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pork

Post-Sandy Dinner at Pumpkin

Happy 2013! This may be the year of timely blogging… but I doubt it! And in that same spirit, I give you a very, very, very delayed rundown of my last meal at Pumpkin.
Pumpkin held a special post-Hurricane Sandy 3-for-$30 dinner. B was still stuck in town since all flights and trains continued to be cancelled, so we decided to all go out for a nice dinner. The power of twitter! The sweet potato soup with honey miso and apple. This was unbelievable, and it was M’s favorite dish of the entire evening. Seriously Pumpkin, how do you do this? It’s a mild, yet distinct sweet potato taste, and incredibly creamy. You can also taste the very subtle honey miso and apple, and you just want it to never end. This is simply an incredible soup. Bottle this, and I’d drink it every day.
I am a sweet potato freak, but I’m equally a scallop freak, so I opted for the barnegat light scallops as my first. These were 3 healthy sized seared scallops served with a zesty beet and lentil vinaigrette. Perfect. This was just perfect. I mean, if you like scallops. And if you like beets. And I love both. If you do not love scallops or beets… shame on you. They rule.
I remembered the last time I had the duroc pork here, and how succulent it was, so both the boys got the duroc pork, two ways. There were slices of loin and also a pork belly. They both enjoyed this immensely. I don’t know whether it’s the duroc pork or how Pumpkin is preparing it, it’s probably a magical combination of both, but I will say it again. Pumpkin serves up some of the best pork I’ve ever had.
I wanted to be different so I got the waluu spicy shellfish stew. Not too spicy, with a nice healthy helping of fish. The broth was super yummy. This was great, but honestly, the pork rules here. Heed my very humble recommendation. When at Pumpkin, order the duroc pork!
The boys got the butterscotch pudding with rum raisins and gingersnap. I swear they both practically stuck their faces into their ramekins and licked the insides clean.
Once again I had to be different and got the chocolate cake with banana caramel and passion fruit sorbet. So chocolatey! And remember that I’m not all that into chocolate. So banana cramelly! And man alive, the passion fruit sorbet is uber concentrated and is like a thousand passion fruits punching you in the face. And you love these punches, every one. Service was great, as usual. Even when B tried to get a sample of the pumpkin gnocchi, and got denied because there just wasn’t any to spare, she did it so super nicely. I love me some Pumpkin. I’m so happy it’s literally the closest restaurant to my home. 

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Stateside

Stateside is a small plate spot that opened off East Passyunk. It’s small, cool, has a big focus on wine and whiskey, and serves up some delicious locally-sourced bites. E and I dined there a gazillion months ago and I’m finally blogging about it!
I’m pretty much of a weenie when it comes to cheese. I didn’t really grow up eating it (did they even have cheese in South Korea in the 70’s and 80’s?) so while I love mac & cheese and baked brie, I’m not someone who would be sad if cheese disappeared from the earth. But I’m trying to be better about it. We got cheese! Here is the bayley hazen blue cheese with smoked bacon caramel and the harbison with almond puree. Stinky cheeses are really not my thing, so while I tasted the blue, I was much more of a fan of the smoked bacon caramel. Smoked bacon caramel! Yep, just what it is – delicious caramel with a hint of bacon. They need to bottle this stuff. The harbison was great, smooth and mild.
An adorable mason jar of cauliflower and raisin pickles! I love fresh pickles. And considering that cauliflower is pretty boring plain, the pickling gave em just the right amount of flavor. The raisins were a surprisingly sweet touch.
E and I both love beets, so whenever we eat together, there’s a good chance that if beets are on the menu, we’re ordering it! This one had red and golden beets, plus shredded pear. And those little sprouty things I love.
Mmm… pork belly… crispy on the outside… with apples on top…
It ain’t no fluke that we ordered fluke! Ok, I’ll stop now. I’ve noticed that whenever E and I go eat, we also order fluke. So fluke and beets seem to be a common theme.
I rarely get to eat dessert when I eat out because I’m usually way too stuffed. That’s why I love small plates so much, as it’s easier to leave room for it. The chocolate torte! So small and cubic, but so rich and chocolatey.
But what I ordered is the dessert that everyone was talking about – the apple stuffed doughnut with vanilla bean caramel and candied bacon. It was dreamy, it truly was. I love apple stuffed anything, so I liked the donut as it was. But the caramel with candied bacon? Yes, please! We thoroughly enjoyed our meal here, and the service was great and friendly. We’re definitely going back to try some more small plates!

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Pumpkin – Sunday Tasting

E and I started back our weekly dinners in an epic way. We ventured to south street to dine at Pumpkin for their sunday night five course tasting menu. It was everything we thought it would be, and more! The dining area is small and intimate. There was a big table there, so it was probably a bit noisier than normal. They were russian, had lots of booze, and were having lots and lots of toasts! Since Pumpkin uses as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, their menu does not come out until the day of the meal. I was really excited about what was in store.
The complimentary bread with garlic infused oil. Yep, even their bread is good! It was crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, and the oil was dreamy. I could have drank it.
The first course was a chilled tomato soup with buttermilk and eggplant. There was a lot more to it, but I can’t even be sure of the rest of the ingredients. The bowl came out with some veggies (radishes?) and some dark crumbly bits and a white foam. The white foam is probably the buttermilk, maybe? The dark crumbly bits tasted like toast. The server poured the soup into your bowl at the table. I wasn’t even sure how to eat this! Do I mix it together? Do I eat things separately? Do I just make my own combinations? I never quite figured it out but enjoyed it thoroughly. The soup was beyond fresh, I could taste the green! What does that even mean? I don’t know, but that’s how I describe it. It was just damn tasty.
The second course for E was the new jersey sweet corn risotto with brandade, leek, and clam. It doesn’t look like a typical risotto. This thing was delicious! The corn was fresh and sweet, the seafood was a nice complement, and there was foam, again!
My second course was a free range coddled egg with sunchoke, morcilla blood sauage, and potato. There were two other thick liquids on this dish that I couldn’t really identify. And again, I was at a bit of a loss as to how to eat this thing. So I just took little bits of each area and just made it up as I went. This was incredibly rich and savory. But I liked it all!
The third course was this beautiful salad of heirloom tomatoes, pistachio, watermelon, and buttered popcorn ice cream. What did I just say? Yes, I just said buttered popcorn ice cream. On. My. Salad. There were several different types of tomatoes, all which were great. There were these tiny little cucumbers that looked like micro watermelons. They were adorable and tasted slightly cucumber-like. The ice cream was a crazy touch, and by crazy, I mean crazy good. It pretty much tasted like straight up butter, but with a slight popcorn taste. The more I ate it, the more the popcorn flavor came out. I’ve never eaten salad with ice cream before. It was an unexpected surprise.
E’s fourth course was the rhode island skate with cauliflower, black olive puree, and a caper sauce. The fish was simply pan fried and was simply delicious. It did not need any adulteration. She particularly enjoyed the cauliflower.
My fourth course was the duroc pork loin with quail egg, turnips, chocolate dusted mushroom, black garlic paste, and horseradish cream. Ok, this is a pretty strong statement, but I’m going to make it. This is the best pork I’ve ever tasted. Ever. I’m being completely serious. Plain and simple. In all honesty, I did not even know that pork could taste like this. It was just perfect. The garlic paste was super savory with a slight asian hint to it, and I loved it with the pork. The turnips were great. The quail egg was a bit of a letdown. It didn’t really have any kind of flavor. It wasn’t even particularly egg-like!
E’s fifth course was the flourless chocolate cake with cardamom, passion fruit concentrate, and coconut sorbet. This thing was rich and creamy and strong! The passion fruit dollop was the most concentrated flavor of passion fruit I’ve ever experienced.
My fifth course was the caramelized white chocolate goat cheesecake with apricot sorbet, fig, and brown butter. The powdery stuff? It’s butter! This cheesecake was awesome, with just the tiniest hint of goat cheeseness (yes, sometimes I make up words). I’m not the biggest fan of goat cheese, but trust me, it’s great. The apricot sorbet was perfect, the figs were mildly sweet. This was truly a meal to remember. Every single dish knocked our little socks off. And I don’t think E and I will ever stop talking about the buttered popcorn ice cream! Service was friendly and excellent. And you know that getting five courses of food of this type of quality and inventiveness is nuts at a price like this. We can’t wait to come back!

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