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Capital Grille Lunch

The Capital Grille had introduced a three-dish fixed price lunch menu and invited me to sample some of their offerings. The Philly location is huge, classic, and fancy, with very romantic lighting. There’s a whole lotta leather, wood, and people in suits. You get a basket of complimentary bread and it’s got a nice mix of things like pumpernickel, rolls, flatbread type things… I loved the variety.
Mint lemonade and grapefruit sodas. The lemonade was good, but not very minty at all. The grapefruit soda was awesome! Everything is freshly made, even these drinks!
M’s salad, with particularly tasty cherry tomatoes.
I had the clam chowder as my appetizer. This was quite the respectable cup of soup! It was thick, clammy, and full of potato and clam chunks. M got the lobster roll. Whoa, this was a huge pile of lobster. I mean huge. They didn’t really put it in the roll, they just kind of plopped it on top. That made sense though, as there was no way that giant pile of lobster was going to fit into any kind of roll. Oh man, that lobster was sweet and fresh and succulent. I’m not even all that into lobster, but this roll was great. And the haricots verts? I could not stop eating them! I’m a big fan of green beans and these were some of the best I’ve had in awhile.
I got the wagyu cheeseburger with fried egg and crisp onions. It’s got seasoned japanese wagyu beef, which is pretty darn fancy. And fried egg happens to be one of my favorite toppings for a burger! This little burger was good!
M picked the cheesecake as his dessert, which has a vanilla wafer crust, is garnished with fresh sweet berries in a strawberry sauce, and topped with a burnt sugar crust. If you like cheesecake, you’ll like this one.

I’m a creme brulee junkie, so you know that’s what I picked. The creme brulee itself good, but it was the fruit that won me over. Capital Grille philly, I don’t know where you get you berries from, but damn, they were awesome.
Some coffee, anyone? After all that food, it’d be hard to! Since we’re moving into Spring now, they’ve just switched things up for this lunch deal. They’re offering new selections, such as asparagus soup, spring and piquillo peppers with crisp bomba rice, and grilled spring veggies. Once again, it’s a three-dish prix fixe. For the quality and quantity of food, and the extremely high level of service, this is a great lunch deal!
The Capital Grille on Urbanspoon

Beck’s Cajun Cafe

The lovely gals at Philly Food Lovers invited me to try out the eats at Beck’s Cajun Cafe. Since it’d been way too long since I first and last visited New Orleans, I was definitely hankering for some New Orleans cooking! And we had the pleasure of dining with Bill Beck – chef, owner, and pretty darn good eater! Located in Reading Terminal Market, they serve up New Orleans fare, along with a few surprises.
Gator Gumbo! Yep, that’s right folks, there’s gator sausage in here. And it’s sweet, mild, and smoky, and served over white rice. Wow, just wow!
Here is the muffaletta, a new orleans staple. It is a giant heaping sandwich filled with salami, ham, mortadella, sharp provolone, and olive salad served on Italian bread with tons of sesame seeds. I don’t even like olives but I did not mind the  olive salad on this. It’s like their version of the hoagie, only much bigger!
Here’s the shrimp po boy. Po boys are famously New Orleans and this particular one is served on French bread with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and Creole mayo. And the fried shrimp? They are huge, hot, and yummy! This sandwich is so big it’s really hard to maneuver around it.
Now this is the Train Wreck Po Boy. It is not a Philadelphia sandwich and it is not a New Orleans sandwich, it is just something that Beck thought up. And damn, this sandwich packs a flavor punch. It has andouille sausage, steak, salami, cheese, onion, and creole mayo, so that it’s like a cheesesteak, on steroids. It’s got all the goodness from a regular cheesesteak, but with extra flavorful meat coming from the sausage, salami, and mayo. I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this sandwich is. You can bet that I’ll be getting this again, and then going for a run to make up for it!
As if the regular food wasn’t enough, we had to go extra crazy by trying two different desserts. First, it was the hot bread pudding. I love me some bread pudding, so I really enjoyed this
But here’s the piece de resistance. Served only wednesdays and sundays, they have hot beignets! These famously famous french fritters are served super hot out of the fryer and topped with powdered sugar. I had missed these so much since my visit to New Orleans, and it’s pretty damn exciting knowing that I can now get them twice a week. But just remember it’s wednesday and sundays, as last saturday, I was sorely disappointed when I went to Beck’s and realized it was sunday that was magical beignets day, not saturday. These were so amazing, I’m drooling just thinking about them again…
Beck also has his own brand of rubs and spices that you can take home with you, that you can use on pretty much anything that could use a bit of flavor. The food is authentic, tasty, and served up in heaping portions, with love. If you want a taste of New Orleans right here in Philly, stop by and get yourself some Beck’s!

Beck's Cajun Cafe on Urbanspoon

Brauhaus Schmitz Doner Kebab

I fell in love with doner kebabs when I took a couple of business trips to germany years back. They were unlike anything I had before, and it was instant love. I had many of them throughout germany, but the best one I’ve ever had was in a random shop in Schwabisch Hall. I still dream about it. If you’re ever there, go to the main public parking lot in the city center and when you walk right out of it, past the pay machines, there’s a doner kebab shop. That’s the place. BEST. DONER. KEBAB. EVER. I haven’t had one for a long time. I’ve tried reasonable but disappointing facsimiles in Ireland and Italy, but it’s nothing like a genuine german doner kebab. They’ve somehow taken a turkish street food and evolved it all into an amazing german treat. I haven’t yet experienced a real doner kebab shop in the US. Years ago, there was a random coffee shop on Chestnut Street that supposedly served them, but when I went back there a few weeks later, it had already become a purse shop. Cue the sad face. So when I read that Brauhaus Schmitz was serving them during the soccer season, I had to give it a whirl! They’re only available on the weekend, and only for the soccer season. We enjoyed some delicious beers while we waited, patiently.
They’re typically served with fries, but you can also substitute other sides. I got the cabbage. This doner kebab surprised me. First, the bread was great. It’s actually pretty damn important how the bread is. It’s definitely not thin, limp, pita bread. It’s called fladenbrot, and it does have some heft, but it’s not thick like a regular sandwich roll. They got the bread just right. On the inside they have lamb, along with shredded red onions, red cabbage, pickles, and tomatoes, along with a yogurt-based sauce. While it tasted fairly good, I would have changed a few things. There was way too much meat in here, and it was in really thick slices, like a brisket, but not nice and evenly sliced. It was just random hunks of thick slices. It just ended up being overly stuffed and made it difficult to maneuver. If you get genuine doner kebabs, the spits of meat have slices of the meat wrapped up into a cylinder shape. And the meat is literally shaved off, by something not too far off from clippers, so the meat actually ends up being in little pieces… resembling the shape of slivered almonds, but a little bigger. And the pickles were strange to me. I was much more used to cucumbers. Also, in germany, you always have the option of getting a spicy sauce as well. And there is also some spicy flakes you can shake on, but I have no idea what it’s made of. It still remains a mystery to me. Oh, and the thing is huge! I could not finish it! Also, the fries that come with are great. And my cabbage was plentiful and delicious… if you’re into sour cabbage!
I thoroughly appreciate their valiant effort in serving up doner kebabs in philadelphia. It really made me happy, and a bit wistful. Now I really want to go to germany to have the real thing! But if this is as close as I can get, then it’s still a great substitute. Thanks Brauhaus Schmitz!

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