Great Restaurants

Life Is About Exploring Pasta-bilities!- Bronze Table Review

I have not done any food recommendations on the blog in quite some time. It’s definitely time for me to shoot you over some good food.

I had the pleasure of joining a few foodie friends (PhillyFoodGal, PhillyDineOut, and ToiTimeBlog) at the Bourse. The Bourse building, built in 1891, has been newly rennovated. It is a modern food hall with a little over 25 dining options. There is something there for everyone! I spotted Italian, pizza, poke, Indian, Egyptian, ice cream parlours, tea places, and even a cocktail lounge. It is a great place to go with a large party or even when you and your dining partner cannot agree on what to eat!

We went to Bronze Table which is an Italian fast casual restaurantt that prides themselves on their fresh pasta and sauces made daily. The meal you choose is made to order. You first pick your sauce (or grravy, hehe), and then your pasta shape. We got to sample some of their perfect pairings such as their vodka sauce paired with Nonna’s Ricotta Gnnochi and their Sunday Gravy (a traditional pasta sauce that is simmered for hours) and served with a secret family recipe meatball! There were so many different options and everything that we tried we really loved.

My friends really enjoyed a special on the menu that Bronze Table came up with accidently! After frying up some onions and mushrooms mixed with some gruyere cheese, Bronze Table owner, Joe and his chefs noticed that it tasted wildly similar to Philadelphia’s own Philly Cheesesteak. This pairing was so delicious. It was a wonderful mistake for sure!

My favorite for sure had to be the Wild Mushroom & Sage Ravioli which was paired with a butter parmagianna sauce. The sage and mushroom paired perfectly. I couldn’t get enough of these perfectly filled clouds of pasta.

The best part about Bronze Table besides the use of the fresh Vera Pasta, also owned by Joe, is that you can stop by and pick up some fresh pasta or sauce to cook up and eat at home. I was able to bring a little of the Sunday Gravy home for my boyfriend which he ate up instantly. I also brought home one ravioli but I ate that before he noticed it was in the takeout container lol. I will definitely go back not only to The Bourse to discover some of the other options but to Bronze Table because I really loved absolutely everything that we ate!

Visit Bronze Table at The Bourse at:
111 S Independence Mall E,
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Pictured Top Left to Right is Nonna’s Ricotta Gnocci n Vodka Sauce, Sunday Gravy with Spaghetti and Meatballs, Wild Mushroom & Sage in Butter Parmigianna Sauce, and the Gemelli with Pesto Sauce and Burrata.
Pictured Bottom Left to Right are Meatballs, their Cheesy Garlic Bread (YUM), and their Cheesteak Riggatoni Special.

A perfect pull of Spaghetti in Sunday Gravy.

Nonna’s Ricotta Gnocci in Vodka Sauce

Meatballs that were perfectly moist and extremely flavorful!

img_1140.jpgBronze Table’s Special Cheesesteak Riggatoni

Gemelli Pasta in Pesto Sauce topped with fresh Burrtata

My favorite Wild Mushroom & Sage Ravioli in the Butter Parm sauce

Great Reads

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Publish Date:
Laurie Halse Anderson

Goodreads Summary:

It’s late summer 1793, and the streets of Philadelphia are abuzz with mosquitoes and rumors of fever. Down near the docks, many have taken ill, and the fatalities are mounting. Now they include Polly, the serving girl at the Cook Coffeehouse. But fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook doesn’t get a moment to mourn the passing of her childhood playmate. New customers have overrun her family’s coffee shop, located far from the mosquito-infested river, and Mattie’s concerns of fever are all but overshadowed by dreams of growing her family’s small business into a thriving enterprise. But when the fever begins to strike closer to home, Mattie’s struggle to build a new life must give way to a new fight—the fight to stay alive.

My Review:

There were three four reasons why I was intrigued with reading this.
1. I really like historical fiction.
2. This is set in Philadelphia (I work in Philadelphia)
3. Most of my students have already read this.
4. I am reading Station Eleven this month and wanted to see if I could draw any comparisons.

With those four reasons, I’m glad that I read it. I really didn’t even know that Philadelphia had such a severe outbreak of yellow fever back in the 1700’s. Reading this gave me the chills because I was familiar with so many of the streets and places that were brought up. I can envision these places today and it’s horrific imagining them plagued with yellow fever and bodies. I was even super disgruntled to learn that the burial dumping ground is one of Philadelphia’s most famous tourist park.

I enjoyed the read and felt like it was super informative. I enjoyed watching Mattie as such a dynamic character.  This is a great read full of inspiration, strength, and character and it is a wonderful YA novel.

Great Restaurants

Puyero – Hallaca Making Class

Do you have any Christmas traditions? Are there certain dishes that your family makes for Christmas every year? Even bigger, is there a tradition that your culture abides to every year? I’m a mutt so I try and incorporate a little of everything. I am German and Italian on my father’s side. My grandfather always brought us what he called “Klerban”. It’s like a Christmas fruit bread. I’m not sure where the name came from for him but when googled, it looks like they regularly call it Stollen. We also incorporate the Christmas Eve tradition of the seven fishes. My mother is Puerto Rican. We have coquito and Puerto Ricans often make pastilles for Christmas tradition. Pastilles are very similar to the Venezuelan hallacas which is what this post is all about!!!

There’s a great little restaurant in Philadelphia that is called Puyero Venezuelan Flavor. During this Christmas season, they are offering classes that teach how to make Hallacas and also offer some other traditional Christmas dishes like pan de jamon. I had a chance to preview the class on Monday. It was very informative, insanely delicious, and so much fun!!! There was a class on Wednesday but there are two other classes that you can sign up for. The event is $30 per person and is being held on November 28th, or December 5th. UPDATE: NOVEMBER 28TH IS ALREADY SOLD OUT.  You can get tickets HERE. Buy fast because tickets are moving quickly!

Puyero is found at:
524 South 4th Street,
Philadelphia, PA, 19147

Thanks to my foodie friend PhillyFoodGal for the invite.

Before wrapping the hallacas into the plantain leaves.

A finished hallaca that I got to sink my teeth in.

The entire loaf of pan de jamon that I could have eaten by myself given the opportunity!

This was the pan de jamon. It was the percfect mix of sweet and salty!

Their Andes hot chocolate which was so rich and thick it was unbelivable. It has cinnamon and vanilla in it!

If you aren’t available for the class, you can come in anytime from now to December 30th to try some of the hallacas!

Great Restaurants

Tsaocaa & BBQ Chicken

Hey Philly, want to get some teas and Korean fried chicken? Come try out the new Tsaocaa & BBQ Chicken place over in Chinatown.

BBQ chicken here is not what you’re thinking. You won’t find any BBQ sauce smothered chicken 🍗. BBQ stands for “best of the best quality” and that’s for certain! This is a major chain that started in Korea. I believe there are 16 locations in the US at the moment. As for the Tsaocaa Tea, this is the first location here in the US. The combination of the two chains is killer! The milk tea and other varieties compliment the spice in the chicken so well. It is definitely something to try.

I’ll start with the chicken first. The chicken is beyond crispy. It’s fried in olive oil and only one time! The meat stays crazy juicy and the coating stays super crisp. You will find a variety of sauces from mild to hot. The sauces are: red hot garlic, hot spicy, soy garlic, secret spicy, honey garlic, a more Korean authentic gang-jeong and CHEESLING. Cheesling is a mix of two powdered cheeses. Don’t knock it until you try it. I think we were all in agreeance that it was our favorite! It was different and delicious. I can’t wait until I get to try them again. All the sauces were delicious. Cheeseling was awesome and so was the Secret Spicy which is more sweet than just spicy. A little more kick than your traditional Asian Sweet Chili Sauce in my opinion.  You can also get them without sauce. I won’t call these dry because they’re not dry, they’re unsauced! They’re still amazing and have a distinct taste that seperates them from American fried chicken.  My next order will definitly be some of the secret spicy, some cheeslings, and then believe it or not, the original unsauced! I’m a big fan on bone-in wings. I feel like they give you a more satisfying tasty crunch but here, I liked all the boneless a tad bit more. I think they held the sauce better but a mixture of the two would be a perfect combo!

Unsauced Crunchy Original Olive Chicken – Look at that crunch!

Mmm, saucy

The left side is the cheesling variety. So delicious and different. The pickled radish pictured above is also a must!


There was a large variety of tea. It was the first time I’ve sampled the milk teas with cheese. I’m not quite sure exactly what it is but it’s great. It’s not a cheddar cheese kinda deal so don’t be afraid. It’s quite good. We had it on top of a blueberry drink and a mango drink.The mango drink was my favorite of the two. It was a mango puree and delicious!

My favorite drink of them all was the “More Than See You” – an iced grapefruit tea. I COULD DRINK THIS EVERY DAY. NO, I COULD BATHE IN THIS. IT WAS THE MOST DELICIOUS DRINK, EVER! It was also Patrick, the owner’s, very favorite too! We sampled so many and they were all great!

Blueberry cheese, mango cheese, grapefruit iced tea, and a peach oolong tea

Tea Menu

Looking at Grubhub and Yelp reviews, the biggest complaint seems to be the delivery service and long waits. I didn’t experience either obviously because we dined in and had as fast service as can be expected. This chicken IS MADE TO ORDER. No pre-fried soggy chicken is found here. Speaking of soggy, to be honest, it took us a half hour to take pictures and the chicken was still as crunchy as when it came out hot! And the room temp didn’t bother me at all! It was just as delicious.

Seriously, there’s a menu disclaimer!

They can be found at:
938 Race Street
Philadelphia PA 19107 (Chinatown)

You can also try out the North Wales location at:
1222 Welsh Rd Unit B7,
North Wales, PA 19454 (inside ASSI Plaza)

The locations here in Philly is only serving the olive chicken and the Tsaocaa Teas but you can find the BBQ headquarters website here: BBQ CHICKEN OMG YES! And I have yet to find a Tsaocaa website that is translated in English so I’m not sure which is a main website but for some pictures of the teas we tried you can click riiiiiighttttt… HERE! Lol.

Make sure you follow myself and the other foodies who tried out this place and check out their thoughts!:

@littleteacherbigappetite (me)

And while you’re at it, definitely do not forget to look at the restaurant instagrams!


Now this is what I call a feast!