Thursday, December 6, 2012

We're pretty happily not the only awesomeness in town, you know.

You know...we try to be pretty humble. We really do love the food that we serve, and we take real pride in it. For me it really comes down to the milk we use for our gelato. SERIOUS milk, that. If you know from food, our milk checks off so many of the things that really matter: grass-fed cows, no hormones or antibiotics, super fresh and local from our friends just up the road at Wholesome Dairy. And it shows in some really interesting ways--if you've been here for as long as I have, you notice that the color of our Fior di Latte changes throughout the year. It tends to be a bit yellower in the warmer months and a more pure white in the colder months. It's because of the chlorophyll in the grass, don't you know. Warmer months means more sunlight means darker, greener grass, and then that shows up in the color of our gelato. Wicked.

(One second for an inside joke, please.)

But we're hardly the only respectable place to eat around here, and of course Tony Bourdain (who we really do like a whole lot) finally premiered his Philadelphia episode of The Layover this week. It wasn't at all perfect. (Why did he keep calling it "City Center?" The Mutter Museum is decidedly NOT in Mantua. Blame it on the interns, it's cool. That's what I'd do, anyway.) 

I'm sort of relieved about the places he DIDN'T mention, though. Don't get me wrong, Marc Vetri is, I'd argue, maybe the number one chef in this town that's not only leading the way on great food for us locally but also really helping Philadelphia get the culinary respect it deserves. But one of the worst things that can happen to your favorite jawn is for it to get so famous that, like Yogi Berra said, no one goes there anymore because it's too crowded.

And Capogiro...we seem really lucky to end up near other amazingly good restaurants. Vintage is just south of Capo13 on 13th Street, and it's just one of those prototypically great places for a glass of wine or three (also a blind date, but that's neither here nor there). More on the topic of actually being a grown-up: I finally did figure out only a couple years ago that white wines are actually just as interesting as reds. Who knew, right? And Vintage pretty reliably has one of my favorite whites--a Vinho Verde from Portugal. Semi-dry and with such a high mineral content it almost seems carbonated. It's also...nearly cheap! I hate to call it cheap. But it's not a budget-breaker--further proof that you don't have to spend a ton of money for good wine. 

But all in all...look. If you found me guilty of all my emotional crimes and sentenced me to eating only one more restaurant meal in this, I'm going to Good Dog. Totally a comfortable walking distance from both Capo20 and Capo13 (and I sure did walk there more than a couple nights after closing!). Solid beer list, really well-done food, great, great crew....when my favorite people come to town, it's where I take them. Which...holy pants can that be a gamble. When one of your best friends comes to town, and she brings someone you don't know, and you take them to your local...Sarah (not that Sarah) is one my favorite people, and she's a traveler. Knows how to absorb local culture without stomping all over it, can get along with most anyone, doesn't get freaked out in a proper city despite being a mostly a small-town girl. But her The first thing he did (I'm hesitating a little because I'm still so embarrassed) know what's coming. He didn't even look at the menu. Just drawls at the bartender, "Y'all got any Philly cheese steaks here?!" 

Listen. I like cheese steaks. I do! They for sure have their place, and I could go down the whole pantheon of cheese steaks. But...he was that guy. Straight tourist. Actually got into a pretty heated argument with one of the Good Dog bartenders, exclaiming that there isn't any real difference between bourbon and whiskey and you're obviously a terrible bartender it you think there is, etc, etc. I really was embarrassed. Tipped excessively and conspicuously well and hustled out. Went back (alone, though at the same time during the week), apologized profusely...and again tipped excessively well. 

Anyway. I got rambling there. Blah, blah, blah, Philly's a great restaurant know that. You're probably reading this within a four mile radius of me and you've probably got you're own favorite haunts that you'd rather not tell anyone about. But if you haven't gone to Good Dog or Vintage yet, you really, really should. Just....just don't ask for a cheese steak, man. C'mon. You know better than that.

(Yeah. I'm drinkin' deep of the HomerAde today.)

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