Its cold, very cold. The last few days in Rhode Island have been quite chilly by this Floridians standards. In the low fifties and rainy for most of the time with a couple of days of brisk sunshine was about all I could take from a weather standpoint. Although the weather sucked, it was sad to leave. We packed so much in to this short stay my head is still spinning. Introducing Isabela to family and friends, playing with Isabela’s cousin and future partner-in-crime, Sophia, visiting pumpkin patches and farm stands, family dinners, walks in the park, and something called the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo, were all great fun and concluded the Northern leg of the trip. On Saturday morning, we packed the car and began the trip back down south to some warmer weather.
Initially, we thought we could make it from Rhode Island to Washington, Virginia in one day but after looking at a map we decided that this nine hour drive was not such a good idea, especially if it was to conclude with a two and a half hour dinner at the Inn at Little Washington. A quick search on Apple Maps revealed that Philadelphia was roughly half way to Virginia. Some juggling of reservations, tweeting with chef and owner Kevin Sbraga and a few spirited phone calls with Hotels.com later and we were booked. Off to Philly we went with a reservation at Sbraga one of Esquire Magazines top 20 Best New Restaurants in 2012.
As we all know, Philly is known for cheesesteaks *(As a NY Giants fan I will not comment on the EAGLES). This oozy, cheesy, steak and cheese creation was on my mind as we left Rhode Island. I began to think of the last time I was in Philly and what local place had the best cheesesteak. Were we going to stop at Jim’s Steaks on South Street or Campo’s Deli on Market. I had a few hours drive to decide. I was also itching to try a more refined restaurant in Philly — Sbraga. Opened exactly on year ago (congratulations on your one year anniversary) Spraga is the namesake of Kevin Sbraga the winner of Top Chef Season 7. I could not wait to sample this Modern American Restaurant.
After checking in to the Hotel Monaco, we made our way to the restaurant for our 6:15 reservation. Yes, we eat early these days to ensure that the little one doesn’t throw a fit while papa is devouring his goose liver. The table was ready upon our arrival and the staff accommodated our stroller. A quick glance at the cocktail menu and I ordered the Knob Creek Rye, Doulin Rouge, Maple- Bacon. This cocktail sounded, tasted and finished as expected — smoky, sweet and the perfect note to begin our dinner. Mama had her nerve calming, traditional stroller pushing vodka and soda as we began our meal.
Venison- foie gras terrine with sweet and sour eggplant
Shrimp bisque, butternut, tapioca, popcorn
Pumpkin tortellini, escargot, tom ka gai
Octopus, pri pri, green beans, tapanade
Meatloaf, carrots hazelnut, crust mushrooms
Lamb, brussels sprouts, peanuts, corn porridge
After the third course, Isabela showed us who was boss and we made a quick exit taking our dessert to go. Our server suggested which desserts would travel well and boxed them up for our departure. Back to the hotel for the second half of the Gator game, Yankee Game and South Carolina and LSU SEC barnburner. We put Isabela in her bassinet and finished our dessert.
We are now off to Virginia to cross one more thing off my bucket list — dinner at the Inn at Little Washington. But not before a quick stop at Jim’s Philly Cheesesteak on the way out of town. Shhhhh, As I’m writing this neither Amy or Isabela are aware of this impromptu stop…