Square 1682 Burger
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Philadelphia is really known for BYOB Brunch spots but we happen to be in the company of a few locations like Square 1682 that don’t mind pouring you a mimosa or three. Conveniently located at the corner of 17th street, you can even pop down to Federal Donuts after like we did. Square1682 really has style, featuring high ceilings and connected to Kimpton Hotel making it an easy choice for those looking to stay in the neighborhood.

Square 1682 Menu

Though a reservation is always recommended, you won’t really need one here if you’re traveling with a small party. To start, we ordered the sangria pitchers which are more than enough for a party of two. They also have a variety of cocktails available and your standard mixes from the bar.

Square 1682 Burger
Photo by Nicolette Harrington.

The Food

In was in the mood for something hearty and filling. So, I ordered the burger with the smoked pecanwood bacon, onions and sharp cabot cheddar. The meal came with a salad which had a light, refreshing dressing. On my burger, I was concerned that the cheese would be far too overpowering but it turned out to be the perfect blend of flavors. The burger is also the messier option but you can always opt for something cleaner like their frittata.

Casandra Rosario at Square 1682

Besides the food, I loved how invited and comfortable the place was. There wasn’t any pressure to leave and the windows give you a great view if you’re into people watching. I did notice that larger parties began to crowd the restaurant in the late afternoon, so arrive early.

Square 1682 Frittata
Square 1682’s frittata topped with loads of in season veggies. Photo by Nicolette Harrington.

Be sure put this on your to eat list for the next time you’re Traveling While Hungry to Philadelphia. In the meantime, share your favorite Philly spot in the comments below!

 

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Manzo Ristorante

So, you’re visiting New York City and have a list of things to see, but where are you going to eat? While you won’t be able to chew your way through the entire city, here are a few suggestions when you only have one day in the culinary capital of the world.

Brunch 

Your feet are going to get a lot of use during your time in the concrete jungle, so you’ll need to start your day with a healthy brunch. At Essex, located in the Lower East Side neighborhood, you can enjoy flavorful dishes including Lobster Benedict and challa bread french toast. They also have an ever-tempting offer of bottomless mimosas, Bloody Mary’s, or screwdrivers. Don’t go too crazy though, since you still have the whole day ahead of you! Keep in mind that Essex is a popular spot, so be sure to book a reservation in advance if you can.

Brunch Meal Essex Restaurant
Don’t forget to toss on your walking shoes before you head out to this brunch spot. Essex is sure to give you a hearty meal to take on the day.

Lunch

During your visit, you simply must order some pizza. Period. The debate on New York’s best pizza spot is hotly contested. Traditionalists declare the city’s O.G. Lombardi’s as king. Die-hards sing praises to Joe’s, John’s, and Patsy’s. The list goes on, but I’m going to throw caution to the wind and put something a little unexpected on the table: &pizza.

&pizza is known for its outside-the-box pies in a signature oblong shape. Making it’s debut in NYC in 2016, the D.C. transplant has been largely considered one of the best new pizza spots in the city. You can choose one of their funky creations or have total control and create your own. Seriously. You have the choice of everything from toppings and finishes such as Italian sausage and hot honey, down to your choice of dough and sauces.

&Pizza
Even the pickiest eater will be able to create something they love at &pizza.

Dinner

After a long day on the go, slow down with a nice dinner. At Eataly NYC Flatiron, kill two birds with one stone by crossing a must-visit off your list and enjoy a delicious meal while you’re there. Inside its flagship Flatiron District location, Manzo Ristorante has one of the best steaks I’ve ever eaten on its menu (the Bistecca alla Fiorentina) and a wide wine and cocktail selection for every palate. It’s worth an author’s note that I used to work here. Still, I’m always sure to recommend it to any friend coming to town.

Manzo Ristorante
In the mood for a nice, juicy steak with a glass of wine? Look no further than Manzo Ristorante!

Dessert  

Before you end your journey through the city that never sleeps, indulge in a slice of authentic New York-style cheesecake. There’s no better place to go than Junior’s, a restaurant and bakery that’s best known for its “World’s Most Fabulous Cheesecake.” The cheesecake lives up to its name, as this dessert is hands down one of my favorites for its cake-like crust and its just right texture balance between creamy and firm. They also have a large selection of other desserts, from decadent red velvet cake to ginormous smoothies. There are a few locations including one in Midtown. You can head over after your Broadway show for a sweet end to your night!

Junior's Cheescake
The perfect night cap to a busy day in the bustling city of New York. You won’t be disappointed in your decision to indulge in this sweet treat!
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Lokal Logo
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Lokal, located at 3190 Commodore Plaza, Miami, FL 33133, combines two things that we love here at Food Before Love – burgers and beer! The Hungry Crew joined me for some of the best burgers and fries Miami has to offer.

THE RESTAURANT

Lokal is a great casual spot with a laid back vibe. When I arrived, the outdoor seating was packed. Luckily, there was enough indoor seating for the Hungry Crew, tucked in the corner under their recognizable “Lokal” sign. The décor was unique and there was enough space for patrons not to feel cramped while still feeling cozy.

Lokal sign
Unmistakable Lokal Signage. Photo by Lokal.

THE FOOD

I have a taste for lighter beers, so I ordered an apple ale while other crew members ordered a Russian Imperial stout and rosé (Yes, wine! Yet another fave here at Food Before Love). Other members of the crew were all about the burgers and passed on the beer.

I wanted to order one of each burger on the menu, but I knew that was not the practical thing to do, so I asked our waitress for her top three burgers. Without hesitation, she named the “Frita by Kush,” “Juan’s Fidy-Fidy,” and “The Lokal.” The crew ordered all these and the “Miami Blues” and “My Childhood Dream.” Each of these burgers had something unique about them. The “Frita” features guava jelly (different – I know, but it’s amazing). The “Fidy-Fidy” features ground beef and ground bacon. The “Miami Blues” is loaded with crispy bacon and salty blue cheese. The showiest burger, “My Childhood Dream,” uses an artisanal donut as a bun!

The wait for our food seemed like forever. However, I tend to exaggerate because I’m always hungry. To pass the time, the Hungry Crew engaged in great conversation. The noise level was perfect – not too loud and not deathly quiet. When our food arrived, all conversation stopped. That’s the hallmark of a delicious meal. I had “The Lokal,” described as “Florida grass-fed burger with a homemade honey mustard using local honey, melted jack cheese, Florida tomatoes, sliced red onions, arugula, and Homestead avocados.” The beef was perfectly seasoned and all of the dressings were super fresh because all of their ingredients are locally sourced. Even the ketchup and honey mustard that’s served with the fries are made in-house.

Lokal burger
Lokal Burger, half french fries, half sweet potato fries, and a refreshing beer to wash it down with. Photo by Chris Molina.

BOTTOM LINE

Overall, I would give Lokal a rating of five out of five french fries. The burgers were perfectly cooked to order, the service was timely and friendly, and the ambiance matched the food – comfortable and casual. If you’d like a delicious burger in Miami, definitely go to Lokal.

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Sakerum
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It’s no secret that Washington D.C. has become one of the most talked-about food cities to visit. Therefore, celebrity chefs have made their way to the nation’s capital to show off their culinary talents. These D.C. gems below are often forgotten because of all the new restaurants opening up. So, I had to show them some love. Whether you’re in the mood for small tapas, comfort food or high-end dining, D.C. has it all. Here are my favorite hidden gems sprinkled throughout the city.

1. Brookland’s Finest (Brookland Neighborhood)

If you’re in the mood for comfort food, Brookland’s has got your covered. A few of my must-have starters are the brussel sprout chips and pretzel bites. The sprouts are crispy perfection alongside a tangy lemon dill sauce, which complements the chips beautifully. The pretzel bites are tossed in a delicious buttery white truffle oil. As an entree, I usually get the seared salmon and cheddar grits with tabasco beurre blanc. It is delicious down to very last bite.

For dessert, you can’t leave without indulging in the brioche bread pudding. The waitress comes out with your bread pudding in one hand and a side of bourbon sauce in the other. The table’s candle light burner doubles as the bourbon sauce warmer. After a few seconds, the delicious bourbon sauce is ready to pour over the thick-cut brioche bread pudding. If you’re looking for tantalizingly comfort food, Brookland’s Finest is the place!

D.C. gems
Brioche bread pudding is a must when dinning at Brookland’s! Don’t forget to drizzle the warm bourbon sauce over this dessert before chowing down!

2. Compass Rose (U Street)

You don’t have to travel 4,000 miles to have a unique international market food experience. Compass Rose offers cuisines from Spain, Hawaii, Malaysia, Demark, Georgia and even Mexico! The eclectic around the world menu is what sets this place apart from the others. There are no limits to how creative you can get when choosing your meal. I ordered the Georgian Khachapuri cheese-filled bread and paired it with Spain’s fried fingerling potatoes with spicy tomato sauce. Compass Rose is not like any other experience because of the flavorful international tapas available in this cozy place without packing your suitcase!

Compass Rose
Compass Rose has a menu chock full of traditional international dishes like their Lamb Kefta. Photo by Compass Rose.

3. Copycat Co. (H Street Atlas District)

Have you ever wanted tasty, cheap, authentic Chinese street food and crafted cocktails? Enter: Copycat Co., a favorite late-night, fast-casual spot. You can order potstickers for $5, one skewer for $4.50 each and $1.50 steamed boas!

The chicken skewers were very succulent and spicy. If you are mild spice lover you may want to stick with the regular spiced option. The pan-fried chicken potstickers come with a soy-based dipping sauce; perfect for the mild flavored dumplings.

Upstairs, on the second floor is where the libation magic happens! It’s similar to a chic speakeasy with dim setting. Behind the bar are handwritten drink titles and recipes on a chalkboard as a smart way to school customers on the history of classic cocktails like Martinis, Manhattans, and Mules. The bartenders are very skilled and can whip up or suggest any drink concoction. As a result, this is late night experience that will leave you very satisfied!

Copycat Co.
A tray full of dumplings, skewers and boas all for a great price! Wash it all down with one of Copycat’s signature cocktails. Photo by Copycat. 

4. Sakerum (14th Street)

Looking for a Latin and Asian inspired happy hour? Sakerum has beautiful decor and a fantastic happy hour. They serve up fresh sushi rolls, savory tapas, specialty rum and sake cocktails.Their food specials include the spicy, crunchy salmon and salmon avocado sushi rolls, grilled calamari with eel sauce, sweet teriyaki glazed chicken skewers and zesty cashew lime edamame. Best part, each of these options cost just $5!

You can’t go wrong with a menu that offers such an assortment for such an excellent price! This place is perfect to grab both drinks and tasty food; consider Sakerum for your next happy hour or weekend late night bite!

Sakerum
With half a dozen sake choices and even more sushi roles to indulge in, there’s something for every sushi lover at Sakerum! Photo by Sakerum.

5. Miracle on 7th Street (Shaw Neighborhood)

It’s beginning to looking like Christmas with this holiday pop-up bar. This themed bar is sure to put everyone who visits in the holiday spirit. The bar consists of 3 adjacent bars (Mockingbird Hill, Southern Efficiency and Eat the Rich) with different Christmas decor in each. This year’s menu consists of creative holiday drinks, spiked or topped with cookie dough bites and peppermint candy canes. All featured drinks are $14 and shots are only $5 each! Each drink name is holiday themed too. With names like Brew Dolph the Rein Beer, Cookie Dough & Snuggles and I Sleigh All Day it’s easy to get into the holiday spirit while at this bar.

Customers can wander through five themed areas, including the Chinese and a Movie room, a Hanukkah homage and a Gingerbread house that leads guests into a Candy Land inspired room. You can slay your selfie game with the decorated Christmas tree or the painted backdrop of Beyonce, inspired by her visual album Lemonade. There’s even an antique sleigh to sit in!

This Christmas bar is a local favorite and returns every year with a magical winter wonderland scenery!

Miracle DC
The Whobilation (Gin, Dry Curacao, Spiced Cranberry Soda) and I Sleigh, All Day (Calvados, Apple cola, Semi-Dry Cider, Sparkling Water). Photo by DC Nomster.

 

Miracle DC
This Beyonce inspired room is sure to get you into the holiday spirit! Photo by Drink Company. 

This article was written by BonAppéDee (D’Angela S. Moore), a Washington, D.C. food blogger. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for more!

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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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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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