Study breaks are what make my world go ’round these days, and writing this post is one of them! I miss the days when I didn’t feel the pressure of the ever-looming Bar Exam… alas, I knew this was coming, and it’s just something that has to be done! There have been so many ups and downs the past couple weeks, and I truly need a study break from time to time. Luckily, my boyfriend is here to encourage me, as well as treat me to a few lunches/dinners out. I mean, a girl’s still gotta eat, right? There is no better study break than a dinner date with the boyfriend!
I have a couple dinners I’d like to recap for you all (Philly foodies, gather around!), the first of which was my boyfriend’s birthday dinner! The boyfriend loves his steak, and one place we had been dying to try was Stephen Starr‘s Barclay Prime! We’ve gone to Starr’s Butcher & Singer multiple times during past Restaurant Weeks, but had yet to try his second steakhouse with a more modern feel.
^^^I know, I know. This looks
deliciously ugly incredibly impressive. However, this is my own creation, not a restaurant’s :) I always make a mini cake for my boyfriend’s birthday. It’s the perfect size for two people to share.
I noted that there was a birthday when I first made our reservation. When we walked in, the hostess told us she had a special table reserved for us. It was actually so sweet. They sat us at a four-person table, so to let us sit side-by-side. We absolutely loved it.
Neither of us had ever tried steak tartare, and I’ve always been curious. Also, what better place to try beef tartare than an awesome steakhouse? We put an order in. The boyfriend liked it a lot. I’m glad I tried it, but the texture just wasn’t for me!
I personally really enjoy a good steak every once in a while. And this was the perfect place to indulge in one. Although we normally like to get two different entrees (so to try each other’s), we couldn’t resist both ordering steak for this dinner. He ordered the 12 oz. filet and I ordered the 8 oz. There were many other options, such as dry aged new york strips and porterhouse steaks, but we’re both partial to filet mignon. Before the steaks were served, our waiter came out with a tray of steak knives to let us choose our own. I was feeling fanc-ay.
^^^ My 8 oz. filet with just a bit of greens.
^^^The truffled mac n cheese and his 12 oz. filet in the background. I truly wanted to take more shots, but the flash was blinding!
No worries all, we brought a LOT of left-overs home. About a third of each our steaks and a little mac n cheese for the next day! We needed to save room for some birthday dessert! We opted for the toasted chocolate s’mores – a chocolate cake with marshmallow center, chocolate mousse, toasted meringue, and graham cracker ice cream. I didn’t even have to mention it was the boyfriend’s birthday, and our dessert came out in proper form.
We left so, so impressed by our entire meal. We were also given a little blueberry cake to take home with us. The staff were so accommodating and the atmosphere was absolutely stunning, as many of Starr’s restaurants are. Thank you again, Barclay Prime, for helping make our dinner so memorable.
A second dinner date was brought about as a much needed time away from the city. The boyfriend and I lived in Wilmington, DE a couple years ago (actually, it was our first apartment together!), and discovered Terrain while living there. This dinner was in part my boyfriend’s own gift to me for my graduation. He has been such a good sport, traveling to Rochester for my half and to the Hudson Valley to meet up with my parents…the fact that he also planned this dinner was really sweet. And it had perfect timing. I needed a break. He chose this restaurant, and I actually loved his logic – it was close to where I went to law school and held many memories of friends and family visiting, as well as our first year living together. I hold those memories and this place very dear.
Terrain is about 40 minutes from the city. It’s also a BYO, which is awesome. However, the drive has kept us away for quite a long time since moving back to Philly. It’s also just so convenient to grab a taxi when living in a city…something you can’t really do when traveling to Terrain. Coming here made us be a bit more responsible :)
Before our reservation, we wandered around the grounds a bit. Terrain is owned by URBN, the company behind Urban Outfitters, BHLDN, Anthropologie, and Free People. Terrain is dedicated to home goods and landscaping. Think: Anthropologie decor, but with plants and terrariums. Walking around this place makes me wish I had a home to furnish and a backyard to landscape.
Off to dinner we went! Our reservation specified that we wanted to sit in the greenhouse, but there are seats inside, closer to the store, as well as outside by the garden.
We sat down, opened our wine, and looked around. This place has transformed a few times since we first visited. It originally had these old cathedral doors that I adored, but they’ve since been sold. However, there are a few mainstays, such as the giant staghorn fern that hangs from the ceiling and the lights that are strung above.
Time to talk food! Terrain gives you a complimentary bread pot, but we always order an extra. I know – gluttonous. But perhaps you’ll know why once you try this thing. The bread comes warm, with a side of flavored butter with salt. The flavors change almost every time I visit. I’m not kidding when I say we ask to keep our butter to dip whatever we want in it. It’s that good.
If any of you follow PhillyFeedMe, you know that the boyfriend and I really love our cheese plates. We initiated our very own Philly cheese plate tour a couple months ago, and we’ve been in cheese heaven ever since. Although Terrain isn’t technically in the city, I’m counting it. This was one of the best on our tour thus far – big portions and a ton of compliments, including strawberry jam, blackberry preserves, honey, mustard, apples, and pickled carrots.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the best pictures of our entrees. I still have to mention my boyfriend’s dish – filet mignon served with carrots, asparagus, mashed potatoes, and a chunk of blue cheese butter. Holy yum. We also always try to save room for dessert here. We’ve tried a few over the years, but our favorite has to be the house-made gelato. The flavors of the night were strawberry, coffee, and vanilla. The flavors were bold and true.
I’m thankful to have these opportunities during such a stressful time. Although the days are filled with lots’o’law, I’m so happy to be able to spend some quality downtime with my favorite people! Back to the grind.