Tuesday, July 29, 2008


108 North Wayne Ave., Wayne, (610) 687-6558

Bustling, hip Christopher's in Wayne is everything you would NOT expect from a family-friendly restaurant. For one, it doesn't look like a chain restaurant. It's actually furnished and decorated tastefully in a casual elegant style, and yet perfectly comfortable for kids. The staff is friendly and patient, and the menu offers a full range of grown-up American dishes.

On a recent Saturday evening, we stopped in and found every table occupied by families. A good sign, we thought. We only waited about 15 minutes. Crayons, coloring paper and bread arrived right away with the menus. The beer list included lots of local micro-brews and your standard domestics. All wines come by the glass, 1/2 carafe or bottle. The most expensive bottle being $45. Plus, some fun cocktails like P.I.N.K. martini and Blueberry Creamsicle.

We started with the Sesame Crusted Tuna ($18.50) with Thai ginger sauce, wasabi mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables. I'm a sucker for mashed potatoes, and these had a nice, little kick. The tuna came rare as I asked, and it was yummy.
Husband had Barbecue Pulled Pork ($14.50) with grilled bread with garlic mashed potatoes and a side salad. Good, fresh, and you could actually taste the garlic. The kids didn't get too creative only having the pasta with butter ($4). But, if they wanted to, the options were there. And, chocolate cake was a winner.

Absolutely worth a visit. Without kids? Go a little later when they're all in bed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Standard Tap

2nd & Popular Sts., Philadelphia, 215.238.0630

Nothing could be better after rock climbing than a freshly poured beer from the Standard Tap, one of many great bars and eateries in Northern Liberties. Don't expect to get typical bar food here, although it may appear that you could. No chance. You definitely won't get any food between 3:30 and 5 pm when they take a break between lunch and dinner. And, by no means, should you think you'll get a Bud or Coors. Just walk away.

What's extra special: they have two hand pumps for the smoothest pour around. Beer taps change on occasion, so who knows what'll it be. Dark, woody and eclectic right down to the servers. Definitely stop in when you're in the neighborhood.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


227 S. 18th St., Philadelphia, 215.545.2262

Parc hasn't been open even a week yet, but I work nearby and have been watching the crowds descend on it. It's Steven Starr, after all. Well, it's also Girls Dinner so why not head there to see what the hype is all about. We called the same day to see about reservations but the earliest was 5:30 (way too early) and the next open was 9:45. We stopped by about 8:15 to see how long the wait would be. For an outdoor table facing either Rittenhouse Square or on Locust Street, it was 1 1/2 hours, inside was an hour. We headed over to Tria for a drink first and to wait out the crowd.

I like Tria because it's a great place to try new wines and cheeses, plus they pair their cheese with interesting condiments. We had La Tur ($9), a goat, sheep and cow's milk semi-soft cheese from Piedmont, Italy, with honey marmalade and Cashel Blue ($7), a blue-veined cow's milk cheese from County Tipperary, Ireland, with a chocolate fig sauce. The La Tur is their most popular. I'm not sure why. We didn't love it.

By 9ish, we went back to Parc and were seated right away. Although, the wait for a table outside was still an hour!

The decor is authentic vintage Parisian. Every little detail was considered, right down to the European styled phone number on the awning out front. The floor is made up of tiny tiles. The tables are marble top. Huge mirrors on the walls have been antiqued. The bar is Paris in Philly. The only thing I noticed that wasn't so French was the wine list. A bottle of Angeline Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, California was priced at $42. That hurts, especially when I see it in Total Wine for $10.

The first thing you'll notice when you walk in is the noise level. It's astronomical. Even at 10 pm, we were still yelling to each other. The crowd is about as diverse as Philadelphia. Old, young, sloppy, dressed up. Everyone is checking this place out. And they should be. It's amazing. Steven Starr has simply outdone himself.

The menu is, surprise, Parisian bistro. The winners for the night were the Tuna Carpaccio and the Boeuf Bourgiunonne. Girlfriend Roz does not ever eat anything raw and she raved about the tuna. So, I'm just sayin', it was good. My bronzino was delicious other than it was a tad overcooked. Lingiuni with Clams was just ok. Service was on the slow side, but we'll give it a pass since it's new. According to our server, they are taking 400 to 500 reservations a night, and doing about 800 covers, if that gives you any indication of what's going on here.

Get there. Run, don't walk.

Others say: Phoodie;

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A two-fer quickie: Maia and Tango

Edited to add: Closed

Maia is the new mega-restaurant/market/coffee shop by the Feury brothers that recently opened in Villanova. While I am completely turned off by the location - a corporate office setting next to the Blue Route - once you walk inside, you're transported to a food connoisseur's haven. Since we opted not to eat there because it was so loud and too bustling for our mood, I can give you a first impression of the atmosphere.

Immediately when you walk in you'll be overwhelmed. It's loud to begin with. Large bar to the left with tables for bistro dining. Prepared-foods market straight ahead to the right. They have a nice take out beer selection too. Upstairs is the fancy dining with an outside patio. My first thought was that it reminded me of an upscale cafeteria/food court. Don't get me wrong, it's really nice. There's just a heck of a lot going on.

Others say: Philly; The Brew Lounge;

We weren't up for the noisy dinner so we headed back towards home and stopped at Tango. We had lunch there a while ago and were really impressed with the menu and wine selection. But, we were a little let down. Average is how I'd describe the food. Maybe I'd go back though and give it another chance.

Others say: Citysearch; TripAdvisor
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