Local, seasonal and sustainable. White Dog Cafe has stayed true to their roots for the past 30 years. Hence why I think they are one of the best farm-to-table in Philadelphia. Known for contemporary American cuisine and friendly service. White Dog Cafe is the first restaurant in Philadelphia to use environmentally sustainable, organic and local foods from farms within 50 miles, and is known for warm hospitality and inspiring cuisine.
Immediately after arriving, I was taken aback by the beautiful contrast of the black awnings against the brownstones and lush greenery; very welcoming indeed. We were greeted by smiling faces from the staff and the manager in charge; Jessica was very warm and welcoming. We went to the back bar; the Parlor for the natural light, but little did we know of how charming the room would be.
Now how about that exquisite menu that we had the pleasure of exploring from starter to dessert?
To begin with, we chose both the Local Artisan Cheese plate, given the name all the cheese are from Pennsylvania and the Yellowfin Tuna Tartare. Our server Ashley who was absolutely wonderful, brought out both dishes together, but the cheese plate caught my eye first.
Beautifully presented on a cheese board adorned with a rustic delicious apple jam, red grapes, thinly sliced pears, small pieces of baguette bread, nuts and of course cheese. It looked delectable, and it most certainly was, especially the cheeses. We had the Lanchego, which is aged for up to a year, made from sheep’s milk and is a drier and firmer consistency. Next up was the Cheddar which was traditional cow’s milk cheddar cheese, therefore those mustard tones and spice was present. Ultimately the Noble Brie was our favorite cheese. We really couldn’t stop eating it and pretty much paired it with every accoutrements. I believe it was the buttery, earthy flavor that pulled us in. From beginning the mood of farm-to-table in Philadelphia was set with both locally sourced dishes.
–Local Artisan Cheese
I’m really big on seafood, so I was happy to see tuna tartare on the menu. Despite being excited about the tuna tartare, I wasn’t excited about the avocado. Lately my palate hasn’t been appreciative of the taste. However the pairing of the fresh tuna, soy, cilantro and even the avocado was remarkable. Did we enjoy it though? Let’s just say after we were done, you wouldn’t have been able to tell what was on the dish in the first place lol.
–Yellowfin Tuna Tartare
In all honesty I wanted the best tasting, blog and instagram worthy entrees on the menu and I most certainly was not disappointed with the Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich or Green Meadow Double Cheddar Burger.
I really love fried chicken and thought a sandwich would be just light enough to have before dinner. I was wrong. Not only was it one of the best fried chicken sandwiches I’ve had, I was only able to eat half of it lol. The chicken was very moist and juicy, but still had that crunch we all like our fried chicken to have. The honey butter on the brioche certainly was the perfect addition. Plus the sweet pepper chow-chow; a slightly sweet relish and spicy pickles made every bite that much better. The thinly sliced house made BBQ Potato Chips, which had both a sweet and slightly tangy taste, were yummy. I would definitely recommend having this entree to all you fried chicken lovers.
-Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich
Green Meadow Double Cheddar Burger, is both a mouthful to say and to have, but definitely worthy. To point out, this burger is so epic, that it comes with knife in the middle of it. Stacked on top of the brioche roll is a perfectly grilled medium rare burger, grilled red onions, tomatoes and smoked bacon mayo and bacon! With every bite you take, you probably won’t want to stop eating, because of how well the flavors marry together. I don’t know about you but I cannot have a burger or any sandwich really without fries, they just go together. For one thing I couldn’t stop eating the Truffle Parmesan Fries, they were well seasoned and fried to the perfect level of crispiness. An entree totally blog worthy, indeed.
-Double Cheddar Burger
Peanut Butter Croissant Bread Pudding topped with Chocolate Marshmallow Swirl Ice Cream and Caramelized Bananas, the main reason for my visit to White Dog Cafe was absolutely more than I thought it would be. Check out the post here.
-Peanut Butter Croissant Bread Pudding, Chocolate Marshmallow Swirl Ice Cream, Caramelized Bananas
You already know my history with chocolate, but I believe my palate is sensing that chocolate may not be so bad after all. Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with Vanilla Creme Brûlée and Coffee Ice Cream was surprisingly quite decadent, rich and almost heavenly. Important to realize is that the chocolate cake may be rich, but it didn’t overpower the flavor of the hazelnut. The vanilla creme brûlée was creamy and slightly sweet, due to the caramelized sugar. I would have preferred the caramelized bananas to be a bit softer, but nevertheless it was still tasty. I took home the remainder of my cake home and five days later it was still really moist and flavorful!
-Chocolate Hazelnut Cake
I’m pretty sure when you think of dessert cocktails, you instantly think of a creamy sweet drink infused with some type of liquor or liqueur right? This is where White Dog Cafe diverges from what’s expected with their Chicoree Martini. Their mixologist is constantly searching for unique liquors, such as Tamworth Blue Lion, one of the liqueurs in the martini. Which in my opinion already sets them apart from most bars. This martini is Hennessy VSOP Cognac based, infused with Kahlua; coffee liqueur, Pour Richard’s Cold Brew Coffee and sweetened with both Agave and Tamworth Blue Lion, which has notes of roasted chicory; a bittersweet, spicy flavor. I’ve had all those liquors and coffee before, but never chicory and I must say it made for a unique flavor that I liked.
White Dog Cafe- University City
White Dog Cafe may be known as one of the best farm-to-table in Philadelphia, but the decor is very chic. We checked out most of the dining rooms. Above all though my favorite dining room was most certainly the Parlor, mainly because of the aesthetics. The Parlor aesthetics, is that of nobility and a sense of the “old world”, elements I appreciate, even though it’s a newer addition. Beneath the Parlor is the Solarium, my second favorite. Which is exactly as the name suggest; a beautiful glass filled room, dawned with beautiful plants and whimsical furniture, almost like an indoor garden. To point out, White Dog Cafe, has a thing for our furry friends and there are quite a few whimsical dog decor, fixtures and stunning artwork throughout the space. As a matter of fact the aesthetics in my own words are; charming, whimsy and intimate.
Where: University City
Staff: Spectacular service, Knowledgeable, Accomodating
The Living Room
The Parlor Bar
Bonus Farm-to-table in Philadelphia
Talula’s Garden was my first farm-to-table in Philadelphia restaurant experience, when I first moved to Philly years ago and it’s still a great restaurant. As their focus of cooking the way it ought to be is still the same.
Founding Farmers is very popular in the DMV area, but recently set their mark in the King of Prussia. They even have a full bakery, cafe and creamery in KOP, which focuses on scratch-made foods. I recommend the fried chicken and pesto pasta and the awesome ice cream and coffee beverages. Definitely a worthy farm-to-table in Philadelphia experience.
As a Caribbean girl I truly appreciate farm-to-table restaurants. After all I grew up being able to pick fruits off the tree to eat immediately. Even seeing both maternal and paternal grandparents raise chickens and goats that would later make it to the dinner table. In essence farm-to-table will always be one of my favorite types of restaurant and White Dog Cafe has definitely surpassed all my expectations.
How do you feel about farm-to-table restaurants? I look forward to your response.
Until next time, have a fantabulous day. Love, Atalee
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Photo credit: Evelyn Garcia, Intern at GPbyAtalee}