JunieB's Profile

Title Last Reply

Heirloom in Chestnut Hill

Yes, JanR, I think that's the lesson we learned! It always seems like a pain to go into the city because of the parking but it's never as bad as I anticipate.

about 12 hours ago
JunieB in Philadelphia

Great lunch at Argana Tree in Jenkintown

I know - and you're not alone. It's just not for me. When it's just my husband and me there's no way I would drink an entire bottle and I don't like schlepping it around with me. I feel there's something a little uncouth about walking into a nice restaurant with a brown bag in my hand. Makes me feel like what it must have felt like during Prohibition.

Having wine served to me is part of the whole fine dining experience. Sometimes I like to start with white and then have prosecco with dessert - or start with red and then have an after dinner drink, etc.. I like variety. I never know what I'm going to order to eat so how could I possibly know what I want to drink before I leave home?

For the past 15 years I've never had to think about whether or not a restaurant is byob so it's hard to get used to.

Each to his own though.

1 day ago
JunieB in Philadelphia

Great lunch at Argana Tree in Jenkintown

You really should, and now that I've had lunch there I can truly say that I recommend both lunch and dinner. The only downside is that it's a byob.

I know that most Hounds around here love byob's but not me. My husband doesn't drink and I just want to sit down, look over a wine-by-the-glass list and have it delivered to my table. I always forget to look to see if a restaurant is byob and then I get there and it is! It seems like such a hassle to have to remember to buy a bottle of wine before going out to eat; and I like to keep my home stash for entertaining.

1 day ago
JunieB in Philadelphia

Heirloom in Chestnut Hill

Sorry to hear about Stella Sera. My favorite upscale restaurants in Western MA were only open for dinner Wednesday - Saturday or Sunday because the clientele wasn't enough to keep them open all week. Maybe they should consider something like that in order to keep the quality high at Stella Sera.

I still love Chestnut Hill. The shops that are currently there are the best they've had in years (or at least better than the 90's). I love the markets and the shopping is great. The restaurants seem to be packed every weekend and we still go to CinCin and Iron Hill. I've also enjoyed outdoor lunches at the Chestnut Hill Hotel in the summer time.

1 day ago
JunieB in Philadelphia

Heirloom in Chestnut Hill

I've found that I have to be pretty selective when ordering at Iron Hill but the foods I have settled on are pretty good and they're consistent. I think I had the fish and chips once and they were pretty good. They were serving a meatloaf that I really liked, and I rarely eat restaurant meatloaf, but the last time I was there it had been taken off the menu. It's a good place to take visitors because they have such a varied menu, and lots of vegetarian options. I agree about the acoustics at Paris Bistro.

A new brew pub is opening in Jenkintown soon (Guild Hall) and the guy who owns Leila's, Forcella, and Flora is opening one right by the train station in Glenside (Robert's Block). I hope they're good. We sure could use more options up this way!

1 day ago
JunieB in Philadelphia

Heirloom in Chestnut Hill

We're new to this area (Wyncote/Jenkintown/Abington) and I had never heard of Fayette Street Grill, so thanks for the rec.

I feel better knowing it isn't just me that has doubts about Heirloom. I didn't know the owner was the same as Paris Bistro. I had one of the best steaks I've had in years at Paris Bistro, but unfortunately the other diners in our party didn't fare so well and we haven't been back.

1 day ago
JunieB in Philadelphia

Great lunch at Argana Tree in Jenkintown

I always enjoy dinners at Argana Tree but last Sunday we decided to try their brunch, which turned out to be lunch/brunch. They stop serving on Sunday at 3:00 and then they reopen at 5:00 for dinner. Four of us arrived around 2:15. We were surprised to see that it was nearly 4 when we left and no one had said a word to us. It was nice of them not to make us feel rushed but we should have been more aware of the time.

Our friends split a bowl of moroccan soup which was tomato based with garbanzos, ginger and short pieces of vermicelli. They said they would have liked even more ginger, but they still really liked it. My husband and I split the hummus which is always good.

I tend to shy away from things made of ground turkey but I had the turkey burger and fries and the burger was outstanding. It had sauteed spinach and melted brie on top and was served on a seeded hamburger bun. The dish was perfect in every way.

Two people had the lamb gyro with a salad and they both raved about it.

The other diner had the spicy lamb bolognese and loved it. I've had that dish for dinner and it is a consistent hit. Spicy too.

For dessert my husband and I shared the ekmek, which everyone should try. An amazing custardy bread pudding served with clotted cream. I've had similar desserts in other Middle Eastern restaurants and I'm always afraid they will be too sweet but am amazed when they're just right. The Turkish coffee is also very good.

I have found myself daydreaming about when I can visit for lunch again.

You never know, but I hope this restaurant is doing well. They would be a huge loss to the dining scene in Jenkintown if they didn't make it.

Here are a few photos to whet your appetite!

1 day ago
JunieB in Philadelphia
1

Heirloom in Chestnut Hill

It's such a tony little enclave, you would think the diners would demand good places to eat. Of course, there's no accounting for taste no matter how much money you have or don't have. That said, I've had a good burger at Iron Hill and some good meals at CinCin, although they are not consistent. Mica was a huge disappointment but I might consider it again. It wasn't terrible; just not fantastic.

2 days ago
JunieB in Philadelphia

Heirloom in Chestnut Hill

To make it worse, it was our anniversary. We decided not to go into Center City this year because it was a weeknight and thought it would be a good opportunity to try Heirloom. Since I didn't eat my dinner I came home and had a cold slice of leftover pizza. Not a memory making anniversary. I was hoping it would be a similar experience to Hungry Mother in Cambridge - cozy and delicious - but it wasn't. There's only one chance to make a great first impression and they failed miserably. Even if the food had been good I'm not sure it's anniversary worthy.

2 days ago
JunieB in Philadelphia

Heirloom in Chestnut Hill

The manager told me the waitress was their "oldest" and that she would have a talk with her. That didn't sit too well with me, as I really don't need to know how they handle things internally, but it's a mistake people often make when trying to assure someone that they're taking the situation seriously. I'll be curious to see if more negative reviews surface on CH. If not, I might consider trying them again.

2 days ago
JunieB in Philadelphia

Heirloom in Chestnut Hill

What a horrible disappointment, especially when you can make a cheap, thin ribeye at home and throw it away if it's too tough, and still have money in your pocket. How does a steak like that even make it out of the kitchen?!

The manager at Heirloom was definitely hands on and the restaurant went up a notch in my book because of her. I really wanted to like the food because I had heard good things. It's hard to get my husband back to a restaurant when the service and food are this bad, but maybe we should consider another go just in case it was an off night. On the other hand, one of the hallmarks of a good restaurant is not to have off nights - at least not so that anyone notices.

2 days ago
JunieB in Philadelphia

Heirloom in Chestnut Hill

I had my first and last meal at Heirloom last night. The service and food were both terrible.

There were only about 7 tables occupied when we arrived so I expected the service to be stellar but it was anything but. The first bad sign was after we ordered and we kept waiting for bread to appear on our table as it had all the other tables, but it never did. After waiting for 15 or 20 minutes I finally said something to the waitress. She apologized and said the bread should have been brought as soon as we sat down. The corn muffins were good but just as they were put on the table our appetizers arrived. A guy who looked like one of the cooks came to the table with 2 plates and just stood there without saying anything until we rearranged everything on the table to make room for the oversized salad plates.

My husband had asked for sparkling water and he was given a small Coke-sized bottle of Saratoga. He drinks a lot of water so when the waitress asked if he wanted more I asked if there was a larger bottle and she said yes. The obvious seemed lost on her - why wasn't he given the choice to begin with? During the entire evening my water glass was only filled twice.

For an appetizer I ordered risotto with morels. It came with melted taleggio cheese on top and was served with charred kale. The dish was terrible except for the morels. The risotto was chewy and undercooked (not al dente) and the kale was so tough it should have only been used as garnish. A proper risotto should be creamy and it should spread out on the plate; it shouldn't sit like a lump of paste. Maybe they used the wrong kind of rice. I don't know but it was not good and there were too many competing flavors. When the waitress asked what was wrong with my dish I told her that I had just ordered wrong. She nevertheless went to the manager and the next thing we knew the manager was at our table asking us what we didn't like about the food. She offered to make something else for me (which was very nice) but we had already waited so long and I prefer to eat at the same time as my husband so I declined her offer.

There was another long wait before our entrees arrived.

I ordered the guinea hen and it was unlike any I have ever had. It had very little meat and was cut into 4 very small pieces. Only the 2 smallest pieces were edible with a knife and fork. The larger of the small pieces were the joined legs and thighs and they were all bone. I heard the lady next to us express the same frustration at its being impossible to eat. It was served with fingerling potatoes and they were fine but it was not a filling nor satisfying meal.

My husband had a green salad and the Creole short rib daube. He said the salad was okay but he thought the texture of the undercooked green beans were out of place with the rest of the salad ingredients. I had the same experience with undercooked vegetables at Mica. I think it's a local trend that I'm not fond of. All he said about the daube was that it was weird. I noticed it had strips of red and green bell pepper (the Creole part?) and there was a tart with a round disc of sweet potato on top. His complaint was that the flavors on the plate did not go well together.

We were going to finish the meal with dessert. We figured we had come this far so we might as well go the distance and see if there were any redeeming qualities in the last course, but that was not to be. The waitress kept brushing past us without ever once looking our way. It was obvious we were done as we had pushed our plates away and were sitting with our hands folded in our laps, trying to have a conversation, hoping to catch her eye. We had already been there for 1 1/2 hours.

Finally, after waiting at least 15 minutes, when our waitress brought tea and coffee to the table beside us and started shuffling away without even glancing our way I flagged her down with a loud "Excuse me!" I was pretty aggravated by then. When she turned around, looking surprised, I asked if we could have the check. Then she walked over and had the audacity to say "But don't you want to see the dessert menu?!" As my husband said on the drive home, "When you're about to get slapped, you don't lean into it." I kind of lost it at that point. I told her we had indeed planned to have dessert but the service had been so inadequate and the food so mediocre that we had decided not to stay around for the cherry on top! She apologized and then of course went to the manager.

The manager wanted to comp both our meals but I declined. After all, we did choose to go there and there's never a guarantee that you're going to like someone's food. She was persistent and after a lot of back and forth she comped my meal and insisted on giving us a gift card, although I told her I was sure we would never be back.

I think the manager was sincere and I was glad she took the time to try and make amends, but in situations like this the best thing a restaurant can do for me is to do better in the future. They can train their staff and make sure that no diner is ever treated that way again, and they can make sure they are serving quality food.

Was this an off night or have others had a similar experience at this restaurant?

Apr 16, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia

pre concert dinner near Longwood Gardens

I highly recommend 1906 at Longwood Gardens. It's old fashioned elegant but the food is fantastic!

Apr 16, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia
2

Recommendations for fancy Italian restaurant

If you ever want to venture out of the city you might consider Forcella in Jenkintown. http://www.forcellajenkintown.com/

I was not impressed with Osteria. When I shared a review on Chowhound most people said you should go there for the pizza and stay away from the entrees!

In the city I would go for Melograno. I've never been but I hear Little Nona is great - but probably not fancy enough.

Apr 16, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia
1

need your help

My husband and I love Leila's. You should add Argana Tree to your list - also in Jenkintown. Great Moroccan/Middle Eastern food, quiet, byob - and don't leave without having the ekmek for dessert and a cup of Turkish coffee. CinCin in Chestnut Hill is pretty reliable and quiet enough to talk. Alexander's in Elkins Park is a sweet little Polish place that we love. Small, intimate, byob, very reasonable prices, and the food is great.

Apr 13, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia

Good pastry shops (French?)

Good news! We're in Ambler often.

Apr 04, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia

Good pastry shops (French?)

That's interesting. I need to get more acquainted with North Wales. When we moved here I noticed there was a Whole Foods there, which led me to believe that maybe they had other things. Thanks. Haven't been able to find many good baguettes.

Mar 29, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia

Good pastry shops (French?)

It seems to me that tables and chairs would be a necessity in a pastry shop. You can't sip your coffee and tea and eat a pastry, all while standing up!
A friend told me about a place in Narberth - Le Petit Mitron.

Mar 29, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia

Good pastry shops (French?)

I've seen a lot of positive comments about La Colombe. Thanks!

Mar 28, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia

Good pastry shops (French?)

I haven't. Is it a good place to sit and enjoy a latte as well?

Mar 28, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia

Good pastry shops (French?)

I've been to Paris Baguette inside H Mart in Elkins Park and it's actually decent, but I was wondering if there are places in the city where you can go sit and have a good latte or a nice cup of tea while enjoying a great French pastry.

Mar 28, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia

Restaurant recommendations - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos

Thank you so much! This is exactly what I was hoping for.

I've been active on the Southern New England and Boston boards for several years. Recently moved to Philadelphia. I know what you mean about giving out the same info all the time. The best way I have found to keep from doing that is to search for my user name in the search box on a particular board. It turns up all the conversations I've been part of. Then I just pick the most relevant conversation and copy and paste the url into the new discussion. Saves a lot of time.

Thanks again! Can't wait to get back to the desert!

Mar 02, 2015
JunieB in Southwest
1

Restaurant recommendations - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos

Thanks. That's very helpful. I don't think I needed to mention vegetarian because, like you, I think most restaurants these days offer vegetarian options.

Mar 02, 2015
JunieB in Southwest

Restaurant recommendations - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos

Thanks. I'm surprised there is not more talk of good food in the Southwest, but this gives me somewhere to start.

Mar 02, 2015
JunieB in Southwest

Restaurant recommendations - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos

Thanks!

Mar 02, 2015
JunieB in Southwest

Restaurant recommendations - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos

Thanks. I tried that but the threads I came up with were old. Do you have a particular thread in mind?

Mar 02, 2015
JunieB in Southwest

Restaurant recommendations - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos

Will be traveling in March. Upscale food okay but also looking for the best regional food and burritos! Vegetarian is a plus but not a requirement. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Mar 01, 2015
JunieB in Southwest

Has anyone tried Cal's Wood Fired Grill & Bar in West Springfield, MA?

Yes. Is it still there? lol

Feb 27, 2015
JunieB in Southern New England

Has anyone tried Cal's Wood Fired Grill & Bar in West Springfield, MA?

That's too bad. You would think they would try to make the most of their wood fired oven.

Feb 22, 2015
JunieB in Southern New England

Beard Semifinalists

I think there are food trucks worthy of a Beard award!

Feb 18, 2015
JunieB in Philadelphia
1