East Passyunk Avenue. The hidden gem of South Philadelphia, where you can find restaurants, art galleries, clothing stores, and the most women-owned businesses in one area. We tend to visit center city restaurants and bars much more because of the close proximity to us. Lately, we have been visiting the East Passyunk area more and you should too!
One restaurant that is a must visit is Barcelona Wine Bar. If you like good food, good wine and good cocktails, all in a lively, friendly atmosphere, this is one place you definitely don’t want to miss. They have both indoor and outdoor seating, and a beautiful bar area when you first walk in. The menu is very creative, and has a wonderful selection of charcuterie, cheeses, and tapas. And of course, very heavily Spanish influenced.
We each started out with a glass of wine. I ordered a 2016 Gewürztraminer blend, Vinedo de los Vientos Estival, from Atlantida Uruguay. You don’t see many wines from Uruguay! This was wonderful. It was light and had notes of orange and tangerine. Eric ordered a glass of 2016 Tempranillo from La Montesa, Crianza, Rioja Spain. It was a wonderful dark color and tasted great.
For our tapas plates, we split an order of hanger steak with truffle vinaigrette, PEI mussels with chorizo and a smoked tomato broth, and the spicy cucumber giardiniera with fennel, celery and olives. Everything was absolutely delicious. The hanger steak was to die for. It literally melted in your mouth, and the truffle vinaigrette was amazing. We washed all this down with a pitcher of red sangria that was one of the best we’ve every tried. It was made with rioja wine, elderflower, citrus infused dark rum, and guava nectar.
Again, make the trip to East Passyunk Avenue and go to Barcelona. You will feel, taste, and eat like you are in Spain. On top of everything else, the staff are super friendly, and the service is top notch!
We continued our world cuisine tour just a couple of blocks away at a Mexican restaurant, Jose Pistola’s. They too have indoor and outdoor seating. When you first walk in, it’s low lit, but cozy and inviting. The bar area is beautiful. It’s lit up from lights underneath the glass.
We decided to order just a couple of entrees, but started out with a pitcher of their El Diablo margarita’s. It was delicious with a spicy, smoky taste. For food, we ordered a alf dozen oysters, and the spicy tuna guacamole. Everything was delicious. The tuna was made with samba, scallions, and sesame seeds. It was very good.
We went back to Jose Pistola’s a few weeks later from brunch. We ordered a pitcher of the El Diablo margarita’s again. Yes, it is that good. Eric ordered their mushroom omelette, which was made with poblanos, onions, chihuahua cheese, and came with a side salad. It was very good and full of wonderful flavor. He also ordered their fried plantains, but came out more sweet than fried. They were still very good and served with a chipotle honey and creme fresca.
I ordered a sampling of different tacos. I got the spicy pork with grilled pineapple, kimchi, and cilantro. I also tried the shrimp “Al Pastor”, that came with a pineapple salsa, cilantro, pickled red onions, and salsa verde. The fillings were are very good and cooked perfectly. I was a little disappointed that the soft taco shells weren’t made in-house from scratch. I also ordered a side of papas fritas, which were served with garlic and cotija cheese. I had to ask our server for another order because the first batch were cold and they didn’t have a lot of the cheese topping. The second batch was perfect. They were served nice and hot, and covered with cheese.
Overall, the food here is very good. There are many more items we want to try, and will definitely be back. Make sure you also give them a try when your visiting the area.
Last, but certainly not least, is a fantastic find! If you love limoncello, you absolutely have to visit Pollyodd. Owner Joan Verratti and her husband make all their limoncello’s by hand, and with only natural ingredients. No sugar is added or needed. They let the ingredients do the talking, and boy, do they talk. We sampled quite a few, and all of them were fantastic. Hands down, the best limoncello’s we’ve ever tasted.
They have customers that drive for hours from other states, just to come here and purchase their products. The hardest choice you will have to make is which one’s you want to take home. We ended up buying the orange, chocolate, banana, and strawberry limoncello’s. A portion of Pollyodd’s proceeds go to fund a scholarship for underprivileged children in memory of her late son, Thomas Joseph. Joanie, is a wonderful, sweet person, that you can spend hours talking with. She loves interacting with her clients, and her passion for limoncello shows with every sip you taste.
Folks, you have to stop in Pollyodd, sample some limoncello’s, and take a few home. Trust me when I say, you will be back for more. Cheers!