Posts tagged ‘Philadelphia’

December 20, 2012

Tinto & Jim’s in Philly


We enjoyed a relaxing last-minute overnight in Philadelphia last weekend. I love living in Bucks County, PA. We live less than an hour from Center City Philly and less than 90 minutes from NYC. Fantastic! In need of a little getaway, we stayed at the Hotel Sofitel on 17th Street. The Sofitel is always a pleasure. Great service, friendly staff and the rooms are really nice. The room was a bargain at $156 for the night. The best rate we could find in New York for the same night in a comparable hotel was over $300. The Sofitel is located in Rittenhouse Square, so you can walk to lots of shops and restaurants.

Saturday night dinner at Tinto, a Chef Jose Garces restaurant, was excellent. This is our favorite kind of eating, small plates. I’d always prefer to eat a little bit of everything, rather than just one entrée.  Tinto’s menu offers delicious Spanish cuisine from the Basque Country. We shared at least 8 dishes (I lost count), heavy on the meat. Alan couldn’t resist ordering the Jambón Imbérico. This is the fancy ham… kind of like a Spanish version of prosciutto. We were told by our server that the pigs are fed a diet of acorns and the meat is cured for more than 2 years. The market price for Imbérico was $35.00. It was our splurge and well worth it.

We also ordered the mixed cheese plate that included two of my favorites, Petit Basque and Manchego. There was a decadent rice dish with white asparagus and manchego, lamb skewers with bacon and sherry, a canapé of duck confit with serrano ham and cherry, and the two small plates below. It might seem like a lot of food, but it was perfect. I loved tasting all the flavors, like a trip through Spain.

Albóndigos served with a poached egg…

Tinto's Albondigas

My favorite of the night, a canapé with berkshire pork belly, honey lacquer and shaved apples…

Tinto's Pork Belly Canape


Chef Garces owns several well-regarded restaurants around Philly. Next door to Tinto is Village Whiskey, also owned by Garces. We were told they have the best burger in town. We’ll have to try that next time.


What would a trip to Philly be without a cheese steak? Sunday lunch at Jim’s Steaks on South Street was in order. After trying most of the well-known cheese steak joints in the city, we’ve decided Jim’s is our favorite. People from the Philadelphia area take their cheese steaks very seriously. If someone has a different opinion, I’d love to hear it. We were trying to figure out why the cheese steaks in Philly are so much better than anywhere else in the country. Alan has even had one at a place in Los Angeles that is owned by a guy from Philadelphia, but they’re just not the same. If you know the secret, please share.


It warrants mentioning that in my humble opinion a proper Philly cheese steak should have “whiz,” not provolone or American cheese, and fried onions. That’s it!


April 25, 2012

Karla’s Restaurant New Hope, PA



I’ve lived in our little town of New Hope for essentially my entire life. There aren’t many real natives living here anymore. Few of us are still around to remember the open fields that are now filled with homes, and the quirky artistic town as it was back in the 70’s and 80’s. It’s very different now. Not to say it’s better or worse, just different. One thing remains the same, New Hope and Lambertville still offer some of the best restaurants in the greater Philadelphia area.

We love Karla’s. Cozy and full of locals, Karla’s offers some of the best fare in town. With the warm weather here to stay, sitting on the open air patio at Karla’s, people watching and sipping one of their fresh fruit martini’s is a perfect way to spend an afternoon or evening. Dinners at Karla’s are always consistently delicious. Fresh and prepared while you wait, Karla’s menu includes steaks, seafood, pastas and more, all with a Mediterranean twist. I love their fresh grilled salmon and their tender braised short ribs and scallops over risotto… simply decadent. Their house salad with Thai vinaigrette is my favorite salad in town. The dressing is light and fresh with perfect Thai seasonings. How can a simple house salad taste so good? I wonder if they’d share the recipe with us? If you’re looking for something a bit simpler, Karla’s serves a killer burger and house cut french fries. The smoky pulled chicken chipotle quesadilla and the Greek salad are perfect choices for a light lunch or as a starter. There are always nightly specials offered as well.

As I casually mentioned their fresh fruit martini’s above, I should be giving you a warning. These drinks are lethal. Maybe my alcohol tolerance isn’t what it used to be, but I can only drink one of Karla’s martini’s. It’s water for the rest of the night after a single cocktail. I’ve been told that there is 8oz of alcohol in each martini. I wonder if it’s true? That’s a lot of vodka! The lemon drop martini is my favorite. It’s so fruity and delicious… very deceiving. You’ve been warned! Pick your designated driver before you get there.

Karla’s still offers a locals night, full moon dance parties and Sunday brunch. If you’re heading into New Hope for the day, add this to your list of places for lunch, dinner or at the very least, stop by for a martini on the veranda. Bucks County locals who haven’t been to Karla’s, shame on you! Now is the perfect time to go.

Karla’s – 5 West Mechanic Street – New Hope, PA 18938 – (215)862-2612

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