April 21, 2014
Tomorrow, April 22 marks Earth Day 2014, a day when folks are encouraged to celebrate and learn how to take better care of the planet.
In celebration of Earth Day, an array of events are slated for tomorrow and throughout the week.
This weekend, Morris Arboretum hosts a day for the trees as it presents its annual Arbor Day celebration, which this year invites families out for a treasure hunt through the arboretum’s tree canopy.
On the actual holiday, the National Constitution Center teaches about current ways to better the environment while relating Earth Day and carbon footprints to our Founding Fathers.
Beyond Morris Arboretum and the National Constitution Center, there are tons of events that are set to take place in the upcoming days — from a how-to class about eco-friendly house cleaners to an annual festival in Narberth, it’s never been easier to be green.
Our picks for Earth Day festivities, below.
• National Constitution Center: Hear from local eco-friendly companies while learning about our nation’s history at the National Constitution Center’s Earth Day celebration. All day long on April 22, families are encouraged to take part in environment-themed quizzes, crafts and other activities. Also learn about the practices of our Founding Fathers and the impact their actions had on the carbon footprint of the colonial days.
When: Tuesday, April 22
Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
Cost: Included in general admission
• How-To Tuesday at duross & langel: Learn how to make environmentally-friendly home cleaning products as Duross & langel in Midtown Village celebrates Earth Day with some hands-on fun. Hear from the shop’s representatives as they share family recipes and tried-and-true methods. Guests over the age of 21 receive a complimentary cocktail. Plus, the event is totally free.
When: Tuesday, April 22, 5:30-7 p.m.
Where: Duross & langel, 117 S. 13th Street
• MooreCycle at Moore College of Art and Design: In honor of Earth Day, the students at Moore College of Art and Design are slated to create works of are from raw materials — shampoo bottles, corks, packing materials and more. Stroll Race Street on Thursday, April 24 to take in the recycled designs while enjoying snow cones, popcorn and watching folks get dunked in a dunk tank.
When: Thursday, April 24, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Moore College of Art and Design, 20th Street and The Benjamin Franklin Parkway
• Arbor Day Family Day at Morris Arboretum: Every year, Morris Arboretum celebrates the trees of the world with its Arbor Day event. On Saturday, April 26 head out for a treasure hunt throughout the grounds of the picturesque arboretum. The hunt leaves from the tree canopy which is 50-feet above the ground and brings children on a trek to four tree activity stations. The treasure hunt is included in the price of general admission.
When: Saturday, April 26, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: Morris Arboretum, 100 E. Northwestern Avenue
Cost: Included in general admission
• Save the Frogs at Adventure Aquarium: All weekend long, Adventure Aquarium celebrates Earth Day (and Save the Frogs Day!) with Save the Frogs weekend. The festivities also serve as a closing for the aquarium’s Frogs: Nature’s Messenger exhibition which closes on April 27. During the event, look forward to live animal demonstrations, a frog hop contest and discussions about the lives of frogs. A portion of funds raised benefit the Save The Frogs Foundation.
When: April 26-27
Where: Adventure Aquarium, 1 Riverside Drive, Camden
Cost: Include in general admission
• Naturepalooza at the Schuylkill Center: As part of the Philadelphia Science Festival, the Schuylkill Center in Roxborough hosts Naturepalooza, a free day of nature walks, live animal shows, crafts, games and more. A number of food trucks are also slated to be on site for all afternoon snacking needs.
When: Saturday, April 26, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Where: The Schuylkill Center, 8480 Hagy’s Mill Road
• NarbEarth Day: For the 25th year, the town of Narberth celebrates Earth Day with a family-friendly festival complete with natural fare, a silent auction, book sale, live music and more. Also learn about yoga, general wellness, gardening, green energy and recycling from an array of on-site vendors.
When: Saturday, April 26, noon-4 p.m.
Where: Narberth Park at the Library, 80 Windsor Avenue, Narberth
• Earth Day Cocktails at Liberté Lounge at the Sofitel Hotel: Raise a glass to Earth Day as the Liberté Lounge at the Sofitel Hotel fills glasses with spring cocktails on Tuesday, April 22. Stop by to sip the Honey Bud cocktail — spiced rum, ginger, lime, orange, honey and mint, and the Val’s Garden — Uncle Val’s botanical gin, elderflower liquer, cucumber, mint, lime and lavender. Talk about refreshing.
When: Tuesday, April 22
Where: Liberté Lounge at the Sofitel Hotel, 120 S. 17th Street
Cost: Pay as you go
April 21, 2014
The City of Brotherly Love embraces its fantastic festival season on Saturday, May 3 with a number of blockbuster festivals.
On South Street, the Graduate Hospital neighborhood gets in on the alfresco festival action with a fun family-friendly event.
Plazapalooza hits Grays Ferry Triangle — located at 23rd and South Streets — Saturday, May 3 from 1 to 7 p.m. The event will boast food, beer, live music, family fun and more.
Local bands will be performing live, brews will flow and there will be food offerings from local eateries in the Graduate Hospital neighborhood.
Plazapalooza is sponsored by the Grays Ferry Triangles Gateway Project — an initiative aimed at enhancing Grays Ferry Avenue. Festivities surround the Catharine Thorn Fountain, which was turned on for the first time in years last spring.
Mark the calendar for a day of springtime fun!
When: Saturday, May 3, 1-7 p.m.
Where: Grays Ferry Avenue Triangle near the corner of South and 23rd streets
Cost: Free to attend
More info: www.southofsouth.org
April 21, 2014
Sure, it’s easy to poke fun at the absurdity of the political scene but 1812 Productions makes a real art of it with This is the Week That Is, launching at Plays & Players Theatre on Thursday, April 24.
The annual showcase is always a highlight of 1812′s season, and the way things have been going down in Washington D.C. lately, you can rest assured there’s no lack of material to draw from.
This year’s production adds an extra kick with a special musical parody that proves nothing clears up congressional in-fighting like a little Sondheim. There’s a fiddler’s rooftop tour of the shape-shifting Russian landscape, plus fresh insights on the Tea Party, Avenue Q puppet-style. A sketch about early hopefuls for the 2016 Presidential election is done to a Sounds of Philadelphia jukebox.
Local and state pols get the 1812 treatment, too, and so you know, this is an equal-opportunity presentation: Democrat or Republican, it makes no difference, you’re gonna get skewered.
The show is written and performed by local theater stars Jennifer Childs, Scott Greer, Dave Jadico, Aimé Kelly and Alex Bechtel, all of whom have worked on every production of this show to date. You can consider them This Is the Week That Is incumbents.
While there’s plenty of pre-set pieces, the material also draws on news and current events of the day, so no show is ever exactly the same. Some bits are even created during intermission. If you’re looking for fresh topical humor, it doesn’t get any riper than this.
Tickets, starting at $25 for the preview performances April 24 through April 29, are available online.
This Is the Week That Is
When: April 24-June 1
Where: Play’s & Players Theatre, 1714 Delancey Street
More info: www.1812productions.org
April 21, 2014
Excited for the upcoming Spruce Street Harbor Park pop-up summertime village on the Delaware River waterfront?
Survey the site of the summertime destination and row on the Delaware River for free on Sunday, April 27 as the Independence Seaport Museum celebrates the Philadelphia Science Festival which parades into town from April 25 to May 3.
All guests of the Delaware River Waterfront museum receive free boat rental, with the price of general admission, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Children must be at least 6 years old to participate in the boat rental program and all children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
Be sure to bring an ID — boats will only be rented to adults with a valid ID.
April 27 serves as the kick off for a new season of boat rentals at the Independence Seaport Museum, too, which will run through October 12. Rent single kayaks for $8, double kayaks for $15, small row boats for $10 and large row boats for $15. All rental prices are by the hour.
Click here for more information about the museum’s boat rental program.
Free Boat Rental at Independence Seaport Museum
When: Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Cost: Included in museum admission
More info: www.phillyseaport.org
April 18, 2014
When Philadelphia superchef Jose Garces joined forces with the marvelous Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts to provide all of the catering services within the arts center in 2013, we knew the match would be a megahit.
Now, the Garces Group expands its culinary-arts offerings at the Kimmel even further with the debut of Volvér, which is Spanish for “to return,” a splashy restaurant on the ground floor that offers two distinct dining experiences based on chef Jose Garces world travels — a first-come, first-served champagne bar and a ticketed theatrical dining adventure.
Philadelphia architecture firm KieranTimberlake and interior designer Marguerite Rodgers created a stunning space in the area of the Kimmel that was formerly the gift shop.
The open-to-the-public restaurant within the arts center — a first for Philadelphia — makes for a grand new ground-floor destination, and further animates and activates this already multifaceted public gathering space, putting the spotlight on the variety of diverse arts programming now available throughout the Kimmel Center.
Last week, Bar Volvér, the restaurant’s champagne and caviar lounge, welcomed its first guests with a menu that heavily revolves around its 1,500-bottle deep wine list, which features more than 50 sparkling varietals.
To pair with the sparklers, diners can order such haute bar snacks as caviar, charcuterie and cheese, as well as small plates like oyster tartare with horseradish cream cheese foam and black truffle concentrate. For the complete menu, check here.
As of this week, both the bar and dining room are open and ready for service, launching what can be thought of as a spring season for this new culinary arts space.
During each two nightly seatings, carefully composed multi-course tasting menus created by chef Garces and chef de cuisine Natalie Maronski will be served from a completely open kitchen, revealing nearly the entire back-of-house culinary process and offering diners a behind-the-scenes look into the culinary process.
With service nightly Wednesday through Sunday, the dining room at Volvér offers two menus: a pre-theater tasting and a grand performance tasting. For the pre-theater tasting option, the menu features eight courses and ranges from $75 to $120 per person. Later, a second seating — the “Performance” — starts with a first course of four snacks, followed by a staggering 12 courses for $175 to $250 per person. For both seatings, beverage pairings or a la carte beverages are available.
From the exhibition kitchen, diners can expect gorgeously composed plates at both services that are works of art in and of themselves. A collaborative menu-development process between Garces, Maronski and the entire back-of-house staff gave way to a host of creative dishes. Each plate tells a story, too, of Garces’ life and travels that will be revealed during dinner service.
Inspired plates include the likes of a garden tasting with live lettuces from Garces’ Luna Farm; deviled egg duck liver mousse; Wagyu beef cooked on embers with beet root crema; and Monterey Bay squid stuffed with house-made green curry tapioca and coconut bubbles, and so much more.
The menus will certainly evolve with the restaurant, and with the talented kitchen staff amassed by chefs Garces and Maronski, we expect nothing short of feats of culinary splendor. For the current dining room menus, check here.
Hardly a traditional reservation system, tickets to the dining room at Volvér are akin to theater or sporting event tickets and are available for parties of two, four or six. For more information on reservations and to book dining tickets, check online.
Remember, though, that Bar Volvér is always open on a first-come, first-served basis — no ticket required.
Now that the complete dining offerings are on the table at Volvér, the culinary arts truly have a solid presence within the sprawling performing arts center on the Avenue of the Arts.
Don’t miss the show.
When: Bar Volvér, Wednesday-Sunday, 4-11 p.m.; Dining room, Wednesday-Sunday, 5-11 p.m.
Where: Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Broad and Spruce streets
More info: www.volverrestaurant.com
April 18, 2014
Seriously stupendous news today, Philadelphia. This June, the Delaware River Waterfront will morph into Spruce Street Harbor Park, taking the perennial good times of summer on Penn’s Landing — outdoor concerts, movies, fireworks — to a whole new level.
From Friday, June 27 through Sunday, August 31, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation — the folks that brought us this past winter’s Waterfront Winterfest at the Blue Cross RiverRink — transforms the Penn’s Landing Marina at Columbus Boulevard and Spruce Street into a pop-up summertime village.
Penn’s Landing has long been an awesome hub of good times in the summer months, with annual programming like the PECO multicultural festival series, concerts at the RiverStage, Screenings Under the Stars and Smooth Jazz Summer Nights.
In 2014, though, all of those annual festivals and events will be enriched by what promises to be an amazing two-month-long placemaking installation.
Read on for a rundown of what’s coming to Penn’s Landing and get ready to spend the summer on the water.
Count us in.
Spruce Street Harbor Park opens on Friday, June 27 and is currently slated to remain open through Sunday, August 31. Throughout the two months, visitors to the waterfront will be able to take advantage of all of the festivals, concerts and movies at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, as well as the amenities of the pop-up park — mostly (if not all) completely free of charge.
Developed in conjunction with David Fierabend of Groundswell Design Group, Interface Studios and Digsau, Spruce Street Harbor Park will include both built-out landscaping and on-site programming all aimed at reminding the city of the waterfront’s awesome maritime history and ever-developing future (have you read the cool plans in the Central Delaware master plan?).
The Penn’s Landing Marina, the site of the park, already features the Paddle Penn’s Landing program, the Moshulu, the Independence Seaport Museum, the Olympia and Becuna, the Hyatt Regency at Penn’s Landing, the Chart House and the Spirit of Philadelphia and the Spirit Elite.
Once Spruce Street Harbor Park opens, the riverside entertainment will extend south from the Independence Seaport Museum to include temporary elements like a floating pop-up restaurant, a hammock lounge, fire pits, boardwalk, mister walk and urban beach.
Of all the pop-up features, the coolest might just be the “The Oasis,” a floating construction to house a restaurant and bar made up of three barges, a lily pad water garden, seating and incredible-sounding nets that will extend out over the river, putting visitors right over the Delaware’s cool waters.
On land, parkgoers can hang out in oversized hammocks, around fire pits near the Columbus Monument, along a riverfront boardwalk, under umbrellas on the urban beach and beneath cooling misters.
Though not all of the details have been announced, visitors to Spruce Street Harbor Park can definitely expect excellent food and drink options from concessioners along the boardwalk and from the pop-up restaurant and bar situated on the area dubbed “The Oasis,” the three floating barges.
If the presenting crews’ chef-driven offerings at its wintertime pop-up, Waterfront Winterfest, are an indication of what’s on tap for this summer, we can all rest assured the grub will be on point.
Stay tuned for more on what promises to be a sensational summertime destination.
April 18, 2014
Three components make up the annual event; a five-mile run, a three-mile walk and 1.776 kilometer Young Patriots Fun Run for children ages 6 to 14.
The five-mile run is set to kick-off at 8:30 a.m., the three-mile walk leaves at 8:35 a.m. and the Young Patriots Fun Run is slated for 8:50 a.m. Participants are strongly encouraged to arrive well before their race start time.
Take note, the five-mile run is anything but a cakewalk, it promises participants a true challenge as the course winds through steep hills.
The Young Patriots Fun Run walks children past the camp sites at the historic park where leaders teach participants about President George Washington’s winter encampment at Valley Forge.
Registration costs vary depending on the race you sign up for and when you sign up. Click here for more information about registration and to register for the annual run.
Parking is available at 1000 First Avenue where a shuttle bus will transport guests to the park from 6:30 to 8 a.m.
Proceeds benefit the upkeep of the parks and trails at Valley Forge National Historical Park.
For more on the run, check out the video below.
Valley Forge Revolutionary Run
When: Sunday, April 27, 8:30 a.m.
Where: Valley Forge National Historical Park, 1400 N. Outer Line Dr, King of Prussia
More info: www.valleyforge.org
April 18, 2014
Happy Easter, Philadelphia!
With the Easter holiday comes a score of themed dinners, brunches and events in neighborhoods across the city. From family-friendly egg hunts and prix-fixe brunch to South Street’s annual Easter promenade an Easter Sunday Zombie Bar Crawl, the happening are nearly endless.
The Franklin Flea indoor market returns for a new season of vintage and handmade treasure-hunting at the historic Strawbridge’s Building. Plus, on opening day which is Saturday, April 19, chef Eli Kulp of High Street on Market brings artisan sandwiches, spiked punch and canned beer to the space.
The Oval, the pop-up park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, hosts a slew of open-air fun as it presents Farm Fest at The Oval complete with craft beer, live music, games, food trucks, local drinks from nearby farms, a petting zoo and more.
Plus, we just updated our brunch guide for spring 2014, so read it, bookmark it and definitely use it.
This weekend’s weather forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and temps in the mid-60s making for an ideal weekend to enjoy an array of alfresco events.
Our top picks for this weekend, below.
Top Pick: Farm Fest at The Oval (Fri, Sat)
Top Pick: Manayunk Restaurant Week (Fri, Sat)
Top Pick: Philadelphia Book Festival (Fri, Sat)
Top Pick: Colonial Spring Break at the National Constitution Center (Fri, Sat, Sun)
Treasures from Korea at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Fri, Sat, Sun)
Hayrides to Bunnyland at Linvilla Orchards (Fri, Sat)
Yinka Shonibare MBE: Magic Ladders at The Barnes Foundation (Fri, Sat, Sun)
The Train Driver at St. Stephen Theater (Fri, Sat, Sun)
Top Pick: Our Brand-New Guide to Brunch in Philadelphia (Sat, Sun)
Top Pick: Center City Jazz Festival
More happenings, below. (more…)
April 18, 2014
Looking for south-of-the-border flavors beyond Center City?
Jill Weber and Evan Malone, the husband and wife duo behind Jet Wine Bar and Rex 1516, recently opened the doors to their brand-new Mexico City-themed diner, Cafe Ynez.
Located in Point Breeze directly adjacent to NextFab Studio, a workspace and studio for local artisans (which is also owned by Malone), the 25-seat BYOB promises diners breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch on the weekend.
Upon entry, guests are greeted with banquet seating created by the folks next door at NextFab Studio along with a number of hand-crafted Aztec accessories, too.
The Mexican menu, crafted by Executive Chef JC Piña of Jet Wine Bar, supplies guests with appealing plates like vegetarian enchiladas, chicken enchiladas, seasonal soups, tilapia tacos and breakfast burritos.
In addition to traditional Mexican fare, Cafe Ynez serves up rotisserie chicken roasted on-site and available to-go by the whole or half chicken for the affordable price of $15 for the whole chicken with three sides, and $10 for a half chicken with two sides.
For those looking for a quick midday bite, Cafe Ynez boasts a take-out corner just for to-go lunch options.
During the week, diners also have the option to indulge in homemade Mexican pastries from a local bakery while sipping Café L’Aube coffee.
Guests of Cafe Ynez are encouraged to bring their own booze to pair with the restaurant’s affordable fare. The folks behind the counter offer house-made margarita (think watermelon and mint!), sangria and mojito mixers.
During the warmer months, guests are encouraged to dine alfresco at a number of tables that will line the sidewalk.
Cafe Ynez is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on the weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
When: Now Open
Where: 2025 Washington Avenue
Cost: Pay as you go
More info: www.cafeynez.com
April 18, 2014
Weekends were made for brunching — chatting with friends, digging into a stack of syrupy pancakes, lingering over a latte or a Bloody Mary.
Brunch is the most important meal of the weekend, and with the start of the spring season, we thought it was high time to revisit our roundup of brilliant Philadelphia brunches.
This city sure knows how to brunch — and we’ve got the list to prove it.
We’ve poured over the nearly endless options for brunching in the City of Brotherly Love, and here offer up more than 100 picks for superlative weekend starters in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.
With more than a handful of newcomers to the brunch scene, as well as the time-honored standards and on-trend hotspots, Philadelphia brunchgoers have plenty of go-to spots for a late-morning or early-afternoon meal.
Plus, to make this list a bit more digestible, we’ve called out key information for each restaurant including which days brunch is served and particulars like alfresco seating, live music, special-occasion appropriate (bring the parents), family-friendly accommodations (bring the wee ones), vegetarian-friendly menus (hello, tofu scramble), and excellent adult beverages (read: Bloody Marys to die for).
Of course, this list doesn’t include every single brunching option in Philadelphia. So, as always, please let us know your favorite neighborhood brunch spots via our tips line or in the comments below.
Note: Prices and menu items mentioned are accurate as of the published date; always check with the restaurant for the latest prices and dishes.
• The Gaslight: Old City. Chef Jason Cichonski, a recent cheftestant on Top Chef New Orleans and chef/co-owner of Ela in Queen Village, brings his culinary talents to Old City at The Gaslight, a casual American eatery where brunch is served all day on Sunday from a menu including decadent-sounding sticky bun-style waffles, coddled eggs with corned-beef hash, smoked salmon with crispy capers, buttermilk fried chicken and a big burger. Of the nearly dozen brunch-specific cocktails, diners might just carry a torch for the kimchi Bloody Mary with cucumber vodka. Sunday Only | Brunch Cocktails
• a.kitchen: Rittenhouse Square. Though not a brand-new restaurant, per se, neighborhood favorite a.kitchen feels fresh thanks to the partnership between the culinary minds at a.kitchen and the team behind acclaimed Old City establishments Fork and High Street on Market — chef Eli Kulp and owner Ellen Yin. Chef Kulp developed entirely new menus for the Rittenhouse dining destination, and brunch now brings such plates as freshly baked pastries, soft scrambled eggs with sea urchin, French toast with rhubarb and a chicken-fried pork cutlet with fried eggs and black-pepper gravy. We say, welcome to the neighborhood. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating | Brunch Cocktails
• Tela’s Market & Cafe: Fairmount. With an appealing lineup of fine groceries, on-site coffee bar and a whole menu of prepared goods and cafe-style fare, Tela’s Market & Cafe makes for an ideal all-day neighborhood destination. Daily breakfast fare makes for a fine weekend brunch, too, with staples like buttermilk pancakes, house-made granola and a breakfast burrito brimming with chorizo, fried eggs and potato hash. Daily | To-Go
• Indeblue: Midtown Village. Crossing over the river from Collingswood, New Jersey, IndeBlue delivers freshly conceived modern Indian cuisine for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Set to the dulcet tunes of a live sitar player, brunchgoers can start the day with traditional lentil rice crepes, a paneer scramble or with a sweet American-Indian fusion of challah bread French toast with mango cinnamon cream cheese and cardamom maple syrup. Sunday Only | Live Music
• The Good King Tavern: Bella Vista. Charming French brasserie The Good King Tavern is an inviting locale for an eye-opening cocktail and homey brunch fare on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Chef Paul Lyons whips up nearly every component in-house on plates like smoked salmon tartines, croque madames with Mornay sauce, leek bread pudding, and poached eggs with house-made bread, breakfast sausage and charred scallion pistou. Don’t pass on a classic cocktail or pichet of chardonnay. Friday, Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails
• Sancho Pistola’s: Fishtown. The second venture for partners Casey Parker, Joe Gunn and Adan Trinidad, Sancho Pistola’s now supplies Fishtown with the same super-quality modern Mexican fare, choice craft brews and cocktails that have earned Jose Pistola’s in Center City raves. The chill eatery’s Saturday and Sunday brunch service keeps things simple by offering a $30 prix-fixe option including one appetizer (go for the tortilla soup), one entree, one side and unlimited mimosas, margaritas or Bloody Marys for two hours. The entire brunch menu is available à la carte, too. Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails
• Rosa Blanca: Washington Square West. Philadelphia star chef Jose Garces’ Cuban diner, Rosa Blanca, joins the Washington Square West neighborhood to serve up an unfussy daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, and huevos are on the menu everyday, all day. The affordable desayuno menu (served all day) is anchored by a two-egg platter that comes with a choice of two sides (fried plantains, crispy pork belly and black beans and rice, among other options). Daily | To-Go
• Porto: East Passyunk. As the former home of Carmen’s Country Kitchen, it seems that this address is destined for brunch greatness. South Philly’s diminutive bruncher Porto executes big flavors, loosely drawn from Portuguese cuisine. Patrons can pick from the shrimp omelet with spicy piri-piri sauce, the bacalhau cakes over linguica and black olive hash, among many other options. Saturday & Sunday
• Vegan Commissary: East Passyunk. Start a meatless morning at Vegan Commissary with spicy miso soup, breakfast wrap, tempeh hash with poached avocado, quinoa porridge, or veggie biscuits and gravy. This casual wholly vegan, cash-only eatery switches up options via its chalkboard menu regularly, so call ahead to check what’s cooking. Saturday & Sunday | Veg Friendly | BYO
• Bank & Bourbon: Market East. After a complete renovation of the ground-floor dining room, Bank & Bourbon debuted adjacent to the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Helmed by chef Thomas Harkins, the kitchen serves a host of daily breakfast dishes featuring modern updates on American staples — think smoked salmon plates, biscuits with ham and eggs, and lemon-ricotta pancakes. Daily
• The Avenue Delicatessen: Landsdowne. Until 3 p.m. daily, The Avenue Delicatessen in historic Lansdowne — minutes from Center City — and its creative chef Laura Frangiosa serves up eggs to order, challah French toast, corned beef hash and the classic Jewish plate of whitefish salad, chive cream cheese, tomato, cucumber, red onion on a bagel. Daily
• Cafe Ynez: Point Breeze.The latest outpost from Jill Weber and Evan Malone, the husband and wife duo behind Jet Wine Bar and Rex 1516, Cafe Ynez promises brunchers Mexico City-inspired fare from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The menu appeals to many a palate with items like breakfast burritos, veggie enchiladas and chicken chilaquiles. Bring a bottle of your favorite booze to pair with the restaurant’s house-made mixers and call it a morning. Saturday & Sunday | BYO
• Parc: Oui, monsieur, we will take another of those delicious bread baskets. Parc’s brunch menu just gets better after the freshly baked bread, with a perfect quiche Lorraine, chicken paillard, pommes frites and other French plates that pair perfectly with prime Rittenhouse Square people-watching from the abundant and much-coveted alfresco tables. Breakfast at Parc is served weekdays, and brunch is reserved for the weekends. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating
• Lacroix: Housed in the tony Rittenhouse hotel, Lacroix serves a superb Sunday brunch prix-fixe menu ($69 per person) featuring a sumptuous spread of appetizers, raw-bar specialties, a chef’s table hot buffet and more. An always-decadent dessert service rounds out the offerings. This is a special-occasion brunch that surely will not disappoint. Sunday Only | Special Occasion
• Fitler Dining Room: Chef Robert Marzinsky’s Fitler Dining Room Sunday brunch service is an excellent incentive roll out of bed earlier on Sunday mornings. Look for sophisticated raw bar selections like New Jersey fluke crudo, composed salads of spiced carrots and refined morning standards including omelets, French toast and house-made sausage and porkroll. Sunday Only | Brunch Cocktails
• Village Whiskey: Iron Chef Jose Garces’ American comfort food tastes just as good for brunch as it does for dinner. The impressive whiskey menu at Village Whiskey plays second string to the hearty plates of biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, French toast and — of course — the always satisfying, massive burgers. But, remember what this speakeasy-style restaurant is known for (yup, cocktails) and don’t skip the bay-infused vodka Bloody Mary. Alfresco Seating | Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails
• Spread Bagelry: The Montreal-style wood-oven fired bagels at Spread Bagelry pair perfectly with a BYO vodka-spiked $2 shaker of spicy Bloody Mary mix during brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Rounded out with live tunes on the weekends, breakfast sandwiches like the Nova Scramble and homemade spreads like sweet berry cream cheese, it’s easy to understand the mass appeal of this casual bagel shop. Saturday & Sunday | BYO | To-Go | Live Music
• El Rey: Stephen Starr’s bustling Mexican diner, El Rey, dishes specialties from south of the border like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles. Wash the chiles down with a tart margarita or a spicy Bloody Maria, made with tequila instead of vodka. Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails
• Nineteen: The prix-fixe three-course brunch at chic Nineteen (XIX) at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue begins with continental pastries, continues with egg and waffle entrees, and wraps with a full dessert table for $35 per person. The sweeping bird’s-eye city views elevate the whole experience. Sunday Only | Special Occasion
• Metropolitan Cafe: Though a meal may be made solely of Metropolitan Bakery’s fantastic just-baked breads and pastries, at Metropolitan Cafe daily brunching options reach beyond baked goods with a modest menu spanning house-cured salmon to creative grilled cheese. Daily | BYO | To-Go
• Continental Midtown: Nighttime revelers keep the party going into the a.m. at The Continental Restaurant and Martini Bar and its sibling The Continental Mid-town, with brioche French toast, bananas foster belgian waffles or a turkey club with caramelized apple mayo, all of which can be accompanied by a bacon-infused Bloody Mary. Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails
• The Dandelion: Stephen Starr’s British-inspired pub in Rittenhouse Square is known for its awesome burger and fish and chips, but the brunch menu is its hidden gem. Scotch pancakes with glazed apples and cinnamon-tinged cream or a full English breakfast with blood sausage and baked beans are a spot-on start to a weekend day. But once you get one of the The Dandelion’s signature cocktails in hand — like the Beer Flip or Pimm’s Cup — you may not want to do anything at all except linger. Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails
• Cafe L’Aube: Crepe craving? Located in Fairmount and Rittenhouse Square, the cozy French Cafe L’Aube offers breakfast and lunch (i.e. brunch) seven days a week. L’Aube serves its own micro-batch roasted L’Aube Torrefaction coffee and has free wireless. What’s not to love? Daily | To-Go
• Square 1682: Brunch at Hotel Palomar’s recently renovated Square 1682 means locally sourced, sophisticated American fare with excellent cocktails to boot. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating | Brunch Cocktails
• Day By Day: A Philadelphia catering institution since 1981, Day by Day at 21st and Sansom streets also serves a mean brunch to a dedicated local following. The stuffed challah French toast is seriously good (even though it’s not the size of your head, as at Sabrina’s — which may be a good thing), and make sure you order at least one thing from the specials menu. Saturday & Sunday
• Farm To City Farmers’ Markets: In 2014, Farm to City rolls out 16 farmers’ markets around town, including the always-bustling year-round Rittenhouse Square market every Saturday. Plenty of brunch-appropriate goods abound — from fresh breads to lovely lemonade and more. To-Go | Saturday Only
• Oyster House: Massive crowds may turn out at Oyster House for the daily buck-a-shuck happy hour, but the ever-changing Saturday brunch at this East Coast seafood-staple deserves recognition, too. From an always-excellent array of bivalves to fishcake hash, a lobster Benedict and tip-top Bloody Marys, Oyster House’s fruits of the sea give way to a satisfying start to the weekend. Saturday Only | Brunch Cocktails
• Talula’s Daily: Mere steps from Talula’s Garden, the first joint venture from restaurateurs Aimee Olexy and Stephen Starr, Talula’s Daily brings the same high quality of fare diners have come to associate with the moniker “Talula,” but in a far more accessible way. For brunch, sip La Colombe coffee, munch frittatas, quiche, freshly baked quick breads, scones and croissants or grab a yogurt parfait or house granola. Daily | Alfresco Seating | To-Go
• Talula’s Garden: Stephen Starr and Aimee Olexy’s Washington Square spot offers elegant plates starring local ingredients during its Sunday brunch, like the sweet ricotta crepes with house-made ricotta or the omelet with Green Meadow ham and Lancaster pepper jack cheese. And for those who prefer garden views (which are aplenty) with a splash of liquor, there are cocktails like The Optimist featuring citrus vodka, sweet tea, huckleberry and lemon. Sunday Only | Alfresco Seating | Special Occasion
• Strangelove’s: Midtown Village gets another spot to quaff morning and night in Strangelove’s, a microbrew lover’s fantasy, where 18 tap lines and two cask-conditioned ales complement chef Paul Martin’s Southern-touched menu. For brunch, go for shrimp and grits, poached eggs with chaurice sausage or duck and sausage gumbo. Saturday & Sunday | Brunch Cocktails
• El Vez: Stephen Starr’s Mexican spot in Midtown Village has a Mexi-style Sunday brunch. Pair your crab and corn omelet, breakfast burrito or steak and egg chilaquiles with a blood orange mimosa — the a.m. take on the super-popular blood orange margarita. Sunday Only | Alfresco Seating | Brunch Cocktails
• Garces Trading Co.: If you haven’t tried Jose Garces’ GTC for brunch, it’s time for a return visit. The Saturday and Sunday brunch menu is a bite right out of the Mediterranean with a frittata, croque-madame sandwiches, a Lyonnaise duck salad and so much more. The $22 prix-fixe menu option includes your choice of one start, one main and one dessert plus unlimited Garces Trading Company Coffee. Done and done. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating
• Varga Bar: Chef Evan Turney’s spot in Washington Square West offers creative, kicked-up American food by night, and equally compelling brunch dishes by weekend day. And with a knowledgeable bar staff to guide you through the more than a dozen beers on tap, there’s no way you’ll go thirsty during a meal here. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating | Brunch Cocktails
• Jones: Stephen Starr’s take on the The Brady Bunch living room delivers on the brunch front in a way that would make Carol proud. You must order the shareable monkey bread, served gooey and hot, followed by any of the delicious egg dishes (spinach and feta omelet with tater tots, smoked salmon Benedict). And don’t forget the brunch cocktails. Saturday & Sunday | Family Friendly | Brunch Cocktails
• Kanella: Take a mini vacation to the Greek isle of Cyprus at this Washington Square BYOB, where the brunch menu features flavorful goodies like crepes stuffed with manouri cheese and drizzled with carob syrup; eggs stewed in tomato and pepper with grilled bread; and ground lamb flatbreads with pistachios. Kanella serves brunch Friday through Sunday. Friday, Saturday & Sunday | BYO | Alfresco Seating
• Mixto: Every day feels like Sunday at Mixto, a Cuban/Columbian hotspot on Pine Street’s Antique Row. The daily breakfast offerings include Argentinean steak and eggs, frittata Colombiana and tostadas rancheras. Bonus: sunny outdoor seating in the warm months. Daily | Alfresco Seating
• Amis: Brunch at Amis is a little under the radar, but that’s actually a good thing. The Sunday brunch menu transports diners to Italy with perfect pastas and other fare: baked pecorino with almond honey, salumi misti and house-made polenta scrapple. Also, don’t sleep on the Cannonball. Sunday Only | Alfresco Seating
• Valanni: Valanni has Saturday and Sunday brunch, and the offerings are unbeatable. Think caramelized apple and strawberry cream french toast; and the “Valanni Hangover,” two eggs any style, pancakes, chorizo or bacon and roasted potatoes accompanied by a virgin Bloody Mary. Saturday & Sunday | Alfresco Seating
• Reading Terminal Market: The Reading Terminal Market, established in 1892 at 12th and Arch streets, is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market and has emerged in the 21st century as one of the greatest public markets in the country. Enjoy eating virtually every type of cuisine, from sublime soul food and exquisite Asian and Middle Eastern dishes to authentic Philly Cheesesteaks and traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fare — all available from largely family-run stands. Daily | Family Friendly
Many, many more brunch picks, below. (more…)