CafÃ© con Chocolate
Adam Erace heads to a downtrodden block of South Philadelphia and finds CafÃ© con Chocolate makes the whole block look more promising.
The pierna torta, a Mexican-style grinder, is stuffed with tender tatters of succulent but not greasy pig. Beneath a green carpet of shredded lettuce, the nachos are remarkably light thanks to judicious streaks of sour cream, guacamole and pureed chipotle. At breakfast the guava smoothies are icy and fresh, the flaky empanadillas filled with not-too-sweet raspberry jam, and fluffy scrambled huevos with queso-flecked refried beans are like a protein bar in disguise. Even the spice-quenching aguas frescas are refreshingly light. Prepared with sticky tamarind pulp or tart magenta hibiscus flowers, they taste like healthy tonics from an Acapulco pharmacy.
With trepidation I try two Asian items. Yamasaki grills zucchini, eggplant and mushrooms teppanyaki-style with soy and sesame seeds. The charred, flavorful result is a vegetarianâ€™s dream.