October 19, 2011
We just spent a long weekend traveling to Pennsylvania to visit relatives and friends. I only had Internet on my phone, and I hate reading and responding to blogs on the small phone screen, especially during mofo when there are so many posts it's hard to keep up anyway, so I took a little break from the blog world to concentrate on people I don't get to see very often. It was an intense few days of conversations, food and traveling — and worrying about our dog, which I'll tell you about later.
This week my theme is reviews of books and restaurants, and although I thought I'd have a book review today, something happened over the weekend that still has me distracted, and I didn't get around to it. So instead, here's a little review of two restaurants we visited in the Philadelphia area.
Blue Sage Vegetarian Grille is located at 772 Second Street Pike, Southampton PA. It's an charming, intimate restaurant that is very popular. So popular, in fact, that although we had a reservation for 8:00 p.m., we didn't get seated until almost 9. The people seated at the table we were scheduled to occupy, chose to linger and converse after their meal. Fine. I felt bad that they wouldn't have a chance to stay as long as they wished, but it wasn't so great standing in the crowded entryway, either, and we were wishing they would leave. About a half hour after paying their bill, the hostess told them there were people waiting for the table, and very miffed indeed, they vacated the premises.
My husband started his meal with a house salad, and I don't think he expected a salad the size of the one he received. It was full of all sorts of goodies like spring mix, sweet balsamic or chile lime, pepitas, sunflower seeds and sun-dried berries. It was very fresh and delicious.
This was followed by an Indian-inspired khorma of red lentils, butternut squash and leeks in a mild house curry. The korma was accompanied by bowls containing plantain fritters & fresh mango-papaya relish. There was a third bowl as well but I don't remember what was in it. My husband was thrilled with the korma, and there was so much that he had half of it left over. He never has leftovers. You can see the fritters and salsa at the top of the page.
I can't remember the name or description of what I, and two other diners had, and it's not listed on the Web menu, so I'll try my best to describe it. There was a generous bowl of flash-cooked vegetables that were just wonderful. They were in a balsamic sauce and were beautifully crisp-tender.
On the plate next to the vegetables were three large balls made of chopped celariac and other stuff, including Old Bay seasoning. I believe they were (cough, cough) deep fried. While I, myself never deep fry anything, I will eat such food if I'm served it, though not very often. I guess I didn't realize they were deep fried until I saw them. They were good but not great. The next day though, the leftovers tasted wonderful — much better than at the restaurant.
Blue Sage is a vegetarian restaurant with a large selection of vegan options. Some offerings are always vegan, and some things can be made vegan. The food presentation is lovely and the food well prepared and interesting. It's a little pricy, but not outrageous considering the quality and quantity. Never go there without a reservation as it's a wildly popular place.
The next night we went to Wild Ginger, an Asian restaurant with a vegan menu located at 1928 County Line Rd (at Davisville Rd in Justa Farm Shopping Ctr) Huntingdon Valley, PA. They have Chinese, Thai and Japanese food, and although they bill themselves as a vegetarian restaurant, they seem to have non-vegetarian food as well. It was pretty dark in there and I only photographed some of the dishes. Above you see my fresh broccoli and tofu with ginger, which I very much enjoyed.
My sister-in-law ordered fried rice, and she said it was really great. Another popular dish at our table was Buddha's delight, but my photos were too grainy and dark. It looked really good in person, though!
Looks so real ...
That sums up our dining while in Philadelphia, but we had some interesting food experiences while traveling, too. On the way there, we had tight connections and barely enough time to make our connecting flight, but on the way home we had a lot of time to hang out at the Detroit airport, so we went to the Delta Club, which my frequent-traveler husband belongs to. The club is a great alternative to the airport waiting areas as it has much more comfortable and private seating, nice bathrooms and free food. Usually, the food isn't much of a draw since there's so little we want to eat, but this time things were different. There were little packets of hummus, a huge bowl filled with olives, artichoke hearts and peppers, and a big platter of celery and carrot sticks. They must have heard we were coming.
The rooms were decorated with pots of what looked like grass (see above) and I wondered if they were expecting a lot of traveling cats, but when I went up close to one of the pots, I discovered the grass was plastic! After our tea and hors d'oeuvres at the club, we went to the Japanese restaurant in the terminal and had edamame and sushi for dinner.
The sad dog news
We left our elderly dog at the home of someone who does dog care. She's been there before and seemed to like it. We left her Thursday night and called Friday night to check on her, and all was not well. Our poor little dog, minding her own business, was attacked by one of the other dogs, who gave her several puncture wounds. She was rushed to the emergency clinic where they said one of the punctures near her shoulder had penetrated her muscle, and she required a lot of stitches. The wound impacted her ability to walk, and when we picked her up Monday night, she was still stumbling. It was heart-breaking to see how sad she was. She's 19, and was previously doing really well for her age, but we'll have to see if she can recover from this. She's doing better today, so I'm hopeful she'll continue to improve. We'll see.
In other news, today is my birthday!