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ice cream

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!

Pumpkin on Urbanspoon

Cold Point Pub – New Menu

Cold Point Pub, in the Whole Foods at Plymouth Meeting, recently added many items to their previously small menu. I had a chance to preview it this week to try out some of their new offerings. ¬†For those of you that don’t know, within the Whole Foods, Cold Point Pub serves six local rotating beers on tap, wine, and has over 300 bottled beers for take-out. And of course, you can eat there too. And now, there’s much more to choose from.

I love me some sweet potato fries so I definitely had to try those. But I also wanted to order the fish and chips. Instead of getting additional chips, I asked them to hold the extra chips. These sweet potato fries are great! There’s actually a mix of regular ones and salted ones, so with the sweet potatoes, you get some that are a little salty, and some that are just sweet. It’s a nice mix. The fish came out nice and hot! It’s a nice quality turbot fish but the batter was a bit too greasy for me. It comes with a nice homemade remoulade for dipping. There’s also some zesty slaw that I absolutely loved and devoured.
I’m a bit of a mac and cheese addict, so I had to try that! As with their takeout stuff, this mac and cheese was great. It was rich but a nice and mild dish, without a sharp taste, which is what I prefer. It’s a nice and creamy mac. It was supposed to have a breadcrumb topping, but for whatever it did not. With that, it would have been even better, but it was already pretty great.
I got the apple pie a la mode for dessert. Look at this presentation! It’s gorgeous! It’s a little mini individual pie, that’s placed on top of a slathering of what I think is dulce de leche. It’s sprinkled with cinnamon, topped with vanilla bean ice cream, and has an almond cookie thing on top (I have no idea what those things are called). This was a rather decadent apple pie! It tasted great, and the dulce de leche was a nice and luxurious touch, but I would have loved having some more apples in the pie. It was a little shy on the apple side! The variety on the new menu is great, for young and old. This mini pub is a nice and casual option, and you get plenty of food for the buck. And don’t forget, you could always go on the roof for the tacos!

Zion National Park

Zion National Park was our last stop, and it was the biggest park, by far. There are two main sections and in the main section, the more popular one, you have to take a shuttle system throughout most of it. It’s convenient and informative! One of the most well-known hikes there is Angel’s Landing. It’s a long climb up… a long, dangerous, and treacherous climb up. But it’s totally awesome and totally worth it.
And when you get to the top, you can eat your crappy supermarket sandwich at 1500 ft. Anything crappy ends up being super delicious.
There are a bunch of chipmunks and squirrels up there with you to be your dining companions. You’re not supposed to feed them, but a bunch of kids were feeding them sunflower seeds. Yeah, it was pretty adorable.Zion is one of the few parks where there are some facilities for food inside the actual park. We even got some soft serve.
They also don’t sell any bottled water there. Why? Because they have delicious unadultered and free spring water. So bring some refillable bottles or hydration packs and drink in some of the free nature.
There’s also a beer garden! Because you know, you can’t bond with nature unless you’re drunk?

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