after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Parc: Donnez Mois Raspberry Jam!

with one comment

t says: We’ve been trying to go to Parc since it opened. Every time we walked by, especially during warmer weather, the happy-faced diners sitting on the sidewalk and the gentle hustle-bustle sounds emanating from the open windows were always so inviting. Food Network’s Robert Irvine (from Dinner Impossible) even claimed that Parc makes the best mashed potatoes he’s ever eaten! But for some reason, whenever we picked out restaurants to visit, Parc kept getting bumped in favor of other well-respected, French-esque [BYO] eateries. Well, all that changed when we found ourselves craving a Sunday brunch at a place that took reservations (we’re tired of waiting at Sabrina’s and Carman’s) and was within walking distance of Rittenhouse Square.

Sunday, 11:15am, Party of 2. We showed up to our reservation nearly 15 minutes early (apparently we walk MUCH faster when it’s cold outside), but the restaurant was happy to seat us immediately. Our server was very friendly and made her suggestions – I was particularly swayed by her descriptions of the pastry basket and the pain perdu (which we ended up ordering). g had some decision-making to do about her order, which she’ll go through below.  We also ordered a “French breakfast tea” (black tea with a bit of mint and vanilla) and a French75 (common theme throughout the blog: g likes sparkly drinks), both of which were very good and we’d highly recommend – more about the French75 with g below.

The pastry basket featured a blueberry muffin, a plain croissant, a chocolate croissant, a croissant star with a dollop of jelly, and a lemon custard filled pastry. First off, the croissants were great – they were crispy on the outside, soft and flaky on the inside, and tasted of delicious butter without being oily. When coupled with the included raspberry jelly … they were even awesomer (that’s right, awesomer, because “more awesome” just doesn’t adequately capture the degree of increase in awesomeness). The other pastries were also good, but those croissants stole the show. However, I had a major gripe with the chocolate croissant. I see this all the time, especially in coffee shops: a “chocolate croissant” on the menu. But in actuality, it’s a plain croissant with a single rod of solid chocolate in the middle. Sorry guys – that is not a “chocolate croissant” to me (maybe this is how they do it in France – I have no idea). My chocolate croissants (i.e. the ones I buy – no, I don’t make them – although maybe I should) have layers of chocolate interspersed throughout the croissant – not an identifiable rod. How one attains that result – I have no idea – but I’ve definitely seen it done. But don’t worry – I handled the fake chocolate croissant situation at Parc with grace … I ate the part of the croissant with the chocolate first, and then finished the rest that was completely void of chocolate with the raspberry jam. Problem solved.

The french toast was very good. The brioche bread, itself, was superb. It was thickly sliced (four slices) and dense but super-soft. The cooked, caramelized apples on top were a nice touch, but the hazlenut butter was what completed the dish. As good as the hazlenut-apple combo was, I found it to be a bit monotonous midway through the second slice. By the end of the third, I felt a little bored (and it wasn’t just because I was getting full), so I reached for the raspberry jam from our pastry basket – that livened the dish up nicely.

g says: My brunch selection process went something like this:

g – “Ooh, I want something with eggs; maybe eggs benedict or the omelette espagnole.”

t – “Omelette espagnole? That doesn’t sound French! Sounds like ‘Spanish omelet!’ Are you sure you want that here?”

g – “But what about the ratatouille? Ratatouille is definitely French; the movie says so. Also, although I love a good eggs benedict, I don’t know if I could get something like eggs and ratatouille just anywhere. I think I’m gonna get it.”

t – “Really? All right, whatever. It’s your birthday week.”

g – “Yep.”

End scene.

I was really happy with my choice when it came out of the kitchen. It was a rather large (filled a decent size plate) disc of ultra-fluffy eggs, seasoned with some green herbs, topped with a generous helping of ratatouille (squash, onions, eggplant, tomatoes all cooked down into a warm compote). And it was delicious! Paired with the bread basket t and I shared, it was even a little too large to finish. The ratatouille may have been a tad overseasoned (I tend to be pretty salt-sensitive) but the rich veggie flavors were a nice, homey foil to the more dainty taste/texture of the eggs. I definitely want to try and make my own version of this at home sometime.

Lastly, can we please talk about how great French75’s are? Every place I have had one makes it a little bit differently, but the basic recipe that I like is champagne, good gin, fresh lemon, and a little bit of sugar or simple syrup for sweetness. I have seen them made with cognac and cherries rather than gin and lemon, or raspberry instead of lemon. Parc makes a good one (basic recipe), so I was happy. I’m not sure if it beats the ones I had at double crown (Brad Farmerie’s place in NYC), but that’s a post for another day.

t says: g loves Brad Farmerie … I’m glad I found her first … finders keepers, losers Brad Farmerie …

g says: what?  he seemed like a nice guy on Next Iron Chef!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

12 March 2010 at 7:58am

One Response

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  1. j says: So I have become a daily review now to read your updates. Oh geez. I was going to tease you and say you have too much time on your hands but because I check so much I can’t.

    By the way, I will be attempting your cranberry upside down cake this weekend before I leave for WV for SB. I think I will be using strawberries instead of cranberries – friends like strawberries more. I will update you and see how it turns out!


    12 March 2010 at 12:59pm

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