Friday, May 24, 2013

House of William and Merry, Hockessin, DE

We took my mom out for Mother's Day to the House of William and Merry in Hockessin. I've always liked going out to Hockessin. Not that Newark, DE is a city or anything, but Hockessin always felt like going to "the country."

For years our go-to place in Hockessin was The Back Burner, so it was nice to notice William and Merry just down the street the last time we were there. While I still like the old standbys of pumpkin-mushroom soup, classics like the iceberg wedge or chicken salad at the Back Burner, I have to say I think W&M is more inventive.

My duck confit sandwich was the best dish we ordered, I think. The duck was melt-in-your-mouth-falling-apart good, with saga blue cheese, and super yummy fig jam -- served on a brioche bun, cut with a hole on top to let the poached egg show (growing up we called this "dong dong dan" - hole hole egg). 
 I already knew Redneckhunter would order the biscuits and gravy.  W&M's was less filthy than the Southern standard, and interesting to add the melted Cheddar cheese.

My dad got the Bacon and Gouda crepe with a "crispy poached egg."  This was an interesting take on a Scotch egg.  My mom's Smoked Salmon Crepe was made with the same delicious fig jam, as well as brie and capers.

We all shared a side of house made scrapple too.  It was definitely the clean plate club that day at brunch -- so much we didn't have room for dessert.  With their emphasis on local ingredients, I wasn't surprised that they served Woodside Creamery ice cream (just a few minutes down Valley Road).

My parents said they wanted to go back to try dinner at William and Merry.  I think we've found a second go-to place.

The House of William and Merry
1336 Old Lancaster Pike, Hockessin DE 19707

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pig's Head at Alla Spina, Philadelphia

Redneckhunter's brother came to visit and flew into Philadelphia airport, so we picked him up and immediately took him to Alla Spina for dinner. We sat in the "lounge" area, and the whole place was an entirely different atmosphere from brunch.  Much more bar-like with low lights, low-key hip-hop.

As soon as the waitress (the same one we had at brunch incidentally) told us that night's special was a pig's head for 2 served with thick cut toast and a blueberry reduction, we all knew what we were having for dinner.

We got that along with some starters -- homemade pretzels (served in a wooden cute piggy bowl) with beer cheese dipping sauce, rabbit terrine, and poutine with guinea hen ragu. The prices were similar to the brunch prices, so totally reasonable. Redneckhunter and his brother naturally ordered some sampling flights, and we settled in.

The starters were good (if I would have one complaint, it would be that I wished there were more cheese curds on the poutine), but the pig's head was absolutely heavenly!  The meat was falling off tender, juicy, with just enough gooey cartilage to be delicious but not fatty.  It went well with the wonderful sticky gooey sweet and tartness of the blueberry reduction. Even the toast was buttery and divine. I picked that poor piglet's head apart, but it was the perfect size for 3 people to share. 

Alla Spina
1410 Mt Vernon St
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Monday, May 20, 2013

Aux Epices, NYC

On our last LES shopping day, Petitesoeur wanted to try a Malaysian place called Aux Epices she had read about in Serious Eats. So we hiked over to Chinatown to an unassuming pleasant little eatery tucked away on Baxter Street.

We both wanted the Nasi Lemak for sure, and decided to get a couple appetizers as well -- hijiki fish dumplings and duck spring rolls. 
The Serious Eats review had mentioned how the Rendang was less greasy than Nyonya.  We didn't try that, but I felt the same way about the Nasi Lemak - definitely less rich than Fatty Crab's, but still very delicious. The plate was artfully arranged, and I thought Petitesoeur (who likes to keep her food separated) would appreciate being able to mix the curry, dried fish, peanuts, pickles, etc. herself.  I did miss having an egg on the plate though...

I think our favorite dish of the night, though, may have been our 2nd dessert. We first got their signature Maylasian specialty - warm tapioca, taro, sweet potato, coconut milk - I wish I could remember the silly name it had (Petitesoeur reminded me -- bo bo cha cha!) This was comforting, but with most Asian desserts I find them just a bit too healthy and wholesome and not decadent and sinful enough.

So we decided to go for it and order the mango tart on top of that - talk about decadent!  It was warm and flaky and creamy, with a great burnt sugar flavor and freshness of the fruit sweetness.  So good!

The husband and wife team were friendly and inviting too.  The husband was eating his own dinner in the dining room, and came around a few times to check on us.  The wife came out of the kitchen after the meal to say hi.  Definitely a place to go back to with more people, so we can try some of the delicious looking noodle bowls and dishes we saw going to other people's tables.

Aux Epices 
121 Baxter St, New York 10013
(Btwn Hester & Canal St)
(212) 274-8585

Friday, May 10, 2013

Brick Farm Market, Hopewell NJ

Mercer County foodies have been eagerly awaiting the opening of the Brick Farm Market in Hopewell, NJ.  They are finally slated to open next Friday, May 17, but they are doing a sneak preview tonight during Hopewell's Cruise Night. We've been lucky to have tasted some of their wares through the past few months, including delicious salumi -- coppa, lardo, sopresatta, whipped lardo (so good melted over toasted baguette!), and a variety of cheeses.  Can't wait to try more goodies tonight!

Brick Farm Market
65 East Broad Street
Hopewell, NJ 08525
(609) 466-6500