Wednesday, September 30, 2015


1625 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 867-8181

If you like hummus, you will LOVE Dizengoff. Holy hell, they make some amazing pita bread as well. Stuck on the north side of Sansom (NOT SAMSON) street, they are a hole in the wall a couple of blocks from Rittenhouse Park.

The interior is small, sleek, and modern.

The menu itself is small, no frills, and completely delicious. The toppings change daily, but the hummus stays amazing. They generally have one meat option (obviously try it), but the veggie offerings are no slouch.

A baseball card may be your table marker.

Look at this spread. A hot baked pita, hummus topped with za'atar, olive oil, and whatever topping you choose, a side cucumber salad, and some pickles and onion. Simple perfection.

Below is the ground beef, finished with parsley and drenched in olive oil. Look at the perfect swirl of hummus. While the beef was tender, well cooked, and delicious, the hummus itself is the star here – light, airy, creamy and not overbearingly tahini-rich.

Another delicious option is the beets. Now, I don't usually like beets very much. Beets generally taste like dirt and stain everything (what's not to love?). But these beets we more than palatable. These were downright irresistible. The dill was a nice touch as well.

I've been here more than once in an effort to make healthier lunch choices. SIKE. I have been here a handful because it's really that good. Who knew a hummus lunch would be Philly Phoodie's weakness?

The pea and cashew is another really delicious vegetarian option. The creamy cashews together with the sweet English peas made for a great late summer, cool-you-off-and-not-over-stuff-you meal.

Another visit featured beef brisket on the menu, and as the rest of the previous dishes, this one did not disappoint. There was no gristle, very little fat and the meat was so well rendered that the shredded bits nearly melted on my tongue.

There was a nice swirl of tzatziki to finish the presentation, which lent a refreshing zing to the salty umami flavor of the beef.

Yet another vegetarian winner, and one that I think may be a daily staple (or close to it), is the carrot platter.

Another flavor combination that matches so well with the creamy hummus.

There literally isn't one bad thing I can say about all of my collected visits to this place.

You will be able to find me there for lunches and dinners for many years to come, sometimes more than one time per week.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Nashville Biscuit House

805 Gallatin Ave.
Nashville, TN 37206
(615) 228-4504

Nashville is know for a couple things. One being biscuits, another being "meat and three" and the third being hot chicken. More on hot chicken later (I will be writing about it next). For now, let's focus on biscuits. Nashville Biscuit House is a literal box of a diner, with a drive through window and no other windows. There is a line about all open hours, so just suck it up and wait if you want some greasy breakfast.

I was ready to get down, but I HAD just eaten my weight in late night burgers and hot chicken at Dino's about 8 hours prior.

They offer things like the below.

I decided to be healthy and skip the ultimate platter, instead opting for a breakfast platter, featuring only grits, bacon, fried eggs, and toast. To that, I added a whole order of biscuits and gravy, and a country ham biscuit sandwich. Who said I couldn't do moderation?

The country ham biscuit sandwich was great, and featured ribbons of fat through the ham, a flaky, baking powder tinged biscuit, and a folded fried egg. The biscuit itself was a thing of beauty, and the sum of the parts was a nice breakfast sandwich.

A better application of the flaky dough was as a vessel for sausage gravy. This gravy was rich, silky and indulgent. My biggest problem with it was that there was a piece of plastic wrap hiding in my calorie pile. Poor quality control from the kitchen. It may have been from the sausage or the biscuits, but either way, it was not part of the allure.

The bacon was nice and thick, cooked crispy, and helped console me after the gravy incident.

The grits were coarsely ground, and smothered in butter. Not too shabby. This was a good meal, but it was overshadowed by the lack of care in the kitchen. The embarrassed waitress quickly took the gravy off of the tab, but that's the kind of thing that sticks with you. I would go back, but would look carefully in my sausage sauce on the next go-round.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Bocci's Steakhouse & Comedy Cafe

1400 S Christopher Columbus Blvd.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(484) 466-5260

I was recently invited to a night of comedy and food at the somewhat newly opened Bocci's, which is located right next to the Riverview theater in South Philly. I couldn't remember anything being in this location, right next to Warmdaddy's, and I am always interested in some jokes, so it was an easy yes. I later came to know that many years ago, this used to be a Friendly's...

Bocci's used to be located in South Jersey, but relocated to this spot due to the owners of the real estate loving the food at the Jersey location. They had a giant wall wrap when to walk in to let you know this place was about the comedians as well as the food.

Bocci's history is laid out on the back of the menu. It is nice to see the mission statement and know that there is some family history and passion behind the place.

This place is a BYO(!), so I brought a six pack of IPA (Troeg's) and got ready for some food. The first thing up was the crab fries. These were different than most, in that the "crab" is actual snow crab, not a shake of Old Bay. The drawn butter centerpiece really pushed it over the top. I was quite surprised with how good these were. The fries stayed crispy, the sweet snowcrab was not out of place, and the butter indulgence was unlike any fry experience I have had.

The fresh parsley BASICALLY makes this a salad.

These disappeared so quickly, I could have eaten another order. The fries had a slight battery coating which kept the outsides crispy while the insides stayed hot and steamy and fried to perfection.

The seafood platter came out after. The shrimp were my favorites by far. Crispy with a nice paprika and light cayenne seasoning, they were like the soul food version of Dmitri's pil pil.

The crab cake was tasty as well. Not too much filler, and a generous portion.

I was not a huge fan of the whiting, but I am generally a shrimp guy anyway.

They also offered three sauces - hot sauce, cocktail, and mustard. Kind of a "chose your own adventure" for your seafood plate.

The shrimp and grits were no joke. The shrimp were nicely plumped and tender, and the grits had just a touch of butter. My fondness for butter aside, they had a great creamy texture and were rich, even for savory grits.

After the previous courses, I was starting to fill up on these.After the previous courses, I was starting to fill up on these.

The cabbage side was totally delicious. Vinegary and tender, I could eat a lot of this stuff. It reminded me of my Polish roots and had the salty flavor and perfectly wilted texture reminiscent of one of my favorite halushki dishes.

The T-Bone was the final entree. The crust on the steak was fantastic. Look at those beautiful char marks.

It was a bit overcooked for my taste (I like to see some pinkish-red in the center), but the meat was surprisingly tender, and the char added so much flavor. It can be difficult to get the maillard reaction to work with a thinner cut of meat.

At this point the stand-up comedy was starting. Holy shit, open mic night was hilarious. I was deliriously full, and thought I might bust a gut laughing. Make sure you check the schedule and see what is going on. There were so many performers, and almost all of them were on point.

I was literally ROTFL most of the night and was surprised to discover so much hidden comedic talent right here in South Philly.

As if this wasn't enough of everything, the dessert came out last. Belgian waffle with cream cheese drizzle and vanilla ice cream. It was so damn good. I didn't think I could eat one more bite, and this whole thing disappeared.

Crispy, perfectly executed waffle with a drizzle of love. Seriously go check out open mic night (or any of the shows here) and prepare to hurt with laughter, and some good food made with loving care.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Garden Cafe

23 South Jackson Street
Media PA 19063
(484) 444 2424

Media has a great bar scene, but the restaurant selection leaves something to be desired. The higher end places can't compete with the city for the most part, and the medium to lower budget options just don't have any soul. Now, when I read the Garden cafe was offering panini's and salads, I thought, typical. Luckily they have an ace up their sleeve.

They were rated as the best chicken pot pie by some publication in some geographic area. So that was certainly something that piqued my interest.

The pie crust is just about perfect. Crispy without being overly browned, a nice X ventilation system, and served in it's own foil pan.

But the interior was even better. Creamy, with perfectly executed veggies, moist chicken, and plenty of black pepper. This was a delicious standout within the potted pie community. I have to say, it's been a while since I have had a chicken pot pie out, and even longer that I have had one as good as this. Buttery,crispy crust, paired with the creamy succulent filling helped keep this one a winner.

I also tried some sandwiches, including the Cuban, pictured below. It was perfectly fine, and quite acceptable for a Cuban. Though like most Cubans (the SANDWICH) nothing to write home about.

A very well executed sandwich below.

The buffalo chicken panini was lacking in nothing but napkins, and potentially something other than meat and cheese. Again, totally a fine sandwich, and even good for a panini. But it is not my typical cup of tea.

The salad was refreshing and had fresh vegetables and grilled chicken. It is perfect for someone the opposite of me, but expected for a place called Garden Cafe. This is a good, healthy spot for a quick lunch, unless you get the chicken pot pie, in which case you can wait a bit longer for something much less healthy and much more delicious.