Saturday, August 10, 2013

Dining Under the Stars

During the summer our little dinner club typically takes a hiatus because of vacations and other scheduling challenges. We get together periodically just because and to celebrate birthdays, but not as consistently as we do otherwise.  We are fortunate to live near Media, PA, a town that offers “Dining Under the Stars” on Wednesdays nights during the warm months.  If you have never experienced such a dining delight, it’s like a fancy picnic, only you sit at a table and servers from various participating restaurants dish up favorites while diners casually watch the world go by just like in the “open-air cafes on Paris's Avenue de Champs Elyseé and in the piazzas of Rome and Venice.”

So far, with my usual band of foodies, I tried the Mediterranean Cuisine of Desert Rose, complete with it’s freshly-baked and oh-so-yummy pita rounds paired with a homemade soft yogurt cheese called Labaneh that is garnished with garlic comfit, zatar and mint. Apparently, the chef is an Irish-born, French-trained master who married an Israeli woman (who inspired the restaurant name) raised in this area and they opened this restaurant…lucky for us.  The restaurant also doubles as a market for Mediterranean favorites.

A few weeks ago for my birthday, my daughters, their beaus and I feasted on the always reliable and perfectly spiced Indian specialties of Shere e Punjab.  I had my favorite, Chicken Saag…I forgot to take a photo!   After dinner, we enjoyed baked treats from Tartes Fine Cakes and Pastries, 212 Arch Street in Philadelphia.  Just look at that delectable selection…key lime, pecan, mixed berry and, of course, chocolate tarts.  So. Damn. Good.

Then, this past Wednesday, I joined Singer and a few of her (wonderful) block-party friends for a farm-to-table experience at Lotus. 
I had a citrus cured feta, compressed watermelon, roasted peanut and red onion salad as a starter, and dill brined tofu with grilled asparagus, lemon puree, and wheat berries for my entrée.  
Singer had a lovely field greens, grilled peach and fennel dill salad. 

A pot of freshly brewed herbal served as the evening’s finale …pure bliss.

 Many of the restaurants in Media are BYOB.  That and the live music, add to the fun and casual vibe of the dining under the stars experience.  The wait staff at the participating restaurants are typically very friendly and helpful with menu selections, but the server at Lotus was particularly attentive…I wish I could remember her name!

Speaking of stars, do not miss the Perseid meteor shower this Monday morning at 1:00 a.m.!

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