Scenes from a weekend

Fancy drinks, home show, fancy coffee, Mahjong, Settlers of Catan, donuts, homefries, Downton Abbey, Sons of Anarchy = weekend.

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January 22, 2012. Philly. 4 comments.

Botanist Gin

I read an article about Botanist gin early this week and sent it to Jordan soon-to-be-Ph.D, who LOVES gin. It’s made in the Bruichladditch distillery. Now, I’ve only ever enjoyed Hendricks, also Scottish. But Jordan insisted that we track it down, which involved emailing the distillery in Scotland, receiving an email from the US distributor and calling a million (approx) liquor stores.

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It’s at a.Kitchen. Soon to be at other places.

Tonight, we arrived at a.Kitchen and found out that they had been “warned” about us.

Well. I arrived. Jordan was late. I whiled the time by talking to the bartenders about whiskey, which is more my bailiwick.

Suffice it to say, it’s quite good. Herbal, but not medicinal. Quite smooth. Delicious on the rocks and with soda.

From Jordan:

Juniper is not overwhelming. None of the alcoholic tang that makes you think of the nurse’s office.

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Photo by Jordan.

January 13, 2012. Philly. 2 comments.

Yesterday’s Eats

I finally visited Percy Street BBQ’s Comcast Center location. I’d been warned in advance about both the deliciousness and post-lunch-coma-inducing properties of the sandwiches, so I decided to get three sides instead:

Greens, Pintos, Cole Slaw @ Percy Street BBQ

Collard Greens, Pinto Beans and Cole Slaw. Perfect lunch, especially because I finished it off with nut brittle from Dr. Lindsay’s fabulous momma Mary. Mary, that brittle is AWESOME. Recipe please?

Last night ended with an unplanned return trip to Dim Sum Garden with Linda.

Juicy Buns (soup dumplings) @ Dim Sum Garden

Juicy Buns, of course.

chinese broccoli @ Dim Sum Garden

Chinese Broccoli with LOTS of garlic.

Asparagus @ Dim Sum Garden

“Seasonal Vegetable” – UNBELIEVABLY delicious asparagus. Perfection.

Pan Fried Steamed Soup Dumplings (off Menu) @ Dim Sum Garden

Pan Fried Steamed Soup Dumplings. So. Good.

taro bun @ mong kok station bakery

American Cheesecake @ mong kok station bakery

We finished the night with a taro bun and “American cheesecake” at Mong Kok Bakery.

December 3, 2011. Philly. 2 comments.

Weekend Wandering

Pictures from a wonderful weekend. Potlucks, afternoon naps, duck dinners, extra hours of sleep, walks in bright morning sunshine, donuts, and lazy Sundays – these are a few of my favorite things.

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November 6, 2011. Philly. 1 comment.

Federal Donuts

Amazing.

Pomegranate Nutella tahina.

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Vanilla lavender.
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October 30, 2011. Philly. 2 comments.

Meme Fried Chicken Thursday

Last week marked my second visit to Meme for their Thursday lunch special (they’re normally just open for dinner). $11 gets you the only dish on the menu – two pieces of amazingly fried chicken, a piece of cornbread and a drink. An extra $2 gets you the side of the day.

Go here. It is so, so good.

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July 5, 2011. Philly. 2 comments.

Catching up!

So much delicious food has been consumed! I mean, just this weekend alone while I was in New Orleans. Friends, Jazz Fest is so, so much fun.

But! Before I get to that, here are some other things I’ve eaten:

Brunch at Bar Ferdinand
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What an awesome place for brunch. And, oh! The value. $15 gets you a choice of three menus, with four different items. Fabulous.

The Corner
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What a delicious dinner. I’ll be back for the bread pudding alone. Cherry compote AND thyme ice cream? C’mon now.

Dim Sum Garden
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You know when you walk down Arch Street, from Old City towards Reading Terminal Market? And when you’re waiting to cross at that traffic light by Wawa? And you glance to your left and see one of the Chinatown buses and a weird little restaurant? GO THERE. You can have all the food pictured above and it will be so, so good. Except for the soup. That was the one disappointing dish.

Other things

I went to the Flower Show:
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And to the Barnes:
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And as always, if you’d like to see what I’m eating on a more frequent basis, check out my Foodspotting page.

May 3, 2011. Philly. 1 comment.

Le Bec Fin, 9/8/10

Everyone knows about Le Bec, right? I grew up in the Philadelphia area and I’ve always thought of it as the finest of the fine dining.

I heard that Chef Perrier was planning on closing Le Bec Fin at some point in the near future, I figured that I’d never get the chance to dine there. I wasn’t too upset with this, because well, it’s pretty expensive. Dinner seemed out of my reach. And yet, I was bummed (can I say “bummed” when talking about Le Bec Fin?).

Luckily, Le Bec began running a $40 four course menu for their 40th Anniversary. Much more affordable! Coworker Linda and I went after work one day.

We were seated in the oh, so fancy dining room and left with our menus. A short time later, a very distinguished gentleman came over to take my wine order. Linda must have not looked like she wanted wine and he tried to walk away without her order. This was a minor, but highly noticeable, misstep. It’s Le Bec – the service is supposed to be sublime.

Once we placed our orders for dinner, the kitchen sent out a little amuse:

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Watermelon gelee with basil.

My first course:

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Roasted Spanish Octopus, Chorizo in Two Preparations, Pickled Blueberries

My second course:

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Roasted Stuffed Quail, Cannellini Bean, Summer Root Vegetables

Linda’s second course:

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Olive Oil Poached Salmon, Fresh Summer Bean, Sauce Baumanière

Cheese plate:

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Dessert trolley:

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My aunt told me the story of her dinner at Le Bec and it stuck with me. Her dining companion was treating it as a once in a lifetime event and went all out. When the dessert trolley was wheeled around, he refused to choose and instead ordered everything on the cart.

Awesome.

Linda’s plate:

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Flourless chocolate cake and blueberry tart.

My plate:

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The Le Bec chocolate cake and a raspberry/lemon cake that was the best part of the meal.

Finally, the sweets:

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Everything was tasty, but nothing about the meal made me feel like it was a taste of how awesome the full tasting menus would be. My feelings about this meal haven’t gotten easier to sort through, but it comes down to the fact that I wasn’t blown away by any particular aspect of the meal (except for that cake). I know we were there for what amounts to discounted luxury, but this experience didn’t make me want to go back for any of the other tasting menus. I can now say I ate at Le Bec, even if it was a brief taste.

March 22, 2011. Philly. 2 comments.

Having it all

I was conflicted tonight.

I had tickets to see Amanda Hesser, Madhur Jaffrey and Judith Jones at the library. But it had been what felt like an endless day and I didn’t feel like schlepping all the way to the library and then home. It was dark. I was hungry. It was cold.

I thought about heading to Nan Zhou for some soupy noodles instead of going to the library. Mm, delicious noodles in hot, tasty broth.

But while I didn’t want to trek all the way up to the library, I also didn’t want to have missed the event. Yes, I had just met Amanda Hesser last night, but JUDITH JONES.

JUDITH JONES.

I decided it’d be a decision for 17th and Market. When I got to that cross-street, I’d choose which way to go: towards the library, or towards Nan Zhou.

You’re dying to know which one I picked, aren’t you? I’m so good at building suspense.

I went to the library, listened to three women talk about topics near and dear to my heart (organics: yay or nay? and blogs: what’s up with those guys?), had JUDITH JONES sign my copy of The Pleasures of Cooking for One and then walked to Nan Zhou for a late dinner.

Random thought from the walk home: If had the TARDIS noise as my ring tone, I could find fellow nerds so much easier.

December 9, 2010. Philly. 4 comments.

2010 Philadelphia Food and Wine Festival

Those of you who read Messy & Picky might have already seen that I was the winner of two tickets to the 2010 Philadelphia Food and Wine Festival. Thank you, Albert and Kate!

I was very excited about this, because I’ve been on a losing streak with raffles at work (whenever someone travels overseas, they usually bring back trinkets to be raffled off) and it’s always nice to chalk up a W.

(Whoa, check me out with the sports lingo. That’s probably because Jacob, of Colorado Wedding Spectacular fame, has talked me into joining a fantasy football league next year.)

Anyway! I asked Jacob to come with me, because Michael Voltaggio was going to be speaking. Jacob loves Top Chef and was the person who told me I HAD to watch it. And the invitation was not because it was at the Valley Forge Convention Center and I needed someone to drive me. No matter what Jacob tells you.

Danielle met us there and we wandered the hall, tasting many delicious things. I bought a block of horseradish cheddar and some smoked scallops. And a few bottles of wine.

We missed Michael Voltaggio’s session, but managed to get into Fabio Viviani’s (um, he’s William Shatner’s private chef? awesome). He was hilarious and threw together a dish of seared halibut with braised pistachios over polenta with an herby green sauce during his hour-long presentation.

People. BRAISED pistachios. C’mon now. I was already going to make some roast chicken tomorrow night and now we have a side dish. And I’ll be making polenta too, because praise the lord it is finally polenta weather.

Before Fabio’s presentation, we found ourselves at the Union Trust booth, where they were handing out free oysters.

I’ll say it again.

FREE OYSTERS.

After a brief pause to question whether I’d want to have to tell people that I got food poisoning because I ate an oyster at a convention center, I decided to throw caution to the wind and dig in. So, so good.

When we left the presentation, we found ourselves back over at the Union Trust booth, where I got another oyster. Danielle got a dish from Desi Village and offered me a taste…and it turned out to be full of cilantro. Hidden cilantro! I turned to grab an oyster cracker from Union Trust and that’s when I almost knocked over Michael Voltaggio.

In my defense, he’s smaller than I expected and was in my blind spot.

At this point, several things are happening. I’m embarrassed by our near miss, trying to look at his various tattoos, noticing that he’s standing with Kevin Sbraga, getting nudged by Jacob who’s trying to tell me that Kevin’s standing there, and getting frustrated because DUDES KEEP BLOCKING THE OYSTER CRACKERS. I mention this to Kevin, that I’m trying to get the taste of cilantro out of my mouth with the crackers.

AND NEW DUDES ARE NOW BLOCKING THE TABLE.

Once they leave and I get my cracker, I’m feeling a little calmer, albeit with a dryer mouth. Which is when I decide to strike up a conversation with the Season 7 winner about his upcoming restaurant preview. Smooth move, right? Showing off my foodie knowledge?

Except I couldn’t remember where it was, only that it was near my apartment, and so just assumed that it was at Union Trust, since he was hanging out at the booth? Nope, incorrect. It’s at the Omni. He was at the booth for the free oysters too. After that confusion, we talked about the event and it was just a lovely chat.

Then I decided to mention I had a food blog that covered the things I ate and things I cooked, but that (and yes, this is exactly what I said) “I work a lot, so recently the posts have just been about me going to the deli across the street and getting liverwurst and crackers” (except I had decided I might lose readers over that admission and so didn’t write that post).

Yeah. I told two past winners of Top Chef AND their friend (who seems to be another amazing chef) that I like liverwurst.

I could hear Jacob shaking his head in disappointment behind me.

Luckily, they all seem to be down with the liverwurst as well. Phew.

After ascertaining that my blog wasn’t just one of those blogs that trashes places to get hits (ha! like I know how to get hits besides emailing my family about recent vacations) (I’m pretty sure there’s an easier way, besides flying to Europe), we talked about where they ate the night before and then moved on before I could embarrass myself. It hadn’t really happened yet, but I’m sure I would have choked on another cracker or something.

Oh, but you guys. I totally told Kevin Sbraga that I was planning to go to his event and now I see that it’s $75.

But it’s $75 for this:

Crudo of fluke with fall spices and apple cider gelee

Pumpkin agnolotti with sweetbreads, pickled beech mushrooms, sage, pine nuts and raisins

Squab breast with basil, purple cauliflower cous cous, sprouted lentils and chocolate orange harissa

Salted caramel pot de crème

(Right now, my brother is making his “chocolate is delicious and oranges are delicious BUT NE’ER THE TWAIN SHOULD MEET” face)

Friends, I want those things. Sweetbreads and purple cauliflower and salted caramel!

But it’s $75.

With wine pairings!

Weeks before Christmas.

Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

So we’ll see.

(wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine)

Thanks again to Messy & Picky for the tickets!

October 30, 2010. Philly. Leave a comment.

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