29 01 2010

If you have a chance, visit the Tim Burton exhibit at the MoMa.  It’s on until April 26th and is fabulous. Browse through childhood art, adolescent angst, and props such as the Edward Scissorhands costume. Be sure to reserve tickets online ahead of time or you’ll be waiting in line for a while.

There are a lot of other cool exhibits at the MoMa–my favorite is the “What Was Good Design?” featuring do dads and vintage pieces such as Tupperware, popsicle trays, and ashtrays. There were a couple of Charles Rennie McIntosh pieces on display, which made me very happy.

And, of course, the giant hanging dinosaur “bones:”


Winter breakfast sandwich

24 01 2010

Even though my summer breakfast sandwich experiment is long since over, I still crave that eggy and cheesy goodness of breakfast all-in-one once in a while.  I made one for my dinner the other night when Matt wasn’t home with some sausage, spinach, and goat cheese.

With the Almost Meatless Frittata as my inspiration, I fried up one sausage cut into small pieces, put the pieces in the bottom of a small (single-serve) casserole dish, and put a layer of spinach leaves on top.  I whisked two eggs and a splash of milk and poured that mixture on top of the spinach and sausage.  The oven temperature alluded me, but 350 seemed to be the best choice.  You can season with salt and pepper to your taste. When the egg was almost set, I spooned a few dollops of goat cheese on top and when it was almost brown, I took the frittata out of the oven.

Now, you can eat it as is, or make it into a sandwich like I did:

MMM! I love biting into something like this and knowing I am eating all four food groups at once.  How’s that for multi-tasking?


22 01 2010

What an ordeal, trying to find the perfect restaurant to treat ourselves to on our recent weekend trip to NYC. After scouring blogs, yelp!, and restaurant reviews, I finally said: “I just want to try something new and crazy!”

wd-50 to the rescue.

I’ll get right to the food.

We started off with thin as paper sesame crackers and Matt’s huge pour of sake. The crackers were crack. I couldn’t stop eating them.

My appetizer was the shrimp cannelloni, cranberry, daikon, mint  for $18.  Don’t ever let the descriptions of the dishes fool you.  There’s always a twist.

Shrimp wrapped in shrimp.  The texture was amazing–tender but firm. The taste a little too shrimpy. The crispy cracker was cheesy and perfect. Cranberries were tart and the powdery coating on top added to their tartness but the mint garnish was fresh and smooth. I could have had a plate full of the cracker and mint.

Matt ordered the aerated foie, pickled beet, mashad plum, brioche for $19.

Matt’s words: “The flavor was perfectly prepared foie gras but the texture was hard to get past.” The light and fluffy cotton candy texture threw him for a loop.  Brioche: fun idea but the pieces “felt” stale.

Matt’s main course: Venison chop, freeze dried polenta, fennel, asian pear for $34.

Excellent. No other comment necessary.

My main course: Mediterannean bass, artichokes, bamboo rice, halva, chicory for $31.

Lovely prepared delicate bass (a bone or two). Artichokes were cooked al dente–they are so tasty like this, unlike jarred artichokes in oil.  The bamboo rice cakes were a little chewy and bland but were the perfect accompaniment to the other strong flavors, like the chicory.

Matt’s dessert: Soft chocolate, peppermint ice cream, black cardamom, toffee for $15.

Matt: “Tootsie rolls + toffee chews + peppermint ice cream + cardamom flavored croutons = good balance of rich toffee and chocolate with refreshing ice cream.”

My dessert: Caramelized brioche, apricot, buttercream, lemon thyme for $15.

A gourmet fried twinkie. Everything was a different level of creamy and the brioche was understatedly sweet. Apricots dried and slightly crispy. Pure buttercream heaven.

My main complaint goes like this: I guess in Philadelphia we are accustomed to more space. And we only really needed a few more inches of space between the tables to feel like we were just conversing with each other. My thought was that in restaurants where the atmosphere is casual and more friendly, tables squeezed together are more natural and conducive to “group” dining. Because we didn’t really get the casual vibe at wd-50 (although jeans are fine), having your 4 closest neighbors scrutinize you when you eat your food wasn’t very much fun.  Maybe it was just our neighbors, I don’t know. I’d like to go back on a week night because we might be able to enjoy our meal more.

The silver lining: this is a restaurant for foodies.  Leave all of your expectations on the 4, 5, or 6 and enter wd-50 with a clean slate of taste buds.

Leaps and Bounds

16 01 2010

This blog grew in leaps and bounds in 2009. January 2009 started with only two posts. Two posts in one month!  I had a lot to learn. Then came February. Oh man, February. Did I really only post once in February?  Sadly, I hadn’t learned yet what successful blogging really entailed.

March was the turning point. After our long-awaited trip to Japan in February, I was armed with photos, new food and drink, and material for 10 posts (still not very prolific, but definitely getting the hang of it), and the most popular post of 2009 was written: Tokyo Walking Tour: Shibuya and Harajuku. This is one of my favorite shots from that day:

April showers brought the beginning of Phillies season and events throughout the city, such as Sake Fest, and one of our first disastrous meals, which led to this scathing review.

May was fun. I was up to 15 posts of a wide variety and my summer project of finding the best breakfast sandwich in North Philly began. I was prolific in June: 23 posts! I was on fire! I got through July posting on camping tips and breakfast sandwiches and in August our trip to Los Angeles provided a plethora of material and one of the best meals we have ever had. Then it happened: I burnt out. At the end of August I made myself take a break due to extra work (that actually paid) and home improvements. It was a dark time in my life but I made it through to mid-September. The rest of the year wasn’t as busy with exploring or eating so the posts dwindled, but I got the hang of blogging and now I can pound out a post a day if I have the material.

My personal favorite post of 2009 was my review of Matyson, one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia.

2010 will bring a dinner at Talula’s Table and hopefully more local trips and new eateries around town. Also in store will be more posts on home cooking and inventive recipes.  Thanks for checking in.

Metropolitan Museum of Art

14 01 2010

It usually takes a very special reason to get me into a museum. I am more of a wandering around a city until I get lost kinda gal. Or a hang out in the local pub in the countryside kinda gal. I love interactive activities when I travel, so when my husband was excited to check out the Art of the Samurai Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on our recent trip to New York City, I was skeptical to say the least.

After we checked our coats and got our (very extensive) map, we set out for the exhibit, which was on loan until January 10th from the Tokyo National Museum.  I must admit that it was a very cool exhibit for the sheer reason that multiple National Treasures were on display (a National Treasure is a “precious cultural property” deemed so by the government Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan).  Although I like to call myself a pacifist, I couldn’t help but admire the workmanship of each sword and weapon on display.

We moseyed through the museum, grabbed a bite at the cafeteria downstairs (it is hidden and discreet i.e. very hard to find), and then found some cool paintings. We don’t know anything about art. I know right away at a glance if I want to go take a closer look, and most paintings do not invite me to take a closer look.  Except for these:

Maude Adams (1872–1953) as Joan of Arc (Alphonse Marie Mucha)

Sunflowers (Vincent Van Gogh)

It took us 4 hours to see the Samurai exhibit and European paintings. We were worn out. We didn’t even get to see the musical instrument exhibit or the Asian art. Maybe we’ll pop back in during a future trip.

DB Bistro Moderne

11 01 2010

We only had one meal planned for our overnight weekend trip to New York so because I am a wimp and did not want to walk very far in the freezing morning wind, we ran across the street to Daniel Boulud’s DH Bistro Moderne in the City Club Hotel. What a refreshing experience. At 9:00 am on a Sunday, we were two of five people there to eat breakfast. When we walked in I felt underdressed in my jeans and Uggs but the staff and decor are so warm and inviting, that feeling melted away quickly.

I wanted to try everything on the menu (breakfast is my favorite meal of the day) but when I saw the assorted breads and pastries option ($12) I jumped on it. When the fresh strawberry and plum jam came, along with REAL butter, I knew I would be in a carb coma very soon.

Freshly made, fluffy, fantastic. The croissants and brioche were out of this world delicious. I have often been frustrated with croissants because I feel like a hot mess whenever I eat them, but I embraced the flaky exterior and dove right in. I usually consider bread just a vehicle for trying as much jam as I can, but the jam didn’t outshine the baked goods on this occasion. All was equal in this relationship. I finished everything except for the toasted baguette.

Matt’s french toast was also made with the fresh brioche and was accompanied by some creme fraiche and chutney. He said it was yummy but I was really too into my basket of baked goodness to really pay attention.

I love finding places to eat and feeling full and happy. It’s what life is all about.