Monday, June 29, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
My first in a series of hot dog of the week illustrated articles for Serious Eats. The holy grail of Philadelphia cuisine, the Fish Cake Combo. Read more at seriouseats.com.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Brooklyn's Chinatown along 8th ave in Sunset Park is sort of amazing. It's way bigger than I expected and goes on for at least 20 blocks before turning polish. The streets are packed with people and lined with all sorts of bars and restaurants, take out windows and skewer carts. Produce stands still open and packed with customers at 9:30pm, whole octopus and buckets of crab being sold out of the back of trucks, basement gambling parlors... incredible.
It can be overwhelming to pick where to eat somewhere like this but luckily I had my trusty guides Jake & Caroline to accompany me to their favorite Sichuan restaurant. Started off with some cold beers and a plate of tripe & tongue in chile sauce and sichuan peppercorns. Holy shit, it's delicious. We also had the double cooked pork, dry chicken with green pepper, chinese vegetable, taiwanese fried chicken. Everything spicy but not insane, and all really good.
4924 Eighth Avenue
Monday, June 22, 2009
I've been hearing a lot about Crif Dogs on St Marks St. in Manhattan, and PDT; their "speakeasy" next door that can only be accessed by placing a call on a pay phone inside the hot dog place which opens a hidden door and allows you entry to a super amazing secret cocktail bar.
Sounds like either the best thing ever or a gimmick to sell overpriced hot dogs and 15 dollar drinks. For me the best hot dog in new york has always been the bright red, ultra cheap dogs at Papaya King and Gray's Papaya.
We were there too early for the bar (opens at 6pm) but until then it's BYO and there's a beer store on every corner. And the dogs were really really good. The bagel style deep fried dog with cream cheese, green onions, and everything bagel topping sounded really bad until I tried it, and whoa it's genius. Slaw dog was good and the Tater Tots were kind of amazing. I wonder if they make them from scratch, probably not but they were really amazing for some reason, super crispy and hot and without that freezer burn taste you usually get...
Also tried their mexican dog which was decent. Wrapped in bacon with avacado and mayonnaise. Had a really good mexican dog at SPTR last week too.. although word is you need to go to mexico or san diego for the real deal. Anyway we never made it to the bar but these hot dogs are worth the trip by themselves.
113 St Marks
Sunday, June 14, 2009
I love going to restaurants that make me feel like I could be anywhere. Noble made me feel like I could have been in San Francisco, Portland, New York, Austin, or Philly. The place is great looking, has a rooftop herb garden and all local sustainable seasonal menu. I know that it seems pretty cliche at the moment, but the food wasn't silly or repetative of any other restaurant in Philly.
The drinks alone were impressive. Fresh mint, lemon oils, egg whites, fresh ginger beer, blueberry smashes, cayenne pepper all made it into my drinks that night. I would come back just for the ginger beer alone.
I just graced the bar menu but I cant wait to come back for the regular menu. The watermelon feta wings/porkbelly was the best flavor and eating experience I've had in a while. It was spicy good skin, tender and not dry, and the watermelon soaked up the spicyness but refreshing
The chickpea fries with tomato preserve were my winner. I asked for a spoon.
Oh and the sugar cookies served with my sorbet, they were warm, that fact alone calls me back.
Hawk its your neighborhood, Nicki will love it. xo
An American Cookery
2025 sansom street
philadelphia, pa 19103
Monday, June 8, 2009
Cafe De Laos
Laotian and Thai on 11th & Washington. Awesome atmosphere plus it's BYOB. The Laos appetizer platter was awesome. Decent pad thai. Laos green curry with lemongrass was great. Go with the Laotian side of the menu here.
1117 S 11th St
Continental (Old City)
Yeah, I"ve actually never eaten here before. I'm also someone that doesn't get super excited over seared tuna with wasabi mashed potatoes. My Calamari salad was HUGE and sort of boring- mostly lettuce and shredded carrots with an "asian" dressing. Not bad, just sort of safe food for tourists. Really not that different than eating at Applebees.
138 Market St
Word is the POPE has a new chef/kitchen guy. The menu doesn't look that different but the sandwiches were damn good. Everything on multigrain bread which seems sort of Hippy for them but hey whatever..and they still have pierogies on the menu. As always great beer on tap and always friendly service which often makes the P.O.P.E. the choice over similar establishments.
1501 E Passyunk Ave
Found myself in a U-Haul in Delaware County sunday morning and came across this awesome looking Steak & Shake shoppe in Clifton Heights. It's been there for 70 years and has an awesome soda shop vibe complete with a diner style counter and tons of old signs.
Cheesesteak was really good, with broccoli raab and american cheese, (delco is not really whiz country) nice soft roll and lots of meat, but not so much that the sandwich fell apart. The Roast pork was good but unfortunately while the cheese & bread were hot the pork itself was cold. The one guy in the back seemed to still be learning so hopefully this isn't a common occurence. Anyway I hate to talk smack about a place that looks so cool. The fries were incredible, piping hot, crispy and salty. Good fuel for moving a truck full of drywall.
329 E Baltimore
Clifton Heights PA
Thursday, June 4, 2009
I'd never had a Tacconelli's Pizza until last night. I admit I am a bit skeptical of hype, and most restaurants can't ever live up to the near-mythical status that writers tend to give to obscure, mind-numbingly authentic eateries that have been around since 1918. Some folks told me "yeah, it's good, but it's just pizza" But I also got a lot of "you've never been there? what the hell is wrong with you? no wonder you think Lazaro's is good".
So the verdict is Tacconelli's wins. This pizza is incredible. And it really is something special, and not in that duck proscuitto with goat cheese kind of way. Halfway through my second bottle of wine I was just staring at my 6th slice in awe. It doesn't look like much, the toppings are fairly standard. It's the sauce, which is really good, maybe the best, and the perfect crust. Margerita pizza was amazing. Sausage & Onions, fantastic. All very light on the cheese (even the white pie) which is different but it helps the crust stay crispy, and you don't fall asleep after eating 7 slices. Delicious.
It is suggested that you reserve your dough ahead of time. And it might take 2 hours to get your pizza. So make sure you brought some beer or a few bottles of wine, and a bunch of other people. This is not a pretentious restaurant marketing ploy. There's one guy and one oven, the same oven the family has been using for almost 100 years. Closed on mondays & tuesdays. They do take out also. If you see a guy trying to ride a bike down delaware ave with three pizzas balanced on the handlebars, it's probably me.
2604 E Somerset
Monday, June 1, 2009
I love the fact that this place hasn't changed in the 10 years I've lived in Philadelphia. I think the beers went up 10 cents and I was happily surprised that they have PBC's kenzinger on tap ($8 a pitcher!!). Primus and the Dead Milkmen are still on the jukebox. And chili dogs are still available for $1.25 from that creepy little "kitchen" in the back of the bar.
The presentation was nicer than expected and the chili had that dark burnt tobacco taste that goes great with an ice cold $1.15 glass of beer. The buns were not stale, and the dogs were much better than the 3 day old "bahama mamas" I often consume from 7-11.
I'm not sure what the exact law is, but I think serving food allows taverns here to be open on sundays, so you see older bars all over Philadelphia that have one creepy food item available, thus the McGlinchy hot dog. These laws are also responsible for the awesome phenomenon of grocery / delis that sell take out beer and have a sketchy dining area in the back. (like Locust Deli on 21st street- full menu and actually a decent breakfast)
259 S 15th Street
Opened in 1943 in what used to be a boarding house. Mrs Wilkes worked the kitchen until she passed away in 2002. Her family now runs the dining room that still makes the best southern / soul food I've ever eaten.
Mrs Wilkes is only open Monday through Friday, 11am til 2pm. No reservations, 16 bucks a person, cash only. Get there early and stand in line. It looks tiny but actually seats around 80 people. You are seated with total strangers at tables quickly cleared and restocked with big bowls of sides and sweet tea. Then comes plate after plate of fried chicken, meat loaf, pork bbq.
Sound like pretty standard fare but everything I tasted was incredible. Maybe it was just the atmosphere but I've never tasted food like this in my life. Pinto beans, black eyed peas, sweet potatoes, butter beans, potato salad, turnip greens, creamed corn, boiled cabbage, everything chock full of bacon and pork of course.
The meat loaf blew me away, as did the dressing (stuffing), biscuits, cornbread. Fried chicken was amazing, as was the sauce slathered boneless pork BBQ. Talk about making simple food incredible. Even the simple banana pudding passed out on cafeteria trays for dessert blew my mind. Easily in my top 10 meals of all time.
Mrs Wilkes Dining Room
107 West Jones St / Savannah GA