Lately: A Restaurant Roundup

I’m in a weird mood lately.

I’m tired and bored. But, strangely, I’m incredibly antsy at the same time. I can’t really seem to focus enough to get myself interested in anything. I’m going to call it a summer slump and I’m hoping that I will snap the heck out of it. Soon.

In the hopes of getting myself back on track, I present to you a round-up of all of the places I’ve  eaten recently, but haven’t gotten around to blogging about:

Zinc: This French bistro near Jefferson Hospital wasn’t really on my radar screen, but Chester and I decided to try it out before our last show of the season at the Walnut Street Theater a few weeks back and were pleasantly surprised by how good it was. I had a tasty salad with asparagus, poached egg, bits of crispy bacon and hollandaise sauce—kind of like breakfast for dinner—and a perfectly medium rare tuna dish. It’s the sister restaurant of Caribou Café, which I would also recommend for more casual fare or a light lunch.

Zama: When our friends from Chicago, Kristin and Scott, came to visit us for a long weekend and Kristin and I sent the boys off to a Phillies game and we had a spa/sushi evening. The menu at Zama, located in Rittenhouse Square, features more than 30 a la carte sashimi, as well as a variety of maki rolls. I couldn’t decide, so I got a sushi and maki combination, which included one of the best spicy tuna rolls I’ve ever had. Kristin got a roll that was a play on a Philly cheesesteak, featuring Japanese beef and provolone with spicy mayo and bibb lettuce wrapped in red pepper flaked soy paper. It’s a little pricier than the average sushi bar in the city, but the ingredients are definitely of such a high quality, so I would say that  it’s worth it!

Hundred Acres: Bridget came to spend two weeks in Philly and we took a fun trip up to New York with our moms and my aunt to see Evita (one of my favorites!). While we were there, we ate lunch at this farm-to-table spot in Soho. The menu changes frequently, but at the time we visited, there was a really nice mix of options for brunch, from pancakes and French toast, to salads and sandwiches. We both enjoyed our grilled cheese, with white cheddar, apple and pecans. The only thing that I didn’t really enjoy was the odd mix of club/semi-hardcore rap music that was playing. Not exactly what you associate with a casual brunch, right?

Zavino: Bridget came to have lunch with me in the city during her visit and we were both in the mood for pizza. I’ve been to this Midtown Village spot a couple of times before and really enjoy the pizzas here—the crust is not too thick, but not too thin either. I like the Kennett (a white pizza with mushrooms) and the ‘Stache (pistachio and pesto, topped with a generous helping of arugula. They get bonus points from me because all the pizzas can be made with a whole wheat crust and they serve their iced tea in Mason jars.

Ralph’s: I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve eaten at Ralph’s, which is located in the Italian Market. It is reported to be the oldest Italian restaurant in the country that has been continuously owned by the same family and the second oldest Italian restaurant in the country. Ralph’s serves traditional, “red-gravy” Italian food. My most recent visit was with Bridget and her family, and we both got what we always get—the manicotti. I’ve tried other things here, but this is my favorite dish. Chester really likes the Linguine Pescatore, with shrimps, clams, mussels and crabmeat. Reservations are a must, because it’s pretty small—you’ll be sharing close personal space with your neighbors. I have to say though, I’m not a huge fan of the service, as it tends to be a bit brusque—bordering on rude. I’ll still keep coming back, though.

New Delhi: This past weekend was a million degrees, so naturally, that’s the best time to eat Indian food, right? Chester and I pulled up to our perennial favorite, Sitar India, only to find it closed (hopefully, it’s just for renovations). So, we headed a few blocks down to one of the other University City Indian buffet spots. Sitar may have some competition when/if it reopens. As much as I love Sitar, it serves the same thing every day, and it seems that New Delhi rotates their items on a daily basis. And, the samosas and the chicken tikka masala at New Delhi may be just a little bit more flavorful. Plus, they have gulub jaman for dessert.

FARMiCiA: This is a solid Sunday brunch option in Old City. It doesn’t have the over-the-top dishes or long lines of Sabrina’s or Green Eggs. It’s just good, normal eggs, pancakes, and French toast, with a few other more fun options like breakfast quesadillas and cheddar grits thrown in. I enjoyed my crab omelette, which was bursting with a flavorful crabmeat, spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes. And, because it’s owned by the same folks that own Metropolitan Bakery, so the carb products are pretty outstanding. Now that I think about it, I should have gotten some granola because Metropolitan’s granola is the best (even though it’s probably like $10 per bag at this point). Next time. The service was a little slow, but the staff was super friendly—even to the guy next to us who was being a tool and wanted to order the steak and eggs with bacon and sausage instead of steak, over easy eggs instead of scrambled, and a side of spinach instead of potatoes. Right…

So, if you were worried that my summer slump was affecting my eating habits, never fear. It would seem that that’s the only thing I’ve been doing.

Is anyone else in a summer slump? What are you doing to cope with it?

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