Monday, April 12, 2010

Valley Green Inn

Wade's Take:

Switching from dinners to brunches for the Philly Food Blog couldn't have had a better transition. Our first group brunch was at the Valley Green Inn - the famed restaurant nestled next to the Wissahickon Creek in the midst of Fairmount Park.

All of my memories of the Valley Green Inn prior to this experience were tied to angst and jealousy. Before now, the closest I'd ever come to the restaurant was when passing it on the trail during a training run or walk. Knowing I couldn't stop, I would enviously stare at the patrons enjoying their coffee, mimosas and waffles as I power-walked past them while gnawing on my dehydrated granola bar. Contempt would fill my heart.

But now I was one of the elite... those lucky and lazy enough to be gorging on eggs, pancakes and java on a beautiful Sunday morning. It was bliss.

We sat at a small table tucked next to entryway on the Valley Green Inn's porch. Servers scurried about us, and the porch was filled to the brim with patrons, but our dining experience still felt private. Our junior blogger was even able to sleep through the entire meal.

I selected the Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict for my brunch entree. It came with a choice of salads or soups and I picked the house salad. The salad was standard, and good. The Smoked Salmon Benedict had a healthy portion of lox atop a grilled croissant. A poached egg and hollandaise sauce were layered above the salmon with a bit of caviar for effect. The dish was good. The hollandaise sauce wasn't too potent or rich. Once I broke into the egg with my fork the runny egg yolk blended with the salmon, hollandaise sauce and croissant and absorbed into the croissant. It made for the perfect bite. The breakfast sausage, grilled tomato and potatoes that accompanied the dish were all flavorful, yet neutral enough, to go well with it.

A perfect morning in a perfect location.

3 out of 4 perfect mornings.

Jess' Take
Like Wade, we’ve jogged, hiked and biked by Valley Green, but never stopped to enjoy the fare. Sunday couldn’t have been a better day to take advantage of this cute restaurant in the center of Wissahickon. Although I felt a few pangs of guilt with each fit person that ran by – my first sip of wine soon took care of any misgiving I was having about just “sitting around.”
This was the first foodie meal that we were joined by our newest member, Sophie. Although a mini-foodie in training, she currently is experiencing a food allergy to dairy and soy, so as a result I’ve had to cut those items from my diet. But I must mention, although my indulgence of soft cheese was short lived, it was certainly an enjoyable one.

Eating out has been a challenge with the dietary restriction, but our server was great and helped guide me to selections that were dairy and soy free. I decided on the crab cake Benedict sans the béarnaise sauce (slightly joyless, I know). Although the dish as a whole was a little dry, each element individually was enjoyable. The crab cake wasn’t the best I’ve had, but definitely worth getting again. The poached egg was slightly over cooked, but that’s actually the way I prefer it. The dish was accompanied by a link of venison sausage that was delicious – moist and very flavorful. Overall it was an enjoyable brunch, which was made that much more enjoyable with the atmosphere, weather and company.

You’ll definitely find me back at Valley Green in the future. Hopefully by then I can be in full diary heaven and order the sweet potato pancakes, which I hear are amazing.

Valley Green, I give you a 2.5 out of 4 possible dairy-free dishes.

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