October 19, 2011

Eating out in Philadelphia

Plantain fritters

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!


  1. Poor Buffy!!!!! I know just how you feel - it is so sad to watch them behave like a shadow of their former selves. And there is only so much you can do for them.

    Thank you for the kind words about Spunky. In fact, we were giving him fluids - doctor's orders - and it turned out it was adding to his congestive heart failure - we could have killed him!


    xo C

  2. Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear about your dog! I hope she recovers quickly. That's a shame.
    Happy Birthday, though. Lots of those lately.

  3. Poor Buffy! I'm so sorry to hear about that. Hopefully, she'll continue to improve now that she's back home with your love and care. Sending positive thoughts for her.

    The food looks great! I like the idea of those celeriac balls; and I remember you saying somewhere that celeriac is a favorite of yours, so they must have been a real treat!

    Happy Birthday too!!!

  4. No title? Does the post speak for itself? Plantain fritters sound interesting. I can't believe your dog is 19! That's amazing. Sending get well wishes. I didn't get to eat at any of those places in PA, but some of the names sound familiar.

  5. So bummed to hear about Buffy, hopefully she'll recovered quickly now that you're back. Great looking food! I've been in restaurants when they're that busy and want the table by dropping hints. We usually leave because we feel bad that people are waiting after we're done eating. Happy Birthday! Hope you're having a great one! :-)

  6. Claire,
    Thanks, Claire. It is sad. I can't believe the vet was telling you to do something harmful. Poor Spunky — such a sweet cat.

    Thanks. It's so much harder to recover at her age. All I can do is care for her and hope for the best.

    You have a good memory. I was so happy to find celariac I didn't pay enough attention to how it was prepared. It was good, and the veggies were especially so.

    Thanks for setting me straight on the title. I barely got a post up today, and completely forgot the title. Blue Sage is a great place to eat if you're in the area again.

    Chow vegan,
    I'm doing my best for Buffy. Hopefully she'll heal. The table thing is a tough call. You don't want to rush people out, but the folks waiting in the hall have to be considered. I guess if you go to an extremely popular restaurant on a Saturday night, you can't expect to linger for a long time.

  7. Poor dog! Happy birthday! So much interesting restaurant food! No wonder you're distracted. I have old pets too; they can't fight back and it's saddening for them and for us...best wishes for a quick recovery!

  8. Happy Birthday, Andrea & sending all good thoughts to your sweet Buffy. I think a taste of those awesome looking plantain fritters might lift her spirits.

  9. Zoa,
    More distracted than usual. At least before Buffy was attacked she could get around easily. I hope she can bounce back from this cruel setback.

    Too late for a taste of the fritters, but a dab of Chinese takeout sauce, perhaps.

  10. Happy Happy Birthday!!

    I am sending healing vibes to your sweet dog and hope she gets better soon!

  11. First of all, Happy birthday & wow, does the food look great! I love these kinds of posts because they've helped us when we've traveled.

    Second & most of all, I'm so sorry to hear about what happened to Buffy. :( I'm sure she'll pull through and be her sweet old self again, though. There have been two times now when we were extremely worried about Crystal but she always rebounded back (and she's 19, too). I'll be keeping her in thoughts. Lots of love to her!!

  12. Aw I'm sorry to hear about your dog :( Poor thing. That's a blow to the ego as well as the pain :(

    I hope you had a great birthday!

    So sorry to hear about your doggy, sending lots of healing love her way.

  14. Nanette,
    Thank you! Buffy and I both appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks for the reassurance. I'm watching Buffy carefully and hoping for the best. She seems a little better each day.

    Buffy doesn't seem to be in pain, thanks to pain meds, but her ability to get around has been impacted by the wounds. Poor baby doesn't understand what's wrong.

    Thank you. Thank you!

  15. Oh Andrea, I am so sorry to hear about your dog. 19 years is a long time to have had her, and I know how close/attached you can become to your pets! I will be thinking of her and hoping she recovers.

    Happy Birthday!! I hope you did something fun to celebrate :-)


  16. Courtney,
    Thanks! She seems to be improving a little each day as her wounds heal.

  17. I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. Sending lots of healing thoughts and wishing you the best. I'm glad you had some tasty food on your holiday, as well!

  18. Matthew,
    Thanks for your thoughts. Buffy needs all the healing energy she can get — and she is getting better each day.

  19. Happy B-day Andrea! So so so sorry to hear about your doggie. Sending healing vibes, gentle hugs.I'd like a house salad,with some plaintain fritters to go please.

  20. GiGi,
    Thank you. Buffy is holding her own, and doing better. The salad and plantains are on their way — but what about E2? Fried, you know. Tsk.

  21. Hey Andrea, just getting caught up. Happy Birthday!

    Sounds like a good trip. I haven't been to Philly in ages, seems like I wouldn't starve there.

    So sorry about your dog. Our dog caretaker is amazing if you ever want to try something else. If I was in Seattle I'd watch her for you. Sending her get well wishes.

  22. Bitt,
    Thank you. It was an intense trip — so many people to fit in. My niece is gluten-free, and the Chinese restaurant said they could accommodate her. Haven't talked to her since the dinner to see if she got sick afterwards.

    I'd love the name of a good dog sitter, but Buffy can't stay alone for long periods of time — she had to go out often.


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