For the Fourth of July holiday, the H and I headed east to my city of birth, Philadelphia! I hadn’t been in over a year which was downright mind boggling considering that it’s only located on the other side of the state and not world. However, that has since been remedied. Although I miss a lot of things about living in Philadelphia, its hot and humid summers are not one of them! We were only there for three nights but fit in a lot of fun things including having a belated birthday dinner with my parents at Xochitl (the Aztec word for flower), an awesome Mexican restaurant. Its website describes the food as “celebrating the rich traditions of the Mexican table with the best local ingredients.” Our reservation was at 5:15 PM (we had to eat earlier as we were going on a ghost walking tour in Olde City later on), and for the entire meal we were the only diners (although the bar scene was quite happening and some people did seem to be dining as well). Our waitress did say that they offer a “late night” happy hour (starting at 10 PM and going until midnight) in which the house margaritas and antojitos (appetizers) were half off which leads me to believe that it’s definitely more of a late night scene. The interior set up is simple but decidedly Latin. Religious candles of Our Lady of Guadalupe graced the window facing the street and a display case of various tequilas was against a back wall. The best part though were the glass top tables that featured old movie posters in Spanish advertising classic American films from the mid-20th century underneath (my movie poster was of El Bueno, El Malo y El Feo-The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly). As it was quite hot and I wanted to stay hydrated I opted for a non-alcoholic drink, a glass of tamarindo juice. I first had the stuff in an even hotter place, Granada, Nicaragua, and have been hooked on it ever since. I’m not a fan of guacamole although their version seemed pretty cool-it’s prepared table side and is served with cotija cheese and house-made tortilla chips. I ordered instead sopa azteca, a beloved Mexican food favorite of mine. The presentation of it was wonderful-a bowl was brought out with fried tortilla strips, chihuahua cheese, avocado, and cream and then once at your place, the steaming and spicy pasilla broth was poured on top. Quite spicy, but very delicious.
For my entree I went with the falda de res-marinated flank steak, ancho steak sauce, grilled spring onions, and black beans. The waitress said the chef recommended medium rare and while I usually am not a fan of meat so red, it actually was quite good and didn’t taste too “extreme” at all.
The H, being ever a fan of fried chicken ordered the arroz con pollo frito, yes, rice with fried chicken. It came with Mexican rice, creamy rajas (peppers), salsa, and lime mayonnaise. I wasn’t offered any to try but it received a resounding “good” from him.
I unfortunately didn’t take a picture but for dessert the H and I split an order of the churros which was accompanied with Mexican hot chocolate for dipping purposes. I can hands down say this was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. Simple but divine. If you ever have a chance to try churros (fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar) I highly recommend it.
All in all our meal at Xochitl was excellent and if I was able to travel to Philadelphia on a regular basis, it definitely would be a frequent stop.