Category Archives: Food

Philly, Hey!

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly time flies. One minute I’m traveling; the next I’m back in school preparing assignments and presentations. Sometimes, I truly wish there were more than 24 hours in a day.

Last month, right before I started my my second semester as a Graduate Student, I decided to do a small weekend getaway trip, with some of my girls, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I booked us a really nice hotel room in Center City at Loews Philadelphia Hotel. We had such a breathtaking view of the city. It was one of those views that reminded you of the beauty of architecture and sunlight brightening up the sky, and the serenity created by skyscraper lights. Can you tell I love cities? Because I do. I’ll admit Philadelphia is far from my favorite city but on that weekend, it definitely grew on me.

We decided to walk to our first destination. It was supposed to snow in a few hours and we wanted to enjoy walking, while we could. It wasn’t too cold so it was perfect. In the middle of Midtown Village we came across Finn McCools Ale House.  Here I discovered and had my first White Russian. I don’t know much about cocktails, and at 25 maybe I should know a little more than I do,  but wow was it strong. Luckily, I shared the drink with my friend. We left Finn’s very happy and probably a tad buzzed.

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As we walked towards the Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens we came across beautiful murals and graffiti art. Had to stop and take pictures.

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The Philadelphia Magic Gardens is a beautiful project that started in the late 1960s by Isaiah Zagar. It’s a remarkably stunning work of art that opened up to the public in 2008. At first sight, you can’t help but to look in awe at how detailed everything is. Every corner, every inch, is truly magical. We literally stayed there for about two hours just mesmerized by everything. We took so many pictures wanting to capture every moment we created there.

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It started getting colder and that was pretty much our cue to walk back towards are next destination. On the way, we stopped by Strangelove’s Bar. I’m 100% a beer girl so I was more than enthusiastic to try something new. We ended up spending about 1.5 hours just talking and enjoying our beer selection. It was a nice spot and we clearly got sucked into the vibe.

Before heading to Philly, almost everyone I talked to told me to check out the Reading Terminal Market and that’s what we did next. At this point we were starving and all we wanted was food. The place was crowded and the options to eat felt endless. We ended up separating, half of us got Philly Cheesesteaks  while the rest of us got some Soul Food at Keven Parker’s Soul Food Cafe. I devoured my food. It was absolutely mouth watering delicious. There’s no other way of putting it. We couldn’t leave the Market without getting some famous Beiler’s Donuts. The line was insane but totally worth it.

It was early, around 7PM, but it was raining, and phones were dying, so we decided to head back to the hotel to charge for a bit. The plan was to head back out for a few more bar hops, before preparing for our evening festivities, but the bed felt too good for a few of us. The rest of the group headed down to the hotel bar. Never underestimate the hotel bar! You might just end up having a pleasant time with some fancy delicious cocktail, that you keep calling by the wrong name…yep, totally me.

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Eventually, we got dressed for the night. It was an interesting one to say the least. If I had to summarize the night in one word it would be random. We spent most of our night at Time Restaurant. It was a great place divided into three sections: one for dancing, one for live music and one for simply sitting and drinking. After that we somehow ended up at Wawa. That had to be the most crowded Wawa I’ve ever seen.

The next day, before heading back to my house we had Brunch at the famous, and highly loved, Green Eggs Cafe. Beforehand, we had mimosas at Caribou Café, a Parisian bistro, to kill the 1 hr and 45min wait we had at Green Eggs. It was such a cute little French place it took everything in me to not order food.

To end our Philly adventure we took a picture with the Love sign like any other tourist. It was absolutely freezing at this point and we couldn’t wait to get back to the car.

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Philly, was a good adventure. The trip definitely warmed me up to its possibilities. Philadelphia might not have the best public transportation system, but it’s not lacking great bars and places to eat. So if you want a nice weekend getaway why not give Philly a try? I did.

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I love to eat

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

I love to eat and I am not ashamed of it. I hate diets but I do enjoy a good workout! I have tried dieting once or twice but I just cannot stop myself from eating whatever I want. I rather eat, work out and continue eating! Why limit myself if I am treating my body right at the end of the day?

This past week, my best friend Linda kept sending me pictures of delicious meals she had, at different restaurants, as a part of New York Restaurant Week. Needless to say, I was jealous I couldn’t join her.

I decided to look up if Philadelphia had a Restaurant Week and to my surprise there was a Philadelphia Center City Restaurant Week January 17-22 and 24-29. I think I almost jumped for joy when I saw the webpage starring at me on my computer screen. Three-course dinners for only $35 per person at any center city restaurant provided. Next thing you know I made reservations for five (with a high-chair) at La Famiglia Ristorante.

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The restaurant was very intimate and sophisticated. The lighting was dim and there was no background music, but rather the sounds of talk and laughter. The waiters were beyond attentive. I cannot remember the last time I have received such great service. They went out of their way to make sure we were pleased with absolutely everything. It was a very pleasant experience.

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The menu consisted of Italian cuisine. Each dish was written in Italian with an English description of what it was. I had the following three courses:

Appetizer: Gnocchi Sorrentina
Homemade gnocchi with fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato and basil sauce
Entrée: Vitello Mandolese
Veal medallions stuffed with Prosciutto and mozzarella cheese served in wine sauce
Dessert: Dolce Misto
A sampling of Italian desserts: poached pear with a cranberry sauce, lemon cake with a vanilla sauce, chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate sauce

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Everything was absolutely delicious. I was not disappointed with a single thing that I ate that evening. My friends and I had an exceptional time and even the pickiest eater of the group enjoyed her plate to the fullest!

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The night was a complete success! I definitely am going to take full advantage next time Restaurant Week comes around. Like I always say, there’s nothing like a new experience so do not be afraid to try something new, even if it is food.

Cheers to a good night!

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Hoagie Dip

I love to cook and to try new recipes. It’s something I discovered a few years back. So whenever I get the opportunity I try something new.

Recently, at work, I was talking to my supervisor about her best dip: The Hoagie Dip. I had absolutely no idea what a Hoagie Dip was. I looked it up Click Here For Original Recipe and discovered that it’s the contents of an Italian Hoagie mixed together. (Hoagie is another word for a sub sandwich.) 

I decided to surprise my supervisor by making my team the dip. Surprisingly, it turned out to be a huge success! I was so pleased. Yesterday, I even made it for my uncle’s wife reveal party (she’s having a girl! Yay!) and it was also also a huge success! My mom cannot stop raving about it being a great dip to bring to parties.

After all this success with the dip I just find the need to share with everyone how simple it is to make!

Ingredients:

  • Deli ham, thinly sliced
  • Deli turkey, thinly sliced
  • Deli salami, thinly sliced
  • Provolone cheese, thinly sliced
  • Cherry Tomatoes (cut in half)
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Mayonnaise
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Italian Seasoning

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 Instructions:

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together mayo, vinegar, oil and spices
  3. Mix mayo with the cold cuts until combined.
  4. Refrigerate (I like to do at least 24hrs so the tastes can really blend together) 
  5. Add lettuce when ready to serve for a fresh taste

 FINAL PRODUCT

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I love to eat

I love to eat and this holiday season I could not be more excited to dig in! However, I wanted this year to somehow be different… I wanted to feel different than I did the previous years. I decided that instead of just eating, I also wanted to contribute to the array of dishes that are made for the holidays….I wanted to cook! Everyone was in absolute shock when I stated that I was going to cook. For some odd reason my family thinks I cannot hold my own in the kitchen…well it was time I proved them wrong.

To me, being able to cook is essential to life. You never know when you will be put in a position to provide for yourself and living on take out is just not the best, healthiest and most economical option. No one really taught me how to cook, which is probably why everyone was in such shock when I told them I was cooking for the holidays. I have mainly watch my aunt, mom (who hates cooking even though her dishes are always delicious) and grandmother throughout the years as I walked around the kitchen. So it was a huge surprise to me when in college I was able to whip up meals for me and my roommates. That is when I started realizing that I actually enjoy being in the kitchen and making a delicious dish. It is actually soothing. Every time I finish I get this sense of accomplishment and self-pride and that is exactly the type of emotions I want to be indulged in this 23rd year of my life.

Now, how did I go about selecting dishes? Simply by searching for recipes online. I even own two cook books that I will take a look at for Christmas dinner. I made three dishes for Thanksgiving dinner and for work festivities I made two.
1. Stuffed Tomatoes
2. Baked Chicken Drumsticks
3. Coconut Custard (I got this recipe from my sorority sister)
4. Mini Pumpkin Pies
5. Green Beans Wrapped in Bacon w/ a Brown Sugar Sauce

My favorite recipe from all of these definitely had to be the Stuffed Tomatoes. It was simple and delicious! Plus you can change up the way you make it every time. All you need is tomatoes, and whatever you wish the stuffing to be.
This is the version I made for work:

Ingredients:
1. Tomatoes
2. Cheese (I chose Cheddar and Mozzarella)
3. Ground Beef
4. Mushrooms
5. Diced Tomatoes in a Can
6. Bread Crumbs

Steps:
1. Cut the top of the tomato and then take out the inside. You do this by using a knife to cut around the inside. Then with a spoon you scoop the inside out. You must be very careful to not break the tomato in the process.
2. Cook the ground beef to your liking. I added the mushrooms as I cooked the ground beef. (My own personal preference.)
3. Make your stuffing. Mix the cook ground beef, diced tomatoes, bread crumbs, and cheese in a bowl.
4. Fill the tomatoes with the stuffing.
5. After the tomatoes are filled add a coat of cheese to the top.
6. Bake in the oven until cheese is golden brown and tomatoes look cooked. (Bake at about 350 degrees.)

Pretty simple right? It tasted amazing and everyone at work loved them! The compliments went on all day!

My challenge to you is to do something that makes you feel accomplished and gives you that feeling of self-pride. It could be something as simple (or challenging for some) as cooking.