Philly fanatics, get your sandwich fix at Bradenton’s South Philly Cheesesteak, on 34th St. W. next to IMG and across from State College of Florida. The steak, onions and cherry peppers are all thoroughly chopped and sautéed together on the flat top, then heaped with mild, creamy cheese onto a pillowy roll from Philly’s own Amoroso’s. It is melt-in-your-mouth fantastic.
When we dine late in the evening at P.F. Chang's, we like to start out with a cocktail--usually it’s the restaurant's signature Mai Tai ($8.75). This rum-intense refresher is served in a tall, slim glass with a garnish of a slice of fresh pineapple and a bright red cherry that floats atop the beverage. It’s a traditional Mai Tai concoction of rum and sweet juices, but this one is made with Bacardi light rum and Myers dark. And there's orange liqueur in the glass in addition the juice mix. Be warned, there’s a generous pour of alcohol here--you can become relaxed pretty fast.
The bacon and Brussels sprouts smashed potatoes at Baker & Wife are a perfect side dish--fluffy, buttery seasoned potatoes are smashed with generous chunks of bacon and Brussels sprouts. The result is creamy, salty, crunchy and 100 percent delicious. They come standard with some dinner plates, but Baker & Wife's kind staff will happily swap them for another side if you want to mix and match. Don't miss them.
It's our new favorite way to wake up: A cup of coffee and a cream-stuffed brioche at Rendez Vous, a newish French bakery on Clark Road. The studly sub-sized brioche comes out of the oven bearing a scrumptious and crackly crust, but the real treasure is the pastry cream inside this masterpiece. Softly whipped, with the barest hint of lemon, it has the power to whisk you away to a Parisian sidewalk café.
Sol's NYC Delicatessen, the new deli from Solomon Shenker (formerly of Sol Meyer Deli, just up the street), has opened with new partners in the former Applebee's space next to the Hollywood 20. In addition to deli classics, Sol's Polish wife is making blintzes so light--stuffed with warm, soft cheese and fruit compote-- that they might be better than the ones my beloved Nana used to make me as a child. Ask for a side of sour cream and enjoy.