Tag Archives: Dining

New York State of Mind

Check out my February issue of The Judicial Palate.

New York State of Mind

Casa Mono

Razor clams and sardines at Casa Mono

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 issue of The Journal of the Delaware State Bar Association, a publication of the Delaware State Bar Association. Copyright © Delaware State Bar Association 2016.  All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

More Tastes at Tria

If you intend to dine out in Philly during the holiday season, make Tria Cafe a destination.  Tria on Rittenhouse continues to be one of my favorite lunch spots.

A decadent addition to the ever-changing menu is the chicken liver mousse with shallot marmalade, grapes and whole grain mustard.  A smear of velvety mousse, a slice of sweet grape and a dollop of crunchy, vinegary mustard makes for the perfect bite (on some crusty bread, of course).

Chicken Liver Tria

The marinated calamari with green beans, red onion, almonds and capers was oh so tender.  And, a drizzle of calabrian chili oil provided a little heat.  Rather than a sweet dessert, we prefer to conclude with the Téte de Moine when it is “in season”.  This creamy cow cheese from Bern, Switzerland is cut into lovely florets using a girolle.

Tete de Moine Tria

On this trip, we enjoyed some bubbly and then compared a Grenache/Syrah blend from the Rhône to a Marcillac from Southwest France.  The wine list, in addition to the creative small plates, is always a treat at Tria.

Winter at Junto BYOB

Last night we enjoyed another excellent meal at Junto Restaurant and BYOB in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.  We first dined at Junto last spring and decided to sample the winter menu, which continues to showcase local ingredients.

Some favorites from our first visit remain on the menu.

  • “The Roots” salad of pickled kohlrabi, sunchokes, radishes and beets is a fresh and pleasing alternative to a standard green salad.
  • The wild mushrooms served in a pea consommé with Crowder peas and goat cheese toast is a light yet satisfying starter.
  • The beef cheek still melts in your mouth but it boasts some wintery accompaniments – “Sugarkraut”, currant, capers and saffron potato chips.  We enjoyed the range of tastes in this dish, from the sweet to the salty.
  • The grilled sturgeon is alder wood smoked and served with romanesco, fermented celery root (instead of wax beans) watercress and a lemon verbena emulsion.  It’s no wonder that this unique preparation is still a star on Junto’s menu.

There were also several delicious new additions.

  • The “Duck Pocket Pie” is a generous envelope of flavorful, shredded duck.  The perfect bite included some shredded ginger fermented root vegetables, onion crème fraiche and caraway.
  • The smoked chicken croquettes were an elegant version of the diner staple.  The apple snitz, green tomato jam and sorrel gravy were a perfect complement to the crunchy yet delicate rounds of chicken.
  • The simple root beer float featuring Bassett’s Philadelphia vanilla made for a homey dessert after a meal full of deep and varied flavors.

Juniper Commons – Flashback to the ’80s

Enjoy a review of one of Philadelphia’s new restaurants on the Avenue of the Arts – Juniper Commons – in my January issue of The Judicial Palate.

Juniper Commons Flashback to the ’80s

This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of The Journal of the Delaware State Bar Association, a publication of the Delaware State Bar Association. Copyright © Delaware State Bar Association 2015.  All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

Junto Restaurant and BYOB

Junto

Junto Restaurant and BYOB is a new dining treasure in the Brandywine Valley.  Chef MacGregor Mann, who worked with Iron Chef Jose Garces, opened this cozy restaurant in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, in May of this year.  The menu showcases local ingredients as well as seafood from the Atlantic as far north as the Hudson River down to the Chesapeake Bay.

Last week at Sbraga’s third anniversary celebration (a fabulous seven course dinner!), some fellow foodies recommended Junto as their go-to BYOB.  This weekend, my husband, friend and I tried it for the first time, and our experience proved to be the best dinner out in this neighborhood in quite a while.  The restaurant offers a chef’s tasting; however, we decided to order from the variety of dishes on the menu.

We started with three very distinctive starters: “The Roots” salad, which was a mosaic of pickled kohlrabi, sunchokes, radishes and beets along with green chickpea hummus and goat kefir ranch sauce; the wild mushrooms served in a pea consommé with Crowder peas and goat cheese toast; and, the slow cooked beef cheek with lima beans, heirloom tomato, sorrel and saffron potato chips.  The salad was light, refreshing and colorful, while the mushrooms were savory and comforting.  The beef cheek melted in my mouth, and the fresh lima beans balanced out the dish with a crunchy texture.

For a pasta course, we decided to share the egg yolk ravioli served over crispy smoked pork, sassafras pork jus, red kale, peaches and shaved walnut.  As we cut into the ravioli, the egg yolk melted into the pork jus, creating the perfect blend of flavors.  The peach added a sweet note and made for a pleasant transition from a summer to fall menu.

Our main courses were the “Forager’s Pasta” of black garlic fettuccine, summer market vegetables, foraged herbs and tomato water emulsion; the black bass with baby fennel barigoule, pasta neck clams, grilled scallion and lovage; and, the grilled sturgeon, which was alder wood smoked with wax beans, fermented Crowder pea, watercress and a lemon verbena emulsion.  All were cooked to perfection and attractively plated.  The most striking of the main courses was the sturgeon for its mild smoky flavor and creative presentation on the alder wood board.

We could not resist a cheese plate of Farm Fromage Cloth Bound Cheddar, Tomme Delicious and Galens Good Old Gouda – all from Pennsylvania and served with raw honey, spiced walnuts and raspberry butter.

For a sweet ending, we chose the Shoofly profiteroles to keep up the Pennsylvania theme to the very end.  The chocolate molasses sauce was the ideal, not too sweet, ending to the superb meal.

The service was excellent, and, the fact that Junto is a BYOB makes the already reasonable prices even more appealing.  With an average cost of fifty dollars per person for all of the above courses, this elegant meal would be impossible to beat in the Brandywine Valley/ Delaware area.