Windy Day at Terrain

12 05 2010

A whole year had gone by since our last trip to Terrain at Styers and the overwhelming majority decision was that that isn’t often enough. Matt and I are already planning a Day Staycation there some time this summer.

It’s a great place to take your mom.  Pretty flower arrangements…

natural surroundings…

cute plants and decorations…

funky ferns…

and lots to buy, or want to buy,

makes Mom very happy.

And we hadn’t even sat down to eat yet.  This was the open seating area in the cafe, but luckily we had procured one of the last available reservations in the greenhouse.

I couldn’t keep track of everyone’s lunches.  Mine started with an unsweetened berry tea, fabulous and refreshing. It’s hard to find unsweetened iced tea in Philly.

We ordered the tomato mozzerella sandwich to share.

Mom and Dad both ordered the leek and goat cheese omelette. Mom wanted ketchup but discovered that she didn’t need it because the dish was so moist and tasty.

My chicken salad sandwich was light but chock full of white meat chicken chunks and veggies (with capers! I love capers!).

We all had room for lemon tart at the end of our meals. Smooth, airy, sweet, and it hit the spot.

Unfortunately, it was too windy and cold that day to spend too much time outside, but we did manage to all go home with some plants and goodies.  We can’t wait to go back.

Philadelphia Summer Wish List

19 05 2009

While day dreaming, I decided to create a Philadelphia Summer 2009 Non-Recession-Friendly Wish List.  Enjoy!

1. Eat at Matyson once a week.  Try every tasting menu ($45/person) This week: “Outrageous Onions!”

2. See Jason Mraz and G. Love at the Festival Pier ($45/ticket) on Aug. 9th 

3. Get baseline seats to a Phillies game.  Any Phillies game.  ($60/ticket)

4. Eat at Susanna Foo before it closes (dumpling sampler+crispy duck+short ribs+fried rice+bok choy+dessert+”Sparkling Susanna”+Lychee Martini+tax+tip=$135)

5. Grease at the Kimmel Center!  ($25-$100/ticket)

6. Attend the Culinary Herb Party at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College ($45/person)

7. Sunday Supper at Supper ($35/person)

8. Spend a weekend in New Hope at The Mansion Inn or Porches (~$200/night) and eat dinner at Marsha Brown.

9. Go shopping at Terrain at Styers (maybe pick up a terrarium) and go to the Cafe for a monthly Chef’s Dinner ($45/person).

10. Eat at Vetri (grand tasting=$135/person). 

I’ll be sure to report on anything I might check off of my wish list this summer!

Terrain at Styers

11 05 2009

Terrain at Styers is a magical place. We went for Mother’s Day and it was like we were transported from Northeast Philadelphia to Sonoma or Southern France or New Zealand.  The focus is on their nursery and greenhouses filled with every annual, perennial, tree, bush, vase, terrarium, and gardening tool you could ever need.  It’s a miracle I only spent $15.90 on one hen and chicken and two basil plants.

We had reservations at the Styer’s Garden Cafe for the Mother’s Day Brunch. At $35 for three courses, I expected a lot out of this place.  


My expectations were easily exceded. The cafe is in a greenhouse filled with hanging pots, moss-covered walls, and rustic doors.

The wonder of the cafe is that on a day like Sunday–sunny and mild but with a crisp wind blowing–you can sit in the warmth of the greenhouse and still experience all of the wonders of the outside.

The menu was brilliant. I always like my brunches to be more like breakfast and less like lunch, and there was a perfect blend of choices on the menu to satisfy every type of brunching taste bud.

The decor was antique-chic with our water served in mason jars:

We each got a hibiscus mimosa (included), which was refreshing and sweet:

The coffee was nice and strong, served in large mugs. It was at this point that the family started to brainstorm about the cafe and shop we could open together with all of our hidden talents, the one missing being pottery.

The scones weren’t part of the menu, but we ordered two anyway. Honey oat maple:

and cheddar horseradish:
Both were tasty and just moist enough to not need butter or clotted cream and jam, although it would have been nice.

Then the fresh-out-of-the-oven honey wheat bread arrived with chive butter. So adorable, so light, so sweet.

Andrew and Chad got the crab meat salad with asparagus.  They ate it right up before I could taste it.  That means it was good.
crab salad

I got the yogurt. I had a feeling about it. I know that the crab salad probably would have made more sense to get the full value of the $35, but I like my yogurt in the morning. This was so amazing. It was more like a dessert, according to Mom. Creamy, smooth, with light olive oil and mint, tart dried cherries, and juicy grapefruit pieces. That’s all she wrote. I was full when I finished.

Mom and Dad got the garlic and spinach soup. It looked charming when served, but I secretly think they were disappointed and would have rather had my yogurt. So since it was Mother’s Day, I shared my yogurt with my mom and she was happy.

French toast with mascarpone: the bite I had was sinful.
french toast

The cheddar scramble with fingerling potatoes was perfectly cooked. I took a chance on this because I am picky about my eggs. They cannot be too underdone and I actually sometimes like a little brown around the edges. These were fluffy but not runny. The fingerling potatoes were cooked whole with the eggs: so Irish Breakfast-esque! The arugula was spicy but creamy with the shaved Parmesan. My dad, Chad, and I all got this and my dad and I were fine with the greens. Chad didn’t eat his because he said they were gritty.

We all ate the hibiscus flowers in our mimosas and they were sweet and juicy and not at all weird.

For dessert, strawberries with cream and balsamic. At this point I was ready to be rolled out of the cafe so I didn’t focus much on this dish. From what I tried, the cream was luscious but the strawberries a bit too mushy. I decided to keep my stomach from exploding and quit while I was ahead. Again, I made Mom happy by sharing my strawberries with her.

After brunch we strolled around the grounds for about an hour before we found a nice table under an umbrella and out of the wind. We sat for two hours, talking, observing, sunning. We really thought that we had been transported to another place and time. I will be returning here again and again and again. Double thumbs up for Terrain at Styers.

Check out these blogs for more cool info. on Terrain at Styers:

You Grow Girl
The Estate of Things