it's okay to play with your food

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Silk City Birthday

Ants pants is an Australian expression akin to the bee's knees, describing something as totally awesome. It's also a tiny brunch place in Philly. And it's an apt description for my birthday celebration this past weekend, which included a jaunt to Ants Pants Cafe.
The centerpiece of the weekend was Saturday night at Silk City. It was my first time there since they reopened under new management well over a year ago, with a more upscale menu and higher price point. To be honest, I was resistant to giving the new place a chance, missing the old days of 24-hour service and cheap-but-delicious chocolate bread pudding. But it's been getting great reviews (in just the past week it was featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and a NYT article on Philly), and Silk City is one-stop shopping when it comes to wanting a night of food and dancing.

So six of my besties and I went there for dinner. Half of Silk City is a traditional diner car set up with booths and a long counter. The other half is a dark lounge and bar, with a dining area that morphs into a dance floor around 10pm. Since our party was on the larger side, we were seated in the lounge. Sadly, no pictures are available since our best camera was Eleanor's camera phone which lacks a flash. So you just need to trust that the food was great.

I got steak frites with parmesean truffle fries and shallot red wine butter. I'm not always a skirt steak fan, but it was very flavorful and not overly tough. I also got it rare, which may have made a difference. Other plates included the braised short rib sandwich, the grilled portobello mushroom burger (really super tasty), a pizza off the specials menu, and the Asian spiced tuna burger. Across the table, the french fries, even the basic version, were a hit... crispy outside, soft inside, perfectly salted. Daniel got the smothered chorizo string beans which were basically the texture of a crispy green bean but with the flavor of chorizo sausage. And they didn't disappoint on the dessert front, bringing out a warm brownie topped with chocolate ice cream and strawberry sauce (and yes, a candle) for the birthday girl. The drink highlight of the evening was the Jaded Ruby... grapefruity and alcoholic in a sugar rimmed martini glass.

And then we danced. Nonstop from about 1o pm till 1 am, ringing in my 29th year with the sounds of DJ DeeJay... a man with both a strong knowledge of the oeuvres of Michael, Madonna and Prince and the ability to do a mean split on the dance floor.
After not getting quite enough sleep and grabbing a coffee at Brew/Ultimo, I met up again with Alice, Melanie and Eleanor for brunch at Ants Pants Cafe. The Australian-themed spot is adorable (think more vegemite and less Crocodile Dundee) with some great smells coming from their microscopic open kitchen. It's known as a place with a long wait and good food (like practically every good brunch spot in town). The wait for a table wasn't so much a problem as the wait for the food, which did seem to take excessively long considering what we ordered and when we got it in relation to the other patrons. But everything was delicious. I ordered the dill scrambled eggs with feta, adding salmon. Eleanor went the salad route, with a spinach salad. Alice opted for an egg and bacon sandwich, on a croissant with slices of avocado. Melanie chose the spinach, goat cheese and caramelized onion omelette.
Highlights? The delicious balsamic vinagrette from Eleanor's salad that managed to have a thick, creamy consistency but still maintain a vinegary tang. The perfectly red and round slices of Roma tomato accompanying my thick slice of white feta and just-wilted spinach leaves. Alice's sandwich was a perfect storm of crispy bacon, soft avocado and flaky croissant. And we ordered a bowl of sweet potato fries for the table, crispy curls of burnt orange, served with sides of sour cream and thai chili sauce. I don't always like sweet potato fries for being cut too thick to crisp up properly, but these had a nice ratio of soft to crisp.

Between the dancing and the food, it was a perfect birthday.


Holly H. said...

You are aware that their Beer Garden is opening soon??? Like, realllllly soon??? Like possibly this weekend? Quite exciting!

kitchenplay said...

Yes, I know! As if this place could get any better??!!