after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Some Things Old, Some Things New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue

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t says:  There’s seemingly a lot of grown to cover with this month’s post.  With so much to tell you about, where do I begin?

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The most logical place is to begin at the beginning: we went to Bibou – I mean, Le Cheri.  Having caught a “special” two weeks at Le Cheri where they were bringing back “THE bone marrow” and “THE pig’s foot”, we had to go.  Just in case you didn’t know, Bibou, long before they were fixed price, had these two wonderful dishes frequently on their menu (the latter moreso than the former).  So dedicated was v’s and my love for the pig’s foot, that despite the number of times we went there (probably in the double digits in total), both of us combined have probably only ever not ordered the pig’s foot twice.  Seriously.  But, we’re getting ahead of ourselves, as the picture above is not of the pig’s foot, rather of the bone marrow.  This bone marrow is done up a little differently than most I’ve encountered – the marrow having been done up with bread crumbs to form more of a “stuffing” before being reconstituted in the bone – so lovely!

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g got a fish dish.  shocker, I know.  But no matter what I saw, she swears that this dish “won” dinner.  How?  I’m not sure – I mean it was downright delicious, but could it really compete with … you know …

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… the mother-flinging pig’s foot?  NO!  NO WAY!  Because it is perfection.  Unctuous meat: check.  Dose of foie: check.  Fiber (lentils): check.  Veggies: … there are some pieces of carrot there …  As kp, v, and I have said on multiple occasions: if we could bathe in a single food item it would be those lentils …  It’s an oldie, but a damn fine goodie.

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Our meal at Le Cheri was wonderful for so many reasons: great food, great friends, great wine.  We also hatched a plan, with the help of some very special friends (I can’t go into details), to replicate the beloved dish …

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… not bad, right?  Well, we can’t take more than 2% of the credit.  Those who can know who they are …  I hope this qualifies as “something borrowed”.

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g, v, a, and I also went back to Tria Fitler Square (damn, we must spend a lot of time with a and v – doesn’t it seem like we go everywhere with those guys?).  It’s personally our new favorite brunch, as I love love love their pancakes.  This time, however, I ventured their French toast with strawberries over marscapone, and while the French toast, itself, was killer, I have to say that the unripe strawberries and rather boring marscapnoe really biffed it for me.  Oh well – better stick with the pancakes if what you desire is carb-on-carb action.

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g, however, had more success, going for the eggs benedict carbonara.  She threw caution to the wind, forsaking her usual “omelette”, and liked what she saw, calmly remarking, “you know, if more people used pancetta instead of Canadian bacon or ham, I choose eggs benedict more often!”  Well if that ain’t some I-talian superiority, I don’t know what is!  But in any case, I agreed with her: Tria’s take on eggs benedict was a simple, yet effective, delivery.  Nice job!

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For some reason, wordpress won’t let me rotate this image, so I’m going to leave it all silly-like – as I feel that that is also representative of the experience that g and I had with my sis at the new restaurant “Southgate”.  Advertised as serving Korean pubfare, we were there to check out the Korean Fried Chicken, a dish that even our server (who was kind of weird overall) boasted, “a lot of chefs in Philly who came to check us out, love our wings”.  Our take: they sucked.  Yes, the skin was indeed very crispy, which is a great accomplishment, but just because you have an inch-thick crust on a chicken does not make it an excellent piece of fried chicken.  The skin needs to be crisply fried, with a fun, delicate crunch – not like eating through a layer of cardboard.  Furthermore, the underlying chicken wasn’t particularly tender or moist.  The pieces, themselves, weren’t even large enough to warrant the steep price!  The other dishes were similarly underwhelming, including the steamed buns that were so bland I had to dip them in the above fried chicken sauce, which was terribly sweet.  What a sad meal!  Fortunately, the company was great and was able to make up for it!

The gang (you know: g + t + a + v) also got together for an outing at Sbraga.  Not having gone since our previous “Kia Cadenza Experience”, it was good to give the restaurant another go … you know … to see what it was like when a car manufacturer wasn’t paying for the meal …

Now, we initially made the reservation because they were boasting a “lamb dinner”.  Sadly, when we showed up, they had none available – somehow having sold out despite it only being Friday night.  Sorry Sbraga – gotta get on top of stocking that fridge!  Before we go on, I do want to give props to the service there – our server was very nice and accomodating – so good job on that!  Between his attentiveness and the funky music, how could we go wrong?

Well, the meal started off with a bang, as a was really impressed by the foie soup. In his words:

Well, the meal started off with a bang, as a was really impressed by the foie soup. In his words: “It’s ​always great when chefs make something heavy, light.” He was less impressed with his lamb tartare (“good, but nothing out of the ordinary”)  Then, the above dish hit the table and we were floored!  The waiter promised, “the gnocchi dish is more like a lobster dish with a garnish of gnocchi” – and he was right!  It was quite scrumptious – although to be honest, I would have loved to have seen more gnocchi (they were ALSO great!  it’s a shame there were so few!)  But how dare I complain about “too much lobster” …

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My dish was straight off the lamb menu – it was the “osso bucatini” (g says: “isn’t the name so clever?”) and it was incredible.  I could have sworn that the noodles themselves were made of lamb, the way the lambiness penetrated each hollow piece of pasta.  So good.

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Meanwhile, g and v ventured a ?crab? pasta that they swore one-upped mine.  I mean, they’re wrong, but that’s ok – just so long as they think they won, right?  (More osso bucatini for me …)

There are pictures of our main dishes, as well, but the picture quality was terrible, as the restaurant got darker and darker.  Turns out, if you show up with three bottles wine for four people, you’re in for a nice, leisurely dinner during which the sun will set, and nighttime takes over.  Where did the 3 hours go?  I’m not sure that any one of our third dishes (that’s right – I forgot to tell you: each dinner is a soup, three savory courses, and a dessert!) really showed us something lifechanging, and did border on “fussy”, but we do like that chef tries out all different manners of execution, from a homely puddle of pasta, to smears of sauces on plates.  The desserts could use a little re-tooling – I mean, I liked that mine tasted exactly like Trix cereal (v swore Froot Loops), but I’m not sure if that’s really going to compete with the likes of finishers like Talula’s Garden.  All in all, a very nice meal, and a restaurant we wouldn’t hesitate to try out again.

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SO WHAT’S BLUE?

Well, we here at the sneeze have been harboring a little secret for the past month or so.  g and I will be moving [temporarily] to San Francisco.  And while that’s a little sad/blue, we hope for a fun adventure and an eventual return to the City of Brotherly Love, with its jawns and whatnot.  We’ll still be bloggin’ from the west coast (and a + v will have to hold it down here on the east coast).  True, we will miss our friends (come visit!), so we’ll just have dry our tears with our goose down coats … cuz Lord knows we won’t be needing them where we’re goin!
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Written by afterdinnersneeze

15 September 2015 at 7:52pm

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