I was lounging
around on the dining room table when my human companions suddenly
burst through the door. OK, OK, I know that cats are really not
appropriate for the dining room table, but it's just so much fun
to jump up on it and slide for a foot or so, and then dig in those
claws. What? You never heard of distressed furniture before?
As I said, my humans came home from a second outing at this
local treasure called Amani's. I understand (with my limited understanding
of human speech) that Jonathon, the human who prepares my leftovers,
is somewhat of a celebrity in these parts, being named the "Alpha
Chef" (in my terminology) in Chester County. All this means
to me is that I'd better not steal a mouse he's legally caught
or I might end up banished to a feral colony down by the airport.
This is the second time my humans have brought me scraps from
Amani's, and I must say that being a table scrap reviewer has
its perks. Jonathon asked my humans if I'd be interested in some
scottish salmon trimmings. My humans have carte blanche to just
accept such offers, and I'm happy to tell you that I'm writing
this weighted down with a pile of the most tender FRESHLY COOKED
table scraps -and I really can't call them scraps, since they
were just some edges and smaller pieces that were deemed not "plateworthy".
Tomcat slowly poached these morsels with a little butter and presented
them to me properly cooled to room temperature. Not typically
for a very old cat (really UNUSUALLY old!), I snarfed up every
bit of that succulent protein and started my normal campaign for
more. Sadly for me, Tomcat & Rainey were busy making sure
that the rest of this bonus was appreciated fully.
My humans had decided, without a lot of scratching &
biting, that they'd go back to Amani's. After all, it was time
to check up on their table scraps.
But beyond that - Who has a restaurant just down
the hill receiving such accolades (somthing akin to a chorus of
horny males after a female in heat....I vaguely remember something
that sounded like that, but now it just seems like love.....so
let's go with love)? The accolades are hard-earned by Alpha chef
Jon, and appropriately bestowed recently on the Chester County
I rarely see
my humans coming back from a restaurant talking like they've been
at a lovingly prepared family meal. But it really doesn't matter
that much as long as I get my scraps.
My humans decided
to bring a modestly-priced Pinot Grigio to their meal. Fortunately,
it was just a normal bottle, and not a box, because you just can't
put a box in a wine bucket (a bag in a box, soaked in a bucket).
They did say, however,
that Amani's provides a variety of mixes to add to one's favorite
spirit. Rainy zeroed in on their Cosmo mixer, and made a note
to bring a small quantity of vodka on her return engagement.
to the meal that was consumed fully with absolutely no
leftovers for me:
Tomcat chose the entree
this time, and Rainey got to pick the appetizer.
it turned out, was pretty much a slam dunk for Rainey,
who picked the artisanal cheese plate. The previous meal
they'd enjoyed also featured this treat, and Rainey knew
that Chef Jonathon would have a brand new locally produced
trio of cheeses. What they got was an aged goat cheese
from Amazing Acres in Elverson (PA) called Seasmoke. Next
was a local sheep's milk Brie from Highland Farms (local,
as well), and finally a cow's milk cheese from Virginia
named Grayson. Now I understand why other furry living
things exist....for cheese!.
cheeses were accompanied by blood orange coated pecans,
champagne grapes, raw honeycomb, quince paste, and an
ancho cherry jam. I got none of this (and I do resent
not even being offered this), but it was served with little
toasted baguette slivers, and of course, there was the
warm bread and a warmer smile, which my humans have come
to expect from a lovely and gracious woman named Sara.
Geez. I wish she could be a cat (but I'm way too old for
(most recently reviewed 11/26/11)
From his last outing, I remember
Tomcat talking about those champagne grapes, but I have yet to
bat them around on the floor. So I can't speak to them (the "grape
There was something called an
"amuse bouche", which is French for "one more thing
I didn't get in my box". The co-owner, Jeanine, brought it
over between courses, and it was apparently a couple little mouthfuls
of a tasty bit of chicken to "amuse the mouth," sent
by the Alpha chef as another little turn in the road in Tomcat
& Rainey's "voyage culinaire". My humans remembered
this added touch from a previous visit to Amani's, and they seemed
to find it a welcome surprise to their meal.
For a main course, which they
shared, as well, Tomcat chose the Red Grouper with Pumpkin Butter
Glaze. It is served with Crushed Pumpkin Seeds, Bourbon Molasses
Sauce, Roasted Root Vegetables, & Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes.
My humans were not familiar with this fish, and were pleased to
discover a light, but thick, tenderly flaky fish with a pleasing
outer seared coating. They were making a lot of happy human noises
about these flavor combinations, and since there was none of this
in my box, I guess they ate it all.
They finished the meal with a
chocolaty parfait (shared, naturally), and regrettably distributed
randomly across the white tablecloth. Don't let me hear about
my messes from this day onward!
The service was apparently flawless,
with all those on the floor watching to make sure my human beings
were made to feel like cherished housecats. Add to that a waiter
who knew the menu, and who had memorized a vast offering of special
additions to the menu, like the scottish salmon and a super premium
strip steak. He even gave my humans the scoop on their grouper
(a "grouper scooper"), which was line caught & numbered
(a rare fish these days, but not unexpected from this establishment).
I dearly want to break out my
fifth paw, here. It is, however, only applicable when there is
some mousey element to the meal. If only Tomcat could have succeeded
in making that salmon into a hash, molded into & decorated
as a mouse. Or, I would have even accepted "chocolate mouse."
But this is a solid "four paws.