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philly for 2 days - south beach diet friendly, but i'm a foodie, i swear!

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ok, let me preface this by saying that i am a ridonkulous foodie from NYC, and usually my mantra is if it's healthy or low fat, it doesn't taste good. it's a bit of a harsh view, but it's worked for me most of my life. i eat what i want, when i want. i love nothing more than a plate of pasta, a bowl of asian noodle soup or a well done paella. unfortunately, i have made a promise to myself that i will really stick with the south beach diet phase 1 for the allotted first 2 weeks. or else i will have to spend the summer avoiding all beaches and everything bikini related. surprisingly, i've been pretty good so far, finding great options that don't involve carbs or sugar. i usually cave in by day 3 and drink a whole bottle of wine.

so me and my S.O. are looking to get out of NYC for a night and we decided to drive to philly for the weekend. i know this is a strange request, and i'm almost embarassed to ask it. but we are looking for the best food stops - where we have low carb options...

so this is our itinerary so far. any rec's and commentary is greatly appreciated.

walk around reading terminal market. any rec's here for snacks? we were thinking tommy dinic's for the pork sandwich, sans bread. (i know, please don't stone me) we are staying at the loews, so we will be hungry from our car ride as soon as we get in...

dinner at amada? it looks like it has a lot of good options for our diet. i love tapas, but have had some of the best in spain and nyc. are the tapas really good here? it looks like they have some creative nouveau dishes.

brunch at lacroix. this seems to be a chowhound unanimous. i am looking forward to cheating slightly for this one :) are the bloody mary's and sparkling wine cocktails all included? if this is the case, and the food is as good as everyone says it is, i think there will be a field trip from NYC with my fellow chowhounds planned very soon. any standout dishes here that are not to be missed?

italian market area? snacks? cheese, sliced meat? olives?

luke and tony's. worth stopping by on the way out? or will tommy dinic's satisfy my pork sandwich hanker?

pat's? i guess if you don't eat the bread on the cheesesteaks, i could actually sample a few places. :) there is an advantage!

this is totally random, but has anyone been to melange cafe in cherry hill? it's on the way back to NYC. the menu looks interesting... any must have's there?

any other rec's are greatly appreciated. i have read the philly boards extensively, but between all the advice it's a bit of a whirlwind to pick for planning for 2 days. help me philly chowhounds!!! i will be eternally grateful :)

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  1. i've just got to say this is NOT my area of expertise. i loves me the carbs. so forgive me if i'm way off base here but... is felafel (chickpeas) considered low carb? if so i highly recommend mama's on south street or 20th st (both about equally far from your hotel but both walkable especially if it's nice out) for the felafel + hummus platter as a quick snack.

    ooh ooh, and i'm pretty sure gelato is OK, right? cause you HAVE to try capogiro. it's practically in your backyard at 13th and sansom.

    one of the only low-carb dinners i can specifically remember is a BYO called matyson - look it up, it gets rave reviews here... wonderful, wonderful seafood.

    also on the seafood note, check out estia at broad and locust, a nice fish restaurant.

    last, in addition to amada i think it's worth checking out tinto (my fave of the two, same owner). also awesome seafoody options.

    OK, really the last bit... if you're staying at the loews (OK, so you don't even need to stay there in order to pull this off) after you've had a few cocktails late at night, do yourself a huge favor and sneak up the elevator to the 33rd floor, and just walk around and take it all in. THE most romantic, spectacular view in the entire city... and absolutely deserted at night so long as there are no functions going on (it's all conference rooms up there). it's one of my favorite kitchy things to do in philadelphia, and i live here! :)

    1. As a fellow low-carb dieter I can assure you that dining in Philly is not going to be easy. A roast pork sandwhich minus the bread? Fugghadaboutit!

      Gelato? Felafel? Too many carbs! You want low carb, you go for meat! Or you can try one of our fish restaurants. I second the recommendation for Estia.

      Since you are staying at Loew's, there is an excellent Brazilian Steakhouse within 2 blocks - Fogo de Chao (sp?) that will be diet-friendly.

      Since you are from a State with more reasonable laws relating to the consumption of alcohol, be advised that you have to bring your own bottle to places like matyson

      1 Reply
      1. re: JohnnyT

        You really should try Capogiro. I was thinking that but know nothing about these diets...

        Anyway, roast pork at DiNic's would be good. Sometimes we take it to go and have a little left over to eat without the roll and find it is still good. You can eat broccoli rabe or provolone, right?

        Rabidog, thanks for the Loew's tip...that's one thing Philly really lacks, a good place to sightsee that's accessible.

        You may want to go to DiBruno's on Chestnut St. across from Liberty Place (a five minute walk from the Loew's) for cheeses, meats, and olives. They have hundreds of cheeses to try, a big takeout section, and a cafe upstairs. Personally, I'd go there and skip the Italian Market.

        Estia does have great fish (get it by the pound versus the specials) and fabulous octopus. Also close to the Loew's.

        Finally Tria has a lot of good salads and belgian beers. That's a possibility!

      2. i'm sorry, i should've clarified. this diet i am on, the south beach diet, is a diet that looks to lower your glycemic index. the first 2 weeks is rough: no starchy foods (rice, bread, noodles, flour, etc), no sugar (so no fruit or juice), no veggies high in glycemic index (all the good ones! :( beets, peas, corn), and no alcohol, which is the big kicker for me. the one city that has ton of BYO options and i can't take advantage of it! (this is rare and far between in NY, usually 40% of our dinner bills are drinks)

        i have totally cheated once and had a falafel platter here in NY over salad greens during phase 1 of the diet. it was delicious :) but they do put a little flour i believe in the mix, and it is deep fried... gelato is tempting, but that is a blatant cheat on my part. rabidog, thanks for your loews rec! i can't wait to see the night skyline.

        i read somewhere else that tinto was favored over amada. i will look into switching my res. i will also take a look at estia's menu. i love seafood.

        DiBruno's sounds great too. that is definitely SBD friendly.

        any thoughts on lacroix brunch? is it really worth it? by the way, i found the most impressive photo spread online:

        http://picasaweb.google.com/CATHY37/L...

        1. I did South Beach for a while and it's pretty tough to eat out on Phase One. If you are willing to give up the low fat part, you can have a little more fun. DiBruno's for cheese sampling is a great idea. Another fune cheese and charcuterie place is Tria, but it might be tough to be there and not drink, since it is largely a wine bar. They also have some salads that could work. The duck salad is delicious, and might work if they leave off the strawberries. I think the smoked salmon salad is probably SB friendly.

          Estia is a great suggestion for great fish and veggies. I highly recommend the octopus. Tinto and Amada are both great, though they both seem tough w/o any carbs. I'd look at both menus and see what you can identify.

          The brazilian steak house is also a good idea. In addition to Fogo de Chao, the new Chima is getting a lot of good buzz.

          My thoughts on Lacroix is that it is totally worth it if you are willing to cheat a little, otherwise it's probably not worth it. The food is indeed fabulous. I don't think the drinks are included but it's still not that bad of a deal compared to many places in NYC.

          If you like mussels and can forgo the fries and beer, Monks is really good. You could probably also get a salad there.

          Other places you might want to check out are Ansill and Cochon, both of which are meat-heavy and probably SB friendly. Chochon is byob. Both are excellent.