May 7, 2013

Pumpkin Tasting Menu

Celebrating the end of college, 2 years at Penn together and because we bought Moet for Valentine's Day that we never drank and needed an excuse to drink it now.
There are basically two things left I really want to try out in Philadelphia before I leave, the 5-course tasting menu at Pumpkin (only offered on Sundays) and the 5-course tasting menu at Matyson.  Sunday was Cinco de Mayo and for some strange reason I thought Pumpkin would be closed for the Mexican holiday, fortunately I was wrong haha.

1st Course: Cauliflower Soup with pickled cauliflower, golden raisins
2nd Course: Coddled Egg with asparagus, gribiche, homemade tartar sauce

I've heard mixed reviews about Pumpkin but I have heard mostly great things about the tasting menu which are only offered on Sundays. The restaurant definitely has a distinct style of cooking, which I appreciate even if I don't love all of the dishes that this style inspires.

2nd Course: Burgundy Snails with red wine, hazelnut, foam, garlic
3rd Course: Haloumi with smoked english peas, pickled ramps

Pumpkin prides itself on using local and seasonal produce whenever possible and the freshness/lightness of the ingredients comes across in all of the dishes. I loved how everything tasted refreshing, even the haloumi (cheese) dish and the entrees which were paired with still slightly raw green vegetables. 

4th Course: Duroc Pork Loin with spring ragout
4th Course: Arctic Char with provencal sauce, radish, artichoke

We loved the cauliflower appetizer for its creaminess and the crunchy cauliflowers inside. The snails appetizers were just a little too earthy for my liking, reminded me too much of dirt and rocks. The coddled eggs dish with the tartar sauce was good minus the minced pork-like stuff under the egg. Both entrees were delicious, they were filling but not heavy like the way many meat entress are. The lemon cake was just a tad try but the lemon curd was cooked perfectly. Naturally, I loved the pot de creme since it was made with peanut butter.

Course 5: Lemon Chiffon Cake with berry confit, lemon curd
Course 5: Peanut Butter Pot de Creme with bourbon raisins

Overall, a great meal and highly recommended for a special occasion! For those who like their dishes on the lighter side and made with a variety of different kinds of vegetables, this is a restaurant you should check out.

May 6, 2013

A 3 Course Meal

Had a kind of an amazing meal last week that was also absurdly easy to make.

Recipe from here. A certain somebody wanted to be fancy and used cooking string to tie it up roast style. A quick youtube video taught us him the trick.
Having fun with some plating. We cooked the kale in the duck fat that was rendered from searing the breasts on the pan.
Yup more gratuitous shots because it was that good.
I always thought panna cotta was a really fancy dessert but turns out it is crazy easy to make. Modified the recipe from here by using whole milk instead of cream. Chilled the mixture in wine glasses which actually allowed the panna cotta to pop out perfectly. Made some quick strawberry sauce with just the berries and sugar.

Revisiting Lunch

Finally got around to taking my drug test for work and decided to make a little road trip adventure out of it. Kept hearing how good this Vietnamese place was so finally decided to check it out. The ironic part of the whole thing is I have been going to the same Vietnamese place next door with my parents for 6 years and never realized Nam Phuong was in the same parking lot. Maybe now I'm just biased but I still think the one next door is better.

Went back to Barbuzzo and Matyson for lunch because I realized there are only so many good places to go for lunch in Philly (and I also wanted better pictures).

Got the hanger steak with truffle fries again because the steak is cooked perfectly and I freaking love french friers.
Also ordered the BBQ brisket sandwich. BYOBed this time with some white wine.

We walked down to Barbuzzo since the weather was nice which meant we were starving by the time we got there. Last time I complained the meal was too carby, but this time that carbiness was perfect.

[Sheep's Milk Ricotta]: Classic
[Prosciutto Pizza]: Loved the white sauce on this pizza
Grilled Mezze Platter of: asparagus, beets, romanesco, snap peas, farro salad, mozarella, broccoli rabe
[Salted Caramel Budin]

May 1, 2013

Veggie Madness

Happy Hour @ VEDGE

YES! Finally made it to Vedge after reading the same Philly Mag article 5 times. And we just happened to be in the neighborhood during happy hour which made it that much more fun. Notice the quality of pictures have improved significantly now that my lens has been fixed and I have started using my DSLR again.

[Pomegranate Sangria] Totally remaking this asap.
[Blueberry Tea Thyme] Didn't realize the pun until now. An elevated gin + tonic which I always love.
[Crispy Cauliflower]: Green harissa, garbanzos. Yummy but Zahav is still much better.
[Smoked Mushroom Sandwich]: With bean sauerkraut puree (tasted like hummus).
[Korean Seitan Tacos]
: Super spicy and DELICIOUS, yup it tasted like meat.

Overall, a fun afternoon experience. Tiny portions but what do you expect for happy hours, not sure if I love vegan food enough to come back for dinner when there are other restaurants still left to try that actually serve meat.

 Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Eggplants

I always see these gorgeous vegetable shots on Smitten Kitchen so here's my attempt to recreate some.

I've never cooked with brussel sprouts before and didn't know what to do with them except roast them in the oven. There usually isn't a single vegetable I don't like but for some reason, I wasn't crazy about them. So naturally, I drenched them in some turkey meat, marinara sauce and egg and the outcome was delicious.

Wound up mixing the roasted veggies in some marinara sauce which made them taste a lot better :)