Time to catch up on some food-related happenings over the past week or so. Last Friday, I went down to Philadelphia with some friends to meet up with some Philly-based friends for a little Cornellian preservation student reunion. A weekend is clearly not enough time to explore all of Philadelphia’s food offerings, especially when you are there mostly to see your pals, but we ate well nonetheless. Unfortunately, I don’t have great (or any) photos of everything (these are all cameraphone snaps), because I was trying to travel light, but here is a quick rundown:
On Friday night, we had a late dinner at La Viola, making sure to snag a few bottles of wine to bring before the shop closed. I had the farfalle with pesto and shrimp, which hit the spot nicely after the drive down. The four of us shared a piece of chocolate mousse cake to finish the evening.
The next morning, we hit the Down Home Diner at Reading Terminal Market (right near our hotel) after seeing the line at the Dutch Eating Place. I had the oatmeal with two strips of bacon on the side, which was a good, filling way to start the day, along with some fresh-squeezed orange juice. You can see the french toast, pancakes, and granola that were enjoyed by Sam, Liz, and Jayme as well in the photo.
After lots of walking and talking, we visited Steaks on South for late lunch sandwiches. Sam got the usual cheesesteak, Jayme (a vegetarian) was able to get an eggplant parm, and I went with the roast pork with provolone and broccoli rabe. Liz, who lives in Philly, opted for the less-filling salad elsewhere. I am anti-Cheese Whiz, so I was quite happy with my choice. The only change I would make is to chop up the rabe just a tad more, as I wrestled with it a little in opposition to the soft cheese and tender meat. Overall, though, a yummy lunch.
Later that evening, we met up with more friends who live in town and traveled to the South Philadelphia Tap Room. I’m not a beer drinker, but everyone else was happy with the brews available and the food was quite tasty as we sat outside and caught up on life. We started with the calamari appetizer and then I ordered the Cuban sandwich (yes, I ate two roast pork sandwiches in one day! I didn’t even realize that until I was halfway through.), which came with black beans and rice. The sandwich was impressive, with good crusty bread and flavorful meat. The beans and rice were pleasantly spicy as well. My friend Alec also ordered this dish and was equally satisfied.
The night came to an end with some Raisinets and green tea back in the hotel room after returning from Greg and Erin’s relaxing back porch. Woo!
Our last morning in Philly began with breakfast at Mixto. We sat inside, right next to the open windows, so there was a nice morning breeze even though the day was going to be quite hot. I had the french toast, which was topped with maple syrup, mixed berries and orange slices and a side of maduros (sweet fried plantains). I’m pretty picky about french toast, as nothing compares to the times I make it at home with a loaf of homemade challah bread. This was quite good though, with thick, custardy toast, and my plate was left completely empty.
Yesterday was quite hot back in Syracuse and we had two surprise guests for dinner in the form of Ben and Marcus. Luckily the dinner that I had planned was easily expanded. I broiled some chicken breasts that had been tossed with a little bit of tamari sauce and those were sliced up into bite-size pieces and tossed with some cooked (of course) quinoa, cucumbers, daikon radish, celery, and coriander and then blopped with a little Italian dressing (you could be more upscale and make your own dressing, of course, but at this point I was hot and hungry and it tasted good). The chicken and quinoa cooled while being tossed together, so this was served at about room temperature, but I think it would work chilled as well. And as you can see, hot weather slop dinners, accompanied by olives and beer, make men happy: