I am a food whore.
I will not pay full price for an article of clothes.
I don't go gaga over shoes.
I still sport my diaper bag in place of a purse.
Feel free to call me cheap when I shop.
However, tell me we have reservations and I swoon.
I read reviews for restaurants and my mouth starts to drool.
A good two top, a bottle or two of wine, and a tasting menu are perfection in my book.
Luckily, Bry shares in my bliss.
I guess it comes in handy that we're both fat and love food!
(no dietary restrictions here!)
When my mom offered to babysit earlier in the week, he couldn't get onto Open Table fast enough.
We live close to Philadelphia, whose dining scene is so much more than cheese steaks and hoagies. There are some truly phenomenal dining establishments. Iron Chef, Jose' Garces has six places, Iron Chef Morimoto has his sushi place, and then there's Stephen Starr. His places run the gauntlet from steakhouse, to Cuban, American and everything in between.
Finally, there's Marc Vetri.
He has four restaurants in the city, is working to update the city's Public school lunch program and with his own foundation, helps inner city youth understand the importance of healthy eating and healthy living.
An awesome guy outside of the kitchen, yes.
However it's the stuff he does inside which has made his eponymous place one of the most highly sought after places for a table. With a wait list of at least three months for Friday and Saturday nights, Vetri recently abandoned a la carte dining for tasting menu only. In a nutshell, his kitchen decides what each diner eats for each of the five savory, and one sweet course.
My bucket list is primarily filled with travel and dining. Screw skydiving or running a marathon. Mama wants foie gras! Vetri sits with the French Laundry, Per Se, Frontera Grill and a Joel Robuchon restaurant as my must eats.
Somehow the stars aligned this past week, when Bry discovered on Open Table one 8:45 reservation for two on Friday night.
The same Friday night my mother had offered to sleepover and babysit.
I swear it's that horseshoe shoved up his ass.
Fast forward to Friday night. After a train ride, and an early arrival, we finally are seated at our table. It's a little after nine, as I casually unfold the white napkin onto my lap. As I glance to the table in front, I spy a familiar face.
Holy shit, Bobby Freaking Flay is sitting at the table in front of us!
Seated two seats away, Michael Freaking Symon.
Who are we getting reservations at a place on a night where Bobby Flay & Michael Symon are enjoying the same menu?
Lucky mo-fos, that's for damn sure!
The highlight however, was not these chefs presence. Instead the meal itself was the stuff dreams are made.
Feel free to skim to the end if food doesn't do it for you.
Otherwise, hold on tight! Here are the highlights for me. Each course was served with a half glass of wine. As is customary at Vetri, each guest is given a different plate for each course. To ensure we got to try it all, Bry and I switched plates half way through each. This was a bit contentious with a few, as we didn't want to give them up.
Upon arrival we were given a glass of Proseco and crudite like no other, iced and served with the most divine balsamic dipping sauce. I had to hold off Bry from dipping in his fingers.
The highlights included the following:
Diver scallops, with shaved black truffle
The bowl was served with the lightest potatoes and I felt it melted in the mouth.
Sweet onion crepe with white truffle
This was hands down the best thing I've ever eaten. No exaggeration, this dish had no flaws. The onions had been slowly cooked for eight hours, leaving Bry and I wondering how he did it?
Spinach gnocchi with brown butter
A plate Bry had difficulty sharing, as the gnocchi were heavenly little pillows that dissolved in your mouth. The brown butter tasted equally divine as I used a stray piece of crust from the bread basket.
Chestnut fettuccine with boar and cocoa
The subtle note of chocolate made the earthy flavor of the chestnut and boar sing.
Bistecca alla fiorentina
As lover of all things steak, I was quite happy we each were given our own plate of this, thus I could eat it all.
Chocolate Polenta Souffle
Heavenly, decadent, warm and served with some sort of ice cream.
Passion fruit curd doughnuts with coconut spuma
The sweetness of the passion fruit paired with the fried doughnuts was only made more delicious with the soft coconut flavor in the spuma.
We have dined at some fabulous places in our lives. Locations overlooking the water, places with tradition and vast menus, decadent meals used to celebrate births, graduations, and birthdays, and drunken glutenous affairs with good friends and conversation that have lasted for hours.
While those meals all have been memorable, this was special. It truly seemed as if the stars aligned as my mom offering to babysit, Bryan procuring a last minute seat, and our small run in with celebrity. A night spent eating some of the best food in the world with my best friend truly takes the cake as the best meal ever.
Be jealous reader, even if you aren't a food whore like me.
Linking up the crew at Yeah Write.
Perhaps I can sway some votes this week from the foodie crowd? Feel free to click and read some of the other talented participants. Finally vote on Thursday for your favorites!