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Quick Philly Jaunt - Alma de Cuba & Founders

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Quick Philly Jaunt - Alma de Cuba & Founders

sivyaleah | May 12, 2005 04:09 PM

We were only in Philly for one evening as we were seeing the Dali exhibit the next day. Stayed at the Park Hyatt (Bellevue) which was lovely hence our breakfast the next morning.

We headed out to Alma de Cuba for dinner. Very hip, cool place. We were brought up to the 3rd floor dining area (I have knee problems but I managed). We had a very good dinner for the most part, and certainly good service.

We started with drinks as we looked over the menu. I had a Castro Cranberry cocktail (if I remember correctly, vanilla rum, cranberry juice and muddled fresh cranberries with a sugar cane stirrer) and my husband had a mojito. The drinks were very tasty but very tiny! Seriously small. And we're not even big drinkers but these were embarrasingly minute. My husband's mojito had more mint leaves than liquid in it I think :-)

They brought over some great bread made from yuca flour with cheese baked into it and it was served with a chimichurri dipping sauce. The bread was addictive and very fattening I'm sure.

We split an appetizer which were basically 4 skewers of different types of meats. We chose the beef with crispy onions and the lamb with figs. The service was interesting, it came out on a sort of small BBQ to keep them warm. Very tasty, and surprisingly we preferred the beef over the lamb even tho the lamb sounded more intriguing (not that it was bad).

For our entrees he had the Lechon Asado (pork w/the rinds, yum) with really good rice and sweet plaintains. By the way, there had been some comments made that this was taken off the menu. Obviously, if it was, it is now back on. We called first to make sure.

I had a muscovy duck breast with cilantro rice with duck confit, and tostones. Mine was good also, but not as good as his mainly because my duck breast had a rather large strand of fat running thru each piece (it was presliced on the plate). I had to do a lot of cutting around it and for the price of this dish, there should not have been such a chunk of grizzly fat. I love the skin of the duck, so fat isn't the problem, this was the kind that is very distasteful.
Maybe it was because it was Muscovy duck? I'm used to Long Island duck.

But, the parts I could eat were good, the rice was amazing. And the presentation of all of the food was very well thoughtout.

I have to mention we didn't indulge in wine only because the 1 drink was enough for both of us.

Desert was the highlight. We split the Chocolate Cigar, which was looked just like a real cigar (complete with a band around it), like a chocolate mousse texture around an almond cake center (or so it said, we only tasted chocolate). It also had a cookie "book of matches" which they lit on fire! It was really over the top presentation-wise and a lot of fun. It also came with a mound of Dulce de Leche ice cream. Very decadent over the top desert. I'm drooling just thinking about it again LOL.

The next morning we had breakfast at the hotels restaurant, Founders, as it was included in the price of our room. The restaurant, decor-wise, has seen better days but we were informed they are about to do a renovation of it and the adjoining library. It really needs it as it's a mishmash of chair styles, some rather seedy looking. But the room itself is something to behold, and the view is amazing. Breakfast was very good. We had our choice of anything off the menu, with a side, coffee and juice. I had the St. Andre omlette, which had asparagus, spinach and St. Andre cheese. Came with nicely roasted new potatoes, a small muffin of some sort (I passed on it), toast, and a side of extremely good quality bacon. I couldn't finish the whole thing by any means. My husband had challah french toast which was nicely prepared. Service was very friendly, even informative (the waitress actually knew the answers to questions we had about the history of the hotel and decor). Most interesting is that the shape of the room, due to the rotunda it has for a ceiling, carries voices around so clearly you can hear people's conversations which are being whispered from the other side of the room! The waitress told us they're always warned to be careful of what they are saying when away from the customers LOL.

We headed to the museum. Were there so long, that we missed lunchtime. Grabbed a salad in their cafeteria, which wasn't too bad actually. Went back to the hotel to grab out things but walked around the Rittenhouse Square festival for a bit. Unfortunately, we were at the museum so long, it was nearly over. The only food I managed to score was from The Palm, 2 really delish mini crab cakes. Everyone else that we cared to try had ran out of food already (it was about 4:30ish at that point) or were things we weren't interested in.

So, not quite hungry for dinner and exhausted from standing on our feet in the Dali exhibit for 4 hours straight, we decided to get back in the car and head home and have dinner at our fav thai place instead.

All in all, we'd go back to Alma for sure, and would stay at the Park Hyatt again too. We're looking forward to coming back sometime to experience more of the food scene, as it seems quite varied and interesting.

Laurie

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