As noted in my previous post, we spent a few days in Philadelphia last month, for work and for family, and were able to most pleasantly combine the two. Dinner at Iron Chef Jose Garces's Amada, Ultimate Frisbee, Capogiro ice cream, schmaltz (La Quercia Iowa White Spread) and pretzels at Oktober Fest at Swarthmore College, American history - just great!
Philadelphia is the home base for a great coffee company - La Colombe Torrefaction - which also has branches In New York City and Chicago. Committed to social and environmental responsibility, and the coffee is wonderful. A serious rival to the best cappucinos in the United States (the ones Herb makes at home). And tasty pastries as well!
During the course of our very pleasant walk on Sunday, we stopped by Barbuzzo, a terrific "Meditteranean Kitchen & Bar." The owners, Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran, are "pioneering entrepreneurs whose six restaurants and boutiques on 13th Street in Philadelphia have helped transform the once-desolate neighborhood into trendy midtown village." We are honored that Barbuzzo uses our prosciutto! We decided to gamble on seats for Herb, Aaron, and me that evening and were lucky enough to get a spot at the bar. Delicious food! The roasted beet salad was stupendous. The pizza is great - crust with crisp and chew, airy and substantial at the same time, delicate and well balanced toppings. Try the "Fico" with fresh figs, gorgonzola dolce, La Quercia Rossa Berkshire Prosciutto, arugula, and pomegranate molasses. Great pasta - we loved the trecce with rabbit and a great cover of tortelli di zucca. And whatever else you do, order the salted caramel budino (chocolate crust, vanilla bean caramel, and sea salt) - it is divine!
Monday at JG Domestic
This was a most extraordinary event. Iron Chef Jose Garces has eight establishments (here's a link to The Garces Group on the web). Last year he came to Iowa with Paul Kahan and visited us at La Quercia. We fed them dinner, although he and Paul did most of the cooking. He is one of the nicest people we've ever met - warm, authentic, and kind. I call him a teddy bear ninja (I hope he doesn't find that offensive! It's a total compliment in my book). JG Domestic is right by the main Philadelphia train station and features fine American artisan foods.
Iron Chef Jose Garces and Aaron Eckhouse at JG Domestic, at the start of their first "Meet the Maker Dinner" - this one with La Quercia.
Here's a link to the menu. To start, there was a beautiful and abundant array of La Quercia salumi (Acorn Edition III Prosciutto, La Quercia Lomo, and La Quercia Speck) and passed appetizers including toasts topped with sea urchin and La Quercia Iberico de Bellota Lardo. Wine and a deadly and delectable punch. Then there were four courses plus dessert, with excellent wine pairings and impeccable service. Elegant, intimate, delicious delicious delicious. More detail in the next post.
The Acorn Edition Prosciutto is from our special program, now in its fifth year. The farmers feed the pigs acorns for the last three months before "sacrifice" and we bring in the entire animal, literally everything from snout to tail. We cure everything that can be cured and make the trim into a very special fresh sausage. You can learn more about the Acorn Pigs here: La Quercia Acorn Edition.