t says: Four years ago, we (g & t) went on our first food-centric outing with a & v. We chose Modo Mio, as we heard about this “great tasting menu option” … and it was FABULOUS. Fast forward 4 years, and here we found ourselves: four friends, with a helluvalotta good food and stories. And guess what: Modo Mio is still killing it:
November 2014, Friday Dinner, Party of 4. The challenge of the evening was: “who could eat the most eggs?” You’ll see what I mean in a second …
You know – I know we’re light on details – so sue us. But know that the meal was fabulous. The price was right (did I mention it was BYO?) And we’ll go on recommending it friends and family alike … just so long as they bring us with them when they go …
t says: I was cleaning out the pantry the other day, and look what I found.
Why on earth would someone require so many chocolate chips? I’m not sure. I mean, I am known to eat a few chips from time to time when I need a hit of something sweet … and somehow I managed to have three open bags at once … with an unopened one “just in case”. I’m going to say that it’s because our pantry is just soooooo big that I couldn’t keep track. Sounds plausible, right? Right?
(I think I have a problem.)
t says: sometimes, someone just hits the nail on the head:
t says: Sooo, I was a little bored-and-hungry after work the other day, and, having read all about the coverage on foobooz, decided to venture on out to Knead Bagels.
November 2014, Thursday Morning, All by Myself. It was a quaint little operation they had going on there.
Now, there is some be some sort of bohemian anti-efficiency clause in Philadelphia – like you can’t open up a cool-but-quick place to eat – it must be the least efficient, most confusing process ever. Now, I realize that this was only their secon day open, however, I foresee an operation very similar to Spread Bagelry and Rotisseur. You go in, place an order; they work on the order, and then when it’s ready, it comes back out to you. Simple, right? Kinda. But this arrangement is fragile. Take Spread for example – you walk in and place an order. That order gets put in line while some suer-cool dude with his hair tied back takes his sweet time cooking eggs whilst singing along to whatever’s playing on overhead. But of course, your order then needs to be proof’d by the person who took your order before it goes out … but that takes away from her ability to continue taking orders … oh and did I mention the pick-up and order-taking occurs at the same place? The result is a giant cluster-storm, as the line extends out the door. Oh – and because the customers tend to be quite the self-entitled Rittenhouse type, the idea of a “line” eventually breaks down and it’s a free-for-all with people huffing-and-puffing, rolling their eyes, coppin’ ‘tude, and placing orders out of turn). If only Spread’s bagels weren’t so damn good, I would have written them off a long time ago (btw – be careful – their inefficiency at keeping track of fresh vs. not-fresh bagels means I got a super-stale most-likely-day-old one – I would have gone back to exchange, but the ginormous line of Lululemon gear and tight-jeans made me too self-conscious about creating too big a scene). Ok, so we’ll see if Knead Bagels also has the same systems issues. I will say that Rotisseur, after many-a-months, did manage to streamline their operation – they can keep up with the lunch rush without issues now – so there is some hope!
Now, as for the bagels. What did I think? Well, I tried the togarashi-scallion-lime as well as the black-sesame-kimchi. You know – I can say they were “ok”. The flavors were great! But ultimately, I was underwhelmed. I couldn’t figure out why. So I thought: these flavor combinations are something that I’d expect in a small plate of some sort at a restaurant – not a huge bagel. Consequently, to have the staying power to last through a full bagel, balance is more of an issue. While they were tasty at first (probably because of the novelty), I grew a bit tired of them after a few bites – there’s just something about having that much cream cheese that was distracting. If only there was a way to put more flavor in the bagel, and let the cream cheese be more of an accent. For example, what if instead I had a scallion-onion bagel with togarashi-lime cream cheese? Or a garlic-kimchi bagel with a sesame spread? I don’t know if it can be done, but if it could, I’d totally get those again. Now, there is a bagel that was on my radar that needs to be sampled because it sounds awesome (spiced apricot, lemon-goat-cheese spread) – so I’ll be back. We’ll see how they fair on round 2.
t says: So, the gang had the chance to hit up Aldine during their opening week. There are lots of opinions amongst us, so we’ll do this round a little differently.
October 2014, Party of 4, Friday Dinner.
v says: are we allowed to ding them for burger.org’s ugly sign underneath?
t says: no, that’s not fair.
a says: well, one thing is that it was really dark in there!
t says: what are you – like 60? j/k. I will agree with you – none of the pictures turned out!
a says: and it was a little “cold” in there – not very homey. But what was good was the space between tables, and the big windows – but of course it was night, so it’s not like sun was coming in. maybe they were going for “sexy” and “modern.”
t says: it did come a long way since the times of Noche. I’d be interested to see how that space evolves as they find out how they’re going to run things.
a says: the menu was stupid – totally stupid.
t says: it’s true – while grouping items into “vegetarian,” “meat,” and “fish” sounds like a good idea, there really is no indication of how big or small each dish might be. Like, for example, the carrots dish was larger than the rabbit dish. I think Serpico might do it better.
a says: as I said, the menu was stupid. tell us a little more. knowing “Duck. Quack. Water. Salt” is not helpful. and the prices gave no indication to a plate’s size or presentation.
g says: and it was hard for people to tell us exactly how much to order.
a says: yea – three dishes a person is a total up-sell… unless you are unlucky enough to get three small dishes by accident – but how would you know?
a says: both of my dishes were solid (rabbit rillette, and sunchoke soup), but nothing quite blew me away
g says: but my carrots were really good! and i think my cappeletti may have won me the meal.
a says: I feel like if his “shtick” is being inventive, he could have taken more risks.
t says: my dishes were also pretty good (pork belly and squid, the duck breast), but nothing crazy.
v says: the portion sizes were erratic – mine had three medallions, and yours was the whole duck breast
t says: the wine was really good.
a says: yea – nice and food friendly – the white Bordeaux had good rubber.
t says: their red wine list looked a bit weak – so we brought our own. Of course, they messed up and told us $25 corkage on the phone, but then charged us $30 (but fixed it).
a says: the service was kinda cold.
g says: i dunno if she was “cold” – she was friendly, just not so knowledgable that we would find her helpful.
a says: but for example, the wine service was nonexistent!
t says: that’s true. We did pay corkage on one bottle and we did buy a whole other bottle, and they didn’t pour our wine once after the initial pour!
g says: i think they need to tweak the experience overall — i am sure with more staff training they will be able to guide customers to a better dining experience, from navigating the menu to smooth food and wine delivery to the tables.
a says: if Aldine and Townsend came together, that would be a good restaurant. the atmosphere and service that Townsend had would have been nice here.
g says: You know – the server (minus that one girl we didn’t have) seemed a little nervous and unsure.
t says: yea – they’re probably still working out the kinks – maybe it’ll get better with time.
a says: back to the food: I think they want to be Fond – good food, good service, very chill, no pretentiousness, but this place doesn’t do that.
g says: I think they can get there!
a says: I’m not damning them to hell – this is just what happened! Cuz, like, the overall atmosphere they were trying to give was one of high service, high quality, etc … but in the end didn’t quite reach the expectations they allude to! oh, and the menu: it’s garbage!
So there we go – a lot of voices, no pictures, and just the raw, uncut, real deal review.
Oh! I found the photos!
t says: I’m a fan of kitchen cutlery. And so I was interested in seeing what Eater says about them in their recent “Savvy” videos:
First off, I apologize because this guy is kind of a tool … but I do applaud some of his knife choices (and some of the knife brands in the video!). I’d have to say that in general I agree with what he has to say, but in an era where people are contemplating buying knife sets, I feel like his video might lead someone down the path for a whole “knife set” which is unnecessary. For instance, after watching that video, I could see someone thinking “well, if I need four knives, and this set has 7, I might as well just put up with the extra 3″. No! Bad! Futhermore, I disagree with one of the knife choices, so I am going to just lay it out for you the way I see it:
1) Chef’s Knife: Yes, it’s mandatory. Yes, it has to be large. Yes, it has to scare you for the first two weeks you use it. If it doesn’t, then it’s likely not long enough (unless you’re already used to a chef’s knife of 8-10″ in length). To give you an idea, 9-10″ knives are the norm for prepwork in professional kitchens, while 8″ knives [in some patriarchal, sexist societies] are referred to as “ladies’ knives”. Of course, I refuse to propagate that stereotype (*stares down at his tiny-for-a-man hands*). Anyways, the glory of the chef’s knife is versatility. You want it to be large enough to do an occasional rock-chop (personally I don’t like rock-chopping because it destroys edges, but it’s so sexy when you see it on the Food Network, right?), push-cut, and slicing. At the same time, it shouldn’t be SO long that you feel like you have no control over where the tip is in space (which actually is more related to your grip than knife size). Corollary: santokus can count as chef’s knives. While they make me sad, even I got caught up in “the three virtues” bullcrappery when they hit the market circa 2005. I don’t use mine anymore, but it was such a pricey knife that I can’t part with it.
2) Paring Knife: I agree – the paring knife is essential as well. It’s great for in-hand work, as well as occasional fruit slicing (although I’ve been known to pull out a giant 9″ knife to cut a single carrot …). Long live the paring knife – the thinner the better.
3) Slicing Knife? Really? Why? How many of us are going to be slicing raw fish or filet roasts? And even if you were, what is the likelihood you’d be doing that vs. slicing a loaf of bread? a hard crusty baguette? That’s right – forget the slicing knife – go for the bread knife. And it doesn’t even have to be a fancy bread knife. Under $75, all bread knives are the same (now, if you want to spend more than $75, there are some very specific superior-to-others bread knives out there). Could you use a bread knife for the raw fish and meats as well? Maybe, but I’d rather use a chef’s knife for those – it is one of the reasons why your chef’s knife is long to begin with, right?!
4) Utility / “Petty” Knife: fine … if you insist that you need something to trim some meat, or just to cut a random piece of something, and you don’t want to pull out a chef’s knife, you can get one of these. Just hide it when the company comes over so this way they can think that you, too, cut a single apple with your chef’s knife.
t says: We visited MTL for a super-long weekend and it. was. awesome. We ended up airbnb-ing a super-great little apartment in Le Plateau, which was perfectly located for exploring the supposedly hip area of town (we could tell by the graffiti and 20-30-somethings that it was hip). And while we didn’t hit up every tourist-obligatory destination (e.g. we skipped Old Montreal entirely), we pulled off a nice mix of chillaxing, eating, and touring, the former two of which , resulting in the following photostorm:
Absent is a photo of the Ramen we ate on our first night there. While definitely not particularly Canadian, Ramen-Ya’s slurpable broth definitely hit the spot after a seemingly endless car ride (for some unknown reason, it took us 10 hours to get there! Only 8 for the return …)
Believe the hype of Bouillon Bilk. Yea, there are some yelp tourists, but even the Canadians are dying to get in.
And then, on the morning we left, we visited Guillaume boulangerie, which had a great assortment of baguettes and other baked goods. Definitely a place we should have used more often during our trip (it’s one of the top three baguettes in MTL!).
Finally, here are some random other photos: