We originally published this piece on July 31, 2013. We’re looking back at the Ripple anniversary party to get excited for this Saturday’s Cookies and Cream. All the cookies, all the cream, for one, low, low price at Penn Social. Join us, eat sweets from places like Ripple and wonder why you’re not eating cookies and ice cream everyday of the week.
All words: Jeb Gavin
All photos: Azeez Bakare
I never don’t want to be eating at Ripple. There are times when I’m craving something else–cheeseburgers, ramen, my grandmother’s kreplach, but beyond what I want to eat, I’m not going to say no to a meal at Ripple. The mantra of “local, seasonal, and fresh” has become all but cliché, and yet Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley consistently manages to make interesting, delicious food without the lecture. Monday evening Ripple celebrated its third anniversary with cocktails and wine, snacks and cake, and the unveiling of their fixed price menu and early dinner for theatre goers.
The cocktail of the evening was the Triple Threat- a Beneva Joven mezcal, infused with Fresno chiles, full of lemons, limes, oranges, and cilantro, topped with club soda poured from a Catalonian porron. At the far end of their dining room was a blind tasting of wines. Given the overwhelming wine-nerd vibe of the place, even the wines they foist off on idiots unable to distinguish between different varietals is damn tasty.
Two tables held a spread of charcuterie- preserved meats (mostly salamis and thin sliced hams) and a host of different cheeses, changed throughout the evening. These were served with a super grainy mustard (excellent on the salami) and berry jam (perfect for the saltier cheeses.) Salads were placed alongside the platters. There was one of pickled peppers and carrots, a salad of mushroom with Kirby cucumbers and thinly sliced radishes, and best of all a watermelon and braised fennel salad full of mint and feta. Watermelon, mint, and feta are amazing together, and should always be served as thus. The middle table held toasted pecans rolled in bacon bits, and a selection of olives brined with orange peels.
Pork rillettes and cheddar puffs were passed around, along with tuna salad topped by tuna sashimi and these absurdly delicious hush puppies made with fresh corn and chunks of pork belly. They were also sending around these little grilled cheeses, one savory with tomatoes and ham, another almost sweet with bacon and blue cheese. So tasty. So very, very tasty. The night ended with ice cream sandwiches made of vanilla malt ice cream and cinnamon cayenne sugar cookies and chocolate cake with a light chocolate icing, shot through with berry jam.
Nothing about the evening was particularly fancy or difficult, but everything was executed with the kind of care and attention to detail which makes simple food noteworthy. The local, seasonal, and fresh ingredients are a start, but it’s the restraint shown in preparation that sets Ripple apart from their competitors.