Saturday, March 10, 2007

Flan con Cheese Philadelphia

One of the most hilarious foodstuffs I ever ate was a dish by that name at a taco stand in San Francisco, with Garett. There was a big platter of it, all glistening and jiggly, up at the cashier's counter, with a little hand-lettered sign stuck in it. Flan con Cheese Philadelphia. It was delicious as well as hilarious.

I just got back from Philadelphia, speaking of. And I am embarrassed to say that I have no photos to show for it. Our camera is giant -- in fact so large that people ask us if we have one of those newfangled superfancy cameras, because no one makes such a large, unfancy one anymore -- and I hate lugging it around with me, and I said to myself, I have been to Philadelphia countless times, why should I bring the camera? Here's the thing: always, ALWAYS bring your camera to Philadelphia. It is one of the most beautiful cities in America. Even more so when your nightly view is from the 16th floor of the PSFS Building (now a hotel).

Also, I didn't have a cheesesteak. I have had one before! No need to do it again! Here's what I did have:
  • Ham and bean soup from The Dutch Eating Place in Reading Terminal
  • "That special goat thing" aka goat ravioli in broth at L'Angelo on Funeral Home Row in South Philly (we and the table of young priests in their collars closed the place down); lots of BYOB wine including a lovely Cabernet from Whitehall Lane that was on sale for $14.99
  • Hangover breakfast of biscuit and gravy and poached eggs and sausage at Down Home Diner
  • Fried chicken, "Oprah's Favorite" Macaroni and Cheese (I can't say it better than Taylor does in her Philly food blog) and some very disappointing cornbread at Delilah's Southern Cafe (also in Reading Terminal -- it was right across from our hotel and we didn't have a ton of eating time)

The masterpiece meal of the week: Carey took me to Gayle and did we FEAST!
  • Gayle salad with the tiniest little brunoised vegetables (excuse my Franglais)
  • Clams Casino in clam chowder: a delicate clam and garlic and spinach nugget deep-fried, set in a bowl, with silky clam chowder puree (no flour involved) poured over it
  • Seared scallop with a pork cheek ravioli pillow (so salty, so much gravy, so good)
  • Monkfish and artichoke hearts with saffron sauce over pureed parsnip
  • "Veal stew": sweetbreads, tongue, brisket, all chopped with potato, some kind of greens, all doused with a nearly obscene amount of some sauce with vast acres of demi-glace in it. It was TOO MUCH in the best way. But don't just take my word for it.
  • Ice cream sandwich of rosewater ice cream between three wonton shells with candied pistachios in honey poured over
  • A bottle of Yamhill Valley Vineyards 2003 Estate Pinot Noir

It was after this meal that I had a Food Hangover the next morning. Has this happened to you? This happens often when I eat pork belly, one of the richest and most indigestable substances known to man or woman. But pork belly is so good that I eat it anyway, despite its making me run for the bathroom in a cold sweat in the middle of the night. Same thing after this. I think the veal stew did me in.

Moving on:
  • Gentle breakfast of Diet Coke and oatmeal cookie
  • 1/2 mediocre chicken cutlet and prosciutto sandwich and cannoli gelato
  • 1/3 calamari and vegetable salad (it was as big as two of my heads, but notice that I finally did consume vegetables on this trip!) from The Continental, plus one very excellent Margarita
  • Yuengling galore with Kim and Beth and Katie and Sarah and Judy
  • Coffee, egg bagel, cream cheese
  • Post-Carey's-bike-race lunch of frozen shrimp shumai and pretzels
  • Roast beef and "caramelized" (actually, they were pickled -- quite a different thing!) onions from Au Bon Pain while running to get the train home.

Between all of this I learned about architecture libraries all over the country, went on many, many, many walking tours of take-your-breath-away beautiful buildings and collections, drooled over large-format scanners, and explored this over-the-top brilliant website in depth. I had been in an anti-conference funk for a while, but I think this one has re-revved my engine. I love conferences again!

(Thanks to Paula for the Continental recommendation. If you go, dear reader, go to the one on 2nd and Market, not on 18th and Chestnut. That one is a meatmarket/themepark DISASTER.)


At 2:57 PM, Blogger zp said...

You love Philly. I'm moving to New Haven. Can't wait to read more.


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