Fabulous Food, Photos and Foodspotting at R2L

John and I recently attended an event for Philadelphia area food writers at R2L restaurant, located in the Liberty Place complex in Center City. We got an opportunity to sample the wonderful food and drinks of R2L, sit in on a photography lesson, and learn about Foodspotting all in one afternoon.

Our day started on an upscale note when we were handed a glass of champagne upon arrival. After that, we got to sample a couple of other drinks, including a fabulous Sidecar made with Hennessey and Limoncello. I think I am still licking the sugar from my lips after imbibing the Sidecar from a sugar-rimmed glass. Another plus? R2L was gorgeous, with sweeping views from the 37th floor.

In addition to the libations, we were also treated to some amazing appetizers and desserts. The Lobster Mac and Cheese had me weak in the knees! I also enjoyed Chef Daniel Stern’s playful rendition of Beef Tartare, which was perched on a delicious house-made potato chip. Other delicious choices included a yummy Truffled Flatbread, Smoked Salmon with Mustard Cream Cheese, Tuna Skewers, and a crisp Risotto Ball with Truffle Soy.

After enjoying the drinks and appetizers, we settled down and listened to Eric Menzer, who has photographed food all over the world, give a talk about how to take great pictures of food. His website has gorgeous food shots (http://www.ericmencher.com/#/food-and-drink/FOOD), and some of my fellow foodies arrived with SERIOUS cameras in hand, so I was a little intimidated with my teensy IPhone camera. However, I actually picked up a few tips that could be used by anyone.

We also learned a little bit about “Foodspotting” from representatives of Philly Homegrown. What is Foodspotting, you may ask? Foodspotting is a smartphone app that is used to upload pictures of individual restaurant dishes. You can use the app to upload your own photos, but can also check it out if you are looking for a great dish at the place that you will be dining at tomorrow night, or to get some ideas about restaurant dishes in an unfamiliar city. You can vote on a dish by clicking “nom it,” and also bookmark a dish that you would love to try by clicking “want it.” Right now, it looks like Foodspotting is only active in a few major cities like New York and Philadelphia, but I bet it will be in our Jersey backyard before we know it.

After our class time, we moved on to taking food photos and sampling some incredible desserts from R2L’s kitchen. There was a mad dash of polite but intense foodies with cameras in hand, all intent on taking a perfect photo of the food that was artfully displayed for us. Of course, with a bevy of beautiful desserts in our midst, we all wanted to chow down on the sweets! John and I tried some rich brownies, Blueberry Panna Cotta, a toothsome chocolate chip cookie, and the most incredibly moist gingerbread cake that we’d ever had-a perfect dish for fall!

Thanks to R2L, Wendy of La Phemme Phoodie (http://laphemmephoodie.com), Eric Menzer and Philly Homegrown for a great afternoon! R2L is located at 50 South 16th Street in Philadelphia: http://www.r2lrestaurant.com/

Beth Christian, Burlington County Regional Editor subsisted primarily on cheeseburgers and liverwurst sandwiches during childhood and refused to try most new foods.  Her culinary horizons were expanded during her college days in Schenectady, New York, where she learned the joys of trying slow-simmered Italian dishes, Szechuan cuisine, and everything in between.  When not engaged in the practice of law in Monmouth County, Beth is busy scouting out interesting restaurants,  farmer’s markets and food purveyors near her home in Burlington County. Beth’s primary dining sidekick is her husband John, but she also enjoys having her daughter Meghan, son Michael and her wonderful friends come along for the ride. Email Beth at BChristian@JerseyBites.com