Another Foodie Follower update…..

Hello my Foodie Followers….as stated in my last post, work schedules have totally messed up our restaurant reviews.  Never fear…the Foodie Follower is here.  I will be starting a new blog featuring home cooked recipes with step by step instructions, pictures and tips.  We will continue the original Foodie Follower as schedules allow…

But for now….Welcome the newest edition to the Foodie Follower…..

http://www.thefoodiefollowercooks.wordpress.com   We will cook and dine together, one bite at a time!

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A Foodie Follower update…..

Hello my Foodie Followers…unfortunately due to horrible work schedules, we have not been able to schedule restaurant outings and reviews.  We will try to maintain new reviews as our schedules allow.  In the meantime, the Foodie Follower is going to be adding a new volume.  I have not officially announced the name as I am still working on something clever.  I am happy to announce that it will be home cooking oriented.   More details to follow…and we will continue to dine, one bite at a time!

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Cuban Flavor on Chestnut Street

Hello my Foodie Followers….Tonight we dined at Rosa Blanca (www.rosablancadiner.com) located on the corner of Chestnut Street and 7th Street.  We arrived a few minutes before our reservation. The hostess greeted us and told us our table was ready.  We were immediately seated and left with menus and a cocktail menu.  After reviewing the menu for a moment, Dayna, our server appeared.  Upon her arrival we told her we were ready to order and surprised her to some degree.  We gave her our drink and food order.  Al started with a Flying Fish Beer and I had the classic mojito.  We shared a cuban guacamole with smoked pineapple and homemade chips and the croquetas de jamon.  The guacamole was delicious and smooth.  The chips were a mix of tortilla and plantain chips.  The croquetas were small ham filled pockets and deep fried served with a great dipping sauce.  For our entrees, I had the churrasco, a skirt steak with fries.  The steak was medium rare and lean.  The fries were incredibly thin and seasoned.  Both items were delicious.  Al had the cordero caribe, a curried lamb stew.  I tried the lamb stew.  It was flavorful and delicious.  Very tender in a great sauce.  We shared an order of the tostone, a crispy plantain with a peppery chutney.  Dayna brought us another order of drinks, I had a mojito with fruit this time and Al had another Flying Fish beer.  For dessert, Al had the tres leches, a chocolate cake with bananas and a mini scoop of chocolate ice cream.  I had a cafe cubano, a double shot of espresso with brown sugar.  Service was outstanding.  The food items were tastier bite by bite.  I award Rosa Blanca 4.5 out of 5 Diva Crowns.  Bon Appetit! 

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Garces Trading Company

Hello my Foodie Followers…I apologize for the longer than normal delay in our postings.  We will try to get back on schedule.  Tonight we dined at Garces Trading Company (www.garcestradingcompany.com).  We arrived on time for a 6pm reservation, a little earlier than we like, and met with our server, Elyssa aka Cathy.  She was witty and fun, a total delight…and told us to wait for the smarter host to arrive…sad to say..he was not, although cute, and played with the computer trying to determine where to seat us for 5 minutes.  Quick note:  the restaurant was nearly empty.  Where we asked to be seated by the window it  “was unavailable” and by the time we left…still had not patrons were seated in our request..moving on…we were seated and Elyssa came over to offer bread, water and cocktails.  She explained the menu to us along with specials and zoomed off to begin our meal.  We started off with good old Philadelphia tap water and a bread basket with olive oil for dipping.  We chose not to do traditional entrees but did most of the appetizers, salads and soup.  To start off our cocktail order arrived.  Al had a sly fox beer, a fruity and slightly floral lager.  I had an usual beginning and chose a house cocktail called a Rosemary Greyhound, raspberry vodka, elderflower, grapefruit and rosemary.  It was lightly sweet, fruity, and refreshing.  A delightful warm weather cocktail.  We started our food order beginning with grilled cauliflower with black garlic pesto, green onions and tarragon.  A very savory bite to say the least.  This followed by an endive leaves with sevilla orange slivers, Bucherondin, Golden Raisins, Anjou Pears.  Very lightly dressed.  The raisins and the pears topped this dish off.  Our next small plate was a house made mozzarella, slightly warm with a drizzle of olive oil and topped with cracked black pepper.  The cheese was creamy to the bite.  An olive serving in an olive oil was brought.  A mix of different olives for the choosing.  A romaine salad was served next with layered leaves by size, largest on bottom moving to smallest.  A creamy garlic dressing topped the salad with parmesan shavings.  The dressing was delicious but I felt it was a tad more than needed.  The romaine lettuce was crisp, green and fresh.  A second round of cocktails were served, Al repeated his beer and I had the usual, Ketel One, up, shook ice cold with one olive.  vichyssoise chaude Potato Leek Soup, Black Truffles, Chives, Bacon was served next.  Two grilled scallops were served in the center.  The soup, usually served chilled was served warm.  A perfect pairing with the bacon and the scallop.  We ended with an Italian sausage flatbread.  Out of all the items served, this was my least favorite.  I felt it was a touch to salty and the sauce or gravy that was served with it wasn’t tasty in my opinion. I must note to my readers that I rarely order a tomato gravy item, outside of pizza, being raised in an Italian household where Mommy made her traditional gravies.   Also, my followers know that I prefer a salty savory dish over a sweet dish and this was too salty for my liking.  Although Al did seem to enjoy it.  As dinner ended, we shared a macaron plate with assorted flavors.  The lavender macaron was amazing.  Very floral…a kiss of spring.  I sipped an espresso while nibbling on my macarons.  Al finished his dinner with his sly fox beer.  With our bill, Elyssa, brought over another treat.  An almond cookie with pine nuts for each of us..a simple thank you for dining with her.  This cookie brought me back to christmas time, a traditional Italian cookie.  Elyssa was fun..full of energy and I highly recommend asking for her when you dine at Garces.  I award Garces Trading Company 4.5 out of 5 Diva Crowns!   Bon Appetit! 

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Vesti la giubba…..at Victor Cafe in South Philly!

Hello my Foodie Followers…Tonight, Al and I celebrated the 30th anniversary of a very dear couple, Lawrence and Margo Mays.  When asked to assist them in finding a romantic venue with Italian food…I thought of Victor Cafe! (www.victorcafe.com) located in South Philly at 13th Street and Dickinson Street.  Well known for beautifully sung arias and grand opera by the serving staff, bartenders, and support staff. We arrived at 7:30 (with a reservation) and were seated shortly afterwards.  The place was packed and music was in the air.  The host navigated us to our table and our server, Tommy, was quick to greet us.  Water and homemade bread with pesto dipping oil was served. Our cocktail order was taken and our party discussed food options.  Lawrence had a Jack and coke, Margo had a Tom Collins, I had the usual and Al had a Moretti beer.  We decided on clams casino, served in the shell with a mixture of pepper, bacon, bread crumbs and delicious clam.  We also ordered the caprese salad, three nice mozzarella slices over tomato with a pesto drizzle to share as appetizers (we had a cheese and charcuterrie plate at the apartment before hand).  For our entrees, Margo had the butternut squash gnocchis in a light cream sauce.  Served in a pasta bowl with fresh grated parmesan cheese. Lawrence had the shrimp and scallops over linguine in a delicious red sauce.  Al had the calamari over linguine in a fra diablo sauce and had another Moretti beer. and I had the filet mignon, medium rare, served with broccholi rabe and little potatoes.  Everyone enjoyed their entrees and each plate was empty by the end of our night.  Desserts, graciously donated by “the big guy”, were sweet and scrumptious.  Lawrence had two servings of spumoni with mini cannolis, Margo had the creme brulee, Al had the warm chocolate cake, that oozed decadent chocolate “lava”  and I had the lemon sorbet with a limoncello.  The lemon sorbet was served in a hallowed out lemon, frozen and filled with the sorbet.  Everything was delicious, served in a comfortable time, great singing by the staff and great company made for a fabulous evening.  I award Victor Cafe 4.25 out of 5 Diva Crowns!  Bon Appetit! 

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Coco’s on 8th

Hello my Foodie Followers…tonight we dined at Coco’s (www.cocosphilly.com).  No reservation needed. We arrived after 7pm for a relaxed dinner.  We sat in the window area to be able to take into the street activities.  We did not order alcoholic cocktails but had iced teas.  Al ordered a caesar salad with crunchy croutons.  I had two or three forkfuls of his salad.  The dressing was great…light and flavorful.  For our entrees, we both order burgers.  I had the bacon/bleu cheese burger, served with lettuce, tomato, and onion with french fries and onion frizzles. The bun was delicious, not heavy and not doughy.  The burger was hand patted out.  The bleu cheese topping was amazing…biting and full of flavor.  The french fries were crispy and hot.  Al had the ahi tuna burger.  His was much messier than mine with a great sauce, also served with fries.  We did not order dessert and took a casual stroll home…unexpected celebrity spotting…Mike Jerrick from Fox News was at the bar enjoying his libation.   Although not an “official” date night, it was a great bite.  Coco’s is known for great burgers…I award Coco’s 4 out of 5 Diva Crowns!  Bon Appetit!  

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La Scala on 7th and Chestnut

Hello My Foodie Followers….tonight we dined at La Scala, located at 7th and Chestnut, on the outskirts of the gayborhood and almost in Olde City/Society Hill.  Although a touristy area, I enjoy the local restaurants in the neighborhood.  We arrived around 7pm with a reservation and were seated immediately by the host.  Our server, Christian, was quick to bring us water and to take our cocktail order.  I, in usual fashion, had my usual martini.  Al ordered a Samuel Adams – Winter Lager.  A  bread basket with accompaniments arrived moments later. Warm bread, olive oil/balsamic with a wad of butter.   My cocktail arrived, at best luke warm.  The server seeing my disdain with my beverage, graciously, took it back for a heartier shake.  It arrived back, chilled properly.  Christian, then took our order.  A variety of menus were offered.  I chose the chef’s menu – Three options, pre fixe…I started with the cheeseboard (mahon reserve, a smokey blue, and an asiago) served with a quince jam and spiced apples. For my entree, I had the petite filet with a mushroom and demi glaze and a gnocchi in a light marinara. For dessert, I had the lemon creme Italian cake.  Let’s take each item individually….the cheeseboard was nicely created, though, lacking a crunch factor..no breads, crostinis, or crackers.  Our server did bring over a few slices of grilled bread.   The entree – the filet was beautiful, although over cooked.  I ordered a medium rare and got medium, at best.  It was tender and tasty, but still over cooked. I will say the steak had a wonderful smoked flavor one would receive from an open grill.  Added to that was a healthy helping of gnocchi in a light marinara.  I don’t understand how the two items connected..One had a brown demi glaze with grilled mushrooms and the other was in a marinara.  The dessert was tasty and sweet, but had a raspberry drizzle over it.  Being the cake was a lemon creme, I was unsure why they would put a raspberry drizzle.  A lemon drizzle would have been more appealing to magnify the lemon creme in the cake.  Al had for his menu – the restaurant week menu.  He started with a eggplant rolotini, followed by a salmon over wilted spinach and roasted potatoes and for dessert he had the nocello, which was a sunday style ice cream treat.  We will take each of these items individually, too.  The eggplant rolotini was delightful.  Delicate and cheesy with a light marinara.  For his entree, the salmon was a tad overcooked, the spinach was tasty and bold, the potatoes were potatoes.  For his dessert, he had the Nocello, traditionally an Italian walnut liquoure, this was served as an ice cream dessert with brownie chunks and walnuts with a chocolate and nocello drizzle.  I will admit each item was good in their own way, but as a dish, I feel it missed the goal. I am not positive about this, but maybe due to restaurant week, the menu was a tad less than exciting.  Although one would think a restaurant would put it’s best foot first for a dining week.  I award La Scala 3 out of 5 Diva Crowns…Bon Appetit!  

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