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Everything posted by serpentine

  1. This is a little strangely worded. How was it an "offshoot," other than being another restaurant by David Ansill? It changed focus slightly a few times, but other than the Pif nights (which were added later) it was specifically NOT Pif Parte Deux. Also, he's looking to reopen in the fall. He owns the building, so while he presumably has a mortgage to pay, it's not as if the landlord is going to kick him out.
  2. Well, the two-for-a-buck Meyer lemons and perfect, deep, ripe, juicy blood oranges at five-for-a-buck that I got last weekend? (Drank and ate most of 'em, am set to dry the rest.) Ramps were phenomenal, nice generous bunches; bought some for a dinner with friends and then went back the next day for more. (Both times, the same clerk warned me about the price before ringing me up.) Are we getting fiddeheads or not, though? Have been impatiently waiting!
  3. Bitar's! Sahara, Marrakesh, Byblos. The mystery 4th Lebanese could also be Alyan's. (One of my favorites, actually.) For a little more upscale, Shouk and Zahav.
  4. Doing a little research? Way to keep some great news about SSOH under your hat! Congrats!
  5. Eh. Coquette not managing to keep regular hours and the constant rumors of its closing doesn't inspire much confidence in me. Particularly with something like raw oysters. When we first walked into Snockey's, I thought we might get that perfunctory-at-best "you're not from 'round here" service. The guy behind the bar isn't the warm fuzzy type. But I had a nice chat w/the waitress when we walked back to look at the chalkboard of current oyster offerings, and she told us to go talk to the shucker if we had more questions. And the guy behind the bar warmed up to me once we started talking oysters.
  6. First, to allay the suspense: Snockey's was indeed excellent. Yeah, very old-school, unpretentious, unfancy joint. In the best way. Cold, fresh, beautiful, freshly-shucked oysters, shucker knows his stuff, nice variety on the menu. Ten minutes in, I was ashamed that I do not have an allotted day each week to enjoy Clammy Hour, and that I ever let a moment's snobbery keep me away. (The old-timers at the bar were charmingly old-timererific. When word got out at bar that it was my birthday, well, I could'a drank all night on their dime.) And the oysters are the best deal in town even before Clammy Hour. My gal-about-town and myself split a half-dozen bennies, a half-dozen peacocks, and had a couple of lagers. Yeah, yeah, I hear Oceanaire has a nice raw bar, but I just couldn't do the chain with its cruise-ship vibe. For our one high-end joint, I'm very happy that I picked XIX. Faced with a choice of whole lot of oysters, many of which I was unfamiliar, the bartender took great care of us. And recommended me a Bourgogne Chardonnay that was just terrifically pitch-perfect to both my taste in wine and the oysters. We split a dozen oysters, two of each variety: Martha's Vineyard (MA), Quonset Point (RI), Lucky Lime (PEI), Northumberland (Solution Cove, Canada), Pickle Point (Hope River, Canada), Tatamagouche (Nova Scotia). They were brilliant. 'Nuff said. Class act. And the view! At sunset! Last stop, Ansill. Happy Hour. Split a dozen of [notes illegible, not Cape May Salts, though] oysters with that perfect, perfect mignonette, accompanied by a glass of happy hour cava. Lovely, casual, great as always. I love Ansill, and relaxing on a quiet Tuesday in a favorite place slurping down a quick dozen was a fitting end to my oyster crawl.
  7. Hey, can we get away from sunra's "Oceanaire too good to be true" comment and get back to me? Atmosphere/service of Oceanaire compared to XIX -- spill it, peoples, what's up? Is there rawbar seating or would we take a table? I've been to neither. It's going to be one or the other for the "luxe" portion of the crawl.
  8. Oh, and zeffer, thanks for the tip. It's turning out that Sole Food is going to not be so much on the oyster route, I think. But I work right near there. After-work oyster-craving = score!
  9. (Katie, I can't wait until SSOH opens for this oyster crawl -- my birthday is Tuesday! Maybe next year. Or as soon as they open. Anyone know a time frame?) I will report back on Snockey's. (And will sample the oysters cautiously.) I hadn't thought about Bookbinders. Hmm. I wasn't blown away the one time I ate there after the renovation, but I wasn't looking for oysters then, either. I'll compare the selection and price at Bookbinders and Oceanaire and XIX. Sheesh, I may have to hit Coquette just to prove the place isn't a collective hallucination. It's on the way anyway. Maybe I'll go there before we wrap things up at Ansill. I would love a field trip to Fuji, but it's not going to work for this occasion. I know that there's no one like Matt Ito, but are there any sushi places in the city that I should put on my list?
  10. Looking to gorge myself on raw oysters to celebrate my birthday, and my best friend and I intend to do this in the form of an afternoon oyster crawl. But I'm not sure who's got a good raw bar going these days. Since we're not planning on eating much beyond oysters, candidates for the list would ideally have a bar at which to dine, or at least not look askance at lunch diners who won't be ordering full lunches. My former standby was Sansom Street (I never liked anything except for the raw bar there, but they did shuck a fine oyster for a reasonable price.) Obviously not an option now. I've heard nothing but, um, issues regarding food & service at Coquette. But if someone can vouch for the quality and thinks they merit a spot on the tour, I'd go. Of pricier places, any love for Brasserie Perrier? Oceannaire? XIX? I plan to go to Smockey's, because despite living relatively nearby I haven't ever been. And it'll provide a contrast to the more upscale places. Is it good, or just cheap? Likewise, is Pearl's in RTM worth checking out? Ansill and/or Southwark are both pretty much a given, since they're two of my favorite places anyway. Thanks!
  11. Buckethead, the total effin' awesomeness of their beer selection, even without special events, is a given.
  12. Anyone sampled the menu under the new chef? I've heard decidedly, uh, mixed reviews.
  13. Guys, I think you're basically all correct about Salumeria. To my tongue, it's a thickened dijon-based vinaigrette.
  14. That's Lupita. Nice folks. Mottmott, you can start at Lupita and just keep walking down 9th. At Washington, take a little detour -- Veracruzana is between 9th and 10th and there's another market on the same side of the street at 10th, next to the Anvil works. Walk back to 9th and Washington and keep walking south on 9th. I'll bet you an order of tacos al pastor that you'll have everything you need and more by the time you get to Federal Street. Check out this thread for what to eat while you're shopping.
  15. Meh, I actually agree with Vadouvan. And I think that this "combined years of experience" line is overused overheated rhetoric. Not knocking experience, just the justification of editorial opinion with silly pseudo-math. There's nothing wrong with a magazine having an editorial opinion. To dish out that "50 years of combined eating" thing is a tiny bit demeaning to the writers' actual credentials, in my opinion. Though it could be stretched into even more hilarious new math, though. If I feel the experience of dining out TWICE AS DEEPLY as the "average" person, my TE (total experience) should perhaps be at least = years of experience + years/2, yes? I also claim a 10 point bonus for my ability to write coherently. Others may negotiate their own algebraic experience quotients.
  16. It's difficult for me to greet this news optimistically. Roast pork with sharp prov and rabe...how can you do that without adding a ton of preservatives or making the product too expensive for the targeted market? Some days I'd give anything for a real muffaletta or my mom's crabcakes, but I wouldn't be tempted for a minute if either of these things showed up in the freezer case at Acme. (From what I know about White Castle, the sliders seem like a product better-suited to being frozen -- they're steamed burgers, right?)
  17. lfabio, I'll grant you that there's a lot of fast-and-loose play regarding journalistic ethics in food writing. But newspapers still hew to the old-fashioned guidelines pretty carefully. (Magazines and books are a different story.) Admittedly I was mistaken on the table policy. I have no idea why I had it in my head that singles could join the party if there was room. (I still don't actually believe that there is no availability, though.)
  18. I don't think that this is realistic. The subjects of articles do not get to see the article pre-publication, nor are they afforded the opportunity to request revisions. It's generally regarded as a conflict of interest and I'm sure a breach of newspaper policy. Ms. Olexy and Mr. Sikora should just not have mentioned the reservations policy at all. I hope that 20/20 hindsight has taught them that they just need to be very careful about what they say in front of Mr. LaBan, for fear that it will be spun into yet more overheated hype. Speaking of conflicts of interest, it would be nice if LaBan would simply watch his tendency toward hyperbole when it comes to Django/Talula's Table. (Um, Inky editor? Please consider doing your job, too.) Back in the peak glory days of Django, when it was widely reported that reservations were "impossible" outside of a month blah blah blah, I was nearly always accommodated within a week or two at most. Sure, if I'd wanted reservations for four at 8 pm on a Friday, then yes, I would've been SOL for months. Similarly, I'm fairly confident in assuming that Talula's Table has availability for one or two people often, particularly on weeknights. I blame Mr. LaBan for picking sexy copy. (And for the record, I'm not a LaBan hater and I love Sikora's food. But no-one can live up to the walks-on-water expectations set forth in the Inky's coverage.)
  19. I'll be interested to hear what the po' boy is like -- report back, Buckethead! (Incidentally, on the same principle as my wish that restaurants in other locales serving "Philly Cheesesteaks" with lettuce and tomato on sourdough or whatever would just call it a steak sandwich, I wish that restaurants outside of NOLA would not call their sandwiches a muffaletta or po' boy unless they're making an earnest stab for authenticity.)
  20. Enjoyed sitting at the kitchen bar. Plenty of seats at 5:30; the room didn't really start to get crowded until we were leaving. Yum. We'll totally be back. Had the Lombardo, a special of capon ravioli with raddiccio, the octopus, and the gellati and sorbetti and coffee for dessert. It's all been described and photographed here previously, so I'll resist the urge to describe it all again, except to say that the food was simply outstanding. We loved our primary waitress. Good wine rec, easy to catch her eye, gracious and professional. We ordered the pizza and those ethereal ravioli and checked that it would be fine with her for us to wait to order something else until after we finished the pizza and pasta. Nthing weird service and too many people buzzing about, though. (As an aside -- four staffpeople hovered around the reservations desk at all times.) After the pizza and ravioli, our dishes were cleared very promptly. Nice. But a few minutes later, another busboy came out and busily cleared breadplates, including the not-finished piece of bread, the olive oil, and the half-full breadbasket without asking and before we could open our mouths to protest. Another server came by a minute later and asked if he could clear our placemats, to which I goodnaturedly said no, to his surprise. To his credit, he whisked over a menu (but one menu, not two?) to us right away. Our primary waitress took over from there, thankfully. The space is gorgeous, and while the address it is pretty far north, the vibe on the street is more quiet than creepy, and it's a quick walk from the Broad Street line. My friend had no trouble finding street parking close by. And we're already looking forward to sampling more of the menu!
  21. It's to some extent a regional thing. Lemme guess, it's western North Carolina style?
  22. Hey, do I need reservations for two at happyhourish time tomorrow (Friday), or can I just plan to snag barseats without fuss?
  23. Mark McKinney is also chef at Cantina Los Caballitos-- seems like he's putting more love and supervision into the menu there, and the food at Royal is suffering. I don't know who's supervising the kitchen at Royal day-to-day, but it's definitely disorganized -- we've had some scattered food temp issues too. And I've given up on specials lately, as there's been a bunch of weird mis-fires. We ordered the "roast beef au jus" the first night it was on the board, and made sure to tell the bartender that it sure was not a roast beef au jus. At all. Overall I'm happy to order food there, though. I hope that they work out whatever's going on in the kitchen, though. Michael G, walk just a little farther south. Have you tried 1601 at 10th and Tasker, the aforementioned Cantina at Passyunk/12th/Morris. Also, Devil's Den is opening at 12th and Ellsworth next month. POPE at Dickinson /10th/Passyunk has some good beers, but the food is so-so and the jam-packed hipster quotient is high. I like outh Philly Tap Room at 15th and Mifflin too, but that's getting pretty far out of your range.
  24. And the server didn't bother to mention the little detail of a three-digit market price? That's...not cool. In fact, I can't remember ever not being told the price of a "market price" dish. Server says, "Excellent choice! Just so you know, we do that for market price, which the chef has informed me will be $100 this evening." [server blinks twice and keeps expression completely still, awaiting nonchalant acceptance, gracious reconsideration, or snarl of disapproval]
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