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Everything posted by davecap

  1. we put in a bosch evolution 300 four years ago, and I am knocking on wood, have had no problems whatso ever. It looks nice, stays clean inside and is very quiet.
  2. My wife and I went for our anniversary last night and had a great time. We have also been to Vetri and so I will make some comparisons. When we first pull up, the neighborhood is not as bad as I had first thought. I had some concerns that the neighborhood was not great. I am not originally from Philly and never travel north on Broad. The street was well lit and well travelled. The first impression from looking outside in is that the place is rather large. One is looking at the entire first floor of a condo building with the restaurant on either side of the main entrance to the building. The owners of the restaurant must have received quite a deal on rent. After walking around the space, to find the unmarked, and I am guessing unisex bathrooms, though from the outside they could be broom closets for all you know, there is a lot of floor space and what appears to be party rooms, which were not being used, but hopefully for the owners they will be. Unused space is money out the door. The open kitchen is a nice feature, though the bar in front of the kitchen is a little too tall for anyone other than the bar patrons to enjoy the view. We were taken to our seats, back near the bar. We looked out the windows and noticed that there was a patio with outdoor seating. I love sitting outside, which I think the Philly area, and all surrounding areas are sadly lacking. There is nothing better than a nice night to sit outside, especially after sitting in an air conditioned office all day. The patio is huge, and there could certainly be more tables, but as it is set up now, the extra space is nice and allows some privacy. I am not a huge fan of the big metal tables and chairs, but they were not the end of the world. After taking a seat and getting used to the surroundings, I really felt like I was in Italy. The patio is bordered by a church on one side, and if anyone has been to Italy, there are churches everywhere, so seeing the nice stone work and the stainglass was very memorable. Sitting outside at Osteria, you hear a decent amount of street noise, groups of motorcycles whizzing by at high speed. Again, in Italy, if you sit outside, you would be hearing the sound of vepas and little fiats buzzing by, so no problem for me. Allpart of the atmosphere. The menus were brought as well as the wine list. I have read the reviews here and elsewhere about service problems. I think the servers were attentive, but not too much so. I had to pour our wine a few times, but no big deal. When we went to Vetri, one of my biggest complaints was not the size of the wine list, but the prices. The list was very extensive, which made it all the more difficult to find a reasonably priced, read less than $75.00, bottle to select. The wine list at Osteria is very accessible, as it should be at an osteria, and I appreciate the manner in which it is orgaized, listing wines in increasing price. Though, if this were truly an osteria, the wine list would include wine by the carafe, which would be a nice option. The list did include some half bottles. While I was perusing the wine list, my wife started reviewing the menu. She said that she was having a hard time selecting something as everything sounded so good. I had the same feeling once I had selected our wine. We decided to have one selection from each category on the menu: pizza, antipasti, primi and secondi. The pizza we selected was the Lombardo, which several on egullet have suggested. My first bite was a good one - a little egg, a little cotechino, some of the herby sauce and the slightly charred crust. The egg was perfectly runny such that you could sop up the juice with your crust. This was a good start. We could have eaten the entire pizza, but we decided to hold off as we anticipated some good things to come. I had some reservations about paying $17.00 for a boutique pizza, but it was very good. For the next course we chose the special, which were sardines marinated in olive oil and served with cantelope and micro greens. The sardines were very flavorful, enough of the oily sardine flavor, combined with a spicy olive oil, and then the burst of the very melony cantelope. I am amazed that the cantalope was so flavorful given the late season. This was a nice light dish. We next ordered the pork ravioli with black walnuts. From first appearances, we received a plate of brown meat sauce on a plate. But the flavors were very nice. The crunch and strong flavor of the black walnuts, the richness of the pork and the sauce, and the little baby ravioli. Again, splitting this dish the portion size was perfect and light. The only issue I have with this one is the plating and appearance. Flavors were very nice. Finally, we had for our secondo - the rabbit casalinga. This was a nice dish of stewed rabbit with creamy polenta. I like flavorful reductions and this dish had a nice glaze from the stewing liquid. The rabbit was nicely cooked. And again, the portion was a nice size. If you are one who does not liek meat on bones, this dish is not for you. BUt for those of us who appreciate the flavor that bones lend to a dish, you will love it. This was a special night out, so we decided on dessert. Normally, we would split something, but again we had a tough time making a decision. We finally chose the polenta budino with huckleberry and the mascarpone tart with fresh figs, balsamic and rosemary. Both were excellent. My wife tried the budino first and was savoring it. I tried a couple bites and was very impressed, it was again very light, but flavorfuly and creamy. The huckleberry added a nice cut to the creamy pudding. My wife actually saved the last bite of the pudding until after we had finished the tart, as she liked the flavor of the budino so much. The tart was excellent. The mascarpone was again very light and combined with the balsamic and the rosemary was terrific. The syrup on the plate had a nice slight hint of the rosemary. I really liked that aspect of the dessert. A recurring theme above is that we were not stuffed, but were very comfortable. Most of the dishes were very light. I would suggest to anyone that goes to try what we did, as you have the opportunity to try the various dishes from each category. Overall a very nice night and we will be heading back to try the many things on the menu that piqued our interest.
  3. I just wanted to add my two cents. We just finished a kitchen remodel (or almost, still have a little painting to do). My two cents has more to do with the overall planning regarding the sink, than with the style, etc. I wanted to get the deepest sink I could, for washing pots, etc. I got a "D" shaped Franke sink. I think it is 9 or 9.5" deep. The "first" plumber we hired for the kitchen remodel did not take into consideration the depth of the sink, compared to the old nasty shallow cast iron sink we previously had when redoing the plumbing in the new kitchen. He did a nice job with the gas line, but did not properyl account for the depth of the new sink and the disposal. When the counters were installed and we called him back to install the sink, he said that we could not install the sink and the disposal as is because the drain line was too high. He said we would have to replace the drain line completely and it would be a lot of money. And this is why I said the "first" plumber. We said goodbye to him and called another more capable plumber, who reassessed the situation, and luckily because we have access the plumbing easily in the basement, was able to cut two small holes and add a small pipe to the drain line to account for the new lower disposal and sink. My point is this - just make sure that the plumber, or the kitchen designer, account for the new depth of these larger and deeper sinks when laying out the plumbing before the cabinets are installed. It is a lot easier to deal with issues then, and a lot cheaper, than to deal with them later.
  4. My wife and I, and our three year old, will be travelling to San Francisco, for three days, and then to Pacific Grove for three days this August. We will be in Pacific Grove for three nights. We are coming out for vacation, and for the car shows, in Monterrey. I do not know the geography that well out there. Can anyone suggest places for dinners in and around Pacific Grove? We will be at Pebble Beach for most of one day, so somewhere in between would be great. We are open to fancy or simple and relaxed. IN S.F. we are going to Zuni Cafe and the Slanted Door. Thanks for your help, and we can't wait to visit.
  5. what is it that makes that charcoal so expensive? other japanese charcoals are not near that pricey?
  6. I have had some bone in chops from both Preferred Meats and from Mountain View Farms that have been excellent. The Preferred chops were T-bone pork chops and some of the best I have ever had. Here is a pic of the marbling from my MTN View chops
  7. I am very jealous. Have a great time. One of my favorites, which is very reasonable in price, and a nice little trattoria is ZaZa in the piazza behind the Mercato Centrale. Pane Fritte, pastas with pesto, walnut sauce, frittata con fonduta, all are very good. Not fancy by any means, but good local food, wines by the carafe. Buon Viaggio!
  8. Capanaeus, Percyn and rlibkind thanks for the reassurances. I want to go and try based on your recommendations. It will still be a little painful. I lived in Italy when the lira was still alive and used to get a pizzette fired in a wood burning oven for $1.00 and it was the best I have ever tasted and now judge all pizzas against that one. I will let you know my results as soon as I can a babysitter and a reservation. Dave
  9. Broiled with salt, pepper, olive oil and french feta over the top. Also a grilled leek and asparagus soup, with the stems.
  10. Ok, I haven't been, but I have been reading all your thoughts and reviews. The food looks good, and from the reviews make me very interested in making a reservation. One thing that keeps sticking out to me is the price for those pizzas - $15 for a margherita is outrageous, and a pizza for $22.00? I would think that the pizzas are supposed to be an appetizer, or something for multiple persons to share as an appetizer. But even when you look at it that way, the prices are still unbelievable. That must be one fancy oven to have to recoup, and it won't take long at an average price of over $18.00. The menu looks like it has some very country/peasant style dishes, but with the pricing, the owners seem to be making the restaurant a destination/special occasion place rather than an everyday establishment.
  11. That a sweet setup for a house! I have a small kitchen and just for you to have all that room to put that is great. I noticed that in the pic of the hood, there is no ansul or fire suppression system. Do you not need one in a residential application? I am interested in what your typical gas bill would be for a regular home gas range compared to the various ranges that you are running.
  12. With the start of Lent and the tradition of eating fish on Fridays, does Italy have any traditions for the Friday meals? I know when I was growing up we ate of a lot of fried smelts.
  13. Just received some great pork from Mountain View Farms here in PA. They raise heritage pigs on lots of milk. The chops were great, lots of flavor. And as you can see lots of marbling. I have finished curing and smoking the pork belly for bacon but not yet cooked any. I was also able to get some jowls, see below. They have cured and are now hanging for guanciale. The people who run the farm are very friendly and nice to speak to. Chops Belly Jowls Mountain View Farms
  14. Franci Thanks to a little snow here, I finally have time to upload some photos of our streudel. Thanks again for sharing s great recipe Mille Grazie Dave
  15. I appreciate everyone's thoughts on this matter. I am not supporting the treatment you got, but the above statement is totally off base. What do you mean you have no responsibility to to call and cancel? The fact that many people engage in such behaviour does not make it acceptable and certainly does not make it honourable. You asked a busy establishment to hold a revenue generating table for you. You had a responsibility to call and you should have called the moment you knew you could not fulfil your commitment to the restaurant which was likely well in advance of the 7:30 rez. Your position is basically: I can screw you over by making a rez and not showing but, like most of us, you likely expect superlative service when you do choose to show up. Whomever dealt with you should have been more tactful but your table in this very small restaurant represented a significant portion of their business and they overreacted. You however, underreacted from the point of view of your responsibility. Point well taken. I would like to respond to a couple of the comments. If a chef opens a restaurant, he is no longer just a chef, but a businessperson who now wears many hats, and when that chef forgets about the other hats, I think this is a cause for the failure of many a restaurant. A chef can be idealistic about the food, but in order to make money and survive, a chef/owner has to worry about rent, insurance, servers, busboys, etc. and the person answering the phone. We have travelled with our daughter extensively and she has done very well as far as touring and then being able to go to dinner with us, even after a full day. But on this occasion we thought better and decided to cancel. We had called the cab and we made the decision at the last minute not to go. We really did want to go as we had read so many good things on egullet and elsewhere, and Daniel seeing your pics and reading your review really made us want to go. I guess I should not be so absolute about not "ever" wanting to go there, but such an experience really leaves a sour taste in your mouth. Thanks again for all your thoughts.
  16. davecap

    Pork Cracking

    I cut the skin into little squares, maybe an inch or so, place into a heavy pan/pot and put into a 300 degree oven and let the fat render and crisp the skin - I periodically pour off the fat, which is great for frying anything in
  17. We had another great dinner there this past weekend. We started with the cromesquis - two orders! Man are they the best. We also had the tomato tart - great flavor coming out of the wood buring oven. We also had the beet and goat cheese salad. Huge portions - just like everything else there. Great flavor again. For dinner my wife had the pork chop with the mushroom sauce - great rich sauce perfect for a cold night in MOntreal. The Fred Flintstone chop bone was hanging over the edge of the plate. I had the duck in a can - was very tasty - though the duck was a little tough. We get there so infrequently that I forced myself to wolf every bite down. My daughter had some bread and butter - she loved it - ate almost the whole basket herself - and was putting the butter on by the spoonful. She was content to sit there and watch everyone and drink some milk. We had also ordered some of the fries, but they were underwhelming - not as crisp as I would have liked. No wine - just a couple of tasty beers - Saint Ambrose (sp) pale ale. I was in the mood for a beer after driving, but I think wine would have been a better choice. Overall, a very tasty meal. I think the pricing is very reasonable for what you are getting, especially with a little help from the exchange rate.
  18. Hey Joe Beef, what gives? My wife and I went to Montreal this weekend with our three year old daughter for the Winter Snow Festival. We had a great time both Saturday and Sunday at the festival. I love Montreal, the people and the city are great. We had an awesome dinner as usual at Au Pied on Friday. We had dinner reservations at Joe Beef on Saturday night for 7:30 pm. After a full day of fun in the snow, my daughter was getting pretty tired and we made the exectuve decision, no matter how much we wanted to eat at Joe Beef, that we should probably just get something quick and head back to the room. So I called Joe Beef to let them know we could not come. I called right at 7:30. I know the timing was not perfect, but I had to call anyway. A man answered the phone and I told him that unfortunately we had to cancel. He started giving me lip. He said "Why didn't you call me at 3 this afternoon?" I told him that we did not know at that time but that my 3 year old was exhausted and we could not come. Then the man on the phone said that he was going to take a $200 hit because we weren't coming. If the restaurant is as good as everyone claims, they should not have any problem filling our spot at the bar. If a walk-up comes, a restaurant has to be prepared. My point in raising this is that I have never been treated that way by a restaurant. I would think that most people do not even call to cancel a reservation and I had the decency to call, even though I have no responsibility to do so. Customer service makes and breaks many businesses today and I think that customer service in the last few years has gone down the tubes. The man on the phone could have simply said "thanks for calling" Instead, now I will tell everyone who visists the city not to go there and when we return for vacation, we will certainly not go there. Has anyone else been treated this way by other restaurants?
  19. davecap

    Seared Butter

    One of my favorite dishes is cromesquis, where you take foie gras, blend it with some port, add gelatin and chill into blocks then cut into individual serving pieces. Then you batter them three times, freezing in between each battering. Then you deep fry. The little dice-size cube is now frozen through. The batter is nice and crispy while the foie on the inside is a beautiful liquid. why couldn't you treat butter the same way, since butter and foie are both mostly fat? what are your thoughts?
  20. davecap

    Pork Belly Sandwich

    Daniel Don't have any pics, but I made a braised pork belly over the weekend in the vein of the Galen Zamarra recipe and it came out great. I heavily salted and peppered the belly before I seared it, then deglazed with maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and apple cider. Into the pot with chicken stock and braise for 8 hours. Came out beautiful, tons of flavor, melt in your mouth. Made a sandwich with caramelized onions, belly, and sauteed broccoli rabe. Dave
  21. Kpurvis and Brentkulman thanks. That sounds exactly like what we are looking for. If you think of anything else, please let me know. We are planning on a May departure. thanks again Dave
  22. My brother in law and I take a trip every year tasting different regional cooking. We did eastern and western carolina barbecue for a couple years. Forthis year's trip, my brother-in law remembers some fried catfish places in North Carolina, something like salt and pepper catfish places? Does this ring a bell with anyone? Does anyone have any other suggestions for our road trip? We had thought about hotdogs in Chicago or Atlanta. We are in the mid-atlantic region and are willing to fly or drive. thanks for your help
  23. Franci we made it a family affair to make your apple streudel this weekend and had a great time doing it. My wife and three year old had a great time spreading sugar, cinnamon, apples, raisins and nuts. I will try to post a picture, though it will only be of what is left as we could not wait to long after it came out of the oven to cut into it. grazie per la ricetta Dave
  24. not sure if this should go in this discussion or elsewhere, but I read in my local paper last night that Wegman's had purchased five restaurant liquor licenses in PA so they could start selling beer and wine in their store cafe's. Of course they had not yet done so for the store in Downingtown. The article discussed the fact that several other grocery chains in PA sold beer and wine in their non-PA stores, if possible. The article seemed to imply that the grocery stores were very interested in selling beer and wine in their PA stores if they could. As an aside - this is one problem with the state restaurant liquor license quota - businesses with deep pockets are the only ones who can afford to buy a restaurant license, see chain restaurants and now major grocery chains. Maybe we will see some major lobbying efforts to get the laws changed. Though unless it is a top to bottom revamp of the current statutes, nothing will change.
  25. If you can wait a couple weeks, I am coming up from the states.
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