Dish 174: Pappardelle with Portobello mushrooms at Audrey Claire, 276 S. 20th St.
Thanks to Philly Homegrown for sponsoring this dish! Philly Homegrown is a fantastic initiative of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation, GPTMC, to “inspire customers to shop within the 100-mile foodshed, to broaden the market for local food, and to amplify the work of the local food movement of Greater Philadelphia”.
Eating locally reduces carbon emissions by reducing the distance that food travels from farm to plate, stimulates the local economy, and fosters regional pride. Eating locally is also a fun way to learn about your area! For example, the juicy, fragrant Portobello mushrooms in Audrey Claire’s famous pappardelle are grown in Kennett Square. Did you know that Kennett Square is the mushroom capital of the world, in addition to being the epicenter of the Greater Philadelphian polo scene? Now you do. Mushrooms, fancy hats, and acres upon acres of agrarian beauty.
Audrey Claire is a balanced dichotomy of urban style and local pride. Like an outfit worthy of the Olsen twins, each dish combines worldly sophistication with local, salt of the earth ingredients and effortless composition. And like the Olsens themselves, the restaurant is primarily composed of young women with perfectly tousled auburn hair, smudged cocoa-colored eyeliner, and a certain je ne sais quoi that torments the young men that write songs about them.
Mystery Man and I sat in the back, at a table near the open, familial kitchen; savory aromas wafted into the dining room, as did the pleasant sounds of hustle and bustle. There was the sensation of sitting in a friend’s kitchen while she prepared a special dinner from her well-worn, semi-top secret collection of recipes. The small wooden tables touched one another, suggesting that maybe Mystery Man and I were having dinner with the curly haired couple adjacent, as well as with one another. And weren’t we? Isn’t that the thread that stitches Philadelphia together—brotherly love?
Think about how often the pair at the next table over becomes the second half of a spontaneous double date. It happens to me on a weekly basis. Philadelphians just love to get in each other’s business, and it’s great. It’s like being one member of an enormous, boisterous family. Audrey Claire takes this quintessentially New York concept, the upscale SoHo kitchen, and with several small changes—cozy tables, down-to-earth waiters, unforgettable, locally sourced dishes, and, of course, the clientele—transforms it into a truly Philadelphian reality.