Last summer, alone in the big city, the City of Brotherly Love
To eat out and risk the stares of the uninvited
Or to remain in the security of the hotel room with my thoughts
Twas the quandary I faced
What's this? Philippe on Locust, a master chef
Innovative cuisine 'Asianfusion' and just several blocks from the Doubletree
"It's early, the crowds will be down, besides it's Thursday evening"
Vegetarian my goal
Table outside, my choice, a wondrous evening promised
Despite the rather unusual menu, obviously geared for those who know
My book in hand, I prepare to observe and be observed.
Soon, beautiful Jennifer appears, dressed in black,
My server and confidant for the evening
"What shall I have?" Interesting combinations of tastes and cuisine
"Ah, a wine list that promises some surprises."
Jennifer guides the uninitiated through the eclectic menu
"The endive salad with candied pecans one of my favorites."
"The watercress dumpling, I think you will like."
"Oh, yes, bring me a half of bottle of Chalone's Lafite."
A reasonable imitation of the French Grand Cru
Jennifer's colloquy continuing to wrap me in welcome
Now alone to my thoughts, I watch the passersby
Some observe as I observe, we each conjecturing
Some looking the other way, less eyes meet in recognition
Cell phone talkers, others rushing home
The church spires looking down, blessing my meal as the sun lowers in the sky
The trees in boxes, like sentries, guarding the curbs
My wine arrives along with the salad
Interesting taste combinations tickle the tongue
A true Bordeaux wine glass, crystal clear
A woman dressed in white, day- planner in hand shyly smiles as she whisks by
The leggy Amazon in the purple shorts boldly skates amongst the traffic
|Jennifer at Philippe on Locust
Grandmother pushes the stroller, talking hurriedly to her grandson
A middle-aged man in the muscle shirt jogs by, belying his age
The dumplings arrive with an artistic flare
Again, tastes caress the tongue in a sensual melody
Jennifer observes and smiles, knowing she chose well
A classic looking couple passes, she bidding me, "Bon appetite."
I raise my glass in gratitude
Strangers smile and speak sensing my enjoyment
I have become part of the scene, out of some unwritten play
This momentary time quickly becoming memorable
"Dessert?" she asks, "It's part of the meal."
"You choose," I say, "But include a little bit of chocolate and a taste of fruit. Oh, yes, some coffee with a dip of whipped cream."
Savoring life, what great meals are really about
Jennifer returns with a plate of decadence
Raspberry torte, cheesecake, fruit flan, and chocolate cream cake to name a few
Passersby secretly smile at my dilemma
I want to exclaim, "Jennifer brought this, not me!"
Tasting bites and, alas, leaving the rest, I sense this drama quickly coming to end.
Thanking Jennifer for the role she played
Leaving a generous tip and an ounce of untouched wine for her to taste
I return to my room
Again, intrigued with the surprises life often brings
This time at Philippe on Locust in the City of Brotherly Love.
Comments: Transferring this poem to this site allowed me again to retaste that wonderful evening. As you may have surmised, I enjoy fine eating or as some use to say, 'dining.' To spend an evening savoring food and life, "Ah, magnificent!" By the way, if you travel to Philadelphia, be sure to pay a dining visit to Philippe on Locust. Oh yes, ask for Jennifer to be your server. Tell her, "Bob sent you." (Yes, I sent her a copy of this poem several days later.)
April 6, 2002 - I discovered today that the restaurant is no longer in business. Chef Philippe Chin operates two other establishments while the present location will become another restaurant.