Philadelphia Magazine releases a "Best of Philly" issue each August, just in time to make its way into my beach bag and onto our to-do/eat/shop list. While we've been to - and agree with - many of this year's picks (Paesano's bolognese for best sandwich? hands down.) there still are dozens of new spots to try.
Here are the top 10 food/drink winners we picked off Philly Mag's ranking for inclusion in our second annual Best of Philly To-Do list. Reviews to come throughout the next year. What's on your list?
1. New Italian Restaurant - Monsu. Always looking for good, new Italian spots. Checked out the menu - prices are majorly reasonable and selection looks delicious. Mmmm pasta.
2. Cheese Plate - Talula's Garden. Going there next week and WILL be eating the cheese.
3. Pasta - Rock Shrimp All'amatriciana at Pizzeria Stella. After a few visits, their pizza still seems too soggy to me, but I am so in love with rock shrimp that I would be willing to go back just for that. That and the Arancini risotto balls, which are also awesome at Stella.
4. First Date Spot - Fond. We obviously won't be going on a first-date, but all sources point to Fond's food being amazing. Perhaps a 3.5 year anniversary date?
5. Reason to Leave Center City - Blackfish and Mica. We're somewhat adverse to getting in a car to go anywhere but work, but these two have gotten such fantastic reviews, we need to make the trip(s). 'Burb friends - you in?
6. Food Truck - Honest Tom's. The Vendy Awards (photos here), jury duty and some random weekdays working from home got us hooked on food trucks, but we haven't had Honest Tom's tacos yet. P.S. Who knew that park in front of the Franklin Institute/Moore College of Art was called Aviator Park? I sure didn't.
7. Revival - Khyber Pass Pub. I've always been little intimidated by the Khyber's dark facade and the assumption that I just wouldn't fit in. But friends who felt the same way have been there recently and now highly recommend its revived menu and ambiance. I would like the bacon grease popcorn and the hickory smoked barbecue pulled pork, please.
8. New Thai - Circles Lounge. Because there is simply not enough thai food in my life.
9. Sandwiches in Reading Terminal Market - Beck's Cajun Cafe. The winner of the Philly Cheese Experiment first recommended Beck's to us for it's po' boy back in June. Now with a BoP nod, we must add it to Bradd's Sandwich Quest.
10. Chinese in Chinatown - David's Mai Lai Wah. For non-regulars, it's very difficult to discern which restaurants in Chinatown are better than others. I'll take Philly Mag's recommendation and roll with it.
... and two more food-ish winners for good measure:
11. Garden Club - Philadelphia Seed Exchange. Our heirloom tomato plant this year is seriously 12 ft. tall. Past generations have won contests and wow'd Italian grandmothers. Trust us, you want to trade for this seed and I bet you have something just as special to offer in return.
12. Costume Bling - Verde. Because a girl can never have too much fake bling. Especially when it's sold in the same store as artisanal chocolate.
Check out the August issue of Philadelphia Magazine or http://www.phillymag.com/ for dozens and dozens more recommendations of the best food, shopping, services and leisure in Philly.
(logo above from www.phillymag.com)