Sunday, May 23, 2010

Home Lunch

Home in Hawaii means my parents stuffing me with Vietnamese food, morning noon and snacktime.

When you think of Vietnamese food you think of Pho, or Bun (noodley bowls). But there is a whole beautiful world of snacky, lunch, street foody type of foods that are made for on the go eating.

Here is an arrangement of Banh It Tran (sticky rice ball full of mung beans) Banh Lot ( Tapioca dumpling with Shrimp) and Banh Cuon ( fresh noodles ). All written on the outside that it should be eaten within the hour.



We haven't really posted anything about Hawthorne's yet because, I selfishly don't want tons of people to know about (who don't already know about it) and I would lose another brunch place. I'm a jerk about food, I don't have lots of time, I just want to have delicious brunch in a sunny place with nice people. So here it is another place for brunch, and you can have a beer before noon.
The house smoked bacon was crunchy and cooked perfectly, the pancake gives me food cravings at the thought of it ( hmm moist crunchy fluffy) and the coffee is good.
Mason jars for water ,vintage mugs for coffee, and a short but sweet menu shows that all the attention is going to the right places.
I've read reviews about the spotty service, but in the 3 times I've been there, it's been pretty nice. Not overly accommadating, and maybe not consistant but hey it's Philadelphia. The owners are absolutely lovely and maybe you have to ask for the creamer instead of the sketchy non-refrigerated packet creamers, but you do get it.

Hawthorne's Cafe
738 South 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 627-3012
Open Mon-Thu 11am-11pm
Fri-Sat 8am-11pm
Sun 8am-6pm

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Circles Thai

Circles Thai is around the corner from my house, which in the summer gets kind of wild. My nieghborhood is a mix of Cambodian and Indonesian families, so when it's warm people are always out. Which kind of led Tim to discover Circles Thai Food, which used to be in an old Chinese take out place. The menu is genuinely Thai and really really inexpensive, and its take out only, through a bulletproof window with giant photos of lychees, durian, and mangosteens plastered everywhere. The tropical fruit photos really add to the decor. The food so far is really delicious, fresh tasting, yummy sauces and good sized portions. Noodles will be the real test, I will keep you posted on that.

They have great hours and this is what makes me genuinely happy to be living in South Philly.

***correction, our friend Adam at the Green Aisle tipped Tim off =)

Circles Thai
1516 Tasker Street Philadelphia,
PA 19145-1539
(267) 687-1778
Open Mon 5pm-10pm; Tue-Sun 11am-11pm
Free Delivery

Game 7

I came home last night to 5 boys watching game 7 of the Flyers playoffs. Which was great because with the boys, came Pizza from Stogie Joe's and beer, and all I had to do was walk through the door. The Stogie Joe's pizza is supposedly or definately the recipe from the famous Santucci's square pizza that has cheese on the bottom and sauce on top and random basil leaves baked it. The crust is thin and crunchy and it's like the perfect baby of a La Rosa's thick slice and a Slice super thin slice. Which means you can eat at least 5 slices.

Plus the Flyers made history, Dan Carcillo all the ladies heart you.

Pizza/ 9$ for a small ( 4 slices) 14$ bucks for a large (10 slices, I think..)

Stogie Joe's
1801 East Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19148-2127
(215) 463-3030

Monday, May 10, 2010

Los Gallos

Tipped off by some friends, we stopped here on the way to the Phillies game this weekend. A few tables in the back of a Mexican grocery that opened recently. Clean place, great service, and some of the best authentic tacos I've had in south philly.

Super affordable at 5.50 for three, plain or with cheese (soft mexican white cheese - no tex-mex cheddar nonsense) with the red and creamy (avocados?) green salsa on the side and a roasted jalapeno.

We also tried the huitlacoche quesadilla which was terrific. Great place to check out the "mexican truffle" without breaking the bank. If you want to spend the big bucks, for 10 dollars you can get a bit more exotic with tacos a la plancha with your choice of meats including smoked pork and short ribs, cactus and avacado on the side.

They do tortas as well which I'll have to check out soon. If this place served beer it would be perfect, although this pineapple cider was awesome.

Los Gallos
10th & Wolf

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Fast Food Style

While we're on the subject of burgers, I ventured out of hot dog territory for my buddy's 30th birthday party last weekend. I'm no expert on the subject, in fact I can't even tell you what percentage of fat was in the meat I bought. Looked like a lot though.

This photo is a prototype I made the night before the party. Most of the ingredients came from the Reading Terminal Market - coarse ground, half sirloin half chuck beef from the Haltemann Family stand; pickles from AJ pickle patch, onions, iceberg lettuce and tomatoes from Iovine brothers; white american and orange colby cheese from one of the other Amish stands.

Then stopped at Acme for about 7 packs of Wonder Bread rolls. (Hey Metropolitan and Le Bus and whoever else- time to add artisanal fast food style soft burger buns to your repertoire)

What really made it was the special sauce, sort of cross between remoulade and russian dressing. I roasted a tomato, serrano chilis, onion and garlic, mashed them up and pushed it through my trusty old busted up chinoise "borrowed" from the kitchen of Brasserie Perrier a few years ago.. (well seasoned with 10 years of red wine sauce and truffled celery root "bisque") all that folded into a homemade mayo, then some small diced pickles and parsley thrown in.

I know "fast food style" burgers are all the rage right now but damn I love it. There's something about the comfort of a thin, loosely packed patty on a fluffy white bun mixed with just the right amount of fanciness that might be the best thing you can ever eat.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Roney's Restaurant

I spotted Roney's down the road from The Pub on a cruddy strip of route 130 in New Jersey. It looked closed, maybe even abandoned, so imagine my surprise when I discovered it was open 24 hours. I still didn't believe it until my hand literally opened the door. The building is unbelievable, and you need to get there soon if you want to see it in person.

We walked in and it was empty except for the cheerful owner / sole employee and his pregnant wife (?) who was hanging out in a van in the parking lot and waltzed in with a box of chips every once in a while. I was a little bummed that the place wasn't still run by the original "Roney" but Peter was a great host, encouraged us to take pictures and told us the whole history of the place. At this point it's sort of a diner slash convenience store, with a megatouch machine and a bootleg dvd of "Transporter 3" playing on a busted up old TV on the counter.

The burgers were decent, standard fast food style cooked on the original 90 year old grill, on which the buns are warmed right before serving. It's not going to impress any North Jersey slider experts any time soon, but the buns weren't stale and a plate of onion rings is something like $1.75. Good food and worth it to stop by just for the building and crazy atmosphere.

I got the feeling that this place is really jamming around breakfast time, on top of the grill were literally hundreds of empty egg crates. Also weekend nights the drunks spill out of the bars and continue partying at Roney's until 5 or 6 in the morning. There's even a patio in the back with tables that would be a sweet place to eat 4 or 5 burgers and watch the sun rise after a night of drinking.

Peter told us a bunch of stories of all the crazy stuff he's seen there at 4 in the morning.. reminds me of my days working graveyard shift at 7-11. And believe it or not this tiny 20-seat hamburger shop has a full size walk-in refridgerator and freezer in the basement. Most of the equipment is as old as the restaurant itself - somewhere around 90 years.

The story behind Roney's is that it used to be a White Tower - a White Castle imitator popular in the 50's - until the manager (apparently a "Mr. Toney") bought the building in 1981 and turned it into Roney's, adding a full-on diner and breakfast menu. If you look closely you can still see a ghost of the "White Tower" lettering on the sign.

After Mr. Toney either retired or passed away it apparently became a Vietnamese restaurant for a few months before Peter bought it. Unfortunately the state or township is buying the property and demolishing it to make more room for the highway within the year.

The owner has another place around the corner, the Dugout Grill & Deli, where he plans to install Roney's grill after they tear it down, and whatever else they will let him keep. (Uhh. I'll take the signs off your hands...) So once this place is gone you can stop there for a burger cooked on 100 well seasoned years of New Jersey history.

Roney's Restaurant
Open 24 hours
50 Haddon Avenue
(google map)
Haddon Twp, NJ


• Roney's at Burgatory
• Roney's review (and menu photos) at
• More about Roney's and White Tower