Philly – Take One

You know what they say about the best laid plans…

This past weekend was our postponed Mother’s Day and we spent it in Philadelphia.  We had third row tickets for Elton John and Billy Joel’s show at Citizens Bank Park and I coordinated our meals around the concert.

First stop:  tapas at Amada.  I was excited about sampling Jose Garces’ little plates — so excited that we left home before 8am so we could grab an early lunch of crab stuffed peppers and lamb meatballs with shaved manchego.  But, in spite of the 11:30am opening time posted on the website, we were turned away at 11:40 because they “weren’t open for another 20 minutes.”  Harumph.

Then we planned dinner at Little Fish.  Our sight-seeing activities ran long and I had to cancel.  Instead, we grabbed apps at the Capital Grille en route to the concert.  Mom was happy but it was not the local haunt I intended.

I hoped to find redemption in Sunday morning brunch at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse.  NOT.  Complacent staff, clumsy service and, although a creative buffet with a few gems (gnocchi, mushrooms and the dessert table), too many dishes were bland.  The broken/empty salt grinder at the table didn’t help.  It was one of those meals where you feel like you just threw a few c-notes in the garbage disposal.

The lone winner of the weekend was the unplanned, not-researched Triumph Brewery on Chestnut in the historic district.  We ordered grilled haloumi cheese, steak frites, a veggie burger and sweet potato fries.  Mom is a convert — I warned her the cheese would be spongy but, one bite in and she was asking where we could buy it locally.  She said the steak frites was perfect.  I had to believe her because I thought the same of the veggie burger.  Service wasn’t impeccable but, hey, it’s a brewery.  A great find, it reminded me why it’s sometimes best to veer off the culinary beaten path and experiment with the unknown.  Kudos to the peeps at Triumph…thanks for saving the weekend!

I’ll be back through Philly in two weeks on the first stop of our 10-day East Coast road trip.  If I’m lucky, we’ll get hungry when we are near Independence Hall and now I’ll know where to go.

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