Author: Jim Pachence

Fond Memories of Restaurants That Are No More

The last week of February, MrSeriousFoodie and the DinnerDoctor paid a visit to NYC to have a long weekend on the town.  We strolled down 58th Street, and walked into the Four Seasons Hotel to get out of the cold for a few minutes.  We walked to the back of the hotel to see what was happening at one of our favorite restaurants, only to find that Joel Robuchon’s L’Atelier was closed.  We sat for a few minutes in the hotel lobby, talking about some of our great dining experiences in restaurants that are no more: La Chanterelle in NYC (the NYTimes said, “I can easily and confidently say that Chanterelle was not only one of the best, obviously, but also in its own class of for great food and service.”), The Ryland Inn in White House Station, NJ (when it was run by Craig Shelton), Specchio by Luke Palladino, and Le Bec Fin when it was run by Chef George Perrier.  We’re sure that there are many more – so, we’re looking for feedback.  What were some of your favorite experiences in restaurants that are no more? We’ll be doing a little homage to the restaurants mentioned above, providing […]

David Burke – in the House

MrSeriousFoodie and wife DinnerDoctor, along with MsL-Foodie, checked out David Burke’s Townhouse for Sunday Brunch.  MsL-Foodie was there recently for dinner, and is a big fan of Chef Burke’s restaurants.  MrSeriousFoodie and DinnerDoctor have tried his Rumson, NJ restaurant Fromagerie, and were delighted with the food.  The Townhouse was better – more fun, great atmosphere, high-end food that’s approachable & beautiful, and, most importantly, it was delicious.  This was definitely an experience worthy of waking up early for on Sunday. Nice wines by the glass, especially a great selection of sparkling varieties made for the Sunday brunch experience – kudos to the sommelier.  MsL-Foodie had her usual Bloody Mary, done the way she likes it.  It went well with her beginning course, the salmon and tuna tartare parfait – a beautiful starter. The DinnerDoctor had the goat cheese souffle – it was good, but the duck prosciutto that came along for the ride was delightful. Mr SeriousFoodie went for the pretzel crusted crab cake.  It wasn’t the best crab cake we ever had (the inside was a bit dry, and not real flavorful), but it was definitely the most creative preparation and presentation. The main courses were truly wonderful – […]

The Reading Terminal Market: Just Like Old Times

This photo of Reading Terminal Market is courtesy of TripAdvisor Having gone to college in Philly in the  70’s, one of our weekly outings was to pick up fresh produce, meats, and fish at the Reading Terminal Market. MrSeriousFoodie and DrMom have not been there for many years, so we were delighted to see it on our last trip, and it’s getting better.  There were still the many stalls of fruit, vegetables, fish, meats, and goodies from the Amish. Melt Kraft – Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia What blew us away were the array of restaurants, and the long lines waiting to taste the wonders of the world.  We have a big shout-out to Melt Kraft-Valley Shepherd Creamery, which just opened a stand for artisan local cheese and charcuterie. We tasted and enjoyed fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, lamb salami, and tons of cheeses. Try one of their sandwiches. Don’t miss DiNic’s sandwich stand.  They were recently made even more famous by Travel Channel’s Alan Richman, naming the roast pork, provolone, and broccoli rabe sandwich the best in the US – and for good reason. It is unbelievably great. We thought we were just going to taste this monster, but we ate […]

The Reign in Spain: Amazing Tapas at Amada

  Having been to 5 restaurants in 5 days, we needed a bit of a change of pace from our fine dining spree. We wanted tapas, and we still wanted something to write about (literally).  We have been to several of Chef Garces’ restaurants in Philly, and tasted his unbelievable tacos at the Scottsdale Taco Festival last fall (fois gras and wagyu beef tacos???!!!) – all of his food is good, and some is great. Amada was consistent with Chef Garces – there was good food, and then some great food. We kept to the lighter side of the menu, but still had enough different tastes to get a pretty accurate taste of Jose Garces’ downtown spot.  It was crowded (we did have a reservation, thankfully), a bit loud, but certainly hoping.  For a Sunday night, we were impressed – and the crowd was young, and hip (so we almost didn’t fit in).  The bar scene alone was worth the trip.  We’d would love to see this place on a Friday or Saturday night. Wines by the glass were somewhat limited, but interesting – mostly Spanish, of course.  Also, quite overpriced, one of our big pet peeves.  Dishes not to […]

Three Coins, at Least, in This Fountain (Restaurant)

This photo of Fountain Restaurant is courtesy of TripAdvisor There are many times that MrSeriousFoodie and wife DinnerDoctor go out to fancy restaurants, only to be disappointed. This was no tone of them. In fact, they hit the proverbial home run. The food all was exquisitely balanced in flavor and texture, with some playful surprises in the use of ingredients and combination of flavors. We were steered to the al la carte menu, and had two outstanding appetizers and main courses. DinnerDoctor had her favorite:  oysters.  But these were magnificent:  chilled Cape May Oysters On The Half Shell; Three Ways – Bloody Mary Geleé, Radish, Celery Salt, Lime, Wild Trout Roe, Yuzu and Soy, Pickled Fennel, Red Onion, Mirliton Mignonette.  Each oyster was perfect, and the added sauces were spot on – matching the succulent shell fish, without overpowering the delicate flavors.  The Bloody Mary Geleé was my favorite.  MrSeriousFoodie had the amazing chilled Sweet and Spicy Alaskan King Crab Cocktail”  dressed with citrus celeriac chiboust, pok choy, pea shoots and watermelon radish, perfectly dressed with sesame soy and green apple dressing.  Do I have your attention yet?  It was the second time within three nights that I had a […]

Felidia's – Meraviglioso!

Everything about Felidia’s is spot on, including service, food, and wine. And, at the end of the meal, we feel we got our money’s worth. MrSeriousFoodie and wife DinnerDoctor celebrated with two of our regular tasters, MsL-Foodie and MrSignificantOther. Top notch pasta as always, especially the spinach tagliatelle with duck ragout. MrSignificantOther had the long-time favorite of Cacio E Pere (pear and fresh pecorino-filled ravioli, aged pecorino, crushed black pepper).  DinnerDoctor had a simple pasta dish with fresh black truffles, and it was simply delicious. Both dishes were so subtle, the pasta is so light, and the sauces were simple but elegant – truly Italian perfection. Andrew the sommelier served us a great Pignolo, which was a revelations for us. The wine had just the right notes of pepper and spice – it was med-full bodied but had sensational aromatics, with a nice after-taste of raspberry.  It paired beautifully with all the food. Felidia’s – our longtime go-to NYC restaurant – is just like my Mom would have made – if she ran a professional kitchen.

Maritana Grill at at Loews Don CeSar Hotel

One of the busiest days at any good restaurant is Vale’s Day – which we always avoid. But the day after is my wife’s birthday, which we can’t avoid. The Maritana Grille was still packed, and they were offering their Valentine’s Day tasting menu. It looked wonderful, and it met our expectations. This is one of the few restaurants in the Tampa – Sarasota corridor that meets our standards of fine dinning, matching some of the best in NYC, Chicago, New Orleans, and San Fran. Kudos to the chef, the wait staff, and the sommelier (who has brought some really interesting wines to the list).  My hat is off to any wine guy who knows that New Zealand is about more than Sauvignon blanc, and in fact has some great Bordeaux blends from the Hawkes Bay region.  The sommelier had a cab/merlot blend from Craggy Range (2008) which was outstanding.