Last Thursday was our annual Best of the Main Line and Western Suburbs event, and I’m happy to report that the array of food was wonderful. Approximately 40 restaurants and specialty shops (pizza, water ice, high-end chocolate and bakeries) came out for the celebration, armed with a tasty selection of food for the masses. Indian, Asian, Italian, Tex-Mex and Southern aromas filled the space at Drexelbrook, inciting a swell of consumption and a lot of buzz over what was the favorite nibble of the night.
I was too busy typing up notes on my phone to stop and savor all of the fabulous fare, but the consensus among nearly every attendee I spoke with was that the smoky-sweet, tender and meaty short ribs prepared by the Blue Pear Bistro (Dilworthtown Inn’s little sib) took the virtual blue ribbon. By the time I made it over to their table, the goods had disappeared. But having scarfed these down a couple of times in the past, I would hardly argue with popular opinion. Â
I did get to taste the tea-smoked duck from Han Dynasty (Exton and Royersford), which came with a tangle of spicy, cold sesame noodles and a really delicate—yet boldly spicy—dumpling. The “wrap” was thin and light, and had a pleasing al dente chew to it. I also enjoyed a “Fresh Heaven” rice paper roll from Jazmine (West Chester) that was plumped up with shrimp, bean sprouts, thin rice noodles and napped with a tart plum sauce. Natalie, one of the co-owners, also brought along a chicken panang curry dish and Jazmine’s signature Pad Thai (a favorite of Missy Margera).
It takes a long time to hit every table, especially when you’re typing, so the only other samples I was able to ingest were a couple of brews from Ron’s Original Bar and Grill—which, if I have it right, were the Dogfish Southern Tier Imperial Creme Brulee Milk Stout, the Allagash Hugh Malone and the NoÃ«l Des GÃ©ants. And how cool that Ron’s hosts a “Christmas in July” promotion, so you can get all hopped up on yummy, seasonally spiced brews like Mad Elf and Sly Fox’s Christmas Ale. A refreshing and perhaps just a tad too sweet mojito from The Paddock was a nice complement to the chef’s creation du jour: petite fish sliders crafted from grilled mahi-mahi and an orange-mint pineapple salsa.
I never made it back to see my buddy, James Kennedy (this year’s pick for Best Bartender), who was whipping up some nicely chilled saketinis, so I’m going to have to hit him up the next time I’m at Teikoku. He really is a sweet guy who knows how to make a cocktail, whether you’re going classic or froufrou.
Other bites included â€¦
â€¢ A belly-filling spread of vegetable pakora, vegetable samosas and chicken kebabs from Khajuraho (Ardmore)
â€¢ BBQ pork sliders with homemade kettle chips, paired with twisted tea, from Glenmorgan (Radnor)
â€¢ Margaret Kuo’s legendary Peking duck
â€¢ Pulled pork sliders, cheddar and ale soup, and Moroccan tuna tartare from Iron Hill
â€¢ Lobster bisque and chicken pot pie soup from Zoup! (Frazer and Glen Mills)
â€¢ Onion soup gratinÃ©e and crab fondue from A La Maison (Ardmore)
â€¢ Lobster rolls and nitrogen-frozen Rice Krispy treats, which sent out puffs of steam when popped into your mouth, from the Desmond Hotel (Malvern)
â€¢ Margarita, BBQ chicken and cheese pies from Garrett Hill Pizza (Rosemont)
â€¢ Plenty of other tempting pies from Peace-A-Pizza
â€¢ A colorful summer mango salad served in a miniature blow-up pool, plus pistachio chicken fingers from DiFabio’s (Haverford and Media)
â€¢ Sausage scallopini and tomato-mozzarella salad from the Towne House (Media)
â€¢ Assorted tea sandwiches from Devon’s Taste of Britain (which, by the way, will soon be moving to Spread Eagle Village)
â€¢ Ricotta-stuffed tortellini from Old City’s Panorama
â€¢ Gourmet chocolates from Philly-based Painted Truffle, which wowed the crowd with great taste and a display of cool, customized packaging for gifts, weddings and other special events
â€¢ Brodeur’s was slinging crab cakes, mango dream martinis and kick-y margaritas.
â€¢ Media’s Sweet Potato Bakery brought its entire stock of pies, cakes, muffins and other naughty treats.
â€¢ And, finally, Victory poured Golden Monkey, Hop Devil and Prima Pils.
â€¦ And to think, I barely tasted any of it! Next time, no notes, only nibbles!
A special thanks to Drexelbrook Catering & Banquet Facility (Reader’s Choice for Best Place for Private Parties/Receptions) for going above and beyond to keep things running smoothly all evening. We couldn’t have done this without the help of its enthusiastic and supportive staff.