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Jun 8, 2008 06:52 AM

Philly during the fourth

My family and I will be staying in Philadelphia July 3-6. We will be staying at the Rittenhouse. We are all foodies and money is no object in terms of eating out. I never been to Philly and would love some suggestions on where to go for breakfast, lunch, and dinner near our hotel or beyond.
Thank you,
Food lover from SC

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  1. For Sunday brunch, look no further than Lacroix which is right in your hotel. Here is a sample menu...

    Another good rec near you (for lunch or dinner) would be Matyson.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Philly Ray

      You absolutely have to have gelato at Capogiro. It's the next best thing to having it in Italy. Ask the concierge about how to get there, I believe there are now two locations in Center City.

    2. On July 5th, you might want to do a late dinner at the Moshulu. While the food is not extraordinary, it's a great place to catch the fireworks at Penns' Landing. The fireworks are scheduled for 9 - 9:30 p.m.

      1. Ok, I suggest the following for one of your meals. Go to Le Bec-Fin for dinner on July 3 or July 5 (I believe that the restaurant is closed on July 4) and place special orders to create your own custom 6-course menu. The restaurant is closed on Sundays. Tell them that you are a foodie from out of town and looking forward to dining at Le Bec-Fin. They respond favorably to that type of positioning. In fact, I would recommend that you ask to speak to Thomas Finnegan, the general manager, when making your reservation. As for the menu itself, I would recommend custom ordering the following options, where appropriate:

        Appetizer course: foie gras ravioli (homemade ravioli stuffed with seared foie gras in a perigord sauce); if you don't like foie gras or truffles, ask for the homemade cavatelli pasta with fava beans in saffron sauce; if you don't like saffron or fava beans, ask for escargots "surf and turf" (this was on last summer's 6-course menu - burgundy snails and scungilli in Bordelaise sauce on top of a bed of braised bok choy). If you truly don't care about cholesterol, request the veal sweetbreads (specify that you want pancreas and not thymus gland) in brandy cream sauce.

        Fish course: lobster press (the claws and tails are sauteed in the kitchen; the remnants of the carcasses are brought table side; the chef flambes the carcasses in cognac, then places the carcasses into the lobster press; the carcasses are squeezed so that all of the remaining juices and flavor in the lobsters are poured into a skillet; the sauce is then finished tableside with more cognac (flambe again), butter, light cream, and salt/pepper to taste; the presentation is timed so that the plated lobster tails and claws are brought out when the sauce is finished; the sauce is then poured over the lobster tails and claws, which are typically served with chanterelle mushrooms); this is a lobster version of the duck press at La Tour d'Argent.

        Meat course: boeuf bourguignon: they serve this with housemade pasta so if you would prefer boiled potatoes you would need to specify that; they also prepare excellent squab (usually the breast seared, served with Bordelaise sauce and the legs confit in homemade cannelloni) as well as veal kidneys (cognac flambe with mustard sauce).

        Cheese course (no special order needed, but ask that they ensure the aged gouda, moliterno, and sotto cenere are available); there may be a supplement for specifically requesting these cheeses

        Salad course (ask that they prepare the mixed green salad that was previously on the old 6-course menu as your palate cleanser to transition from savory to sweet)

        Dessert course (no special order needed - just ask for the dessert cart).

        Also ask that Brian McMahon, the head sommelier, prepare a customized wine pairing for each course. You'll need to specify a per person price point with which you are comfortable for the customized wine pairing.

        Just as a warning, the menu I described will set you back about $185 to $200 per person (depending on which of the options you get for each course), not including alcohol, tax, and gratuity. A good custom wine pairing will most likely be another $150 to $200 per person for 4 to 5 glasses of wine per person.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Mr_Pickles

          Mr_Pickles: In my book, you have put together the perfect dinner if money is no object. And your recs about who to contact are excellent. Kudos!

          1. re: cheesewit

            Also hit the Reading Terminal Market (it's cheap though) for excellent breakfasts (like pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place) or lunches (I prefer roast pork at DiNic's with provolone and broccoli rabe). The market may be closed on the 4th though.

            Closer to Rittenhouse, Estia has fabulous fresh fish and grilled octopus, and Tria is a cafe featuring smaller bites and cheeses that would appeal to foodies and a belgian beer selection.

            As the previous poster said, make sure to hit Capogiro (try the bacio!).

          2. re: Mr_Pickles

            Thank you! Such a great recommendation!

            1. re: scfoodlover

              Lacroix for Sunday brunch is an absolute must!

          3. Some neighborhood breakfast places include belgian waffles at Bontes on 17th, fancy pastry at Miel also on 17th, Ants Pants for full breakfast (try the amazing creme brulee french toast or the sweet potato fries with two dipping sauces), La.Va (coffeehouse with great borekas), or Little Pete's and Sandy's for greasy spoons. Thank you.

            1. what's that little cafe/ coffeeshop on Locust and the west side of the square? They have the best little sandwiches for lunch.