Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Philadelphia Showdown - Part 1

A quick review of eating in Philly in the past week, with just a pinch of comments.

Tonight a trip to Marc Vetri's harrowingly exciting and phenomenally fresh restaurant Osteria, at 640 North Broad Street. Our meal was the following.

  • Lombardo pizza with baked egg, bitto (homemade sausage), mozzarella, cotechino, tomato (wood fired and packed with flavor)
  • Salumi plate with prosciutto, lardo, porchetta (all house cured)
  • baccala mantecato with pane carasau ( a whipped salt cod dish with crackers)
  • tripe alla parmigiana (dannnng)
  • seasonal vegetable plate (the most moist tomato of my life, and one of the sweetest tangiest onions)
  • bucatini with testa ragu (testa is pig's head after some elaborate process with nutmeg and allspice)
  • prosciutto ravioli with peas and .... sauce ( ridiculous sauce, whatever it was)
  • rabbit casalinga with pancetta, sage, brown butter, polenta
  • braised pork ribs and sausage with cabbage and polenta
  • polenta budino with gianduia (sweet polenta with hazlenut chocolate mousse)
  • tangerine zuppa inglese (a tangerine layered dessert)
  • sorbettos (blood orange, pineapple, black grape)

almost everything was ridiculously outstanding. as i have been reading and thinking more about food these past months, i now know that what i am looking for are flavors that i haven't had before. as much as i enjoy food and attempt to be adventurous, there is still so much out there that is foreign to me, and that is a wonderful thing. the depth of the polenta, smoky and creamy, accompanying the fascinating spice-inflected sausage, was a revelation. as was the hollowed-out bucatina in that ridiculous testa sauce, whose every bite became more moist and intense. the prosciutto, both in and out of the ravioli, attaining a creaminess and smoothness beyond belief. the variation of textures and flavors with each bite, of each course, of each plate. the extreme care and vibrance of the food, from the delicate intensely fruity sorbetto to those elevated vegetables. a terrific meal. very few misses, beyond a good but not great salt cod (although all we ate otherwise was meat, perhaps it just didn't fit in) and a rabbit that was a bit tough, unless you wanted to really dig in around the bones (which I did in fact desire!) no pictures, this was a meal to enjoy and re-live afterwards...

A quick rehash in list forms

  • Tria at 18th and Sansom
Salice wine from Italy and Dogfish Head Aprihop Beer
Two Cheeses - Persille de Beajolais w/ pear bread and honey, and Gruyere w/ chunky tapenade (the persille was awesomely intense, incuding some finger/knife lickage)

  • Late-night Snack
New Orleans style Osso Bucco, Fresh Salad, and Portabellos in Balsamic Vinegar (damn my parents can cook!)

  • KC's Pastries in Chinatown
Sesame Ball, BBQ Pork Bun, Egg Custard (greasy and delicious, $1.80 total!)

  • Lunch on the George
Home-made Turkey Provolone Prosciutto Bacon Paninis

  • A stop at Capogiro for Gelato (20th and Sansom)
Sweet Milk, a combo of lemon/ginger and lime/cilantro, and pineapple/mint and Bitter Dark Chocolate

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