Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Zama & Grand Caffe L'Aquila First Stops on my Wining & Dining Dating Tour of Philly
I've never been spoiled. I've always taken care of myself on every level. I've only been in relationships and on dates where I'm pulling my own weight financially. I'd like to know what it's like to be wined and dined, taken to nice places, fun places, spoiled a bit. I realize I'm worth it. I'm cute, dress well, no kids, healthy, nice figure, people enjoy my company and I adapt well to new environments & social situations. @tinseltine
Now, I've always written a PG-13 kinda blog, so I probably shouldn't be sharing so much about myself. After all, my Mom reads my blog and I have a reputation to maintain in the Philly community, with my subscribers and advertisers - not that I'd say the profile is racy, but it does imply something, or does it?...
I actually didn't expect anyone to take it seriously. I'm not sure I took it seriously, but believe it or not, I've had two wine and dine dates, with the same guy. Now's where I'd really like to make it interesting and discuss him and the date particulars. Unfortunately, I can't do that, it's not fair to blog about someone in detail when they haven't agreed to be a part of your post.
The first date we went for sushi at the upscale Rittenhouse Zama (128 S 19th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103) I didn't want to be all bloggy, bloggy on the date, so I only took one pic. But I can tell you there's a reason why people pay top dollar and call chef Hiroyuki "Zama" Tanaka one of Philadelphia's elite sushi chefs. We didn't order off the menu, I love that my date took charge and just communicated to the sushi chefs a couple courses, things I've never had before, partly because I'm so boring when it comes to sushi, I usually just order tempura and salmon rolls, or go crazy and do Philly rolls with the cream cheese. I feel like I'm really being hip if I get black rice.
The 2nd date we went to Gran Caffe L'Aquila (1716 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19103) It's more of an eatery, than a traditional Italian restaurant, they specialize in house made Gelato including alcohol-infused varieties that run from 5 to 10 percent alcohol. It's also a pastries and coffee shop in the morning and a just dessert and coffee kinda place at night. But they do have a full dining menu, as well as at least 20 wines by the glass (one from every region of Italy).
It just happened to be Restaurant Week, so I went with it and ordered off the $45 four course menu. I've always felt restaurant week is incentive to try new places; my date however, detests restaurant week, as most true foodies who eat out a lot do. He went off menu again, not to show off, but he's a foodie with many dietary restrictions. Unfortunately, he wasn't happy with his pan seared salmon and I could see why, it was rather crispy. He also wasn't thrilled with the non-menu sauteed veggies or the eventual price either.
I wanted a wine that was jammy and full bodied, but light on the tannins and sugar. It's not easy to find, but I recently had a very inexpensive wine that met all these qualities called Middle Sister, which is a red blend from California, so we're really talking apples and oranges here trying to find something similar on this particular wine list at Gran Caffe L'Aquila. The selection our server chose for me was fine, but still too light.
- My first course - Rimini Salumi Sushi not really sushi, it was Mortadella (a large Italian sausage or cold cut made of finely hashed or ground, heat-cured pork, which incorporates at least 15% small cubes of pork fat) rolled like sushi stuffed with fontina, pistachio with fig marmalade for dipping. I enjoyed it, the fontina had a rice consistency, can't say I tasted the pistachio at all. But over all liked the textures and flavor - 3 Tines
- My 2nd course - Cinghiale Wild Boar & long hot pepper meatballs, tomato sugo slightly more spicy then I realized I was in the mood for and wild boar has a chewier texture than a beef meatball, but it was fun to try - 2 Tines
- My 3rd course - Pappardelle Al Ragu Aquilano Wide ribbon pasta, slow cooked pork, veal, lamb & chicken ragu Hearty tender pieces of meat. And I love a fat pasta whether I'm eating Italian or Chinese. But I once had this dish like 4 or 5 years ago at Garces Trading Company and it was so much tastier. I know because all these years later I remember it and remember wishing the portion had been larger. Nice portion size at L'Aquila , enough for lunch the next day 2.5 Tines
- Dessert of course was L'Aquila award winning Gelato mixing together Creme Caramel Sweet Caramel Custard and Caffe House Roasted coffee flavored gelato - 3.5 Tines
So how did the date go? Well, if he calls to say, how about we try one of those new wine bars in Fishtown, then Frankford Ave, here we come! I'll keep you posted :) #WDMe
Tinsel & Tine Rating System: * Excellent - 4 Tines / * Great - 3 Tines / * Good - 2 Tines / * Fair - 1 Tine /* Poor - Tarnished
Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog