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Oh, Pod…where to begin. Somehow the idea for a Philly excursion developed,
cheesesteaks were in there somewhere, but that's about as far as the
planning got. When it ended up that Philadelphia was going to be my New
Year's eve destination, a foofier meal choice seemed in order (though
cheesesteaks did not go unsampled). I tried coming up with a hip, trendy,
designy option–the sort of place that would rub me all the wrong ways in
Manhattan, but seemed palatable in a smaller city. Pod fit this bill to a
tee, all white, mod, squishy, gimmicky and seemingly fun. That sushi
conveyer belt and user-controlled colorful lighting really got me.

But they were booked for New Year's eve so I settled for Sat. the 30th.
However, that crazy nor' easter (what the hell is a nor' easter [however you
spell it] anyway?!) thwarted my travel plans and I had to scramble to try
and change our reservations. And without consulting each other, James just
happened to make reservations at the hotel attached to the restaurant
(actually the restaurant is more attached to the hotel) so this fateful
coincidence further cemented the idea that I had to eat at Pod.
Luckily, we finagled new reservations for 11:30, which seems late, but being
a midnight type holiday, it wasn't so bad.

The place was hopping, but not terribly packed and the pretention-level
was much lower than I'd expected. We got a mini booth against the wall and
ordered Blue and Green drinks (that's what they were called: Red, Purple,
etc.–some drunk girl wanted to know what I was drinking and I said Green,
which caused all sorts of confusion), which I was thrilled with on a purely
aesthetic level. Green is my favorite color, and the drink just happened to
be made with Stoli Vanil (my favorite liquor) and lime and orange juice
(none of which explained the emerald green color.

The waitstaff in their white turtle necks and blue and orange Dickies (I
was trying to figure out the meaning behind the people who wore blue pants
vs. the orange and came to the conclusion that it was arbitrary) were
friendly and helpful, if not a little too much so (I know, would I rather
have disagreeable and snotty?). They explained more than necessary (this
didn't really bother me, but James was irked that they used the term
"family-style" and described what that meant), but then, the restaurant is
new and maybe people in Philadelphia don't get out much.

I ordered the small sushi plate, which really wasn't all that small. I'm
not a sushi expert in the least so I can't say what all my rolls were. I was
impressed with the one filled with shrimp tempura, and was pleasantly
surprised by the tofu, which was very sweet and custardy. James had Peking
duck, which came with a hom bao and some little bits that I think may have
been sweet potatoes (I didn't taste them–breaking that family-style
suggestion). We split a gooey, caramely-chocolately hazelnut tart that was
all architecturally presented, and did a champagne toast at midnight.

All in all, it was a festive, appropriate choice. I would've enjoyed
staying longer, but as I often have to remind myself when travelling, the
entire world doesn't serve alcohol until 4am.

Pod* 3636 Sansom St.,
Philadelphia, PA

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