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Majolica in Phoenixville


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The Cab was an unfiltered 2001 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon, which I picked up from the state store last weekend. At first it seemed too young, but after a while, it opened up quite nicely. I have a few bottles left and might go buy some more tomorrow.

I stand corrected. After visiting the state store yesterday and picking up a few more bottles of this great wine, to make a demi glace and red vine sauce, I realized that it was a 2001 Arrowood Grand Archer Cabernet Sauvignon.

Hey Percy, what's a red vine sauce? BTW, I had a bottle of the unfiltered Arrowood Cab at Barclay Prime a few weeks ago. Indeed worthy of your collection

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  • 7 months later...

Long time lurker, first time poster(I have been waiting to use that joke). What has finally got me off my butt to post is a couple of meals I had at Majolica. And being the procrastinator I am one occurred on February 21st and the other occurred on Thursday April 5th.

First a little background though. We have been going to Majolica since it opened(and was surprised to find out our favorite waitress from Birchrunville Store Cafe was the owner) and thought it was good the first time and even better each return visit. When they added the six course tasting menus during the week they became our usual selection. We were always amazed at how we were receiving a totally different six courses every time we went, many with no connection whatso ever to an item on the regular menu. While we haven't tried Per Se yet(we hopefully will get there some this this year) I frequently read reviews and notice the menu doesn't change very often. With how many times they make these items I think even my wife might be able to produce one successfully after enough tries. The reason I bring this up is that we were always impressed how Majolica seemed to be able to produce an entirely new tasting menu even if our last visit had only been a few weeks ago

Fast forward to my birthday, February 21st. It's a an important one, the big 4-0.

My wife asks me were I want to go. I say Majolica-it's fairly close to where we live, we have been enjoying the meals, why not. She calls, makes a reservation, and casually mentions it's my 40th and that we would like the 6 course tasting. We get there and are taken to our table which is decorated with confetti, streamers and most importantly(and totally unexpected) my birthday menu. The menu was as follows:

First Course- Raspberry Point Oyster, Champagne Mignonette

Second Course- Venison Tartare, Firelli Pear

Third Course- Garlic Soup, Salted Tuna Roe, Quali Egg

Fourth Course- Pickled Baby Carrot, Tuna Aioli

Fifth Course- Portuguese Sardine, Apple Celeriac Salad

Sixth Course- Matsutake Tempura, Ponzu Sauce

Seventh Course- White Aspargus, Toffee, Maldon Salt

Eight Course- Tuna, Basil, Olive Oil Emulsion, Tomato Juice

Ninth Course- Smoked Black Cod, Potato Puree, Rosemary Oil

Tenth Course- Salmon Belly, Watercress, Citrus Flavors

Eleventh Course- Veal Sweetbread, Breakfast Radish, Molasses Butter

Twelth Course- Foie Gras, Aromatic Leaves, Herb Jus

13th Course- Pineapple Sorbet, Fried sage

14th Course- Roast Squab, Onion Compote, Fragrent Spices

15th Course-Hendricks Farm Telford Tomme, Garlic Dolce de Leche

16th Course- Meringue, Star Anise Cream, Raspberry

Needless to say we were blown away. I couldn't even really figure out the menu at first; was I to pick out 6 items from this selction, or was I getting just some of these items. When they finally convinced me that my wife and I were getting all sixteen, I just broke into a big smile and prepared my stomach for some serious eating.

I do wish I had taken some kind on notes or hired Philadining for the evening to take pictures. Some of the items that still stand out for me was the Garlic Soup-incredibly mild but rich at the same time, the Matsutake Tempura which was the best Tempura I have ever had, the Toffee and Aspargus combination, and the Garlic Dolce De Leche. If I knew how to make it I might spread it on everything I eat. If there was something I could change about the meal is that I would have had the Foie Gras and perhaps the Sweetbreads earlier in the line up. By the time I had the Foie, the richness was almost too much and I didn't enjoy as fully as I should.

Obviously one of the cooler dining experieinces I have ever had, particularly when I had no idea it was coming. And as I discussed earlier ono of the things that really impressed me is not one of those items was a regular item on the menu. Each item I tasted I was tasting in that format for the first time. I have to say it was almost embarrasing as the other tables began to eyeball us more and more as the course piled up.

Jump ahead several weeks to April. Its the Thursday before Good Friday and we are going back to Majolica for the first time since my big birthday dinner, this time with another couple. We had decided before we went we would all do the six course tasting. Well who says lightning doesn't strike twice. I'm still not sure why we were so lucky, perhaps we were guinea pigs for the testing of future menu item, who knows. We weren't even handed menus; just told to sit back and enjoy.

I was smart enough to take some notes this time. The courses were as follows:

1. Homemade Pork Rind with a yogurt dipping sauce- very interesting way to start off the meal

2. Roasted Oysters with Horseradish Emulsion- until this point I had only enjoyed oysters raw. These were incredible with the horseradish providing just enough of a contrast with the saltiness and richness of the oysters

3. The girls got Roasted Beat and Hazelnut salads while the boys got Shaved Artichoke and Parsley salads

4. Spring Pea Soup- It tasted more like May Pea Soup. Very sweet.

5. Porcini Egg Custard with smoked Trout Roe. Served directly in the eggshell. The earthiness of the Porcini tamed the creaminess of the custard, making for a good combination

6. Salmon Paillard, White Aspargus and Orange Reduction and Tarragon

7. Dourade with Melted Shallots

8 Florida Frog Leg with Barley and Yogurt sauce- It had been a long time since I had Frog Legs. Kind of like chicken(sorry) with a just a mild seafood taste. Not bad but not intersting enough that I would order them out ona sort of regular basis.

9. Roasted Rabbit Saddle with Oyster Mushrooms.-Outstanding. I haven't had a lot of rabbit in life but this made me a believer. I think the saddle is like the tenderloin. It has just enough of a gamey taste to make it interesting but not overbearing. This was prepared fairly simply.

10. House Cured and Roasted Pork Belly with Lentils-My favorite dish of the night. This is one of those things that when it is made well(Studio Kitchen, Ansill's) its my favorite thing in the world, but when made bad(me) it really sucks. Ths was made well. Deliciously rich and fatty without being greasy it pulled apart nice and easy, just as it should. Lentils made a great combo with this dish.

Alright I am getting tired of typing and my company actually things they are paying me for work so I am going to wrap this up with just a listing of the remaining courses

11. Foie Poached Apricot and Sauternes Gelee on a Brioche roll

12 Carrot Sorbet and Cilantro

13 Lamb encrusted with Trumpet Mushroomswith Cucumber and Tabouleh

14 Cheese with Honeycomb-If you never had fresh honeycomb-Try some. It's incredible

15 Soft Boiled Quail Egg, Toffee and Maldon Salt

16 Fennel Panna Cotta, w Roasted Strawberries

Yes-Blown away again.

These two completely unexpected meals are Karma for all the times I have been seated back in the Aryan section near the bathroom at Ralph's, the times the restaurants in Paris have lost our reservation when the see we are Americans(overall my experience in Paris has been pretty good, but there have been some incidents), and the times places didn't live up to anywhere near their expectations(WD-50).

For those of you out there that haven't tried this place, you should put it on your list. And not just in you live near Phoenixville or in Chester County. I can't promise you sixteen courses but if you dig food I think you will like the courses you get.

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Welcome Al x!! Wow. What a great and informative first post! You've set the bar high for yourself and you're not allowed to "re-lurk" at this point. Looking forward to more reports from you - hopefully in a slightly timelier fashion. :raz:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 3 months later...

Amuse Bouche - Watermelon with 30yr balsamic vinegar

Chared Octopus w/smoked paprika oil and garbanzo beans - Extremely tender octopus tentacles which reminded me of the greek style preparation, though chef said they were not marinated. The paprika oil and octopus were a patch made in heaven.

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Chef's treat #1Cucumber sorbet with basil, olive oil and goat cheese

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Chef's treat #2-Sweetbread with figs and toasted hazelhuts

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Main Course - Stake wing and Pork Belly - The pork belly was extra tender with a super crispy skin, served on a bed of perfectly cooked lentils. The white thing next to the pork belly is a turnip. The stake wing seemed to be poached on a bed of cabbage.

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Was too full for dessert.

Sorry about the poor low-light quality of the pics.

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  • 3 months later...

Amuse Bouche Carrot Juice with Coconut Froth

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Spanish Octopus in Chorizo Broth - I was craving the octopus since the last time I was there and it did not disappoint.

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Diver Scallops in Miso Butter - Scallops cooked to perfection and the sweetness of the miso butter complimented the scallops very well. Shitake mushrooms reinforces the Asian influence of the dish.

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Artic Char on Polenta with Chives - Compliments of the chef. This might have been the highlight of the entire meal. The fish was moist and flaky, while the skin redefined the word "crispy". It was so crispy that you could hear it crack like a thin potato chip and had a similar crunchy texture. Just amazing. I told Andrew that he should add this to the regular menu and he said he does have a rendition using salmon on the menu.

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When Andrew learned about my wife fish allergy, he graciously sent out

Butternut Squash soup - topped with fried sage. The bold hearty flavors are ideal for this time of the year.

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Braised leg of lamb with salsify gratin - The braised lamb was simply delicious. It was fork tender, but still had the texture and flavor that one would expect from lamb. The salsify gratin was amazingly delicate and a good contract for the lamb.

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Hanger steak with roasted tomatoes and chickpea fingers - The steak was tender and flavorful. The most interesting component on the plate was the chickpea fingers, which had a crisp falafel like outside and creamy inside. I loved it, though it might be a bit of an acquired taste, as my wife did not enjoy it as much as I did.

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In our glasses were a

Loius Lator Ardeche

and

1999 M Chapoutier Chateauneuf du Pape Barbe Rac

We were pretty full, though wanted to try the dessert and settled on the Chocolate Souffle w/Ginger infused Crème Anglaise. What can I saw other than this was a perfectly light, airy souffle.

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All in all a very good meal as one has come to expect from this little gem in Phoenixville. In fact, a seemingly not-so-food-adventourous couple seated on the table next to us had ordered the 4 course (chef's choice) tasting menu and when presented with the octopus and later sweatbreads, cringed at first but upon tasting a few bites said, and I quote... "...the chef must has some magical powers."

If you have not been yet, give it a try, you will not be disappointed. And oh, if you were afraid of the parking, you can park in the lot of the store directly behind Majolica after 6pm.

Cheers

Percy

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

Last night was bitter-sweet at Majolica as it was another great meal, yet the last that would be served there. Chef Andrew should be commended for a brave performance and sending out great plates that the regular clientele has come to expect.

Scallops with Lentils - Perfectly cooked, well seared on the outside, tender and juicy inside with the classic pairing of black lentils.

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Sweetbreads with Molasses and Radish - Super crispy and crunchy coating mascarading the creamy goodness, punctuated by the tang of the molasses.

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Foie Gras, Brioche, Kumquat Marmalade

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Smoked Duck Breast w/Truffle Risotto - A succulent medium rare duck breast with a hint of smoke, served on slightly toothsome risotto infused with truffle flavor.

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Painted Hill's Hanger Steak - Immense beefy flavor exploded from this until recently humble cut of beef. This example was well seasoned, had a nice char crust and as accompanied with new potatoes and edamame.

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Cassoulet - Made with milk fed pork

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Braised Monkfish

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Bittersweet Chocolate Souffle w/Tarragon Crème anglaise

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We enjoyed a 2004 Louis Latour Grande Ardeche, a 2000 Flora Springs Trilogy and a 2004 Inniskillin Icewine with our meal.

Majolica will certainly be missed by many and I wish Andrew and Sara all the very best in their future endeavors and hope we get a chance to experience their cooking and hospitality in the not too distant future.

Edited by percyn (log)
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That looked like a great last meal at Majolica, Percy. Everything looked amazing (esp. the duck! :biggrin:).

I just read this morning that Majolica is no longer to be, and I'm sad that I only got to eat there once. I wish Chef Andrew luck in his future ventures.

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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Oh wow - I finally got there for the first time on Wednesday, without having any idea they were closing... Was a great meal, very sad to seem them go. Phoenixville has definitely come up in the last couple of years, and I can only think this will be somewhat of a blow.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm hearing word that Andrew and Sara are going to be announcing tomorrow (Saturday) that Majolica has NOT closed, that they have redone their menu & business to be more in line with the current economic times. I'm hearing $3 tapas type apps, a cheaper prix fixe, and so on.

Why didn't they contradict the closing rumors? This doesn't make a lot of sense if the re-opening is true. Good news for Phoenixville, but I'm more than a little confused!

The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again.

~George Miller

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There are several signs on the front of the papered-over front window of the restaurant, saying "Heard the Rumors? The truth comes out 031409". Their website currently says the same thing.

This certainly makes the "closing" sound like a bit of a publicity stunt. Whether it means they're reopening, or moving to another location, it certainly seems to indicate that there's some sort of a part B. I suppose if they really are completely re-imagining the place, it IS a closing and re-opening, so it's not that the announcement was a lie, but I'm not sure it would be any less newsworthy to simply say that they were changing concepts (or whatever it is they're doing.)

Who knows, maybe this kind of thing works. Georges Perrier got several minutes on the evening news by hinting at closing Le Bec Fin. He probably wouldn't have gotten so much attention if he'd just said that he was making the changes he did.

His changes seemed to elicit a big yawn in most circles, but it probably did get the word out more effectively than simply issuing a press release. And so this kerfuffle around Majolica might be effective for them, but I'd imagine that eventually reporters and readers are going to resent being manipulated for PR purposes.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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"....reporters and readers are going to resent being manipulated for PR purposes. ." ?????

Come-on people, you're kidding, right?

Since when is "manipulation" such a one-sided thing? By reporters and/or readers?

I respect everyone's right to an opinion, but whatever the reason the owners of Majolica decided to do what they did, if a "closing & rebirth"...however characterized....brings about the opportunity - as sketched out above - to eat Deery's food at a PRICE POINT that brings his loyal customers back more than twice a year AND brings more and NEW people in to experience his food...tell me how that's a bad thing?

I love reading the laments about what a great place it was, sorry to see it close, a lost gem, yada, yada, yada....while at the same time an aknowledgement that the BYOB model is tough to make money at AND that "I haven't been there in ages, but it was great when I was there".

In the end, a restaurant is a BUSINESS, people, not a glorified social club for the few who think they know more about food than the rest of the masses. If - and especially in this economy - chef/owners don't treat their restaurant's as businesses FIRST ---which means giving people what they want, in the individual chef's style, at a price point people can afford, "early and often" - then all of us "know it all's" aren't going to have many of our "beloved jewels" left to comment about.

Cut these people some slack , get over your "hurt" and be glad that Deery's STILL going to be cooking great food.

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I don't see the connection between a restaurant being a business, and whether the "closing" announcement was contrived.

Taken to a ridiculous extreme, don't you think it would get a little annoying if restaurants started announcing that they're closing every time they made a change in their menus? Obviously the Majolica situation is not that extreme, but I'm just saying that I find it strange to announce that you're closing, if you're not. And that it could quickly get tiresome if that became a common practice.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I don't see the connection between a restaurant being a business, and whether the "closing" announcement was contrived.

Taken to a ridiculous extreme, don't you think it would get a little annoying if restaurants started announcing that they're closing every time they made a change in their menus?  Obviously the Majolica situation is not that extreme, but I'm just saying that I find it strange to announce that you're closing, if you're not.  And that it could quickly get tiresome if that became a common practice.

i agree.

not a huge big deal with all that's going in the world these days but, to say your closing, people show up for their last meal, say their goodbyes, and then, psyche, "nevermind we're reopening" seems a little disingenuous. but maybe the owners really did have a change of heart. which is fine.

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I walked over thataway a little while ago and there's a new sign up - it looks like they are indeed coming back.

Details are supposed to be forthcoming tomorrow, but looks like they'll be opening/reopening on the 18th for dinner.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/the-insider/41203887.html

I hope this wasn't a marketing ploy. On 3/1 it looks like Sara implied they had shut down, as seen towards the middle of this piece:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/40494032.html

Maybe it was a change of heart, but I have a funny taste in my mouth (so to speak) over the whole thing.

The trouble with eating Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again.

~George Miller

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Klein has the scoop in The Insider. They say it's going to be more French Bistro-ish, which doesn't seem like a huge change, and cheaper, which sounds great.

I have only good wishes for them, I like the restaurant a lot, I'm glad they'll still be there. And it's certainly possible that they really considered closing, or a more drastic re-invention that might have required a dramatic statement, then changed their minds.

[edit - whoops ya beat me to it chellie! and thanks for those links.]

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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It appears the Phildelphia area has a problem with 'reading for content'. I have been observing the happenings at Majolica from the Philadelphia Inquirer and this is what I know.

1. Majolica closed for business on Feb. 28th. (2/25 issue of the Inquirer)

2. It had a three bell rating by critic Craig LaBan.

3. 'after weighing other options, the husband-and-wife team Andrew Deery and Sarah Johnson have decided to reinvent the Phoenixville BYOB.' That's a direct quote from today's paper. I've added the bold to help out the content challenged.

4. 'The changes we are rolling out are a direct response to these economic times' Again, direct quote. Again, from today's paper. Again, bold for the challenged.

First off, let's get this out of the way. I'm in the business, however not in the Philly area. Because I work 7 days a week, I can offer all you a perspective that has been lost in today's blather. Cooking at the three bell level is personal. The decision to shutter a restaurant, especially one that YOU own can be heartbreaking.

Was it a publicity stunt? These folks chose to close their business, their soul, two weeks ago. Philadining do you know the owners of Majolica? Do any of you? Are any of you privy to the soul searching that must have taken place over the past two weeks? I'm assming the answer to the last three questions is no.

OK, let's go back to the 'reading for content'. 'After weighing other options'....that's the soul searching that I'm referencing above. They decided to open with a new concept. Same name, SAME QUALITY OWNERS, different concept. As for 'doesn't seem like a huge change, and cheaper, which sounds great.' I've seen pics of Majolica's food on this very site and I just got back from France, so I can tell you that the switch to a bistro-esque format is a huge change.

I love this one, too. 'say your closing, people show up for their last meal, say their goodbyes' Hello? That restaurant did close. Majolica as you all allegedly knew it has closed and thankfully for you another one is opening.

The internet gives ANYONE the ability to spout their opinions; right, wrong or indifferent. Coming from a guy who would kill to have people of the Deery's obvious talent(remember that three bells I referenced earlier) working in his town, I wish all of you would sit back, relax and be thankful that a family business is reopening, whatever the iteration and for goodness sakes, be happy for the Deery's. They're putting their neck out there, AGAIN.(BTW, all you cynics should try that sometime. It's an amazing feeling) I wish them the best of luck and hope that sometime I might be able to try the food at the new Majolica.

Maybe you'll continue to be cynics. That's cool, too.

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I guess I am just a cynic, but then I never believe that politicians resign to spend more time with their families either...

The "Heard the Rumors?' signs went up pretty soon after they "closed". I have no doubt that closing a restaurant is a heart-wrenching thing, which is why I find it even harder to believe that they really intended to walk away and then thought - oh wait - what if we painted and changed the menu a bit?

Hmmm... they have a brand new, professional-looking logo, ON A SIGN, INSTALLED, mere days after "closing."

I suppose they could have had a sudden inspiration and gotten all this designed and manufactured in the less than two weeks that they've been closed. Or maybe they had this plan in motion before they "closed."

It's no great scandal either way, I'm just saying that stating that they were closing, and planned on reopening with a new concept, would have been a little more straightforward. But probably wouldn't have generated as much publicity.

I don't really have all that much trouble reading for content, I'm just too much of a cynic to take all of it at face value. If you do, well good for you, I think I might like to live in your world where everyone is completely forthcoming at all times.

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Wistful sigh...there are many days I wish I could shut down, reinvent myself and, with what I've learned over the years, start all over...a WHOLE lot smarter.

I wish Andrew and Sarah the absolute best... I think they're on to something!

www.hendricksfarmsanddairy.com

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I don't really have all that much trouble reading for content, I'm just too much of a cynic to take all of it at face value.  If you do, well good for you, I think I might like to live in your world where everyone is completely forthcoming at all times.

I would welcome the opportunity to have you walk in my shoes for a day. I think it would be very instructive for you.

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What was it that Pete Townsend once said..."To Each His Own Sewage.."?

Now that we've all "purged" ourselves this afternoon....by acknowledging (I think I spelled it right this time) our individual "crosses" - be it cynic, suffering out of town chef, wisened farmer, hoodwinked (and STILL not happy about it) P-ville local... etc, etc, etc....

....Now maybe we can and should just be happy - that by hook or by crook - we will ALL get to partake in Deery's FOOD.... again...no matter the unknowable original intent of the owners of the place....

....after all isn't FOOD what this site's supposed to really be about?

Or did I miss something in the eGullet Rules & Regs?

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Was it a publicity stunt? These folks chose to close their business, their soul, two weeks ago. Philadining do you know the owners of Majolica? Do any of you? Are any of you privy to the soul searching that must have taken place over the past two weeks? I'm assming the answer to the last three questions is no.

I presume your answer to those questions is 'yes'? Care to share any of that info with the rest of us?

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