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Chicago | August 2015

I visited Chicago for a long weekend in late August 2015 and absolutely fell in love with it’s architecture, people, food, and overall accessibility. 

Here are some of my favorite shots from the trip! It’s an odd mix of everything I admired about Chicago: the eclectic mix of architecture, art & design styles; the inventive food; the welcoming people; and the beauty of the city at large.

Foobooz: Philadelphia Restaurant News & Reviews | Philadelphia Magazine

One of my biggest passions and hobbies is food. I love to cook and check out new, interesting, or unique restaurants. After living in Philadelphia for a number of years and always feeling a little out-of-the-loop in terms of the restaurant scene, I (finally… I mean, really late to the game on this one) found Foobooz, Philadelphia Magazine’s restaurant news & reviews blog. I read Foobooz very frequently, excited to see what new restaurants are opening, which chef’s are tackling new projects, and what a critic REALLY hated at the new/trendy spot. Even if I’ve been to a restaurant before, I typically still head to Foobooz to see what they have to say.

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Highlights from Zahav | June 3, 2015

C & I went to Zahav last night and had a beautiful meal filled with flavor. As soon as we were seated I was immediately excited because we were right near a huge, open window - which meant that long-lasting natural summer light.

It was a phenomenal meal from start to finish. Everything was so carefully considered. All of the flavors worked to present interesting and complex dishes from start to finish. Service was impeccable and I even managed to snag some leftover Salatim for a snack. 

What we ordered… 
* denotes favorites (Spoiler alert: there are many)

Salatim (pictured)

  • Pickled onions
  • Green beans
  • Carrots *
  • Eggplant dip *
  • Peppers
  • Beet dip *

House made Hummus with Laffa (pictured) *

Fried Cauliflower with labaneh with chive, dill, mint and garlic (pictured) *

Duck Hearts grapes, green tehina, pine nuts, ramp greens (pictured)

Cobia Crudot turkish salad, fava beans (pictured)

House Smoked Sable challah, fried egg, poppy

Sirloin Shishlik eggplant caponata, babaganoush (pictured)

Lamb Merguez garlic, english peas, rhubarb (pictured) *

Kataifi chocolate ganache, ricotta, hazelnuts

Coffee Custard hibiscus huckleberries, amaretti crumble *

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How to Eat Your Way Through San Francisco: A Visual Diary

[L to R] - all taken with iPhone, more SF photographs taken with real camera to come!

In-N-Out Burger333 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94133
Well, my first real (layovers don’t count) trip to California, wouldn’t be complete without a visit to In-N-Out.  I was pleased to find out that the one In-N-Out location outside of Southern California, was in the heart of the tourist area of San Francisco, where my friends and I spent most of our first day.  The burger was quite good - juicy, flavorful, and meaty. The fries were salty and delicious.  I can’t decide whether I prefer In-N-Out or Shake Shack.  (I guess i have to settle on Shake Shack for my proximity.)

Balompie Café3349 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
San Francisco is a sprawling, diverse, exciting food city.  My friend Joe said that we had to try a pupusa (traditional Salvadorian dish) while we were visiting. This delicious combination of cornmeal dough and filling (chorizo + cheese, mixed bean + cheese in my case) was so flavorful and so simple.  Handmade and served with rice and the most incredible beans I’ve ever had, this was the perfect late lunch after an exhausting hike through Muir Woods.

Dear Mom (S+M Vegan Chefs brunch pop-up) | 2700 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
My friends and I headed to Dear Mom (around the corner from where I was staying) for brunch on Saturday.  Unbeknownst to us, Dear Mom does not serve brunch on their own - instead, they feature a rotation of pop-up brunch menus prepared by local chefs and restaurants.  During our visit brunch was being served by S+M Vegan Chefs.  I ordered this beautiful creation: avocado toast with a hash made from roasted potatoes and peppers.  The gravy over top was dark and flavorful (possibly utilizing coffee? I can’t exactly remember.) Plus, those avocado slices! *swoon*

Nopalita1224 9th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122
Described as a ‘sustainable organic Mexican kitchen’, Nopalita sits right outside of Golden Gate Park, and served as the perfect lunch spot after we spent a few hours wandering the de Young Museum in the park (go see the Modernist exhibit!) I ordered the Torta Pambazo, a chili-dipped sandwich with chorizo, potatoes, avocados, cabbage, queso fresco, crema and salsa escabeche.  This incredible sandwich was served with hand-cut, house-made Kennebec potato chips.  The chips were thick, crispy, and salty.  The sandwich was balanced and had a nice blend of the spice from the chili and chorizo, paired with the creaminess of the avocado and queso fresco. Not pictured: the best popsicle I’ve ever had: a house-made dark chocolate + cinnamon popsicle. 

Outerlands4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122
The four of us stopped here for brunch before driving up to Muir Woods.  The menu isn’t overloaded with options, but instead opts for classics, like my fried eggs + bacon, and a mix of house-made breads/sweets/pastries (see below.) My fried eggs and bacon were placed on a huge piece of toast, which was crispy, and worked nicely with the salty bacon.  The dijon vinaigrette on the greens was a great touch as well. 

Woodhouse Fish Co.2073 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Admission: I’ve never had a lobster roll before. I’ve seen the light and I’m not looking back.  This lobster roll (a favorite of my friend, Joe) was meaty, buttery, loaded with bright flavors, and flat out incredibly delicious.  The fries are super salty, but the real star of the show is the lobster roll.  (This was the “small” lobster roll on the menu.  While I am sure I could have eaten the “large” I am happy I opted for the small - I don’t know if I would function properly after that much butter and mayonnaise.)

Outerlands4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122
Because my friends Joe & John were raving about their breads/sweets/pastries, I spotted the 'Soft Pretzel’ option from a mile away and didn’t think twice.  Being from Philadelphia, I take soft pretzels very seriously.  This was a loose interpretation of a Philadelphia-flavored soft pretzel, but was in the right ballpark.  It appears more like a croissant, but is filled with cheese and bacon.