NYC – 12/30/17 – Atla and Momofuku Ko

Atla
Deserted on a frigid and snowy morning but excellent as always and worth making the trek for.

arctic char and farmers cheese tostada

ranchero eggs

Ko
Very belated and a bit sad in retrospect as this was my last visit to the Ko bar before the space was renovated.  I will eventually catch up to the new space and menu (which is awesome) but I loved the old one as well.

NYC – 12/29/17 – Flora Bar

The first time I tried to visit Flora Bar was unfortunately Super Bowl sunday and it was closed.  It obviously took me a long time to make a second attempt but was certainly worth the effort.

snow crab with miso mayonnaise


tuna tartare, sunflower, and hijiki
sea bream crudo with pomelo and chrysanthemum

chicories with pears, hazelnuts and Bayley Hazen Blue

potato and raclette croquettes

Futsu squash and black truffle tart

lobster and crab dumplings in yuzu broth

NYC – 12/28/17 – Ferris

It is fantastic to see more cool places move into the Nomad area of NYC.  Ferris makes the best of below street level location and overdelivers for its modest setting.  A definite must visit.

chips & dip – chicharrones, chicken liver mousse

blood sausage – grilled dates, toasted seeds

(I discovered I am missing a page of the menu and consequently descriptions for a few courses.)

octopus – egg custard, confit potato, pedro ximinez

beets – black sesame tahini, young coconut


carrot agnolotti – lamb neck, pickled squash

Philadelphia – 12/27/17 – Abe Fisher

Yet another fantastic spot in Philly and another place I’ve been wanting to try for a while.  The pickled mackerel dip was fabulous even though not what I was expecting with lettuce cups.  The sweet potato was perhaps the favorite, although the chicken was pretty great as well.  So glad I wasn’t dissuaded from this visit.

potato latke, herb sour cream, horseradish, aged cheddar

pickled mackerel dip, bibb lettuce, gribenes, beet pickled turnips

baked cheese blintz, mozzarella, Muenster, barley, roasted mushrooms

gin cured fluke, challah, whipped butter, pickled onion

sweet potato, boursin cheese smoked walnuts, pickled long hots

shakos chicken, dried apricot, parsnips, potato and swiss chard kugel

Philadelphia – 12/26/17 – Vernick Food & Drink

I had been wanting to come here for so long and it certainly did not disappoint.  If I lived in Rittenhouse I would probably be here once a week and hope for a seat at the bar with my name on it.


(I wish I could remember what this one was!)

beef tartare, fresh horseradish

yellowfin tuna & sugar snap peas, olive, yogurt, mint

San Diego – 12/17/17 – Born & Raised

I really want to like Born & Raised. The design is fabulous and I am happy for more high end concepts to enter San Diego. Unfortunately the service was terrible on this and a previous visit and unacceptable at this price point. My first issue, not unique to this restaurant, is being asked for a credit card when ordering the bar. It was not crowded and I was clearly ordering dinner. The bartender cannot keep track of me when I did not move? I despise this practice and what feels like punishment for preferring to dine solo at the bar while doing the restaurant the favor of not occupying a 2-top. I ordered 2 dishes that would be table side preparations if not at the bar (although I am told that if you order more than one table side preparation you will only actually get one). If I am not going to get the added show, could I at least have new flatware between courses? Or actually asked if I want the dishes coursed? While the tartare was excellent, the toast was a horrible choice as far too soft to actually support anything and created a collapsing mess each time I tried. I would have enjoyed a second cocktail, but alas I couldn’t get the bartender’s attention for 25 minutes. Perhaps why they need to ask for credit cards or people would get tired of waiting and just leave.

martini

caesar salad

steak tartare

San Diego – 12/14/17 – Biga Wood Fired Dinner Series

A great introduction to Biga for dinner which was part of their wood fired series featuring guest chef Drew Bent soon to open Lola 55 in San Diego.  All very good and flavorful dishes with the bonus of a surprising dessert that I loved.  I look forwarding to visiting Lola 55 and have already made a return visit to Biga based on the great hospitality.

trio of tostadas
loca ceviche – pineapple, jicama, chipotle
beef tartare – papilla, avocado, leek
fried oyster – basil, tomato, serrano, lemon

beets, potatoes, wood fired octopus, smoked saffron aioli, pickled spring onion parsley

tamale of porchetta, mole manchamantes, pickled vegetables, coal roasted plantain

oak baked yams, charred marshmallow, horchata of allspice & sugarcane