Another winter storm has hit the City of Brotherly Love, and if you take the weather coupled with the ongoing pandemic, then you have more than enough reasons to stay inside this weekend. And if you want a tasty meal that is as healthy as it is delicious, you’re in luck, because there are two new options to choose from brought to you by one well-known Philly restauranteur.
Jose Garces has been making his mark on the delivery and ghost kitchen world after COVID-19 forced many in-person establishments to shift their focus. Garces even debuted his Garces Trading Company late last year to do just that. The brand-new concept served as an advanced ghost kitchen, restaurant hub and online marketplace. What this means for Philadelphians is that they will be able to order some of their favorites from Amada, The Olde Bar and Village Whiskey all in one complete order for either take-out or delivery on top of other take-home specialties that are not offered anywhere else. Garces made the switch when indoor dining was once again banned in the city for the second time, and the concept began running out of The Olde Bar in Old City, which sits in the once-wildly popular seafood spot, Bookbinders.
Now, there are two more kitchen concepts to choose from when thinking of where to order in from, both from the mind of Garces.
“The resilience, persistence, creativity and unity displayed throughout the restaurant industry during a difficult time has led to new and exciting advancements, and I’m proud to be part of a community of culinary leaders who continue to innovate and re-shape the way people enjoy food and explore new cuisine styles,” said Garces in a statement.
According to the release, as delivery-only concepts remain a critical component to the future of the restaurant industry, the launch of Livy’s Plant Based Foods and Rustika as brand-new ghost kitchen concepts furthers Chef Garces’ expanded new offerings, while extending his culinary expertise to focus on new and proven cuisine styles. Livy’s Plant Based Foods will introduce Philadelphia to a diverse menu of affordable, sustainable, and high-quality vegan dishes inspired by comfort food favorites like the classic burger and fries. Rustika will introduce a concept dedicated to Pollo a la Brasa, a labor-intensive Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken technique, that embodies his passion for building flavors and incorporating signature spices and savory Umami tastes.
Those who decide to order from Livvy’s will have a few options to choose from. Menu items span from an array of burgers (with your choice of a vegan black bean chorizo or Impossible for the patty) with a bunch of different toppings and sides that range from mac and cheese to tater tots to sweet potato fries and beyond. This specific menu isn’t exactly going to replace your typical meaty burger craving, but it is extremely flavorful and is a superb alternative if you’re trying to eat healthier. The new items were inspired by Garces’ daughter, Olivia, and in support of her dietary choices, Garces immersed himself in the cuisine style and challenged his traditional expertise and culinary training to seek creative and innovative ways to deliver healthy, substantive dishes that feature-rich and decadent flavors. The price points—meals range from $6 to $20—is another delicious bonus as well.
“The exploration of cooking plant-based foods has led me to believe that we really don’t ‘need’ to have meat to have amazing flavors and culinary experiences. There are challenges, for sure, but meat isn’t necessary to have something that is delicious and satisfying,” Garces said.
Rustika on the other hand, brings the meat in the form of chicken, and each bird is natural, hormone-free and prepared for 72 hours. This particular menu was inspired by Garces’ South American roots and exploration of Peru.
According to a release, the menu for Rustika is centered around its signature Pollo a La Brasa Rotisserie Chicken, which is served in quarter, half, or full chicken portions, with a choice of seven different sauces options including spicy cheese sauce (huancaina), Peruvian black mint sauce (ocopa), spicy chile aioli (rocoto aioli), spicy cilantro sauce, chimichurri, citrus garlic sauce, and purple olive chimichurri. Pollo a la Brasa is traditionally served with a side of potatoes, but Rustika kicks things up a notch with its rotisserie potatoes (peanut potatoes cooked under the rotisserie) and Papas a la Huancaina (rotisserie potatoes with spicy creamy cheese sauce). Additional Latin-inspired sides include grilled Peruvian corn with Andean white cheese, cauliflower a la huancaina, asparagus a la plancha with parmesan emulsion and lemon, marinated green bean salad, and more. In addition to Pollo a la Brasa, Rustika features several empanadas, salads, and Latin American-inspired street food, including chicken fried rice, a big bowl of chicken soup and more.
So the only question left is, what are your tastebuds craving this weekend?
Livy’s Plant Based Foods and Rustika will operate from noon to 10 p.m. Sunday through Monday and will be available for delivery via Uber Eats, GrubHub, Postmates and DoorDash (coming soon), or customers can order directly via livysplantbased.com and rustikapollo.com