Restaurant Review: Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat

Tall Guy and I walked past Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat on South a few weeks ago when we were seeing apartments in the Graduate Hospital area of the city. So a week later, when I begrudgingly scheduled an apartment showing in that area for 9 am on a Saturday, I decided brunch would be a good consolation prize if the apartment wasn’t what we were looking for (and of course, it wasn’t).

I’ve never been to either Honey’s location, and I’m not sure what the other one is like, but Honey’s on South was so cute! The decor was fun (think old southern charm with a splash of hipster), and there was a lot of seating packed into a small area, but it was somehow still very open and spacious.

We got there on the early end of brunch, aka before 10 am, so we were seated right away, but it filled up quickly and I know I’ve walked by when there’s been a line out the door before, so you’ve been warned if you go at “normal” brunch times (11 am – 2 pm).

Tall Guy started with a grapefruit juice, which was fresh-squeezed and really yummy. We both got coffee, which is La Colombe perfection and bottomless- can’t go wrong there.

The menu options are along the lines of an old-fashioned Southern diner. The food is all of your typical breakfast diner fare, but with the freshest ingredients you can find, meaning it’s not “diner-greasy” like you might get at other places.

Tall Guy ordered Biscuits and Sausage and Gravy. It was a pretty big portion. He liked it, but said it could have used a little bit more sausage. At only $9, the amount seemed pretty reasonable to me. The biscuits, which I sampled, were as flaky, buttery and delicious as you can imagine. I would have taken home a whole basket of biscuits if I could have… And hell, you might be able to if you ask nicely. (I refrained, what with it being bikini season and all…)

biscuits and gravy

I ordered a Toad in the Hole, which is a piece of hollandaise soaked challah bread with a poached egg in the middle of it, covered in cheddar jack cheese and truffle oil with a few sprouts on the side for good measure. I wasn’t all that hungry, which is partly why I chose this dish, and was happy to see that the portion size was exactly what I was looking for. The egg was poached perfectly and the jack cheese gave the dish a nice little kick. You can definitely tell they use high quality ingredients in their dishes. So good!

toad in the hole

We had a great time at Honey’s. Our waiter was fairly attentive and on point with my bottomless coffee. He also emphasized that we didn’t have to rush and could take our time finishing our drinks after we paid the bill, which is always appreciated. I will definitely go back there if I have the chance, and I’d love to check out their other location.

Honey’s Sit ‘N Eat, 2101 South St, Phila., PA; open M-Sat 7 am – 10 pm, Sun 7 am – 7 pm; BYOB; CASH ONLY; Reservations not accepted.

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Restaurant Review: Hickory Lane

Hickory Lane is a hop, skip and a jump away from my apartment. Tall Guy and I LOVE going there and are friendly with quite a few of the waitresses (shout out to Sarah, who always takes great care of us!). I can tell you right now that I have nothing negative to say about it, but since that alone doesn’t make for a very good review, allow me to go into detail…

We went there for brunch this past weekend. I felt like I hadn’t been to brunch in forever and was so happy to be back, especially at Hickory Lane. I love their brunch because they have standard brunch fare like omelets, pancakes and yogurt with berries, but they also have more adventurous brunch dishes (think cookies and cream french toast and pork belly eggs benedict), all of which are delicious.

We started off with coffee, of course, and a couple drinks. Their coffee is superb, which is essential for any good brunch place, and their drinks are equally satisfying. They have a variety of mimosas and a fun cocktail menu. I got a pomegranate mimosa, which I loved. While that wasn’t Tall Guy’s favorite, he really liked the Veruca Salt Lemonade (and so did I!). Both drinks were fresh, and refreshing, and perfect for a Summer morning.

drinks

Since it had been so long, Tall Guy and I both wanted eggs benedict (have I told you that’s his favorite brunch item, too?). We first had the pork belly eggs benedict way back when it was still an item on the specials menu, and were pleasantly surprised to see it on the regular menu.

Pork Belly Benedict

Pork Belly Benedict

Since we didn’t want to be boring and order the same thing, we decided to split the eggs benedict and the pork belly benedict. Both are out-of-this-world delicious. The pork belly is, obviously, a little more fattening and greasy, but so, so worth it. The traditional eggs benedict might be my favorite eggs benny in the city (and I am not an easy critic)!

Traditional Eggs Benedict

Traditional Eggs Benedict

Tall Guy and I go to Hickory Lane fairly often and I’ve never had a bad experience or a meal I didn’t like.. I can tell you that they have a mouth-watering delicious burger (something about the mix of meats they use makes it extra good) and a creative, but not too overwhelming menu. If you haven’t been to Hickory Lane yet, go there asap! (And take advantage of the nice weather with their outdoor seating!)

Hickory Lane, 2025 Fairmount Ave, Phila., PA; open M-W 3:30 pm – 10 pm, Th/F 11 am – 10 pm, S/S 10 am – 10 pm.

Restaurant Review: Rose Tattoo Cafe

I first visited Rose Tattoo Cafe for dinner on my birthday last year. A few friends and I were seated upstairs, with a great view of their “garden,” and ordered from the light fare menu. I had a great experience the first time around. The second time, a week ago when Tall Guy and I went for dinner (and participated in Dining Out for Life!), not so much.

We sat in the bar on the right hand side of the entrance (they have two bars on the ground floor and additional seating upstairs). It was fairly crowded when we got there around 8 pm. We chose to sit in the bar area thinking it would be faster service than if we sat at a table. We later found out that we were very, very wrong.

The bartender was not only working the (mostly full) bar, but was waiting on the tables near the bar, as well. In total, Tall Guy counted about 20-25 people were there at the busiest. He said it was possible for one person to handle that kind of crowd on their own, but the bartender clearly wasn’t up to the challenge. (He’s the restaurant guy, so I take his word on this type of stuff.) It took a little longer for her to get our beers than I would have liked, but it wasn’t a huge issue… At first. When we first sat down, I was only interested in getting a small meal, as I wasn’t super hungry. By the time the bartender actually got around to taking our order, however, I was ravenous. In the time it took me to first decide what I wanted and for her to actually come over to take our order, I changed my mind at least a dozen times because I was getting so hungry! The poor girl seemed really overwhelmed, and on top of her other duties, had to run to the kitchen to grab everyone’s food. It seemed like the place was really short staffed, which obviously happens from time to time, but Thursday was Dining Out for Life, as I mentioned earlier, and there were specials going on because of that, so management should have been able to anticipate that there might have been a larger crowd than normal and staffed accordingly…

Luckily, the RTC has great food. Though it took a million years to finally get to us, Tall Guy and I had no complaints about the meal. I finally settled on a burger (boring, I know), which was a little juicy for my liking (I HATE when burger juice drips everywhere and makes the bun soggy!), but satisfied my growling stomach nonetheless. Tall Guy got a crock of French onion soup and a wedge salad with their Cognac Russian dressing, which both looked and tasted amazing (I might have sampled a bit of each…).

To top it all off, we actually split a dessert, which we usually don’t do, but it was for a good cause, so we figured why the hell not! (Really just because Tall Guy was craving creme brulee, his favorite). On par with the rest of the meal, the creme brulee did not disappoint, and was the perfect size to split between two people!

rtc creme brulee

I vaguely remember service being a tad slow when I went for my birthday, but no where near as slow as it was when we went last week. All in all, the meal took us 3 hours! I’m not sure if it was lack of hustle on the bartender’s part, but it was clear that she needed some sort of help and no one was giving it to her. While the food was good, it didn’t totally make up for the slow service and I will keep that in mind the next time I consider going there. The cocktails are amazing, so if you’re looking to stop in for a “quick” drink, definitely do, but if you end up there for hours, well, you’ve been warned.

Rose Tattoo Cafe, 1847 Callowhill St., Phila., PA 19130; closed Mondays; no brunch service.

 

Restaurant Review: Tria Taproom

I’m a big fan of Tria (I mean, what could be bad about a wine, cheese and beer cafe?), so when I heard about Tria Taproom not too long ago, I was really interested.

I met a friend there around 7 pm last Tuesday and the place was pretty crowded! Luckily there were two open seats at the bar, so we didn’t have to wait at all. With fairly low lighting and small tables, Tria Taproom would be ideal as a date spot, but not so great for larger groups. (Sorry, Broke Girls Book Club…)

Instead of signs on the wall or traditional drink menus, we were given a tablet to look at the drink selection! Kind of a cool way to use technology, right? But also, it kind of felt snobby in a way. Like “look at us, we’re so cool and hip, we have everything on tap and even fancy schmancy menu technology!” Does that make sense? Who knows, though- tablets could be the menus of the future!

tablet

Tablet drink menu. What the what?

The bartender who got our drinks was really nice and knowledgeable about the selection. He even offered up a sample of one of the ciders for us. Bartenders who give free samples always get extra points in my book. I ordered a Bullfrog Farmhouse Strawberry Brown and my friend got a cider. I’ve been trying to branch out in my drink selections lately, and was very pleased with the Strawberry Brown, a full, but not heavy ale with hints of strawberry.

Our drinks came quickly, but then we were left sitting there with menus for what felt like forever. It was fairly busy, but there were a bunch of bartenders and none of them seemed too rushed to come over and take our order, yet it took a good 20+ minutes before anyone did. I even stacked our menus and put them sideways to show that we were done looking at them, but still, no one came over. I can’t speak to the attentiveness of the wait staff, but the bartenders need to be a bit more aware of their patrons.

When we finally did order, I got the Po’Boy Poppers and my friend got the Breakfast Flatbread without bacon. My poppers (fried oysters and apple slaw on toasted brioche with spicy remoulade) were super yummy, but tiny! If you read the blog on a regular basis, you know I’m trying to eat healthy, so the small portion was actually a good thing, but for $9, I expected a little bit more food. (Although Tall Guy said that is a good price for the dish, and he’s the expert, so…) They did satisfy me for the time being, so all’s well that ends well, I guess.

The flatbread looked delicious, although I didn’t try it. It was a really good size, perfect for one person or to split with someone else if you’re not that hungry or plan on ordering multiple dishes. All of the flatbreads sounded good, so I would definitely go back to try some more items on the menu!

Overall, I liked Tria Tap, but it definitely is not my favorite spot by any means. With all the other places I want to try or already love, I don’t expect to go back there anytime soon. I much prefer Tria Cafe, which has an atmosphere and staff more suited to my tastes. The food and drinks were great, though, so don’t overlook it on that front!

Tria Taproom, 2005 Walnut Street, Phila., PA 19103; open 7 days a week, noon – late night; reservations not accepted.

Have you been to Tria Taproom? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Review: Oro Restaurant

As I mentioned in my last post, Tall Guy and I took a trip to MA last weekend! It was planned kind of last minute, which threw off my super-planner instinct a little bit, but the weekend turned out great! We went into Boston on Saturday and hung out with my family on Sunday. Brunch was, of course, included in family time…

Going home is about visiting with family, going to the beach and FOOD! There are so many great spots near my hometown that it’s hard to pick where to go out, since I’m never there and want to make sure I get to my favorite places when I have the chance. But this time, my parents decided to make reservations at a restaurant none of us had ever tried before, based on a recommendation from one of my mom’s friends.

And that’s how we ended up at Oro in Scituate, MA. Now, if you’ve never been to Scituate before and you’re ever in the area, you have to check it out. The town is right on the water (and, duh, beautiful), and the main street has a bunch of cute shops and cool-looking restaurants. I went to a carnival there once when I was in high school, but I’m sad to say I haven’t been much other than that. Needless to say, I was looking forward to trying out this restaurant.

I immediately liked the place. The decor was modern and clean, but not boring. Tall Guy said he could easily see it being a restaurant in Philly or New York. They have a bar in the center right as you walk in and then seating all around the bar. It was very open and not crowded at all, which was especially nice since I’m used to cramped city restaurants. As an added bonus, they had live music! I love live music when I’m out at a restaurant, so that aspect definitely won them some points in my book!

The menu was a good size. Not too too many brunch options, but it was varied enough that there was something for everyone. We started with drinks and an order of their Hot Maple Doughnuts. Tall Guy and my dad both got Bloody Mary’s, which they said were delicious (I am NOT a Bloody Mary fan). I ordered a drink called the Strawberry Jive, which had gin, grapefruit juice, orange juice, muddled strawberries and fresh mint. I LOVED it! It was refreshing and so yummy, and they did not skimp on the alcohol, which is always a plus.

SJ

And how cool is that glass?!

The Hot Maple Doughnuts, however, left something to be desired. They looked great, with a thin, sticky glaze and powdered sugar dusting, and were hot, as promised, but weren’t very flavorful. They were cooked perfectly, but once you got through the outer fried shell, the dough tasted, well, like dough (there was no hole cutout in the middle, so they were like jelly doughnuts with no filling). Not exactly worth indulging in. Unfortunately, the doughnuts were just a foreshadow of things to come…

My mom, dad and I ordered the Eggs Benedict. Slightly different than a traditional Benny, their version has poached eggs over slices of avocado and tomato on an English muffin with lemon Hollandaise sauce, served with hashbrowns and a side salad. Eggs Benedict, as I’ve said before, is my favorite breakfast/brunch dish, but this one left me sorely disappointed. The Hollandaise sauce had no flavor, which, unfortunately, meant that the egg portion of the dish also had no flavor. Changing up a classic is all well and good, but if you’re going to take out the very-flavorful Canadian bacon, you have to make sure you compensate with flavor from other things. In this case, they missed the mark. On top of that, I didn’t love the hashbrowns. The potatoes were fried with Vidalia onions, which made them taste kind of sweet. They weren’t bad, but I just didn’t love the flavor that the onions gave them. Really the best part of my dish was the side salad, which had a very light, surprisingly flavorful dressing.

Doesn't that look delicious? Looks can be deceiving...

Tall Guy got a plate of oysters (raw) and had no complaints. (He also finished the half of my meal that I didn’t eat.) My brother got Nutella Stuffed French Toast, which was HUGE and looked delicious, but my mom said was not that great, either. Apparently the outside of the bread was well done, but the inside wasn’t quite done and there was a little too much Nutella.

While the atmosphere was awesome, the food at Oro was unimpressive. Their website says they are “now serving” brunch, which leads me to believe that this might be a new service for them (although there’s no telling when the website was last updated), so it might just be that they haven’t quite perfected brunch items yet. If I lived in the area, I would definitely go for cocktails on a regular basis… And I would be willing to give their dinner menu a try, too, since it seems like they might be a little better with that.

Oro, 162 Front Street, Scituate, MA 02066; open 5pm – 10:30 pm W-Sat, 5pm – 9pm Sun-M, brunch 11am – 3pm Sun.

Restaurant Review: Sabrina’s Cafe

I hadn’t been to Sabrina’s in at least a year, so when Tall Guy and I were looking for a brunch place last weekend, I didn’t hesitate to suggest  it.

I’ve only ever been to the Sabrina’s by the Art Museum, so that’s the only one this post will deal with. You can find information about their other locations on their website.

To start off, you should know that it’s near impossible to get seated right away when you go for brunch. Generally, the wait isn’t too terrible. We got there around 1:30 pm last Sunday and waited about 40 minutes to get seated (the hostess originally told us there was a 30 minute wait). It was pretty nice out, so waiting outside wasn’t a big deal (there isn’t a whole lot of space to wait indoors), but Tall Guy and I were starving, so of course it seemed like we waited forever.

I’ve always loved Sabrina’s decor. They have a really funky tiled wall by their bar seating and the coolest (possibly hand painted?) hanging lamp shades. I never seem to notice anything other than that since the place is always so crowded!

Speaking of how crowded it was… The tables are kind of cramped. There was a very thin aisle between our table and the ones next to us, which meant me basically joining our neighbor’s meal each time I had to get in and out of my seat. The table itself was a little too small for my liking. It was fine when we just had water glasses and coffee mugs, but there was so little room for our entrees that the side of the plates stuck out over the edge of the table and into our laps. One of my pet peeves when dining! I get that places want to maximize the number of people they can serve at once, but there are few things more annoying than doing the “tableware shuffle” (as I like to call it) just to fit everything on the table at once.

Brunch… And a Show

While waiting for our food to arrive, a couple was seated next to us. We had seen them earlier walking along the sidewalk, each with a coffee mug in their hands. Tall Guy and I immediately thought it was weird that these people were walking around the streets of Philadelphia with their own ceramic coffee mugs, but didn’t think too much more of it until they ended up sitting next to us at the restaurant. When their waitress came over with coffee, the guy was in the bathroom. She poured coffee in his mug and it was all down hill from there. Turns out that the couple was walking around with coffee mugs filled with champagne and the waitress had just poured coffee in the guy’s champagne. The poor waitress was so confused about the coffee mugs (I mean, really, who brings their own mug to a restaurant?) and the champagne, but got it sorted out in no time (while the woman pulled the champagne bottle out of her purse and decided that no, they didn’t need to put it in ice). MAYBE five minutes later, the woman came back from the bathroom with tears in her eyes and was very upset about something. From what Tall Guy and I could gather, it appears that she came out of the bathroom and walked straight into the wall, head first. She had the waitress bring her an ice pack and everything! And for the rest of their meal she went on and on about how big the bump on her head would get and how awful it would look. Needless to say, we never expected brunch and a show and both had to actively keep from laughing out loud at the whole situation.

But on to the important part of this review… The food! Sabrina’s is famous (in my mind) for their themed brunch specials. This past weekend they had Brunch Specials: MTV Edition! A few of the best-named specials from the list included Shot at Brunch with Tila Tequila Mexi Special, Daria’s “Is It Lunch Yet?” Special Sandwich, Kurt Loder’s Special ETA Burger Update, SEG: Special Egg Sandwich with Carson Daily and Beavis’ “Great Cornholio” Special Nachos. The names were pretty awesome, but unfortunately none of the specials really stood out as something I HAD to try, so I went with an omelette instead. I got an omelette with tomatoes, bacon and American cheese. Tall Guy got a breakfast sandwich (egg, cheese, sausage AND bacon) on an english muffin. All egg dishes come with a side of fried potatoes (substitute fruit for a small fee) and mine came with multigrain toast from Le Bus bakery.

sabrinas

Tall Guy’s breakfast sandwich!

While our meals were kind of boring (by my brunch standards, anyway), they were both delicious! My omelette had quite a bit of bacon and tomatoes and the cheese was perfectly melty and Tall Guy’s breakfast sandwich was decently sized and had a good amount of sausage and bacon, as well. The potatoes were fried to perfection and served with slightly sauteed onions. They could have had a bit more flavor, but were perfect sprinkled with a little salt and dipped in ketchup. And I have to say that the multigrain toast was AMAZING. Toast is toast is toast, but Le Bus puts out a superb product. Usually I end up leaving my sides of toast untouched, but I ate every single slice of it that time. I was so preoccupied with the toast that I failed to get a non-blurry picture of my meal- whoops!

Sabrina’s has never disappointed me. While the wait is a little much, especially considering all of the other brunch options in the area, the food is terrific and the portions are huge! Tall Guy loved it and now I want to give their dinner menu a try!

Sabrina’s Cafe & Spencer’s Too, 1804 Callowhill St., Philadelphia, PA 19130; open 8am – 10pm T-Sat, 8am – 4 pm Sun-M; BYOB; Brunch reservations not accepted.

Restaurant Review: Tela’s Market & Kitchen

Ok, so Tela’s isn’t technically a restaurant, but it’s close enough! It’s fairly new to the neighborhood, and I’ve been wanting to try it since I found out it was coming in.

The market section is super cute! The space is very open, with the “kitchen” and tables on one side, the prepared foods counter in the middle and groceries lining the walls. Personally, I can’t stand when markets/grocery stores/etc. have tiny aisles that are packed with things everywhere. I get overwhelmed when everything is crowded, but Tela’s had plenty of space to walk around and check out the selection. There aren’t a whole lot of groceries, but it does have a nice deli section, a to-go case and delicious looking prepared foods. The prices range from reasonable ($2.99 for a large container of half & half) to not so much (about $5+ for a bunch of asparagus). Definitely not some place I would stop if I had the choice, but it’s good in a pinch, I’m sure.

The “kitchen” aspect is awesome! They have a pretty solid menu of breakfast and lunch choices, as well as a “snack” menu available every afternoon and a kids menu. Along with the food, they have plenty of specialty sodas and bottled drinks to choose from, as well as the standard coffee and espresso drinks.

Tall Guy and I stopped in on our way home from the train station around 2 pm today. We just wanted a little something to split, and Tela’s totally hit the spot.

I ordered a cappuccino to start. The drink was smooth and there was even a little bit of foam art! Unfortunately, I do have to say that it wasn’t really a cappuccino. I was a barista at one point in college, so I’m a little bit of a drink snob, but this stuff does matter! A latte is espresso with steamed milk and a layer of foam on top, a cappuccino is espresso with steamed milk and much more foam, maybe about 1/4 cup full of foam. I know, I know- it’s mostly the same thing, but I ordered a cappuccino specifically so I could get that little bit of extra foam, so you can kind of see why that’s worth noting, right? Regardless, it was delicious and I drank every last drop.

cappuccino

We decided to split the meatball parm sandwich. All sandwiches come with a side salad that has a delicious lemon vinaigrette dressing, although you can sub the salad with fruit for $1. The sandwich was so, so good. The bread, which is obviously the most important part, was amazing. It was a baguette, I think, but it was perfectly baked so it wasn’t too hard to bite into and  there was a good amount of the soft bread interior in each bite I took. The meatballs were large and were accompanied by the perfect amount of sauce. Don’t you hate sloppy sandwiches? I know I do… The sandwich was large enough to split, although I wouldn’t recommend that if you’re really hungry!

meatball parm

Overall, Tela’s was great. The atmosphere was nice, great for the late lunch that we stopped in for, and they had great music (think the Adele pandora playlist) playing. While it’s a bit pricey, the food was delicious and clearly made up of high quality ingredients. Tall Guy and I will definitely be back for more.

Tela’s Market & Kitchen, 1833 Fairmount Ave., Philadelphia, PA; open 6:30am – 8pm M-F, 8am – 8pm S+S.

Philly Eats: The Cafe

The Broke Girls had our January meeting last night at The Cafe (2011 Walnut St). Food was good, prices were cheap, room was drafty, service was so-so. Definitely a good spot for groups when the weather gets warmer!

Broke Girls Go Out

For our monthly meeting and first ever Book Club discussion that took place last night, the Broke Girls chose a location that was much more quiet, relaxed and cheaper than our previous meet ups at Village Whiskey and Continental Midtown. The Cafe at 2011 Walnut Street had recently followed us on Twitter, and since none of us had ever been, we thought we’d give it a try!

The spot has a laid-back, bar-meets-diner kind of vibe, with booth seating near the bar area and an open store front with a solid front wall of windows overlooking Walnut Street. The lone waitress on duty slid two tables together for us and checked back regularly to grab us waters and drinks as the team bustled in from the cold, one by one. We were definitely the only customers in the place, which is sort of a shame but also understandable given the cold…

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