A November 2003 trip
to Philadelphia by diminor1929
Quote: Shop and dine to your heart's delight in this chic Philadelphia neighborhood that has been lovingly restored by historical preservationists and now offers something for everyone!
Restaurant | "Casual Thai for Lunch"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on July 14, 2009
Chabaa Thai Bistro
4371 Main Street
Stake out where you think you might want to go for lunch or dinner and make reservations immediately. Waiting till the last minute can almost guarantee a 30-minute wait (at least) for a table. If the weather is good, ask for one outside! (Some places even have huge outdoor heaters to take advantage of every seasonal day possible.)
Sports enthusiasts(myself included) love to take the Betzwood Trail from either Valley Forge or Norristown, ride into Manayunk and park/lock their bike at an outdoor cafe. While having a nice lunch and possibly a glass of wine, you can people watch to your heart's content, then get back on your bike and ride back to where you started. Or for the brave and experienced, you can ride in the sometimes scary Main Street traffic to get to various shops, bars, etc.
My first visit was for lunch, after a visit to a local art gallery (Owen Patrick Gallery-4345 Main St.). Sonoma's food is touted to be seasonal, local, and all organic, with the exception of six classic dishes. Its menu changes weekly and is always intriguing. We started by splitting a caesar salad with roasted peppers and Parmesan tuille ($8.25), which was more than enough for two. My artsy friend went with a brick sandwich of three-cheeses, grilled Kennet Square (local) portabello mushrooms on restaurant-made ciabatta bread ($8.95). This came with three-bean and orzo salad.
I threw my diet to the winds and couldn't resist a pizza of roasted bell peppers, shitake mushrooms with garlic and baby pear tomatoes. It was topped with gooey mozzarella and Monterey jack cheeses on organic whole-wheat dough ($10.95). There was so much that I even took some home to hubby.
The menu listed Sonoma's classics (always available) as:
Shrimp ravioli in spinach dough with lobster-brandy tomato-butter sauce ($17.95)
Tri-colored cavatelli primavera with broccoli, peas, garlic, olive oil, tomato, asparagus, and broccoli rabe ($15.95)
The following four classics are listed as being served with mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and sauteed string beans in oil.
Garlic rib steak ($16.95)
Secret recipe roasted chicken served dark, crispy, and sweet ($13.95)
Honey-lavender hickory roasted salmon ($16.95)
Achiote-spiced grilled tuna served medium rare ($18.95)
A return trip with hubby was delicious and fun. We ate inside this time, but were seated at a window, where the atmosphere was cheery and warm for a December evening. Since I always want to try something different, I talked him into splitting the cornmeal-coated, deep-fried crimson poblano pepper stuffed with Sonoma goat cheese and Monterey jack cheese, with fire-roasted corn served on a pool of golden marconi pepper sauce ($7.95). It was hot, hot, hot . . . not for the faint-hearted. Since hubby firmly believes that a salad a day keeps the doctor away, he ordered the locally grown babyu greens with balsamic vinaigrette and tomatoes from Philly Chile. Co. It tamed the burn.
For an entrée, I was dying to try the roasted chicken raviolis in yellow tomato sauce with basil, pesto, and sweet yellow baby peppers ($13.95). The raviolis tasted like they were homemade and the sauce brought back a hint of the end of summer. Hubby went for the honey-lavender hickory-roasted salmon ($16.95), which was a little non-assertive and mildly sweet for his tastes. But he loves salmon and declared it was cooked perfectly. Since we were both pre-holiday counting calories, we skipped the dessert tray, but it looked yummy. He finished with an Irish coffee and I had a toasted almond coffee (did we really save any calories?). It was a memorable, romantic evening and we left vowing to return soon!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 27, 2004
4411 Main Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19127
+1 215 483 9400
After starting our perusal of the menu with New Orleans-style libations (Hurricane, Cosmopolitan and Clear Cosmo), we settled on some lively appetizers. I couldn’t help but order oysters since these are truly a specialty of the Big Easy and any place claiming a connection had to master these. The menu suggested four different variations (Italian, andouille, cornmeal, and Cajun); I chose the "sampler," which provided two of each kind, along with some nice remoulade sauce to tame the bite. Other appetizer offerings included alligator sausage and catfish fingers (which came very crispy and tasted fresh as anywhere). For main courses, we went with the Cajun scallop special served on a bed of couscous. Hubby raved about this while I could not resist the crab and crawfish cakes served on a bed of shrimp mashed potatoes -- real Cajun! As usual, we were too full for dessert, but selections included a banana bread pudding, bananas Foster, and a chocolate creation that sounded great. The wine list was extensive and I was able to order a nice Pinto Grigio by the glass.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 15, 2004
2 Rector St.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19127
We had planned to share the two appetizers among the four of us (our usual custom) but believe me the portions were scant enough to satisfy one. Pricey, too ($9 for four noodles in a tomato-mushroom broth).
Choices for entrees made it difficult to decide. A tasting menu which included seasoned scallops, pan-seared monkfish, eggplant caviar with baked Parmesan cheese and Normandy chocolate cake for dessert was tempting, but none of us bit. Two of the party opted for the crab cakes, but I was determined to stay with the impressive selection of regional offerings and went for the Pocono trout stuffed with oysters. Our fourth partner decided on a nice organic filet with caramelized onion and spaetzle (hard to believe that at our last outing she was vegan!). We ordered side dishes of vegetable medleys (our attentive server advised us that the entrees came pretty bare) and they were a welcome accompaniment. The combinations of vegetables were unusual and gave some needed interest to the entrees. A colorful variety of sizes and unusually shaped plates presented each course.
After cocktails we shared a bottle of Fess Parker Pinot Noir(recommended by our waiter) and were satisfied with its diversity. By dessert, we were still feeling a little hungry so we split a chocolate sampler and pretty little fruit tart. We were enchanted by the historic charm of this establishment and can't wait to return to the cozy bar for pre-dinner drinks in the future. . . maybe with hubbies in tow (to foot the rather hefty tab).
More notes on Jim Coleman: he currently is author of his own cookbook and has been featured on the TV series Flavors of America.
Coleman Restaurant at Normandy Farm
1431 Morris Rd.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19422
Attraction | "Specialty, Arts and Antiques Abound"
Nicole Miller 4249 Main St. Her window is full of her amazing designer dresses and accessories.
Paula Hian Designs 106 Gay St. A true designer's studio and apparel store.
smith bros.4430 Main St. Trendy clothing for guys and gals.
Something Different Goes Discount
4223 Main St. Hot women's fashions at truly discount prices!
Antiques and Galleries
Artforms Gallery 106 Levering St.
A non profit cooperative gallery with 25+ exhibiting artists.
House of Sissoko 4231 Main St. Authentic African art.
Sharp Street Glass 3739 Sharp St.
Actual hot glass-blowing studio.
Ten Thousand Villages4335 Main St. Fine hand-crafted items fairly traded from 30 third world countries.
Platypus 4259 Main Street
Moon Over Manayunk 4327 Main Street. An original and unique gift store for the mind and body.
Sweet Violet 4361 Main St. Beautiful gifts for the heart and home.
Manayunk Antique Market
100 Leverington Ave
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19128
+1 215 482 9004