We were in the no-mans-land time-zone between lunch and dinner that falls precisely between 3:00-5:00, commonly referred to as "linner". A quick call to Talula’s Daily assured us they were open and ready to welcome us for a meal immediately.
It was the first day in weeks without snow covering the streets or rain clouds threatening. The city had an extra pep in its step and with the prospect of a satisfying meal, I did too. My dining companion and I strolled the streets at a leisurely pace welcoming the warm air and friendly faces of the Philadelphia. Just a few blocks from the city’s center we found ourselves at Talula’s door.
The long, undulating coffee bar was first to meet my eye. The wave of wooden panels collaged and complimented by soft white lights under the lip of the counter drew us closer to ogle at the myriad of pastries, coffees, and juices. The pastries made in-house, fresh juice squeezed on-site, and renowned coffee from roasting company, La Colombe, beckoned us to try a taste. We stepped further into the building and glided up a few stairs to the main dinning room where a second counter awaited us.
This menu flaunted soups, sandwiches, wine, beer, breads, to-go salads and sandwiches, jams and nut butters. The architecture of the counter ordering system allows customers to ask questions about the pre-made, a la carte items in the the glass case of a la carte items and distinguish how much of each item they desire in coordination with the fashionable dishes from Anthropologie. The range of patterns and dish size aid in personalizing the amount of desired food from large portion to nibble. The eclectic combination complimentary colors and bold patterns creates a homey and relaxed vibe.
The long, wood community tables are perfect for large parties and opportunities to make new friends. The unique set up makes you feel like you are at home with friends rather than in a restaurant full of strangers. Red, ladder-back chairs and inviting yellow walls gives Talula’s a farm house feel. The peaceful presence of the space can be summed up by the two-pane-wide peace sign laced with a string of pink lights that hangs in the window overlooking the park.
The understated and warm decor mirrors their customer service. They are both caring and attentive in their dedication to creating a positive experience for diners. The values of the company shine through their willing to take the extra steps to make you feel welcomed and comfortable. At Talula’s it doesn’t feel like you are eating out to dinner. Rather, it is like being served in a close friend or family member’s home. I most strongly felt this kinship when I inquired about their “Secret Supper”.
The menu showed that each month Talula’s rolls out a seasonally focused, five course meal with optional drink pairings. I frowned at the menu when I saw the dishes were meat centered and mentioned to our server that I was a vegetarian. She was quick to assure me that they could accommodate and alter the meal to be vegetarian. In fact, the chef was known to purchase specialty vegetarian items to make a hearty vegetarian meal instead of lack-luster substitutions.
Mushroom mac and cheese broccoli rabe looked delectible in the glass case and smelled fresh on my plate. The slice of mac and cheese held large ziti noodles that collapsed and trapped creamy cheese and heads of mushrooms between pockets of noodles. The top layer sprinkled with light bread crumbs was lightly charred and gave way to a plush and cheezy center. The broccoli rabe was perfectly oiled and had a garlicky twist to it. It’s slippery corm was contrasted with thin slices of crunchy of almonds.
Talula’s Daily features American farm and garden food that is versatile.They can easily toss the market section food into a dish and warm it up, and you can enjoy it there as if you were in your own home. Or you can take it to go and eat it outside in the Washington square, park hang out on a bench or cozy up to a large tree trunk with a favorite novel. You can even take piece of the restaurant home with you with their nick-knacks such as locally made nut butters, cheeses, chocolate, growlers (take out beer), and coffee to be savored later or gifted to the foodie friend in your life.