Last Friday I took a road trip down to Towamencin, PA for the groundbreaking of Chef Tanner’s newest endeavor – the Culinary Arts Institute at Montgomery County Community College.
Here is Chef Tanner giving a speech to the crowd on his plans for the future of MontCo’s Culinary Arts program and their new building.
Here is my hometown favorite breaking ground with gigantic forks. I’m super psyched for the program once this new building is up and running (2013). Chef Tanner is a major source of influence for the design of the building, and school curriculum. These students are lucky to have such a passionate teacher and a program that supports them!
Leftover snackies! A bunch of cheeses and passed apps. Nom.
We went to the Farmer’s Daughter for dinner with some friends from the Canada Cutlery Company (they are there MCCC & SCCC have sourced their knife sets from for students). The company & conversation were great – looking forward to the time we all meet again!
They started the table off with some cold sweet rolls & butter.
Riesling for the table! Yum! I forget the name of it, but it was really tasty. We decided to split a bunch of appetizers go from there.
Squid & Octopus (~$14) – perfectly charred on the grill, and I could have easily had a side of the grilled endive. So good.
Little Mason Jars ($12). Cute, but skippable.
Charcuterie tasting. Ok, but failed to impress Chef Tanner – the westphalian ham tasted like regular deli ham. I’ve never had it before, but Chef Tanner told me it’s supposed to be a very intensely savory affair – smoked, salted, kind of like prosciutto.
Darn you, blurry picture! Poached pear & endive salad. The endive were in three wedges with the core attached and entirely raw. It was ok, but kind of an awkward salad. Why were the greens mixed, but the endive on the side?
I have no idea what this berry-centric salad was, but we didn’t order it and they brought it out in place of a different salad we ordered. The food came out quickly after we ordered it, but our waiter kept disappearing.
Baked burrata cheese came out a lot differently than we had imagined it… I think we were all picturing burrata that had a crusty exterior and its signature creamy interior. This baked in a pot, so it most similarly resembled fondue and kind of killed the texture difference. It could have just been baked mozzarella for all I know. And was there truffle oil in there?
This was a filling enough dinner for five, and we still had room for dessert. Our waiter took a while to get back to us to take our order, came when one of our party had left the table for a moment, and didn’t know what was on the menus he handed out. Oh, and he slammed so hard on the French press of coffee at the table that it exploded and almost burned Mrs. Tanner (but she’s spry and managed to jump out of the way).
Salted caramel tart for moi for dessert. Probably one of my fave dishes of the night. Mmm, salted caramel.
Pecan pie. With bourbon ice cream. Nom. Really good.
Blackberry bread pudding didn’t disappoint either. Desserts seem to be a strong point for Farmer’s Daughter.
Overall, I would go back for drinks and snacks at the bar, but probably not a full meal.
The next day we went to Philly! Chef & Mrs Tanner were like “Dim sum or Ethiopian?” And I was all “ETHIOPIAN, COME ON!”. I’m so deprived! We went to Kaffa Crossing for lunch. It’s both a coffee shop & an Ethiopian restaurant – a great business model and may offer a bit more stability for either business. (AHEM, ALBANY! Thief this model & open up an Ethiopian resto up here, pleaseee!)
We got Yebeg Tibs (lamb ribs – center), Kitfo (raw beef, tyvm! in the bowl), and Shiro Wot (ground chickpeas – the two brown plops). It came with some collards, cottage cheese, yellow lentils, and curried potatoes & cabbage as sides. And plenty of injera.
So good! The lamb ribs probably could have cooked for a bit longer, but they were well flavored.
The Kitfo was mildly spicy, and they brought out some more spicy seasoning to add to it.
And this place was SO CHEAP. It was $35 for three people and drinks. And the most expensive dish was my lamb at $11. ELEVEN DOLLAR for all of that LAMB.
Then we were off to tour around Reading Terminal Market.
It was really packed with people. And vendors. Lots of Dutch/Amish vendors, a few seafood counters, and some bakery counters. It was fun for people watching, but I didn’t see anything to pull me back for a second visit.
Many congratulations to Chef Tanner in heading up the new Culinary Institute at MCCC! I can’t wait to come back for dinner once the college opens.