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Sunday, April 21, 2013

One Night with Fitler Dining Room, Penn Park, Train, and John Legend

Penn recently finished its capital campaign and raised a silly large amount of money.  I guess I didn't donate enough money, because I didn't get an invite to the celebration at Penn Park.  By accident, I learned of the event through Facebook, and got myself registered.  Train, John Legend, and a bunch of other Penn student groups were scheduled to perform.

We were a bit less ecstatic about the student groups, so we decided to go to dinner first.  Since Fitler Dining Room was just around the corner, we headed there.  I had high hopes for FDR.  We dropped in to see if they had any tables for us since we didn't have a reservation.  The host did not give us a good impression - he sat us at the counter in front of the kitchen (great view of all the action), but he didn't make eye contact and sounded annoyed that we dared show up without a reservation. Hmp!  It's obvious that the staff is still in the early phase of training - or at least I hope so - as our waitress was rambling on having too many dishes on the counter or something.  We were totally baffled.

The menu at FDR is also quite minimal, which can be good or bad.  If you find something that suits your appetite, then good.  If not, then bad.  We shared the house soup special and the potato gnocchi.  I wasn't a big fan of the soup and don't have too many words for it, but the potato gnocchi (with burgundy snails, butternut squash, hazelnuts, and butter) was a delight.  Though "tender" is not normally a word used to describe gnocchi, that was the first thought that came to mind.  I never had snails before, and this had the texture and taste of  well cooked mushrooms.

For the entree, I had the roasted chicken breast with swiss chard, parmesan bread pudding, and glazed turnip.  The chicken skin added a nice crunch to the tender (there's that word again) chicken breast.  I also had a bite of the leek stuffed skate wing with truffle.  Yum.  I think I actually preferred the skate to the chicken, but with only one bite I can't write too much about it.

Overall, it's a good addition to the Fitler Square neighborhood, but the prices are a little bit high and service definitely has room for improvement.

Anyway, we then headed to Penn Park for the entertainment.  Train was already into its last 3 or 4 songs by the time we arrived, but it was amazing to see what Penn did to adapt Penn Park into a concert field.  John Legend gave a good performance, although he didn't play any of the few songs I know.  And then came the thunderstorm....Since my blasted iPhone camera has finally decided to take itself to the grave, the only picture I have from that is the blurry image below.


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