after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Posts Tagged ‘Petruce et al

Post-Holiday Catch-up

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t says:  Greetings everyone!  How has it been this long since our last post!?  In any case, I hope the holidays have treated you as well as they’ve treated me (lots of delicious food, with little return to the skipped meals and rushed Clif Bars that typically dominate my daily intake).  It’s time to clear out the iPhone!

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I got into the spirit of the holidays by constructing a Kale Chip Christmas Tree.  Ok.  No.  Not really.  It just happened to be a very tall pile of kale chips.  Test assured that no kale was wasted in the construction of this holiday decoration (i.e. it was consumed within 24 hours by yours truly – I’m not sure if g even got a leaf).

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On a trip to NYC, g kept telling me, “there’s this place that has pretzel croissants”.  I was intrigued.  Pretzel and croissant are two mutually exclusive things in my mind, with pretzels having a savory flavor and dense texture, while croissants are buttery-sweet and lighter-than-air.  This was more like a savory take on a croissant, but they still got that pretzel flavor, which was impressive.  Check it out!  (City Bakery is a great place to people-watch).

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For our NYC lunch, g took me to this cool restaurant called Freemans that’s tucked away in this alley around the corner from Soho.  None of the pictures showed well, but what you see in front of you is a pineapple upside-down pancake as well as a delicious salad (guess which one of us got which).  I have to say that if I had to own a restaurant, I’d love to own one like Freemans – the setting was cool, the food was delish – everything about it fit together really well.  I’d be happy to try them for dinner sometime!

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For dinner, we celebrated a’s 31st birthday at Maysville.  There was a slew of tasty food that came out (above is ~1/3 of all the food) – so much that I can’t remember a single dish, specifically.  It was funny because I felt that a Philly restaurant could totally pull off these well-constructed dishes like Maysville – it just turns out that I can’t think of any one in particular that’s riffing on Southern-inspired food like this – maybe Fat Ham?  But it’s more modern than Fat Ham.  In any case, it was the usual story of “delicious NYC food with high NYC prices”.  Still – totally worth it – their bourbon selection was crazy!

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Ah yes, the Good King Tavern.  I had been wanting to go ever since g’s glowing review.  Of course, she never wrote her glowing review, so it was unknown to the blog.  But what we had was a wonderful execution of dishes that were really “something special” in the Philly brunch scene.  For example, why have “home fries”, when you can have poutine fries with a mushroom gravy!  So delicious.

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Finally!  Someone actually puts a reasonable amount of filling in a stuffed French toast!  Blueberry and cream cheese – simple enough, right?  But then why do so many people get it so wrong?  Good King rocked out this dish.

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g had no issues with the French Onion soup – it hit the spot – but I was kind of sad it didn’t come out in one of those classic crocks …

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What’s a holiday season without at least one visit to Serpico?  Underneath the scallion sauce and crusted white rice were some chili dumplings that totally blew my face off …

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… much like the smorgasboard of vegetables …  For something as innocuous-sounding as a “vegetable plate”, g and I happen to think it’s the finest display of cooked veggies in the city.  Sure, it lacks the composure of Vedge’s plates, but if what you want is vegetables, come over here and share one with the table – you won’t be sorry.  It’s an auto-order for us.

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What is so poorly shot here is the Sirloin special.  I mention it here only to say that that piece of meat was like 2 pounds.  g and I split it and felt kinda-sorta-guitly-ashamed afterwards for eating so much cow.  It might have won my Best Cow of 2014 award …  (I’m not sure why they served salt on the side – it was perfectly seasoned as it was …)

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Lo Spiedo was another new one for us.  g and I met her parents there and buckled up for some “homey” Vetri food, and I have to say that we were quite impressed!  Sure, there’s cornbread and ricotta …

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… but the real star was this mess of meat that was the pork shoulder.  With a single taste of it, I knew that Vetri had gone and absolutely destroed any pork shoulder I had ever made at home.  It was so good that I have no idea what that other dish in the background was – I musta blacked out.

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Whatever g got, it was obviously healthier than the slab of meat I was eating through …

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Oh … but here it is – this is g’s favorite dish that I just can’t understand.  It’s carrots.  That’s right: it’s carrots.  Sure, they’re roasted carrots, slathered in barbecue sauce, and topped with some kind of ?ranch?-ish aoili, but it’s still carrots …  Nevertheless, I dare you to walk up to g one day and say, “hey g, tell me about Lo Spiedo’s carrots” – and she will immediately start drooling while telling you how amazing they are (watch for saliva spray).  They’re good … but they’re carrots.

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Obligatory dessert: apple pie. It’s a bit more savory than typical apple pie (more like an apple turnover, but the ice cream really helps it finish off your meal just right.

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My parents love the 80’s .  That was their hayday.  So how could we not take them to Juniper Commons?  As hokey as the “salad bar” was, they acutally got a kick out of it!  And it allowed the rest of us to pick at their leftovers (like the beets!).  The presentation reminded me a Korean banchan …

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g went fettucine alfredo … which tasted exactly like fettucine alfredo.  I was kind of expecting a more modern take, but I guess a well-executed cheese-and-pasta dish is good, too.

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I killed this lobster roll – it was amazing.  It was more like lobster with a side of bread and French Fries, which purists might claim is not what a lobster roll should be, but who cares?  It was awesome!  And I don’t even really like lobster! (I’m a crab guy).

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my sis got the French Onion soup – now there’s a crock!  My family got things like crab cakes and steak and were very happy with their meal.  My dad even did the thing where he orders an “almost well done” steak and watches the kitchen struggle to make it so that the inside is brown, but the outside is not burnt.  They took it in stride and produced a nicely cooked piece of meat.  Of course, I don’t know if the microwave was used at all in its preparation, but who cares if it tastes good, right?

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Having lc visit, we knew we had to take her to the Dandelion (she enjoys the British, that one).  Raisin scones to start (not quite the butter-full scones at Talula’s Daily, but still good) …

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followed by a slew of egg dishes.  Ultimately, nothing too crazy went on here – all in all a very “restrained” brunching operation they have going on there.

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Our last nice meal of the new year was a visit to Petruce et al.  Holy crapballs – they killed it again – dish after dish.  For the highlights, above is the short rib with kimchee and crusted rice ?cylinders?.  It was a perfect adaptation of kalbi+kimchi+rice for white folk.  Loved it.  But perhaps the best tasting thing was the sweet potato with avocado dish.  I wish I had a picture of it.  But just envision it: sweet potato … and avocado … on top of eachother … intermingling their mushiness … I know that sounds weird, but the taste was incredible.  Probably the most surprising dish I had of this entire photo-storm.  I would go their every weekend (if my bank account could tolerate it …).  Their winelist is still solid, too!

A Petruce Surprise!

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t says:  g and I hit up Petruce et al the other night.  Yes, we know, Petruce has been out there for a while now, getting rave reviews – people have already been there and opined, so there’s no need for another blog post about them.  Right?  Ah, the glory of having a blog: we can write about whatever we want, whenever we want!  And this time, we’re writing about Petruce et al!

October 2014, Friday Dinner, Party of 2.  Although we arrived on time, our table wasn’t ready, so we took up residence at the bar and began constructing a plan to attack their wine list.  Would we be disappointed like at Townsend, where I boo’d their no-BYO policy?  Well, to be honest, I didn’t even ask if Petruce allowed outside wine!  WWHHAA!?!?  Have I taken ill?  Did I run out of wine?  Did I suffer a blow to the head?  Not at all – I knew their wine list was actually going to be interesting.  Like wine-nerd-interesting!  Not a single Cali-cab on the list!  No boring Chardonnays!  And do my eyes deceive me – are those boxed wines on that list?  So I was down for paying by the glass, ready to see what the wine program could surprise us with.  For our meal, we did an Elbling (super-tasty – a nice lighter white wine with good acidity and surprising length for a white) and a not-on-the-menu Cava.  Why cava?  Well, g was originally going to go with a Cremant de Limoux (Domaine Collin – a super-awesome sparkler we’ve had before) but the bartender offered the cava, and then was able to compare-contrast the wine to the Domaine Collin to see which she’d prefer – that’s some good wine-nerdery right there – we were impressed!  And then for the main, I ventured for a Cahors (i.e. Malbec from a specific region in France), and for her main, a pork shoulder, the “wine guy” recommended a rich off-dry white (that’s right – not a red!), which was perfect.  So Petruce gets some big points for their wine.  Will it appeal to everyone?  Nope.  Will it appeal to wine snobs?  Not really – it’s not like these are big-name bottles or anything.  But it will appeal to wine nerds.  Yay!

Ok, enough about wine.  Let’s talk food … with pictures!

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beans, chorizo, and cheese.  Imagine, if you will, a cold mid-January night, as you sit cocooned in a blanket, staring out the window  watching the sky cover the earth in forgetful snow … this is the dish you would eat to warm your soul.  It was just a notch below the lentils underneath Bibou’s pig’s foot.  The perfectly cooked, rib-sticking beans along with scattered chorizo adding both meatiness and spice … mmmmmmmm.

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The carrot dish was a little quirkier.  The bagna cauda and pistachio was a fun accompaniment, but it seemed like the carrots were of various levels of doneness that confused me.  Were some pickled and some cooked?  I don’t know.  They were good, but just too heterogeneous for my taste.

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Ahhh … the duck.  g thought it was the rarest duck I had ever eaten.  Maybe that’s true – but I think it’s because it’s the first duck I’ve had that was this superbly cooked.  The fat was unctuously delicious with excellent greens and eggplant.  Although it was a small-ish dish, it was so rich that I doubt anyone could eat more (even I had a piece left!).

Not pictured was the pork shoulder.  And with that pork shoulder, g felt like she “won” dinner.  That’s a pretty impressive statement coming from g, and here’s why: the usual course for dinners is that g goes for either cow (she loves a good steak frites) or lighter fare (seafood, veggies), often foregoing pig as it’s often too fatty, too rich (usually I get the pig and she’ll take a bite … before claiming that her steak, veggies, or seafood is superior).  But not this time – she went for the pig, and it blew her away.  I agree – the pig was delish!  I don’t know if it “won” – as it was equal to the duck for me – but I will say that the leftover pork shoulder made for a super-awesome omelette the next day.

Other awesome things: service was spot-on the whole night.  They cleared the tables with efficiency.  The chef occasionally delivered dishes (our table was right next to the kitchen), with a smile.  They did give us an extra course (spicy octopus) because the server felt like g’s wine would also pair well with spicy, and nothing we ordered was at all spicy (so he did it for the fun of the meal, it seems!).  g recognized one of the chefs as one of her faves from Little Fish.  What were the bad things?  Well … there wasn’t really anything to complain about.  While nothing we had was quite gotta-have-it-can’t-live-without-it-crack-addictive, it was indeed some excellent food, excellent wines, and excellent service.  It’s going to go toe-to-toe with Serpico for us, which is amazing.  Maybe it’s more along the lines of a Talula’s Garden (but without the cheese … which is a big minus, but more interesting drinks)?  Bravo for a great new restaurant for Philly!

Written by afterdinnersneeze

11 October 2014 at 7:45pm