It's been far too long. And I don't really have any excuse. I was back in Philly for a full month. And yet, the best thing I ate was in Chattanooga, TN at Sticky Fingers. BBQ ribs done Memphis-style blew my mind. Percy St. Texas-style BBQ eat your heart out. The meat was tender as can be and falling apart in the best way possible.
So, what's up Philly? I certainly went out to dinner while back home. But I found myself gravitating to the bars/restaurants where I know what I'm getting, and I know that it's good. And I was even slightly disappointed by a longtime favorite that I've blogged about too many times. Maybe the Iron Chef needs to check back in with his bread and butter. Just sayin'...
Philly has so many restaurants, and so many new restaurants, but how many are really, really great? After seriously eating in Philly for five years, who's going to show me something new, mind-blowing, perfectly prepared, and creative. (Bibou, I know I need to visit you) I'm tired of trying new places and being let down.
Last year I ate some fantastic meals. Alinea in Chicago was the absolute highpoint, and will likely remain the culinary highpoint of my life until I make it to FL or Per Se. (Sorry Vetri, you were great on my birthday, but sub-par in August) Also, I had two meals at Talula's Table that were fantastic, incredibly creative and memorable. And, I'd do suckling pig at Amada again in a heartbeat.
But everything else is a blur. I can't even count the number of restaurants I ate at last year that to have blogged about would have been simply rude. I'm not great at avoiding biting critiques, and so, I often don't even go there.
Where to now? Living in the middle of nowhere 7.5 months of the year makes that pretty easy: travel to Boston or cook. The latter option being much more likely and feasible.
But what to do in Philly? I think I have to start going off the grid. This may be an amateurish realization; more seasoned foodies have been doing it for years. I need to eat food in parts of the city I've never been to, and at places I haven't heard of.
Sure I'll still occasionally try "the" new place, but for the most part, I need to get off the grid.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Last Friday, December 4th, was the one year anniversary of the Femme Fermental.
An unexpected trip back to Pennsylvania, to watch my father's football team (he's the head coach at Villanova) take on the University of New Hampshire in the I-AA playoffs, sidetracked me from posting. I was welcomed back to PA with snow, and a big Villanova win.
So yes, it's been one year of the Femme. I've been to many restaurants and bars, had many beverages, changed jobs, gone back to school, and moved to Massachusetts. Not to get all "Dear Diary" on you, but, a year ago I never though I'd be where I am today.
I started the blog to keep track of all my food/beer/wine experiences. While I may not have the time to go out as much anymore, the blog remains a catalogue of my gastronomical experiences and a reminder of how much I love the Philly food scene.
Here's to keeping it going...
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
This past Saturday night I had a chance to get to the newly opened Percy Street Barbecue. I don't like to blog about restaurants within their first month of opening (just doesn't seem fair to the restaurant), but hey, I'm only in town about once a month. If you'd like another fluffier, and ever-so-well-written account, check out Rick Nichols' recent piece in the Inquirer.
The restaurant, a collaboration between Steven Cook and Michael Solomonov from Zahav, etc, and Erin O'Shea, formerly of Marigold Kitchen, certainly has received enough pre-opening press. Needless to say, hopes are high.
I'll add this caveat now. I am not an expert on BBQ. I'm certainly not a expert on Texas BBQ.
My brother and I decided upon a 1/2 lb. of Moist Brisket and 1/2 lb. of Spare Ribs with two sides, German Potato Salad and Green Beans. They recommend two sides per person, but I assure you, you'll do just fine with two.
A few interesting details about Percy Street: you get a carafe of water on your table (I'm a big fan of this), after you order a busser attaches a paper towel holder to your table (good to have these at hand, however, if you use too many it becomes a mess, and a poor server has to remove your dirty paper towels from your table; a trash can might be necessary too), beer is served in mason jars, all of the meat is served in a plastic basket with butcher paper and the BBQ sauce is on the side for all you "my food can't touch other food" type people.
Now, about the food. Well, first of all, it arrived about 2 minutes after ordering. I was a little put off by this; at this rate turn time will be 45 min. per table. Second, the meat itself was cold. So were the sides (yes, cold potato salad is fine, but I thought the green beans could have been warm). I've been told that this is not how Texas BBQ should be. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about this.
The brisket had a fantastically simple smokey flavor. The spare ribs were also deliciously smokey, but not memorable. I'd probably stick to the brisket and try the pork belly next time. And the BBQ sauce was just fine for me, sweet and a little bit spicy.
For dessert, we decided on the Apple Crisp. It was nicely crisp on the top, and the filling was addictingly good. However, again, temperature was an issue. The center of the crisp was still cold (yes, maybe from the ice cream on top, but it was cold at the bottom too), while the rest of it was luke warm. I'm not going to say it, but we all know what kind of device produces this issue.
All in all, while everything was flavored very nicely, the meal suffered from temperature issues. I don't want to eat cold BBQ, and I don't want to eat a luke warm dessert. This all said, I'm hoping that these are opening issues that will be worked out eventually.
I figure if the flavor is there, the rest is just proper execution.
Percy Street Barbecue
Between 9th and 10th on South St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147