CH arrived Friday evening, and since we were both hungry and I miraculously found a parking spot near 30th Street Station, we decided to grab a pint and some food at Bridgewater’s Pub. For a place inside a commuter center/train station, they have remarkably good food and typically an excellent selection of beers on tap.
On Saturday we got up and spent a good amount of time debating food and activity for the day over coffee. We decided on Colonial Pizza for lunch. It’s not too far from me, and the reviews I read were pretty good. We wanted something quick, as we did have an afternoon activity goal: the Penn Museum. We chose to get a salad and so-called “small” strombolis. They were HUGE. I’m sincerely afraid of the size of the large version. We ended up taking the other half home, and it was still a meal in itself on Sunday. Wow. Very tasty, but be prepared. My car still smells faintly of strombolis and we could smell them every time I opened the fridge the rest of the weekend. On Monday the smell was still lingering. It was certainly tasty enough that I’m going to have to go back to try their pizza next time.
Borderline over-full, we attempted to get to Penn Museum. I say attempted because it was our goal, but as with all best laid plans, sometimes they go awry. I got lost. Yes, yes I did. Have I mentioned that I don’t drive much in Philly? I knew I was still on campus, I kind of knew where I was (things look very different when you’re on foot/on a bike than behind the steering wheel of a car), and then we crossed a bridge and took a mini tour of South Philly. Oops. By the time found our way back to the Museum, which involved several illegal u-turns (yes, Jenna, I “flipped a b*tch”), it was a bit too late. We would have only had about 45 minutes before it closed. What’s more, there were people everywhere because the UPenn football game was just getting out and the stadium is across the street from the Museum. So instead of seeing anything cultural as planned, I provided CH with ample opportunity to make fun of me. Nice job on my part, no?
As I mentioned, we had dinner plans with KS and RK at Fogo de Chao. I made a reservation for 8:30. Upon arrival, KS was given this pager thingy that lights up when your table is ready (smacks of suburban places like Cheesecake Factory). But despite the reservation, we didn’t actually get seated until 9:30pm, a full hour after our supposed reservation. [Note to self: next time make my reservation for earlier than I want, or bring a snack in my purse.] But the evening did improve markedly once the pager thingy lit up. The first thing they asked us as we were sitting down is what kind of water we wanted. We all kind of stuttered for a moment, not usually being asked if we want tap, still or sparkling water with our meal. The wine list was extensive, with bottles displayed from floor to ceiling on most of the walls. Apparently the restaurant is located in what used to be an old jewelry store, so the architecture is quite ornate. High ceilings, lots of beautiful wood, and decorative touches and chandeliers in brass, silver and gold. Quite the setting. The high ceilings made it a bit noisy, but it was still quite beautiful.
We started our meal with the amazing salad bar that contained all sorts of “gourmet” and decadent things including hearts of palm (a first for RK and CH, they liked it), artichoke hearts, procuitto, tomatoes (fresh and dried), fresh mozzarella, parmesan cheese still in the wheel (they provided a tool for you to chip off chunks! so good!), asparagus, mixed salads, and so on and so on. Really quite the salad bar spread and certainly not your typical buffet bar. I could have made a meal of just selections from it. With the salad bar they brought us some cheese bread. This was not just any cheese bread. These were small crispy puffs of goodness, all soft and chewy inside. Light, fluffy, and absolutely divine. The literally melted in your mouth. CH and RK said the basil dressing was delicious. KS and I stuck to bits and pieces of veggies and cheese, sampling a variety of things rather than getting a lettuce salad, trying to make sure we had plenty of room for the main event: the meat.
We all agreed that probably our least favorite of the evening was the filet mignon, which should tell you something about the quality of the meats and how well they were cooked. Juicy and crispy all at once.
With all this meat, they also brought sides: polenta, fried bananas and mashed potatoes. The polenta was perfect. It was fried, and crispy on the outside while still being soft and creamy on the inside. Perfect for soaking up all the juices from the meats. The fried bananas were nice as well, having a creamy texture to cut the heaviness. We were not a mashed potato table…the only thing left untouched.
Amazingly, after all the food and beverages (yes, they do serve caipirinhas, and well made ones too), we found room for dessert. KS and I decided to try the strawberry cream, served with a black currant liqueur. RK got the papaya version. CH decided to be different and get the turtle cheesecake. So delicious. I’m so glad we went for it. The cream is like and ice cream, but more intense, and the liqueur on top added an amazing flavor. CH was quite pleased with his cheesecake as well. With the base prix-fixe (all you can eat), plus drinks and dessert, this is not a place I can afford very often. But it is well worth saving your pennies for the occasional visit.
On Sunday, CH and I were still full from dinner the night before, and just couldn’t get ourselves going. We spent a good deal of time talking about things we could do, and then not moving. So instead we had a lazy day involving football, work, more football, more work, naps, more football, and yet more work, although neither one of us felt like we were very productive (my attention span was practically nil). And of course we had plenty of “help” from the dog. There were some rather important football games on TV such the meeting of the only two unbeaten teams, the Colts and the Patriots, and while I’m not a fan of either team (go Detroit!), wow what a good game. Now the Patriots are the only unbeaten team. It was a nice lazy Sunday. Complete with excellent company.