Dishes 116 & 117: Costillas de Res and Guacamole at Xochitl, 2nd and Pine on Headhouse, http://www.xochitlphilly.com
AK (aka Aunt Kath) and Uncle Doug (aka Dougie Fresh) arrive in Philly en route to the Great North. Canada. Like, there’s stuff above Upstate. Whoa. We head over to Xochitl for some costillas de res and guac, only to find the little scamps went and changed the menu from big plates to sammies and tacos. No go on the costillas, but the guacamole was fresh and citrusy, and it disappeared quickly. We also thoroughly enjoyed the tuna ceviche and the mahi mahi tacos, although Steven Starr’s famous version at El Vez are sweeter and flakier. But these were awesome as well.
Dish 118: Seared Duck Breast at Kaya’s in Havertown, http://www.kayascuisine.com
11 AM- I get into a brawl with the tailor at Brooks Brothers. (“I can’t do this. The sleeve, the buttons, it cannot be lengthened.” “Yes, it can, if you slit this seam, unfold this, and re-stitch it over here.” “No, the buttonhole cuts through this panel.” “Not if they ironed it open, which they would have.” “Look, this is my job. I do this every day.” “ME TOO.” “Okay, I think I can do this.” Staff laugh. I receive several high fives.)
4:30 PM- USA loses epically to a third world country. I don’t want to talk about it.
5:30 PM- I make a reservation at Blackfish, only to be called back three minutes later to cancel. Wait- what? Yes. My reservations cancelled on me. Hey, Blackfish, I’m thinking maybe we skip your remaining dish. I’m not really into surf and turf anyway.
7:15 PM- We head over to Kaya’s in Havertown, which is a BYO. Just so you know. AK started with a salad that embodied Art’s ideal of High Drama (High Drama Cheerios! High Drama Liverwurst Sandwich!), stuffed inside a slivah of cucumber, reminiscent of a Muppet hairstyle.
The duck breast was juicy, sweet, tender, and the cheesy puree was addictive, the lovechild of mashed potatoes and Mac N Cheese, if applesauce carried the baby. Uncle Doug discussed the benefits of Canadian fishing while sinking into a bison steak, a “more meatier meat” according to our waiter, Brian and Hess gobbled down their linguini and clams, and AK struggled to make her three raviolis last the duration of the meal. You heard me correctly. Three raviolis.
Dish 119: Seasonal Pizza at Sovana, Kennett Square, http://www.sovanabistro.com
Biscuit and I attend the polo match at Brandywine as an excuse to wear fabulous hats and drink pink wine all afternoon. After mingling, watching some of the match, pestering the Ferrari’s handler to let us take pictures sitting on the trunk, and kicking back to the beats of one of my favorite DJ’s, we decided it was time for snacks. We tucked our new buddy, Alex, into the backseat of the Demon Bunny and made our way over to Sovana, which itself is tucked into the backseat of a bucolic shopping plaza. No sarcasm there, shopping plaza was literally bucolic.
Sovana’s warm yet industrial innards set the stage for a relaxing meal of all foods familiar, made exquisite. On a recommendation, we tried the onion and cilantro-heavy tuna tartare, whose David Hasselhoff-sized hunks of meat made for a hearty mouthful. The calamari had a fantastic smoky hot orange sauce dolloped atop it, and the pizza—was. The pizza was. The pizza was clever. The sweet corn, salami and jalapenos—it was the Pennsylvania response to Hawaiian pizza, sweet, meaty, spicy, and a tad ridiculous in how perfect it is. Ten-point-O.
Also, update on my cooking skillz: In the past week, Hess and I made burgers and fries, using a grill and oil, respectively, which was very exciting. There were spices in attendance, including garlic and black pepper. Paprika declined but offered his regards to the hosts. A good time was had by all.
Which brings us to… TODAY
I don’t know if you have been counting—who’s keeping track anyway? But today’s dish is the HALFWAY POINT! Hooray! What should I have?