May 9, 2008 |
WHEN I LEAVE the city limits to dine I feel like an expat, a stranger in a strange land. Which is especially true when you step into a suburban bar where everyone is lighting up and realize that Philadelphia's smoking ban is really a wonderful concept. But, a recent trip out to East Norriton to Blue Sky Caf? and Bar proved there is light at the end of the tunnel, if not a strip mall. While I wouldn't call Blue Sky Cafe and Bar a destination restaurant, if you are in the area or a suburbanite looking for interesting options beyond the chains, this is a worthy option.
May 8, 2008 |
Fresh salad greens deserve equally fresh dressing. And a simple vinaigrette - a quick blend of oil and vinegar with seasonings - is the freshest and purest of them. But vinaigrette, that most basic of dressings, the perfect complement to salads, can be so much more. It can serve as a marinade or full-fledged sauce with entrees as well. At Marigold in West Philadelphia, executive chef Erin O'Shea has come up with some innovative vinaigrettes. Inspired by the flavor of smoked salmon, which led to thoughts of fried green tomatoes, O'Shea came up with a buttermilk vinaigrette that ties together those two favorite foods on the plate.
April 18, 2008 |
SPRING CALLS for getting out of a rut. And while a weekend B&B in the country may be the ideal retreat after a long winter in the city, a short excursion over to New Jersey for some eats can fit the bill, too. Five bucks on the High Speed Line will get you a scenic round-trip ride over the river to Collingswood. Here, there's a thriving row of restaurants within walking distance along the main drag. Beginning in May, there's a farmers market on Saturday mornings. Be sure to sit on the river side of the train for the full effect - it's a bit of a thrill to feel as though you could tumble in the water instantaneously or almost catch a fly ball passing over Campbell's Field.
November 11, 2007 |
In their final months at the William Penn Inn, where they worked to save for their big debut, it must have been a challenge for Joe and Amy McAtee to imagine the flight of modern fancy that would become Honey. The William Penn, in Gwynedd, is as classic as it gets - an enormous 1714 inn where the service is stodgy black-tie and the culinary high points (veal Oscar and snapper soup) are fossils from the Prime Rib-a-zoic era. The McAtees are grateful to the William Penn for the work, and respectful of its tradition.
August 23, 2007
Gourmet redux We were sad to see Andros Gourmet Foods decamp from the Reading Terminal Market. But its replacement, Everyday Gourmet, is more than filling its shoes, offering prepared foods that have the robust flavor that Whole Foods often fails to deliver. Chicken salad with pistachios and citrus vinaigrette, and a colorful sweet potato salad with cilantro and maple vinaigrette are two winners. And the root-beer-glazed pork chop survives rewarming. But a vegetarian special, shown here, has the panache - a stack of hearty, herb-roasted squash, eggplant and pepper over asiago polenta, a rosemary sprig stuck in its cap.
July 1, 2007
If you live in South Jersey, there's a good chance that you've traveled at least once on Route 70 through Cherry Hill. Years ago, it was known as the strip. Today, it's known for its traffic. There are wonderful places along Route 70 and a new gem is Joe Palombo's Mirabella Cafe in the Barclay Farms Shopping Center. The Discreet Diner visited recently for lunch and was pleasantly surprised. The room has the feel of a European bistro. Wood tables are set with white cloth napkins and the floor is Mexican tile.
March 16, 2007
WHEN MEMBERS of the Chain Gang drove through New England a few weeks ago, it seemed like we passed 99 Restaurants about 99 times. Finding out the chain had migrated down to Philadelphia, we decided we had to check it out. Not being familiar with 99, the Gang found it to be similar to Applebees - big drinks, big All-American menu, big desserts, not too big a bill. At the location on Roosevelt Boulevard, we also found the service to be exceedingly friendly even when it was slow or forgetful.
January 30, 2005 |
As its name implies, Catherine's is a friendly, neighborhood kind of place. Catherine's, a dinner-only BYO in Unionville run by a young married couple, is more refined and sophisticated than gregarious and down-home, however, partly because of its feng shui d?cor and mainly because of its eclectic cuisine. The nine-entr?e menu includes all the favorites that define 21st-century dining - sea scallops, rack of lamb and tuna steak, among them. They are prepared with a great deal of originality and simplicity in mind.
August 29, 2004 |
It is too late to save the Caesar salad, but with your help we may be able to rescue the Cobb. A hallmark of this country is that we take things - food is included here - and run with them. We abandon rules, and these innovations often are improvements. Too often, though, we dumb down what is a decent concept. Reality television and Caesar salad have this in common. What has happened to both can make a liberal feel like a conservative. I knew Caesar salad was on the road to becoming stupid when, in 1986, I was traveling across the country and stopped at a restaurant somewhere in the Midwest.
March 11, 2004 |
Quiche: First it was classic, then some thought it was kitsch. Now it's making a comeback. Truth is, quiche has been around a long, long time, and it's not going away. This open-faced, savory pie originated in France's easternmost provinces, Lorraine and Alsace, along the German border. While quiche is French, the name is derived from kuchen, German for cake. The best-known quiche is an authentic quiche Lorraine - rich with cream and eggs and heavy with bacon, but with no cheese.