Talula's Garden

Birthdays are a big deal in my family. You don't just get a day or a weekend, not even just a week. You get a month. Every time you go out to dinner within that month, you say it's your birthday, and you're celebrated in the best way possible: with food.

In case you haven't caught on yet, it's my birthday month. I’m a lucky 11/11 baby, a true Scorpio at heart. I’m turning 21 this month so the celebrations have been in full swing.

I actually kicked off the month-long party the last weekend in October at Marsha Brown’s in New Hope, PA, but the first official dinner spot of November was at what has become one of my favorite restaurants in Philly, Talula's Garden.

Talula’s Garden, located on Washington Sq., has been on my list of spots to try for over a year now. I made reservations weeks in advance and poured over the menu in the days leading up to the dinner. I enjoyed this meal with my parents and my grandmother, and we went in .

Here are just a handful of the dishes that we devoured. I highly recommend this spot, and I can’t wait to go back to see what seasonal dishes Chef Charles Parker is whippin’ up next.

My meal began with pumpkin soup with toasted coffee, savory caramel, and sage, with parmesan gougères – creampuff-like pastries – finished off with a maple gastrique. It was silky without being too heavy or creamy, and the sweetness was offset 

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Another app was the chicken liver beautifully spread on house-made ciabatta with pear, sherry, and pancetta lardons.

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Ricotta gnudi – the perfect cross between ravioli and gnocchi – with toasted pine nuts, saba vinegar, rosemary manchego cheese, and butternut squash in a buttery parmesan sauce, kicked off the main part of our dinner.

Seared Barnegat scallops with a sweet fennel soubise, and lemon-scented quince in an oregano chili dressing with balsamic and black olive pearls. Tell me these aren't the most beautiful scallops you've ever seen.

Poached smoked Scottish salmon with dijon-scented green beans, red cabbage, honey crisps, in a cider brown butter sauce. A perfect fall dish.

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Kale fettuccine, roasted broccoli, toasted chili, in a garlic sardine butter sauce with parmesan and meyer lemon zest. It was so light yet flavorful. The dish was clean within two minutes.

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We got a couple of desserts, but of course I went with the pumpkin trio, with a mini mascarpone cheesecake, a sundae, and a pumpkin crumb cake. So good, so cute, not too sweet, and perfectly pumpkin-y.

This was the best way to kick off my official birthday month – with some of the best people and the best food.

My name is Alexandra Jade, but you can call me Alex, or Trin.  I am a Food Studies major at New York University, and a freelance photographer, journalist, and social media pro on the side.  I run the instagram account @twobrunchgirls.