Sunday, January 21, 2007


Melograno has emerged as one of Philly's favorite BYOs. Not an easy feat considering the shear volume of competitors in our fair city. It has definitely made the list of my personal favorites in the past - an atmosphere that has that special something - that 'je ne sais quoi'. Love the space with its floor-to-ceiling windows, open kitchen, red berry garland and minimalist sunflower arrangements. European waiters with thick accents and charming smiles. And the food, oh the food - my kind of perfection. Light, simple and flavorful.

So you can imagine my dismay at having to be the bearer of bad news from my most recent visit there on a cold Wednesday night. I understand that Melograno has received a lot of praise, great press and enjoys a constant buzz of traffic night in and night out. And it is certainly worthy of its success. But that is no reason to be rude to your patrons. No way. Unacceptable. So I politely ask the Melograno staff to sit back, take a deep breath, and quietly step down off your high horses. It is your privilege to enjoy our patronage, not the other way around. Make us feel welcome, not like you are doing us a huge favor by allowing us to have a table. Philly folk don't like snobs, not even in Rittenhouse.

That said, I'm not sure that even a snooty hostess will be enough to keep me away from the portabello with pine nuts and goat cheese or the branzino and garlic mashed. It really is that good.

Melograno, 2201 Spruce Street

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Your Friendly Neighborhood Pub

After a long holiday hiatus filled with family obligations, international travel, and a few unfortunate cases of the flu, your girls about philly are getting back to blogging. And what better place to start on a stark winter's day than with a profile of one of Philly's warmest neighborhood pubs, McCrossen's Tavern.

McCrossen's is a family-owned operation with a storied history of pride, struggle, and the American dream. The building itself, built in 1852, has been everything from an immigrant shelter to a floral shop, and the McCrossens themselves even called the upstairs home back in the 1930s. Today it is a favorite neighborhood spot for Fairmounters looking for a well-poured pint and a homestyle meal.

McCrossen's is a great spot at any time of year, but its old world charm and warmth is particularly enjoyable in the winter months. The staff are friendly and attentive even when the place is packed, and it is obvious that they enjoy the company of their many regular customers. So next time you're in the mood for a hearty bowl of french onion soup and a smooth stoudt, head 'round the corner to McCrossen's.

McCrossen's Tavern, 529 N. 20th St., 215.845.0923