Sunday, 5 June 2011

I didn't plan this, honestly!

We always try to look for the local delicacies and, in Philadelphia, you have to try the Philly Cheesesteak.  So we find a restaurant and are taken to our table by our waitress "Brogan" who will be looking after us tonight.  Having established that we're English, but not from London (we're going to get this a lot) she steers us towards the Philly Cheesesteak with Wizz.  Now usually if someone suggests they might put "Wizz" on my food I'd take that as a cue to leave, but she assures us that Wizz (essentially yellow squirty cheese) is the stuff to have, so we bow to her local knowledge.

I ask if they have any local beers and am offered a surprising list of different ales, and again, take Brogan's recommendation.  She returns minutes later with an unexpectedly good pint of something whose name I can't remember but which wouldn't have been out of place if it had been served at the Fighting Cock, Bradford's premiere real ale pub (in my humble opinion).  Realising that I am something of a beer academic, Brogan drops the bombshell… it's Philly Beer Week and she points us in the direction of a free newspaper giving details of all the events, bars and brews (a paper which she happens to help publish).  If I wasn't already married…….

So we get our Cheesesteaks, which are good, kind of shredded steak on a long bread roll, and you can really taste the Wizz!  But I've already got other things on my mind.  Philly Beer Week seems to be a big event which has grown over a number of years and some of the bars are fantastic.  Long, old fashioned pubs with hundreds of Belgian beers, local draught ales and various things which are clearly viewed as exotic here - Magners "Irish" Cider anyone?  We visited a few of these and the following night ate at one of them, The Farmers Cabinet.

Here our waiter provides us with a food menu and a beer menu (and the beer menu is bigger).  While I browse, like a kid in a sweetshop, he tries to find something that Jus will drink.  Not interested in Beer, maybe a Cider? No, OK, well what about a cocktail?  What kind of spirits do you like? OK, you don't like whisky, maybe rum, No?  She asks about one of the cocktails which had rhubarb, rye whisky and some other stuff in it - maybe she could have that but use something else instead of whisky.  The waiter whispers conspiratorially that "The cocktail bar here is a little pretentious.  If I ask for that they'll probably suggest that you shouldn't try that cocktail".  

"A Little Pretentious" describes this place quite well.  Some of the beers are around $40 for a glass.  I try a Brandywine (which the waiter assures me is an English concept, but I've never heard of it) which has been matured in J.W.Lees beer barrels (J.W. Lees I have heard of, and I'm told later that Mr Lees from England is sitting over at the table in the corner, enjoying his visit to Philly Beer week).  The menu declares this beer to be "Life Changing", and it wasn't like anything I've ever tried before - I couldn't drink many, especially given the price, but it was certainly "Evening Changing".

Oh, what does Justine end up choosing?  A Gummy Bear cocktail.  It tasted of Gummy Bears!

1 comment:

  1. Jus I think a "wee dram of Whisky" would go well with a Gummy Bear Cocktail. Or maybe a Bourbon on the Rocks..not the rocks the Gummy Bears live in though..