Saturday, December 9, 2006

Morning Glory (12/2/06)

Farofa and French Fries have wanted to do a foodblog for ages. The Gastronomer, Messy and Picky, PhilaFoodie, even Farofa's mom, all have been food blogging and inspiring us. So when, for a change, we woke up before 11 AM on a weekend, we realized it was the perfect day not only to start the food blog, but also to go to the brunch spot that we've been lusting after for ages, but haven't been to due to fears of the wait (and usually waking up on weekends with growling wait-prohibitive tummies).... the inimitable Morning Glory.

We arrived on a sunny but cold Saturday at 11:40 or so and expected a major wait - it seems that the pleasant note on the menu that suggests that diners be mindful of the people waiting and leave promptly actually works, as our wait was a mere half hour despite the significant number of people ahead of us. The patio has two gas-burning pole-heaters that helped keep it actually pretty cozy despite the below-freezing temp. We had decided before going that we wanted both sweet and savory munchies this morning, and Farofa wanted to try her favorite morning beverage, a big mug of hot chocolate, whereas FrenchFries wanted tea (having already decaffeinated herself with a Coke Zero before leaving the house).

After looking through the menu, there were actually two sweet things we wanted to try - the chocolate cherry bread and the 'Monkey French Toast'. The latter had been recommended multiple times by everyone FrenchFries had talked to about Morning Glory. As for the savory, the Frittata special with feta, kalamata olives, and artichoke hearts caught both our eyes, olive freaks that we are. The waiters were pretty busy but took our order promptly, and much to FrenchFries' joy, the restaurant was actually warm (FrenchFries loves Philly's many BYOBs but hates how COLD most of them are).

Our Chocolate Cherry Bread ($3.50) arrived first, and unfortunately there is no picture of it, primarily because we got outside of the three pieces of it with an embarrassing amount of speed. The chocolate cherry bread had a nice crust and big soft pieces of real cherries and semi-sweet chocolate throughout. The table was pretty crowded with Farofa's hot chocolate, FrenchFries' tea, pots of jam and butter, sweetener/sugar, salt/pepper, milk and our water glasses, but when the food arrived we were more than happy to make room.

Farofa took on the challenge of the Monkey French Toast ($7.50) - it was thick pieces of challah french toast drenched in caramel sauce with chunks of mango and banana between each slice and a huge dollop of fresh whipped cream beside it, all sprinkled with powdered sugar. It was very sweet, but the mango was not as prominent as Farofa had hoped, as the dish was more banana heavy. Still, Farofa is hard to satisfy on the mango front, coming from Brazil, where delicious mangoes as big as your head are common. She did note that the caramel sauce was perfect, not cloying at all, and you could still taste the other flavors. Farofa neglected the whipped cream because she doesn't like it, but on the bites FrenchFries stole, it was also perfectly balanced on the sweet-but-not-cloying precipice.

FrenchFries is generally hesitant of egg dishes for breakfast - like Gail Simmons, she loves eggs, and can't stand to eat them when they are cooked to a rubbery mess as they often are at busy breakfast places (Marathon on the Square, I'm looking at you). But the frittatas trotting past looked fluffy and lovely, and it is always hard to resist the lure of the purple & juicy kalamata. That was the wisest choice FrenchFries has made in a while, because the Frittata Special ($8.50) was PERFECT. The kalamata/artichoke heart/feta combo was the ideal combo of salty/savory greek flavor and there were also some soft greens mixed in (which the menu said were arugula but tasted more like baby spinach to us). The egg around each whole olive was stained a faint lavender and tasted heavenly, and the artichoke hearts were a far cry from the greasy oil-packed ones that plague our local grocery store. It came with a hearty serving of tasty, not-too-dry roasted red rosemary potatoes and a small cup of cinnamon baked apples as well as rye toast. FrenchFries had asked for the rye toast instead of the standard biscuit so that she could slather on the strawberry-rhubarb jam from the pot on the table, which was one of the tastiest jams she can remember ever tasting.

Everything was so good that FrenchFries didn't even need hot sauce and ketchup like she sometimes does to get outside a dry potato/rubbery egg combo, but if she had needed some, the Cholula hot sauce and homemade vinegar-ey ketchup would have made it no hardship.

Some diners around us seemed less blissfully happy with their choices - it may end up being the kind of restaurant where your happy tummy factor depends a lot on your order. Farofa and FrenchFries both think they are pretty happy with the idea of having to go back a bunch more times to test this hypothesis.

Farofa: ***1/2 out of 5 - FrenchFries: **** out of 5

Forks Down Verdict: Worth the hype and the wait for a tasty food-coma brunch.

Morning Glory
735 S. 10th St @ Fitzwater St
Philadelphia, PA 19147-2741

(215) 413-3999
Tue-Fri: 7:00-4:00pm and 6:00-10:00pm
Sat-Sun: 8:00am-3:00pm

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