Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Blue Cat, Philadelphia, PA

One of the many things I love about Philadelphia is the plethora of BYOB restos in the downtown area.  I have yet to find bad food in Philly, and the ability to tote your own wine with no corkage fee into these establishments make them a very affordable way to enjoy fine dining. Meet my new crush in the Museum District, Blue Cat.  Adorable both inside and out.

We arrived around 1:00 PM for lunch/brunch carrying a bottle of Chandon 40th Anniversary Cuvé Rosé recently procured on our November trip to CA wine country.  We received warm, friendly service and champagne glasses along with a small pitcher of OJ (the "good" OJ, not the "throat slashing" OJ) were promptly dispensed so we could make mimosas if we cared to.  First up, and the low point of the meal as far as I'm concerned, were the $9 Pati's Papas Rellanas (mashed potato croquettes filled with shredded duck and smoked mushrooms).  Thrilling on paper, they somewhat failed to deliver on the plate and palate. The potato exterior was nicely crusted, but the interior filling was bland and still cool. The jicama, watermelon, cilantro and pomegranate seed side salad was delightfully tasty and refreshing, however.

Brace yourself, dear reader.  The best empanada on the planet is about to be revealed.  Blue Cat's Nina's Empanada (beef, caper, raisin, egg and almond enrobed in a tender, flaky crust) was completely off the chain. Swoonworthy. Unforgettable.  Orgasmic.  Catch my drift?  I could eat these every day for the rest of my life.

UD could not resist the lure of the $10 Cinnamon French Toast with pan-fried bananas, pecans and dulce de leche. As it turned out, UD chose wisely.  Does this look good or what?  It tasted even better.

I must now announce that my "favorite salad of all time" (Blue Moon Fish Company's Blackened Langostinos and Baby Spinach Salad with Carmelized Onions, Spicy Pecan Goat Cheese Fritters and Walnut Oil Vinaigrette) may have to share the title with Blue Cat's $14 "Carlotta's Cubana Chopped Salad".  A low-carb eater's dream-come-true, I couldn't keep my fork out of it.  This deconstructed Cuban Sandwich consisted of a bed of fresh and crispy romaine lettuce topped with generous portions of julienned ham strips, Swiss cheese, pickle and warm roasted roast pork drizzled in  mustard vinaigrette (with some fried plantains on the side).  Sofa King good.  Already planning an attempt to duplicate this at home.

Blue Cat officially joins my BYOB Philly faves (scoot over, La Viola and Matyson).  So fresh. So innovative, So amazing.

Blue Cat on Urbanspoon
My blog entries contain the unmitigated, and sometimes unforgiving, dining truths and perceptions I experience as an ordinary restaurant patron. Every meal I post about has been fully paid for by one of the participating members of my personal dining party. I do not engage in the gratis blogger freebie dining events I'm constantly invited to attend and never will. If I ooze font-like love for a restaurant in my blog, it's because they totally earned it…not because they gave me free food or knew I was going to share the experience on the internet.

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