Banned Books at Art in the Age!

Art in the Age in Old City has quickly become one of our favorite spots to relax and enjoy a great cocktail…or two. They are always having events that highlight different styles of cocktails. There was the low alcohol cocktail book launch with Drew Lazor and different cocktails of the month releases to name a few. We recently attended an event there in conjunction with the Rosenbach Museum, “Banned Books,” which is part of the Rosenbach’s Bibliococktails series.

If you’ve never been to the Rosenbach Museum, you definitely need to put it on your list. Located in the beautiful Rittenhouse Square area, it’s a wonderful museum that offers exhibits, programs and tours of their rare books, manuscripts and art. One of their programs is their Bibliococktails series that pairs great literature and great cocktails. It’s usually held at the museum but once in a while they hold it remotely at Art in the Age. It’s so much fun and I highly recommend you go to one at either the Rosenbach or Art in the Age.

The theme for this night was “Banned Books” and the featured cocktails that were inspired by several banned books. Not only do you get to try these wonderful drinks, but you engage with other patrons and discuss the books, why they were banned and considered threatening, and try to answer some trivia questions. The Rosenbach does such a fantastic job in keeping this series fun, entertaining and also educational.

The cocktails were inspired by the books, Fahrenheit 451, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Great Gatsby. The first cocktail offered was “Red Hunting Hat,” inspired by The Catcher in the Rye and featured Kinsey rye whiskey, Art in the Age maple jack flavored apple brandy and was garnished with an apple fan. This drink was strong but delicious and the presentation was stunning. The second cocktail offered was “Beautiful Fool,” inspired by The Great Gatsby and featured Art in the Age Sierra fig cordial, topped with Ploughman Muhhibah dry cider with Malaysian spices and garnished with a lemon wheel and thyme sprig. This was one of my favorites! Again, the presentation was stunning and it tasted great. The final cocktail offered was “The Fireman,” inspired by Fahrenheit 451 and featured Kinsey American whiskey, Pickett’s extra spicy ginger beer and garnished with a lemon and orange peel. Again, this was a crowd favorite. The ginger beer was not overly sweet and paired beautifully with the Kinsey whiskey. The amount of creativity that goes into the cocktails created by Art in the Age never ceases to amaze me.

There is nothing better than enjoying a few incredible cocktails and talking about great literature. If only my english classes were taught this way! Seriously though, make sure to check out the Rosenbach’s website to see all the wonderful programs and events they have going on every month. Don’t forget to stop by Art in the Age, relax and grab a great drink or two. And if I may quote F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, “It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard-drinking people.” Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Crushing it at The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company

We love this place! For those not familiar with the Franklin, they have two bars. Upstairs there is a tiki bar and downstairs is a speakeasy that we’ve fallen in love with. Their name is taken from the 1920’s when The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company was a front for America’s largest alcohol running ring. We have such a great time whenever we come here. From the super friendly staff and bartenders to the amazing cocktails, this place is an absolute must in my book on places you have to try.

Last time we were here, we tried all of their “Weird” cocktails from their amazing menu. Tonight, we decided to try a couple of their “Crushable” cocktails. And once again, the cocktails were fantastic. The names of the drinks and the ingredients are just mind-boggling. We had so many questions about how they made the drinks, how did they infuse this or wash that. The bartenders are so incredibly friendly here so feel free to ask away with any questions you have. They love talking and interacting with customers that appreciate the hard work that goes into creating such an amazing cocktail menu.

On this night, we ordered the “Lost in the Funhouse” drink which included yogurt-washed rum, becherovka, Breckenridge bitters, strawberry, lime, cream and egg white. We were left speechless when we tried this. It was absolutely amazing! The level of creativity in this drink alone is simply stunning. The staff here are true mixology artists. We also tried the “Jewel Runner” which included butter washed meszcal, yellow chartreuse, green chartreuse, creole shrub, orange and angostura. We love mezcal but this was just amazing. The butter wash just made the drink that much more smooth and silky while keeping that beautiful smokey taste.

We only ordered these two drinks but they were amazing. We told our bartender that we promised that we’d be back to try the other three “Crushable” cocktails. The Franklin bar is just an amazing place to unwind, relax and kick back with an amazing drink. We always have a good time when we are here and can’t wait to go back. Please, please, please, make it a point to come here and try anything off their fantastic menu. You will not be disappointed!

 

Sassafras: Better Late Than Never!

There are bars and restaurants that you always mean to try but for some reason it seems to take forever to get to them. Sassafras was one such place that we’ve read good things about and have been meaning to try for quite some time. We finally made it a point to go there and I’m so glad we did. Located in Old City, it is a small, intimate, cozy bar/restaurant that locals in the area have been going to for years. Once you try their cocktails and food, you will become a regular as well!

When you first walk in, the place is long and narrow but filled with so much charm. Beautiful tiled floor, walls and a wonderfully stocked bar just add to the warmth of the place. The menu is amazing! They have just about every type of cocktail you could think of and if you don’t see something on the menu, they can certainly make it for you.

We decided to try a couple of appetizers and a cocktail before heading out to another event we had scheduled this evening. Eric was in a rum mood and started with an amazing cocktail, the “Kerala” which was made with cardamom pods, Scarlett Ibis rum, Buffalo Trace bourbon, pineapple, lemon, simple syrup, angostura, Peychaud’s and a lemon twist. It was absolutely delicious! I ordered the “French 95” and it too was amazing. It was made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon, simple syrup, champagne, angostura bitters and a lemon twist. I’ve had a “French 75” many times but this really took it to another level. If you have no idea what some of the ingredients are, don’t be shy and feel free to ask the super friendly bartenders. They are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

For appetizers, we ordered their hot and honey Sassafras chicken wings and their deviled eggs. Both were delicious! The wings were nice and crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. The eggs were perfect, served with a wonderful chipotle sauce that paired so well together. Next time we come back, we have to try more things on their menu. I can’t wait!

For our second round of drinks, Eric ordered a “Dark and Stormy” and I ordered an “Old Fashion”. Again, both were delicious. Eric was weary about the “Dark and Stormy” because too many times, the ginger used in the drink can be too sweet and ruin the drink. It was made to perfection here. I usually don’t drink “Old Fashion’s” because the rye or bourbon can be overpowering. Again, they made it spot on here. The bartenders here know what they are doing and this place quickly became a favorite of ours.

Sassafras lived up to and beyond our expectations. The decor was warm, cozy and inviting. The appetizers were delicious and the drinks were out of this world. We will certainly be back and I advise you to give them a try as well!

 

 

Book Launch at Art in the Age

When it comes to cocktails and the ingredients needed for cocktails, Art in the Age in Old City is hard to beat. When I say they carry everything you need to create wonderful cocktails, they really do carry everything! Bitters, liquors, glassware and books. And speaking of books, on this night, they were welcoming author Drew Lazor for the release of his new book, “Session Cocktails”.

The book is based on the fact that bartenders are moving away from making strong cocktails and instead making cocktail that are lower in alcohol that you can drink all day. In it you will find dozens of wonderful cocktail receipes that you can try out at home. Drew collaborated with several well know mixologists to come up all these fantastic drinks.

Drew was on hand at Art in the Age to talk about the book, sign copies and talk about the three drinks that were being featured from the book. The first featured cocktail was “The Winter of Our Content” that featured Art in the Age maple jack, maple flavored apple brandy, lemon juice, maple syrup, citrus liquor, angostura bitters, prosecco and garnished with an orange twist. The second cocktail was “Roebling Rumrise” that featured aged Dreadnought rum, pineapple juice, lemon juice, falernum, topped with lambrusco and garnished with a brandied cherry. And the third cocktail, “Astoria”, featured Liberty gin, dry vermouth, orange bitters and was garnished with a vermouth brined olive. I don’t know how someone can come up with these but I so glad there are mixologists out there that are so creative because all three were absolutely amazing.

All three cocktails were presented so beautifully in their proper glassware. Trust me when I say the type of glass you use for specific cocktails really does matter. It just adds to the charm, warmth and taste of your drink. The bartenders at Art in the Age always do an amazing job and tonight once again they were spot on.

If you haven’t been to Art in the Age, make a point to do so. It’s a great shop with everything you would need to create great drinks at home. And while you are there, make sure to purchase a copy of Drew’s book, “Session Cocktails”. Have fun with it and try make a few or all the drinks in the book. It would be a great theme for a get together with some close friends.

Tradesman: The New Kid on the Block!

It’s always exciting when a new restaurant opens up in the city. It’s even more exciting when the restaurant is really, really good! I present to you, Tradesman. It’s located at 1322 Chestnut Street. Chestnut Street has been living in the shadow of the more popular Walnut Street because of the wonderful shops, restaurants and Rittenhouse Square that line along Walnut Street. Chestnut Street has been undergoing a wonderful revitalization  thanks to fantastic restaurants like this.

Tradesman is the brain child of owner Teddy Sourias, who owns several other top quality restaurants. The theme here is good quality microbrews, whiskey and barbecue. The restaurant is in a beautiful restored historic building that dates back to 1906. The decor is a fantastic balance of old and new. Wonderfully hip but paying homage to the classic architecture of this beautiful building. There are two floors, a large bar area, and just recently, they opened a “secret” underground bar.

They went all out when it comes to the drink menu. There are over 30 beer taps and around 80 whiskey’s for you to try. Good luck! The food here is amazing. You have a choice of ribs, brisket, chicken, lamb, steak and pulled pork, just to name a few, for your main course. Sides include cornbread, potato salad, an incredible mac and cheese and other classics.

On this night, we ordered the lamb shoulder and smoked chicken. Both we paired with classic white bread (in case you want to make a sandwich out of it), caramelized onions and pickles. We also ordered the mac and cheese, which is a must! For drinks, we ordered Whistling Pig Old Fashions. Everything was delicious! The lamb was juicy and tender. If you’re not a fan of lamb because of the gamey taste, you’ll love this lamb. It didn’t taste gamey at all. The smoked chicken was perfect. It was beautifully smoked and tender. We ordered the smaller sized portions and had to take some home because they don’t cut corners here when serving their portions.

On top of the wonderful food and decor, the service here is also top notch. Our waitress for the evening was super friendly, knowledgeable and went out of her way to make sure everything was to our liking. It’s time to start taking notice of Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. You can start by going to Tradesman!

 

 

 

A Celebration Style and Empowerment with Laura Mazurek

This post is shifting gears a little. Instead of a food and wine article, I want to tell you about someone. A year ago, we had the opportunity to meet a wonderful person that has since become a good friend of ours. Her name is Laura Mazurek and you should get to know her as well. Why? Well for starters, she is an amazing person and her background is very impressive. She is always upbeat and has a positive outlook on life. She is involved in so many important topics, has her own radio show and just recently launched her own television show. But first, a little background information.

Laura is the host and executive producer of Philadelphia based radio show, “Style and Empowerment Chat with Laura and Friends”. It ties together fashion and beauty but makes sure that the theme of empowerment and positive self-esteem remain constant. She co-wrote and co-produced her radio shows theme song, “You Can Have It All”, which will be released September 18th to the public. Her current theme song is the song for the “Choose Courage Foundation” which empowers victims of domestic abuse through makeovers.

She is involved in fashion show production, styling, and motivational speaking. She co-produced “Pink the Runway 2015” which was the first black tie couture fashion show for plus-sized women. Laura advocates for size equality and positive body image in the luxury fashion industry. She is also an anti-bullying advocate and has created her own anti-bullying pledge. What did I tell you? She is an amazing woman.

About a month ago, she invited us to take part in a celebration of yet a new endeavor for her, the launch of her own television show on DENT Damage TV. You can find it by clicking here. Both her radio and television show are definitely worth a listen. But on this night, may of her friends, supporters and VIP’s came together to help her celebrate the wonderful news. But it wasn’t just a celebration of a new television show, it was a celebration of Laura’s overall theme, empowerment and positive self-esteem. Trust me when I say it’s impossible not to love this woman!

Laura is the least selfish person I know. While this night was about her and her new accomplishments, she wanted to share it with those closest to her. I view as a two-way street. She gets her positive energy from those around her and it’s impossible not to get that wonderful, positive energy from her back. The evening included past and present fashion show award winners, music and a fashion show. It was a celebration of beauty, the human body and positive self-esteem. Congratulations my friend! You deserve this and more, and I cannot wait to see what you do next!

Tiffany C. DuBois

 

Bistro Romano: Date Night!

When you find a great restaurant, you stick with them. In my opinion, Bistro Romano ranks up there as one of the best restaurants for Italian food. When I make this claim, it’s not just the food I’m taking into consideration. The decor, ambiance and service are also very important. Bistro Romano ranks a perfect ten on all fronts.

The restaurant features many wine events during the year and we’ve attended quite a few of them. They are held mainly in the bar area or on their third flood banquet room. It had been a while since we actually sat down for a nice dinner here so we decided to head on over to the restaurant one Sunday afternoon.

It was a quiet day at the restaurant, which we didn’t mind. We figured most people were still at the Jersey shore or the mountains for the weekend. We went downstairs and sat in their beautiful, cozy restaurant. The low lighting, exposed beams, brick and stone walls is just so intimate and relaxing. The dining room is just filled with so much charm.

We started with their amazing caesar salad that is prepared table side. It is the best caesar salad in the city. Simple, fresh ingredients that coat the lettuce perfectly, it is wonderful! We ordered a bottle of Route Stock chardonnay that went perfectly with our entrees. I ordered my favorite, the lobster ravioli and Eric ordered the duck breast. If you go, you have to try these. Both are simply out of this world. The lobster ravioli is filled with fresh lobster and the sherry cream sauce is so delicious, I could eat that by itself. The duck is cooked perfectly. There is a nice char on the outer part and it’s a perfect medium rare on the inside. It melts in your mouth when you taste it!

For dessert, we each got a glass of chocolate limoncello, the panna cotta and tiramisu. The desserts were so delicious and light. These are also two of our favorites. We rounded it off with a cup of their delicious coffee. I can sum up our meal in one word, heaven. Everything, as usual, was spot on perfect. Add in the beautiful decor, wonderful service, and we had a perfect Sunday dinner. Make sure you check out Bistro Romano’s website for events and get over there for lunch, happy hour or dinner. You won’t be disappointed!