When the summer hits (feel it?), it’s truly time to enjoy the finer things in life, like scantily-clad tan people sipping mojitos …on a speedboat. Some weekends, Philly might feel like a ghost town as friends hit the water – and road – for the white sands (hello, Rehoboth!), but that only means one thing: There are more seats for me at some my favorite restaurants.
Anyone who’s watched my web-based cooking show – Josh Can’t Cook – knows that the name doesn’t lie – I really can’t cook. So I like to dine out – a lot. And this summer, there are a few destinations that make the hot season even hotter.
If you’re fresh from a workout and/or feeling thirsty and a bit wiped-out from the heat, er last night, get to the Gayborhood’s Jar Bar. The upstart raw bar has some delicious goodies on the menu, like my favorite – the strawberry- banana smoothie. It’s packed with protein, goji berries, hemp milk – and fruit. Lots and lots of fruit.
If you’ve given up turning your own oven on, but still you’re in the mood for a three-course meal, try M Restaurant. The chef’s claim to fame is compression cooking – that’s sous vide for the boughie folks (or cooking in airtight bags in water). Besides the food – think succulent duck breast with sauteed ramps, red mustard greens and pickled (yes, pickled) blueberries – the most amazing thing about this place is the breathtakingly beautiful courtyard.
My love affair with Barbuzzo has been going strong for a few years now. Not only can you sit inside (cool off) but also on the sidewalk (people watch). It’s ideal for date night, especially if you order some amazing beers and this: patata pizza. It comes with sliced fingerling potatoes, gorgonzola dolce, onion, smoked corn, pecorino and a pistachio pesto. Even when I was on a terrible date here a few weeks ago with ADHD guy, and even though said date couldn’t focus on the date, I focused on the food and forgot about the dude.
If you want a fun happy hour with some extra oomph, dress to impress and head over to 10 Arts by Eric Ripert for the berries and bubbles, a mix of Prosecco, chambord, Stoli Raz and Hibiscus. It’s sweet and tart and the perfect summer sip in the city.
Wash down all your drinks with really good bar food at South Philly Tap Room. The beer list can be daunting, but try the Allaghash Victor Ale – it’s a little spicy. Add to that a grilled cheese with tomato lager soup and it’ll be a fun, comfort-filled night South of Washington.
Sweet tooth, anyone? Here’s a healthy alternative to the ice cream you might be craving: Yogorino. I substituted my usual protein shake after a workout for one of these and the rest is history. It was a treat – without the guilt of feeling like you have to get right back on the treadmill.
And lastly, but definitely not least, my favorite meal of the day – brunch – is best enjoyed at Parc. The French vibe, outdoor-seating, ambiance and impeccable service is unmatched. Try the eggs Norwegian and a cappuccino before taking a summery stroll through Rittenhouse Park on the weekend.
Josh Schonewolf is the host of Josh Can’t Cook, a web-based cooking show about a guy who’s “gourmet challenged.”