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foodzings: July 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

White Rice, I'm So Over You

I've grown up with white rice my entire life. For probably a good 15 of those years, I probably ate it every day. For the most part, it's always been short grain white rice. Then I started doing the jasmine rice thing. Next I moved to basmati, but it's always been white rice. But I fell in love with the brown rice from PF Chang's / Pei Wei this past year. I even wanted to write to the company and ask them what kind of brown rice they use. I never ended up resorting to that. Instead, I just decided to press my luck and find one that may be a good substitute. Wouldn't you know it, I got it right on my first try.

I went to H Mart, and I had a different one picked out initially, but then, I somehow ended up going with this organic short grain brown rice, which happened to be korean. It was a total last minute switcheroo. I think I had picked out a japanese one earlier, but I was somehow drawn to this. It was all pure chance. It's expensive too, argh. But man, it's totally worth it.
It's even better than the brown rice at Pei Wei. Really folks, it's the best rice I've ever eaten. I don't think I can ever eat white rice again. Well, at least not if I have a choice about it. And it doesn't help that white rice is basically devoid of any nutritional value. As for me, I'm a brown rice girl now. And proud of it. And it helps if you have a kick ass rice cooker like I do. It's all about zojirushi.

Royal Tavern Yell Fest

Before heading out to a show at the FU on thursday night, I met up with B for a quick bite at the Royal Tavern. I'd been wanting to go here for awhile, but just never had a chance to make it. On a thursday night, this place was totally packed. We were lucky to get a high two-top. The place is a long and skinny. There are christmas lights that hang all year long. And it's unbelievably loud. It's as if because it's loud, everyone has to keep talking louder in order to hear themselves. But if we all just talked normally, then it wouldn't be that bad. But unfortunately, everyone is just screaming. It was still fine, but damn, it would have been so much better if it wasn't so crazy loud. B got the tempeh club, one of the vegan options. This was a thick and hard to maneuver sandwich. Came with fries and a pickle. Somehow, I ended up getting a vegan sloppy joe. How we both ended up getting vegan dishes is beyond me, as we're both avid meat eaters. This was good, but also pretty difficult to eat. The fake meat kept falling out everywhere. I had a fake sloppy joe stain on my skirt all night. Fries were good though. The pickle was fabulous. Service was ok. Our drinks were always filled, but it was a bit hard to get the check.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

El Vez

I don't remember the last and only time I went to El Vez. It was years ago, and I only had drinks and perhaps some nachos. I just remember it being very colorful. And I didn't remember the food, or the drinks. E and O wanted to go there on Sunday night, so we trekked on over on a muggy evening.
They have a big bar in the middle, with a kick ass tricked out bike on top that spins. I totally want to take this bike home with me. They also have a photo booth. And on the far edge of the restaurant, there are booths, but theses are fancy booths, with really funky velvety fabric. I could have rubbed this fabric forever.
Guacamole, and lots of it. The original. Everybody loved it. Good chips too. Yey for El Vez chips.
J got the chipotle chicken tacos. I dug the presentation on this fancy plate. The tacos were tiny though, and I appreciate anything topped off with shredded radishes. He also got a side of rice and beans, which came with pickled onions on top. He wasn't all that into the rice and beans.
O got the mahi mahi tacos and the grilled corn on the cob with lime chipotle and queso fresco. He liked the tacos, but he said the corn wasn't all that great.

E got a special, which was some kind of veal dish. I'm guessing veal enchiladas with a verde sauce. She said it was good, but she didn't eat too much of it. And J refused to try it because he won't eat veal. Boo.

I got the lobster and crab enchiladas. Oh boy, were these good. It came in a wondrous red gravy/sauce thingy, thick and sweet. It had good chunks of lobster and crab and I just really liked it. I was a bit surprised at how good this was.

Service was good, but we felt slightly rushed. Well, maybe not rushed, but they were a bit too eager to clean the table, as if they were too attentive. It was early on a Sunday and the place was fairly empty, but they still wanted to move us along. Perhaps they were just bored and needed something to do, so they just decided to clean up lots and quickly. The food was good, but you know, a swanky mexican restaurant isn't exactly my scene. Give me a dirty tacqueria over a stephen starr restaurant any day of the week, but I still had a good time and good food here. I wasn't drinking that night, but everyone else was drinking plenty of mojitos for me, but I could definitely see myself coming back here for a drink or two.

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Grillin' in Roxborough

Before heading down to East Falls Glass for an open house thingy, I got a chance to hang out at M's house where she grilled up a gourmet storm. I love coming here for dinners, as she's always whipping up fancy meals with such effortless grace. Makes me sick, but I love it. On this lovely evening she grilled some tilapia, eggplant, and little baby potatoes.

The eggplant was marinated in a little soy, rice vinegar, ginger, sesame oil, and some other stuff. It was grilled to perfection and freakin delicious. I love me some eggplant. The potatoes were perfect too, especially the halves that got all crispy brown. Mmmm...
The fish had a little dry rub on it, and then M prepared some kind of mint based sauce. I told you, fancy. Way fancier than anything I could dream up. And delicious too. She spoils me.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I love me some indian food, but I actually haven't had it regularly in quite a long time. I used to go to Kajuraho near me all the time, until my last horrific customer service nightmare there, and I haven't been back since. That was years ago. I can definitely hold a grudge when it comes to bad service. I've heard nothing but great things about Tiffin, and when B invited me out to go there, we took a spontaneous trip.

Dining is upstairs. Tiffin's located on a somewhat shady spot on Girard, but once inside, you wouldn't know you were surrounded by sketch. It's a pretty cute spot with brick walls and beautiful photographs of india. We went on a sunday night, and it was pretty empty. I didn't mind that at all. Mango lassi. Yum. The standard trio of little dipping dishes. Top left was something bizarre that I did not care for. Middle right was some kind of extremely sweet fruit chutney, which was pretty good. The bottom thing was fantastic. I can't tell you what it is, I did not ask either what was in it, but it had a bit of a kick, tasted a bit cilantro-y, and was just overall terrific. B ordered some veggie samosas. These were pretty simple, filled mainly with beans. These were fairly plain, but still good. Dipped into the mystery green sauce, this was a nice little appetizer.
B got the chicken korma, because he has some sense, and I, like a crazy woman, got the lamb vindaloo. Dude, I can do spicy, but I should have been smart and realized that at Tiffin, it was actually going to be pretty damn spicy. Can you see that bowl of fiery red death? Yeah, it was as spicy as it looked. I didn't last very long, but for what it was worth, it was good. If I wasn't such a damn wuss, I would have been actually able to enjoy it more. The korma was quite good though, and much easier to eat, as it didn't burn my insides. The garlic naan wasn't quite as good as I wanted them to be, mostly because they didn't show up piping hot. Naan should be fresh from the oven, no?

Service was good and prices were reasonable. We pretty much closed down the place, and we didn't feel rushed at all. There was barely anyone dining, and they pretty much left us alone to loiter. Next time, I'm not gonna be a jackass and I'll order something I can tolerate.

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My Brother Went to Hawaii and All I Got Was a Pineapple

My brother went to Hawaii again, and instead of sending macadamia chocolates like last time, this time he sent us pineapples. I try not to buy whole pineapples, cuz really, it's kind of a pain in the ass to cut them open and stuff. I mean I don't honestly remember if I've ever actually bought a whole pineapple before that I had to deskin and all, but it just looks kinda annoying. Like way too much work.
So I broke down on Sunday and busted it open. I was roasting and figured that cold pineapple would be just the refreshing thing. After finding some fine directions on the interweb, I managed to cut it up just fine. And I have to admit, it is some damn fine pineapple. Thank you brother of mine!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Redstone Overpriced Grill

There's a whole renaissance (haha) happening at Plymouth Meeting Mall lately. They've built a bunch of new buildings with a bunch of chain restaurants. They're also building out the largest Whole Foods in Pennsylvania. I guess the good thing is having some additional lunch options. While at PF Chang's, we noticed the Redstone American Grill next door. Noone had ever heard of it before. With a need to escape the office, we decided to try it out. The place is pretty big, dimly lit, and seems to cater to the button down shirt and khaki work crowd. It's not hip or young. You could see older middle management in suits hanging out here and getting steaks. Oh, and the place is so not cheap.

R went with one of their overpriced sandwiches - pastrami. She said it was good, but a bit too greeasy. And it wasn't overstuffed with meat either. Redstone, where is this $14 coming from?

Both D and I went with the redstone burger, which came with cheese, apple wood smoked bacon, and barbecue sauce. I also got the optional grilled onions, which were red onions. A nice touch. This burger was huge, and there wasn't enough bbq sauce on it, so when I asked for a side of bbq sauce, she brought me out a gravy boat full. It was glorious. It also came with fries, and I did like these fries quite a bit. Thinly sliced, crispy, delicious. The burger was pretty good too. A little difficult to eat since it was was practically six inches high. Service was fine, but it did take a hella long time for our food to come out. The food was ok, but like I said, rather pricey. It's a lot, especially for lunch, especially only for a sandwich or a burger. Will I be back? Eh, not necessarily. Once may have been enough for me. I'm not convinced it's worth it.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Good Dog, Sans Burgers

So we went to the Good Dog the other night and did not get the burgers. How was that? Probably a mistake. I mean the non-burger food was still good, but nowhere in the dreamy category as the burgers. I was slightly bummed that we didn't get to sit in a booth, as it was early, but not early enough to score one. We got stuck all the way in the front of the place in a table, that doesn't seem to quite be a table. But what are you gonna do?

After agonizing over deciding between the smoked chicken quesadillas and the duck pot pie, J went nuts and made a last minute switcheroo to the mac and cheese. So this mac and cheese was quite good, but I wholeheartedly agree that there should be an option to get mac and cheese as a side. At Good Dog this is not an option, and it really should be. It's not a very big portion that you get either, and this is an entree. So Good Dog, I implore you, make this a side dish! It's a light cheese mixture, topped with corn flakes. The corn flakes are a nice touch. It's served with a blueberry corn muffin. That was good too, but it also seems a bit random.

While I heart their burgers, I also went crazy and did not get one. I went with the pulled pork sandwich. It was ok, but I felt the pulled pork was too shredded (not really pulled or chopped seeming) and it wasn't quite wet enough for me. The roll was great though, brioche, toasted, with sesame seeds. The fries were heavenly as usual. It also came with apple slaw, which was tangy and strange. Service was ok, as usual. Nothing great, but nothing bad. But next time, I'll stick with the burgers.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Nuts About Edwards Freeman

I work in Conshohocken, and within a hop skip and jump from the office, is Edwards Freeman. It's literally like being a kid in a candy store. They sell bulk nuts and dried fruits, but also bulk candies, specialty candies, candy ingredients, and random fun stuff. You can find pretty much any candy here, new and old. They have tons of throwback candy, like necco wafers, lemonheads, and pop rocks.

You can also find some foreign candies and chocolates from across the land. They're also famous for their homemade peanut butters and stuff. It's a fun spot to visit. You'd never know it was there unless someone told you. So if you're hanging out in Conshohocken not near the main drag, then you should definitely stop in.

Chestnut Hill Japanese

Stopped by Osaka in Chestnut Hill for a little lunch the other day. It's a cute little place on the main drag. There's the sushi bar in the front, and then multiple floors of dining. We sat at the bar as R had never sat at a sushi bar before. She got some salmon and king crab sashimi, along with some miso soup and some sprite in a fancy glass. She liked this just fine, but it sure wasn't cheap.

I went with the agedashi tofu bento box. It came with agedashi tofu (duh), some california roll, a couple of dumplings, salad, and rice. Everything was pretty good, but nothing spectacular. My bento box was pretty cheap though, but it also didn't have any fish in it, which is probably why it was so affordable. But all in all, quite the bargain for my lunch.
Service was fine. It wasn't busy at all (it was raining something fierce) so it better have been fine! The only thing annoying was that one of the waitresses was gabbing to one of the sushi chefs the whole time we were eating. It's fine if they want to talk (it's not like they had anyone to wait on), but I really didn't need to hear their intimate conversations. They even spoke in korean a bit, and I couldn't help understanding.

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