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Philadelphia is consistently evolving to be a power player in the culinary game. From Michael Solomonov to Rich Landau, there are many people that contribute to its evolution. During my two and a half years here I’ve seen a lot. I’ve seen restaurants open, close and sometimes even re-brand because their initial concept wasn’t working. It’s fascinating, especially being from New York because I’ve also seen some of my hometown favorites make a splash in this scene as well. Although there are many spots I love to grab a bite from in Philly, this time I’m focusing on the basics. Here are four of my favorite places that I think you should check out in Philadelphia.

Beiler's Doughnuts
Beiler’s Doughnuts is great for those with a sweet tooth. From Oreo Creme doughnuts to apple fritters, they’ve got something for everyone.

Beiler’s Doughnuts

I am a sucker for sweets. I love desserts. Honestly, if I could just eat sweets all day I would! However, everything should be consumed in moderation! (Do foodies really live by that rule though?) The brain child of Alvin Beiler, now run by his sons Kevin and Keith Beiler, is a classic food stop that people make when visiting Reading Terminal. Their Apple Fritters and Apple Cider doughnuts are a must. Also they have an assortment of doughnuts that will appeal to everyone’s palate. Reading Terminal is amazing in itself, but this is a must!

Wiz Kid

Vegetarians, vegans, plant-based lovers (or however else you choose to identify) this place is for you. Why? It’s tasty plant-based food that is budget friendly. This place is the fast food joint from the owners of Vedge and V Street, which are reputable vegan friendly restaurants. Vedge is more on the higher end, V Street is in the middle and Wiz Kid is on the lower end. The Korean Fried Tempeh, known as the KFT is one of the popular dishes served here. I’ve also tried the Wiz Kid Philly (seitan based), which is good too. The Rutabaga Wiz (vegan cheese) is pretty good and although I’m not a vegetarian, I found the food to be pretty yummy and the drinks refreshing. They do have a bar so you can add alcohol to their homemade drinks making it the perfect balance for happy hour!

 

Korean Fried Tempeh
The Korean Fried Tempeh also known as the KFT.

Spice 28

This place is one of my favorites because I’ve never had a bad meal here. One of my favorite meals to order when I go here is the Penang Curry with Chicken. The fried rice and the Asian greens are some of my go-to dishes as well. They have a phenomenal happy hour which features an assortment of foods ranging from Chicken Satay to Dumplings in Chili Oil. Drinks during happy hour run from $3-$6 which makes this a budget friendly spot. I’d also consider this a cute place for date night because the ambiance is casual, relaxed and dimmed lights are sprinkled throughout the restaurant.

The Penang Curry with Chicken is my go-to dish when visiting Spice 28.

Time Restaurant

Lovers of live jazz will fall in love with this place. Located on Sansom Street between 13th and Juniper, this venue is unique not only for the jazz, but for the dance party on Saturdays and their amazing whiskey bar. The shrimp and grits and wings are my favorites here, but the happy hour deals here are pretty good as well. This is a great place to visit any day of the week, whether you’re out with your friends or want grab a bite with bae. The vibes are good and you will leave here full and satisfied.

shrimp and grits from Time Restaurant.
Shrimp and grits from Time Restaurant.

This is just a sampling of what my city has to offer. But don’t worry, there’s more to come. If you plan to visit any of these places, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. And if there’s a restaurant we’ve just got to try tweet us. I look forward to continue to provide more places that are great and will make you fall in love with Philadelphia. Do not sleep on Philly!

 

For The Love of Ritas’ is a visual blog of Philly’s food and drink scene. Coley Cole is determined to show you places in Philadelphia that provide excellent experiences. You can find her on Instagram by clicking here

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food before love enamel pins

Tis the season for knee high boots, holiday shopping, coquito and of course, our signature Food Before Love enamel pins. As the weather changes so does your wardrobe. So, we are giving you five stylish ways you can wear our pins for the remainder of fall, and well into the winter season.

1. Add it to your Fall/Winter hat, to make it pop!

As the weather gets colder, we’ll be digging those hats out to keep our head and ears warm. So, make your hat stand out from all the others with our “Wish You Were Beer” enamel pin, and go have a beer (of course).

wish you were beer pins
Our wish you were beer pin is perfect for those who are happy with hops.

2. Pin it to your shirt or sweater before heading to brunch

Brunch is a year-round event that goes well with every season, so bring some flare to the brunch table with one of our Food Before Love enamel pins. Whether it’s to go meet up for brunch with your girls, or for a brunch date our pins make the perfect brunch accessory.

enamel pins
From brunch with your girlfriends to date night with your boo, our enamel pins are the perfect add on to make your outfit pop!

3. Add it right to your winter coat

What better way to style a new winter coat or bring an old one to life than with a snazzy new pin. We already love to add flare to our winter outerwear with hats, scarves and gloves, so go ahead and add one of our enamel pins to really make that winter jacket stand out.

Take your winter coat from drab to fab with our signature Food Before Love pin.

4. Add some pizazz to your little black bag

A little black bag is a staple in many of our closets, but how do we make our LBB stand out against the rest? Add a super cute and colorful FBL enamel pin! Put our wine snob pin on your bag and watch your little black bag come to life. It’ll also help bring out all the aspects of the rest of your outfit, and make them POP!

wine snob pin
Wine not confess your love for wine with our “Wine Snob” pin?

5. Denim jacket, duh!

One of my absolute favorite pieces to add pins to is my jean jacket. Denim jackets are like a blank slate waiting for you to spread your creativity across. With a denim jacket, you don’t have to choose just one enamel pin, instead you can mix and match a few of them to add just the right touch to your jacket.

Food Before Love enamel pin
Our Editor-in-Chief Cassandra likes to rock our signature FBL pin with her distressed jean jacket.

Interested in being the most stylish foodie around? You can find all of our signature pins here. Be sure to tag us in your pictures and show off all the cool ways you style our pins!

 

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holiday gift guide

The holiday season is here! With Thanksgiving and Black Friday in just a few days, we wanted to share our top picks for this giving season. So, we’ve rounded up our favorite products in this holiday gift guide. From stocking stuffers, to booze, we’ve picked our favorite products of the year that the foodie in your life will love.

First, we want to let you know about the sales we’re having for the holidays in our shop.Our Wine Snob pins are on sale for $12 and our Natural Hair Brunch Affair pin pack is $10 off, which means you’ll get three pins for the $15!

Now, the picks for our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide.

1. Lady Lexis Sweets

We all have a friend that eats desserts firsts, always. So, skip the restaurant gift card and go straight for a sweet treat from chef Lexis and Dr. Sharon Gonzalez. This mother-daughter duo serve up delicious desserts at their store in Harlem.

Chef Lexis
Lady Lexi’s Sweets has all the desserts someone with a sweet tooth desires. Photo: Lady Lexi’s Sweets.

2. Brooklyn Coquito

Ditch the bottle of spiked eggnog and go for a bottle of coquito instead. Traditionally served in Puerto Rico, coquito is a mixture of rum, coconut milk, sweet condensed milk, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves. The final product is delicious and perfect for the holidays.

3. Chambong

Perfect for the friend who likes to party, but also keeps is classy. The Chambong takes your champagne drinking experience to a new level. Break these glasses out for dinner parties, New Years Eve or even a Sunday morning mimosa.

4. Cravings by Chrissy Teigen

Though an oldie, it’s a goodie. Cravings is filled with pages of comfort food recipes that will hit the spot during the holidays and long after. Teigen’s authentic voice throughout the book is hilarious and the easy to follow steps make this a perfect gift, even for those new to cooking.

5. Brunch Queen Clutch

This beautiful leather canvas is great for the queens in your life who just can’t get enough of brunch.

Brunch Queen Clutch
This clutch in one hand and a mimosa in the other makes for a perfect morning.

6. Ayesha Curry’s Cookware 

Our holiday gift guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this new cookware line. Ayesha Curry’s line is affordable, aesthetically pleasing and based on the reviews a total hit! Get it exclusively at Target.

7. Hella Cocktail Co.

Got a friend who’s bad and boozy? If so, this if the gift for them! The guys at Hella Cocktail have created their own line of bitters and now they want to show you how to do the same. If creating your own cocktail isn’t what you’re looking for, they’ve got ready made mixes for bloody marys, margaritas and tonic!

hella cocktails
Not sure which mixer to get? Head to their bar in Brooklyn and try before you buy!

8. FBL’s Wine Snob Pins

We love these pins because of how inclusive they are. We’ve made three different pins to match the variety of skin tones our black and brown readers have. Plus, during our Black Friday sale, you can buy two of these and get the third one free!

9. 228 Grant Street Candle Co. 

There’s just something about candles that always make you feel good and at peace. 228 Grant Street Candle Co. takes the feeling to another level. Their soy candles burn slowly and have the most pleasant aromas. Gift this to a loved one and they’ll be thanking you for months.

grant street candle co
With a burn time of 130 hourse, these candles can be enjoyed long after the holidays are over.

10. Rideau Wine

The perfect gift for that person in your life who likes feeling a little fancy. From sweet reds, moscato to rosé, Rideau has it all.

11. Jasmine Diane Merch 

Jasmine Diane is a lifestyle blog full of career, fashion and relationship advice. Jasmine Cooper, the editor-in-chief is empowering women to share their journey with the hashtag #MyGirlStory on social media. Grab one of her exclusive tees or sweatshirts for the dope woman in your life.

Jasmine Diane
The Kansas City native wants to empower women to share their story using #MyGirlStory.

That’s what is topping our list this holiday season, what’s on yours? Share what you’re hoping for in the comments below and keep checking back here leading up to the holidays. We’ll be adding more great gifts your foodie family and friends will love!

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Tai Pei Orange Chicken

This post was sponsored Tai Pei, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Thanksgiving is coming up and I find myself running around with less and less time for my essential meals of the day. To stay on track with my schedule, I grab a Tai Pei meal from the frozen food aisle of the super market. I decided to pick up Tai Pei’s Orange Chicken entree today for a quick lunch and I have to admit, it’s my favorite so far.

tai pei orange chicken

I excitedly heat up the meal, the bright packaging was so enticing. The fact that it’s quick and simple to heat up in the same packaging, certainly helps as well. When I’m on the go, there’s little time for fixing plates; I just want to eat. I’m a huge fan of Asian food, so, I’m always looking forward to trying a new entree from Tai Pei. There are so many options to choose from, but it really does depend on what your local supermarket is carrying. I go to a different supermarket each time to make sure I’m experiencing large variety Tai Pei offers. Before heading to the store, I use Tai Pei’s store locator so I know what to expect upon arrival.

The orange chicken entree consist of breaded white meat chicken, vegetables and fried rice in an citrus-flavored sauce. I warmed it up for about five minutes in the container. Then, I let it cool for about two minutes before digging in. I peaked into the container during the cooking process. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of chicken I saw.

The portion size on this dish is perfect. It’s just enough for one with plenty of chicken and rice making it a filling meal. I definitely felt a hit of heat at the end of the dish, which surprised me. I love spicy foods and this one was just so flavorful all the way to the end. I’m not big on vegetables but Tai Pei makes it easy to consume because of the sauces they use and how fresh the ingredients taste. This might have been the first time I ate all my carrots. My mother would be so proud.

The best part is that you too can have Tai Pei in your freezer this weekend after a busy holiday season. If you love Asian food or Fried Rice, then it should be your only solution on the go.

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seafood paella
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Recently, a couple members of the Hungry Crew joined me in checking out one of Miami’s seafood hotspots, Rincon Escondido Tapas, located at 2697 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33137. Rincon serves traditional Spanish and Argentinean cuisine in a tapas style and has quite the reputation for their seafood paella.

THE RESTAURANT

Rincon has the classic “hole-in-the-wall” appeal. Everyone knows that hole-in-the-wall restaurants have the best eats. Outside, there is seating on a raised concrete patio. Inside, Rincon is cozy, with small tables clustered about that can be rearranged depending on the size of your party. It also had an eclectic décor. Rincon is perfect for casual dining, no reservation is necessary, unless you want to order Rincon’s most popular dish: the paella. It’s a good idea to call ahead if you want to order that dish. All of their food is made to order and the paella – which comes with either chicken or seafood – takes about an hour to prepare.

THE FOOD

seafood pallea
The paella is a must try at Rincon, but call ahead if you and your party don’t want to wait for this dish. It takes about an hour to prepare. Photo: Rincon 

Rincon’s seafood paella (“Paella de Mariscos”) is a traditional paella with shrimp, squid, mussels, and clams. One order typically feeds two people, but the Hungry Crew and I ate to contentment and had leftovers – which tasted even better the next day. The presentation of the dish was mouthwatering, the aroma was delicious. It was flavorful, but a bit salty. Luckily, we each had a glass of white wine sangria to cleanse our pallets.

While waiting for our seafood paella, we indulged in some tapas. We ordered the grilled squid (Chipirones a la Plancha), cod fish croquettes (Croquetas de Bacalao), and sautéed garlic shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo).

Before the tapas arrived at our table, the owner served us a small bowl of potato salad as a starter. I usually don’t like potato salad that isn’t made by my mother, but Rincon’s potato salad was tasty. It was well seasoned and not overly creamy.

As we were finishing the potato salad, the grilled squid arrived with warm bread on the side. The grilled squid was not big on flavor. However, the oil based sauce that it was served in was delicious with the bread. Next came the codfish croquettes and OMG they were fantastic! The four pieces were just enough to wet our pallets. Shortly before the seafood paella came out, the sautéed garlic shrimp arrived with more warm bread, it was delicious. The shrimp was well seasoned and perfectly cooked with a kick of spice.

 

Grilled squid served in a buttery lemon sauce.

We ended our meal on a sweet note with flan–a creamy custard dessert popular in Spain. It was divine. The flan’s consistency was perfect and was not overly sweet.

BOTTOM LINE

Overall, I would give Rincon Escondido a rating of four out of five shrimp. It’s a great place to enjoy scrumptious seafood in Miami while hanging out with friends or a casual date night.

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Sunday Brunch

Sunday brunch has become quite the welcomed weekend tradition. On any given Sunday, there is no limit to the number of guests pouring into restaurants eagerly awaiting to partake in everything from bottomless mimosas and avocado toast to turning up on the dance floor. While I admit it is an event I look forward to each week, sometimes I want to experience the same brunch joys with a few out of box twists.

There’s no shame in wanting to do things your own way with a little creativity. Dying to take the boring out of brunch? Get into these three useful tips and thank me later:

1. Cook This, Not That

When you think brunch, a bevy of omelets, French toast and crepes served hot and ready probably come to mind. But the downside is that they require your constant stove-top attention, which can take away from the brunching fun. If you’re hosting Sunday brunch for your family and friends, opt for unconventional brunch items that you can make ahead of time, like a quick breakfast casserole, quiche, banana breads or muffins. And if you plan well enough in advance, you can freeze and thaw them the same day without sacrificing taste.

2. Turn Sunday Brunch Into A Show

Another way to breathe some life into your drab brunch plans is to go multi-course. Like upscale dinners, you can have a five-course breakfast with new pairings each round to keep the conversation going for hours. Keep it light at first then bring out the heavier entrees a little later. Don’t forget: always end with dessert because, why not?

A plate of waffles and bowls of fruit sit on a brunch table.
Fruit is a great beginning course while waffles and other pastries are cooking. Photo by Photo by Megan Savoie on Unsplash.

3. Turn Chambong Into Your Best Friend.

Mimosas are a Sunday brunch staple and here at Food Before Love, we are proud mimosaholics. While you can never go wrong with a classic, putting your own spin on the drink can offer a pleasant surprise. Enter the chambong. An easy-to-use glass that enhances the champagne drinking experience, you’ll never put your lips to a flute again. Instead of a stem, the champagne comes out the bottom of the glass in a funnel-like manner. Talk about a new way to enjoy your favorite beverage, right? You can even turn things up a notch by trying to finish the entire glass in one “sip.” To purchase your own, visit https://shopchambong.com/.

A clutch with the words "mimisaholic" on it and two clinking champagne glasses.
Proudly proclaim your love for mimosas at brunch with our mimosaholic clutch!

Now that you know how I like to mis up my Sunday brunch, let me know you like to enjoy brunch. Any new ideas you’re looking to try? Share your suggestions in the comments below!

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