Thursday, December 30, 2010

Max Brenner, Philadelphia - Quick Review

1500 Walnut St., Philadelphia

After a show at the Arden Theater, my Girlfriend, Mo, and I were looking forward to checking out Max Brenner with our kids. From what I'd heard, everything is made with chocolate!

We arrived mid-afternoon, mid-week hoping it to be slow. Unfortunately, it's the week between Christmas and New Year's Day so anyone with vacation time to use up is off. The second you walk in the door expect to be blasted with the scent of chocolate. It's piped right in. If you stuck out your tongue you would taste it in the air.

When I walked in to Max's, I expected to be smack dab in the middle of the Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory--everything to be made from chocolate, taste like chocolate, be chocolate. It was almost so.

While we waited, oh so painfully, for our table to be bussed from the last batch of diners, the kids entertained themselves by watching a giant vat o' chocolate on auto blend. And, of course, touching every gift package in sight. Plus, as we waited, we had the pleasure of overhearing a patron complain about the slow service.

 Hmmm, there seems to be a theme, and I'm getting less and less excited to sit down with four wound up kids.

Once we were finally seated, there was plenty to choose from for the kids...we ended up with the Ultimate Treat which included your choice from a dozen different hot chocolates and an item from the lunch menu.

Mo and I both ordered the Grilled Chicken Panini, delivered on a wooden slab with exactly 5 waffle french fries. Grilled chicken, goat cheese, spinach, tomato, black olive pesto on a toasted panini roll was delish.

We agreed to go back for a Girls Night Out and try some of the fancy chocolate cocktails and munch on the chocolate desserts. With the four kids, there was no time for lingering over anything luxurious this time. But definitely worth a revisit.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Slate Restaurant

102 S. 21st Street, Philadelphia

Slate was a convenient choice for Girls Night Out. Being relatively new and close to the Cleopatra exhibit which the Girlfriends and I had just explored, why not venture a try? It was a cold night and we weren't up for a long walk.

Once we walked in, however, we were a little let down to see just one other table of patrons. That always makes me nervous. But, at least we have no problem getting a decent table. The ambiance was nice for a neighborhood restaurant. It had potential...

The menu was reminscent of typical bar food, but kicked up a notch. It looked promising.

We started with traditional calamari and spicy remoulade ($9) which was good. It was crispy and had a nice kick. The baked goat cheese ($8) salad with toast points was just average thanks to the bitter lettuce that was nearly inedible if you didn't pair a leaf with the cheese.

One Girlfriend and I ordered the tilapia in parchment paper with seasonal vegetables. If you're watching your waistline, this is the way to go as it has no sauce, no spice and no flavor. Just steamed fish and vegetables. However, it arrived for the Girlfriend...raw. As in, not on purpose and not edible. R.A.W. What chef doesn't check his food before it's sent out?

Another Girlfriend tried the pasta with scallops and shrimp. But it was oily and seemed to be "low tide in oil", because the scallops were fishy.

To top off our less than mediocre experience, the ladies bathroom was "pissy", and the wine pours were ridiculously slight.

Not worth a return visit...ever.
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