Every year, right around this time, I start to envy all my friends who live in Philadelphia’s suburbs.  I enviously watch them open pools, stretch out lawn chairs and fire up the grill.  These activities usually send me into a frenzy where I embark on a futile shopping trip to Walmart and Home Depot, seeking out a city-size grill that is low cost, small, easy to use and low maintenance.  Deep inside I know a grill like this doesn’t work for my South Philly concrete backyard, especially with a dog, but yet I persist.  This year, I decided to take a different path and check out restaurants that can give me that “made in the backyard” taste.  I found a winner with Seasons 52 and their new summer menu.  It is the next best thing besides being back home with the family – and it comes with half the calories, none of the mosquitoes and absolutely no cleanup.  Who’s the winner NOW!? 

Seasons 52 is one of those places that I love to frequent when I am in the mood for an actual sit down dinner or savory snack.  While I am more known for my cupcake and ice cream tastings, Seasons 52 (along with FUEL)  is one of the secret places (ssh!) I like to call home on a weeknight as they serve up the flavor and fun but with half of the calories.  Alas, they keep me healthy in between sweet feedings… (and you thought it was all those trips to the gym!)

This summer they are serving up a new seasonally-inspired menu that immediately said, “Summer loving!”   First up was a series of flatbreads that would have made my family do cartwheels.  They love (LOVE!) Sunday afternoons sitting around and grilling barbecue chicken.  They also couldn’t get enough of the neighbor’s homemade artichoke and spinach dip.  It helped fend off the munchies until the meat was good and cooked.  Seasons 52 took both crowd pleasing favorites and packed them into healthy flatbreads that made my mouth water.  The chicken barbecue flatbread contained a sauce that was as sweet as honey with a finger licking good aftertaste.  The artichoke flatbread contained bright green spinach with onions and roasted peppers.

I had my eye on the entire artichoke flatbread, until I laid my eyes on the summer salad.  I will readily admit salad isn’t something that gets my juices flowing. I try to eat salads regularly at home, but they often are more of a choir than an enjoyable experience.  So when their Organic Arugula walked into the room, I was pleasantly surprised. The greens were topped with ripe watermelon, grilled golden beets, jicama and goat cheese.  The real star of the show, however, was the crunchy, recently toasted pistachio nuts.  Each bite had the bite of the goat cheese, the flair of the fruit and the crunchy texture that made me do a double take.

For entrees, Seasons 52 served salmon, which was perfectly charred and flavored, with a zesty fresh dill sauce for finish.    The zesty dill was in fact so addictive that I had to request some for my oversized asparagus.  The cream-corn risotto brought back fond memories of great grandma whipping up masterpieces using old fashioned Blue Boy canned veggies.  The other new summer entree is the Piedmontese Bone-In Strip Steak (pictured).  In all honesty, my dinner companions convinced me to try the steak.  Frankly, steak on the bone just isn’t my cup of tea.  Maybe its the bone, maybe the dish is too “grown up” for my taste, who knows, really.  I do know that when it arrived it looked, no smelled, so good I had to give it at least a little try.  I was VERY pleasantly surprised.  Surprised, in fact, until I emptied my plate.  Recommended by the American Heart Association as a “heart healthy food”, Piedmontese beef is low in saturated fats, and it has half the cholesterol of regular beef.  In fact, it has less fat than my usual standby, grilled chicken.   The steak itself was tender, flavorful and it was void of all fat.  Better yet, it was complimented by grilled fingerling potatoes that were also perfectly seasoned. The whole dish was only 475 calories – and thank goodness for that – as dessert was a real knock-out!

For the vegetarians in the house, Seasons brings you a hearty meal that is almost more filling than the meat-based entrees.  Summer Vegetarian Tasting (pictured) features the “grains of life,” soft taco, chili relleno, vegetables, cedar roasted tofu and mango chutney.  My favorite from this list was the chili relleno, which was a mild pepper which packed a big punch of Mexican flavor.

No good barbecue or picnic would be complete without a smorgasbord of American favorites for dessert.  Seasons 52 had you covered – with a sampling of desserts that would please even a hard-core sweet-tooth like me.  American and classic flavors were presented with a modern twist.   Small shooters, with about 5-8 bites in each, were blossoming with Raspberry Cheesecake, Blueberry Cheesecake, Fresh Fruit Tart, Key Lime Pie and Carrot Cake. My personal favorite was Pecan Pie (pictured) – with gooey caramel, plump pecans and luscious cream filling.  It was enough to make me want to take out a red and white gingham napkin, wipe the corners of my mouth, and take a nap in the grass.

Seasons 52 presents their seasonal menu at locations in Cherry Hill and King of Prussia until Labor Day.  If you are staying back in the city this summer give them a try and tell them we sent you!  Make sure you don’t leave without sampling at least one of the dessert shooters – it has the “King of Philadelphia Desserts” seals of approval.  We might need to escape the office and try the rest of the flavors STAT – so let us know what your favorite is.  Enjoy!

Stay tuned for more fun, food and adventures as we spend split summer between Philadelphia and Atlantic City – and everywhere in between. Coming in July, watch for a new contest, Philly’s best chilled treats, the opening of  Revel Casino and a new “Do AC” campaign that will light up your summer….!

Disclaimer:  No monetary compensation was provided for this post.  

About Philly Loves Fun

A blog about Philadelphia's fun and unique adventures, arts, events, food and opportunities.

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