When I was living in Princeton, the girls and I would often trek over to Philly and paint the town red. One of the restaurants along Rittenhouse Square was Devon Seafood, which I had always shunned, "It's a chain for goodness sakes." Its being surrounded by swanky, independent places didn't help matters.
Fast forward a few years, and I find myself working in Hershey, PA, where the street lamps are made in the shape of Kisses. Yes. Really. As much as you might think a town with such attractions as Chocolate World and Hershey Park would have a well developed dining scene, it's really not that great. When I interviewed with the company in 2006, my lunch companion drove me to a place called "What If?" because the only walkable alternative was a pizza-by-the-slice joint that was feeding the entire company on a daily basis.
A year after that, Houlihan's opened its doors across the street and approximately 200 steps to the west. That place was as hot as a sizzling Ball Park frank on the grill. A huge number of Hershey employees would swarm over there for lunch and happy hour - some even earlier, as they justified, "But we were talking about work..."
A year or two after that, and Devon Seafood opened its doors in the same building, and let me tell you, we now had a "premium" offering. Guess where we were having all of our power lunches with suppliers and interviewees? That's right, at that swanky new place across the street and approximately 210 steps to the west.
On their lunch menu, they have a $10 Power Lunch section. Below is my go-to. Almond-crusted Tilapia - hold the beurre blanc sauce on the side, please - with the grilled asparagus and garnished with berries and chives. And what you see below? It's half of the dish - you get two of those enormous fillets that are dredged in a bit of egg and flour, rolled in almonds, pan-seared, then finished off in the oven. In order to keep my svelte figure, I automatically put one of the fillets into a to-go box and enjoy it the next day. The almonds keep very well, and even after a stint in the microwave, it's still 100 times better than the regular ol' breading.
Who knew I could get so excited about a chain? Seems you can take the snootiness out of the girl once you get the girl out of a snooty city...