Tuesday, February 23, 2010
I've been looking for a new Mansion since leaving The Racquet Club of Philadelphia. My spirit calls out a yearning to spend time in a stately, historic setting. I'm most at home descending a grand staircase; dining under chandeliers; relaxing in a dark wood paneled library, sipping 18 year old scotch over clinking ice in an Italian crystal lead rocks glass, which I place on the fireplace mantle for a moment while a gentlemen lights my 28 ring gauge cigar.
True, as the events person, I did more coordinating of this kind of scenario than actually living it, but even Julie McCoy got to enjoy the amenities of the "Love Boat" from time to time.
So my continuing search for a mansion in which to dwell for even a brief amount of time, lead me into the historic Centennial House Cafe (4700 States Drive) and discovered a good spot to enjoy breakfast, lunch, coffee hour, tea time and free WiFi. Opulent? No, but I was taken by the quaint, modest, revolutionary period decor, and friendly staff.
It's historic name is the Ohio House. It served as a clubhouse and exhibition hall during the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. We all know what happened in 1776 and I remember the Freedom Train of 1976, but I never really thought about what happened to celebrate the 100 Anniversary in 1876. Turns out it was the first major World's Fair to be held in the United States. It opened on May 10, 1876 on a 285-acre tract of Fairmount Park overlooking the Schuylkill River, playing host to 37 nations and countless industrial exhibits occupying over 250 individual pavilions.
The Ohio House, although still under the historic preservation of Fairmount Park, became the Centennial Cafe and catering event location under the ownership of David Grovesman, who appears to be un-Googleable.
Their specialty is meats slow cooked in a smoker grill, located on the grounds; so I decided try the Groovy's Smoked Brisket $9.95 Lean Top Round Beef Brisket (1/4 lb) topped with The Dave's Special Sauce on a Kaiser Roll
I'll hand it to Dave, his sauce was very savory with plenty of sweet onions; the brisket itself, good, but not "slap ya Momma good", and for $9.95 it needed to be larger, on a tastier roll and come with french fries.
Centennial House also prides itself on their Homemade Cakes. Those close to me know that I'm serious when it comes to cake. I might be convinced to commit a crime if the reward involved really good cake. I ordered the red velvet, but made the mistake of not ordering it served with my meal, so that it would have time to defrost. Cake MUST be served room temperature! I decided to sit for a while and read my book and listened in on a conversation.
This woman was saying she would bring her daughter back to have the chocolate cake; evidently, her daughter is as serious about chocolate as I am about cake. When her daughter was 5 years old she lost her in the mall, panic ensued, search party, the whole thing. Eventually, she found her in the car, face full of chocolate. Apparently, this mother had told her daughter she could eat her chocolate in the car. Meaning, when they were done shopping and back in the car she could open her chocolate. The little girl heard what she wanted to hear and headed for the car at the first availability of escape! Funny, but I wonder why the car wasn't locked?
Anyway, all this is leading up to the fact that my red velvet cake even after defrosting was extremely disappointing. I would love to say it was scrumptious, but I can't.
However, I was very pleased to find a food and film tie-in. The business manager, one cute, personable, Harwood Dunkin, is also a local filmmaker, his film Computer Love will have it's premiere at IHouse (37th & Chestnut) on April 8, 2010. Click the film link, to view a trailer. Unfortunately, I can relate all too well to this storyline of the many hell's that make up the world of online dating.
As for Centennial House, I will return for the atmosphere, and I'll give the soup and chocolate cake a try.
Rating: 2 Tines (* Excellent - 4 Tines * Great - 3 Tines * Good - 2 Tines * Fair - 1 Tine * Poor - Tarnished)