How was your weekend? Mine was good! Russ and I went on a really fun date!
I told Russ he was in charge of planning something for us to do on Friday night, and he made a great choice! He found a Groupon for a four-course meal (for two) at the JNA Institute of Culinary Arts in Philadelphia and it was awesome.
Not only was the food amazing, but the servers, teachers, and greeter were incredibly friendly, welcoming, and accommodating. It was fun to talk to them and learn more about the program at JNA. The entire restaurant is run by the students- from the food being prepared and cooked, to the serving.
The menu is pre-set, but each category has various options to choose from. I’m not exaggerating when I say that everything sounded amazing, and knowing that each menu item was made from scratch that morning made it even more difficult to decide. Russ and I decided to choose a different dish from each category and then split them, so we could taste a bunch of dishes! That plan worked out perfectly, and by the time we left, we each had tasted 8 dishes + bread.
Oh…the bread! Our server told us that all of the bread is made in the morning and served later that night.
We had no trouble polishing off two (yes, two) of these loaves before we actually saw any of the actual meal. The inside was perfectly soft and the outside was crispy. I’m a sucker for soft bread with butter! I kept telling myself “just one more piece, then I’m going to stop”.
His: French Onion SoupThe cheese and toasted crouton in the soup were awesome. The crouton tasted charred, in the best way possible!
Hers: Carrot SoupI think this may have been my favorite course. It was SO creamy and hearty, without any cream added. I e-mailed the director to ask for the recipe
His: Herbed Crepe filled with Chicken Confit and MushroomsLike a fluffy crepe with creamy chicken and cream sauce.
Hers: Goat Cheese & Pistachio Stuffed Beet with Orange & Tarragon This was so fresh and light tasting, and Russ and I both loved the creamy goat cheese inside.
His: Pot au Feu – French variation on Beef Stews
**No photo because it came out too blurry.
This was like a big bowl of beef stew. The beef literally fell apart- so tender and flavorful. My favorite were the potatoes that came in the bowl! Perfect with butter and salt.
Hers: Ratatouille Végétarien – Vegetarian Ratatouille and Parisienne-style Gnocchi The (homemade) gnocchi on top of the ratatouille were out. of. this. world. They were like little fluffy clouds of potato-cheesy goodness. I savored each one and loved the ratatouille, as well. Definitely different than what I was expecting, but delicious, nonetheless.
His: Poached Pear with Toasted Almonds, Maple Glaze, and Spice Ice CreamThis picture is blurry, but I really wanted to show how incredible this dessert looked. The pear was soft and sweet, and the ice cream was rich and creamy. I told Russ I wanted to lick the plate clean, but it’s not socially acceptable. This was another favorite of the night! I could have eaten a gallon of that ice cream with pear slices on top.
Hers: Pot de Creme au Chocolat Holy moly. This was the perfect way to end a delicious meal. This dark chocolate pudding was so, so good. It wasn’t too sweet, but had a very strong chocolate flavor, which I loved. I also loved that it wasn’t a huge portion, but just enough to end the meal on a sweet note.I also asked for this recipe.
Going to the JNA Institute of Culinary Arts was such a fun and unique date. We enjoyed trying all of the foods, talking to the students and teachers, and being surprised with each new dish that came out. If you’re looking for a fun date with someone special, or a group of friends, definitely try this place out! Make reservations early (as in, days in advance), as I hear it fills up quickly. The menu changes every three months, so in April, it will be changing to a Mediterranean meal!
We will definitely be going back!
*I am having trouble locating the Groupon. If I see it, I’ll be sure to add it to another post.
**My apologies for the blurry photos. I had to take them quickly before Russ started eating the food