Christmas in September

There are certain times of the year we all look forward to, be it Christmas, Black Friday, Ben & Jerry’s free cone day, etc. For foodies like myself, Restaurant Week is a treasured and long awaited time of year. It is a time for good eats of course, but also a time for good company. With price-fixed lunch at $20 and dinner at $35, Restaurant Week meals are still rather pricy, but it’s all the more reason to savor every morsel and every moment.

Our first outing was at Lacroix, located in The Rittenhouse hotel. Specializing in progressive international cuisine, this place definitely beat the other three we went to for restaurant week in terms of innovation and plating. Although they officially only offered a three-course menu, we were pleasantly surprised with a few “freebies,” these being a trio of appetizer bites to start the meal and a duo of sweets to end.

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Favorite dish: sweet corn velouté with maitake and white miso (mid-right)

Buddakan was our one and only lunch visit. The menu was bento box formatted so everything (minus dessert) came out at once rather than in courses. The bento box selections were pretty standard and somewhat unexciting, but dessert was pure redemption. That Crying Chocolate… The only complaint about dessert really would be that they weren’t Asian-themed flavor-wise. The name “Dip Sum” doughnuts is quite punny though.

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Nice ambiance

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1. Buddakan House Salad
2. Cashew Chicken
3. Char Siu Pork Bao Bun
4. “Dip Sum” Doughnuts

Next we went to Amada’s sister restaurant Garces Trading Company (both are founded by Iron Chef Jose Garces). Sadly, I didn’t appreciate the Bianco Sardo cheese that others had raved about but the Pastel de PiÑa (“Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Panela Mousse, Guava Gelée”) was ridiculously good. And since we couldn’t resist, we also ordered the chocolate peanut butter macarons which weren’t a part of the restaurant week menu. No regrets.

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(From left to right)
1. House Made Pork Rillettes with Cranberry Chile Jam 2. Endive Salad 3. Insalata Semplice 4. Cauliflower with Black Garlic Pesto 5. Pastel de PiÑa 6. Tuscan Fusilli Alla Carbonara 7. Spanish Sea Bass with Salsa Verde 8. House Made Italian Sausage Pizza 9. Bianco Sardo paired with Truffle Lavender Honey

Last but not least was our 9:30pm reservation for Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse. Knowing that we would be able to indulge in an unlimited salad bar and unlimited cuts of meat, we came prepared with empty stomachs after an afternoon of starvation. Set in a cinematic ballroom-esque environment with crystal chandeliers and dark wood, this was by far the most fun and interesting dining experience, as waiters whizzed by wielding giant skewers of meat with the flip of a card from red to green. Although the house sirloin seemed to be a favorite amongst others, I really wish I could have more of that bacon-wrapped chicken!

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The bacon-wrapped chicken

Restaurant week came and went, leaving behind fond memories in its wake. Happily for me, Restaurant Week (more accurately Restaurant Weeks since its actually two weeks long) rolls around twice per year, but as much as I enjoy these times of year, I’m content taking a break from restaurant dining for a while to continue cooking my own meals. Until next time!

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