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picky friends

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...not picky in the "no way am i eating that" sense, but picky in the sense that they were not impressed by recent visits to xochitl, il cantuccio, azure or north third... but they WERE wowed by horizons and tiffin. said they had nothing like horizons in NYC. this group is coming down for the mummer's parade new year's day... wanted to find a nice, special place for dinner. they want carefully prepared food, unique combinations, something hard to duplicate at home - and something that won't totally break the bank. i want to try something new out myself. i was thinking of trying pumpkin or chloe because i've heard good things, but are they something you'd put into a hard-to-obtain elsewhere category? any recent reviews or must-have dishes from those places? any other thoughts? we'll be in philly, but can travel modest distances. thanks!

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  1. I'd say Ansill or Snackbar, followed by Amada, Tinto, or Osteria. Pumpkin is good, but not something you can't get anywhere else, ditto Chloe. I'd recommend Lacroix if it wasn't for the price.

    Ansill and Snackbar both qualify as far as 'carefully prepared, unique combinations'. The other three are more traditional, but all excellent. Osteria is more or less Vetri-quality food at much better prices.

    You should try to get them over to Los Taquitos de Puebla for lunch if they'll be around for lunch, I don't know of anywhere you can get tacos al pastor as good as those.

    Oh, and make sure to get them to Capogiro!

    1. I'd add gayle to the list, although if memory serves me you are a vegetarian and I am not sure you can eat there or at Ansil, rabidog

      1. Admittedly, my first 2 choices are not inexpensive but they could definitely be considered unique and not something you see every day.
        Buddakkan for Asian food and Estia for Greek seafood. Memorable!

        4 Replies
        1. re: idia

          ah, one of them actually interviewed at the NY buddakan and didn't end up taking the job... but i believe he's already gotten to sample the menu. darn you NYC!!!

          i've heard that vegetarians can find something at ansill, but have not tried them yet because true, there is quite a bunch of meaty dishes on their menu. still, have not ruled them out yet...

          i've been to snackbar and i'd since forgotten about them! i did like them quite a bit, and i do remember unique (albeit small) things there. perhaps the front runner for pre-dinner drinks and snacks!

          los taquitos - good suggestion and i think we'll hit them for lunch new year's day, as a break from the mummers. we'll be down in that area around broad street so i think we can handle the short walk over. i was torn between them and a nearby vietnamese place mentioned here (name escapes me) that i haven't been to yet but was high on my list of things to try.

          capogiro - i've taken this group there, and they've already fallen in love with it. i suppose we could always go back... but for other desserty type things, what is the naked chocolate cafe all about? good place to go for some after dinner morsels and a cuppa cocoa?

          what's gayle all about? i actually haven't heard much about them... how are prices, what's the cuisine, ambiance, fave dishes, etc?

          thanks all, you've got my stomach rumbling... !

          1. re: rabidog

            I have friends like that too, and I don't think either Pumpkin or Chloe will cut it--very good, but not really exciting. My NY foodie friends love Amada, Tinto, and Osteria. All these got the as-good-or-better-than-NYC stamp of approval. The great thing about Capogiro is that the flavors change, so it never hurts to go back. Naked Chocolate is a great choice. The best thing there are the hot chocolate drinks--several varieties. They also make good coffee drinks. The European drinking chocolate is served with a dollop of whipped cream on top of a couple of pirouette cookies, so you really don't need to order anything else. I've never been particularly impressed by their other baked goods, but many people seem to like the cupcakes. It is a really fun place to hang out, lots of pretty chocolate to look at, nice atmosphere for hanging out and chatting.

            1. re: rabidog

              Gayle's "take" is deconstructed traditional offerings. For example, if the menu said chicken pot pie, you'd get some cut of chicken, a side of carrots prepared in some interesting manner, probably a disk of crust, etc. Prices are mixed but to under 30. Good reviews everywhere I've seen, but not alot of them - I don't know why. I am not a gayle expert, I was there once, but I did find it intriguing and different, and I'd like to go again - damn living in a city with so many good dining options it's hard to get back to most of them!!!

              1. re: Bigley9

                hard to get back - i'll second that!! i face this dilemma every time i step out the front door for grub. like hmmm, do i go back to tiffin for the 1,000,000th time (seriously, it's probably more like 68th) or do i actually go try pura vida???

                some great discussion here... thanks for all your responses. gayle sounds really interesting!! i'm definitely sold on naked chocolate for the european drinks. chocolate is something i rarely eat - when given the choice, after a heavy meal i usually opt for no dessert or a fruit-based dessert... so when i do have chocolate, i really savor the experience... now i'm really looking forward to new year's!!! there will be NO dieting resolutions from me. :) just hot chocolate and possibly some gelato.