8.0/10/0

429 South Street

267 639-2396 / OpenTable

$

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Tuk Tuk Real is real dank.

You get brownie points for suggesting it to your friends since it opened last month, and it comes from the same folks who own Circles (you know, that place you order Thai from on GrubHub). Further motivation? An appetizer, guac, 2 entrees, and dessert cost $30.

You’ve probably never heard of most of the meat options listed, but thankfully the friendly servers will spend as much time as you need explaining the entire menu for you. Suadero is braised beef? Who knew. No matter what you pick, whatever comes out of the kitchen is probably going to look (and taste) damn good.

Cheese is melted all over the shell of the burritos. Globs of mixed cheese and cactus are sandwiched by crisp wafers to make up a phenomenal-looking quesadilla. The tacos are stuffed with meat and topped with fresh, bright ingredients. One tiny complaint: the taco shells are a little tasteless and fall apart way too easily. The same meats are offered for both the burritos and tacos, and our favorites were the lemongrass carnitas (shredded pork) and suadero.

The Moo Ping Pao Buns (read: pork buns) are the best way to start the meal. The buns are sweet, and I realized they look like thai tacos which is cool. The pieces of meat are fatty, juicy and flavorful. Hale yeah. As you would in any Mexican joint, get the guac. It’s creamy and a little sweet, and they give you an extra basket of chips with it so you can experience more of the oily, crunchy goodness.

For dessert, go for the churros. The dough is perfectly undercooked and smothered with thick, flaky clumps of cinnamon sugar. It comes with this weird rice thing which you probably won’t like, but the churros are ridiculous. Get them.

Get on your motorized rickshaw (termed “tuk tuk” in Thailand, duh) and cruise down South Street to Tuk Tuk Real.

Tuk Tuk Real on Urbanspoon

(photos from Tuk Tuk Real Facebook Page)

8.8/10.0

110 S. 13th Street

215.546.9300 / OpenTable

$$$

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Barbuzzo is the kind of place that works for everyone and everything. Whether heading out with a foodie or picky eater for a date, casual dinner or birthday celebration, it always fits the bill and makes us all happy. Okay, maybe it would suck as a place to drink too much and break things, but if you’re feeling even the least bit mature, it’ll work.

Let’s start with dessert. If you’ve been in Philly for more than five minutes, you know about the salted caramel budino. For the less informed, it’s basically a mason jar full of the best stuff on earth – dark chocolate, vanilla caramel, sea salt. In fact, it’s so good that I’m not even embarrassed to admit I’ve used my fingers to scoop up every last bite. After you try it you won’t want to share, so get your own.

The rest of the menu is best done family style. To start, go for a pitcher (or six) of sangria, the sheep’s milk ricotta (so fluffy) and chicken liver foie mousse (so buttery). Scared of liver? Here’s some inspiration from my Flywheel instructor: do something that scares you every day. Dooooo it.

For your main course, pizzas and pastas are where it’s at. You want the mortadella pizza, with pistachio pesto and white sauce and the fico with figs and gorgonzola cheese. Fancy pizza is #trending, and instagramming the pretty pies is a great way to convince people you eat if you’re one of those people who in reality had one bite and was “so stuffed.” In terms of pasta, the tagliatelle with lamb and lemon and the tubbetone calabrese with pork ragu are excellent Sunday night comfort food.

For all of my carb-averse, healthy friends, you can still get a light, perfectly grilled bronzino, or try something a little heartier, like the grilled octopus. For friends who still eat like they’re 10, there’s a margarita pizza and shortrib meatballs. See? There really is something for everyone!

This place is your new go-to for just about any occasion you can think of. Hale yeah, Barbuzzo.

Barbuzzo on Urbanspoon

It’s finally time to head back to Philly, but before we go we’d like to reminisce about our summer in NYC. We came, we ate, we conquered, and now it’s time for us to impart our deep knowledge of the New York food scene upon you. Without further ado, we present the top 10 NYC restaurants for college kids and post grads (all up on OpenTable!).

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Boozy Brunch: Essex

$24 for an entree and 3 strong brunch drinks? Yes please. The Jewish-meets-Mexican dishes are perfect when you’re hungover and need to rally. Try the Mexican matzo-brei or potato pancakes – you’ll be immobile for the rest of the day, but it’ll be so worth it.

Best Brunch: Freemans

Located off Chrystie Street in a place dubbed “Freeman Alley,” Freemans has a way of making you feel hip before you even walk in. This place is home to my favorite bloody mary in the entire world, and one time I was there I had the pleasure of sitting across from Michael Cera. If you don’t order poached eggs, you lose. If you don’t get the artichoke dip, I don’t want to know you.

Sceney But Tasty: Catch

You’re having a great hair day, you’ve been working out and your banker friends are letting you in on their table tonight. These are all causes to celebrate, so do it at Catch, where you can show off your new outfit in front of hoards of even better dressed people (but who cares, you still look great). A light (but not so cheap) seafood dinner will have you feeling good all night, and Catch’s selection of fish is always fresh and perfectly cooked.

For Your “Health-Conscious” Friend: Market Table

She (or he, I suppose) is really going to like the loooong list of vegetable and fish dishes Market Table has to offer. The plates are all clean and organic-y which sounds great for her, but it will also taste great for you. Definitely split a bunch of the veggie sides (especially the cauliflower!)…okay, your friend will probably take a bite and be “so full,” but that just means more for you, right? Unfortunately they don’t have a juice menu too, but hopefully your friend will find a way to survive.

Go-to Date Spot: Pearl and Ash

Pearl and Ash isn’t just a wine bar. They’re cooking up inventive (and gorgeously plated) small plates you and your date can share while enjoying a bottle of extremely reasonably priced wine (remember, this guide is for college kids and not all of us are bankers). If you want to be even more adventurous, go for one of the wine cocktails! Even better, the restaurant is on the Bowery, so you and your date can meet up with friends at one of the 9000 bars nearby after (maybe not B-bar this time?).

Sunday Night Dinner: Apizz

The meatballs. You must get the meatballs. And to go with that, the rocket flatbread. And the funghi con polenta. Basically, this inexpensive Italian wonderland is the perfect way to send yourself into a blissful coma before the workweek begins. P.S.: it’s pronounced ah-beets.

Dinner with Parents: Gato

You need to make a reservation in advance, but Bobby Flay’s new Mediterranean concept will impress the entire family. Unsurprisingly, the food is delicious, and the ambiance is quiet enough that your folks will be able to hear, but trendy enough that they’ll still feel cool. Show your parents why NYC is so great so they understand why they need to keep helping you pay your rent so you can keep living here.

Expensive But So Worth It: Charlie Bird

Classy food at a trendy place. The tuscan chicken liver and roasted chicken are must-orders, along with a bottle of wine (or two, or three). The sommelier is awesome, so don’t feel shy about consulting him before you buy. This is not a place to be frugal – try everything, then try to forget how much it cost.

Girls’ Night Out: Beauty and Essex

If the speakeasy feel when you walk in through a pawn shop isn’t enough, the stylish guests seated in a club like space makes this the best place to impress your friends. Get ready to splurge on awesome drinks (especially the emerald martini) and shared plates all night. Don’t miss the grilled cheese and tomato soup dumplings or the tuna wonton tacos.

When You Find Yourself On The Upper East Side: Maya

First let’s talk about how they just launched a happy hour with $6 margaritas. Now that we’ve established that this place is cool and knows how to get young people through the door, we can talk about the food. It’s a little more expensive than you want to dish out on Mexican, but you really shouldn’t be surprised because you’re on the upper east side. Slide in for happy hour, get some guac and cazuelas, sit back, and enjoy.  

When You Don’t Know Where To Go: The Smith

The menu is easy, the drinks are great, and there’s a photo booth in the bathroom. The burrata is killer, but basically anything you order is sure to please. They also give sparkling water for free and there are almost always young businesspeople milling around the bar. For brunch, lunch, or dinner in midtown, the east village, or lincoln center, you’re all set. There are locations in the east village, midtown east, and lincoln center, so no matter where you are in Manhattan, you’re close to a good meal.

It’s that time of year again. That time when we’re sick of our internships (which are finally over) and ready to get our of the real world and back to the Disneyland that is college. The luckiest of us aren’t heading back to school, but are about to embark on crazy adventures abroad in Europe, Asia, Africa, and beyond. For those of you jetting off to Europe for the next 4 months, let me tell you that although I envy you, I also want you to eat well. With that, I give you Joodie’s guide to eating Europe. Feel free to comment any additions or opinions, and enjoy!

**special shoutout to those heading to Leuven. Say hi to Komeet, Onan and the Pasta Man for me.**

Florence, Italy:

  • Il Profeta, Borgo Ognissanti, 93/r, 50123– This was one of the greatest meals I had abroad. Go to the rooftop of the Westin Hotel for aperativo, then walk a block to Il Profeta, where Claudio and his wife will not stop until you can hardly move and are slowly drifting off, dreaming about everything you just ate. Must orders: the John Travolta pasta, pear ravioli, wild boar, and the misses’ wonderful tiramisu. Take me back.
  • Gusta Pizza, Via Maggio, 46/r – You want freshly made Italian pizza? Head to Gusta Pizza for an inexpensive and phenomenal lunch or late night bite. You can’t go wrong with any of the options. They provide balsamic vinegar to dip your pizza in, definitely worth a try.
  • San Lorenzo Market, behind the leather market on Via dell’Ariento – A large market filled with fresh fruits and veggies, a large selection of chartucerie, cheese, and olive oils, and, of course, sweets and breads. Taste away!
  • Trattoria Zaza, Piazze del Mercato Centrale, 26 – This place was listed on every guide we had. It was by no means the “best meal ever,” but it was a very good lunch spot, especially since most places in that part of town can get pretty touristy. The salads were particularly tasty, especially after five consecutive carb-loaded meals.
  • Acqua Al 2, Via della Vigna Vecchia 40/r – Never over 20 euros, get a pasta or salad sampler, then the balsamic steak or chicken porto. There is one in NY now, though!

 

Rome, Italy: (thanks, Sara Kotcher!)

  • PierLuigi, Piazza de Ricci, 144 – Kotcher’s single favorite restaurant in Rome. This spaghetti al vongole has forever changed her view on pasta. The appetizers are also fabulous – ask for the sliced octopus not usually on the menu, any of the raw fish crudos, as well as the prawn and potato salad. Fried calamari is top notch as well.
  • Da Enzo, Via dei Vascellari, 29 – NO MATTER HOW LONG YOU ARE IN ROME, YOU MUST GO TO THIS RESTAURANT. Burrata. Artchokes. Meatballs. Done. Seriously, so incredible and you will not get in without a reservation. Looks like a hole in the wall but you will dream about it for years after. Gives PierLuigi a run for its money.
  • Cul de Sac, Piazza di Pasquino, 73 – I’ll make this easy. Food: Lasagna and pasta with broccoli and pecorino cheese. Then get the artichoke pie. Greek salad and caprese, and something from the cool wine list. You’re set. Great for families, lunch or dinner. You will never leave unhappy!
  • Da Remo, Piaza di Santa Maria Liberatrice – Hands down best pizza in rome. I repeat, BEST. PIZZA. IN. ROME. Order all the appetizers knowing that you can’t finish them because the pizza is the main event. Their suppli (fried rice balls) happen to be great though.
  • Forno Roscioli’s & Roscioli’s, Via dei Chiavari, 34 – The forno (bakery) has the most amazing take away slices of pizza, cooked in a brick wood oven. Types include rosemary and potato focaccia and pizza rosa is a classic. Try the epic mozzarella hamburger from Roscioli’s (the sit-down, reservations-necessary part).
  • I Due Ciccioli, Vicolo del Cedro, This is a small restaurant owned by a couple who serves about 8 tables a night out of their own kitchen. It is truly a unique dining experience. Only 25 euro per person.
  • Piperno, Via Monte de Cenci, 9 – Three words: world famous artichokes.
  • Ba’Ghetto, Via Portico d’Ottavia, 57 and Via Livorno, 10 – The reason there are two addresses is because it is a kosher restaurant in the Jewish Ghetto, meaning instead of having two kitchens they just simply split their restaurant into two parts: meat section and dairy section. You can get the falafel and hummus platter at either location and I highly suggest it.
  • Hosteria La Botticella, Vicolo del Leopard, 39 – Giulia is such a gem. She serves huge platters of incredible food for only 25 euro a person. Good for big groups. The antipasti plate and the pasta plate are so beyond. Dreaming about this everyday.

Leuven, Belgium:

  • Pasta Man, Parijsstraat 39 –Ok, it’s actually called l’inizio, but if you’re American you’re going to call him pasta man. Pasta man sells giant containers of pasta (you’ll finish it) outside a little shop window. Always call ahead.
  • Sakura, Restaurantstraat –The service sucks, but the sushi is great and definitely three times as good as anything you’ll find in Leuven. We loved all the rolls, seaweed salad, salmon skewers, and “zalm filet”. Also, steal as many of the free candies as you can on your way out – I average 15 per visit. Do not trust any other sushi, it will be gross.
  • Café Komeet, Oude Markt – We went here at least twice a week (saying a lot because we were only there two days a week and we occasionally went twice a day) while in Leuven, to the point where the waiter knew to bring us ketchup, balsamic, and hot sauce with our eggs and salads. Get the chicken salad (no dressing), scampi salad (no dressing), warm goat cheese salad (no dressing), and any of the omelet options. D
  • Soup Away, Tiensestraat 29 – Great lunch spot. The owner makes the soups fresh every day, and if you go a lot he can recommend soups you’ll like since they change every day (warning: the menu is only in Dutch). For reference, anything that says “pompoen” (pumpkin) or “thaise curry” is delicious.
  • Koffie Onan, Parijsstraat 28 – I went here for coffee every day. Not only do they have soy and skim milk, but their breakfast pastries and cakes are amazing and the artisanal vibe reminded me of downtown New York. Major plus – you get a chocolate with every purchase J
  • Donki the Rockin’ Burrito, Oude Markt – Bootleg Chipotle. Enough said.
  • Pepe Nero, Restaurantstraat – Perfect when you need a nicer Italian meal. It’s not crazy expensive and the food is delicious. A large menu makes this perfect for big groups. Try the pizzas and fish dishes, especially the salmon and branzino with lemon sauce.
  • Istanbul, Oude Markt – late night wasted food near Bar Vista. Get the doner with chicken and everything on it with spicy sauce. So good, and pita is great.
  • Bar Louis, Grote Markt 2 – New York-style décor with contemporary food, great for when parents visit. Order lots of the appetizers. Make a reservation in advance!
  • Greenway, Parijsstraat 12 – Vegetarian. You’re going to pass this on your way to class, we picked it up for dinner on our way to our night class. We loved the salads, daily soups, chili, and curry dishes, but the pastas and sandwiches are great as well!

Paris, France:

  • Spring, 6 rue Bailleul – Eric and I agree that this was hands down the best place we tried the entire semester. It’s a major splurge, but there is nothing more worth it. The set-menu changes daily, but they can vary the offerings if you have allergies, are vegetarian, etc. I highly recommend sticking with what they offer unless there’s a significant reason why you can’t eat something. Everything was the best I’ve ever tasted. If you sit upstairs, you even get to watch the team as they prepare your food. Best of all, the owner is a Chi-Town native.
  • L’as Du Fallafel, 34 Rue des Rosiers – Super touristy, but so good. Get the special falafel with everything on it. It’s a quick meal to give you energy before you shop around La Marais. The fresh juices are underratedly good.
  • Breizh Café, 109 Rue Vielle du Temple – Also in La Marais, this place has the best crepes you will ever eat. Make sure to make a reservation if you want to go on the weekend – it gets super packed.
  • Verjus Wine Bar, 52, Rue de Richelieu – Wine bars are as popular in Paris as froyo is in the US, so you must try a few! Apparently this is coming to NYC soon, and I cannot wait. This was our favorite wine bar in Paris. It’s not too expensive, and the wine, atmosphere and food are all incredible.
  • L’Avant Comptoir, 3 Carrefour de l’Odéon – The wine bar attached to the Le Comptoir. Order some wine and any of the tapas you see listed on the ceiling (If you speak French, pick the thing that most closely translates to “fried cheese balls” They resemble the fries at JG Mellon but with cheese. I died.)
  • Frenchie, 5 rue du Nil – Unlike the ever-trendy set menus in Paris, this place gives you two options for each course. The casual bistro was just what we needed upon our first night in Paris, and everything we had was tasty, especially the foie gras. They have a wine bar across the street if you want to keep your bank account floating.
  • Les Papilles, 30 Rue Gay Lussac – Family style, one-choice-only menu. We had a delicious cauliflower soup to start and a beef cheek stew as a main. Definitely not for picky eaters, but the meal was great and the wine list more-than-impressive.
  • L’Entrecote, a couple locations – Touristy but delicious. They serve steak and fries, that’s all. They give you seconds, and you will finish everything because everything tastes great when drenched in their special sauce.

Amsterdam, Netherlands:

  • Green House Coffeeshop, Haarlemmerstraat 64: The floor has fish in it! So cool. It’s a bigger space than most coffeeshops, so you can fit a bigger group (the minus side is that it gets really crowded, so tables may be hard to find).
  • The Pancake Bakery, Prinsengracht 191: Right up the block from the Anne Frank House, it’s a great stop either before or after you hit the coffee shops. The sweet pancakes are obviously bomb, but if you can find someone to split two with you, try a savory one! You can also get whole-wheat pancakes, but like… do you really want to be that person?
  • Kantjil & De Tiger, Spuistraat 291: An Indonesian restaurant great for large parties, the cuisine was certainly among the most unique we tried. The food was pretty good (you get to pick exactly what meats, noodles, and vegetables you want), and you will walk out more full than you can possibly imagine.
  • De Dampkring, Handboogstraat 29HS: Great coffee shop in the middle of Amsterdam. On Friday evenings they walk around serving the best (free) pancakes filled with speculoos, sugar, or chocolate while you smoke. Mmmm.
  • Winkel 43, Noordermarkt 43 – Sit outside with some of the famous, godly apple pie.

London, United Kingdom:

  • Gail’s Artisan Bakery, 138 Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, W11 2DZ – Was the wait too long at 202? Head a few blocks down to Gail’s in Notting Hill before checking out Portobello Market. The freshly made goods – pastries, breads, yogurt – are light and delicious, a great beginning to any lazy Sunday.
  • Kappacasein, Borough Market, Stoney Street – In Borough Market, you MUST try their grilled cheese or else you haven’t lived!
  • Harvey Nichols, 109-125 Knightsbridge – Expensive, but definitely go for tea if you have time! This is the quintessential tea place in London and you will not regret it!
  • Yalla Yalla, 1 Green’s Court – Lunch spot, very cheap for London!! Lots of small plates, falafel, hummus, manakish zaatar (warmed pita drizzled with olive oil and dusted with lemony spice), baba ganoush.
  • Dean Street Townhouse, 69-71 Dean Street, Soho – They offer a full Sunday Roast, an English tradition, but it is also a great place for brunch, lunch and dinner! It is a little on the expensive side, though.
  • Camellia’s Tea House, 12 Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, London W1B 5PW, United Kingdom – A cute little space in Soho. Order an assortment of cakes, biscuits, and finger sandwiches – we loved the carrot cake and lox sandwich (this is joodie, remember?).
  • The Delaunay, 55 Aldwycg (at Drury Lane) – A trendy tea place. Get crumpets, eggs, a sandwich, whatever brunch fare your little heart desires. But make sure you get a crumpet.
  • Zuma, 5 Raphael Street, London SW7 1DL – It’s a huge splurge, but really, when you’re on the pound you’re never not splurging, so I say just do it. Even the simplest dishes – the chili spiced edemame, specifically – are unreal. Can’t get a res? Check out their sister restaurant Roka, which is just as trendy.
  • Blue Elephant, The Boulevard, Imperial Wharf, Townmead Road – Incredible Thai food, a great changeup from the norm. Good for big groups and not too pricey (considering you’re on the pound and everything is going to be pricey for you…)

Barcelona, Spain:

  • La Boqueria, Rambla 91 – This is a giant open food market. There are stands selling produce and raw meat, but also great shops dishing out awesome tapas and other treats. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT skip the crepe guy – from sweet to savory, that French guy knows his shit. Try some croquetas (they look like mozzarella sticks, but you can also get spinach, mushroom, meat and other kinds!) and make sure to grab a bag and scoop candy from the piles at many of the different stands.
  • Cerveseria Catalana, Mallorca 236 – Very popular tapas joint. They have incredible seafood – try the octopus dish and the eggs scrambled with shrimp and mushrooms! You’ll have to wait, but the service is great and the food is beyond worth it.
  • Elsa y Fred, Rec Comtal 11 – Incredible for brunch, cool 1950s-style ambiance. The pastrami sandwich is a hit with everyone if you’re missing your local Jewish deli…
  • Picnic, C, Comerc 1 – Speaking of brunch, head over here if you’re around on a Sunday! The sangria can’t be missed, and the blueberry pancakes and eggs benedict are bomb. Also, the staff spoke perfect English, which we loved.
  • Mosquito, Carders 46 – If you’ve been in Europe for a while, you’re probably missing good Asian food. This place has awesome dim sum and dumplings for cheap!
  • Sol Soler, Placa del Sol – You may not make it here because it was a random shop right near our hostel, but it was super cheap, authentic tapas. The waiter was so friendly and made sure we were trying everything for the best experience! Make sure to get the patatas bravas and quiche.

Berlin, Germany:

  • Katz Orange, Bergstraße 22, 10115– Nestled in a lovely courtyard, Katz Orange makes you feel trendy from before you even walk in. You must get the slow cooked short rib as a main. Great spot to go with parents.
  • Cookies, Behrenstraße 55 10117– Give yourself an extra 15 minutes to find this place. Nestled waaaay back in a sketchy back alley, this sceney speakeasy-like spot is part-club and part-restaurant. We went for dinner (and sat across from Natalie Portman!) and thought the vegetarian plates were way small for their massive price tags. Go for drinks at the club instead.
  • Borchardt, Franzosische 47 – A little expensive but an awesome meal. I must admit, though, it’s a little touristy. Get the schnitzel and you’re all set.
  • Café Fleury, Weinbergsweg 20, 10119– We stumbled on this place in a desperate search for lunch. Located near the Circus Hostel, this inexpensive coffee/brunch joint is filled with German hipsters you wish you could dress like. Great stop for a quick bite on the way to museum mile.
  • Impala Coffee, Schönhauser Allee 173,– Ok, so there’s really nothing that special about this chain coffee shop, but after being deprived of chai and soy milk during most of our time abroad, we were stoked to find this coffee shop a block from our hostel. Get the orca spice chai tea latte, it will change your life. We stopped at this place twice a day while in Berlin.

Santorini, Greece:

  • Nikolas Taverna, Erythrou Stavrou– It’s touristy and you’re going to have to wait for a table, but it’s really worth it. Serving authentic, inexpensive Greek cuisine, this place got my picky friends to try new foods (and like it). We dug the moussaka and babaganousch, but honestly everything was fantastic. A central location makes it a good place for a quick dinner before you go out.
  • Lotza, Nomikou pedestrian, Oia–You wouldn’t expect it from the quaint outside, but this place is bomb, as you’ll understand when you smell the homemade goodness wafting out of the kitchen. The outdoor patio is right on the coast, giving you an unbeatable view of the water and white houses below as you enjoy your lunch.
  • Apiron, Fira– Greece was the first trip our group took, and we decided to celebrate the end of it with a nice meal at Apiron. We sat outside, overlooking stunning views of the caldera. All of the food was awe-inspiring. The owner treated us all to free desserts and was over-accommodating with our boisterous party.
  • Momma’s, Down the road from the San Giorgio hostel. Amazing brunch and Momma is such a cutie, we went every day for breakfast (they have omelettes, pancakes, etc) and she gave us free grapes and stuff because she loved us. Must go if you’re in Fira!

Mykonos, Greece

  • Davinci Gelato, by the water – Best Greek yogurt of all time. Seriously, all of us were obsessed enough that when a friend’s sibling visited months later and sent us a picture, we all had minor heart attacks.
  • Taverna Nikos, in town somewhere – Great for big groups, not expensive. Note that this is not the same as the Taverna Nikos on the beach by Nammos, which is more upscale. Great food and friendly waiter, but be careful because he tried to convince us to buy a giant whole fish. Grilled octopus and saganaki are great.
  • Nammos, On the water somewhere – Not a restaurant, but if you find yourself in Mykonos during their party season you must go. It is a fucking SCENE and though expensive it is worth every minute. We got there a little too late so make sure it’s the right time of year!

Oktoberfest (Munich, Germany):

  • Ok, you’re definitely going to be too drunk to remember any of this, but halfway through your fourth liter you’re going to need some food, and maybe a break from the Hofbrauhaus tent. Grab some schnitzel (fyi, unless they explicitly say it’s chicken, it’s veal) with cranberry sauce, kaiserschmarn (chopped up crepe-pancake with apples and any other toppings you may want), and rotisserie chicken.

Dublin, Ireland:

  • Elephant & Castle, 18 Temple Bar – Go for any meal, but make sure you get your hungover ass there for brunch. The eggs are great, and make sure you find a few people to split the spicy wings with – they’re too good to skip.
  • Ray’s Pizza, Upper Fownes Street – When you’ve been in a foreign continent for three months and you’re drunk and hungry, a place that reads “New York Pizza” is literally a beacon. And guess what? It was actually really good. Get any slice and it’ll be in your hands before you’ve even paid.
  • Bewley’s Café, 78-79 Grafton Street – Phenomenal hot chocolate menu and great sandwiches. Great, inexpensive lunch spot.
  • Murphy’s Ice Cream, 27 Wicklow Street – There are no words to describe the seasalt and burnt caramel.
  • Little Ass Burrito Bar, 32A Dawson Street – Missing Chipotle? Here’s your taste of home.
  • The Pig’s Ear, 4 Nassau Street – Great lunch deal, but you can go for dinner too. Kind of like a modern take on the gastropub (the whiskey and citrus salmon is great!). Awesome place to take pictures of your #foodporn.

Edinburgh, Scotland:

  • The City Café, 19 Blair Street – A great American diner! You can get fajitas, burgers, salads… whatever. A wonderful reminder of America.
  • Imans, 4-6 Lochrin Buildings – Indian BYO, perfect for when you’re missing Penn! We went with a huge group, ordered a ton of naan and chicken tikka masala, and went crazy.
  • Mary’s Milk Bar, 19 Grassmarket – Let Mary make you a warm cup of hot chocolate if you find yourself in Edinburgh in the winter. We stopped in during the break of a three-hour walking tour, and it was the perfect place to warm our toes.
  • Tiger Lily, 125 George Street – Great seasonal menu, a little Asian influenced, so pretty! The specialty drinks are a must-try.

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7.6/10.0
611 Hudson Street
212.390.1545 / OpenTable
$$$

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If you know me, you may know that after peanut butter I have an undying love for and allegiance to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. The ingredients are fresh and simple, so there’s no hiding overcooked meat and tasteless veggies behind heavy sauces to trick people into thinking they’re eating good food – the food has to actually be good. I’ve always been a huge fan of Chef Einat Admony’s Balaboosta and Taim restaurants in Soho, so I was elated when she opened Bar Bolonat earlier this year. I have to say, I think Balaboosta is better, but nonetheless Bar Bolonat serves strong modern Israeli plates.

If you can, try to get a table downstairs in the private dining room/wine cellar. The upstairs section is a pretty combination of modern and rustic, but the downstairs is so much more unique. Looking to impress a date or your picky, slightly uptight but still a little cool parents? Here’s your shot.

Start your meal off right with the Jerusalem Bagel, large enough for 4 to share. Warm and doughy, you’ll be in heaven already. The japanese eggplant and baby artichokes are also great calls, but skip the fried cauliflower, which was a little flavorless and is much better as a side at Balaboosta.

The zabzi tagine and branzino essentially brought tears to my eyes. The short rib in the tagine is tender and flavorful, definitely a better call than the tough and too chewy minute steak entree. The poussin and branzino are lighter, but well prepared and also great options if you want to save room for dessert.

Speaking of, the best options are the moroccan tea gelato (with baklava) and the halva creme brulee. Boom, you’re happy, full and done.

Bar Bolonat on Urbanspoon

*Images from GrubStreet

8.0/10.0

100 West Houston Street (Greenwich Village/Soho)

OpenTable or 212.254.7000

$$

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We all know The Smith – 3 locations in NYC, “ah-mazing” brunch, and a photobooth in proximity to the bathrooms. But do you know The Smith’s little sister Jane? If you don’t, I’m going to tell you exactly why you should.

Make a Sunday brunch reservation and know in advance this is not your day to “be healthy.” If you’re going to order homemade granola or an egg white omelette, get out and give your seat to someone who deserves it. No, today you are deciding between steak and eggs, any of the 4 varieties of eggs benedict, vanilla bean french toast, a burger (more on that one later)… you get the gist. For all my Penn readers, this place is the person Sabrina’s idolizes. Get out there, enjoy a cocktail or six, and don’t worry about thanking me after.

Jane works for dinner, too, with a menu similar to The Smith’s – everything is easy, simple and delicious… even if you want to be healthy. The starters are your chance to fall in love with the place. The toasted ricotta gnocchi is pillowy, truffle-y greatness. The zeppole is a combination of fried bread, brie-like cheese, and honey – need I say more? The fish, from salmon to scallops and swordfish, are all cooked to perfection but pretty light, so make sure you’re hitting up some apps first.

Last but not least, let’s talk about the burger. At first glance, the Jane burger is what you would expect. Cheddar, bacon, onion, tomato, fries – simple, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. While perusing other menu items you may overlook this hunk o’ heaven, but I am straight up begging you not to. Cooked to perfection, the thick burger holds its own against a giant bun and explodes with flavor under the cover of thick slices of bacon and some fresh lettuce. Remember that episode of Scandal where Huck repeats “752” for hours? That will be you, except you’ll be saying, “oh my god.”

*image from The Huffington Post

Jane on Urbanspoon

7.8/10.0

99 Stanton Street (LES)

OpenTable (or 212.995.0099)

$$$

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Chances are, if you are a girl and visited your friends (especially if you’re one of those camp obsessed people) in NYC for the weekend, they took you to dinner at one of two places: Beauty and Essex or The Stanton Social. Have you been to both and noticed the similar vibes and food? That’s probably because chef Chris Santos owns both of them. Clearly, he has a handle on how to please young twenty-somethings who enjoy eating or, at least, #eatingfortheinsta.

I would love to tell you all about how the japs/wasps/sorority people of NYC are wasting their money on shitty food, but in this case, they’re really not. The Stanton Social is an excellent place to get drinks, see-and-be-seen, and, most importantly, eat.

If you go between Wednesday and Saturday, you are absolutely going to have to wait before being seated. Don’t get upset, just get drinking. The basil-lime gimlet is one of my favorite cocktails of all time, but for something a little sweeter try the Strawberry Fields, complete with strawberries, lemon and a little wine. The Blood Orange-Jalapeno Margarita is a killer, as is Amiguita’s Blue Old Fashioned if your palette is a little manlier than mine.

Like Beauty & Essex, plates are meant for sharing, so you get to try a bunch of things on the extensive menu. I could describe all of the best plates for you, but you’d get bored and not read all the way through so I’ll just list them off for you:

-French Onion Soup Dumplings (they are famous for this one, pictured above)

-Potato and Goat Cheese Pierogies

-Nori Spiced Tuna Poke Wanton

-Old School Meatballs

-Red Snapper Tacos

-Hand Pulled Chicken Arepas

-Kobe Beef Slider or Mini Lobster Slider (order per slider)

-Warm Doughnuts

-S’mores Creme Brulee (pictured above)

And there you have it. So next time you’re in need of a fun place to drink and eat before going off, keep The Stanton Social on your shortlist.

 

Stanton Social on Urbanspoon

*2nd and 3rd images from The Stanton Social

8.2/10.0

707 Chestnut Street

215-925-5555

$$

 

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How is it possible that Rosa Blanca and Jones, my two favorite comfort food spots, are situated across the street from each other? It’s not fair because if I eat at/order in from one, I feel like I’m cheating on the other. That being said, while Jones is great it is definitely better delivered, so if you find yourself hungry on 7th and Chestnut, step right into Rosa Blanca.

Walking in, Rosa Blanca is your average retro diner with a little Spanish flair. Walk into the dining room, though and the whole place gets spruced up, including waiters sporting bow ties. Try to grab a booth, and get comfortable.

Rather than a traditional bread basket, Rosa Blanca starts you off right with cheese bread that tastes like a sweet cheese biscuit, which tastes great alone and pairs perfectly with the chipotle dipping sauce (spice haters, rejoice – it’s pretty mild). The service is pretty quick, so it won’t be long before you have a big fat empanada and a bowl of fresh, light guacamole sitting in front of you (order the guac and an empanada).

Because it’s a “diner” (ok, I don’t think Garces can pull off a true grimy diner because of his commitment to culinary excellence, but go with me here), there’s breakfast all day, which may cause some anxiety when you’re sitting at a dinner table at 8pm wondering whether you should go for it or be a normal human and get a sandwich. Luckily for you, both are great options. In terms of sandys, go for the cubano (pork alert for the kosher kids) or the pan con bistec, a shredded beef sandwich full of juicy goodness. Of course, if you opt for breakfast, you can’t go wrong with eggs your way and a choice of sides (I chose arepas as mine, and it was fantastic). The sanduches and desayunos are where Rosa Blanca succeeds, so don’t waste your money on the less exciting and more expensive entrées.

Rosa Blanca kills the dinner game, but the dessert isn’t so sweet (get it?). We got excited about the milkshake section of the menu, and every single one disappointed. The consistency is a little watery, and the flavors don’t taste at all like how you’re imagining them. It was a disappointing end to the meal, but not bad enough to change my opinion that Rosa Blanca is a phenomenal way to change up your usual meal rotation.

Rosa Blanca on Urbanspoon

6.2/10.0

2601 Pennsylvania Avenue (Art Museum/Fairmont)

215-475-8088

$$-$$$

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Don Memo’s closed, and Lolita and Tres Jalapenos got liquor licenses, and all of Philly was confused as to where we could fiesta with some comida mexicano. Isabel is our answer.

Like Lolita, Isabel will give you fresh margarita mix to go with your tequila (why would you bring anything else?). You pour the mix into really cute jars, and the flavors, like pomegranate and fresh lime, are fantastic.

Similar to any solid Mexican joint, Isabel does great things with it’s guac. They give a bunch of different flavor options, but we opted for the original and it was fresh and delicious. The chips were a little burnt and tasted like fritos, but once you dunked them in salsa or the guac, it didn’t matter. If you’re looking to take it up a notch, order some nachos. Smothered in beans, cheese and sour cream, these babies don’t disappoint.

There are an abundance of typical options for mains, from tacos/burritos to quesadillas to enchiladas and salads. The carne asada tacos were filling and perfectly fine, as were the variety of quesadillas my table ordered. It’s all edible and enough food for your money, but won’t rock your world. Wash it down with an extra pitcher.

One warning: the space is all open, from the full-panel windows to the open kitchen, so people will be watching and probably laughing at your debauchery. Once you have enough margaritas you probably won’t care, though, so hit up Isabel and live la vida loca.

Isabel BYOB on Urbanspoon
(Margarita photo from Isabel website)

9.0/10.0

2101 South Street

215-732-5130 (no reservations, though :( )

$$

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My relationship with Honey’s is a beautiful one. She’s there for me on a beautiful Sunday when I want to take a short walk over the South Street Bridge, or on a Friday after formal when I’m, well… in need of hangover food. Somehow, walking into that industrial-turned-“home sweet home” space is always comforting – maybe it’s the constant smell of bacon and biscuits wafting through the air, or the fact that they serve breakfast all day, every day.

Forget the lunch side of the menu – you’re here for eggs and pancakes. None of the food is going to change your life, but it will take you right back to Sundays on your couch when you were 6, and that’s an excellent feeling. Every table comes with 6 types of hot sauce and ketchup so you can have your favorite sauce with your meal. O.

On your first visit, pick a dish with a ”*” next to it. My favorites are the biscuit egg sandwich, the LEO (lox eggs onion, come ON), and three-egg omelette (you get to choose any three toppings with it, and they give some interesting options like veggie sausage, brisket, and jalapenos). The star gives you the power to choose two of six accompaniments to your meal, and you’re going to pick the onion and cheese latkes and a biscuit. The Jewish-meets-South menu is startling, but Honey’s makes it work.

If you’re starving, opt for the ever-gluttonous breakfast bomb or honey cristo. The breakfast bomb consists of scrambled eggs tucked nicely into a giant, folded pancake (and it has a * !), and the honey cristo is a monster French toast stuffed with ham and swiss, then topped off with two sunny eggs. These will put you in a happy, happy coma for the day.

Don’t forget about the specials board. Similar to the theme of the restaurant, the specials are always slightly eccentric, yet surprisingly tasty. I once had pancakes mixed with truffle oil, French fries and bacon. It was awesome. Occasionally they have fried pickles, and those are BOMB – don’t miss ‘em if you see ‘em.

The last great thing about this magical joint is that it’s BYOB. Bring some champagne and order a pitcher of fresh squeezed orange juice, and you’re on your way to the best brunch ever.

Honey's Sit 'n Eat on Urbanspoon

(images from Urban Spoon and Eat Drink and Run Philly).

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