Vernick Food & Drink

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9/3/2017

Vernick Food & Drink is on everyone’s list of places to try in Philly. In May 2017, Chef Greg Vernick was named the Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic by the James Beard Foundation. One month prior to our trip, I tried to book a table on Open Table and had no luck. Luckily when I called the restaurant, I was able to make a reservation. Their food was really good and service was helpful and polite. Prices were very reasonable considering the quality and the portion size. Something that you rarely saw in California and now in the D.C. area. I wish we had a place like this in our area. I will definitely come back next time we visit Philadelphia. Since it was our anniversary, they started us with a toast of a sparkling wine. That was very generous of them. I always say, gestures like this leaves a lasting impression.

The Brilliant Green gin, matcha, apricot, citrus, bubbles
I picked this drink for my husband. It was very refreshing and had a good amount of alcohol.

Amuse Gazpacho and Corn Bread
A nice start to a wonderful dinner.

Maryland crab on Toast
This was so fresh and tasty, we could have eaten a few. Like a crab roll but much better.

Sea Urchin, Warm Scrambled Eggs
Very fresh sea urchin atop what I think was Crème fraîche or yogurt and creamy scrambled eggs. We were instructed to dig our spoon deep so we can taste all the layers. It was very decadent.

Lightly Cured King Salmon, Summer Melon, Mezcal, Lime Crème Fraîche
The king salmon was really good. Melon and Crème Fraîche added sweetness and creamy tang to the dish.

Yellow Fin Tuna & Sugar Snap Peas, Olive, Yogurt, Mint
I might sound like a broken record but the ahi was very fresh. The snap peas added a little crunch. Mint was a nice touch.

Wagyu Beef Pastrami, Nectarines, Green Gooddess Dressing
My other favorite dish besides the crab. It was the best pastrami we have ever had. According to our waiter the process of making it takes a whole week. No wonder it tasted so good. The only miss, the nectarine slices were not sweet. Visually amazing also.

Strawberry Cannoli chocolate-strawberry ice cream, aged balsamic
One of my favorite deserts of all time and only $9 for such a beautiful delicious dish. It was so good that I almost ordered a second one. Delicious strawberry cannoli plus strawberry chocolate ice cream were addicting. Strawberry creme and aged balsamic added more decadent.

Sweet ending to a wonderful dinner.

Walnut Street Cafe

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9/3/2017

Walnut Street Cafe is located in the bottom floor of the FMC Tower only two blocks away from where we used to live 12 years ago. Only if we had such a cafe back then! The space was bright with a high ceiling. There was a bakery counter on one side. Prices were reasonable considering the quality. Service was friendly.





Steak and Eggs roasted potatoes, sauce bordelaise
Steak was a hanger cut and it was cooked well and tasted pretty good. There were plenty of crispy potatoes with the tasty sauce bordelaise to put a smile in our face but sadly increase our blood sugar.

Black Scrapple romesco, black rice, hazelnuts, fried egg
This was our first time trying scrapple which is a combination of corn meal and meat or organ scrapes. It was very good and we liked the fact that it was served with black rice.


Kouign Amann
One of the best we have had. Buttery and low in sugar. Just the way I like it and worth the $3. I was tempted to go back on our last day for more but we never made it there.

Croissant
A very good butter croissant but a touch salty for me.

Ham and Cheese Croissant
At $5 it was less expensive than the one from the hungry Pigeon and almost as good. Plenty of cheese and a good amount of ham.


Pistachio Cherry Croissant
As soon as I saw this, I knew my husband would love it. It had plenty of pistachios and sour cherries.

Restaurant Ambra

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9/2/2017

I picked Ambra for our first dinner in Philadelphia. Their cuisine is modern Italian. They only offer a tasting menu at $78. It was a great deal considering all the food we were served. I called them a head of the time and told them that I don’t eat poultry and whether that was a problem. I was assured they could accommodate my dietary needs. The day we dined there was a dark rainy day and there was not much light inside the restaurant. My pictures reflects that. We even had a hard time reading the menu! Service was very friendly and informative.


Started with a complimentary apéritif. A nice gesture that rarely happens.

Ricotta Pizzelle
Corn and Truffle Cannoli

Great start to a wonderful meal.

Pesce Crudo di Corvina all’ Acqua Pazza
A nice refreshing crudo.


Salad
A lovely salad with tasty tomatoes.

 Focaccia + Burrata
A great cheesy focaccia and a very creamy buratta. What is there not to like?

Eggplant Tortellini, Squash, Cacio e Pepe
Great flavor. Very smoky.

Spaghetti with Crab Gravy and Corn
Interesting dish and presentation. Squid ink pasta and crab on one side and a sweet corn fondue on the other.

Prosperosa Eggplant Parm
Breaded cube of eggplant parm with a tomato sauce center, I believe.

Local Tilefish, Mussel, Zucchini
A nice fish dish cooked perfectly. The mussels were fresh and tender.


Painted Hills Beef, Miral Corn “Polenta”
By this time I was full so I probably did not enjoy this dish as much as I should have. The beef was a flank cut and was tasty. The corn polenta was good but this dish lacked the creativity of other dishes. The blackberries were a nice touch though.

Duck, Miral Corn “Polenta”
My husband did not realize he had a duck in front of him. He said it tasted something between a liver and a beef.

Sambuca Melon
A nice refreshing bite.

Peach & Corn Zuppa Inglese
I love peach so enjoyed this summary dessert.

Macchiato
This was the only miss. Too sugary to enjoy and I left most of it in the cup.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

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Michael Nichols, Young Lioness with Her First Cubs, 2012

Michael Nichols, Lagoon Breaking into the Ocean, 2004

Michael Nichols, Infant African Bush Elephant, 2011

Michael Nichols, Sita with Three-Month-Old Cub, 1996

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, The Angel of Purity, 1902

Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Diana, 1892-93

Camille Pissarro, Apple Tree in the Meadow, Eragny, 1893

Claude Monet, Marine near Etretat, 1882

Claude Monet, Marine View with a Sunset, 1875

Claude Monet, Under the Pines, Evening, 1888

Vincent van Gogh, Rain, 1889

Giovanni Boldini, Highway of Combes-la-Ville, 1873


Pablo Picasso, head of a Woman, 1901

Henri Rousseau, Carnival Evening, 1886

Vincent van Gogh, Sunflowers, 1888 or 1889

Pierre Auguste Renoir, Still Life with Flowers and Fruit, 1890

Pierre Auguste Renoir, Two Girls, 1892

Joan Miro, L’Orniere (The Rut), 1918

Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Madame Augustine Roulin and Baby Marcelle, 1888 or 1889

Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Camille Roulin, 1888 or 1889

Pablo Picasso, Seated Female Nude, 1908-9

Fernand Leger, Man with a Cane, 1920

Robert Delaunay, Eiffel Tower, 1925

Cy Twombly, fifty Days at Lliam, 1978

Cy Twombly, The Fire that Consumes All Before It

Henri Matisse, Mademoiselle Yvonne Landsberg, 1914

Juan Gris, Man in a Cafe, 1912

Paul Klee, Village Carnival, 1926

Heinrich Campendonk, Love in the Forest, 1920

Man Ray, Fair Weather, 1939

Andy Warhol, Portrait of Joseph Beuys, 1980


Jasper Johns, Untitled, 2002

Jasper Johns, According to What, 1964

Jasper Johns, The Critic Sees II, 1964

Hungry Pigeon

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9/2/2017

Ever since I read about Hungry Pigeon’s hash brown and croissant, I knew I had to try it while visiting Philadelphia. We actually went straight there to have breakfast before checking in to our hotel. The Philly parking Gods were on our side and we found a parking a couple blocks away. Not only that, there was remaining time left on the meter! The place was cute and by the time we left, it was packed. Service was OK. I asked our waitress if the hot chocolate and the chocolate croissants were a dark chocolate and she said they were not. On our second visit, before leaving town, we stopped by to pick up a croissant and a chocolate croissant. I asked again about the chocolate croissant and was told it was dark and indeed it was. So I think our waitress did not want to go the extra step and inquire. Prices of their baked goods were high considering the location. In some cases even higher than Tartine bakery in San Francisco. We all know how expensive the land and rents are in SF.




Ham and Cheese Croissant
At $6, it was more expensive than my beloved Pain au Jambon from Tartine in San Fransisco. It was pretty good though. Plenty of cheese and I tasted Béchamel, so it was similar in taste to croque monsieur.

Croissant
Finally a croissant that was buttery and flaky enough for us. Great texture and taste.

Peach Crostata
At $6, it was not worth it. The texture on the bottom was too soft.

Pain au Chocolat
I warmed it up in the oven when we returned home and it was a good chocolate croissant and yes the chocolate was dark.

Eggs, Hash Brown and Toast
The main reason to get this dish was to try the hash brown and I am glad that it did not disappoint. Nice and crispy. The rye toast was pretty good also. They could have given us a little more butter and jam though.

Hash Brown