Monday, January 29, 2007

The Continental (12/30/06)

Yes, even the frenchiest of French Fries and the crunchiest of Farofas must Starr if they want to munch in Philly. We find our intrepid heroines brunching once again, the day after our Apamate visit, at The Continental (one of many Stephen Starr outposts) for some restoratives to recover from past debauch/prepare ourselves for NYE debauchery yet to come.

(photo credit: Messy & Picky - shamelessly YOINKED! because our outdoor photo turned out crummy)

On arrival, French Fries was in that still-half asleep daze that precludes wise menu-decision making while Farofa had already decided that she wanted to try yet another version of Eggs Benedict, as her former favorite (at More than Just Ice Cream) has been AWOL for too many weeks now. Farofa ordered a plate of Shoestring Fries hoping that her namesake dish of carbs + grease would force a meal decision from French Fries.

Shoestring Fries ($3.50)

The mountain of potatoey goodness woke French Fries up enough to order a Spinach and Feta omelette - just in time because the fish delivery alongside commenced shortly thereafter, and the banging and clanging of the cellar door made quite a dent in the otherwise fun, if olive-bedecked, ambiance. Food was quick to arrive and very generously proportioned (if you hadn't gotten that sense from the Swiss Alp of Spuds above).

Farofa was only a single bite into her Eggs Benedict with Ham ($8.50) when she noticed that despite the fish delivery having completed its business, multiple passerby seemed to be tripping over something just outside the window. We peeked through the blinds and noticed that the fish guy had left one of the edges of the cellar door sticking up a good 2-3 inches from level. We mentioned it to the waiter but no sooner had we done so that a very loud crash came from outside. Looking out the window revealed the prone form of a middle -aged lady... not moving. French Fries hesitated, not wanted to jump in if someone from the restauraunt was already on top of it, but as no-one seemed to be moving, ended up going outside to help up the nice woman. She had had her face turned into quite the bloody mess by her trip & fall over the cellar door, but was otherwise intact. She came inside and the people at the Continental then started moving, getting her ice & whatnot. She didn't want an ambulance called for her but it was clear that she was going to have some nasty scabs for at least the next few weeks.

Emergencies inside the hospital and the work that needs doing in the middle of a non-hospital emergency are Farofa's stock in trade, and so it wasn't the blood or the accident that kept Farofa from enjoying her Spinach and Feta Omelette ($8.00) as much as she might have otherwise. Partly it was the adrenaline surge that resulted in her dropping both pieces of toast. Partly it was guilt about not mentioning the screwed up door earlier. And partly it was that the eggs, both in color and consistency were JUST a wee bit too cafeteria "egg mixture" for farofa, although the spinach was fresh and the feta pillowy and tasty.

Farofa: *** out of 5
French Fries: *** out of 5

Forks Down Verdict: Trendy olive light fixtures don't take away from tasty & affordable brunch food - but bloody accidents caused by carelessness outside do.

The Continental
138 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

(215) 923-6069

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Apamate (12/29/06)

Farofa and I had wanted to try Apamate for a while - it's just a few blocks from the house and I had been getting good tummy-feelings about it from the reviews I'd heard, so on a cold December day a few days before New Year's we wandered down that way for bunch-time tapas.

The ruddy red/orange walls and industrial fixings made the cold day seem less biting, and the wall of Spanish specialty products (including salt-packed anchovies for Farofa and yummy-looking Mebrillio for French Freis) made our mouths water before we even opened the menu. Farofa and French Fries are both kinda little, and have gotten spanked with the greedystick at tapas places by ordering above & beyond what their bellies can manage in the past. Determined not to make this mistake, Farofa stuck to a mere 3 tapas from from the list of about 15. French Fries always hopes for happy eggs to be a part of her brunch-time occasions and so was dissapointed to learn that they were out of the Spanish tortillas and was convinced to settle on quiche by the incusion of her favorite drunken goat cheese.

(Counterclockwise From L-R):
Setas Al Ajillo
Shitake & Portabella mushrooms sautéed with olive oil, garlic, parsley & a Rioja reduction ($2.25)

Esparragos Con Jamon Asparagus wrapped in Serrano ham, lightly breaded and sauteed in olive oil ($3.25)
Carne Con Patatas Al Cabrales A slice of griled rib eye served with a cabrales reduction sauce & crispy potatoes ($3.25)

Quiche Vegetariano asparagus, piquillo peppers & drunken goat cheese from murcia semi soft goat cheese bathed in red wine ($7.95)