Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's Brunch Time (at Fare)

Grab your parents; it’s brunch time.

As Penn students without cars we find ourselves in a bit of a bubble. An adventure is a trip to Rittenhouse for a BYO or maybe a jaunt to Chinatown. Enter your saviors, your ambassadors to a wider world: parents. While your own parents are preferred, feel free to be resourceful. Your friends likely have parents who would love to buy you a meal so you can tell them what their child is really like at school.

This family weekend, which coincided with Halloween and a terrible storm, my parents and I did brunch. We headed to Fare, an organic and sustainable restaurant in Fairmount, a neighborhood in North Philadelphia. Fare is beautifully designed, with an open and light filled dining room. The seats are comfortable and tables are laid out so you don’t hear every word of your neighbor’s conversation (a true luxury for a native New Yorker).

Fare pays attention to details. The coffee is French press and they’re happy to leave a press on your table and refill it endlessly. The mugs are large and ergonomic; I want to buy one and use it daily. Ditto with water; they offer still or sparkling at no charge. It was only upon researching for this post that I found out they filter municipal water and don’t believe in charging people for bottled water. I was first impressed with the ambiance, then with the food.

I ordered poached eggs with corn cakes and salsa verde. They arrived with the eggs jiggling and a salad of mixed greens. The corn cakes had the unexpected surprise of actual pieces of corn, which provided wonderful texture with the corn and perfectly cooked eggs. It was a dish difficult to stop eating. Every bite was followed by a desire for more until suddenly the plate was empty (and I hadn’t taken a photo). My dad ordered a sausage omelet (they offer a special vegetable and meat omelet each week; the vegetable one featured leeks and mozzarella) and my mom also ordered the poached eggs. Alas, I could only order one thing, and I settled rather immediately on the poached eggs, both because of their delicacy and lack of availability at any dining establishment on campus, other dishes caught my eye. I was tempted to order a batch of their baked chicken meatballs or perhaps a mango smoothie for later. We somehow managed to resist the dessert menu, but future visits are definitely in order. I left the restaurant satisfied and grateful for a lovely weekend with my family (we dined with my uncles, long time Philadelphia residents who greatly enriched our conversation).

And then something interesting happened. As I googled Fare for information for this article, I realized just how much attention to detail this Fairmount restaurant pays. A cheeky and informative blog post on their website entitled “I’m not going to say it” detailed the painstaking efforts towards sustainability taken by the restaurant. To illustrate, "I am not going to say that all the wood tables and veneers are FSC-certified. I am not going to say that the substrates are non-formaldehyde. I am not going to say that the fabrics for the chairs and banquettes are eco-friendly coming from very high post-consumer recycled content. I am not going to reveal to you that the red light pendants over the bar are, in fact, made from traffic lights. I also won’t bring up the fact that the ceiling tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms are made from recycled material-and that includes the grid! The carpet? Yup. Recycled polyester. How gorgeous is that.” So let me get this straight: this restaurant is well designed and delicious. They neither own a deep fryer nor pollute the earth too much. Next year’s family weekend is October 5-7th. I’ll see you (and your parents) at Fare.

Photo courtesy of Ask Miss A.

1 comment:

  1. i completely second this review! my egg white omelette was delicious, my friend's chicken meatballs were scrumptious (as were his apple ricotta pancakes and carrot ginger juice), and my sweet potato semifreddo was exceptional. i can't wait to go back and try their smoothies -- the list was both creative and extensive! :D



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