Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 1 & 2: Melograno & A Baking Lesson


2012 Sansom St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103
(215) 875-8116

For the first official dining experience Jackie took me to this place called Melograno.  This was one of her favorite restaurants.  But before we went, we had to make a stop at the local wine superstore for our BYOB.  
 Wine Store

For the longest time I thought BYOB meant Bring Your Own Beef.  I think a friend a while back had a Fourth of July barbecue where we had to bring our own meat.  Little did I know what it really meant.  Pretty much all the restaurants in Philly are BYOB.  I still didn't get why all of Philadelphia make you bring your own booze even after 5 days in the city but I went with it.


Jackie picked out a white wine for our dinner (something with a cat on it) and we made our way to Melograno.


The restaurant was really small... not necessarily in a bad way.  


It was small, cute, and very romantic. The only bad thing about the dinner was that we had to make sure to bring cash because their credit card machine was down and could only take cash.  But what I thought was cool was they iced our wine.  They probably do that at all BYOB restaurants but since this was my first experience with it... I was impressed.

There's something about a small cozy restaurant that makes me enjoy the company that I'm with more than a huge chain where it's so loud you can't hear the other person talk.  After pondering over the menu Jackie and I decided on the appetizer platter and our entrees.  I figured with the platter, bread, and the ravioli I ordered we'd be a nice full.

Antipasto Rustico
(A platter of assorted seasonal crostini, salami Prosciutto di Parma, olives, fresh mozzarella, grilled & pickled vegetables)

Holy smokes it was a lot of food.  The platter was so big (and our table was so small) that I couldn't even get the entire platter in the frame of the camera.  

Ravioli di Magro
(Homemade pasta filled with Swiss Chard, spinach & Ricotta cheese 
finished in brown butter sage sauce)

 I was sad that my butter sauce looked broken but as it turns out... browned butter sauces are supposed to be "broken".  In that case... it was delicious!  There were only a few huge raviolis but I was already so full I had a hard time finishing it.

Melograno_Panna Cotta
Panna Cotta

MmmMmmmmm the panna cotta was yummy.  Creamy, smooth, but firm.  

Thumbs up to Melograno.


Before I went out to Philly Jackie told me she had a friend that also loved to bake.  She asked if we could bake something while I was there so I brought a few tools and a couple of ideas.  There were talks of macarons so I pulled one of the recipes I used in a previous blog entry that turned out relatively well.


We baked at James', Jackie's boyfriend, house.  Here are some shots of the day.

BakingLesson_Meringue 2

BakingLesson_Batter 2



The macarons were a bit of a disaster in my eyes.  More than half cracked and didn't have the signature feet.  The oven was unusually hot even for 350 degrees.  One PERFECT (minus the dark brown bottoms) macaron came out of it all.


Also, to use up the yolks that were going to be left over from the macarons I suggested we make some simple fruit tarts.  We were going to buy puff pastry and make some pastry cream then top them off with some delicious strawberries we bought at Costco.

Only problem was we couldn't find puff pastry.  Arg.  So I just got phyllo dough and made it work.

BakingLesson_Fruit Tart

I also ended up making a batch of chocolate chip cookies too later that night but more of a midnight snack than a baking lesson.  Everything was a huge hit... haha which was surprising considering how horrendous I felt everything went.  I was thankful that everyone enjoyed them so much.  

Macarons are freaking hard.. but I'll tackle them again soon.  With my brand new oven.. I'm determined to make them correctly!!!