We usually don’t dine at restaurants when they are brand new. This policy is due to past disappointments, usually involving service. However, we broke this policy for a recent dinner at Talula’s Daily due to experience with Aimee Olexy’s endeavors at Django, Talula’s Table and Talula’s Garden. Plus, we had visited the new spot a few times for afternoon purchases. In fact, we made a reservation as soon as we heard that dinner service was starting. In return for breaking our policy, we received a fun, casual meal with a grand cheese course – all for a moderate price.
Talula’s Daily is conveniently located in Philadelphia, directly across from Washington Square Park and adjacent to the more formal Talula’s Garden.
Market at Talula’s Daily
During the day, Talula’s Table is a cafe / market with a cheese counter, prepared foods, desserts and coffee. When we go in the afternoon, we are mostly drawn to the small yet diverse selection of domestic and imported cheeses.
At night, Talula’s Table is doing a $50 five-course supper with a focus on local ingredients, cheese and bread. There are 30 seats at tables of various sizes, and the menu changes each month. We had a late reservation for a table for two on a recent Friday night, so we got the inaugural August menu.
We liked the dinner vibe and the Anthropologie decor. There’s a full array of folksy yet modern items from the popular megastore headquartered in Philadelphia.
It didn’t take us long to order since it’s a set menu, though we did have to make the tough selection of what to drink. (We’re spoiled with a plethora of BYOB’s in Philadelphia, but this is not one.) We each opted to start the meal with a glass of the 2011 Domaine Dupeuble Chardonnay for $15.
Food at Talula’s Daily
As we sipped the wine and toasted the start to the weekend, a first course of crispy squid arrived on one big plate with watermelon, padron peppers and a savory aioli. Spanish padrons, many of which are locally grown, have become a new summer fixture on the food scene and provided a nice accompaniment to the simply seasoned fried squid.
As we awaited the next course, we were each treated to a cracker with a dollop of Cowgirl Creamery‘s Pierce Point cheese. The creamy cow milk cheese crackers boded well for the cheeses yet to come.
The second official course was a salad made with charred romaine, summer squash and corn.
We finished our white wine and segued to red by ordering two classes of the 2012 Poggio Anima “Lillith” Primitiva Basilicata at $15. We chose this wine with the next course in mind – simmered meatballs with hand-cut tagliatelle and red sauce. As a thoughtful touch, there were extra meatballs served on the side to go with the hearty pasta and vegetable laden ragout.
As utensils were plated for our next course, we knew something good was coming.
It’s fairly known that 2foodtrippers love cheese, and the cheese plate did not disappoint. The plate was purposefully crafted to include an eclectic selection of local, domestic and imported cheeses. There were also yummy spreads made of ginger caramel, apple butter and peach jam.
To us, the cheese highlights were the Birchrun Hills smoked blue (from Pennsylvania and made specially for Talula’s), the Cranberry Creek Silver Lining (from Pennsylvania), the Cowgirl Creamery Lou Bergier Pichin (from Piemonte), the Barinaga Ranch Basseri (from California) and the Consider Bardwell Rupert (from Vermont). Here’s a photo of the Silver Lining in all of its runny goodness.
Cheers to Jordan Rock for assembling such a delicious melange of cheeses for us. He even gave us small glasses of ShawneeCraft‘s biere blanche to enhance the cheese experience.
Dessert at Talula’s Daily
We were totally full and happy at this point. We could have stopped. We should have stopped. But how could we when the final course was served? The stone fruit crisp with lavender almond ice cream was too delicious to resist. We had a bit, though we had most of the dessert wrapped up for later in the weekend.
The meal reminded us of a previous dinner at Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc in Napa Valley, which is not a bad thing. However, this meal was unique and special in its own way, and we will return to try a different menu. We are looking forward to seeing what’s for supper that night.
Talula’s Daily is located at 208 W Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA 19106.