Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Talula's Garden in Washington Square of Philly ~☆

210 West Washington Square
Philadelphia, PA 19106

My hubby and I came here for our one year wedding anniversary.  I picked this restaurant hoping that it would be a nice day because I had walked by the garden once on my way to Center City District Sips at M Restaurant.  Glancing in as I walked by, the garden was enchanted looking.  The servers all had warm welcoming smiles on their faces.  I had read about Talula's Table in Kenneth Square, Pennsylvania being the hardest restaurant in the world to make a reservation at, so I was glad that Talula's Garden had opened in Philadelphia.  I did not know that it was a Stephen Starr restaurant until we made the reservation.
Outside garden dining
It was a cold night, so unfortunately we had to sit inside.  However, we were not disappointed after walking in.  The window draperies by the bar hung from the ceiling making a grand appearance.  The bar was quaint with just enough people around it.  We were seated in the dining room to the left of the entrance with wooden booth on one side of the table, and single chair on the other.  The ambiance was elegant yet rustic, which made it fascinating and comfortable.  It had an eclectic feel to the room.  The back dining room had the cheese display.  It was very nice to be able to see the cheese mongers work right before your eyes.  I eyed the long group table right in front of it for future dinner planning with my friends.   In front of that were some nice comfty sofa lounge tables.  The restroom was for both genders.  I liked the modern idea of how I could speak with my husband while looking into the mirror and washing our hands.
Cheese display and large group table
Our server was proper, formal, informative and polite, which surely met one of Stephen Starr's standards.  I appreciate how he explained where each ingredient came from and how they were grown.  For cocktails, I ordered the Baker and my husband ordered the Artist.  The Baker was a little too sweet for me, but I finished it because I knew that it was still good quality liquors that would let me feel pleasant!  The Artist tasted pretty much like champagne itself, but I guess that meant they did a good job in blending or there was not a great amount of liquor added to the champagne. 
beverage menu 

First, we were served fresh little breads with soft butter sandwiched in between.  They were kute and delectable!  Please excuse the lack of lighting within my photos.

For our cheese plate, we ordered the Curd and Whey.  The cheddar cheese was absolutely the best cheddar that my husband and I had ever had in our lives.  The cheese monger who served the plate, introduced it as an award winning cheese.  The ricotta was also easy to eat with mild flavor and silky texture.  The jam, nuts, dried fruit, and salt were pleasant sides.  Mainly, we were very happy about the cheddar! 

 cheese menu

Beecher's Clothbound Cheddar
Bailey's Farm Handmade Fresh Ricotta

As our appetizer, we had the crab and lobster tomato salad (the second selection under Beginning).  The seafood was extremely fresh and succulent.  The tomatoes were plump and juicy.  The seasoning was perfect.  We were very satisfied with this dish. 

dinner menu
Chilled Peekytoe Crab and Maine Lobster, Marinated Tomatoes, Lemon, and Hot Paprika

For our entrees, my husband ordered the lobster with BBQ pork belly (I do not believe that it is featured on this menu) and I ordered the duck breast with confit and foie gras.  The lobster was again excellent, and the pork belly melted on my tongue.  My husband enjoyed the more medium outside duck breast pieces, while I enjoyed the red center pieces.  The presentation of my plate was adorable with the radishes.  I had to pack the remainder of my dish since I had become full.  I surely enjoyed it the next day with a glass of wine at home!
Muscovy Duck Breast and Confit Duck Leg, Autumn Chestnuts, Pears, and Spicy Mustard Greens

I had another cocktail along the way.  It was stronger and made me even happier for the night!  We were too full to order from the dessert menu, but would like to keep in mind the Orchard Fruits and Berries for next time.  They were nice enough to give us a blueberry sorbet for our anniversary, which ended the night delightfully.  The sorbet was a burst of flavor within my mouth, smooth consistency, and not too tart.  In all, I would say that the cocktails that we had did not impress me as much but did the trick, so they were par.  The service was excellent.  The ambiance was refreshing to see from other restaurants in Philadelphia.  I would definetely recommend the cheddar cheese and the crab and lobster tomato salad.  I would even come back just to get the cheddar and pair it with a wine sitting at the bar.  I like how they emphasized freshness and delivered it.  I would recommend Talula's Garden for an intimate dinner or with a group of friends, for trying out something new or for a special occasion.  I look forward to coming back with a group of friends to try out more cheeses, cocktails, and their desserts.  Hopefully if the weather is nice, we can sit out in the garden and also enjoy the outside bar.  Needless to say, it was a happy first year anniversary!  ~♥

Blueberry sorbet, on the house!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Top 2011 Oscar Night Fashion Faves

Mila Kunis in lavender by Elie Saab

Halle Berry in beige by Marchesa

Anne Hathaway in 4th (metallic), 6th (red), and 7th (blue)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hamburger Marinade Recipe

Dried Basil
Dried Parsley
McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak: course salt, black pepper, red pepper, garlic, sunflower oil, paprika
CB & Bruce's Love Rub: salt, red pepper flakes, paprika, light brown sugar, cayenne pepper, dry sage, garlic powder, dry rosemary
Worcester Sauce or Mapuo Sauce

Bind together with an egg and get a kick in your burger!  Top with your favorite condiments and enclose within bun.

Photo includes fried okura and pickle on the side, and egg with patty.