Styers Cafe

27 02 2011

Go to Styers Cafe at Terrain for the ambience and the food, not for the service.

My family seems to gravitate to Styers even though, every time, we have to help the wait staff do their job. Granted, every time we’ve gone the place has been packed, but is it that difficult to bring cream to the table at the same time as (or soon after) the coffee?

Speaking of coffee:

Umm, I believe I ordered a large coffee!

Then we got two pots of warm, freshly baked bread with honey butter.  We begged for a third (hey, there were eight of us) and after some gentle cajoling, we got it.

I’m never disappointed with the breakfast selections. I cleaned my plate of buttermilk pancakes with vanilla cream and a side of applewood bacon.

Matt said that his short rib and gruyere sandwich was good, but not great.

He loved his tasty mac and cheese, although there were differing opinions here.  Matt enjoyed the lighter cheesy and non-greasy consistency but Chad called it soupy.  I didn’t taste it but it looked perfect.

Apple cranberry pie. Hardly any cran but didn’t even miss it.  The apples were tart and perfectly al dente while the crust was flaky and light but slightly dense towards the center, just the way I like it.  The server brought this instead of the pecan pie we ordered but I didn’t really care after I took a bite.

Anabel was having a meltdown when the pecan pie finally arrived so I only got one bite.  It was alright.  I wish we had gotten it when we were supposed to.

If you were keeping score, the food earned a 5/7 but the service earned a 1/3. The ambience always gets a score of 100%.  Just check out my photos from a previous visit. The food is juuuuust good enough to out-weigh the service but I really wish they’d get their act together enough for the entire experience to always be enjoyable.


Anthony Bourdain

16 02 2011

“Is there anyone in the restaurant business here?” ::Cheers and hollers:: “Well how the fuck did you get tonight off?”

And so began our evening with Anthony Bourdain.

The show at the Keswick Theater on Valentine’s Eve was sold out. Not really knowing what to expect, Matt and I were entertained for an hour and half while Bourdain, mostly by memory, rattled off a seemingly endless string of anecdotes.

Starting off with his predictable tirade against the Food Network and his conspiracy theory of the offing of good chefs such as Emeril, Mario, and Bobby, he then delved into his experience on Top Chef as he admitted to the vats of gin and tonics underneath the judges’ table and assured the audience that none of the eliminations are producer-driven.

He then segued into his show on the Travel Channel and gave a list of some do’s and don’ts of international travel, a segment that I’d love to use for the pre-departure orientations I run for college students studying abroad.

His “Grandma’s House” scenario says it all: treat all of your international experiences as if you were at your grandma’s house. You clean your plate, tell her it was delicious, and ask for seconds, even if it was the worst meal you’ve ever eaten. Because she’s your grandma.

Drinking, of course, entered his spiel more than once. He cautioned against drinking with Russians in Russia, the only place he is scared to drink as on average he downs two vodka shots at breakfast, five at lunch, and seventeen at dinner.

His act ended on a sensitive note with a fatherly pride as he talked about his 3 1/2 year old daughter. His new outlook on using local and organic food instead of just getting what’s good no matter how unhealthy it may be was touching, even though he admitted that it’s hard to get a healthy hot dog anywhere. He concluded with a story about his family eating with Eric Ripert in France recently, and on the table was a tower of crustaceans with lobsters on top. His daughter looked up and said, “Awww, Sebastian” (from Little Mermaid fame) before reaching up and chowing down on the delicacy.

It was surreal to see Bourdain in Glenside, Pennsylvania, in contrast to the TV screen where he is usually either in the hustle and bustle of Tokyo or the mountains of a remote village in a third world country. But hearing his outlook on food, fame, and fatherhood was refreshing and somewhat humbling, knowing that Matt and I have been able to experience a bit of what he has, and whetted our appetite for even more.

Weavers Way Co-Op

12 02 2011

Finding fresh, organic produce in the middle of winter doesn’t have to be a challenge, although it may hit your wallet a little bit harder.

The Weavers Way Co-op in Chestnut Hill offers a small selection of produce compared to the rest of the sections in the store. With an impressive array of root vegetables (2 lb. rutabaga!) and whole fruits, it’s possible to stock up on some long-lasting items for the winter months.

The berry selection was small and a bit pricey, as was everything in the Co-op. Even pricier than Whole Foods.

I was in heaven with the huge array of yogurts! My favorite Brown Cow cream top brand was $1.04 each! It’s only $.89 in Whole Foods. Even if you are a member of the Co-op, which comes with a 5% discount, Brown Cow still would cost you $.99.

The deli section was fun–most meats were a bit too much for us but there were some local varieties for around $5.50/pound. The cheeses were already sliced and wrapped up in a refrigerated section. We chose some local ham and Asiago.

Although convenient and exceptionally clean and organized, the Weavers Way Co-op just is not worth returning to for us, based on the prices and certain selections they offer. We plan to visit a few more winter markets this year for some comparison shopping and we’ll let you know what we find.