Tag Archives: BYOB

Cafe Lift ***

Cafe Lift French Toast
 
428 N. 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
215.922.3031

CHECK OUT THE MENU!

Breakfast is my FAVORITE meal of the day. But it is not just an indulgence for me, it is a necessary ritual. God forbid I don’t eat my four-egg omelet before leaving the house in the morning, and I am like Atilla the Hun for the remainder of the day—just ask any of my friends.

Having spent almost all of my life with a passion for both breakfast and cooking, you can imagine that I have become quite talented at preparing 5-star omelets, fluffy pancakes, hearty oatmeals, and fresh yogurt parfaits (or at least I think so!). That being said, I am highly critical of breakfasts served outside of my own kitchen. Every now and then though, I venture to a restaurant to check out their version of breakfast and I did so this weekend at Café Lift.

p1020456

The restaurant is a modern loft space, decorated as if Pottery Barn and Crate & Barrel had a love child. It is verging on the edge of hipster, but it is comfortable and cozy to patrons of all ages (and there is a wide variety!).

Inside Cafe Lift

I ordered the Plum Tomato Frittata with Asparagus, Roasted Plum Tomatoes, and Fontina Cheese, drizzled with Homemade Basil Pesto ($8).

Frittata 1edited

The basil pesto was so fresh and summery, and the frittata was executed very well, without being overcooked or hard. The parmesan-crusted home fries were tasty, but a bit overcooked and consequently mushy for my liking (I told you I was critical!). The multigrain toast was god awful, but I’m watching my carb intake so I’ll consider that a blessing in disguise!

To accompany my enormous frittata, I also ordered a Lemon Ricotta Pancake topped with Fresh Strawberries ($3).

Lemon Ricotta Pancakeedited

It sounded amazing, but fell a little flat for me. I thought the batter could have benefitted from some and/or more lemon zest. I just didn’t get that bright citrus flavor to compliment the creaminess of the ricotta. It did photograph quite lovely though. #pancakefoodporn

My friend Sara ordered the Special Eggs Florentine served with Jumbo Lump Crab Meat, Spinach, and Truffle Hollandaise Sauce ($11.50).

Crab Eggs Florentine2edited

Normally, the dish would be served on an English muffin, but Sara is Gluten-Free so she had it open-face instead. She enjoyed it, although we both agreed the hollandaise was lacking a bit in truffle flavor…aka the best part.

All in all, the food was good but is it better than my own version of breakfast?

Nope.

I will definitely say that it is an awesome value for what you get though, and if you’re not as high maintenance about breakfast as I am, you will probably love it!

Here’s a look at what I would serve if I could have my very own brunch spot…

……..someday!

Black Bean and Corn Omelet

garden omelet

Omelet with Goat Cheese

Huevos Rancheros KB

Brocoli and Gruyere Quiche

Veggie Omelet ad Hash Browns

Mushroom Spinach and Goat Cheese Oetitie Quiche

Mexican Scramble

IMG_2257

Yogurt with Berries and Granola

DSC05757

Leave a comment

Filed under Bakery, Breakfast, Brunch, Buck's County, Cafe / Bistro, Coffee Shop, Lunch Spots, Pennsylvania

Bhatti Indian Grill *****

Bhatti Restaurant

(212) 683-4228

100 Lexington Ave

New York, NY 10010

CHECK OUT THE MENU!

What sets Bhatti apart from the millions of other Indian restaurants in Curry Hill?

It’s BYOB with NO CORKAGE FEE!!!

I went for dinner with my girlfriends last night and had a fabulous meal. It’s the perfect spot for twenty-something-year-olds that are just getting their start in the Big City–it feels modern and fancy, but it’s budget friendly, and the food is truly delicious. I will certainly be back….again, and again, and again!

[ Note: Order the Bhatti grill specialties rather than the curried sauce dishes. You can get Chicken Murgh Masala and Chana Masala anywhere in Curry Hill, but finding succulent and juicy grilled meats is a little more difficult. So order from the Bhatti when eating at Bhatti! ]

When eating Indian food, I always recommend ordering a bunch of plates to share amongst the table because the food is heavy by nature. The flavors and textures can also get repetitive if you order just one item for yourself. I mean, after 3 or 4 forkfuls of creamed spinach, you start to crave something with a little more substance! So we did a family-style Indian feast last night, and here are the highlights:

Indian Cracker with Sauces

To start the meal, we ordered one Vegetarian Kebab Sampler and one Meat Kebab Sampler. I was far more impressed with the selection of grilled meats from the Bhatti, but then again I am a carnivorous foodie! Highlights from the meat appetizer platter included:

Bhatti Meat Sampler Platter

Bhatti Ki Chaamp,  a succulent lamb chop marinated in traditional Indian spices and then grilled to perfection. Dip it in the spicy cilantro-mint chutney, and swoon….

The Tandoori Murgh, boneless chicken cubes marinated in yogurt, ginger, garlic, and spices, was hands down the star of the platter. In fact, I decided to order another portion to accompany my dinner!

Tandoori Chicken Murgh

The Raunaq-e-seekh, which is a traditional seekh of lamb mince, flavored with herbs and spices with a colorful gard. 

My favorite Vegetarian appetizer was the Bhatti Paneer Tikka, which is spiced cubes of soft cottage cheese, marinated in yogurt and spices, grilled to perfection and served with bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. 

Bhatti Sampler Plate2

For dinner we shared the Saag Paneer, which is a rich dish of creamed spinach and spices, studded with fresh cottage cheese. Put this over a little bit of the long grain rice, or soak it up with some fresh Garlic Naan, and you will be in heaven. The Garlic Naan at Bhatti is a-m-a-z-i-n-g by the way. It is served freshly baked with just the right amount of ghee and garlic.

Bhatti Garlic Naan

I requested that we order my go-to Indian entree, and my friends indulged me by allowing me to get the Chicken Murgh Tikka Masala, which is marinated boneless chicken cubes, grilled, and then stewed in a creamy tomato sauce.  I order this dish all time, and thought that Bhatti served a very tasty version of this classic Indian entree.

Bhatti Chicken Tikka Masala

I also could not resist ordering the Chana Masala, which is a dish of curried chickpeas, stewed in a creamy tomato sauce with onions.  It was incredibly rich, but so are most oil-laden curry pots in Indian restaurants.

Bhatti Channa Masala

And, lastly, we shared an order of the Lamb Rogan Josh, which was probably my least favorite of the curry dishes. The combination of the heavy meat with the indulgent sauce really through me over the top after having grazed on so many other rich dishes.

Bhatti Rogan Josh

Overall, I would recommend ordering

Leave a comment

Filed under Indian Restaurants, International Restaurants, New York Restaurants

Domani Star *****


Chocolate Pudding Pots

215.230.9100
57 West State Street
Doylestown, Pa 18901

CHECK OUT THE MENU!

Spring break—it is the time of year where college students across the country descend upon vacation resorts such as Cabo, San Juan, Miami, Cancun, and other sunny locales to partake in much debauchery, which usually results in wicked hangovers, unsafe sex practices, interesting photographs (which usually inhibit ones ability to obtain employment post-college), peeling and splotchy skin, a burning sensation when urinating, post-spring break alcohol withdrawal, and of course, great memories! Everybody does the aforementioned spring break at least once while in college, but only the crazies desire to do it twice. Instead, I decided to head home for spring break this year, back to freezing cold Philadelphia. Rather than packing swimsuits and tanning oil, I packed my wool sweaters and suede boots. It sounds a little miserable to most, but you have to remember that I go to school in Miami…I’m on spring break all year!! I need this time to relax and recover, and that’s exactly what I have been doing. I got home a few days ago and my schedule since has been sleeping, waking to eat moms home cooking, napping due to food coma, mid-day cocktails with my best friend, napping due to mid-day drinking, blogging, and eating out at my favorite restaurants. I am living the dream, while most other college kids are being served watered down sugary drinks at all inclusive resorts where they can’t drink the water or eat the food due to sanitation problems. Not jealous one bit!

Not only am I eating while at home, I am eating like a queen! After a few martinis yesterday, my friend Jennifer and I decided to go out for dinner. We were a tipsy and decided to splurge on a good meal, as food is never too expensive when you’re drunk! We headed over to Domani Star located right in the center of Doylestown. It is an Italian restaurant that has been one of my favorites for years. They serve both lunch and dinner, and now more recently even brunch (although, I think dinner is their specialty!). They have a small indoor dinning room, with bar seating available, as well as outdoor side-walk seating for when the weather is nice (which it is not yet!).

In light of the recession, Domani Star now offers a pre-fixe dinner menu on weeknights, which includes your choice of an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Unfortunately, the pre-fixe menu items are not the same as the regular menu, but there is a very decent selection. Jen and I both ordered from the pre-fixe menu, which has a set price of just $24 (thank you Domani for the recession prices!). We both ordered the Bruschetta, which is grilled Tuscan bread rubbed with fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil topped with fresh diced tomatoes and herbs. The portion is enormous, more like half a loaf of Tuscan bread and the flavors are incredible. My only suggestion is do not order this if you are on a date because the garlic will repeat on you for the rest of the evening. Even if you brush your teeth? Yes. Not even Listerene will get rid of the taste. But it is delicious and worth eating if you are spending a night alone or just with friends watching a movie, as I did.

Bruschetta – grilled Tuscan bread rubbed with fresh garlic and extra virgin olive oil topped with fresh diced tomatoes and herbs

For the entrée we also ordered the same thing—we are best friends so we are a lot alike. We got the Chicken Francese, which is boneless chicken breast dipped in egg batter and then cooked in a white wine lemon sauce, served over top golden Yukon whipped potatoes and grilled asparagus. The portion was just perfect and the food was piping hot, even the plate was burning hot! The chicken was tender and juicy and the sauce was fairly light on butter, which was a refreshing change for franchese. The asparagus were super delicious and all the stems were already cut off and the Yukon potatoes were to die for. Domani Star has by far my favorite mashed potatoes. They are incredibly rich and laden with butter and calories, but they are simply delicious and worth the calorie splurge. I actually order my entrees here based on whether or not they come with the potatoes. Sadly, it is generally the deciding factor!

Chicken Francese – Boneless Chicken Breast Cooked in White Wine Lemon Sauce, Served with Yukon Whipped Potatoes and Grilled Asparagus

For dessert, we ordered the Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Homemade Whipped Cream and the Warm Bread Pudding served with Bourbon Sauce and Fresh Berries. Jen and I both agreed that the bread pudding was the star of the two, but it was certainly rich and the two of us didn’t even finish the one small piece. Of course, this is because we were also sharing the chocolate cake, which was good but not exceptional. If you are luck enough to go on a day when they are serving the Chocolate Pudding, you must order it because it is the most incredible dessert ever for a chocolate lover!

Warm Bread Pudding served with Bourbon Sauce and Fresh Berries

Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream and Homemade Whipped Cream

Although the menu changes seasonally and frequently at Domani Star, the one item that never comes off the menu is their Polpettine dei Bacaro di Venezia, which are their famous homemade meatballs made with beef and veal meat, served lightly breaded and fried golden brown with lemons, herbs, and Parmigiano cheese. This is the menu item to try at Domani Star and it gets it’s name because it is served the same way that meatballs are prepared in the wine bars of Venice.

Polpettine dei Bacaro di Venezia – Homemade Meatballs made with Beef and Veal, served Lightly Breaded and Fried Golden Brown with Lemons, Herbs, and Parmigiano cheese

 

My other favorite appetizer from the regular menu is the Polenta e Gorgonzola, which is an oven roasted polenta cake with creamy Gorgonzola sauce, and fresh rosemary. It is a little bite of heaven. It is rich but the portion is small so it is not overwhelming or too filling to have with an entrée. My mom and I usually order one to share before our meal!

If you do go for lunch, I recommend ordering one of Domani’s sandwiches, which are always served on grilled Tuscan bread and accompanied by with either pasta salad, mixed greens, or french fries. I usually order the Grilled Vegetable Sandwich or the Pork Tenderloin Sandwich. If you are in the Doylestown or Bucks County area, I would highly recommend Domani Star for a great Italian restaurant, which is also BYOB!

Breaded Pork Sandwich served on Grilled Tuscan Bread with French Fries

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Philadelphia Restaurants