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Be kind to your waistline at the Gayborhood's Eat-a-Pita (courtesy of Eat-a-Pita)

Be kind to your waistline at the Gayborhood’s new Eat-a-Pita (courtesy of Eat-a-Pita)

Have a hot date? Or are you looking to grab a quick lunch that won’t make you break those New Year’s resolutions? Here are five of my favorite lunch, brunch and date night spots in Philly.

Eat-A-Pita (128 S. 12th Street) is perfect for a lunch that’s healthy, delicious, fresh and – even better – easy on your wallet. This new Gayborhood cafe serves up heavenly pita sandwiches and salads. Check out the Pocket Deal for $10. It includes a Pick Your Own Pita and comes with a small soup.

Slow-roasted pork with potato and onion hash, saurkraut, melted Swiss and a fried egg (courtesy of One Shot Cafe)

Slow-roasted pork with potato and onion hash, saurkraut, melted Swiss and a fried egg (courtesy of One Shot Cafe)

If your destination is Rittenhouse Square, stop by Pure Fare (119 S.  21st Street) to taste test a truly diverse menu of goodies. Not only does this eatery serve up soups, salads, sandwiches and pastries, but they also have some of the best smoothies in town. They even offer a variety of vegan and vegetarian options for the ethical eaters. Just don’t leave without trying the coconut milk soft serve.

Brunch is my absolute favorite (and gayest) meal of the week. That’s why I like to visit One Shot Cafe (217 W. George Street) in Northern Liberties. Confession: I have a mad crush on the owner – and she knows it. This lesbian-owned spot is the perfect place to come in from the cold to enjoy a cup of Joe or – better yet – comfort foods from the always evolving menu packed with daily specials, like my favorite, sausage, biscuits and gravy.

The food is a work of art at Ela (courtesy of Ela)

The food is a work of art at Ela (courtesy of Ela)

Been stuck by Cupid’s arrow? Ela (627 S. Third Street) is as beautiful of a date night place as it is delicious. Jason Chiconksi’s restaurant (he also owns Mica in Chestnut Hill) even earned a coveted three bells from Craig LeBan thanks to dishes like the baby spanish octopus, oysters with pomegranate and bacon and Lancaster County chicken.

My favorite hidden gem these days is M Restaurant (231 S. Eighth Street) because it has one of the best chefs’ tasting menus in the city. The menu comes with four courses on Sunday for just $45. A few interesting dishes include the spiced elk strip loin, miso-glazed black cod and the pumpkin bread with blackberries, Knob Creek bourbon and maple bourbon ice cream. Spend a few extra bucks for a customized wine pairing. It’s worth it.

Barry Eichner is a food writer based in Philly with his own blog Foodrulez.com. He also owns and operates Barry Eichner Consulting, a marketing, public relations and social media firm. 

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