This Jose Garces establishment focuses not on Spain, but on Mexico City. If you can take your eyes off of the neon paint and the booth made out of a taxi cab, sample some lobster guacamole or one of five kinds of ceviche. On Tuesday nights, tacos stuffed with pulled pork and coconut-habanero chicken are only $2.
Once a food truck, Honest Tom’s Taco Shop is now a stationary taqueria—still serving up tacos in fresh corn tortillas, of course. There’s three styles of meat tacos, plus crowd-pleasing sweet-potato ones. And in the morning, there’s breakfast tacos, too, stuffed with eggs, cheese, home fries, and guacamole.
Christened after the identically named daughter and niece of owners Michael Poole and Van Chau, Isabel is flooded with light to emulate the little girls’ smiles. Palm fronds catch natural light that streams in from full-wall windows and guest appearances from the sun itself, which is rumored to love the empanadas. Seated next to the dappled orange walls and brick-colored tiles, guests dip crispy tortilla chips into guacamole or queso fundido studded with chorizo and mushrooms before servers shuttle heaping plates of spiced meats from the bustling kitchen. The chefs draw inspiration from the bright, intense flavors of Mexican and Californian recipes to create brunch and dinner dishes such as drunken chicken in pasilla chili tequila sauce. The proprietors' eclectic spirit keeps them from falling into predictable flavor patterns, however—they'll just as readily cover prosciutto-style duck in chocolate sauce as bake a dish of huevos rancheros, relying on a talent for fusion also seen at their other restaurant, the pan-Asian Trio.
By 4 p.m. in the UK, weekend soccer matches are in full swing. In Philadelphia, where it's only 11 a.m., Liberty Bar & Grill is just opening its doors so that patrons can catch the day's action live on flat-screen televisions. Soccer jerseys adorn the exposed brick interior of the cozy bar—which, later in the day, accommodates DJs, karaoke, and other televised sports until its daily 2 a.m. closing.
The kitchen calls it a day only a half-hour earlier, diligently serving late-night helpings of pizza cheesesteaks and house-made roast beef sandwiches. An extensive beer selection complements eats, as do mixed beer drinks such as the Blacksmith, a Guinness and Smithwick's Ale blend combined via hard labor over an anvil.
Philly Pub 'n' Grub envelops its customers in a lively sports bar atmosphere to enjoy a hearty menu of pub fare. The A.L.T. sandwich ($6.95) bridges the gap between slices of wheat bread with avocado, shredded carrots, and hummus, while brick-oven pizzas ($10.50+) allow diners to sample multiple ingredients simultaneously without the burden of growing multiple tongues to taste them individually. The homey ideals of grilled cheese are flipped on their heads with a hefty selection of melty-cheesed breadstacks, including The Mexican Standoff with gooey pepper jack accompanied by grilled chicken and honey-tomato-chipotle sauce ($6.50). Diners can train eyeballs on 16 HD television screens or head to the eatery's large gaming center in spiteful ignorance of their mothers' advice to wait 30 minutes after eating to play pool.