November 23, 2010 § Leave a comment
Everything feels right upon walking into the dimly lit space filled with subtle laughter and the aroma of a southern kitchen. Things get even better after reviewing the full page of bourbons, whiskeys, ryes, blends, and things which I can’t even begin to pretend to be familiar with.
Almost overwhelmed I settled on a glass of wine. Although my previous Cooperage adventures had introduced me to some delicious whiskey cocktails, but for good reason I seem to not remember the exact ingredients. Currently they are featuring a whiskey and cider concoction which struck my eye as well as their own exceptionally gingery take on the classic Jack Daniels and ginger ale which I sipped on, any more than a few sips would have been too sweet for my liking. Once the drink situation was settled I was able to really absorb the atmosphere before the indulgence began. Aligator bites fried to heavenly perfection which met their match when the indecent cornbread showed up that the table. Interestingly, it is never really the flavor of aligator which entices me. Usually it is the velvety texture suitable to be battered and fried or hidden in my favorite crawfish and gator gumbo at Half Moon in Kennett Square which makes the reptilian meat so alluring. Anyway, while we were enjoying the gator a basket of quite possibly the best cornbread I have ever had the pleasure of tasting arrived at our table. I have been fortunate enough to learn the secret to addictively sweet, spicy, salty, melt in you mouth perfection, is a sinful amount of butter and a lingering hint of chili pepper. At this point, I could be perfectly content with a meal of wine, gater, and cornbread. Then we get the beer and cheese fondue, short rib sandwich, pear salad, and sweet potato fries. Heaven help me.
Everything becomes a whirlwind of flavor. The fries find their way to the fondue. My fork finds its way to the short rib which finds its way to the fondue. The goat cheese stuffed pear finds its way to my mouth. Most things find their way to my shirt or chin on the journey from plate to mouth. By the end of the meal all plates had been wiped clean and all palates had been completely satiated. Despite the gluttony which had just ensued I found it impossible to deny myself of a post diner cheese. Actually, to be completely honest, I knew from the moment I sat down at the bar and glanced at the featured cheeses posted to the left of the array of liquor, that I would be consuming a gorgeous wedge of humbolt fog which had been daunting me with its tang of creamy love since our last encounter this summer. Cheese is one of the delicacies which I find are best when eaten alone, letting their personality shine through. This particular hunk is the affectionate type which you always want around because they always make you feel delighted without any guilt. That is exactly how to end a meal, beaming joyfully full of aligator, sweet potato, and goat cheese. And already, I am thinking about how happy I will be after the smokey mountain benedict and complementary bloody mary for brunch.
The Curtis Center
669 Walnut Street, Philadelphia