivanoff House. We kicked it off with some Russian beer (thought they were only in the vodka business!) in honor of DWB's 30th birthday. Na zdorovye!

My grandma would be so proud...
Eating kasha varnishkes very close to her homeland!

Beef stroganoff really does exist over there!

Potato latkes...err, pancakes

Vodka from Eliseyev Emporium
A gorgeous gourmet food shop that has been around for over 100 years

Beautiful macarons

These are actually sweet pastries!

As promised, here is our trip to McDonald's

A Diet Coke this size will soon be banned in NYC - Thanks Bloomberg!

Some of the only cyrillic we could read: Tomato Ketchup!

We quickly discovered that ice cream was so popular there.  Maybe it was because it wasn't freezing out like the rest of the year, or maybe it was the fact that the sun was up for 20 hours each day.  Regardless, it was definitely a nice treat.  And they only cost ~$1!  Talk about ice cream with a view...

In front of the Hermitage Museum @ the Winter Palace

On a bridge over the Fontanka Canal