TAYLOR and I had dinner at pif the other night. pif is a newish BYOB [translation: no expensive liquor license] restaurant in Center City Philadelphia. The menu is varied and innovative, but the underlying theme is clearly French. pif's claim to novelty is the that it has no fixed menu. The chef visits the Italian Market (Philly's famous open-air produce market) every morning, and picks out whatever looks good. He then develops ad-hoc dishes using these ingredients for the evening meal. The result is that every night's dinner menu is unique, and you never know what you're going to find when you arrive at pif.
Last night, Taylor had the sautéed skate over rice, with spinach and raisins, and I had a duck leg-and-thigh confit with squash puree and the same spinach with raisins. Both were very good. The duck was somewhat on the greasy side, but that's duck for you. Taylor let me try some of her skate, as I had never had it before. I had imagined it would taste rather like shark, both critters being in the same group of chondrichthyes fishes, but no. The taste was more like shellfish, something between calamari and scallops. Very good, I'll have to try it, if I can ever find it at... oh, damn, at Acme. Well, that's where I shop. Sometimes I hate the 'burbs. Actually, there is a fish-market in Media which I drive past fairly often on the way home from work, that might have skate. The waitress confided to us that if you should try buy it pre-skinned, because skinning skate is a major chore.
Dessert was an extraordinarily rich coffee-flavored pot de creme for Taylor and an almond Financier with carmel sauce for me. A 'Financier'? Gosh, I thought, I've never eaten a banker before. It turned out to be a rather dry, mildly sweet cake, almost like coffee-cake. The pot de creme, though, was superb.
pif is fun, and well worth trying if you're near Philly. It has gotten a lot of press lately, though, and is quite small, so reservations are necessary even on weeknights.
shiroi == white (adj.)
kuuhaku == a blank space