Square Pegis a casual, new American bar/restaurant that took over Marathon Grill's spot at the corner of 10th and Walnut. Under the direction of chef Matt Levin, formerly of Lacroix and then Adsum, and whom we thoroughly enjoy bantering with on Twitter, Square Peg has a different kind of menu that makes you go, hmmmm... this looks like fun!
Cheesesteak pot pie
The Fried Chicken Tacos and Cheesesteak Pot Pie were both a hit with Bradd. The latter was more like a bowl of creamy, hearty meat and cheese soup, with the "pie" part represented by a flaky crust sitting lightly on top. Deconstructing two common dishes into this presentation made it fun and easy to pick off the non-mushy crust; scoop up the cheese, steak and veggies; and eat it in small bites. Why not, right?
Mac n' cheese grilled cheese
I loved the Mac n' Cheese Grilled Cheese. Combining three of the greatest comfort foods on earth, it's literally mac n' cheese inside a grilled cheese sandwich, served with tomato soup for dipping. It was enough for me for a light dinner. Highly recommended!
'Tis the season for new bar and restaurant openings around Philadelphia. We are always excited to check out the newest spots and report back, so in this new "Philly Lately" series we'll briefly feature some of our recent destinations.
First up, The Boilermaker. Think a simpler Farmer's Cabinet with more candles. The same owner, Matt Swartz, went around the corner to open another bar featuring an extensive craft beer list and a fancied up version of an old classic, the boilermaker - a beer and a shot of liquor.
Yes, there is the locally famous and economical Pabst + whiskey combo, but The Boilermaker kicks it up a notch with carefully-devised craft beer and liquor pairings, meant to be sipped back and forth to enjoy their complementary features. As a whiskey fan, I would personally recommend the "Pennsylvania," which pairs Victory Braumeister Pils with Shine white whiskey. It was definitely something different to try and made for a nice, chill evening of slow sipping and good conversation.
This post has been a battle to put into the right words and clearly articulate my feelings. I also expect to see some tough comments and reactions. Before you read on, know that I have a completely open mind to trying new things and put forth a lot of effort to understand the food of each culture and type of eater. We write this blog as a way to share some of those discoveries.
It's also one of the reasons why I wanted to tackle some vegetarian "cheesesteaks." I hoped for the chance to share a positive experience with skeptics and explain why you should try them. Sadly, that has not turned out to be the case after stops at two highly recommended places. The vegetarian cheesesteaks have been a disappointment.
We're excited to report that The Food Experiments National Tour is coming back to Philly! Last year, we wrote a couple times about The Philadelphia Cheese Experiment, a local amateur chef competition held during Philly Beer Week. It was a really fun event to attend and demonstrated exactly what we love about Philly's food culture - it brings people together to share their common passion for fun times and good eats. Here's co-founder Theo Peck describing the inspiration for the tour and offering advice to the competing chefs.
This year, the competition is on May 6th and has a new theme: Sandwiches! If you've paid any attention to our Sandwich Quest, you know how much this excited the 22nd & Philly crew. There is no better sandwich town than Philadelphia, so we can't wait to see what the Sandwich Experiment contestants come up with.
Il Pittore joins top notch Melograno and often-overlooked Porcini as the third Italian restaurant on a short block. If you haven't checked out that area, you're missing out. In addition to the Italian food, Village Whiskey, Vic Sushi, Helium Comedy Club and the Adrienne Theater round it out with excellent burgers, sushi and comedy shows, plus Shake Shack is on its way this summer. Now if only the Roxy movie theater would replace its decrepit old seats...
The food at Il Pittore was very good. The service was phenomenal. The prices were steep.
I'll start with the service because we spent most of the walk home talking about it. Our waiter was very attentive and friendly, and he really knew the wine list. He even offered Bradd a taste of two different wines based on a description of what he liked (this rarely happens, if ever). When I wanted to order another cocktail - the Rye Smash btw is a great choice for spring/summer - all I had to do was turn my head around and another waiter was there in a snap to ask what I needed. Most impressive, when each dish was delivered from the kitchen, whoever brought it (usually not even a waiter) repeated all the ingredients from the menu to remind us of what we were about to eat. How nice! Who really remembers all the details after you order? Great way to re-energize us before each course.
What’s the best cheesesteak in Philadelphia? It’s a debate that has raged for decades. We haven’t stepped into the conversation on this blog mostly because we do not have a strong opinion, plus enough other locals have opined ad nauseam.
However, I can tell you the best cheesesteak in the Lansdale, Pa. area - the one that I’ll plan an entire day around getting - the cheesesteak at Ray's Pizzeria & Restaurant.
My mouth waters just thinking about making the trip to my hometown to get one. Ray’s delivers on all the key attributes of a great cheesesteak, including a good roll, quality steak and being made fresh to order.
The amount of meat stuffed into the roll compared to other good cheesesteaks is what I love most about Ray’s, though. Nothing disappoints me more than when a cheesesteak is not filled with enough meat. This happens more often than you think. Come on folks, fill 'er up. And yes, that can even include the likes of Pat’s, Geno’s, Jim’s, etc.
Just look at this shot - it's stuffed to brim.
Cheesesteak from Ray's Pizzeria & Restaurant
As you can see, I order my cheesesteak from Ray’s with sauce and onions. It's how my family has ordered at Ray’s for as long as I can remember and I stick with tradition. The sweetness of the red sauce is a perfect complement to the American cheese. Ray's also uses a healthy dose of onions, cut thick instead of chopped thin.