931 N 2nd Street Philadelphia, Pa 19123
This afternoon, my family and I spent the day in center city Philadelphia viewing the Cleopatra exhibit at the Franklin Institute. The exhibit was really great, but in all honesty, I was just excited to eat at my favorite Philly restaurant, North Third, on our way home. You see, tonight was a “last supper” of sorts for me because I am having my wisdom teeth removed tomorrow. Thus, I have spent my entire day trying to enjoy all of my favorite foods before being sentenced to a week’s diet of apple sauce and ice cream…the very thought of which I find depressing. When I asked my friend Jennifer if she had any advice for my impending tooth extraction, she replied, “sure, if there is anything at all that you really want to eat…eat it, and eat it NOW!” So for my final meal, I knew that I wanted the succulent roasted chicken breast with rosemary jus and garlic mashed potatoes from North Third restaurant and bar. However, when we arrived at the eclectic gastropub located in the Northern Liberties section of Philadelphia, we were told—much to my dismay—that the kitchen didn’t open until 5 O’clock. We had to come up with a new game plan for our early dinner, and so we headed down the block to a popular little Mexican spot my mom noticed on her last trip to Northern Liberties. For those of you who don’t regularly follow my blog (shame on you!), my plan B is always Mexican. I am just infatuated with the spicy and bold flavors that Mexican food has to offer, and I find that it is often a pretty safe bet. I mean, it’s rather difficult to screw up fried, spicy, cheesy, salty food…those adjectives alone make my mouth water.
We found our way to Cantina Dos Segundos and after just a brief look at the menu, I had completely forgot about my dreamy roast chicken dish and was now looking forward to some crispy nachos and salsa verde! To drink, we ordered a large pitcher of Red Sangria, which was only 5 dollars! That’s right, a pitcher of Sangria for a staggering $5. I guess the perk to eating dinner at senior hour, is that it is usually also still happy hour! The Sangria was so good that we actually asked for the recipe, which was sadly kept from us. We then ordered Chicken Nachos as an appetizer, which were served with roasted corn, pickled jalapenos, black beans, pico de gallo, crema, and melted cheese. I am not kidding when I say that these were the best nachos that I have ever tasted. The chicken, which was all white meat, was shredded and stewed in a spicy tomato sauce that had incredible flavor, and there was plenty of it on the nachos. One thing is for sure, Dos Segundos is not stingy on their nachos toppings, and every nacho has equal topping opportunity (a.k.a you don’t get 5 delicious topped nachos on top and then a bunch of plain, soggy, nachos underneath…is that not the worst?!). Best of all, this huge and beautiful nacho platter (elegantly drizzled with crema) is only $6 for a small and $10 for a large. You have the option to top it with chicken, steak, or vegan beef. I’m not really sure what vegan beef is—it sounds like an oxy moron in my opinion, but I highly recommend the chicken!!
For the main course, I ordered the Chicken Quesadilla, with achiote chicken, poblano peppers, roasted corn, queso fresco, and guacamole. It was a little salty for my liking, but none-the-less delicious and a perfect portion size. I topped it with the incredible Salsa Verde that was brought out at the beginning of the meal with the starter chips, and the flavor combinations were just awesome.
My father ordered the Puerco en Salsa Verde, which was braised pork shoulder, tomatillo, avocado leaf, and epazote salsa served with a side of pinto beans, white rice, and stewed zucchini topped with queso fresco. We all agreed that this unique dish was the best at the table. The pork was so tender and the zucchini tasted like it was stewed in the same amazing tomato sauce as the nacho chicken.
In fact, my mom loved the chicken nachos so much that she ordered them as her entrée too! My sister on-the-other-hand, ordered the Alas de Pollo, which were fried chicken wings coated in a red chile and bacon pipian salsa, served with celery sticks and a homemade blue cheese ranch dipping sauce! I’m not a big fan of wings because of the bones, but everyone seemed to enjoy them.
Overall, this place was fabulous and a great value. The appetizers were huge portions sizes that were suitable as entrees and all of the food was flavorful, fresh, and homemade. You can absolutely tell that there are Mexican’s cooking the food in the kitchen because it is so authentic. I wish that this place was in Miami so that I could enjoy it more often, but I will definitely be back when I am in the Philly area again. It is a must try place.