Many, many, many years ago, long before anyone called me daddy, when I could play full court basketball all day, I lived in
The school taught me some things, but more than anything else I got a good taste of rough and tumble eastern city life, back in an era when the streets were tougher than they are now. In those days people were moving out of the cities and into the suburbs. The only people left in town on a Saturday night either couldn’t afford to get out of town, or were rich enough to insulate their lives with luxury.
That was twenty eight years ago and now
When I arrived in Philly last week to visit my two adult daughters, I was not only excited to see them, but I was looking forward to spending time in the city. My oldest daughter, Morgan, recently graduated from college with a degree in classical studies (ancient Greek and Latin) and is now working as a chef. Basically I had come to town to cook with her, and hang out with my other girl, both of whom I hadn’t seen in awhile. The irony of the fact that one of my kids was flipping pans in a city I lived in at the same age was not lost on me and I found myself in awe of the situation. This was further compounded by the fact that my daughter (if she sticks to it) will turn out to be a better cook than I am.
She works at a restaurant called Fork which is situated in Old Town Philadelphia near all the attractions like Ben Franklin’s house and the liberty bell. The restaurant is beautifully outfitted with leather banquettes, dark lighting and a large circular bar. Next door is a café, gourmet shop and bakery which sells’s the best baguette in the city. Chef Thien Ngo, who has worked around the world from
Recently Morgan was promoted to Sous Chef and she spends about seventy hours a week doing everything from baking the breads on Sundays, to helping compose the weekly chef’s dinner on Wednesday nights. The dinner is a first come first serve affair held in the café around a huge wooden table in the middle of the room. The night I attended the table was packed with patrons from all walks of life and the evening was a lively mix of eclectic food and conversation.
I see this new trend of family style dining cropping up across the country and I think it ties in beautifully with the Slow Food idea of supporting our local communities. Thomas Keller’s “temporary” restaurant, Ad Hoc, takes a family-style approach to his inimitable slow food preparations, and other restaurants are part of this trend. This concept has always been a tradition in Europe and I hope the trend continues to grow here in the
When I boarded the plane a few days later, I realized that for the first time in the thirty years I have been traveling to Philadelphia that maybe the city finally can live up to its name The City of Brotherly Love.