Tag Archives: Philly

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.

A Charming BYOB in the City of Neighborhoods

Check out my November issue of The Judicial Palate.

A Charming BYOB in the City of Neighborhoods

Bloody Beet Steak

This article originally appeared in the November 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.

Pound Cake Madness

Check out my “March Madness” issue of The Judicial Palate.

Pound Cake Madness

This article originally appeared in the March 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.

a. kitchen is the kitchen

a. kitchen is more than a kitchen.  It is a dining destination in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood where Chef Eli Kulp (also of Fork and High Street on Market) creates modern and elegant cuisine.  My husband and I recently enjoyed brunch, lunch and dinner (not all in one day, of course!) at a. kitchen.  All three meals were delicious.  The service was outstanding, and the setting is pleasant and cozy.  The open kitchen with a chef’s counter also provides for a unique dining experience.

For brunch, we started with a charcoal biscuit with house made butter.  The kitchen boasts a custom made grill using natural hardwood charcoal.  Nearly all of the dishes prepared in a. kitchen, including this tasty biscuit, reach the grill at some point.  For my main course, I ordered the grilled prawns with creamy grits paired with a salad of baby kale, basque pepper and radish.  The preparation of pepper and radish provided a nice kick.  My husband enjoyed the steak and eggs of American Wagyu, over easy eggs and blackened “frenched” onion.  The beef was grilled to a medium rare perfection.  We chose a light ending – the trio of ice cream and sorbet.   The current icy offerings are milk chocolate, caraway-rye and cranberry-apple.  Our favorite was the caraway-rye – a very creative flavor for a winter sorbet.

For dinner, we were encouraged to share several small plates followed by a main course.  We decided on the grilled, shelled quail eggs with pickled beets and onions.  The quail eggs had a soft yolk, and their richness balanced out the tanginess of the beets.  We also selected the hamachi crudo, which was served over crispy rice cakes and spicy mustard.  This dish showcased the Asian influences on the menu.  Another highlight was the Caputo Brothers burrata floating in a golden beet soup accented with dill and trout roe.  The roe provided a “pop” to the silken soup and rich cheese.

Our final small plate was the grilled octopus salad of spiced sweet potato, peanuts and winter greens.  The octopus was the tenderest that I have tasted, and the Asian spices were superb.  For the main course, we selected the special Dover sole with a side of grilled leeks with green chili romesco and smoked Marcona almonds.  This sole was grilled on a. kitchen’s centerpiece, providing it with a smoky flavor while still retaining its buttery taste and tender texture.

The wine list is impressive and includes some of my favorite French reds, including those from the Rhone.  We enjoyed a Bandol, which complemented the earthy spices.

For lunch, we enjoyed the deviled skate with sambal and grilled bok chou – another plate that demonstrates the kitchen’s talent with spices.  To balance out the seafood dishes enjoyed at a. kitchen, I decided to try the Creekstone Burger with cave-aged cheddar, mayo and pickles.  The burger proved that a. kitchen should be a destination for those in the mood for red meat as well.  As a finale, we enjoyed the sunchoke custard with black walnut brittle, hopped apples and maple.  This delicious savory sweet was the most creative use of a root vegetable that I have encountered.

Plan a visit to a. kitchen for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner and their new addition – an adjacent bar (a. bar) – which serves oysters and seafood specialties.  We will look forward to a lobster roll in the near future!

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.

Winter Tastes at Tria

One of my favorite lunch spots in Philadelphia is Tria near Rittenhouse Square.  I last wrote about this Philly gem in a May post entitled New Tastes at Tria (http://cucinadipoppiti.com/2014/05/05/new-tastes-at-tria/).

This winter, Tria has more new tastes to offer, including a delicious Chicken Liver Mousse with Cornichons and Grilled Bread.  My husband and I enjoyed this tasty small plate during our Christmas Eve lunch.  The mousse was light and silky and had the ideal slightly pink color.

We also shared the Roasted Beets with Bulgarian Feta Cheese, which has been a menu favorite.  For our main course, we ordered two Truffled Egg Toasts with Fontina Fontal as this small plate is impossible to share! The soft Pullman style toast covered with melted fontina, egg yolk and truffle oil is the ultimate winter comfort food.

Truffle Toast

So, stop in Tria this winter season to enjoy some new tastes along with some old favorites.

An Annual Treat — Bistrot La Minette’s Bastille Day Velouté

It seemed only fitting to dine at one of my favorite Philadelphia restaurants – Bistrot La Minette – on Bastille Day.  Last night, my party of three dined at Philly’s top bistro to celebrate La Fête de la Bastille.  Atop the special four course prix fixe menu (of a very reasonable fixed price of $40), Chef Peter Woolsey shared that this is his favorite meal of the year, and I understand why…

A myriad flavors were possible for a Kir Royale, but we chose the traditional cassis for our bubbly apéritif.

It was unanimous that the most intriguing taste of the evening was the Velouté Glacé de Petits Pois.  This chilled pea soup served with a drizzling of lemon crème frâiche and truffle oil was  refreshing with an earthy undertone on a humid summer night.  The fact that the soup was chilled was a special treat as the Bistrot’s dinner menu typically offers a hot pea and parsley soup.

The second course consisted of an elegant buffet including a variety of French appetizers.  This was the ideal way to sample the culinary talent at the Bistrot.  Some of our favorites were…

  • Rillettes de Canard (duck confit)
  • Terrine de Campagne (country style paté atop toasted brioche)
  • Salade de Lentilles (Puy lentils with mustard vinaigrette)
  • Poivrons Rôtis (oven roasted peppers with olive oil and garlic confit)
  • Salade de Tomates (sliced Roma tomatoes with basil, sherry vinegar and olive oil)

Then, we selected three of the four main course options…

  • Poulet Rôti (half roasted chicken with tarragon jus)
  • Pavé de Saumon (pan seared filet of salmon with beurre blanc)
  • Côte de Porc Sauce Vinegrée (pan seared pork chop with sherry vinegar jus)
  • Each was served with a gratin dauphinois (scalloped potatoes), tomato Provençal (slow roasted tomato) and haricots verts (French green beans).  The chicken skin was crisped to perfection while the salmon and pork were seared to the same degree of excellence.  The fourth option, an exotic mushroom tart, was also appealing…but will be atop the list of choices for next year.

Our trio allowed for a tasting of each of the three decadent desserts…

  • Tarte aux Pêches (peach tart with almond cream and cassis sorbet)
  • Mille Feuille aux Framboises (puff pastry with vanilla cream and raspberries)
  • Gâteau Mousse au Chocolat (chocolate mousse layer cake with pistachio)

Until next Bastille Day…although we are sure to visit our friends at the Bistrot before then!

New Tastes at Tria

The most pleasant afternoon in Philadelphia includes lunch at Tria near Rittenhouse Square.  I know that there I will enjoy a relaxing meal comprised of interesting wines and delicious plates.  On my most recent visit with my husband this weekend, we noticed several new additions to the already varied menu. (See “A Spring Fling: An Overnight in Philly” under “Culinary Chronicles” for a review of Tria.)

To sample the new preparations, we decided to share three new “snacks” – Tria’s small plates.  The first was the Warm Tuscan White Bean Spread with Paprika Toast.  The melt-in-your-mouth spread, served in a crock to keep warm, was accompanied by toasted slices of baguette dusted with paprika to provide some added color and mild spice.  This was so good that I will attempt to replicate it at home.

We then savored the Country Pâté with Pickled Onions and Red Wine Mustard.  The generous portion had an excellent taste and texture with just the right amount of pistachios.  What a treat! We paired these courses with the sparkling Blanquette de Limoux from the Languedoc, France, accurately described as having a creamy palate and toasty fruit.

Pate

The next dish was the Housemade Fennel Sausage with Sicilian Lentils and Parmigiano-Reggiano.  The thick slices of sausage displayed ample fennel seeds and flecks of red pepper.  The warm, earthy lentils were balanced with a basil pesto decorating the edges of the plate.  With this course we paired the Grenache Blend whose smoky cardamom flavor complemented the spices of the sausage.

Fennel

Although we intended to sample some of the ever-changing extensive cheese selection, we simply did not have room…next time!