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Sep 1, 2008 06:38 PM

What and where are your fave local meals ever? Any price - high or low.

I stole this from the general thread. I noticed the most poignant memories were about establishments that have long ago turned out their lights for good. I'll start with a place that closed many moons ago that still haunts me. I wonder if anyone else remembers it? Barger's Chicken House A chanticleer restaurant in Doylestown. I loved their hot open faced chicken sandwiches Their soup was a potent magical potion to cure all ills. They had a shredded chicken sandwich on a roll with cranberry sauce right on the roll unless you told them not too. You could also get a complete chicken dinner to go with a roast chicken, filling, real mashed potatoes and a big container of homemade gravy. I still miss that place. Their hot chicken sandwich could right all wrongs.

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  1. Hmm. Maybe I will slink back to the general board, this thread is doing well there. There are all kinds of posts about stuff grandmas used to make and awesome restaurants past and present. But I wanted to read and post about local stuff. Like steak dinners. These days I grab a choice sirloin strip from wegman's, preheat my propane grill and sear it nicely, then cook on medium until it's medium rare. As I watch the flames and smell the delicious beef cooking I am carried back in time to Tad's Steak House in Philadelphia. I was so lucky to have my grandfather on my Dad's side and my grandmother on my Mom's side both be willing to take me there. They had a neon sign and a fixed price for a steak dinner. I swear I think it started at 1.99 or 2.99 and slowly kept climbing up over the years. It was the perfect place to stop after the Christmas light show at Wanamaker's. I remember grabbing a tray and looking at piles and piles of steaks in piles. The god-like chef would lean down to hear my shy child voice ask for rare. For one price (pretty cheap) you got a huge baked potato, a hunk of good garlic bread, a salad and a grilled steak. The steak was tough and kept getting tougher over the years, so even my strict grandmother reluctantly gave me permission to gnaw on the bone to get all that delicious steak off, but only at Tad's. If the line wasn't long, you could get this meal in two minutes and carry your tray to a table and start eating. Now that was fast food. My wegman's steaks are yummy and much tenderer. I'm saving up to try a prime. But no steak will ever taste as good as the ones I got with my grandparents at Tad's!

    1. mussels and fries from Monks cafe

      4 Replies
      1. re: rocknroll52

        Having utterly sublime multi-course meals prepared at Studio Kitchen by Shola Olunyolo in the upstairs studio of his West Philadelphia row home. This chef created dishes the like I have rarely tasted since (the closest being a recent meal at Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan). His food combined with his personable and engaging personality (along with stories about working with George Perrier) created meals and evenings I will always remember.

        Shola is unfortuntely no longer doing this. He is one of the most sought after personal chefs, working privately in the Philadelphia and NYC areas.

        1. re: Schpsychman

          If I ever win the lottery I am so looking up this post!

          1. re: Schpsychman

            He also does his guest-chef gigs at local restaurants occasionally. Probably my favorite meals ever were those dinners he did at Snackbar and Restaurant M. I read that he has another one coming up at Blackfish, but no details.

            1. re: Schpsychman

              there was just an article in the philly mag 'best of philly' issue about how he may partner with jeffery Lurie to open a spot. but he hates press so nothing is confirmed.

          2. The Sesame Pecan Chicken and Shrimp wrapped in Westphalian Ham at Under the Blue Moon in Chestnut Hill, circa 1976-80. Thai Chicken Curry at Frog, same time. Some sort of white wine with Amaretto as an aperitif at the Garden. (We were SO cosmopolitan!) All gone. Cold Cucumber Soup at the Crate and Barrel (?) cafe? on Rittenhouse Square. (Maybe it wasn't C&B........what was it? In the courtyard of a retail store that occupied a beautiful old mansion.......Marimekko?)

            2 Replies
            1. re: dockhl

              If you love cold cucumber soup, go to Nan (40th and Chestnut) where it is almost always a warm-weather special. We have never had any like it - it is fabulous!
              I think Nan is currently closed for vacation, but should be reopening soon.

              1. re: dockhl

                The store was Design Research (now Anthropologie).

                I remember wonderful cold blueberry soup at Holly Moore's Cafe (it was on the 2nd floor -- Sansom Street, maybe?), and the Salade Nicoise at The Garden -- both from that same era, Dockhl.

              2. Mine would have to be my first meal at Osteria. Started off with a special which was a big chunk of house made buffala mozzarella served with crostini toasted in the wood burning oven and topped with sauteed swiss chard. Followed that with the lombarda pizza with the fried egg in the middle. Next course was the pasta with boar's head ragu (not on the menu right now, but I expect to see it back in the fall). Next was their version of cassoulet, house made black pepper sauage and braised pork ribs served over a bed of creamy polenta and cabbage. For dessert, we had the chocolate and goat cheese "fritelle" served with a side of tangerine curd for dipping.The meal was so good I posted about it a while back.


                1. Design Research !!!! That was it ! My very first cold cuke soup experience..............what was the mansion? I loved that place.

                  I still make the Thai Chicken Curry from Frog. It has a bechamel that you season with your Thai curry etc and fold chicken and broccoli into, top with peanuts. Very French/Thai. Before their time.............

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dockhl

                    It's the old van Rensselaer mansion. From

                    Facing the Square on the northeast corner is the former home of Alexander Van Rensselaer, a financier and supporter of the Philadelphia Orchestra
                    under Leopold Stokowski. One of the few splendid old mansions to survive, it once housed the Pennsylvania Athletic Club.

                    And just to keep this post chow-ish -- yes, Frog! So wonderful, so missed.