Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Revivalist Spirits Event at Rouge

It's highly likely you've seen the Revivalist Gins as part of your favorite Philly mixologist's portfolio. Enjoyably light, these are unlike any British gins you may have previously encountered. And by that I mean that after you've had a taste of these locally distilled products, you won't associate gin with pine cones or being overly juniper-forward. With five expressions, Revivalist Gins seek to embody each of the seasons, along with a jalapeno botanical infusion that provides a nice juxtaposition between spice and nice. 

Founders & Brothers Don and Scott Avellino | Rouge Executive Chef Sam Noh

After speaking with founders and brothers Don & Scott Avellino, their passion for producing a quality local product is clear. Understanding the lack of U.S. distilled gin-based products, they both quit their day jobs to distill these spirits in hand-hammered copper stills. And to great success - their product was voted Top 100 Spirits of 2017 by Wine Enthusiast! And why the seasonal expressions, you ask? It came with the understanding that appetites and palates change along with the climate. Seeking the refreshing nature of spring? Look no further than the Equinox expression - perfect for a G+T. Need cooling citrus married with a compelling warmth? Summertide has got you covered. Autumnal vibes will certainly take you to their Harvest expression, emanating complex spices. And keep warm during the winter with Solstice on the rocks. 

If you're looking for a bit of spicy kick, be sure to grab DragonDance. Rouge's mixologist, Nathan Weigert, married the jalapeno-infused gin with the house-made Bloody mix perfectly - who needs boring vodka? Not to be outdone, Executive Chef Sam Noh paired each cocktail with small bites, including a fresh caprese salad [Equinox G+T] and a shrimp cocktail [DragonDance Bloody Mary], among others. 

Looking to pick up a bottle or five of the Revivalist Gins? The DragonDance, Summertide, and Equinox expressions are available at Fine Wine & Good Spirits. Solstice and Harvest are available through special order at the PLCB. And heads up - they're also expanding to ride the whiskey wave with the Original Resurgent Whiskey. Cask-strength at 118.4 proof, I know I'll be on the look out for that. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Davios Philadelphia Brunch

Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse goes beyond simple steaks. Regional Italian dishes abound on the menu, with a focus on quality ingredients and unique pasta creations. With ten locations in Massachusetts, Atlanta, Manhattan, and of course, Philadelphia, Davio's emphasizes their well-executed dishes, along with attentive service. They also go beyond lunch and dinner, offering up breakfast and weekend brunch service as well.  

I was able to enjoy a taste of their brunch menu, hosted by Sembat from PhillyFoodLove. Expect your meal to start off with one of my favorite pastries - the popover. A wonderful crust emanates the sharpness of gruyere and reveals soft, warm bread within. Easily enjoyed with a pat of butter. A build-your-own-bloody bar is also on offer. With vodka, gin, or tequila as your base, feel free to pair it up with the spicy kick of their house-made bloody mix, along with stuffed olives, celery, citrus, cucumber, and yes, crisp, thick-cut bacon!

Clockwise from Top Right: Caramel Pecan Waffles | Creme Brulee French Toast | Philly Cheesesteak Rolls | Cannoli Pancakes

Whether it's happy hour or brunch - the must-order at Davio's has to be the Philly cheesesteak rolls. Think cheesy, well-seasoned beef encased within an egg roll. It's then topped with crispy onion strings and a housemade spicy ketchup and mayo. Davio's amps up brunch with the sweetness of creme brulee french toast and caramel pecan waffles. Cannoli pancakes are a stunner - artfully plated with a mini cannoli on top.

For your mains, you have a range of frittatas, including preparations with either lobster or Kennett Square mushrooms. Enjoy a rich pasta carbonara, with an egg yolk ready to be mixed right alongside the pancetta. You'll be hard-pressed not to order the crab cake eggs benedict. But if you want a showstopper, go for the grilled filet mignon - it comes topped with poached eggs and hollandaise, surrounded by a popover shell.

And if you have room for it - Davio's has got your sweet tooth covered with their dessert cart. Enjoy port or limoncello, along with tiramisu, creme brulee, panna cotta, or a chocolate mousse. If you need some caffeine to perk you up, perhaps an affogato to end your meal.

So if you're looking to up your brunch game, look beyond Sabrina's or Green Eggs and head over to Davio's. I know I'll have to stop by again to check out more of their pastas and steaks for dinner. 

FTC Disclaimer: Thanks to Davios Restaurant and PhillyFoodLove for inviting me in. Regardless, my opinions are mine alone and, therefore, unbiased. 

Davio's Northern Italian Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Chima Philadelphia Review

Located at 20th and JFK, Chima Philadelphia offers up a meaty respite from the business district. With a sleek happy hour and a classic churrascaria experience, expect gauchos slicing huge skewers of meat tableside. It's all with a twist of course - Philly cheesesteak or cinnamon-spiced pineapple anyone? Chima is clearly the place to be if you're seeking to indulge in a meat feast great or a gourmet salad bar that is sure to satisfy.

Yes, please means start slicing away! No, thank you means I need a break.

Recently, Chima partnered with Hop Sing Laundromat owner, Le, to come up with signature cocktails for their drink menu. Everyone knows that Brazil's national drink is the caiprinha, with cachaca being the main ingredient. With that as the base, do try the Gaucho which features fresh muddled blackberry and lemon juice or the Gaucha with fresh raspberry. Sweet and with an underlying booziness, this is easy to enjoy. The GF was enamored with the Rio Cha, which has fresh muddled mint coupled with depth of oolong black tea, sweetness from agave nectar, lemon juice, and cachaca. Mojito flavors abound. 

Fresh salad bar including charcuterie, cheeses, salads, and soups. New Hop Sing Laundromat cocktails [$10]

Before you start the onslaught of meat, do stop by the salad bar. Freshly blanched asparagus and an assortment of greens await, along with beets, a variety of cheeses and charcuterie. Fresh mozzarella balls, hunks of Parm, prosciutto, and even a unique gorgonzola mousse are on offer.

Clockwise from Top Right: Beef Croquettes, Vegetable Soup, Turkey Salad, and of course, delectable Brazilian cheese bread

Starters also include addictive Brazilian cheese bread (I could easily down 8 of these alone!), crisp beef croquettes, and a well-seasoned turkey salad spread. We also enjoyed a root vegetable soup from the salad bar.

Clockwise from Top Right: Rodizio include Fried Bananas, Polenta Fries, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and over 15 cuts of meats sliced tableside by your churrascos

Not to be outdone, paired with all of the meats are polenta fries, garlic mashed potatoes, and fried bananas for a bit of sweetness to cut through all of the impending meat. But really, it is all about the meat. Just flip your disc over from 'No, thank you' to 'Yes, please' and the gauchos will descend. 

Clockwise: Grilled Salmon, Beef Rib, Sliced Sirloin tableisde

We are talking about over 15 cuts of meat, including top sirloin, sausage, lamb, and bacon-wrapped filet. My favorites had to be the picanha, ribeye, and a mammoth beef rib that was so tender, it was reminiscent of pot roast off the bone. They also offer a grilled salmon that's paired with a duo of sauces. Quite a delicious glut of options here at Chima!

Clockwise: NY Cheesecake [$10], Molten Chocolate Coconut Lava Cake & Vanilla Ice Cream 

Try and leave room for dessert as well. Served with fresh berries, the NY cheesecake is smooth, creamy, and will hit all the notes you're looking for in a proper cheesecake. The lava cake will take 15 minutes to prepare, but well worth the molten deluge of chocolate and coconut ganache cascading down your plate. Served with vanilla ice cream on the side, this is definitely a sweet ending your meal. Look out for the Brazilian Trio, which also features Brazilian fudge, coconut-condensed milk, and Walnut cream served in martini glasses!

The complete rodizio experience includes the gourmet salad bar, over 15 cuts of meat, sides, and grilled salmon for $56.90 pp. Check back for the occasional special offer, especially during Restaurant Week! Kids from 7 to 11 are half off and those under 7 eat free! 

FTC Disclaimer: Thanks to Chima Philadelphia for hosting us. Regardless, my opinions are mine alone and, therefore, unbiased. 

Chima Brazilian Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato