Before I head off to Ireland, going to take a quick trip to Philadelphia to see my Mom and take her out to dinner for a belated b-day celebration. Her restaurant of choice - Southwark in Queen Village.
Actually went there with her the last time I was in the City of Brotherly love, inspired by a glowing review by Lauren McCutcheon in Philadelphia Weekly:
You may have heard chef and co-owner Sheri Waide came straight from Django, and that co-owning hubby Kip Waide formerly made his living charming bargoers at Fergie's and New Wave Cafe.
Fine. Maybe these particular tales are true. Maybe there are wonderful things happening behind those curtained windows and below pressed-tin tile ceilings with rattan fans that spin slowly above the elegantly moody, candlelit lounge.
It's just that, well, the place strikes such an appealing balance of bar and restaurant-what with its affable servers in ties and long white aprons, its wing-free and burger-less menu, that handsome bar and the overall bistro aptitude-can you blame me for not wanting to run the risk that you'll bogart my barstool? (There are only 18 of them, you know.)
Then again, who am I to deprive you of an exquisitely mild poached Bosc pear with a melted core of fontina cheese and hearty duck confit perched on a subtle cinnamon syrup? Surely there are enough golden crab beignets-airy, misshapen, crispy fried dough formations inspired by Caribbean accras and served with a bright lemon saffron aioli-to go around...
...Mushroom-tasting escargot curlicues appear beneath toasted hazelnuts, shaved garlic and shallots, all atop a puff-pastry tray doused in syrupy chartreuse butter. Dark and luscious veal cheeks are rich and fall-apart tender. They straddle a tangle of homemade pappardelle studded with sweet pearl onions and button mushrooms in a thyme cream sauce with a hint of lemon.
And if you're gonna steal my barstool, you might as well take your time and enjoy the buttery roasted-to-order half-pheasant-which tastes like a slightly gamey, juicy turkey-with chestnuts, fennel and onion, served with intense rosemary polenta made with local cornmeal...
Well, you're here now, so you might as well stay for dessert. Choose from the warm butter-soaked mini pound cake whose hollow center contains cubes of roasted pineapple doused in a honey-like syrup; a coffee cup of velvety, mousse-like chocolate pot de creme; three crepe hankies filled with pine nuts, hazelnuts and mascarpone; a half-dozen sugar cookies with lemon curd; or a glass of Errazuriz dessert wine that's a steal at $5 a glass.
Just do me a favor. Make a reservation for one of those cozy white-clothed tables in the back dining room-because I'd really like to keep my spot at the bar.
Lauren needn't worry about me or my Mom tomorrow night. We have a reservation at one of those cozy white-clothed tables in the back dining room.