Sips and Eats: Philly’s best food and drink picks for Feb. 12-16

Red Owl Tavern

The Spotlight of the Week: Fork’s New Menu 

Jeremy Hansen, Fork’s new Executive Chef, is thrilled to share all the changes he’s rolled out in rapid succession. Hansen joined High Street Hospitality Group on the heels of helping long-time friends Nahid Ahmed and Arjuna Bull open the highly anticipated small tasting menu restaurant Luthun in New York City. Prior to that, he received widespread national recognition for his work across his own restaurants in the Northwest. Hansen joined Fork with a goal of making the restaurant’s signature contemporary American cuisine more approachable; illustrating that higher-end restaurants can produce authentic and crave-worthy food in an elevated setting and need not be reserved for special occasions.

Since then, he’s changed the menu in its entirety and introduced a brand new Saturday brunch program. He’s also worked alongside founder Ellen Yin on restaurant renovations which span both the dining room and kitchen.

For a look at the new and revamped menu, click here


This Week in Cocktails: Red Owl Tavern’s New Lead Bartender 


Red Owl Tavern, the beloved Old City restaurant and bar across from Independence Hall, recently added a new Lead Bartender to its popular halls. The chic tavern, serving up top-end American comfort cuisine, is truly one of the go-to restaurants in the city. RJ Arnold grew up in Northern Bucks County, Pennsylvania where he studied horticulture. He started bartending in 2006 and began studying his true passion, wine, in 2008. Since then, he has worked in Washington D.c., Seattle, and Ocean City, Maryland as a bartender, sommelier, and general manager. RJ is a certified Level 2 Sommelier and Cicerone.

(Red Owl Tavern // Lead Bartender RJ Arnold // Photo by Charnece L. Carter)

Red Owl Tavern Happenings

(Red Owl Tavern)

The restaurant and bar also has a new drink special featuring Bluebird Rye, Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, bitters, and sugar. $1 from each cocktail will go to Career Wardrobe, providing professional attire to the homeless. This week, Red Owl Tavern will also be hosting a Valentine’s Day Murder Mystery Dinner on Friday, February 14 at 8 p.m for $75 a person. For those looking a romantic meal without the excitement of a murder mystery, the Old City hotspot will be serving up a four-course prix fixe menu for $65 a person starting at 5 p.m.

Pizza lovers can enjoy Pizza Party deals every Sunday and Monday in February from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. For $15 a pie, you can bite into a Margarita (tomato, basil, pizza spice), White (Boursin cheese, mushrooms, arugula), or Spicy Impossible Meatball (fresno chilies and Padano parmesan) pie. If you follow @RedOwlTavern and tag #redowlpizzaparty, you’ll receive $5 off the check.

Valentine’s Day 

Love is in the air! Valentine’s Day is days away. Philly Influencer has been highlighting where to take your special someone on the beloved holiday for over a week. Here’s a few highlights of where to tkae your loved one this Friday.   

(Ocean Prime)

• For the entirety of Valentine’s Day weekend, will be offering a prix fixe menu comprised of four courses, including dessert, for $75 per person with an optional $25 wine pairing. With hearty vegetable-heavy dishes, is a great place for vegetarians and vegetable lovers to celebrate the holiday. Click here, to book a reservation.

• Bank and Bourbon: Market Street is heating up. This Valentine’s Day, enjoy an evening at Bank & Bourbon with a special three-course menu prepared exclusively by Chef Joe Thomas Jr. Whether you are celebrating a romantic evening for two, or a Galentine’s Day night out, there are plenty of options to choose from to satisfy your palates and cravings. Start with a warm with a Butternut Squash Soup topped with duck confit and caramelized apples, Pappardelle with beef cheek ragu and aged parmesan-reggianoor Sweet Oysters, a classic aphrodisiac option for the special night. For mains, Chef Thomas features a selection of seafood, steak, pork or chicken options including Bank & Bourbon’s signature Roasted Lancaster Chicken. No meal is complete without dessert, guests can finish the meal with a red-themed Red Velvet Cake or a Chocolate S’mores Tort, both made in house by Pastry Chef Amanda Kaewvichien.

• Laurel: Laurel will be featuring a delicious seven-course prix fixe menu ($150/pp) comprised of Chef Elmi’s renowned seasonal creations. For a sweet end to the meal, guests will be invited to make their own box of chocolates, home to two of each: white chocolate stuffed with caramelized chocolatedark chocolate truffle and strawberry chocolate.  These chocolates will be made by guests tableside. Reservations can be made online or by calling 215-271-8299.

• Ocean Prime: One of Center City’s most gorgeous restaurants and bars, Ocean Prime, is celebrating Valentine’s Day with a Roasted Sea Bass over Alaskan King Crab Gnocchi with Champagne cream. Topped with baby carrot salad in a preserved lemon pepper vinaigrette, this decadent dish is available for $62 for those lucky enough to get a reservation.

• Philadelphia Magic Gardens:  Head over to Philadelphia Magic Gardens on Valentine’s Day. Visitors will enjoy mezcal and Mexican fare from East Passyunk’s Tamalex while taking an intimate guided tour of the world-famous mosaics and art galleries. The tour will focus on the love story of Isaiah and Julia Zagar as well as their love of Mexican Folk Art. Visitors 21+ will be treated to light Mexican fare from East Passyunk’s own Tamalex and three different kinds of mezcal curated by Salvador Periban. Tickets are $40 for non-members and $30 for members.

For the full list and Galantine’s Day options, click here

Royal Tavern’s New Weekend Brunch 

(Royal Tavern // We Own The Night)

South Philly’s Royal Tavern will add weekend brunch service to its amazing menu on Saturday, February 15. Brunchers are invited to indulge in delicious and stepped-up dishes including an excellent number of vegetarian and vegan options such as Breakfast Bahn Mi with garlic fried eggs and grilled shishitos, Pickle-Brined Fried ChickenBreakfast Salad with seasonal greens, organic eggs, grilled chicken, bacon, avocado, blue cheese, red onion, Eggs BenedictChurro French Toast, and more.

(Royal Tavern)

Imbibers will enjoy specialty brunch cocktails including Irish Coffee with house-made whipped cream and Teeling Whiskey, Backwards in High Heels with Tito’s Vodka, rosemary, ginger, lemon, and We Own The Night with El Tesoro Single Barrel, St. George Pear, cinnamon, lime, and espelette salt. Alcohol-free options include Hello…Mindy with carrot, earl grey-cardamon syrup, vanilla, oak milk, lemon, orange as well as Funky Fresh Kombucha and alcohol-free beer options.

Weekly Events

Each week, Philly Influencer picks the best parties, events, and social gatherings the area has to offer.

drwc wint2019 sweetheart skate 1920x1080

•  Sweetheart Skate: The Rothman Ice Rink and the Blue Cross RiverRink will be holding a Sweetheart Skates this Friday night. Come out to circle around the ice with your date. The Blue Cross RiverRink will have photo booths, chocolates, flowers, and more. Both venues will have food, beverages, and cocktails nearby.

•  Ex Files Story Slam: Underground Arts will be hosting the 10th annual Ex Files Story Slam this weekend. There will be two shows Friday night at 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Come hear comedians and acts dish some hilarious stories of love, heartbreak, and the ups and downs of dating.

•  Artist Bash: To Die For: The Barnes Foundation will be partying it up Friday night. The Valentine’s Day theme will be explored through live performances at Artist Bash: To Die For. There will be drinks, great entertainment, live music,  poetry readings, a cabaret performance, a Grateful Dead tribute and more.

•  Winterfest Live!: Over 75 breweries will be handing out samples of over 150 beers, at Xfinity Live’s annual Winterfest Live!. There will be live music, entertainment, prizes and contests, firepits, and more. You don’t want to miss this blowout annual event.

You can follow Candis McLean on Twitter (@CandisRMcLean) and e-mail her at

Subscribe, rate, and review all Philly Influencer podcasts here. Follow Philly Influencer onTwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


To Top