Thursday, February 10, 2011

Philadelphia Pies ! Osteria + Amish Whoopies

On Saturday, we had dinner at Osteria, one of the most popular restaurants in Philadelphia.  Mark Vetri opened Osteria 2 years ago, and has already been named Food & Wine's Top 10 Best New Chefs as well as the James Beard Award for Best Mid-Atlantic Chef.

Reservations fill up fast, so I would strongly urge you to book a table as far in advance as possible.  Greeshma and I ended up settling for the 5:45p time slot as it was the latest one available that Saturday.

We were immediately greeted with a cute wooden tray of various breads including crunchy, lightly salted breadsticks, pimiento olive loaf and crusty bread salty with thyme and herbs.  We tried not to fill up on bread, but we were able to make quick work of those breadsticks though.
 Osteria offers some fantastic pizza options, so Greeshma and I ordered two pies to share:

The one I was most excited about was the polpo: octopus, red chili flakes and smoked mozzarella
Yes !  Octopus pizza !
The thickest, meatiest octopus tentacles to ever grace the top of a pizza!  The sauce was deeply flavorful and tangy; the smokey mozzarella complemented the charred octopus bites and the red pepper flakes added the perfect spicy accent.  Greeshma and I could not get over how meaty the octopus was.  It was like eating actual meat.  Meat with yummy suction cups.
The second pizza we ordered was the lombarda: bitto cheese, mozzarella, cotechino sausage,  and a beautiful baked egg front and center.
Look at that luscious egg oozing out. Such a brilliant thing. Egg! On! Pizza!  What was remarkable was that the sauce tasted completely different from the polpo.  The sauce was more mellow and light, the cheese more chewy and mild, and the pork sausage salty and fresh.  Egg ! On ! Pizza !  Genius !
We enjoyed our entrees and the warm, dimly lit, expansive but intimate atmosphere so much that we had to order desserts and prolong our visit further.

Greeshma ordered the blood orange crostate with 63% manjari chocolate.  We weren't quite sure what that meant, but it apparently means a cookie bar that is bleeding dark chocolate.  The slivers of blood orange on top were swoonworthy, but Greeshma was disappointed to find that the center layer was blood orange marmalade...and she hates marmalade.  Still, it was warm, and thus fairly decent.
I ordered the roasted banana puff pastry with burnt caramel gelato.  Yes.  More bananas!  It's a condition !!
This was delicious as one would expect bananas wrapped in puff pastry would be.  The extra crispy, caramelized burnt layers on top were my favorite (of course).  
After, Greeshma and I jumped into our pajama pants since our stomachs were bursting at the seams.  An hour into watching the Joan Rivers documentary quickly facilitated digestion, and we found ourselves hungry. Again!  

Time for some Amish whoopie pies, bought at the counter next to the Dutch Eating Place.

Chocolate whoopie pie, promising the cream-filled life.
Chocolate whoopie pie, delivering on the cream-filled life.  Wouldn't you know it?  This may have been too much cream.  I know!  What is wrong with us !  We are so picky.  The cake was definitely more moist from the massive amount of cream and had a nice chocolatey flavor.
Red velvet.
Pretty little thing, but did not taste as good as the chocolate whoopie pie.  The red velvet tasted like...nothing at all, no hint of cocoa, no nothing.  It might be better with a more cream cheese based whipped cream?  Is that possible?  It has to be.  The future of this red velvet whoopie pie depends on it!
They make a fine pair.
Greeshma, in what looks like a Snuggie, but is not, enjoying some traditional whoopie pies.  Whoop, whoop!  Good night, y'all!
640 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130-3420

51 North 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107-2954


  1. I love octopus! Have you ever had it braised? It's a totally different experience than seared, like octopus is usually served. Those pizzas look so good, though.

    On the topic of red velvet, I find it so hard to describe the taste. What is red velvet supposed to taste like? It's certainly not a chocolate cake, but I always come back to "It tastes like... red?" You're right about cream cheese being better for the red velvet flavor, though. I made a strawberry cream cake once that had a cream cheese whipped cream in it. It was absolutely (unsurprisingly) terrific.

  2. I really need a traveling job so I can eat at all these fantastic places!

  3. octopus on a pizza!!! looks amazing. and I want that burnt caramel gelato. I also think it's hilarious that so much cream is busting out from that red velvet. awesomeness.

  4. riiight! red velvet is a mystery! and that is totally a snuggie! :-P

  5. Thanks for discussing this useful tips! Hope that you might continue with the level of stuff you are usually doing.
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