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Mt. Airy/Chestnut Hill Area Board

Also, what about your favorite cheap eats?

Sep 25, 2012
kateearle in Philadelphia

Mt. Airy/Chestnut Hill Area Board

Alright guys! Awesome.

What about Joa Mart? Has anyone checked that out? And can I get more words on Geechee Girl? I might go there for lunch soon since it's only a few blocks from my place.

Sep 25, 2012
kateearle in Philadelphia

Mt. Airy/Chestnut Hill Area Board

Thanks for the tip on the Thursday night music, Bob Loblaw. I might head down for that. And great username!

Sep 22, 2012
kateearle in Philadelphia

Mt. Airy/Chestnut Hill Area Board

Thank you so much, JanR and Silverpink! These are exactly the kind of open and honest critiques I was hoping for! Now I want more people to chime in!

My extended family is based out of Chestnut Hill, and from what I have gleaned from them, McNally's is more of an institution in the community than a restaurant standing on it's own merit. The last time I was there, the entire crowd was fundraising for a high school sports team. Great if you're part of that local, all-in-the-family customer base, a little off-putting if you are not. Especially because the prices are high and the quality not so much.

Earth, Bread and Brewery did not disappoint me in the flat-bread department (I grew up in the South, so no quality pizza experience to speak of), but what really let me down was the atmosphere. I'm 23. I thought EBB might offer some kind of alluring, younger atmosphere. But as Silverpink said, it's a lot of kids or young marrieds. I am trying to find the place where the hippest, most interesting people of Mt. Airy are hanging out. This is not it.

Sep 21, 2012
kateearle in Philadelphia

Paneer

Thanks a lot! So most recipes do want the firm, drier paneer instead of the creamy stuff?

Sep 20, 2012
kateearle in Home Cooking

Paneer

For the record, I want to make this Malai Kofta recipe:

http://www.cilantroonline.com/2011/02...

Sep 20, 2012
kateearle in Home Cooking

Paneer

I'm confused. I hear paneer described as 'Indian cottage cheese' but it's certainly nothing like cottage cheese when it's fried up and put in curries or turned into Sandesh. There seems to be a million ways to handle it, for instance here are three different ways that paneer is used:

http://www.ecurry.com/blog/desserts-sweets/sandesh/

http://www.ecurry.com/blog/starters-snacks/paneer-kofta-stuffed-cheese-balls/

and

http://www.ecurry.com/blog/starters-s...

Some websites will just have you drain the paneer, some have you press it, Ecurry has you knead it and then fry it for the sandesh! At what point is it in the typical paneer state? None of those are like cottage cheese! I'm mainly concerned because I want to make malai kofta and I'm sure the moisture content and firmness of the paneer will make a big difference in the texture of the dumplings.

Help! Please and Thank You-

Kate

Sep 20, 2012
kateearle in Home Cooking

Mt. Airy/Chestnut Hill Area Board

Hi! I wanted to start a thread that helps us zero in on the best restaurants (regardless of price, fare, atmosphere) up, down,east and west of Germantown. I'm relatively new to the area, so I'm hoping that by polling all my fellow hounders, I can dig up some less obvious recommendations, while also starting an alternative to the broad zip code search on yelp. I love yelp, y'all, but I want a higher class of commentary.

SO to begin, a few places I have been with a review to start the discussion:

Mi Puebla on Germantown in Mt. Airy-

First of all, I loved the atmosphere when I walked in. Totally unpretentious. Half the restaurant is a dining room for eat-in customers and the other half is a takeout counter and bakery. Total Mom n Pop type shop that's here to serve good food, not fleece you. And true, their prices were not steep, but they also weren't dirt cheap. I got the avocado salad for 7.50 and what I thought was the Taeko Enchilada for 10.95. The salad was phenomenal. Tomatoes, roasted red pepper, something that looked like sweet potato but wasn't mentioned on the menu, and a delicious almond cranberry vinaigrette. It was quite large too. I would recommend it for lunch. Now the taeko enchilada. This was described as having a chipotle tomatillo sauce, yum, but what I got tasted a lot more like a mole sauce, which happened to be the menu item below what I picked. I would like to say that it was still delicious, but honestly, I hate mole. It all tastes like dirt to me. Maybe I just haven't had a good mole yet, but this mole didn't change that fact. The chicken inside was dry and the cheese melted on top had the consistency of rubber. I didn't finish. In the end, I'm not writing this place off at all, I'm just writing off their mole enchilada.

Tiffin in West Mt. Airy-

I ordered delivery, so I didn't see the inside of the restaurant, but WOW. BAM. First of all, they have one of those nifty online ordering systems set up, and it is super convenient, BUT here's the catch:
The earliest delivery option offered is 7-7:30, so I took that into account when I placed my order at 5. Turns out, they fudge that rule a little bit and will show up earlier if you place your order earlier. The guy came around 6. This is something you could work to your advantage, but just be aware when you're working a tight schedule. I almost wasn't home to accept the delivery.
Now to the food. I ordered the aloo papri chaat, the lasooni naan (garlic naan) and the malai kofta. The chaat was good, but not the best I've had. The lentil wafers were not crispy (maybe from steaming in a closed container) and that really ruins the texture, which I think is the best part of the dish. The flavors were good though, so I would recommend trying this while eating in. For the record, first and best chaat I had was the samosa chaat at Ekta in Bryn Mawr. Wowie. It was takeout AND good the next day. Now the naan and the malai kofta. Both were out of this world. Naan from an indian restaurant is almost always pillowy and amazing, and this one was no exception. But the malai kofta was unlike any I've ever had (I've tried making it myself, and this just pushed my dreams of perfection into the realm of implausability). The sauce was lightly spicy (I requested the medium spice level), very aromatic, creamy and nutty, with scattered golden raisins, nuts and what I think were pieces of onion. The koftas themselves were larger than what I'm used to, but equally delicious broken up and dunked in the sauce before eating. They weren't light and fluffy like some other koftas, but I think that their density was important for their structural integrity in the thick sauce. I would recommend ordering more than one serving so that you'll have leftovers, because when it's sat for a while it tastes even better. Three days (and kofta-dream-nights) later, I'm researching recipes so I can try my hand at the stuff for the millionth time.

I'll stop here because I'm tired, but please, please add on your favorites or even just your most recent tries WITH a blurb (or a novel) on why you liked it. Markets and whatnot are welcome, too.

Sep 20, 2012
kateearle in Philadelphia

King of Prussia-Malvern area Recommendations?

I found Alba to be mediocre for the price. Came here with my parents a week or so ago. The ricotta and peach bruschetta was not balanced in flavor- peach on a crouton. My rabbit agnolloti was boring. Literally just tiny raviolis floating in a broth. The dish was tasty in an umami kind of way but too uniform in flavor and texture- like the bruschetta, it lacked any kind of interesting touch that would have made it worth the price. Reminded me a bit of packaged ramen. My father had the raisin and pinenut gnocchi, which sounded interesting but once again dissapointed when it came to actual balance of flavors. The pinenut was present but the raisin was barely detectable. Kudos on the zucchini crema, however. Light and delicious. I forget what our desserts were called and they aren't listed on the menu online, but they were both very good.

Atmosphere was sort of romantic but the population was generally over 50 and very main line preppy. Good beer selection.

Overall, if they could cut the prices I would go again.

Aug 28, 2011
kateearle in Philadelphia

Graduation Party in NOLA

Bachanal's has a great casual atmosphere. You eat out in the back yard that is sort of secret garden-esque and you order at an outdoor kitchen area for your entree or inside for alcohol or cheese. They have a good selection of cheeses, beers and wine, and you just pick out what you want and bring it up to the register. They'll prepare a plate for you and bring it out. Great food, live jazz music and romantic garden style eating make for a great and unique experience!

Feb 24, 2011
kateearle in New Orleans

Graduation Dinner

Help! I'm graduating from college in May and my parents are coming down to attend the ceremony and most importantly TREAT ME TO DINNER!! I'm having an incredibly difficult time deciding on where to go.

I've been low of budget since coming to New Orleans so I've had very few fine dining experiences to make my decision based on. I am also fairly sure that I'm getting to this a little late, so most of the most famous restaurants (commander's, antoines, luke, august) will probably be booked.

Some basic info about me as an eater:

While I love New Orleans cuisine, I DON'T love paying mega bucks for it at restaurants, even if it is inventive.
I like to try new things and I can guarantee you that if the food tastes good, I'll like it, regardless of fat content, original animal source or appearance.
I LOVE restaurants that care about local, seasonal and ethical farming.
The atmosphere does not need to be fancy- I'm looking for extreme quality, not extreme snootiness.
Some of my favorite eating experiences in New Orleans have been- the Green Goddess (everything), Crepe Nanou (mussels and escargot), Panchita's on Carrollton (huevos rancheros and fried plantains during lunch), Bacchanal for the whole chill vibe and awesome beer selection and cheese plates.
And my favorite foods are huevos rancheros, mussels, and fried green tomatoes (best I've had were with goat cheese and jalapeno cashew relish in atlanta, not a fan of the shrimp remoulade version).

I'm looking for something fun and experimental (and out of my normal price range since this is a once in a life time opportunity to eat ANYWHERE). Also, I know some restaurants like GG don't take reservations, so does anyone have advice on how to handle this situation? I don't want to get stuck waiting 4 hours or not being able to go out anywhere!

Help! Please and Thank You!

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Green Goddess
307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

Feb 24, 2011
kateearle in New Orleans

Absinthe in the quarter?

I heartily recommend the Green Goddess if you would like to try absinthe- they have some really amazing cocktails involving absinthe, as well. Their food is delicious, too!

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Green Goddess
307 Exchange Place, New Orleans, LA 70130

May 17, 2010
kateearle in New Orleans