Monday, April 10, 2006

On my first night in Philadelphia, I attended a lecture on architecture in the age of Benjamin Franklin which was really incredible. Of the three houses in which Franklin resided during his career as a diplomat, only the London one survives. His Philadelphia house, Franklin Court, was torn down just 20 years after his death by his own descendants to make room for 6 rental properties in order to provide and income for the family.

After the lecture a colleague with an expense account took me to Bookbinder's for dinner. Apparently its famous as the place to be seen in old Philadelphia and has been for 150 years I think.

I attach this photo of the bar at Bookbinders so that I can say that our table was the table right in the middle of the room there. I can say that I was shocked by the prices in this boisterous watering hole. Its mostly seafood and my mouth dropped open when the waiter told us that they were really famous for their lobster which were $29.00 a lb with a two lb minimum! Sixty bucks for the smallest lobster in the joint. That would feed a family of four a beautful lobster here in Maine.... with real butter even! The New York Strip steak was $45.00...this wasn't the Philadelphia I was used to.
So I ordered the famous snapper soup and chicken ceasar. My dining companion had fried oysters and the seafood cob salad with a double espresso for dessert (I'd be up all night).
The soup was great, and the turtle meat wasn't very big, so I didn't have to think about it...It arrived as a thick rich brown broth with a carafe of sherry on the side that you poured over the top and mixed, super delicious with the homemade breads they had.
The ceasar was fine after I removed the anchovie. M.L. appeared to love her fried clams, but wasn't that interested in the cobb salad, which doesn't sound great to me anyway.
This place is right on Walnut and second street and, I think, is filled with more tourists than glam queens. The service was perfect, every time I put my water glass down, there was a waiter to fill it. More bread was magically placed on the table and our plates were cleared immediately, something that I personally love.
Gotta try making that soup, or at least find a recipe to see what's in it.


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