Memory is an odd thing. Mix taste that with and you’ll get some really strange stories. If you ask me, these are some of the best memories to have but then again I write this blog. What would you expect?
The bite you see above was the very last thing I ate on a recent visit to Talula’s Garden, one of Steven Starr’s newest and best Philadelphia restaurants. Yes, there were plenty of other amazing bites as I progressed from bar cocktail to appetizers, to entrees and through dessert. The braised veal rosemary pappardelle with kale, mushrooms, and garlic-tomato jus made me tingle. The Florida pink snapper with grapefruit, fennel, fingerlings, herbs and warm baby lettuces burned itself into my brain. The miniature cupcake trio of a spiced pumpkin, a dark chocolate-peanut butter and a sweet cream-apple was an olfactory hat trick. But, it was these small cardamom chips that blew my mind. Their subtle but super complex taste became the single dominant memory from this meal. When I talk about this restaurant, when I recommend it, when I mention Philadelphia even, I talk about these crumbs. The small, seemingly insignificant chips placed next to a simple cup of coffee is the dominant menu item that flashes instantly to mind. Dan Gilbert can explain much better than I can what happens to an experience memory days, months and years after it’s moment but if these little sweets can leave such a lasting impression, imagine how superb all the “real food” must be. Get there. Tell me your story.