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pizza

Nomad Pizza

nomadpizzaOnce in awhile, we’ll just make impromptu dinner plans, in the neighborhood. While our usual go-to takeout pizza joint is Lazaro’s, we wanted to dine in. So on a particularly lovely day, we took a nice little walk to Nomad Pizza. It’s a nice spot with plenty of seating, including al fresco. There’s a large upstairs where they sometimes show movies! It seems quite family-friendly, as we saw many there, along with pets at the outdoor tables. We got the spicy soppressata pizza. We loved it! It comes with italian tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, spicy soppressato (der), oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, parmesan, honey, and sea salt. Yep, you read that right – honey! And it was awesome. There’s so many different tastes going on in this pizza, with the spiciness of the salami, the sweetness of the honey, the savory flavors of the basil, cheese, and other spices. And I wouldn’t change a thing!
nomadsaladWe figured we might need a little bit of veggies too, so we also got a bleu cheese salad of mixed greens, roasted pecans, roasted pears, dried cranberries, and maytag crumbled bleu cheese in a house balsamic vinaigrette. This was great too, and it made me think I was being “healthy”. Anything to make me think I’m counteracting the pizza.

The service was good, however, I think they forgot about our pizza or our order got initially lost. There were so many tables who got their pizza before us, who came in and ordered way after us. And we waited an awfully long time for the pizza. And they apologized to us about the wait. We didn’t care though, at least not this time. We enjoyed the salad and then enjoyed our time together waiting for the tasty pizza.
Nomad Pizza on Urbanspoon

Barbuzzo – Birthday Dinner

When people ask me for restaurant recommendations, one place I regularly mention is Barbuzzo. It’s just great. And I can’t possibly imagine anyone not liking it. The food is superb, the place itself is adorable, and it’s just a lovely experience. My only reservation would be for large groups. Barbuzzo is just too small to be good for big groups. But it’d be perfect for a romantic date, girls night out, or dinner with the parents. Anyhoo, my last visit there was for my birthday. The cheese board! As a self-proclaimed cheese wuss, I’m sometimes reticent to go for cheese plates. But hey, it’s a new year, a new me, and I’m going to be more experimental, especially with cheese. With nothing overly of the blue variety on the plate, I enjoyed everything. I want more cheese boards!
I’m a sucker for octopus, so whenever I see it on a menu, there’s a good chance I’m getting it. This is the grilled mediterranean octopus salad with sopressata, fingerling potato, taggiasca olive, roasted peppers, cucumbers, herbs, and lemon. Whoo hoo! When cooked well, especially grilled, octopus is super tender. It gets a bad “rubbery” rap because of how many times it can be cooked poorly. This octopus was tender and smoky, slightly tart from the lemon, and rich with the roasted peppers and herbs. 
We thought it would be fun to try one of the pizzas, so we picked one of the very few that had meat! Here’s the prosciutto pizza with roasted grapes, gorgonzola, walnuts, arugula, and vin cotto. Perhaps the sound of grapes and walnuts and arugula on a pizza sounds odd, but to the tastebuds, it’s great.  
I don’t recall this exact dish, but it’s a strozzapretti pasta with duck, I think? This was my favorite dish of the night. It looks so simple… just some pasta with some shreads of meat in it. But dang, I could not stop eating it. The pasta was chewy and buttery and the duck was tender, fatty, and had a nice mild flavor. Oh it was so darn good!
And you have to end every Barbuzzo meal (heck, every meal!) with the salted caramel budino. It’s famous for a reason. So just be sure to order it. You’ll be glad you did!

Manakeesh

Manakeesh Cafe is a University City joint that bills itself as lebanese fusion. I don’t care what it is, I just know that it’s awesome and cheap. On 45th and Walnut, it occupies a beautiful building with ridiculously high ceilings, and a little bit of outdoor dining space. There’s flatbreads, appetizers, coffees, and lots of desserts. And it’s now one of my favorite places in Philly. The hummus is served with piping warm pita. There’s a whole lot of it!
This is one of the manakeesh, where their name comes from. It’s a lebanese flatbread, baked in an open flame oven, and topped with whatever suits your fancy. This particular one was the lahm bajeen, a mix of ground lamb, tomato, and spices. While the coloring was a little disturbing and raw looking, it was indeed cooked, and indeed super tasty. It doesn’t even taste super lamb-y, as I don’t typically care for lamb. But I thought this was excellent. Lamb on pizza – do try it!
We also got the honey manakeesh. I suppose this is more of a dessert one, as it had sweet cream and was drizzled with raw honey. This was rolled up and warm, and damn, it really hit the sweet spot. It would be a perfect replacement for a bagel and cream cheese in the mornings.
At Manakeesh Cafe, they have an impressive display of middle eastern sweets. Not sure what to get, I asked the guy at the register to pick out a couple of baklava for us. I told him that I trusted him. So we ended up with two pieces of this flaky, super sweet, honey-laden treat. His picks were perfect. 
We also got an adorable Turkish Coffee and one of their many fancy coffee drinks. This was the Caffe Beirut, a latte with caramel and hazelnut. It was as good as I thought it would be. It’s a nice casual spot where you put in your order and you get a number. Then they bring your food out to you. If this was in center city, I’d be there all the time! 
Manakeesh Cafe Bakery on Urbanspoon

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