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Category Archives: happy hour

In The Navy (Yard)

Thirty years ago when my dad was stationed in the Navy, he spent a lot of time here in Philadelphia down at the Navy Yard. Back then, I bet he never imagined one day his daughter would be living in Philly and enjoying delicious, roasted fare right inside the gates he passed in and out of every day. That’s right – this week’s burger adventure takes us to Marc Vetri’s newly opened, Lo Spiedo. Aside from pork ribs, chicken and a spit-roasted octopus (!), Lo Spiedo also cooks up Creekstone Farms brisket and uses that brisket in it’s burger. You can opt to get it topped with bacon, cheese or grilled onions, but who likes to choose only one topping? I went with cheese AND grilled onions.

The burger also comes with lettuce and tomato, and a side of ketchup & mayo for your shoestring fries (seriously, fries dipped in ketchup & mayo is the best). The burger was cooked slightly more on the medium well side, but was still delicious and juicy. The brisket patty was super moist and flavorful; I can’t wait to try a regular cut of it. The bun was a soft, seeded roll, perfectly proportional to the patty, and didn’t get soggy from any burger juice runoff. The grilled onions also added a nice flavor. And for $10 during happy hour, it was a steal! Just make sure you bring your appetite: there are so many other amazing snacks on the happy hour menu that we might have gotten a little overzealous and ordered almost all of them. But no matter how full you are, don’t forget to finish your fries!

Burger rating: “B+”

The Splatty Awards!

Welcome all to our 100th post! In honor of this milestone, I bring you a little something I like to call “The Splatty Awards!”: recapping the best things I have been eating, drinking & doing for the past year or so.

Best food item that comes in a jar: Tomato Conserva at In Riva 

Briefly removed from their winter menu for a few weeks in December (in which I cried into my pillow every night), the Tomato Conserva is back in action!

This sweet bruschetta will have you licking the jar clean & begging for more!

Best New York City to Philly transplant (other then myself): Shake Shack

Danny Meyer’s fast-casual burger joint quickly gained a fandom on Sansom Street in the summer of 2012, and expanded this year with outposts in University City & King of Prussia.

The Smoke Shack was initially conceived for the Philadelphia location, but has expanded to all Shacks globally.

Best food I used to be terrified of but now can’t stop eating: Oysters

Yeah, they’re slimy and salty and weird and jiggly, but they’re also delicious!

I’ve been making it my mission to hit every buck a shuck & half price oyster night in town.

Best pop-up: Lucky Old Souls’ Patty Melt Pop-up at Kennett

 When the LOS truck’s engine went kaput this fall, the team at Kennett lent them a hand – and their kitchen – for the evening to raise money for a new one.

And maybe I’m a little bit biased because it was my suggestion to turn out patty melts; a once in a blue moon burger special they were serving up on East Passyunk last spring.

Best Beer Drinking Event: Philly Beer Week Opening Tap

I’ve been partaking in Opening Tap for the past two years now, and seriously, if you’re not making this a priority during PBW, you’re missing out.

Opening Tap showcases the best and brightest of the local Philadelphia beer scene under one roof (the Independence Visitors Center, to be exact). But remember, it’s a marathon – not a sprint!

Best Beer Drinking Event Involving Animals: Summer Ale Fest at the Philadelphia Zoo

Great Beer + Local Food + Adorable Animals = One of the most awesome times you will ever have. Don’t forget to take a selfie of yourself “drinking a beer” with a tiger!

Most of the animals are actually awake compared to a day trip, and zoo docents are on hand to provide detailed information on your favorite critters.

Best Happy Hour (tie): Sampan and Alla Spina

Sampan gets the advantage as they have happy hour 7 days a week from 4-7 PM, but Alla Spina offers some great bar bites and their Victory Brewing beer collab, Novello, for only $3!

Don’t miss Sampan’s edamame dumplings or the pretzel bites with beer cheese at Alla Spina (they come in an adorable wooden piggy)!

Best Brunch: Jerry’s Bar

The Brunch crowd mourned the loss of Cafe Estelle for many months, but Marshall Green’s famous & delicious sticky buns have finally found a new home in Northern Liberties.

I hated Bloody Marys until I tried the one at Jerry’s and now I’m hooked. Seriously – best Bloody Mary ever!

Best Restaurant: Spot Burger

But isn’t Spot Burger a food truck?”, you’re probably asking yourself. Well, who says a restaurant needs to be defined by four brick walls?

 SpOt Owner/Grillmaster Josh Kim is the hardest working man in these streets right now, and he proves it on a weekly basis with his innovative specials (like a $10 Lobster Roll this summer), as well as his philanthropic efforts. He supports dozens of college organizations and local charities, frequently running specials and donating portions of his proceeds to these causes. He’s been a champion for food truck rights in Philadelphia, residing on the board of the Philly Mobile Food Association, and turned the corner of 33rd and Arch St into the “Food Truck Mecca”. So next time you see his yellow cart around, grab some grub; you won’t be disappointed! Spot serves up one of the best burgers in town.

And that concludes our awards ceremony! I hope you’ll at least check out some of the places and foods I love, in addition to the delicious burgers I recap for you guys each week. Got any great places and foods you think I should try? Post em up in the comments section and maybe they’ll wind up on my “best of” list next year!

Me vs. Maradona vs. Ela

Forgive the confusing post title; I’m just running with the theme at Ela, where all their cocktails are named after songs by the band, Brand New.

I’d been meaning to come to Ela for some time now, mostly because they have an elusive burger that is only offered on their happy hour menu Tuesday-Friday and they only make 10 of them a day. Made from house ground sirloin and short ribs and topped with aged cabot cheddar, watercress, shitake, sauce and a house black sesame bun that’s baked an hour before serving, the Ela bourbon burger is as rare as a four leaf clover!

And boy was it rare alright! I ordered the burger medium and it was still bright red inside when I bit into it – yet perfectly cooked at the same time. The bottom of the bun fell apart a little bit when I was eating so it was hard to maneuver this massive patty. It was still pretty tasty though! The side of tots were just alright. They were more like little potato puffs – and they kind of had that fried, carnival food taste, almost like a funnel cake without the sugar on it. (And I didn’t even get any ketchup, you guys!)

I also got 2 of the pop-punked themed drinks off the ELIXIRS menu as well: The “Last Chance to Lose Your Keys“, which had tequila, rosemary, kaffir lime, citruses. I didn’t really like it. Maybe it was the kaffir lime and rosemary combination, but it tasted a little too chemically to me. And it was gray. I don’t know about you, but that’s about the least appealing color I want to see in a cocktail glass. I also got the “Jude Law and a Semester Abroad“, not just because that’s one of my favorite Brand New songs, but because it sounded delicious.

It had gin, burnt sugar, absinthe and lemon in it – absinthe rinse on the glass and then it appeared that the gin and lemon were already mixed because the bartender squeezed it out of some kind of seltzer bottle into my glass and waited for it to settle. (That’s where the foamy bits come from) Then she topped it off with the drizzle of burnt sugar. The effect was pretty cool and it tasted great; I just wish that there had been more actual liquid in the drink. I felt like I was getting nothing but foam at the first few sips.

I’d definitely love to come back and check out the rest of the drinks, as well as their regular food menu. The couple next to me were doing the chef’s tasting and everything that came out looked amazing.

Burger rating: “C”

PS. Rumor has it they will be rolling out the burger on their new brunch menu this Sunday so you won’t have to run to happy hour just to get it (but you’ll still want to because, c’mon guys, it’s happy hour).

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