For M’s birthday this year, we went to Vernick. They offered to seat us at the kitchen so we could get a free show, so we said sure! I actually love watching people cook my food. But I always forget that it’s going to be super hot there! But we still enjoyed the show! They started us off with a complimentary little amuse bouche – a pea soup with some chili oil on top. A fun and tasty start!
We started off with some tuna poke, served with macadamia nuts in a sweet soy dressing. This was a perfect combo of cold tuna with sweet and umami flavors. I’ve never had poke, so I have no idea how poke-ish this poke was, but it was darn tasty. It was obvious, from the very start, how fresh and high quality all the ingredients here were.
We wanted to get at least some veggies, to feign caring about our health, so we went with the broccoli rabe, which was simply roasted with chili and aged pecorino. I need to eat more roasted veggies!
Our last shared small dish was the ravioli with braised duck and green beans. Another great dish. Three pieces of delicate ravioli with super moist duck. The green beans were still nice and firm. There’s nothing appealing about soggy green beans!
M got the oven-roasted veal loin, served with Israeli couscous and spring beans with a pesto sauce. He loved it! The entree portions here were surprisingly large.
I got the grilled black sea bass, served with tender broccoli and a fire-roasted tomato sauce. Yum! The fish is cooked really nicely, with the skin on, and the skin is nice and crispity. The tomato sauce is surprisingly flavorful and works well with the flaky fish. It’s a delicate fish, but the accompanying sauce is strong and pungent.
We definitely wanted to try dessert so we asked our server what to get and he said “cardamom cake!” so we said sure! Listen here people. This is one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. It’s just the whole package. It’s a roasted date cake with orange cardamom toffee sauce, a scoop of coconut gelato, and topped with a candied slice of orange. Man, the cake is warm and moist with just enough hint of that exotic cardamom flavor, the gelato is just the right amount of cold. It just works! I could eat this every day. Our experience at Vernick was just wonderful. All of it, the food, the show, and the service. It certainly deserves all its raves!
Once 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!
We 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.
Want a lobster roll and don’t have time to go to Maine? Stop by Luke’s Lobster. With existing locations in NY and the DC area, Philly has its very own now, where the old subterranean Bonte waffle shop used to be. Don’t blink when you walk by, as you may miss it. Their sign isn’t very obvious! They serve lobster rolls, crab rolls, shrimp rolls, and some soups. That’s pretty much it. You can choose to get some slaw, chips, and some sodas. I like the simple menu. The worst thing for me is when there are too many choices!
While our friend had recommended the Noah’s Ark (essentially a sampler of all rolls for 2 people), we both got lobster rolls! I got mine with mayo, M got his without, but both are served on a buttered and toasted split roll. These lobster rolls are simple. There’s no filler vegetables. There’s just lobster. And lots of it. Careful when you eat it so you don’t lose any precious lobster! We got the combo so we also got a pickle and our choice of chips and a soda. You can’t beat that for a big pile of lobster. They have cape code chips and various sodas from Maine you can choose from. I’m now a big fan of the blueberry soda. I have a feeling I’m going to be here quite often!