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Three Days Around Avenue of the Arts (Mostly) -- Trip Report (Part 1)

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Thanks to much good advice on this board, we had three (and one-half, actually) great days in Philly last week. Here's what we experienced, chow-wise:

Amada (Old City): Excellent tapas lunch, with an excellent Rioja Riserva by the glass. The crabmeat-stuffed piquillos rellenos were particularly notworthy, as was the grilled chorizo.

We did observe a difficulty at the adjoining table, where the customer had advance-ordered a paella to celebrate her guest's birthday, only to be told on arrival that they don't do paella at lunch. She was unhappy, but management apologetically comp'ed the entire lunch for the two of them. I suppose the moral is, if you order in advance, confirm the order again before you arrive.

Belgian Cafe (Fairmount): Grubby surroundings, good mussels, but almost all the preparations seemed on the heavy side, with none in a Provencal style (I know, Provence is not in Belgium, but still). And although the beer selection is vast, the wine list is minimal and poor quality. Aren't half the Belgians Francophone wine drinkers?

More to follow.

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  1. Belgian Cafe is all about the beer; same owner as Monk's Cafe which is one of the top rated beer bars in the country.

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    1. re: rsgdmd

      Well said rsgdmd! Tom Peters and Fergie Carey have done lots for Belgian beer in this city (and country.. ). Their Flemish red ale that is brewed for them over in Belgium is legendary. They brought Chimay on tap to the US. Its always been about the beer. I think the argument one could have with them about not being authentic is about their fries, not their wine selection, though having been weened on McDonalds fries I prefer the shoe string variety they serve rather than the thicker which are much more common in Belgium. All that said, the best thing I can say about the Belgian cafe relative to Monks is I almost always can get a seat there, something that is near impossible to say about Monks!