Yes, the temperatures are dipping and the season for dining under the stars is quickly fading, but it's not too late to eek out a few more weeks of outdoor dining. Talula's Garden is stretching the al fresco season as long as it can with it's new staff of outdoor heating lamps.Talula's Garden is not just a restaurant with "seasonal American food inspired by the farm and garden" by Amy Olexy, but is also a restaurant by Stephen Starr, who is undeniably a master at designing themed restaurants. Theme for Talula's Garden: farm and garden. For all of you out there that swoon over Urban Outfitter's home and garden shop, Terrain, you are going to love Talula's Garden; it was hit with the same rustic and repurposed, but deliberate and chic design aesthetic.
Mix-and-match dinnerware lends to the rustic, chic vibe.
Wanting only a drink and small snack some place on the way home after traipsing through the city, we recently warmed up under a heat lamp for a glass of wine on Talula's patio just off Washington Square Park — a perfect place to escape the harsh edges of the city and unwind.Determined not to let summer slip away, I ordered a glass of Millbrook rosé at the patio bar.A few weeks ago I was tasked with finding bottles of vegan wine (animal products are often used as fining agents), and this is not made easy by wine labels, which almost never disclose if a wine is or is not vegan. Keys such as the one above on Talula's Garden's wine menu are very much appreciated.
Now, if only Talula's Garden would put a similar key on their dinner menu to denote vegetarian and vegan items, although I'm afraid not much at Talula's Garden is vegan. (Vegan dishes can be made at Talula's Garden. Check out Living On The Vedge's glowing experience.)Only wanting a small nibble, we decided on a cheese plate since cheese is one of Olexy's passions. From the six cheese plates on Talula's Garden's menu, we went with The Locavore cheese plate featuring six cheeses made in the region, and accompanied by drips and drops of honey, jams, dried fruits, and nuts, as well as a bowl of mixed breads.There's nothing I like more than sampling and comparing foods side to side. On their own, each of the six regional cheeses are great, but, side by side, there were some definite standouts (Pipe Dreams Ashed Goat Log and Birchrun Hill's "Fat Cat").
My absolute favorite cheese, though, was the Bailey's Dairy Ricotta, which is actually Talula's housemade Ricotta with cow milk from Bailey's Dairy. I was amazed at how sweet, buttery and creamy this cheese was, and declared it a perfect topping for apple pie — or any dessert that would couple with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
The garden at Talula's Garden is quite a nice little sidestep from the city sidewalks, and we hope to get back to the garden soon while the weather is still amenable.
210 West Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA 19106