Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Osteria.

As I said last week, my family & I celebrated my birthday at Osteria in Philadelphia…one of my favorite restaurants.

The table was set really nice when we first sat down…

Shortly after we sat down, the lemons (which were real by the way) were replaced with delicious bread…

I don’t want to make this a really long post, so I am going to quickly recap most of the food we had that night…or at least try to…

Three awesome pizzas…

Marinara - crushed San Marzano Tomatoes, oregano, & garlic.

Parma - mozzarella, fontina, arugula, and prosciutto di parma.

and my personal favorite…

Polpo - Octopus, tomato, red chili flakes, and smoked mozzarella.

I loved the smoked mozzarella on this pizza.  Next time I make pizza I am definitely making one with smoked mozzarella!

Next up…I ordered this…

Fusili with fava beans, pecorino and mint.

Really good, nice and refreshing taste.  Another pasta I ordered was…

Robiola Francobolli with royal trumpet mushrooms and thyme.

This was awesome.  I ordered this the last time I went to Osteria.  I love their Raviolis…they are tiny and practically melt in your mouth.

Mozzarella in Carrozza with olive oil poached pear tomatoes and capers.

Rabbit "casalinga" with pancetta, sage, brown butter, and soft polenta.

Wild Halibut al cartoccio with olives, potatoes, and oregano.

House aged rib-eye "fiorentina" with grilled spring onions, watercress, and balsamic.

and we all ended the night with all different flavors of gelato/sorbetto…

Thanks Todd!! 🙂

I ordered Fior Di Latte (sweet milk), yogurt, and blueberry sorbetto.  All were amazing.  I was so stuffed by the end of the night but everything was absolutely delicious.

Todd & I

Hope you are having a good week so far.  Later this week I have an awesome summer recipe to share to help you use up some extra tomatoes you might have in the kitchen.

Vetri Birthday Dinner.

A few weeks ago I went to dinner at Amis in Philadelphia.  As I said before, the Chef/Owner, Marc Vetri, has two other restaurants in Philadelphia, Vetri (his first and most expensive) & Osteria (his second restaurant–still expensive, but not as much as Vetri).  I have been to Osteria quite a few times and it is definitely my favorite restaurant in Philadelphia.  For my birthday, Todd took me out to dinner at Vetri!  This was the first time either of us have ever eaten here and we had nothing but good things to say about it.  In fact, some have claimed Vetri to be the ‘best Italian restaurant in America’.  The only problem is that Vetri is very expensive, so this is not a restaurant to visit on a regular basis…unless, of course, you are loaded.

Vetri is a very small restaurant. It probably only seats about 13 tables.

When we first got there, we were taken to our seats and each offered a glass of  Prosecco (in case you don’t know, Prosecco is a dry sparkling Italian wine made from a variety of white grapes).

Todd checking out the wine list & our glasses of Prosecco.

I thought the menus were pretty cool.

Shortly after, our waitress offered us a choice of bread, Focaccia or Tuscan White.  The first time around I went with the Focaccia and the second time around I chose the Tuscan White.  Both were delicious but I enjoyed the Focaccia more.  The bread was served with olive oil & olives that were soaking in the olive oil.

The Sommelier of Vetri came to our table to see what we wanted to drink with dinner.  Todd went with an Italian beer and I ultimately went with the sommelier’s suggestion based on what wine paired best with the food I ordered–which was a Lambrusco.  I don’t know much about wine, but I would describe it as a slightly bubbly, dry Italian red wine.  This wine had a very light taste to it and I ended up really enjoying it.  I don’t think I would have ever ordered it if it had not been suggested to me.

(I’m apologizing ahead of time–the pictures are not that great because the lighting was pretty bad and I am not a great photographer)

To start, Todd & I ordered two dishes to share…

Vetri's famous Spinach Gnocchi with Shaved Ricotta and Brown Butter.

These were so, so good.  They were so light and very spianchy.  Loved them.  This an item that is always on the menu.

The other starter we ordered was…

Artichoke salad with arugula and parmesan.

This picture is really terrible…you can thank Todd.  Thankfully, it tasted one hundred times better than it looks here.  This item is not always on their menu…it will change seasonally.  This was really, really delicious.  I am a huge fan of artichokes so I loved this.  I would really love to recreate this at home.

For the main part of my meal, I ordered two half plates of pasta.  I couldn’t decide between these two pastas and I thought it was a good idea to order half portions of each so I was able to taste more on the menu!

My two half portions of two different Pasta dishes.

My favorite of the two was the one on the right…Fettuccine with Morels.  This dish was supposed to come with Roasted Sweetbreads (no these are not  a type of bread, these are glands of animals), but I opted to leave them out.

Fettuccine with Morels.

Once again, I am sorry about the TERRIBLE quality of the photo.  Oh well.  In case you didn’t know, Morels are Wild Mushrooms…and according to Todd are only available for a very limited amount of time throughout the year.  I absolutely loved this dish.  There’s just something great about pasta and mushrooms…particularly homemade, fresh pasta.

The other half dish of pasta I ordered was the Spaghetti with dungeness crab and favas.

This dish was more light and refreshing in comparison to the Fettuccine with Morels.  While this dish was still delicious, I did enjoy the other pasta better.

Todd ordered the Guinea Hen Breast stuffed with prosciutto served with Mushrooms

I did not taste this, but Todd looked like he was in heaven eating it.

Another entree that looked really delicious was the Salt Crusted Whole Roasted Branzino with truffle sauce and brussels sprouts.  This dish is created for a minimum of 2 people.  Maybe if I ever go back I will order this!

We ended the night with two delicious desserts.  Todd also ordered Espresso and I ordered Tea.

I ordered the Chocolate Polenta Souffle with Vanilla Gelato.

This was warm with a gooey center.  Very, very delicious.  Enjoyed every bite.

Todd ordered a dessert that I unfortunately can’t remember the name of.  It was called Blueberry….something with an “S”.  I believe it was warm and it was served with a yogurt panna cotta.

Once again, terrible picture.  Todd’s dessert was really, really good.  I loved the yogurt panna cotta.

Well…the food was outstanding.  All of our plates tonight resembled this one…

Yum.  Thanks so much Todd for taking me to Vetri.  I had an amazing time.

Todd looking like he is having a blast.

Can't keep my eyes open.

If you live in the Philadelphia area or are ever in town, I would highly recommend visiting one of Marc Vetri’s three restaurants.

Thursday night I am actually going out with my family to his other restaurant, Osteria.  Both my Mom and Todd made reservations at two of Marc Vetri’s restaurants to celebrate my birthday…how lucky am I?

Amis.

If you are familiar with restaurants in Philadelphia, you may be familiar with Vetri or Osteria.  Marc Vetri is the owner and executive chef of both of these restaurants.  This year, he opened up his newest restaurant in Philadelphia, Amis.

Just a few notes about Marc Vetri:

  • Trained in Bergamo, Italy.
  • Within two years of opening Vetri, he was named one of Food & Wine’s Ten Best New Chefs and received the Philadelphia Inquirer’s highest restaurant rating.
  • In 2005, Vetri won the James Beard Award for “Best Chef Mid-Atlantic.”

[source]

I have never been to his oldest restaurant, Vetri.  I hear amazing things about it… although, I hear it is a bit expensive.  While his other restaurants are still very expensive, I think it is worth it.  I have been to Osteria several times and it is definitely my favorite restaurant.  The other night I finally made it to his newest restaurant, Amis.  I thought that this restaurant was great.  I loved the portion sizes because it allowed us to try several things on the menu without going overboard.  I was expecting this restaurant to be a little less expensive than his other restaurant, Osteria.  However, I found that it was around the same price.  The quality and taste of the food was so good that I did not mind paying a good price for it.

Todd sitting at the table with the kitchen behind him.

Todd and I both started off with a glass of red wine.  I ordered the Poggio alle Sughere, Morellino di Scansano ‘06 (“coastal chianti”/dried cherries/balsamic; Toscana).  I am not a wine connoisseur but I really did enjoy this wine.  Todd ordered the Alpha Box & Dice, “Fog” ‘06 (nebbiolo/cab/tannat/licorice/smoke/leather; Australia).  He enjoyed it but thought mine was tastier so for his second glass, he went with my choice of wine.

To start, we ordered Brushetta.  We went with the imported Bufala ricotta and black pepper drizzled with olive oil.  However, they brought out a complimentary Eggplant Caponata Brushetta as well.

I was so happy that they brought out the Eggplant Caponata.  Both were awesome but I really liked the Eggplant Caponata better.  I wish I took a closer picture of it to show you, but there were pine nuts and golden raisins in the mix with the eggplant…so good!!

Todd is a big fan of Arancinis, so we ordered the Arancini di riso with meat ragu as well.

Arancini

While I probably would have never ordered this, I had a bite and thought it was pretty tasty.  Not my top choice, but Todd really enjoyed it!

I am a huge fan of the Raviolis at Marc Vetri’s other restaurant, Osteria.  Therefore, I knew I had to order them here.  I ordered the bufala ricotta ravioli with spring asparagus.

Yum.  Check out how tiny & delicate these are.  I love them.  They are nothing like those big, stuffed Ravioli’s you typically will see.  So delicious.

Todd ordered the gnocchi alla romana with oxtail ragu.

While I did not taste his, he seemed to really enjoy it.

We also ordered marinated fava beans and peas with ricotta salata.

This was delicious.  I love fresh and simple dishes like this.

After all of this delicious food, we had to finish it off with a delicious dessert.  Todd ordered an espresso, I ordered tea, and we split the Rice Pudding with Balsamic marinated Strawberries.

Delicious.  I love, love, love rice pudding.  Ever since I was little my Mom-Mom has been making our family rice pudding.  She makes the best rice pudding that I have ever tasted.  It was funny because apparently this rice pudding is the Chef’s Mom-Mom’s recipe.  I’d like to do a throwdown though because I think my Mom-mom’s rice pudding beats this.  However, this rice pudding was definitely my second favorite that I ever had.  Very good and the marinated strawberries were a good touch.

So, overall, I loved Amis.  Amis is definitely added to my list of favorite restaurants.  I already can’t wait to go back.  Now, I really have to try out his first and most expensive restaurant…Vetri.