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Feb 1, 2012 01:48 PM

The Commissary. . .

If you remember The Commissary-- will you help me describe it to my husband? A photo would be dandy, too. It may have been the most radical and wonderful restaurant of my eating life. Even now the concept seems contemporary, and as I tried to describe it, my memory lacked details. What I do remember is delicious and fresh food, food stations, sleek interior, and that the menus changed nightly. Did they punch a card when you picked up an item? Ah, yes, and it was fun, too--

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  1. I remember their great carrot cake.

    DCM, please post the recipe!

    4 Replies
    1. re: george2

      It is the carrot cake recipe l still use, it is still perfect

      1. re: george2

        This brings back memories. It's funny -- I am not really a carrot cake person but I did enjoy theirs. The Commissary's matchbooks had a carrot on them, too. I still have one of their matchbooks.

        1. I remember having a wonderful cold artichoke with a mustard sauce I've never been able to duplicate (anybody?). I have their cookbook, which has wonderful chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies, a good carrot-ginger soup, & their signature carrot care. They were ahead of their time in the Phila area. Steve Poses also opened Eden, a more casual restaurant, and Frog, an upscale restaurant with a minimalistic decor. I was lucky to work as a secretary in center city back then & my bosses let me choose a restaurant for an expense-account lunch once a month or so -- Poses' restaurants were my favorites.

          2 Replies
          1. re: thymeoz

            The Frog came first, then Commissary. And I have the cookbook and carrot cake recipe too. Poses had another branch of the Commissary at International House at U of P and then he moved the Frog to fancier digs on Locust Street (from 16th st where Warsaw cafe recently closed. It was like a very high class cafeteria (with wine!).

            1. re: thymeoz

              I'm still looking for this recipe, always end up doing artichokes stuffed with bread crumbs & parm, which is good, but would really like to find a mustard dipping sauce that would work. TIA for any suggestions.

            2. During my senior year in high school, I worked at The Commissary, serving food from behind the counter. We tossed great salads and dished out all sorts of plates of food, from stew-type preparations to baked chicken suffed with pistachios and cheese. There was also a "pasta station" and an "omelette station" in the back. The most popular desserts, which I also sliced and served, were the carrot cake, the chocolate mousse cake, the cheese cake (made in a variety of flavors with a sour cream topping) and the strawberry heart tarts. At the front of the restaurant, baked goods were also sold, most notably their oatmeal cookies with raisins and chocolate chips.

              I also worked at Frog one summer while in high school. I started out as an assistant baker and then took over the production for the remainder of the summer when the head baker hurt her leg and could not work. I was 17 at the time, and I got paid, if I remember correctly, $3.50/hour.

              1. Isn't there a lunch place in the Navy Yard that is run by Frog?

                1. Thank you, all! There is a place in San Diego, where I live now, that keeps reminding me of The Commissary, and that's why I wanted to have you help me describe it to my husband. Now I'll go try and find the cookbook!

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: pickypicky

                    The savory recipes are a bit dated, but the dessert ones remain excellent. Also, the book's illustrations are fabulous.

                    1. re: Nancy S.

                      Is it the Frog Commissary Cookbook? That's the only one I can find.