Friday, June 8, 2007

Eggs Benedict

Farofa likes Eggs Benedict. That is probably the understatement of the year, actually. It might be more accurate to say that Farofa tracks Eggs Benedict across the city with the intensity of a heat-seeking missile. Below is a sampling of Eggs Benedict dishes that she has consumed in Philly and a couple of ringers from DC & Maui respectively. For any of you who are similarly consumed with dreams of Eggs Benedict heaven try your hand at matching the following Eggs Benedict with the restaurants from which they came (no cheating by looking at flickr!):

1. the continental
2. creperie beau monde
3. jones
4. marathon on the square
5. more than just ice cream
6. morning glory
7. spices cafe
8. silver diner

a. Avocado Eggs Benedict b. Eggs Benedict Original Recipe

c. Crabcake Eggs Benedict d. Eggs Benedict with Ham

e. Poached Eggs with Bearnaise f. Spanish Eggs Benedict

g. Plain Eggs Benedict h.IMG_1064

Give up? The answers are
1d, 2e, 3h, 4b, 5a, 6f, 7g (maui), 8c (DC)

And yet - none of the pictured Eggs Benedict have achieved what Farofa considers to be the Platonic ideal of the dish, and some have even been bad! Quel horror! Can anyone out there help us find the best Eggs Benedict in Philadelphia?

P.S. We may be doing the same with guacamole in a soon-to-come episode if this is successful.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Pre-moving reminiscing (6/1/07)

So it turns out that when, as a couple, you are simultaneously graduating from medical school, moving to a new city, buying your first home, angling for a promotion, starting medical residency and dealing with family health emergencies, it tends to make you neglect certain other things in your life. Things like blogs. But now that big moving day is almost upon us - it's time to reflect on the things we will miss about South Philly and Pittsburgh respectively, although we can't wait to explore all that NoLib & Fishtown have to offer. Part I: Pittsburgh, to be followed shortly by Part II: South Philly.


Farofa will miss Chaya ( the most. We went here for the last (snif!) time right prior to FrenchFries' graduation and ordered everything we could fit on the table, as is apparent in the photos.
Last meal at Chaya
The fish here is always fresh and luscious, the service is wonderful, the ambiance is totally charming, as befits its status as a family run Squirrel Hill institution. The fact that it is closed on Sundays (which for some reason seems to be FrenchFries' default sushi-craving day) and that waits can sometimes be a little longer than is typical in the 'burgh (think 20 minutes, not the 2 hour Philly 'long waits') are minor annoyances at worst. One tip is to
talk to the chef Yasu-San in advance if you want anything special. Far and away the worst thing about moving to Philadelphia is the fact that neither Farofa nor French Fries has yet found a sushi place in Philly that hits the sweet spot of consistently delicious fresh fish, affordable pricing, sweet ambiance and perfect service, the way that Chaya always did and are starting to fear that they never will. Adieu sweet Chaya - you will be missed.
Chaya Sashimi Gluttony

The Quiet Storm
FrenchFries will definitely miss Chaya as well, but her biggest regret about moving away from Pittsburgh is no longer being able to go to the Quiet Storm ( at any hour of the day that she pleased and get anything off the menu, knowing that it will be incredible, super-filling and vegetarian or vegan without any hassle as well as not taking a big bite out of her wallet. FrenchFries actually has nearly no photos of the food at the Quiet Storm, mainly because it tends to be mostly inside by the time it occurs to anyone to pull out a camera. If you are lucky enough to get to go there, I reccomend ordering any (or all!) of the following: Ginger lemonade (sweet & tart lemonade with gingerrific syrup)/Ginger-lemon shake (lemon sorbet, soy milk & the same fantastic ginger syrup), Quiet Storm 'Home Fries' (a HUGE pile of mashed red-skin potatoes covered with tender scrambled eggs, soy sausage, sweeeet carmalized onions, cheddar and super-tangy aioli - my personal favorite), the big-as-yer-head breakfast burrito (stuffed with a lot of the same things as the 'home fries,' plus great black beans and minus sausage, onions and aioli and with the advantage of wicked portability), artichoke-green chile dip (defies description, addictive in a way that is impossible to quantify), apple panini (same really good cheddar makes another appearance, this time melted on sun-dried tomato bread with apple slices and apple butter - have you ever had cheddar on your apple pie? Well, this is better), Pierogi Quesadilla (the cheddar, smashed potatos and carmalized onions make another appearance [there may be a theme developing], this time with sauerkraut and sour cream in quesadilla form), home-made chili on or off the Dirty Nachos. FrenchFries doesn't mind long distance driving that much and is seriously considering a couple Pittsburgh pilgrimages this fall for the sole purpose of eating there.

River Moon Cafe
This has been our go-to place for romantic, just the two of us dinners for F&FF for so long now that we couldn't believe that we hadn't already blogged about it. The River Moon Cafe ( is nestled in quiet, queer-friendly Lawrenceville and has the cutest chef we've ever met (in the sense rather than the L Word Soup Chef sense) as well as some truly fantastic food.
July05 051
One of the real draws here is their enormous tea list - this is the place that can be credited with turning Farofa from an inveterate member of the 'hot chocolate is the only non-disgusting hot beverage' club to a bona-fide tea drinker (for anyone out there who is trying to turn their mate into a tea drinker, FrenchFries would like you to know that it was the Black Currant tea that did the trick plus lots of patient positive reinforcement over a matter of months). The menu is pretty traditional, relying on standards like filet minon, steak a poivre, pork chops and pasta but the execution is exquisite. This has also been one of our favorite places to go for brunch as they do a package deal that includes drinks, fruit, pastry, a side of crispy potatoes or polenta and a main dish for $15 - and is always very tasty. I hope that they start to get a little more business with the new Children's Hospital is opening a few blocks away as it is frequently a little too empty when we have gone.
July05 052

Other favorites from the four years in Pittsburgh:
  • Mi Mexico (sadly closed - tiny little taqueria, replaced by Cuzamil, which is average americanized texmex)
  • D's SixPax & Dogz (ignore the name - go for the >900 beer selection and the fantastic hot dogs & french fries - far better than the Dirty O/Original Hot Dog Shop)
  • Green Mango Noodle Hut (the best Thai in Pittsburgh, order EVERYTHING)
  • Thai Cuisine (my favorite Thai until Noodle Hut opened, still very good)
  • Pierogies Plus (hot potato & cheese - if you have anything else, I don't know you)
  • Tram's Kitchen (divey Vietnamese, to-die-for spring rolls)
  • Square Cafe (dyke-a-licious, really good pancakes)
  • Mineo's Pizza (greasy, cheesy, oh so good)
  • Mad Mex (part of the Big Burrito group -Pittsburgh's answer to Philly's Starr empire - best margaritas in the 'burgh)
  • Kaya & the rest of the Big Burrito group (although Kaya and the other members of this group have had some misses as well as hits - see valentine's day for a reminder)
  • Abay (Great Ethiopian food, no more, no less)
If you are looking for more, I generally think the folks at PGH Micro-reviews do a good job, and I agree with most of the consensus opinions there. Soon to come - things that we will miss about not being in South Philly anymore.