[yiddish] To eat like an animal, i.e., quickly, noisily, and in great quantity.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

South East Asian Grub on Washington Ave

Down on Washington Ave you can find several plazas and stand alone Vietnamese Pho joints. Pho and Cafe Viet Huong, located in one of several Viet-centric plazas, has a sit down restaurant in the back and a counter for easy access to take out, banh mi, bubble teas, and other prepared snacks.

The summer rolls are huge and fresh, stuffed with shrimp, mint, noodles, thin slices of pork and a thick peanut sauce on the side. And order is $3.50 and comes with 2, prepackaged versions are available up front- but you are probably better off ordering them to ensure maximum freshness. I took home two types of sticky rice, both only 2 dollars. The banana leaf wrapped sticky rice was not my favorite, it had some kind of tamale like thing going on in there. The small pre-wrapped portion of xoi lap xuong on the other hand was pretty great. Its a perfect thing to pick up as part of a lunch.... throw in a summer roll order and your coworkers/classmates/friends/cat will be jealous.

An order of pork over vermicelli proved a bit perplexing, the pork element came in slices that were joined by some over foreign sliced thing (tripe?).

There are several dessert option, I tried che chuoi, a kind of tapioca banana pudding, not bad.

Out the plaza and across the street you can find Cafe de Laos. A sit-down restaurant serving Laotion, Thai, and Laotion-Thai fusion food (that section is lovingly titled "Thai-Laos Relationship Bridge"). Its a really cute byo and alternative date spot. I don't know much about Laotion food, but I do know I like how they handle their sausage. As a guide, the Laos sausage is under the salad section of the Laos menu, naturally... The sausage are housemade and are a must order. I felt like I was eating chorizo injected with Tom Yum soup, which makes sense, its packed with lemongrass and lime and well crisped on the outside.

An order of beef Om Laos curry proved neither impressive nor unique. Hor Mok Pla w catfish (steamed marinated fish in banana leaf) was more entertaining. The pieces of cat fish were joined by lightly pickled bamboo shoot strings that were subtle but tangy. The menu is HUGE and we barely touched the surface.

Pho and Cafe Huong-1110 Washington Ave
Cafe de Laos- 1117 South St

Friday, November 20, 2009

Paul's Tuesday Neighborhood Appreciation Menu, $20

Get on this Tuesday train! Paul is a tiny BYO that would certainly fall into the category of a "cute, neighborhood spot." It offers a menu of creative but not crazy American fare, including a $30, 3 course limited prix fix. But, the real night to go is Tuesday (neighborhood appreciation night) when 3 courses set you back only $20.

You get the choice of pretty much any appetizer (minus cheese plate) and entree on the menu and then a choice of creme brulee or choc pancakes for dessert. All the portions are smaller than are normally served, but were enough to be filling for me, could potentially be less filling for others.

I would recommend my appetizer- a duck prosciutto salad with pear spheres over a gorgonzola patty.

I was also pleased with my entree, short ribs with a polenta queso fresco tamale and braised radicchio. The tamale thing could have been served warmer but the radicchio was not at all bitter, it was extra vinegary (kudos to you if you get the south park reference) and sourkraut- like which I loved.

The skate was your typical lovely brown butter caper skate, can't go wrong there. It was served with a bacon hash that was less typical and just as appetizing.

Desserts are definitely an afterthought, but its still nice to end with something sweet. Again, this place is really really small, so you might want to make a reservation.

1120 Pine Street

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flying Monkey Cupcakes + O Sandwiches

While passing by the Flying Monkey's newest location, I noticed a new sign...
Today was the first day that they started carrying banh mi sandwiches ($5.50) and summer rolls ($6) from O Sandwiches. Though its a bit of mark-up, its pretty exciting news for the gayborhood. Now we can be that much trendier over here.

I wasn't in the sandwich mood so I just went with a champagne cupcake, but I will be back soon enough to try out these highly acclaimed sammiches.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Noodles from the Chinese Noodle Factory

On this little Chinatown street, the Noodle factory makes their own buns and rice noodles for you to bring home and gussy up. They also sell prepackaged noodles with a tangy sauce that makes for a convenient lunch. They give you a ton of noodles graciously topped with a fork. I went for the shrimp version which cost all of $1.60.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Lee How Fook: business in the front, party in the back

Lee How Fook has a reputation for serving legit Chinese food to the Philly community.

A recent bday partayyy allowed us to sample the goods, while taking advantage of their semi-private back room and byo policy. Spinning wine and beer around and around on a lazy susan is really fun.

I don't even know exactly what we eat, things just kept spinning at me. Each dish held its own, but nothing blew my mind
The duck meat with ginger and pineapple came close though.

They have a godzilla sized menu and are accommodating to the vegetarians (like a mapo tofu without any meat) and eaters of all adventurous levels (from general tso's chicken all the way to duck feet abalone hot pot) Our bill for our large party was ridiculously low. According to the website, Lee How Fook means "good food for the mouth" and they have been working at that for over 20 years.

219 North 11th Street

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Make your own Porchetta Sandwich with Esposito's and Sarcone's

Esposito's has been selling their porchetta from a tiny store front for years. I had no idea what to expect, and was not even sure I was in the right place; it did not exactly look like a place that was open and ready to sell me some meat. But, through the red door we went and they were so ready. Esposito's sells huge whole porchetta pigs which would be a pretty impressive addition to any party.

We were here to get some serious sandwich material. We picked up a pound of sliced porchetta for $9 and half a pound of sliced provolone, they also sell roast beef for $10 a pound, both come with gravy. The guy working there saw how excited we were at his products and gave us a tour. I probably would have cried if I had forgotten my camera.

The inside of the freezer is filled with vats of chopped garlic, and then there are these beauties- already covered in the garlic and rosemary and ready for their 8 hour spa treatment in the oven.

"hey, sup?"

That was the pig head, staring right at us, from deep inside the super old oven.

Here is our sandwich recipe in photo form (it feeds about 4 people):

pound of sliced porchetta and 1/2 pound provolone

plus a loaf of Sarcone's bread

= one of the best sandwiches you can get in Philly

1627 S. 10th Street

Friday, October 23, 2009

Taste of Philly!

Wendesday's Taste of Philly was a great time.

(Thank you to the Phillies for causing a diversion and limiting the attendees; the lines were minimal, it was the perfect sized crowd)

Drinks were more than plentiful, Victory brewing provided 3 beers, including Golden Monkey, which went well with pretty much all the food.

For favorite food item of the night, our group consensus went for the oysters at Snocky's.

Which is kinda not fair, because you can't possibly go wrong with fresh briny raw oysters.

My second favorite dish and one of the more impressive drinks came from Mango Moon, in Manayunk. They offered their tea infused gin and a house made sausage that was one of the more flavorful bites of the night. I was very impressed and their actual menu has so many tasty and creative plates that make them stand out from the standard Thai restaurant.

I was surprised at how good the Tir Ni Nog's risotto was, theirs included crab
and white truffle.

They also provided an ice luge for shots. How thoughtful!

Kibbitz Room sliced up their signature corned beef and had a whole tray of pickles.

I have been meaning to check out Tastee D's. I could not for the life of me hear what the name of the dish they served was called, it was kind of like a tasty tamale though and I liked it.

Instead of your typical bar wings, Monk's got a little funky and dished out frog's legs with whipped cream cheese and gorgonzola.

Prive did a trio of spreads;
the garlicky tzatziki was most notable.

The JNA Institute of Culinary Arts put out a tasty bite of duck confit; I found out they do a $25, 4 -course prix fixe (and I heard students can get 20% off), with the sample menu they displayed, this is an amazing price for what you get.

Bebe's BBQ cooked their pork for 16 hours for us and topped with either a vinegar or tomato based sauce.
The Swift Half's version of a Bloody Mary was so refreshing and spicy, I loved it. And I am glad I got to their bacon fudge before it ran out. The drink and small bite has me intrigued about this place.

Archedream for Humankind provided the trippy entertainment that looked like this...

Thanks Philadelphia Weekly, for entertaining me and getting me both full and tipsy on a Wednesday night! I look forward to it next year.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are you going to this? I am

Taste of Philly is on Wednesday, dishes from Philly restaurants are prepared for us under one roof.

Monday, October 19, 2009

$6 pizza pies in the Italian Market

Lorenzo's makes a cheap ass halfway decent pizza pie. A small is $6 and comes with 8 smallish slices. The crust is crisp, and the cheese level is spot on, the sauce has a good flavor but is a tad sweet and is missing that coagulation with the cheese that in my opinion can only be found in New York... but really though, very worth picking up. I have had far more abysmal slices in this city; this pizza was fully enjoyable.

They serve battered broccoli, which I would be interested in trying on a later date.
They also have the ever so important instructions on where to order in many languages and a pizza making version of Tickle me Elmo.

900 Christian St

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Candied Ginger at The Spice Corner

The Spice Corner in the Italian Market is a nightmarish timewaster because of its captivating supply of every spice imaginable and other fun things you might realize you absolutely need in your kitchen. I could not pass the $1 bag of candied ginger sitting by the register. There are endless possibilities for this cheap little luxury, as a garnish for a savory dish, maybe over ice cream, but so far I have just nibbled on it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Burmese food at Rangoon

I would definitely recommend a dinner at Rangoon, a medium sized Burmese Restaurant in the Chinatown area.

I ordered my usual favorite Burmese apps and all were to my liking; the roti canai tasted exactly as it should, with flakey bread and curried up dipping sauce I would have liked to drink.

Burmese style tofu is so completely different from your regular tofu, being made from chick pea, that I always wonder why it shares the same name. Either way, its worth ordering, not only just to try something new, but because of the subtle flavor of the mushy insides contrasted with the crisp fried-but- not- too -greasy outside. (the menu claims they are made from lentils, but I am almost positive that is an error)

Rangoon's version of the tea leaf leaf salad was a little more
sesame-ish than tea leaf-ish,
which was still ok by me because sometimes that tea leaf flavor can come on too strong.

For the entrees, the whole banana leaf fish was perfect with its fragrant curry sauce and crispy fried flakey fish.

This noodle dish looks nice, but it was kinda funky. I can't remember the name of it ( it may have been the Rangoon House Noodle) but the menu said something about it being the best noodles ever, it sadly wasn't. But one miss out of many dishes, is allowed.

Rangoon serves wine and beer and has a corkage fee for byo.

112 North 9th Street