"Bacon is the candy of meat."

Monday, August 27, 2007

Tonight on Masterpiece Theatre, Upscale Downscale

Just back from a nice weekend with the family in Philadelphia. Since we were with kids, we didn't get to check out the exciting places in the Philly food scene, like Morimoto or The Fountain at the Four Seasons, but we did very well with places specializing in upscale versions of downscale food. Saturday night, we went for very tasty BBQ at Devil's Alley, which had a great old industrial vibe and a fun atmosphere. I shared a platter of St. Louis style ribs with Young Master Gateau, which came with two sides (excellent beer battered onion rings and cole slaw were my picks), while Mr. Gateau had a turkey burger (buh?) with bacon and blue cheese, and the baby had a nice cheese quesadilla with good fries (note to New York area restaurant owners: there is no reason on earth why a child's entree should cost more than the $3 or $4 or $5 pricing we encountered in Philadelphia, and portions should be scaled to match. Also, put the regular menu food on the kids' menu, not just endless fried nuggets. I saw a menu for a place there that offered an English cut prime rib for kids, for the love of pete). Mr. Gateau talked me into sharing a whole pitcher of ale with him, which proved to be a good move, as it was excellent (from the Yard's brewery, which apparently has just disbanded).

On Sunday, we avoided the misery known as the "free, cooked to order" hotel breakfast and went out for a fun brunch at the Continental Mid-Town lounge, which had a groovy retro-future look and a terrific menu reminiscent of the great Norma's at Le Parker Meridien in New York. Mr. Gateau had a good cheddar and bacon omelette, I had poached eggs with smoked salmon hash, with exceptional coffee and a Bellini, which was just what I needed, and we ordered "The Big Bang" platter for the kids to share, which included a short stack of pancakes, scrambled eggs, toast, applewood smoked bacon, very flavorful turkey sausages, and probably the best breakfast potatoes I've ever had. These were just what you want in a potato side -- well seasoned, and cut into thin ovals that we potatoey and tender in the center, but crispy everywhere else. This more than adequately fueled a long walk around the historical sites, and then an endless trip home fighting the Jersey shore traffic/certain people's repeated failures to read properly the instructions displayed on a certain person's GPS device that a certain person's spouse gave him for Father's Day.

All in all, Philadelphia did right by us.

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