Jake’s & Cooper’s Wine Bar, Philadelphia PA

( Reviewed by my “She Says ” editor – learads)

After overindulging on the traditional treats of Thanksgiving Day, by Saturday my boyfriend Donn and I were ready for some fresh air and lighter fare. We ventured out to browse the neighborhood of Manayunk, a few blocks of quaint upscale restaurants and shops, just north of center city Philadelphia.

We had dined at Jake’s several times in the past, but never had we experienced the more casual extension next door called Cooper’s Wine Bar. What a great discovery!

Our friendly bartender, Jamie, was a superb server. It was obvious from the start that Jake’s & Cooper’s train their staff well. Jamie suggested several “incredible” or “fabulous” menu options, from drink specials to desserts, and we learned quickly that she was one to be trusted!

Donn started with a glass of J Vineyards Pinot Gris- just the right touch of acidity and light fruity aroma. We made a note to buy a few bottles to keep on hand at home.

I chose one of two featured cocktails – the pumpkin-ginger martini was smooth and flavorful and I only wish I had jotted the ingredients.

Our appetites were slight so we opted for two small-plate choices. Donn selected a 3-cheese fire-grilled pizza, oozing with exquisite olive oil and topped with slightly crispy sage. The thin, crunchy crust was perfectly punctuated by pungent Fontina cheese.

I shared only a taste of my cold roasted beets topped with honey-caramelized almonds and crumbled Gorgonzola. I love the flavor of beets, and the glorious color reminded me of my childhood when my mom stood peeling the steamy, homegrown veggie with pink-stained fingers as she prepared beets from our garden for a family meal.

Much of the ingredients at Jake’s & Cooper’s is locally grown we were told.

Jamie the bartender checked on us frequently. In fact, as we leisurely nibbled and sipped our drinks, we got to know her a bit and learned that she was recently engaged and that she has a twin sister.

When it was time for round 2, Jamie offered Donn a wine-tasting of 3 additional whites. After expanding his knowledge of Cooper’s wine list, he opted to stick with the original J Vineyards Pinot. Feeling a bit adventurous, I decided to try the other featured cocktail – a muddled beverage featuring cranberries, oranges and bourbon. Simply lip-smacking!

Now realizing that we had spent a relaxing 2 hours at Cooper’s in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, we couldn’t depart without trying a dessert; especially since Jamie had revealed they were homemade. We perused the dessert menu and selected the chocolate caramel tart to share. The chocolate-crusted torte was topped with smooth creamy caramel sauce covering a surprise spattering of sea salt. Mmmmm…like a chocolate covered pretzel, this sweet and savory treat was the perfect ending to a delightful afternoon dining discovery.

Regular Guy Rating   * * * *

Jake’s & Cooper’s Wine Bar

4367 Main St., Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA

(215) 483-2750

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