Saturday, October 2, 2010

El Vez - Philadelphia

I fully intended on posting food news yesterday but in truth knowing that I would be out of town this weekend means I had less motivation to compile the list. (sorry!) I'm in Philadelphia for a firm retreat.  We are staying smack in the middle of Philly at the Ritz-Carlton.  I was initially excited because of the potential for delicious treats at the hotel, but that was quickly dispelled during our reception last night.  Breakfast this morning wasn't much better.  So for lunch, I set out on a little adventure to El Vez.

I read about the restaurant on Urbanspoon and figured if it was number 10 of all the restaurants in Philly, it had to be pretty good.  It was a surprisingly sunny day in Philadelphia so Ms. F and I sat outside.  Our server was very attentive and helpful in letting us know her favorites on the menu.  We started out with the "Indian Red" Lopez guacamole.  The guacamole is made with the usual ingredients and spicy crab, cilantro and salsa roja.

It's served with warm tortilla chips and red salsa.  The guacamole was amazing!  Fresh avocado, red onions and tomatoes mixed into a creamy delicious texture and topped with crab and salsa roja.  There definitely could have been more crab but I wasn't complaining (too loudly).  The chips were also really good and I definitely ate more than I intended.

Shortly after we started dipping into the guacamole, our Open Faced Shrimp Quesadilla arrived.

Looks just like pizza right?  This quesadilla contained oaxaca and chihuahua cheeses with pasilla chile sauce, red onions, jalapenos and of course topped with shrimp.  Woweee! This quesadilla was incredible.  Although it had tons of cheese, it somehow didn't taste too cheesy.  The onions and jalapeno added a nice contrast and bit of spice to the cheesy flavor.  Yup, I was definitely a big fan!  Once we devoured our quesadillas, our Sea Bass Tacos arrived.

The tacos were served with sweet potato puree, grilled scallions and fried jalapenos.  The sea bass was seared and sat on top of the sauce.  I was pleased with my first bite, but as I continued to chew, I realized  there was an odd taste that I wasn't ready to taste.   Somehow, they snuck a hint of cinnamon into this dish! Crazy yea? It actually worked pretty well but I needed the jalapeno to help cut through the sweetness.

After that taco, we were looking for something spicy.  Our waitress informed us that spicy isn't really their thing at El Vez and she recommended that we try the Duck Gorditas.

The presentation definitely looked good.  The gordita was stuffed with duck confit and chihuahua cheese.  It was topped with some combination of nuts and poppy seeds and served with pickled cucumber and mole negro.  I was so full by the time this arrived that I was only able to eat a small portion.  It was REALLY delicious.  I wish I could have eaten more but I could barely drink water let alone push another morsel into my mouth.

El Vez was definitely a good look and it's no surprise that they're currently ranked #10 Philly restaurant on Urbanspoon.  The service was on point, the food was delicious and the atmosphere was extremely lively.  Considering the track record at the Ritz, I'm happy I had such a delicious lunch so that way dinner won't matter much.  Although I must say, considering Eric Ripert owns a restaurant in here, they better step their game up!

Hungry yet?

El Vez on Urbanspoon

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