Yesterday after stopping by the Philly Farm and Food Fest and sampling bits of cheese and ice cream, Jay and I were craving something substantial. Instead of going with a standard lunch choice of Iron Hill or House, we decided to try something different: the White Dog Cafe.
I’ve passed the White Dog Cafe in Wayne many times on my way to work and read up on it once or twice. According to White Dog’s website, 95% of its ingredients are sourced from local farms within 50 miles of the restaurant and they’re committed to using sustainable, organic ingredients. As soon as I read that, I was sold. It seemed a fitting choice as we drove away from the Farm & Food Fest to try out the University City location.
The walls are decked out with pictures of dogs and even the lamp stands are based by a small dog fixture. The cafe has a very English-pub feel, maybe due to the dim lighting and wall-to-wall wooden flooring. We were seated within minutes of arrival and told that the brunch menu was only available for another ten minutes. It’s a good thing we were seated quickly, because I was intent on getting the mushroom soup that was singular to that menu! And I’m so glad that I did.
This wild mushroom soup, which boasted of “Grilled Amish Chicken” and “Truffle Chive Crème Fraiche” was simply amazing. It was hands down the best mushroom soup I’ve ever had. A server placed a bowl filled with small bits of chicken and crème fraiche in front of me and then poured the actual soup from a small pitcher into my bowl. Lovely presentation. Again, the best mushroom soup I’ve ever had.
Jay started off with a Pikeland Pils from Sly Fox Brewery. He raved about it and mentioned several times that we should go visit the brewery itself. 🙂
For our entrees, I ordered the arugula salad and Jay opted for a hot dog! All of their hot dogs are named after actual dog breeds. Jay’s was no exception; he got the German Shepard, which consisted of “Keilbasa, Braised Red Cabbage, Spicy Brown Mustard, Sour Cream, Chives.” The waitress asked Jay if he wanted fries with that and promptly added an additional four dollars onto our bill. She failed to inform us that fries didn’t come with the meal itself, which irked me a little bit. I simply would’ve preferred her to make it clear that fries didn’t come with the meal.
The fries were, however, almost worth the additional 4 bucks. Crispy, flavored with garlic and served with a side of homemade ketchup, these fries were pretty damn good. I’m not a huge fry person, but I could definitely split these as an appetizer.
Jay’s kielbasa was served on a fresh roll with just the right amount of toppings. Not what I would’ve picked, but Jay really enjoyed it. It’s not every day that you get to order a hot dog at a sit down restaurant.
My salad was light and peppery, paired with “Poached Pears, Port Wine Gastrique, Lemon Olive Oil, Shaved Parmesan.”
Jay finished the meal with an Old Forge Endless Summer Ale, which was even sweeter and “more drinkable” than the Pils.
Empty plates; a sure sign of a great meal. I was pleasantly full after this meal and not over-stuffed. The food was top-notch, though pricey, and I can’t wait to go back to try their brunch menu.
I must note that the service was sub-par. Our waitress was rather rude and inconsistent. As Jay was eating a french fry, clearly not finished, she grabbed the bowl of fries and cleared them from our table without a word. We also had a hard time getting her attention when Jay wanted to order a second beer. It took over ten minutes to flag her down, though she breezed past our table several times to help other guests.
She also had a difficult time trying to run my debit card. She came back after ten minutes of trying my card and essentially demanded another method of payment. She suggested that I had insufficient funds, which was definitely not the case; I’d checked my bank statement that morning. I asked if she’d tried to punch the numbers of my card in and she walked away again. She finally had a manager run my card and it worked fine for him, but when I asked if it was a technical machine-related error, she replied, “Oh I don’t know. It just worked so I didn’t ask.”
I checked my bank statement again this morning and it looks like I was charged twice for the bill. I called the manager about it and instead of apologizing, he insisted that it was just an authorization payment that would disappear within a few days. Very reassuring, when my account balance is listed as $45 less than it should be.
Hopefully it all works out and the charge really does disappear. It’s a shame that such good food and such a great idea should be marred by poor, incompetent customer service.