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foodie #18: The Mildred

Michael Santoro got "Midieval" on your plates.

Sunday, October 27th @ 6pm

This fall, The Mildred's chef and owner,  Michael Santoro created an extraordinary foodie group experience with his..."Contemporary take on a Midieval Comfort Food Dinner!  This is a fun throw-back to the 1400's.  The 4 course meal had wonderful vegetarian options too!

824 South 8th Street (between Catharine Street and Christian Street), Philadelphia, PA 19147
(click on images to enlarge)
Arriving a bit early for cocktails at the bar, some of us had a great start to the evening.  I particularly fell in lust with the "Mr. Mister".  It consisted of Bourbon, Cognac, Basil, Mint Bitters and lemon.  

Once comfortably seated, our group had the whole restaurant to ourselves this Sunday evening.  It's a good thing because everyone seemed to be having a "socially" acoustic time.  Im sure happy hour helped with this but we were all more than ready to start the 18th foodie meal and the first one in almost a year!  There were some new faces as well as some of the earliest members of the group.  Honestly, even though food occupies almost all of my waking (and sleeping) thoughts, it's the people interacting that I love the most about these events. (audience makes "awweeee" sound)

Shortly after settling in with some delicious house-made bread our food adventure began.  The first course of Braised Cockscomb with barley risotto and celery root was the very dish that the evening hinged on.  I suspect it's why most of us were there and why so many were not. Yes, cockscomb is what you might think it is - if you watched looney toons and were a fan of Foghorn Leghorn....

braised cockscomb with risotto and celery root
The dish was WONDERFUL in my opinion.  Everyone had a generous portion of cockscomb in their dishes and tentatively dipped in.  The texture was slightly gelatinous but more like a mushroom to me.  The risotto was perfect with layers of subtle and vibrant flavors that made you appreciate Chef Michael's skills.

After a delicious start which appeared hard to follow, the large pans of fish pies arrived! This was wonderfully crafted with vibrant flavors and a perfectly crusty, flakey light heavenly crust.  The entire experience of this course had my eyes rolling over in an epicurean fit (is that a thing?).  Seriously, this course was perhaps my favorite (and I'm a huge lamb fan). SO GOOD.

I was sitting next to one of the few vegetarian diners and had the luxury of tasting each of those courses as well.  Initially I wondered if there was much sense for such options on a night like this, but I am sure glad I had the chance to taste even more of the chef's range and delicious work.  
Anne: fish pie happy

root vegetable pie

Our third course was the hot-pot of baby lamb with turnips.  These large cast iron pots filled with wonderfulness were brought out, served and the remains left for our indulgence of 2nds and 3rds!  The flavors were rich and savory yet somehow light and succulent.  The broth-like sauce this stew came in was heaven and worthy of sipping! 

The vegetarian option was the Potato Tortellini with chanterelles and madeira.  This was a dish that I could've been happy with as a main course alone.  It was also richly flavored with the wine sauce.  The generous portions would've went unfinished if the vegetarian hadn't been sitting next to me.  I felt it my duty to let no tortellini left behind!
potato tortellini

As the group continued enjoying their tastebuds off the 21 attending sounded more like 40.  This is always a good sign of content and happy eaters ... that aren't too shy either.  Perhaps some were relieved to have survived the cockscomb, some might've been content from the fish pie (which was one of my favorite parts) and some maybe were still enjoying the effects of the delicious baby lamb high.  

To drive this great meal home, Chef Michael and Ashely (the house manager) brought out a perfect ending with home baked classic apple pies for dessert.  Dishes first appeared with a scoop of their cinnamon ice cream.  Then after generous portions served out, the remains left to our tables to fight over for more!  It was really really great.  Im running out of vocabulary so trust me.  I don't like cinnamon flavored things but that ice cream on that pie was a match made in heaven.

Michael arriving with the good stuff!
Ashley bringing happiness.
After dinner I overheard someone say it was an interesting choice to have two pie courses when discussing how much the meal pleased them.  I mentioned it in a conversation with my mom and she said "I can't blame him, there's nothing wrong with that.  The boy knows how to do crust!".  

It seemed to me everyone was very pleased that they attended and had a great time and perhaps became new fans of The Mildred.  Michael Santoro's skills in the kitchen are not to be surprised about.  He's has a great resume of past experiences.  I'm excited to all the potential future ones with him in Philadelphia.
Foodie Group photo with Michael Santoro, The Mildred,  - Oct 27th 2013

The Menu

1- Braised Cockscomb with barley risotto, thickened with celeriac crème.

(Vegetarian:  celeriac cooked in a salt dough with herbs, barley risotto with celeriac cream)

2- Slow braised fish cheeks fish pie
(Vegetarian:  root vegetable pot pie)

3- Green Meadow Farm Baby Lamb Hot Pot, with juniper, horseradish, & yoghurt
(Vegetarian:  tortellini of potato with wild mushrooms & madeira)

4- Classic apple pie with royal dough, cinnamon ice cream, & streusel

If you're interested in attending and or being on the foodie group email list for invites, contact: