Res Ipsa is a small cafe located at 22nd and Walnut, just past the coveted area of Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia. I had heard rumblings of a new cafe open in that area and found myself needing lunch on a Saturday after work. I took a walk on a brisk Philly afternoon to find respite […]
We swing by this little gelato joint after burgers at the Village Whiskey; we were offered samples of the multitudes of flavors, I particularly liked the burnt sugar – ‘tastes like the top of a creme brûlée’ and the affrogato over Irish Whiskey. One small cup was two scoops and plenty for two to split. […]
I made the mistake of coming to Chestnut St Bagels without having pre-ordered online. It was a Sunday morning and the store was packed, with a line going out the door and more than a dozen people waiting on their orders. They had the famous tie-dye bagels but I chose to forgo this sweet treat […]
Here in Philly, cheesesteaks are a civic icon, a tourist draw and a cultural obsession. Often imitated around the world, the cheesesteak is rarely duplicated successfully outside of Philadelphia. Everyone agrees that the cheesesteak, the celebrated Philadelphia sandwich invented by Pat Olivieri in 1930, should be made with chopped beef and melted cheese. But opinions […]
The Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa of Atlantic City offers a huge variety of foods and restaurants. In the past few months, 2 of the Borgata’s have shown great strengths and a few drawbacks. Bobby Flay’s Steak along with the Fornelletto Cucina are both fine dining establishments but there are vast differences in decor, food and atmosphere. At the Borgata, there is a restaurant for every taste and every mood. There are two that are stand outs but of very different reasons.
First, Bobby Flay’s feels more quick paced. It is a New York kind of vibe. The restaurant is beautiful with the wood beams in the ceiling and the artistic direction of the wood throughout the rest of the restaurant. The drawback of the Flay’s is that feeling of being too close and too crowded. On two occasions the noise level was a bit much. The seating a bit too close. On both occasions we shared our conversations with the couples on either side of us. There is no room for a private moment. Seating is so close that it is difficult to pass by without bumping into another diner.
The food though, at Bobby Flay’s is good. On two occasions with parties of 4 and then a party of 2 so the menu was thoroughly tested. Our server for the both evenings, Frank Cucuzza and he is superb. He provided great depth in his knowledge in the description of our dishes. When there was one problem at the first seating, he remedied the situation quickly and was for better words, top notch. Starters include clams on the shell, kale and romaine Caesar salad, Shrimp Cocktail and many others including the choice of a lobster cake which was good but didn’t reach the level that one would expect at such a fine restaurant.
The main courses chosen over the 2 different visits included Rack of Pork, a bone in Ribeye, shrimp scampi served with polenta, porterhouse lamb chops, Philadelphia style strip steak and a Hangar steak. Sides included sweet potato gratin, (to die for), onion rings, Brussel sprouts with cranberries and fries. The steaks were all equally good. The aged beef and just the right seasonings made the steaks undeniably very good. What was surprise is the rack of pork which beat out all of the steaks for flavor. The rack of pork was served beautifully and easily could have been spilt between two. According to the menu the pork is served with bourbon sauce, green chile apple butter, wild mushroom mashed. The bourbon glaze in a word, perfection. The pork was, in a sports euphemism, a homerun. The sides were good but lacking. For instance we had to send the fries back as they were not crispy or warm. They seemed to have been left out under a heat lamp like a McDonald’s fry would be after 5 minutes. That is when Frank our server stepped in removing the item from the ticket and the house did offer a free desert to make up for the problematic fry. Bobby Flay’s was good not great. Our server made the experience even better though.
On the flip side stands the Fornelletto Cucina. If Bobby Flay’s is New York, Fornelletto is Rome. It is a romantic, quieter and the level of light so perfect for two although still very enjoyable by larger parties. Again on two occasions the Fornelletto was visited with first a party of four and then a party of two. The feeling of rush that was felt at Flay’s nowhere to be found at this gem of restaurant. Set up as a wine cellar which is actually is, it is charming and once again the restaurant had a server who made the experience even better. The Fornelletto offers both hot and cold starters including one of the best calamari dishes to be served anywhere. The Calameretti Fritti is served with dried olives, pine nuts, and aioli. This is what calamari should taste like all the time. Perfect! Another starter that should not be missed is the Arancini Al Ragu which is Sicilian rice balls, veal and prosciutto, ragu, and peas. Unbelievably good, no not good, great.
The dinners that were chosen over the two different occasions included chicken Parmesan, veal Parmesan, scallops, Sicilian lamb, veal Milanese, and seafood spaghetti. When given the chance to go to Fornelletto don’t deny yourself the seafood spaghetti. It is a treasure of seafood, shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, San Marzano tomatoes and served with a dash of olive oil. Amazing elaborate, complex and yet there is an ease in the meal. Served with a wonderful bread there isn’t anything better. For the two Parmesan dinners, the chicken Parmesan actually was the tastier of the two. Both are good but go for the chicken. Much better. The noise at the Fornelletto is undeniably so much quieter than Flay’s. The lighting, the atmosphere is exact opposite of the experience at Bobby Flay’s. Our server for both evening was a gentleman who identified himself as Z. Z was what a great server should be, helpful, informative and personable. For those who want a faster pace, and aren’t looking for an intimate dining experience Bobby Flay’s is good. If you are looking for the intimate dining atmosphere, with low lighting and a much quieter experience, you have to go to Fornelletto. Fornelletto was the favorite for sure.
This past weekend Will and I got to visit one of my oldest friends and her fiance in Philadelphia, PA. I’ve been to Philly once before, but I was working and didn’t get to fully experience it. Not at all the case with this trip. We spent two and a half days walking, eating, and drinking our way through the city. It was probably because we had such good tour guides, but I can’t remember a recent vacation when we had such consistently mind-blowing food. These dishes were the stand-outs that I’m going to have to recreate at home until I can head down again.
Bud & Marilyn’s. This is a lively and trendy spot in center city. The really memorable dish was the salad we ordered to balance the pu pu platter: “grilled heirloom carrots with red quinoa, shaved sunchokes, orange, pickled raisins, cumin yogurt.”All of the toppings were piled on a bed of the yogurt. The carrots were nicely charred, but not overcooked. The pickled raisins added a nice tang. The whole thing was not overly sweet, and I would return just to order this (though the sage derby smash cocktail was worth repeating too).
Federal Donuts. They do two things – donuts and fried chicken – and they more than excel at both. We started with a strawberry lavender donut off the hot menu (which they fry to order). It was exactly as I want a donut to be: cakey and just a bit sweet. Then we split the chicken sandwich (which only comes one way (perfect): with buttermilk ranch seasoning, American cheese, pickle, and rooster sauce on a potato roll) and the za’atar fried chicken (which you can also get with other dry seasonings or glazes). Oh my goodness. Both were crunchy, juicy, salty, and indulgent, but not heavy (likely a bad thing, because I want to eat this every day forever). The fried chicken comes with a honey donut, which was a delightful counterpart to the chicken (like a biscuit….but better because it is a donut).
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Just couple of the offerings at the Irish Pub Atlantic City, Fish and Chips, and Hot Wings
There are those that say the grand days of Atlantic City are behind the sea side resort. One treasured establishment has seen the up and downs of the glory of Atlantic City and it’s not only still standing but getting better with age. The Irish Pub of Atlantic City, located at St. James Place and Boardwalk, can be described as the heart of Atlantic City and a must visit for anyone visiting this city resort.
Want to know the secret of finding a real gem to have a drink and a good meal at? Follow the locals, they will not lead you astray. The Irish Pub is that perfect blend of locals and visitors who are made to feel right at home on any given day or night. The Irish Pub is regarded so highly by the local crowd and they couldn’t be more right. Atlantic City may offer 5 star restaurants with prices to match but for a real Atlantic City experience you have to eat and drink at the Irish Pub.
On Thursday night, the bar is more than half full with locals whose friendly banter with employees give a welcoming arrival to visitors. Each night, there are two different dinner specials as there are two different lunch specials. What makes the Irish Pub heads above the other restaurants in the areas, is the quality of the food and the wonderful ridiculous low prices. Appetizers are your standard pub food but don’t be afraid to ask for something special. We asked for a special request and we could not have been happier. A mass of cheese fries covered in bacon bits. The bacon was hardly bits, the fries were served topped with cheddar and topped with bacon that would have made any bacon aficionado proud.
This particular night the special was an open faced hot roast pork sandwich served with garlic mashed potatoes and applesauce. The sandwich was more than expected. Beautiful sliced pork in a rich gravy that was sublime. The garlic mashed potatoes were the perfect side with the pork as the gravy did double duty on the potatoes. The Pub Burger was another home run that received raves from diners both visitors and locals. Recently, at Gordon Ramsey’s Pub the burger was rated as lackluster and overpriced. The Irish Pub though, gets it right in a big way. The fresh burger was grilled to perfection and served with lettuce, tomato and onion and your choice of side. This is a burger worth travelling for. Truly delicious and top marks for being fresh not frozen. The cost of our meal for 2 with app, less than $40 including tip. Our server, though, I misplaced her name, was top notch. Friendly, quick and personable, the perfect combination for anyone who deals with the public.
Of course a visit to the Irish Pub would not be completer without checking out the history of this mainstay which was first founded in the 19th century. The Irish Pub though was first constructed in 1903 as the Elwood Hotel, the Victorian-style inn and restaurant was an infamous speakeasy during Prohibition. Then according to the Irish Pub website, was “founded in 1972 by Richard and Cathy Burke, the Irish Pub is known for its award-winning taverns and restaurants which deliver a consistently
authentic and fun entertainment experience and are staffed by friendly and well-trained employees.” The interior of the Pub is filled with photos and images of days gone by in Atlantic City. Just take a moment to look around and you will find something that can be the start of a lively conversation on the history of Atlantic City or the Pub’s famous visitors such as Joe DiMaggio, who used to frequent the bar and stay at the upstairs inn.
If you are in the Atlantic City area looking for a restaurant that won’t kill your pocketbook and a welcoming, homey restaurant, run don’t walk to the Irish Pub of Atlantic City. You will not be disappointed.