Best Restaurants in Philly

December 18, 2011

Sometimes you gotta get out the kitchen and treat yourself.  Here are recommendations of Philly restaurants from some Cool Cooks and friends.

1. Cuba Libre

“I like the food and atmosphere. They have salsa dancing.”

– Aquilah

“Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar is dedicated to a continued exploration of Cuban heritage, art,
music, flavors and traditions.” (Cuba Libre’s Website)

2. Sabrinas – Great breakfast food. 3 locations.

“I love the french toast. And the W.Philly location is beautiful with a spacious lounge upstairs.” -Nuala

3. Marigold – “Expensive gormet, but the atmosphere is not pretentious. You feel like you’re in someone’s house.”  – Jacob

3. Picanha Brazilian Grill – See review from here.

4. Zorba’s Tavern– “It’s the best greek food I’ve ever had.” – Denice

5. Buddakan – Modern Asian Cuisine.  -Rodney

6. Positano Coast – Coastal Italian food. – Aquilah

7. Tinto –  “Delicious tapas.” – Jacob

8. Kabobosh –  “Good [halal] indian food… I like the grilled stuff.” – Malik

9. Sazon – Venezuelan. “Best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. I love the pabellon empeñada and hamburgers. Cash only.” – Nuala

10. Carmen’s Country Chicken – “Good food and a very unique atmosphere.” – Tremaine

12. Del Friscos – “They have great food and nice jazz on Friday nights.” -Tremaine


Nasha’s Kale Salad

August 9, 2011

It’s been too hot to put the oven on. This Kale Salad is the perfect solution!

Get a bunch of Kale (wash, chop and cut out the stems)
Add a tbs or two of Olive Oil or Sesame Seed Oil.
Add a tiny bit of Vinegar (red wine, apple cider, etc).
Squeeze a lemon into the bowl.
Massage the oil, vinegar and lemon juice into kale so that the leaves become moist and soft.

Add other veggies and ingredients to taste and toss it. Suggestions:

1 Avocado (sliced in small chunks)
1/2 cup Slivered Carrots
1/2 Tomato (chopped)
1/2 Red Onion (chopped finely)
Red Cabbage
A lil Spinach
1 tsp. Garlic
Balsamic Vinegar (to taste)
Soy Sauce or Bragg’s Amino  (to taste)

Honey (1 tsp, optional)
Sun Flower Seeds (roasted on low frying pan with a little oil and salt)

Thank you Nasha for introducing us to this healthy and delicious recipe!!

Miko’s Asparagas Lasagna

March 26, 2011


1/3 cup flour
3.5 cups milk (separate .5 from rest)
6tbs pesto (i usually get the bottled type and use the whole thing)
2tbs Parmesan
1.25 lb asparagus, tips cut off and reserved. Spears trimmed and chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 clove minced garlic
12-16 no cook lasagna noodles (depending on size of dish)
2 cups mozzarella cheese

preheat oven 350F.

-Whisk flour and 1/2 cup milk in saucepan until smooth
-gradually whisk and add milk until smooth. Bring to boil until thickened.
-remove from heat and stir in pesto, Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pesto. Reserve 1 cup on side.

Asparagus Prep
-warm olive oil and add chopped asparagus spears (NOT tips) and cook until tender.
-add garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Lasagna Prep
-coat baking dish with spray.
-Add one layer noodles, overlap slightly
-Add half of cooked asparagus, 3/4 cup of mozzarella, and half of sauce. Repeat 2x.
-Top with last layer of noodles, then reserved 1 cup of sauce. Arrange asparagus tips on top and sprinkle with rest of cheese.

Bake uncovered 35-40 minutes until golden. Watch tips so they don’t get burned. Serve with Parmesan. ENJOY!

Cool Cook Potluck

September 24, 2010

Last winter we had several potlucks with our friends in West Philly. The snow storms and snow days were a perfect excuse to get together, cook and eat!

Here’s a glimpse of a cool cook potluck…

Auntie Laura’s Gufong (a Cape Verdean favorite!)

September 21, 2010

by nuala

Nobody makes gufong (also known as fungine) like Auntie Laura. I remember going to her house as a child and smiling upon her freshly fried gufong. For holidays or special occasions, her gufong would be the most sought after Cape Verdean dish. Before Auntie Laura’s Alzheimers got really bad, she taught her daughter and nieces how to make it. We actually filmed the process. I’ll have to dig up that old tape!

Recently, I made gufong with my Nana (Laura’s sister-in-law), Shirley (Nana’s god daughter) and sister in my Nana’s kitchen. We don’t really believe in keeping a family recipe a secret, so please feel free to try it on your own. Just thank our Auntie Laura, one of the sweetest aunts I’ve ever known.


Put in small pot:

1 ½  cup of sugar

1 cup of boiling water with a pinch of salt

Add water and sugar mixture onto stove and stir til smooth.

In a medium-large bowl:

Add enough water to one cup of cornmeal to make paste.

Pour the  water/sugar mixture from stove.

Add 2- 3 mashed over ripe bananas and mix by hand until smooth.

Add 2 cups of Bisquick and 2 cups of sifted flour, gradually.

Add flour until consistency of bread dough.

Roll into sticks and fry on either side in vegetable or canola oil until golden brown. (Make sure heat is not too hot or else it will brown the outside, but not the inside!)

Place on paper towels and store in sealed plastic bags or containers after cool, so they stay soft.

This recipe makes about sixty gufong.  My Auntie Laura used to freeze the dough and make fresh gufong often… Nana just told me this. 🙂

JAG (Cape Verdean Rice and Beans)

February 11, 2010

By Nuala 

We ate this almost every night growing up. My nana says my mom cooks rice “like a cape verdean woman!” haha. I hope I do too. Can you?

In a medium-large pot sauté onions in a few tbs of oil

Add some minced (finely chopped) garlic

Add chunky sliced tomatoes

Add a chicken bullon cube, and a few shakes of parika

Add 1 can of beans (I like red beans or lima/butter beans but add whatever)

Add 3 cups of water

Add 1 ½ cups cup of rice ( a little over that… like 1 ¾) parboiled Golden Canilla Rice (enriched long grain)

Once it boils, turn the heat down low and cover the pot

It’s finished when the water is evaporated (usually takes about 15-20 min)


February 8, 2010

By Sulaiha Schwartz

Pastry Ingredients:
• 1-1/4 cups of flour
• 1 stick of butter
• Pinch of salt
• 3-5 tablespoons of ice cold water

o Chop butter into 16 pieces
o In a mixing bowl rub together butter, flour and salt until you have small pea-sized pieces
o In the center of the mixture, create an indentation, or “well”.
o Put a tablespoon of cold water in the middle and push the flour mixture into the center with your fingers.
o Repeat this until the mixture starts to stick together. It usually takes an average of 4 tablespoons of water. The dough should not be too sticky, but just wet enough that it comes together and you can form it into a disc shape.
o Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling Ingredients:

• 2 onions (or 12 mini pearl onions)
• 1 bulb of garlic
• 2-3 large carrots
• 2 medium turnips
• 2 medium-large sweet potatoes
• 2 -1/2 cups of vegetable broth (or other broth/stock of your choice)
• 2 Tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
• Salt & pepper to taste

o Peel garlic and keep cloves whole.
o Peel and chop* all of the vegetables into 1-1/2 inch cubes.
*If you are using pearl onions, keep whole.
o Put all of the ingredients in a pot and add broth.
o Cover pot and bring to a boil.
o After 10 minutes reduce to a simmer and cook until all of the vegetables are tender (but not mushy! they will cook more in the oven)
o Stir in balsamic vinegar and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
o Add salt and pepper to taste.

*Make sure to check on the veggies as they are cooking. You don’t want them to have too much liquid at the end, but you may have to add more broth if it all cooks off before the veggies are tender.

o Fill a glass, baking dish with the mixture leaving an inch of room at the top.

o Roll out the dough into a thin rectangle to cover the top of the baking dish. It should be slightly bigger than the dish so that you can push the sides down into it.

o With a knife, cut several slits in the top of the pastry to create vents for the heat to escape while it is in the oven.

o Brush with olive oil and bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.

o Remove from the oven and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

I really like to serve it with a spoonful of sour cream, or some crumbled goat cheese on top to offset the sweetness of the veggies. Also, a simple arugula salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper compliments it well. You can try mixing up the recipe, too—add/substitute different root vegetables, like potatoes, parsnips, or beets! BEETS– you can’t beat em!