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Dim Sum, Drinks and Cigars 

Waking up Sunday morning after a long day of drinking the day before I felt the need for food and some Hair of the Dog. If you have never had Dim Sum I suggest you try it hungover because it is an instant cure. I decided to check out the new offshoot of the New York classic Dim Sum location Nom Wah Tea Parlor. Nom Wah is not a cart dim sum location as some are, rather their food is cooked to order. As soon as I sat down I ordered their $3 Yuengling special.  Then after looking at the menu I decided to start with the Shanghainese Soup dumplings. These dumplings were instant flavor, as soon as you bit into the dumpling the pork flavored broth coated your taste buds with deliciousness. Eating soup dumplings as an adult is the equivalent of eating gushers as a child, the best part is the surprising amount of flavor that comes out of that first bite. The soup dumpling is a such a simple yet flavorful dish, …

Han Dynasty and South Philly Barbacoa Fusion Dinner

The Han Dynasty is known as the Golden Age in China and if you have ever been to Han Dynasty you know it’s the gold standard of schezuan style Chinese food. I have ordered food from Han Dynasty many times before, it is an awesome place, you can order your food from spice levels 1 through 10. My favorites are the Dan Dan noodles, dumplings in chili oil, and any type of hot pot. It’s a great place to go with a large group so you can try as many things as you want. Han Dynasty was my introduction to non Americanized Chinese food and for that, I thank you Han.    But tonight was a different night, Han brought back an old employee who now runs the food truck South Philly Barbacoa with his wife. The food truck is looking to start a restaurant sometime in the near future when they are able to find the right place. But tonight South Philly Barbacoa took over Han’s private dining room and served all you can …

Zavino 

On what felt like the first spring weekend day of the year, I decided to head out to the wine bar Zavino. It was a logical spot to go to on such a beautiful day, they had the doors open and the outside seating was available, but because it was Master’s Saturday I decided to cozy up to the bar to begin my feast and watch Jordan Spieth dominate.   Zavino’s has a wonderful wine selection. It really has options for anybody and allows a non-discriminatory wine drinker like myself to try out a variety of wines to see what I enjoy the most. My two favorites that I tried were the Dolcetto, ricossa 2013 and the Primitivio, mottura 2011. The Dolcetto was dry and had a nice nutty finish while the Primitivio had more of a fruity taste, but really if you like wine it’s hard to go wrong with any choice on this wine list.      I started the afternoon with the tasting board, included in this was Hot Coppa and Sopressata, …

Opening Day

The day that hope springs eternal. The day when I wake up giddy like a school kid. Baseball’s opening day to me is everything that is great about life, for this one day you look at everything with a glass half full perspective. It is also a day that I have turned into an event. It is my favorite day of the year. The Phillies game was scheduled to start at 3:05, so I awoke at 8 took a shower and headed down to the Italian Market for some coffee, pastries and quiet time. I went to Anthony’s Italian Coffee House and ordered up a triple espresso and a fresh sfogliatelle . The espresso is some of the best you will find in the city, and the sfogliatelle’s sweet citrus ricotta filling wrapped in flaky pastry hits the spot to start the morning on a beautiful day. Not to mention sitting outside in the Italian Market will make you rethink the whole idea of technology and fond for a time when life was simpler.   …

Brigantessa

Philly wine week, as a wine enthusiast there are so many choices to pick from, I am like a kid in the candy store and I can only hope I choose the right ones. My hope turned into reality with the choice of Brigantessa. Brigantessa worked with Italian wine importer Banville and Jones to provide their guests with a spectacular variety of wines that worked in perfect harmony with each and every dish served by the brilliant Chef of Brigantessa, Joe Cicala. The atmosphere was special and as each wine was poured we had the advantage of an explanation of the history and description of each wine from the Banville and Jones representative. Also, this was not one of those wine dinners where you get 4 oz per dish, you were able to get refills of your wine until the bottles were finished, usually it was about two or three glasses per dish. Yes, you could say I felt pretty good after this dinner. The spuntino (snack, first dish) was a steamed turbot with clams …

Bibou

As a man who will do almost anything to not have to experience the pain of regret, I felt the need to visit Bibou on a Sunday night while they were still serving their Prix Fixe menu. I have heard a lot about this restaurant in the past, but I had never been, I have been to the owners other restuarant in Rittenhouse, Le Cheri, which is excellent but never to their original “masterpiece” Bibou. Bibou Sunday Prix Fixe menu is only $50 (unfortunately this is only until March 31 when they will close down and redo the concept), which along with the fact that it is a BYOB makes it a perfect opportunity for anybody to try some of the highest quality French food on this side of the Atlantic for a comparatively speaking extremely cheap price. I brought two bottles of French red wine to enjoy this occasion with a friend of mine, as I knew, due to the circumstances this would be a once in a life time experience.   After seating …

Entree

Entree is a unique Italian BYOB Bistro in Philadelphia. The food is more Northern Italian style so if you are looking for red sauce and pasta this should not be your destination. I visited Entree on a Tuesday night with a friend and it was very busy. The space is small and you can see right into the kitchen from any seat in the house. The decor is very modern, but at the same time maintains a rustic look because of the brick walls. Entree has a terrific ambience if you don’t mind a restaurant to be a little loud. By the way there is nothing better about the Philadelphia restaurant scene than all of the BYOB’s, it allows for anybody to open a restaurant without having to invest so much for a liquor license, because of this it raises the competition among restaurants and challenges each chef and restaurant to always be exceptional. I cannot wait to comeback and visit this spot in warmer tempatures and they open their large windows where I will …

Villa di Roma

Growing up in a large Italian-American family makes me really appreciate this restaurant. It is a family business and has been for years. Villa di Roma also makes me yearn for the times spent with my family of about 30 in a townhome getting together to eat Sunday dinner. Villa di Roma has a great mix of homemade Italian-American cooking and cozy upbeat atmosphere. I truly felt welcomed by the staff like I was coming into their home to eat. The decor reminds me of all of the Italian restaurants I remember going to as a kid in the 80’s and kind of makes you feel like Tony Soprano is having dinner at the table next to you.  I ordered up a glass of house red, you know when you are in an old school traditional restuarant, be it Italian, Portugese, Spanish, etc., when the house red gets poured out of a gallon jug. Some people look down upon this type of wine but I absolutely do not, it tastes great and is perfect …

Bru

There is nothing that reminds me more of March in the Northeast than having a snow day and going to a bar and watching golf. Hopefully this snowstorm was our last because I cannot wait for warm weather, but since the snow storm did give me a day off I decided to take advantage of it and head to one of my favorite hunker down bars, Bru. Bru’s atmosphere is top notch, the service and TV’s make it a location you can stay all day and not feel the need to jump to another spot. I drank the Staropramen Premium Lager the whole time I was at Bru. This is a Czech Pilsner that really is one of my go to beers when I know I am going to be drinking for a long time. I started the day with the fried pickles, these are fried in a beer batter with Westphalian ham and served on top of a mayo relish. If you like beer food, this is for you, greasy, tangy, salty, crunchy. After …

Rex 1516 

I visited this joint on a Wednesday because I wanted to let all of you know about the great deal they have here on Tuesday and Wednesday’s. I have been to Rex’s many of times and my favorite dish they have is their brisket. Their brunch is also spectacular, as well as their Sunday night Baltimore special Pit beef sandwich with $2 Natty Boh’s, so pretty much anytime you visit Rex’s you will leave with a smile on your face. Their Tuesday and Wednesday special consists of the burger of the week which is created by a special guest chef, the majority of these special guest chefs come from other great restaurants around the city, a shot of Buffalo Trace bourbon and a pint of the Philadelphia Brewing Company’s Newbold IPA for $15.  I started the night with a glass of the Trilogy red wine and an order of the Escargot and Andouille Cornbread Stuffing. For those of you that have never had escargot I would describe it as a cross between the consistency …