The cozy ambiance of Vitale's Italian Bistro sets the scene for the comforting regional dishes made from scratch. Spicy marinara and creamy alfredo sauces simmer in pots while chefs tuck cheese into ravioli pockets and roll out gnocchi dumplings. Chicken and veal dishes arrive in six different varieties, including saut?ed in a sweet marsala wine sauce or breaded, fried, and topped with a layer of melted cheese. Upgrading the classic grilled pork chop, chefs instead stuff the chops with spinach, roasted peppers, and provolone cheese, then cover them in a marsala demi-glaze and roast them in the oven.
Indian cuisine made with seasonal ingredients and an American flair.
When to Go: Swing by on a Thursday night if you fancy live sitar and tabla music, but go any other night if you prefer humming your own tunes while you chew.
Inside Tip: The restaurant is BYOB, so pick up your favorite bottle of wine or six-pack of beer before dinner.
Chaat: savory Indian snack food made of potatoes, fried bread, and a spice medley that typically includes dried mango powder, cumin seeds, and black salt.
Paneer: a fresh cheese made from boiling cow's milk or water buffalo's milk and curdling it with whey—the dish dates back to at least 6,000 BC.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Test your crafting skills at All Fired Up (602 Haddon Avenue), a studio devoted to paint-your-own pottery.
After: See what's happening at the Scottish Rite Auditorium (315 White Horse Pike), a historic 1930s venue that hosts musical acts and theater performances.
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: If you're in Philly for the evening, head to Indeblue's sister location (205 S. 13th Street).
With all the responsibilities that come with hosting an event, keeping the music on track shouldn't be one of them. The DJ crew from DP Entertainment takes over the beat with a team of mix masters who know how get a party rolling. By communicating with hosts and feeling out the crowd before them, DJs use their collective love of music to get guests at weddings, anniversaries, or office events grooving and having a good time. Several DJs are also Spanish speakers who can be called upon for bilingual emceeing or to play top hits in both English and Spanish.
Sensory overload doesn?t begin to describe Philadelphia?s Magic Gardens. A seemingly boundless compilation of colors, textures, and shapes, the labyrinthine mosaic creation spans 3,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space. The masterpiece originated in the brain of Isaiah Zagar, a Philadelphia native who grew up in New York. During his third year of art school, he stumbled upon Clarence Schmidt?s folk-art-inspired installations?assemblages of found objects and recycled materials?and the young artist?s view of the art world changed. ?I didn't know that I was looking at art,? Zagar reflects in his mission statement. Self-admittedly, Zagar has been somewhat ?copying? Schmidt?s dynamic, free-flowing style ever since.
The years after art school brought Zagar an onslaught of new opportunities. He spent time as an artist in China and India, joined the Peace Corps with his wife Julia, settled in Peru for three years, and even tried his hand at ceramics in Wisconsin. In the ?60s, he and Julia returned to his birthplace?specifically, the waning South Street neighborhood. Isaiah quickly leapt into action, renovating dilapidated buildings and often adding mosaics to formerly barren walls. Eventually, Isaiah?s imagination outgrew their projects, and in 1994 he began constructing a new piece in a vacant lot near his studio?the project would become Philadelphia?s Magic Gardens.
Isaiah spent 14 precious years, which he should have applied to Y2K preparations, scooping out tunnels, erecting multitiered walls, and splashing the entire space in colorful tile. The finished product stretches across half a block of South Street; the outside enclosure shimmering with vibrant tiles, the inside housing folk art, colored glass bottles, and countless sparkling mirrors. Now a nonprofit organization, Philadelphia?s Magic Gardens invites visitors to enjoy its visual candy with guided or self-guided tours.
For sweets in unusual flavor combinations like chipotle chocolate chip or peanut butter and bacon, look no further than Cookie Confidential. Owner Melissa Torre opened this Society Hill bakery in 2006, where she dishes out decadent goodies Wednesday through Sunday. Cookie Confidential serves fresh cookies, cupcakes and brittles made using locally sourced, all natural, organic ingredients, and while purists can munch on traditional cookies like oatmeal raisin and ginger snap, adventurous eaters opt for varieties like The Columbo (fresh raspberry puree, balsamic vinaigrette and smoked sea salt) and the Cheese Steak (grass-fed beef, dehydrated red onions, organic cheddar cheese and sweet tomato cream cheese). Cupcakes come either as push pops or baked into reusable glass mason jars, and patrons receive a free cookie for every empty jar they return to the sunny, inviting bakery.
Born out of the three core principles of public engagement, collaboration, and design excellence, the Philadelphia Center for Architecture stays true to its founding vision by connecting professionals and community leaders through activities ranging from exhibits and competitions to charitable functions and workshops. The center also reels in a wider audience with public walking tours scheduled in conjunction with the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia, revealing the secrets of some of the city’s most notable buildings with the help of trained guides. As a chapter of AIA Philadelphia, the center also hosts public forums between architects and community members, promoting dialogue about the importance of sustainable neighborhoods and the need for public spaces dedicated entirely to sack races.