Review: Horizons, Philadelphia

Horizons is in the South Street district of Philadelphia and is surrounded by over 300 shops and restaurants. There are also some cheaper vegan restaurants in the area including Loving Hut, Blackbird Pizzeria, and Govinda’s Gourmet Vegetarian. Horizons is a two floor restaurant with a bar on each floor and the employees are very friendly. I am also biased in that this is my favorite restaurant. I have always had a good time here celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and hanging out with friends.

Drinks

Horizons always has an inventive drink menu and I can always find a new drink to try or get one of my favorites, the mojito.

Margatini is mixed with Azul tequila, agave, fresh lime, salt, jalapeño, and served up with salt. This has the great mix of a martini and a margarita.

Pomegranate sangria was a fruity, sweet wine mixed with grapes and a slice of orange on the rim. Sangria can literally be translated as “bloody” and originated in southern Europe. I was a surprised to see this on the drink menu since usually Sangria is served during the Summer. I usually like sweet wines and this was good, I just didn’t like it as much as Horizon’s Mojito or even the Violet Beauregard that I had first. This wine punch can either be ordered by the glass or by the pitcher.

Violet Beauregard is mixed with Bulleit Bourbon, Verne de Violette, blueberries, mint, lemonade, and served over ice. Bulleit Bourbon uses a small-batch technique inspired by Augustus Bulleit over 150 years ago and the highest quality ingredients including rye, corn and barley malt, along with special strains of yeast. Bulleit Bourbon has a bold and spicy character with a distinctively smooth, clean finish with hints of oak and spice, and notes of vanilla and honey. This is a sweet drink with a heavy taste of mint. The mint overtook the whole drink giving it more of a mojito flavoring. I liked this drink and would have appreciated it more if the mint were left out.

Appetizers

I think the appetizers were my favorite. They were quite small for two people to share and even smaller for five.

Crispy skordallia perogies with Potato-pistachio stuffing, cumin roasted eggplant purée, Greek olive salad was delicious. The outside was crunchy and flaky with a smooth and tasty inside. These were fought over since they were so good and had to be cut up into small pieces to be shared. $10

BBQ Seitan with Smoked black eyed pea salad, green Harissa was my favorite dish of the night. The BBQ sauce was the best that I have ever had and it brought me back to my childhood of BBQ dinners in the backyard with its sweet smokiness. For $10 it seemed like more food than the perogies and was enough to give the five of us a taste.

Truffled Celery Root Pureé with savory nutella crumble was a nice find on the Appetizer section of the menu. This light soup was delicious and the nutella crumble was a fresh touch to a simple dish.

Entrées

Fresh Hearts of Palm Cake with curried mixed squash, braised black lentils, cucumber mint chutney. In October of 2009 was the first time that I had another version of the Fresh Hearts of Palm Cake and remember it was delicious and this version was better. It looked more appetizing because of the medium color of the curried mixed squash against the braised black lentils with the light colored Palm cake in the center. Next to the standard Grilled Seitan this is my favorite dish. $19.

Grilled Seitan with yukon mash, spinach, horseradish cream, roasted red pepper tapenade is my favorite dish at Horizons. I never order it because I know my daughter loves it and I will be able to eat her leftovers, which opens up my chance to try different things on the menu. $21

Tame and wild mushroom cioppino with San marzano tomato fennel broth, freckle sarda, leak ash, olive bread crouton. A traditional cioppino is made from the catch of the day, which in San Francisco is typically a combination of dungeness crab, clams, shrimp, scallops, squid, mussels, fish and then combined with fresh tomatoes in a wine sauce, and served with toasted bread. In this dish the fish has been replaced with a variety of mushrooms and I love mushrooms. This was a great dish to warm me up after walking around Philadelphia on a cold March day. $19.

Desserts

Saffron creme brûlée with Pistachio biscotti. Creme brûlée is one my favorite dessert, so wherever I go I have to try the creme brûlée.  A traditional creme brûlée is made with a rich custard base topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel made by pouring sugar on top and then using a torch to liquify the sugar. I am not sure what they use to replace the custard, but this is way better than a traditional creme brûlée. $8

Aprihop cheesecake: Dogfish head aprihop sauce, oatmeal cookie crumbs. I am not a big cheesecake fan. This one is light and airy and I didn’t feel heavy like a traditional cheesecake. The Dogfish head aprihop sauce is rich with hop flavors and its bitterness is tempered by just the right amount of malt sweetness and fruity undertones from the apricots and the oatmeal cookie crumbs give it the right amount of crunch. $9

Bittersweet chocolate tart with Smoked peanut butter ice cream, ancho peanuts, blood orange marmalade. A sophisticated PB & J with chocolate, not too sweet nor too rich. The slight smokiness of the ice cream, mild bittersweet of the rich chocolate and refreshing sweetness of the marmalade paired well together and made it a delightful dessert. $9

About James Lucas


James has been a graphic designer for over 18 years and owns Wave Hound Surf Shop. James started Doylestown Movie Fans, who meet once a month to see movies at the County Theater in Doylestown, PA. He and his wife Chris started Bucks County Vegan Supper Club in 2009, whose members meet once a month to have a vegan potluck dinner. They are currently working through the Veganomicon cookbook, which inspires experienced and recent vegans to try new recipes. James is proud to support Farm Sanctuary and The Surfrider Foundation.

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