Monday, March 25, 2013

Mmmmm. Haloumi.

Hi friends,
This weekend, my friend Anita and I were debating where to go for a late dinner on Saturday night. We tossed out just about every restaurant in our neighborhood including: Sassafras, Zahav, Amada, Fork, Bistro 7, Radicchio, and a few dozen others including Industry and American Sardine Bar.

We finally landed on Jones, a diner-style restaurant boasting mid-century decor a few blocks away. When you walk in, you may feel like you are in an episode of the Brady Bunch. Jones has been on the Philadelphia restaurant scene for years but its menu recently received a makeover.

We landed on Jones for one reason: we were craving haloumi cheese. And Jones has the "cheese 'hold the beef' burger," on their menu. I learned about this "burger" one night at Race Street Cafe from my friend, Anthony. I am pretty sure the entire bar (full of very opinionated foodies, in fact) that evening was involved in the discussion: which restaurant has the best haloumi dish in the city. The Jones sandwich was Anthony's nomination.
So, Anita and I went in search of said haloumi sandwich and also ordered "buf-faux-lo tofu wings and seared tuna tacos. 

The haloumi sandwich was good and the portion is plenty for one and enough to share along with a few dishes as we did. This is the first haloumi sandwich I've had on an actual bun and it certainly lived up to the word burger in its name.
The buf-faux-lo tofu wings are pretty amazing and another recommendation from Anthony. I am going to try to perfect the recipe at home, too. Even if you are a carnivore, you might be surprised to find that they really do "taste like chicken." (Pun intended, I couldn't resist.) In all honesty, I know I'll develop a craving for the "wings" and have to get them again, very soon. 

Back to the cheese... I have compiled my favorite haloumi dishes in Philadelphia:

at Kanella where I may have ordered this side dish twice one day at brunch. Before you judge, trust me, it's a tiny portion of salty-cheesy-goodness. 

at Zahav where it changes seasonally and again, have been known to order it twice.

at American Sardine Bar, on a flatbread sandwich. I ordered this and did end up sharing it with two friends one evening. It was the best item on the table.

So friends, if you have a haloumi craving, and can't get to one of these places, I found a few recipes.  The best part about this salty cheese is that is has a high-melting point so it can be grilled or fried very easily. And I did read that this cheese was enjoyed in Ancient Egypt, so take a cue from the Egyptians, and try it one of these days.

Your friend, in cheese (as long as we don't share our haloumi).

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dream bigger, my dear.

Happy Saturday, friends!

I saw this sign in a window of a cute store on my block, a few weeks ago.

After a few days of looking at this sign that seemed to jump out at me every time I walked past it (which was at least five times a day), I bought it. It's the "my dear" at the end that I love the most because that it is my favorite term of endearment. It is the verbal acknowledgement that someone knows you better than the rest. A sweet sense of intimacy. And maybe, on occasion, offers the tiniest hint of sarcasm.

And here is its home, now. Leaning against a support beam from the 1700s on an entry-way table where I keep everything I need to walk out the door. It's in the perfect place for me to see every time I enter or leave my apartment.

It goes along perfectly with an except from a personal favorite book of mine, The Alchemist.

Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth. 

The premise of the book is doing what your heart desires and finding your destiny. Have you read it?

So, friends, as the sign suggests, don't be afraid to dream bigger - on any level or aspect of your life and go after what you want.

Your friend, 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Luck of the Irish.

Happy Friday, friends.
I hope you have a fun weekend planned. I included a few favorites of mine, from the Emerald Isle or that bring you luck, in honor of the upcoming holiday.

Irish blessing...
May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.

I love this song and this band favorite Irish band. I am partial to The Edge.

Another blessing...
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Have you ever found a four-leaf clover?

One of the best Irish bars in Philadelphia...and the place to be on New Year's Day.

I always make a wish on a wishbone at Thanksgiving and one used to fall at the hollow of my neck, Jennifer Aniston wore this necklace in He's Just Not Into You. The wishbone is a symbol of good luck and also a wish maker. Two people tug on the wishbone, each making a wish. Once the wishbone breaks, the person with the bigger piece will have their wish granted.  

Irish quote...
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been. The foresight to know where you are going. And the insight to know when you have gone too far.

And finally, from your friend, Caroline.
May you always have the luck you need this weekend and each day of the year. And I hope that you always have your loved ones near.

Now, please go and enjoy your Guinness or your green beer.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Weekend brunch.

Happy weekend, friends.

It's going to be a lovely, spring-like weekend in Philadelphia. Perfect for walking around the city, dog or sans dog. If you'll be out and about and looking for somewhere to grab brunch or lunch, check out The Morning Glory Diner. I went last weekend with my friend Tina - per her recommendation. It was incredible.

Here are a few highlights and tips for your dining experience. If you go on a weekend, you'll see this when you walk through the gate.

Here is what you do: sign the sheet of paper where you can opt for a seat at the counter, at a table or the first available. Try to not walk through the door. As you get close to the door, you'll notice a giant stop sign posted on it. If you do go this weekend, waiting outside won't be so terrible. We arrived at noon and were seated at 12:50.

I'm not an incredibly patient person when it comes to waiting at a restaurant, especially if I'm standing, outside in the cold, as we were, but I will tell you that what you will eat, is worth every.single.second of that wait.

Once you are [finally] seated, you will notice a few steel jars on the table. Inside, you will find homemade jam made freshly at TMGD.

After perusing the menu, I opted for one of the specials. Crab and spinach hash. I mostly ordered it for the two poached eggs. However, the best part was the giant biscuit. It's even good without the aforementioned homemade jam. But it is 10,000 times better with the jam slathered all over it. It was so good, I debated ordering an extra biscuit to take home.

A few tips if go to TMGD:
  • They do not take reservations, so be prepared to wait.
  • Try not to enter the restaurant if you see other diners waiting outside. Of course you can walk in but you'll be met with glares from said diners.
  • Hit an ATM before you go as they are cash only.
  • They do not serve alcohol, so if you are looking for a little hair of the dog after a rough night, keep reading. 
After leaving the TMGD, Tina and I went to an old standby: The Royal Tavern. Try one of their special mimosas of the day. This was a blackberry mimosa. Their bloody mary's are quite amazing as well.

They do serve brunch, so if you're looking for a boozy brunch, this is a good option for you. Just be warned, your tater tots may be cold when they get to you. 

After TRT, we went to see our buddy, Tom, at Beau Monde, which happens to be my all-time favorite brunch spot in the city. If you go, try the bloody mary or have Tom make you a gorgeous pink mimosa. This one has champagne, Chambord, orange juice and cranberry juice.

If you're eating at Beau Monde, they serve La Colombe coffee and I recommend the mushroom and swiss crepe - it's the only item I order when I go. Hey, when you find something amazing, stick with it.

If you can't get out for brunch - pick up this neat candle that I bought one recently in January at The Clover Market. It's a lovely scent and it does remind me of a jazz brunch.

Enjoy your weekend, no matter what you do.

Your friend,

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Do what you love. And do it often.

Hi friends,
I saw this a few weeks ago and love it. Here is the full text.

Holstee Manifesto  
This is your life. Do what you want and do it often.

If you don't like something, change it.

If you don't like your job, quit.

If you don't have enough time, stop watching TV.

If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.

Stop over-analyzing, life is simple.

All emotions are beautiful.

When you eat, appreciate every last bite.

Life is simple.

Open your heart, mind and arms to new things and people, we are united in our differences.

Ask the next person you see what their passion is and share your inspiring dream with them.

Travel often; getting lost will help you find yourself.

Some opportunities only come once, seize them.

Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them, so go out and start creating.

Life is short, live your dream and wear your passion. 

-The Holstee Manifesto, The Wedding Day.

Watch this YouTube video on the manifesto.

Image: Feel Desain

And remember...
Image: All you can

Your friend,