Sunday, January 8, 2012

Brunch at Lacroix

My dear friend Dale has a major milestone birthday tomorrow, so his sweet wife (also a dear friend) Q, set up brunch for a few friends and family at his favorite restaurant; Philadelphia's famed Lacroix in the Rittenhouse Hotel, today. There were about a dozen of us, only a few of whom had ever been to Lacroix, before. Uncle P, needless to say, had not, though I have been regaled with stories of incredible meals Dale and Q had eaten there.

Appetizers, a cold bar and a dessert bar were set up in the dining room, while the hot foods and frozen desserts were actually served in the kitchen. LaCroix specializes in "unique" dishes. And when I say "unique," I'm not kidding. Among the appetizers were fois-gras and granola; yogurt, long pepper and cashew shooters; bay leaf soda shooters; purple sweet potato salad; black garlic aioli, arugula and feta cheese crisps; beluga lentil salad; prosciutto and ricotta croissants and a unique chopped chicken and waffles salad. Mind you, all of these items were teeny-tiny in size. The croissants couldn't have been bigger than a dime and the silver-dollar pancakes were actually the size of a quarter. The hot foods included a crispy duck comfit; scallop sausage and traditional scrambled eggs and bacon. For dessert, there were tiny dulce-de-leche cheesecakes; strawberry shooters and an amazing flash-frozen raspberry foam which was dipped into liquid nitrogen before our eyes. 

Now, Uncle P is not an adventurous eater by any means. Oh, I'll try anything once, but there some foods I actively despise. Liver; mushrooms (I know - but they all taste like dirt to me); caviar (oily, salty and fishy - yuck); most fish and pesto (I'm gagging as I write this) and lamb (I can't even stand the smell of it cooking) are among the worst offenders. Still, I must admit to really loving just about everything I ate at Lacroix. And even when I didn't truly love something, the portions were small enough that a sip of my $15 (!!) mimosa and the next item took it away. Here's a review and sample menu from a few years ago. None of those items were on today's menu.

Of course, none of that really mattered. What was important was spending time with good friends in celebration. And Lacroix certainly provided the right atmosphere for that. Our attentive wait staff was on the ball, refolding our napkins every time we got up to get something else to eat and re-filling our water and coffee before they were actually empty. Considering what Q paid to feed all of us, I'd say she got her money's worth.

Happy Birthday, Dale! I love you, but next time, let's go to a traditional steak house. OK?

More, anon.


Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I envy your life. It sounds so exciting.

Prospero said...

Hardly. I have a mostly boring life with the occasional fun day, just like everyone else.