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Fearless Restaurants Summer Launch Overnight Stay

What is your ideal summer scene?

For me, two things come to mind: food and the beach. Or, more accurately, food at the beach.

Thanks to Fearless Restaurants, I got to experience my ideal summer scene for two days straight this past week, all completely free of charge. I was truly living the dream, being served gourmet food and drinks in my favorite place on Earth.

Lori and I both grew up spending our summers in Long Beach Island, NJ at our grandparents’ house in Beach Haven Crest. The island is my second home, and some of my best memories were made on that 18-mile stretch of sand.

It just so happens that Fearless Restaurants, a conglomerate that includes some m2mm favorites like White Dog Café and The Deck, holds several establishments throughout LBI. Jaimi Blackburn, Fearless’s super-awesome Director of Public Relations, was kind enough to invite us to celebrate the start of summer during an overnight stay in LBI. Unfortunately, Lori was busy adulting, so I packed up my boyfriend as a backup plus-one and headed to the beach for two days.

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The event started at Daddy O Hotel, a 22-room boutique hotel boasting a modern, urban chic interior. Quite contrary to our ever- bustling, family-filled shore house, Daddy O offers quiet, peaceful luxury and endless amenities. It is the perfect fusion of Jersey-shore tradition and lush indulgence. And the beds are significantly less sandy.

The evening began with a cocktail hour at Daddy O’s outdoor Rum Bar, where we sipped on some specialty cocktails including a Tikitini, a Banana Daiquiri, Queen Anne’s Revenge, and the ‘O’ Cocktail. Here, we first met some of the other influencers at the event, like @AlexandMike, @Camille_Mola, @Philly_Grub, @PhillyChitChat, @VisitPhilly, and more! All had been invited to this all-inclusive event thanks to our influencer-status and large blog followings. Jaimi really rounded up the A-Team for this one.

Next, we dined at Plantation, another one of Fearless Restaurants’ LBI establishments. Plantation’s interior was recently redesigned and it is absolutely stunning. The new interior is colorful, lively, summery, chic and swanky – the perfect mix of modern and classic. And, not to mention, the perfect backdrop to what turned out to be an even more perfect meal. We started with the spicy tuna nachos – a great first bite of the weekend. For entrees, we had the local tuna, served with a crisped rice cake and mango salsa, as well as the seafood cippino over pappardelle noodles. For dessert, we split the mango cheesecake. Everything was incredible, and went back to our cozy hotel room satisfactorily stuffed.

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The next day, we woke up, ate some complimentary hotel breakfast and took a stroll on the beach. With a slight breeze and a strong sun, it turned out to be the perfect beach day. After devouring some shrimp tacos and a watermelon-feta salad outback at Daddy O, we headed to the beach to read.

After a few hours in the sun, we made our way up to Daddy O rooftop bar as two human-lobsters. Here, we enjoyed a coral margarita and a Moscow mule before heading over to our final meal of the trip at Tucker’s Tavern. Tucker’s is one of our LBI family-favorites, as my brother and sister used to work there a few summers back. We particularly love their lacquered wings, served with Thai chili mayo and crumbled blue cheese. Naturally, we had to order those. After all, it’d been a long winter without them. For dinner, we had MORE tuna – this time, the flash seared variety with Thai peanut sauce, and the Viking Village Dayboat Scallops, served with bacon-sweet pea risotto. Both were absolutely delicious – a true toss-up for which was the best meal of the weekend.

After the meal, we sullenly bid our new influencer-friends farewell and left for my grandparents’ house a few miles down the island. How convenient, and how incredibly lucky, to have such fine dining options right down the road for the summer. We’ll be back soon – next time, with the whole family.

Now THAT is my ideal summer scene.

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My solo trip to Italy

So.. I recently knocked two things off my bucket list: I went to Italy and I traveled solo.

I’ve always wanted to take a solo trip. Several times I’ve started planning: looking at dreamy AirB&B bungalows and reading travel blogs. You know, the fantasizing portion of travel planning. My plans would always start out ambitious. I’d picture myself dipping a churro into thick chocolate at a charming corner café in Barcelona or smelling my way from vendor to vendor at a Vietnamese night market. Once intimidation set in, I’d reel in my fantasies and map out reasonable road trips and check domestic flight prices.

This waffling back and forth (mmmm….waffles!) served its purpose: to help me procrastinate this big scary thing I wanted to do. What I needed was an excuse to go, an event to attend with a specific date. And that’s just what I got.

Since I started blogging, I have followed the career of Dianne Jacob. She is an award-winning author and writing coach. After reading her book, Will Write For Food, I followed her on Instagram and regularly read her blog posts in an attempt to soak up all of her foodie-writerish-knowledge.  A few months ago, she posted about a food writing workshop she would be hosting, along with Demet Güzey,  in Verona, Italy…. and there was my excuse. I made peace with the costs, booked my flight, and gauged my feelings somewhere between nauseatingly nervous and exhilarated.

 The Trip

IMG_1728The workshop was only 4 days long. I couldn’t fly all the way to Italy for just 4 days. That’s only 12 delicious Italian meals! (Vacation days should always be calculated by meals, right?). So, I kicked the trip off by falling in love with Venice. The gondolas, the meandering alleys connected by foot bridges, the flirtatious waiters standing in bistro doorways beckoning to you to come in and eat: my days in Venice were every bit as romantic and adventurous as I always imagined my solo trip to be. I splurged a little and stayed at Splendid Venice, a luxury hotel just outside of Piazza San Marco. My room was tiny, but what it lacked in space it made up for with a view of a lush garden terrace. If I poked my head out, I could see gondolas passing just below.IMG_1776.JPG

I spent the two days in Venice doing whatever I wanted. Being alone was liberating. I ate and wandered, wandered and ate. I got lost on purpose and found my way back. I stopped for tiny meals all day long and spent as much time as I wanted photographing each one. I even took a few selfies.

I left Venice full of seafood and with a tad more confidence that I could, indeed, navigate my way to Verona successfully. After a long, scenic train ride and an awkward taxi drive, a very annoyed driver, to whom I had initially given the wrong address, dropped me off at a closed gate and sped away. Peering through the gate I saw  perfectly manicured gardens and the looming 500-year-old villa where I would spend the duration of my trip. Dianne was waiting at the door looking exactly how I picture all writers. Small and artsy, wearing overalls and a smirk that makes you feel like the two of you already have an inside joke.

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Breakfast at the villa

The villa was airy and cavernous, like the inside of a day-old croissant with brown buttery walls. The stairwell leading to my fourth story room offered peeks into the ornately decorated bedrooms and the only cardio I did all week. This place felt special.

There was no lack of inspiration for us aspiring food writers. Every day we woke up to warm boiled eggs and assorted pastries, jams, and cheeses. I quickly learned to go easy on the breakfast. Our lunches were four and five courses long. We ate plate after plate of creamy risotto and yolky yellow pasta while the reality set in that we would be doing this again for dinner. We’d return from every excursion and pour the experience into Microsoft Word, reading our reactions aloud for comments and critiques. This was my

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Potato gnudi oozing with cheese

favorite part of the trip. Breaking bread with good people who love food is always special. But following the meal up with a session of sharing feelings and memories and the journey to find the absolute perfect word to describe the texture of fresh, house-made ricotta? That is the perfect dessert… That, and tiramisu. Tiramisu is pretty great.

The workshop left me asking myself why I don’t do this every day. Why don’t I get brunch with my friends or eat a home-cooked meal with my parents, then rush home to record the emotions and cooking methods and the conversations that mean so much to me? It doesn’t have to take a beautiful villa, sprawling countryside, and structured writing prompts to write beautiful thoughts about food. But of course, it helps.

If you like reading about food (why else would you be here?) check out some of the bloggers/writers I had the pleasure of meeting on my trip:

DadCooksDinner with Mike Vrobel

Chef Jillian Fae

An Appetizing Life- With Lisa Todd

 

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A light-hearted, almost-convincing argument that foodies should only date foodies

It has been said that there are two kinds of people: people who eat to live and people to live to eat. While the two groups can live and work in harmony, the disparity can be devastating when experienced by couples with differing levels of food fondness. I see this time and time again, friends and loved ones caught up in foodless relationships with no way out.

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Strangers with cool shirts

For the sake of this post, lets define “foodie” as someone who takes a special interest in food, someone who looks forward to their next meal with excitement and wonder and remembers meals from the past with tenderness and appreciation. A foodie is someone who enjoys discussing, thinking, and learning about food. People who identify themselves as foodies follow current food trends, pride themselves on knowing their city’s restaurant scene, and occasionally pronounce things with an unwarranted French accent. (Take a good look in the mirror and say “croissant”). A foodie, most importantly, requires a partner who appreciates and pursues food with matching intensity.

For me, a self-proclaimed foodie, socializing and catching up with friends usually means going out to eat. My friends always seem to say “I love going out to eat with you”. It’s not for the obvious reasons: that I know the best restaurant and am wonderful company. No. This statement is almost always followed by “…because you eat all the things that (insert boyfriend’s name) won’t eat.” And while they give hollow excuses like “He’s just a meat and potatoes kind of guy”, I can see the desperation in their eyes, a desperation that says “I haven’t had sushi in years.”

Eating together is one of the most intimate acts we take part in in both a family and a romantic relationship. In addition to being a basic need for our survival, cooking and eating are very personalized expressions of who we are, where we are from and how we care for ourselves and others. Our food preferences and dietary habits are so deeply rooted in our family, our culture, our emotions, and our world-view.  How then, can people with two fundamentally different appetites share and build a happy life together?

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Our friends, @phillyfoodforeal

Calamari. Hummus. Matcha everything. These once-exotic, now-mainstream foods are being avoided by picky eaters everywhere and their significant others are the unforeseen victims. Weekend after weekend they are dragged to the same restaurants and never asked to split an adventurous appetizer, caught in an endless cycle of food monotony. I find myself wondering how these situations got this far. Were there warning signs? Where did they go on their first date? Surely him ordering a burger for three consecutive dates would be a red flag.

If I can prevent even one foodie from falling victim to a picky partner, I’ll have done my job. While I can’t save my friends who are currently blinded by love, I can provide some warning signs:

 


  1. Your dates are planned around non-food activities. Sure, it’s nice to stroll through the park, visit museums, and see movies. But really, shouldn’t the focal point of your date be eating? A day in the park should involve a picnic. Plans to visit a museum should include several near-by dinner options. At the very least, your plan-making should end with “and then we’ll get some ice cream.dealbreaker.gif
  2.  No daily recap of  meals If your potential significant other regularly asks “how was your day?” without following up with “what did you eat?”, that’s a deal breaker. A daily review of all things cooked and eaten is an essential part of a fulfilling relationship for any foodie. (If he/she sends pictures of their meals, you’ve found a keeper!)
  3. . His/her favorite restaurant is a chain. Let’s do this one rapid-fire style.

Bottomless fries?…. I’m busy.

Half priced appetizers?… I’m not looking for a relationship right now.

Endless shrimp?…  It’s not you, it’s me.

Unlimited breadsticks?… It’s you.

Here at @music2mymouth we believe that love has no bounds. Regardless of race, gender, orientation or background, people should feel free to love, date, and marry whoever they want. The union of foodies and non-foodies, however, is one that we cannot support. It is our belief that a relationship between two unequally yolked eaters (food pun!!!) will ultimately deprive those who live to eat. Love is blind, but certainly not tasteless.

 

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Do Old People Know What Food Porn Is?

How do you feel about the term ‘food porn’? Do you even know what it is? I recently realized that using the term “porn” to describe all our self-indulgent obsessions may be something unique to our generation at a family party that took an awkward turn.

The party was at my aunt and uncle’s house. There were a lot of guests I didn’t know, friends of my aunts and uncles, and the day started with endless introductions and small talk. Of course, as I snapped pictures of the food,  our Instagram account @music2mymouth was a topic of discussion.

Later in the night, when everyone was much drunker and louder, one man announced “Lori does food porn!” While the declaration didn’t faze most of the party guests who went on to ask the usual questions (“What is your handle?”, “Did you take all of these?”, and my favorite “Did you actually eat all this food?”), my aunt quickly halted the conversation with a loud and disgusted “Wait wait wait…… PORN?” Bewildered and slightly inebriated, she collected her thoughts and her follow-up questions: How did I get in to this? Do my grandparents know? What do I actually DO with the food?

This interaction made me remember the first time I heard the term food porn and, to be honest, I remember it made me feel uncomfortable.  Certainly, me gawking at Instagram accounts and tagging my friends in pictures of cheese fries and donuts isn’t the same as watching porn. It sounded so vulgar, so shameful, so….honest.

No matter how icky it makes you feel, “food porn” is actually a very accurate way to describe what we do when we seek out and stare at pictures of food. It is visual stimulation that helps us imagine fulfilling a physical desire: eating.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines pornography as “a depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction”. Show me a picture of a crumbly biscuit (see Exhibit A) and I  assure you I will have a quick intense emotional reaction.

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Exhibit A 

Like, porn porn, it is difficult to define food porn. In the 1964 case Jacobellis v. Ohio, United States Supreme Court Justice Potter Steward said that although he is unable to define hard-core pornography, “I know it when I see it.” Food porn is just the same. While not all pictures of food are food porn, you know it when you see it. As I attempted to define it, I found that there are some qualities that seem to apply to all food porn:

  •      Food porn pictures involve an action, whether it is steaming, dripping,oozing, sizzling or melting. Even a still picture suggests movement. There are actually subcategories of food porn devoted to these actions. Search: #cheesepull #liftingnoodles or #yolkdrip
  • Food porn usually contains a picture with very defined texture. A food porn picture could not simply be a picture of cake, but a clear depiction of crumb size, moisture, the lightness of the frosting against the density of the cake. To look at a picture of food porn is to imagine the mouth feel of the subject, to imagine how a fork would slice through it or how it would feel in your hands.
  •   Lastly, an almost universal truth, food porn captures unhealthy foods. While there is certainly a corner of the social media world carved out for healthy meals and recipes, looking at pictures of healthy meals is not exactly comparable to looking at porn. Looking at Instagram pictures of healthy food is the pornography equivalent of watching a monogamous couple shop at Ikea. Womp. Food porn is meant for fantasy foods. Cheat foods and street foods.  If-I-was-on-death-row-and-had-to-choose-my-last-meal foods.

My aunt’s utter shock to my involvement in food porn brought something else to my attention. While my friends and I use the suffix –porn to describe anything we obsess over (#houseporn #fashionporn #makeupporn), could this be unique to millenials? We took to the streets of Long Beach Island, NJ to find out if our grandparents’ generation is familiar with the term. The result was hilarious……

 

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Quick-Take: Giving Fast-Paced Recipe Videos a Go

So, we did a thing. A really cool thing. We made one of those trendy high-speed recipe videos. And it was really, really fun.

A little background: I (Natalie) am interning at Food Network in New York City this summer. For the internship, I had to submit a final project. We were given completely free reign on this assignment. Since I’ve been doing a little work on improving the Network’s Facebook presence, I decided to take to the latest foodie Facebook trend and make a high-speed recipe video.IMG_2308

You know the videos I’m talking about. They flood your social media feeds and show perfectly manicured hands effortlessly throwing together a complete meal in under 45 seconds. Those videos you watch and “why yes! I can make a rainbow unicorn cake with just three bowls, one spoon, and no effort.”

I consulted Lori on choosing a recipe and she suggested the watermelon poke bowl. Poke bowls are all the rage in the food world right now, but we figured we’d simplify the process and vegan-ify the recipe by replacing tuna with watermelon. They look enough alike…and one doesn’t smell like fish.

After talking to a few short form production specialists around the office, as well as the social media director, I decided to go a step beyond taking the video on my iPhone. Our cousin is a professional wedding photographer, so I asked if he’d be willing to help me out with the shoot. Before I knew it, basically our whole family was involved in the operation.

 

Let me just say that there is WAY more that goes into these 45-second videos than I ever thought. During filming, you need to anticipate every turn and transition you’ll need when you put the video together. This can be surprisingly difficult. My best advice would be to plan out every single shot you’ll need beforehand by making a shot list. It’s tedious, but in the end, it’s worth it. This way, when you go to film, you get all the shots you need the first time.

Our filming didn’t go quite as smoothly, but for complete novices, we navigated the process pretty well. We decided to chop and measure all the ingredients ahead of time.  With our mis en place all set, we were able to seamlessly combine the ingredients and assemble the bowl without wasting precious seconds on prep.

Screen Shot 2017-08-10 at 11.19.42 AM.pngI decided to edit the video using iMovie. It’s relatively beginner friendly, plus I’ve used it for countless bio projects (and more regrettably, some embarrassing dancing videos with middle school friends). The editing was really pretty simple, and it was fun to watch the video come together piece by piece.

When I presented the video in my office to the other interns and their managers, they were beyond impressed by the quality and professionalism. Coworkers have been asking me to see the video since the meeting let out!

Even if you’re inexperienced with creating digital content, creating one of these quick videos is a great place to start. All it takes is a little planning, a little editing, and a little help from some talented friends (or, in my case, family)!

You can check out the finished product here!

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An Open Letter To The Person Who Makes Fun Of Me For Taking Pictures Of My Food

Before we jump in, I’d like to say that I’m not a fan of the endless “An Open Letter To….” articles that flood my Facebook feed. They’re usually preachy and condescending. However, it felt like an appropriate format for this post…. because I’m about to get my preach on.

Dear Person Who Makes Fun Of Me For Taking Pictures Of My Food,

You know who you are. You’re the group of men at the bar gawking at my buffalo-wing photoshoot. You’re the server who comes to ask how my food is, only to roll your eyes when you realize I haven’t gotten around to tasting it yet. Often times, you’re even my parents.

IMG_7705.JPGWe were recently invited to a menu tasting at Drury’s Beer Garden, a summer-time off-shoot of Opa in Center City, Philadelphia. You can imagine my delight when we were served these loaded fries. The sheen on the yolk, the drip of the cheese, the mud-slide of succulent brisket. My friends (and followers) had to see this! Panicked, I looked around the courtyard of the beer garden searching for a sunlit spot to photograph the masterpiece before me. Dish in hand, I navigated my way through the crowd of cocktail sipping socializers, protecting my mountain of fries like a new born baby. When I found a spot where the sun rays hit the fries just right, I posted up and started my photoshoot. Lost in the beauty of the dish, I got into my zone, taking close-ups from every possible angle. When I finally broke eye contact with the glistening yolk, I looked up to find the crowd around me staring at me. Pointing. Whispering. Laughing. The boldest of the group, sun burnt and encouraged by the beer in his hand and his boys by his side, said “Are you ever gonna eat that or just take pictures?” Laughter erupted from the crowd as I smiled, stuffed my phone into my pocket, and scurried back to the safety of my shady table and my hungry, but ever-patient boyfriend. Food Instagrammers and amateur food-photographers alike will tell you that this is not an isolated incident.

We have come to find that the practice of taking pictures of food before indulging has been tacked with a stigma of being the past time of social-media obsessed, attention-hungry millennials who don’t live in the moment. As ambassadors for those social-media obsessed picture takers, we would like to offer an opposing view of our favorite hobby.

First of all, photography is an appropriate part of any celebration. The most momentous occasions of our lives: weddings, births, graduations, are commemorated by taking pictures. (Am I comparing myself taking a picture of a taco to you taking a picture of your new born baby or your bride on your wedding day?… Yes. I really love tacos.) In the spirit of loving life, why not commemorate the small things as well? For food lovers, every meal is an occasion. Each sought-after dish is a thing to be remembered, documented, and shared with family and friends. Food is a celebration of life. When we look at the food in our camera roll, we remember the experience of searching for the perfect restaurant, the friends we shared the meal with, and conversation inspired by the dish. For us, “living in the moment” sometimes means taking out our phones and saying “I want to remember this”. Or in our case, saying “I want to remember this taco.”

Second, food pictures are art too!.. Okay, let’s not take ourselves too seriously here. Although my ice cream cone iPhone pics are things of beauty, I know they’re not going to appear in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (#goals). Food photography is, however, a craft and sometimes even a career that involves learned methods and techniques. An entire culture has blossomed around our desire to search out and stare at high quality food pictures. And this culture no longer lives on Food Network or in Bon Appétite magazine. It’s happening in the high demand and constant supply of food porn on social media. It’s okay if you aren’t a part of it and it’s okay if you don’t ‘get it’. But why criticize it?

Lastly, we all benefit when people ‘gram from the restaurant table. Every customer is a food critic with a ready camera and a listening audience. As more and more people look to their Instagram feed for restaurant suggestions, chefs and restaurateurs are called to serve up picture-perfect, always-changing menu items to keep their followers interested.  Um, you’re welcome.

All this being said, I’ve learned to ignore your commentary. In fact, I returned to the sunny spot in the beer garden to take a picture of this bronze and beautifully battered Moroccan-style corndog. And I did so proudly, because I like my silly, self-indulgent hobby. It makes me happy. And haters gonna hate.

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Yours truly,

Music2MyMouth

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An Instagrammer’s Guide to Philly Ice Cream

Do your friends often ask you “Can I eat this, or do you need to take a picture first?” Have you ever stood on your chair in a restaurant to get the perfect aerial shot of your brunch? Do you value ice cream cone aesthetics over flavor?  (Cotton Candy blue really makes your eyes pop.) If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you just might be the Annoying Food Picture Friend. Accept it and embrace it. You’ve come to the right place. Here at @music2mymouth, we understand that food is no longer just for consuming. For our first installment of An Instagrammer’s Guide to Philly Food, we’ve found the most instagramable ice cream in the city. Here’s where to go and what to order:

IMG_2488Weckerly’s

First things first. Our hands-down favorite ice cream shop in Philly is Weckerly’s in North Philly. This small-batch “micro creamery” is delicious, adorable, and definitely instagramable. The flavors, the décor, and the cute couple working behind the counter add up to the perfect dessert stop for a Summer date night.

Let’s start with the flavors. Pictured here are Lemongrass Cherry Swirl (bottom) and Cara Cara Chocolate Sesame(top). Although they seem adventurous, both flavors were perfectly delicate and subtle. In addition to a short list of ever-changing flavors, Weckerly’s makes the brick-style ice cream sandwiches that havIMG_6209e quickly risen to instafame. We suggest bringing friends with you for two reasons. First, so you can swap sandwiches and taste all the flavors (germaphobes not welcome). Second, so you can stack the sandwiches up for a melty, indulgent photoshoot.

If you like free samples, you’ll love the staff and owners (who you can read more about here). Not only do they let you sample, they seem genuinely excited for you to test the different flavors. But c’mon yall, don’t be greedy.

What to order: The Black and White ice cream sandwich, pictured here, is our go-to. The soft chocolate chip cookie tastes like raw cookie dough! Before you go, check Weckerly’s Instagram for specials, as they usually have some unique flavors and sandwiches coming and going.

Yummy Yummy

IMG_7376If it’s likes and only likes that you’re interested in, Yummy Yummy in Chinatown might be the ice cream place for you. Don’t blink or you might miss it. This tiny shop on 10th street is serving up ice-cream scoops in Chinese bubble waffles. Inside the shop, you’ll find an extensive list of ice cream flavors and toppings, almost none of which are available to order. Just outside the shop, The Chinatown Friendship Arch provides the perfect background for your insta-famous bubble waffle picture. Is this the most delicious ice cream in Philly? No. Just… no. However, it can definitely fool your followers into thinking you know the ins-and-outs of the Philly food scene. Your secret is safe with us.

What to order: whatever you can get….

….We wouldn’t dare talk about Summer treats in Philly without mentioning wooder ice.

Philly Flavors

IMG_5434We’ve discussed both the delicious and the picture-worthy. The two factors intersect at Philly Flavors, possibly the most underrated (and under-instagrammed ) dessert shop in Philly. With multiple  locations – Fairmount, South Philly, and Center City- Philly Flavors is always within reach. Among their menu items are sundaes, waffle sandwiches, and ice cream cake. The real star of the menu, however, is the gelati. These multi-colored mountains of water ice and soft serve are served in clear plastic cups- ideal for picture taking. Unlike Rita’s, Philly Flavors lets you order multiple flavors of water ice and has three layers of ice cream. Buyers be warned: the portion sizes are massive. You’ll regret ordering anything other than the small.IMG_5704

What to order: The Black Raspberry water ice (make sure you say “black”)  is delicious and strikingly beautiful.  We suggest mixing it with Blueberry water ice and vanilla soft serve for some *intergalactic vibes*.

Happy Gramming, Ice Cream lovers!

If you visit any of these places or think you know a great, ‘grammable ice cream shop, tag @music2mymouth to show us your pictures!

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How to: Edit Your Instagram Food Pics

Among our most frequently asked questions is: What filters do you use on your pictures?

Our answer: None! Never! Please, dont!

While the filters provided by Instagram work just fine for sunsets and gym-selfies (if you’re in to that sort of thing…we’re not), we find that they make for some funky, unappetizing colors when it comes to food. We do, however, use the editing tools provided by Instagram to touch up our pictures. We are not professional photographers or photoshoppers, but we’ve posted a few pics and collected a few followers. Here is a step-by-step guide to turning food pics into food-porn using one of our favorite shots from Andy’s Chicken in Fishtown (we’re obsessed with this place…stay tuned for the blog post).

Here’s the original pic.

Not bad, right? Some nice natural light, some flaky goodness. Before you start editing, turn the brightness up on your phone so you can see what you’re working with. Let’s get started.

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1. The Brightness

The first thing you want to do is to pull up the brightness just a bit. Here, I brightened it just enough to see the details of the picture better. Don’t fuss too much. We’ll be revisiting brightness again.

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2. Saturation

Adjusting the saturation is tricky. If you add too much, your food will look like it spent too much time in the tanning bed. When we add saturation, we go just one touch past perfect. This will allow you to add more brightness.

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3. Revisit Brightness

Adding just that little bit of saturation allows you to brighten the picture more without washing out the colors. Here, we brightened the picture up quite a bit.

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4. Structure and Sharpen

Now we’ve arrived at the “wow-factor”. These two features are vital for textured food like fried chicken as well as shiny foods like melted cheese and chocolate.

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5. Post that beauty!

Damn…look how she glows. Now sit back, relax, and watch the “likes” roll in.

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So your friends have kids now…. Where to Meet For Lunch in Philly

Our answer: Milkhouse Grilled Cheese and Ice Cream.

IMG_4610 2If a five-year-old could dream up a restaurant, it would be filled with dragons, firetrucks, and mermaids. And the menu would look a lot like the menu at Milkhouse. Serving grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese, and tomato soup with goldfish crackers, Milkhouse answers the question: Where do you meet your friends with kids for lunch in the city? Not only do they cater to a picky palate, adorable miniature counters and stools line the walls. Although the menu does offer a few salads, we suggest indulging your inner five-year-old and ordering something consisting of carbs and cheese. And, if your pride lets you, take a seat on a mini-stool.

Milkhouse has three locations: 19th Street, Suburban Station, and 30th Street Station. (Pssst….the one on 19th is next door to a bar in case you need a drink after…or before)

IMG_4543IMG_4574Our favorite thing about Milkhouse: the Instagramability (if its not a word yet, it will be soon). If it’s “likes” you’re after, we suggest ordering the Happy Birthday Cake Milkshake or the Strawberry Shortcake Milkshake. They’re big, colorful, and sure to make your followers jealous. Not craving something sweet? A good ol’ grilled cheese cheese-pull pic should do the trick. Happy Gramming, dairy lovers!

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The Deck: Philly’s Newest Summer Spot

Last Wednesday, we were lucky enough to be invited to a super cool event to celebrate the opening of the Deck. The invitation boasted the opportunity to “drink, dance & dine,” so obviously we cleared our schedules, grabbed our baes, and made some space on our camera rolls.

The Deck proved to be the perfect happy hour place. The event had two open bars, as well as servers walking around serving hors d’oeuvres. There was also an oyster bar, which became very busy early on in the night. Some highlights of our night were the Scarlett Wine Ice Pop glass, the hamburger sliders, and the “Wildthang” strawberry vanilla and chocolate pretzel mini milkshakes.

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After extensive renovations, the dock area above the popular restaurant Moshulu is now ready for business. The area is beautifully furnished and has a tranquil ambiance. If you’re looking for a cool, new fresh-air summer hangout spot, make your way to the deck this season!

The Summer Launch Party is this Friday, May 19th, at 10 PM. All are welcome!

Moshulu is a part of Fearless Restaurants, an expanding collection of restaurants featuring engaging décor, inspired hospitality, creative menus and a dining experience that allures all of the senses. Located throughout the Philadelphia region and on Long Beach Island, NJ, Fearless Restaurants include the landmark Moshulu Restaurant on Penn’s Landing, White Dog Cafe in University City, Wayne and Haverford, Autograph Brasserie in Wayne and on Long Beach Island; Plantation Restaurant, Daddy O Restaurant & Hotel and Tuckers Tavern.