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foodzings: January 2009

Saturday, January 31, 2009

OMG - Grinders

When talking with colleagues, the subject of food always comes up. And more than once, various people kept talking about this Grinders place. Grinders, Grinders, let's go to Grinders. After B started going off about it and how we had to go on Friday, a whole slew of us made the trek all the way down there to get some giant honkin sandwiches.

They have a ghetto website. It's so darn ghetto, just look at it! And they have odd hours. Or namely, only certain days that they're open. So be sure to check before you go. Judging by the website, I thought the actual Grinders would be a ghetto dump. Boy, was I wrong! The place is adorable! So dont' let the website fool you. It's like an adorable little bistro, complete with lots of b&w photos of musicians. It's a really cool place with an open kitchen.
So you go for their ginormous sandwiches, or their grinders. Like this one, the chicken pesto grinder, with chicken, fresh pesto, tossed with grilled onions, portabella mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, garlic, basil, finished with feta and mozarella. All on an italian roll from new jersey. Seriously, new jersey.
It seems like their meatball grinders are extremely popular, as the majority of our party ended up getting one. I wanted to get a taste of everything I could, so I got the sauball, which has meatballs and italian sausage. What can I say, I'm now a big Grinders fan. Everything about this sandwich was delicious, especially their east coast roll. And they have to give you a knife and fork because there isn't any way you're going to be able to eat this, like a regular sandwich. So just be dainty and go bite by tie.

Don't worry, they also have soups and salads and desserts. In fact, one of our other colleagues raves about their chili. These grinders are big, and so they have big pricetags, but trust me, you will be eating it for days. It's enough to feed a small family.

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V8 Roll Rules

The last time I was in Seattle, I'd gone to a local sushi chain spot, Blue C sushi, and gotten a roll that I absolutely fell in love with - the V8 roll. Since there was one near the local mall, I got some to go one night for dinner.
The V8 roll is a thing of beauty. Your standard nori and rice, but with deep fried green bean, carrot, and cucumber in the middle, topped with avocado, basically what is a variant on pico de gallo, and a spicy sauce. It's completely vegetarian, and is like a cross between veggie sushi and mexican food. And oh what a perfect combo it makes. Blue C in and of itself is only ok, but this roll is just about the best thing ever. I could eat these all the time. ALL. THE. TIME.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Queen Anne's Betty

Whenever I'm going to a different city, I like to do a little restaurant research on Yelp. Yes, I yelp. I find it super handy wherever I go. It's not spot on all the time, but I've eaten at many great places because of it. I trust it like someone might trust zagat's, except it's free, which makes it even better. One of the spots I found on this trip was Betty, in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood. One key facet of this restaurant and why I chose it is that it has a chef's counter, so you can not only feel comfortable that a place is confident enough to have an open kitchen, but you can literally watch your food being made. This sounded perfect to me. Betty has a small menu, which I find to be a smart idea. If you can only cook a few dishes all the time and cook them perfectly, I'd choose that over a giant menu where everything is done half ass. They have 3 chefs, two who do the hot food, and one who seems to stick to salads, sides, and final prepping of the plates before they go out. I've been watching Kitchen Nightmares lately, so I find watching a working professional kitchen to be fascinating. And it was amazing to watch such a well-oiled machine that was the Betty kitchen. They barely talked, but it's like they didn't have to. They all just knew what to do, and they never missed a beat. There was no yelling, no freaking out, just calm cooking. While I waited for my food and watched all the other food being cooked, I munched on some bread. It was a little crusty this night, but I did a good job of scooping out the soft insides. And I loved the simple balsamic olive oil dip.I got a warm spinich salad as an appetizer. This salad is pretty big and could probably be a good meal on its own. It's tossed in a sherry vinaigrette and also has bacon, onion, and egg. This was a good salad, and I especially enjoyed the egg. It was sprinkled with a tiny bit of salt and pepper which made them just perfect. You can tell everything is fresh here. I saw them take everything out of the fridge, and nothing was frozen. Everything is cooked to order, except for the lasagna which is precooked. All the sides are made to order. And speaking of sides, I was watching one of the chefs intently, and I've never seen anyone use so much butter in my entire life. It seemed like he just kept adding and adding and adding and adding, and I had no idea where it kept going. Not the bastion of health, so for those of you looking for a lite meal, keep on moving. They have a $30 fixed priced menu during the week, which is a great deal. I decided to go with the fish of the day, which was a whole trout stuffed with fennel and lemon. Here's some of the trout on the grill. I told you that I watched my food get cooked. I really did.
This fish was so simple and so good. They really didn't do anything to it, and they didn't have to. Fresh fish is pretty much good on its own, or with maybe just a touch of salt and pepper and maybe a little squeeze of lemon. It was grilled just right, not overcooked at all, so the fish was flaky and hearty. The lemon and fennel on the inside added just a touch of flavor. They left the skin on, and the skin got crispy and made each bite even better. I thought about taking it off, but after I got my first bite, I left it all on. After the big salad, I couldn't eat too much of the fish. But trust me, this is a pretty sizeable portion. After all, it is a whole entire fish. The accompanying potatoes were also pretty good. I wouldn't have minded if they'd cooked it just a bit more.
Service was ok. When you sit at the chef's counter, it's cool because the chefs serve you themselves. They make it and then blammo, they give you the plate. I like this lack of middle man. The only service issue of note was that while I ordered a lemonade, it didn't come out until after I'd gotten my salad, which was way after I'd gotten my bread. It certainly shouldn't have taken that long. Be aware that the food here does not come out quickly. This is not factory chain restaurant. Everything is cooked to order so it takes time. So it's a place to come and hang out, enjoy a drink, enjoy good company, and eventually, enjoy some great food.


Red Robin Lunch

Lucky for me, my colleagues tend to go out to lunch all the time. They know they should bring lunch sometimes, but they just don't. So on one of our many lunches, we stopped by Red Robin. There really isn't one near me, except in Chester County. I rarely venture that way so I've never been. I have heard that their burgers are pretty good.
B got a whiskey river bbq chicken wrap. It's quite a fancy name for a wrap. It comes in a spinach tortilla with chicken grilled in whiskey river bbq sauce, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tortilla strips, and a touch of ranch dressing. Now that I'm writing about it, it sounds pretty damn good.
I was in the mood for something "healthy" so I went with the asian chicken salad. This was a good salad, even though the dressing was a bit too intense. It certainly didn't seem like it was a very healthy dressing. The chicken was pretty damn amazing. It was so moist and tender and just surprisingly delicious. I was impressed. It's served with house bread, which is garlic bread tasting, but looks like a thicker puffier pita. I dug this bread as well.

Service was good and our waitress was super nice. B and M also ordered arnold palmers to drink, which is half lemonade, half iced tea. I'd never heard of it before, probably because since I don't do caffeine, I don't drink iced tea. Sounds good though. Damn. They need to make decaf arnold palmers.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pho Duc

You know I love me some pho. And on a particularly cold evening, I decided to warm myself up by having a giant bowl of pho.
I always like to order the fresh spring rolls just to see what I'm in for. You know if you get a hard spring roll, clearly not made fresh to order, you may be in for some bad news. This was the first time I'd ever had a roll which had open ends. In reality, I guess there's no real reason to have to fold over the ends. It actually makes for quite nice presentation. While the roll was quite nice, and definitely fresh, the sauce was very different. Instead of the typical hoisin based sauce with a little peanut taste, this one was warm and pretty much just peanutty. While not bad, it was just not what I was expecting, and I much prefer the traditional hoisin based sauce. There was just something strange about it, and the fact that it was warm also put me off a little bit. Putting a cold roll into warm sauce just seemed wrong! But like I said, the roll itself was fantastic.
For the pho, I went with my standard, which is flank steak. I stay away from the innards, and usually just stick with the flank. I quite enjoyed this soup a lot. For a small bowl, it was plenty for me. The broth was meaty and strong enough, not bland at all. And the meat was hearty. And everything was just a big ol bargain. The service was good and the staff was very friendly. You can tell it's a family-run joint, and they knew a lot of patrons by name. If you have regulars, that's always a great sign. It's tucked away right next to the convention center, so stop by next time you're over that way.

Pho Duc Restaurant
3815 196th St SW
Lynnwood, WA 98036
(425) 672-2466

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Heart Beard Papa's

I'm totally obsessed with Beard Papa's. If I had one near me, I'd be there all the time. Seriously. Like once a day. 3-4 times a week, at least. And I am not exaggerating people. Not one bit. It's only 220 calories per cream puff. That's nothin! If I had one for every meal, instead of my meal, that's still less than 750 calories. So then if I had one for dessert with every meal, it'd still only be 1500. This would be my ultimate meal replacement.

For those of you who have a Beard Papa's near you and have never been, I behoove you to go. For those of you who like cream puffs, you know the little ones you can get at Costco or you get in a dessert tray, GO and you'll never look at those little ones the same. Once you go Beard Papa's, you never... you catch my drift.

This japanese chain is only closest to me via NYC, and it's actually been quite awhile since I've been to the big apple. When I go to the bay area, I try to get to one whenever I can. And during this trip to Seattle, I went to the one in the H Mart and I also went to one in Vancouver. Yes, it's worth crossing the border for! How could you not want to eat whatever this bearded pipe-smoking puffball hatted cutie is selling?

These aren't your normal cream puffs. First off, they're huge. They're about the size of a fist, and so they're definitely not something you can just pop in your mouth. Unless, perhaps, you have a flip-top head. But for us normal folk, you definitely need to take multiple bites. The pastry is freshly baked. And here's the key to their tasty freshness - the cream is added only when you order.
See these little metal vats? They're filled with creamy goodness. Regular vanilla is probably tops, but they also have additional cream filling flavors, including green tea. And there's also other options aside from the plain cream puff, but I'm a traditionalist. I just want the original cream puff.
After they inject the dream, I mean cream, they dust on a lovely little layer of powdered sugar to finish off the little beauties. And if I am near one, I wolf it down in about 5 bites, if I can be that patient. Actually, having a flip-top head could be useful when it comes to cream puff inhaling!
I want one right now. Or a dozen.

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Non-Kobe Kobe

When doing a little research for my trip, I found that there was an H Mart near the mall in the neighborhood. This was exciting since I knew there would be a cool food court in there. It was even more exciting when I found out there was a Beard Papa's there. But more on that later.

So one of the places in the food court is Kobe. It's a tonkatsu shop. Here's my idiot moment of the day. I didn't realize that the place was called Kobe, so when I started reading the menu, I saw an item that was called the kobe. And I asked why it's called kobe when it's made of pork, and not kobe beef. She just said that's what it's called, but it didn't make sense to me. It wasn't until I was leaving that I realized that the shop was called Kobe. Der.

Along with my kobe, which is pretty much the standard pork tonkatsu, came some miso soup. There's nothing like a hot bowl of miso soup to warm you up on a cold day.
For whatever reason, they usually serve tonkatsu with shredded cabbage. I don't know why they do this, but I'm glad they do. I, for one, love me some raw shredded cabbage. Sure, it doesn't really have much flavor, but there's something about the crunch that I really dig. The pork cutlet itself was good, but I did not really care for their sauce. It was a bit too strong and not sweet enough for me. I think I've gotten used to the tonkatsu and the sauce from the place in my local H Mart, so when I tasted this one, I was disappointed. I'm sure it would be fine for most people, but for me, I didn't care for it. Just a hint of it was ok, but not too much.

Kobe Wellbeing Tonkatsu
3301 184th St SW (In the H-Mart Food Court)
Lynnwood, WA 98037

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Sandwiches From The Firehouse

My company is in Bothell, north of Seattle. It's strip mall-o-rama over here. One after another. But that's not a bad thing when you're looking for something to eat. One of the nicer strip malls around here is Mill Creek Town Center, which has a plethora of eating choices, including the Firestation Deli. It has a firestation theme, which is a new one for me. It doesn't exactly make me want to eat, but whatever floats their boat!
I got a california turkey sandwich, which comes with turkey, lettuce, tomato, avocado, bacon, and the dressing of your choice. I went with the chipotle. I got sourdough bread, but it pretty much tasted like white bread, and it was really mushy. I wished it had been a bit more dense and more sour. I thought the chipotle would be a little better but I found it a little blah. It didn't really add much to the sandwich. In all, it was a perfectly fine sandwich but nothing really worth raving about. With all the fixins I thought it would be a bit more exciting, but it turned out to be fairly plain. On a good note, everyone who worked there was super nice and I love that they shred the lettuce.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Anthony's - Dining By The Water

For my first full day in the burbs of Seattle, my new boss and his wife took me into Kirkland (home of Costco!) to eat on the water at Anthony's. Kirkland is a fairly large suburb and has mad shopping and dining. We were in a fairly bustling area, and just driving through, there were countless eating options. Kirkland, I'm a bit jealous of you.

For those of you that have visited the pacific nw, Anthony's operates a couple of different flavors of seafood restaurants. It seems to be pretty exclusively in the pacific nw, so sorry to those of you not living here or visiting. I went to an Anthony's once in Oregon years ago. This particular anthony's in Kirkland is on the water, so you an see all the boats docked and see across the water to all the lit up buildings in Seattle. It's a seafood joint, and whence you're in Seattle, you should definitely partake of the seafood, or at least that's my philosophy. It's a fairly upscale place, but not snooty. We weren't super dressed up or anything.

I've been on a scallop kick lately, so I went with the scallops. I was expecting maybe 3 big grilled scallops, but instead, I got a bunch of little ones, that were peculiarly battered. I did not expect batter on the scallops at all. We were all surprised. The rice had golden raisins in it. I'm usually not into raisins, especially not in rice, but I didn't mind these at all. But I ate them separately, so that's probably why. The beans were lovely. Overall, it was good, but the scallops were a bit too buttery. Yes, I said it, too buttery. As if that's a bad thing, but in this case, it was a little bit too much butter!
I was pretty much overstuffed from just my entree, but they had this crazy thing called "slump" on the dessert menu. And to top it off, it was huckleberry. I'd never had huckleberry in my life, so I had to try it. Huckleberry grows best wild in the pacific nw, so I ended up seeing it several times on various menus during my visit. Other than this trip, I'd never encountered it before. It pretty much tastes like blueberry, but a bit sweeter. And what is slump? It's just another name for cobbler, and I love me some cobbler. We asked the waitress how big the slump was, and she made it seem tiny. Then we ordered it and it was huge. It could so easily have been shared by at least 2, if not three people. I barely made a dent in mine! Service was quite good, the view even better.

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Up Up And Away!

Hey y'all, I start my new gig tomorrow, after several luxurious months off being a lady of leisure! Oh, how I will miss it so! So I'm on my way to Seattle for the next couple weeks. I'll be in the burbs but I've already done some research and have some dining spots picked out. There will be plenty to post about! Stay cool east coasters!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Birthday Korean Dinner

Even though it was for my birthday, I let my mom pick where we should go. So we ended up going to Nagwon Garden, one of our local faves. We're pretty boring when we go eat korean food. We don't usually order anything wacky or experiment. We stick to what we know, what we like, and what's good.
None of the banchan was particularly outstanding, but they were all pretty good.
We ordered the haemulpajeon (seafood pancake). I've always liked it here. It's not too thick, everything is cooked all the way through, and it's chock full of seafood, including squid, which is my favorite part.
My mom went with dolsot bibimbap, one of her ol standbys. I had a little bit of it, and it was pretty good, as usual. I love the burnt rice bits on the bottom.
As for me, I wanted something super hot since it was bitterly cold, so I went with jjamppong, a spicy seafood noodle dish. It's one of my absolutely favorite dishes in the world. It's full of seafood, veggies, and thick wheat based noodles in a spicy broth. This particular one wasn't nearly as spicy as it looked. Jjamppong is actually considered a Korean Chinese dish, but whatever it's considered, I dig it.

Service was on par with other korean restaurants, meaning ok. On this particularl night, we were the only people dining in the place. It was a bit weird. But I blamed it on people being glued to their seats awaiting the Lost season premiere or just staying indoors and keeping warm. I did see some takeout orders going out.

Nagwon Garden
7650 W Chester Pike
Upper Darby, PA 19082
(610) 449-1800

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So He Does Eat! Like Real People!

There's been lots of talk about Obama's food finickiness. That he's a picky eater, overly concerned with health, abstemious, etc. So I was pleasantly surprised to find this little video gem where he orders a burger with fries, and a little salad/veggie... on Air Force One! Something we'll never get to do ourselves. Now, he orders this stuff, but we don't get to see him eat it. So I'll believe it when I see it!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inaugural Chain Chinese

On inauguration day, after a quick trip to Ikea so that R could return some stuff, we stopped by PF Chang's for a quick dinner. My mom loves PF Chang's, so I almost picked it for my birthday meal with her, but since I went on inauguration day, we ended up somewhere else. But more on that later.
If you've been, you know about their sauces. The mustard, vinegar, and hot sauces that they customize and mix in front of you. Whether you're going to end up using it or not, it doesn't matter. They put on a little show where they mix the ingredients in front of you. And for the most part you'll not even use them. It seems a shame and a waste really.
They're slightly weird about their soups here. You can get individual soups, except for wonton soup. You can only get wonton soup in ginormous size, that has to be shared by at least 2 people. Why oh why, PF Chang's, can't you just let us have one portion of wonton soup? Well since it was absolutely freezing out, I was in the mood for soup, so we shared. It was more than plenty for us both. I liked the broth, and the fact that there were shrimps and fresh mushrooms and spinach in there, but the wontons weren't as impressive. The wonton wrappers they use are very thin and the wontons themselves are a little wimpy.
We got the crispy honey shrimp and the orange peel chicken. The shrimp was delicious. Oh my gosh. I totally loved it. Lightly battered, perfectly fried, with a good sauce. Yum! The chicken was just ok. It was a bit on the spicy side, and it didn't really taste very chinese. I mean, that sounds weird, but to me, it had more of a korean flavor than a chinese flavor. As if they'd used korean red pepper paste kochujang, instead of something chinese. It's not that it tasted bad, it's just that it wasn't what I expected. I wanted the food to taste chinese, since PF Chang's is supposed to be a chinese bistro. Oh and I got brown rice. You know that it's all about the brown rice here, so I won't even really need to reiterate.

Service wasn't particularly good. Our waiter was clearly not born to be a waiter. He seemed to be maybe a high school or college kid, a frat boy type, and it was clear he didn't take it very seriously. In fact, he flubbed something up, and he totally called himself on it saying how he'd messed that up. That was a big endearing, but unfortunately, it didn't make up for him being a bad waiter. I hope he has a backup plan!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

What will they be serving at the Inaugural luncheon? See for yourself. It's modeled after Lincoln. I love how american all the ingredients are. Sniff sniff. And natch, they have recipes so you yourself can feel presidential!

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Monday, January 19, 2009

El Camino Real - Real Dissappointing

As is my custom, I rarely go to newly opened restaurants right away. It's not that I have anything against it, or are afraid to try something new, it's just something that rarely happens. Maybe I'm just not hip or cool enough. Maybe I like to let others experiment first. The last time I went somewhere early was Distrito, and I had a great experience then. So when I got to decide on a place for my birthday, I thought perhaps I should go against the norm and go somewhere new, like El Camino Real. Well, perhaps I should have gone with my gut and not gone there.

The place is dark and loud. I went on the night of the Eagles game so it was fairly dead. I'd say the place was maybe 1/5th full. I really wanted a booth, but we got seated at a table instead. Right next to the kitchen and the bar, a fairly high traffic spot. Did I mention how loud it was? And it seems like they have the Quentin Tarantino soundtracks on a loop. It started off on a bad foot as our waiter didn't even show up at the table right away. It took unnaturally long for him to even come by and give us menus. If I notice, then you know it's too long. And I already mentioned how not busy it was, right?
Ok, on with the food. So the place serves bbq as well as mexican. We ordered a thing of chips and salsa, which aren't free, but it's neverending refills. It came with two different salsas, one verde and one smoky pico de gallo. The salsa verde was just fine. And normal. The smoky pico de gallo was strange. The "smoky" equated to being doused with liquid smoke. It was just strange and pretty much wrong. I love me some pico de gallo. It's fresh, that's what's good about it. Fresh tomatoes, fresh onions, fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice. So when you throw artificial liquid smoke flavor on it, it's just bizarre. You know it's not natural. I don't know whose idea it was, but they should just go with fresh pico. For the love of mexico, please. The chips were fine though. Crunchy and not too greasy. J got the taco salad. He liked it, but he expected it to be more salad, and less taco chips. It was loaded with chips, and not loaded with actual greens. So not quite salad-y enough.
So I got the brisket sandwich on texas toast. You get to pick what kind of bbq sauce you want, sweet or spicy. I'd read that the spicy was too damn spicy, so I went with sweet, which I liked. It also comes with fries, which I enjoyed very much, and pickle slices. So as you may be able to observe with your own peepers, you can clearly see what the problem with this sandwich was. Seriously. Does ANYTHING have to be so fatty? I mean, did I order a fat sandwich? No, I ordered a brisket sandwich. And believe you me, having lived in Austin, I've had my fair share of texas bbq. And no brisket I've ever had looks like the brisket that was in this sandwich, and no brisket I've ever had EVER has any fat on it, let alone 33% fat. It was seriously disturbing. Which is a shame really, because once the fat was hacked off, it was fine. Not great, but fine. Acceptable for being Philadelphia.
And just to show you that I was not being a crybaby or extra picky, just look at all the fat that I had to remove from the meat. Literally, each slice of brisket was practically divvied into thirds, with the middle third being a big strip of fat. Gross. I was actually surprised that they would serve something like this. Shame on you! I would have said something, but I was just so disappointed and it was my birthday, for pete's sake, that I just didn't have the energy. I should have recognized it as a bad sign when immediately after I ordered the food, our waiter came right back and asked which sandwich I had ordered. For someone who's sole job is to take food orders and then serve them, he'd already screwed half of his job up. Sure, he looked like a mocha version of sideshow bob, but that did not make up for him being a bad waiter. In fact, he really wasn't particularly good. And neither was the food. And thus, on my birthday, I was severely underwhelmed. The owner was there too that night. If I see him again, I'm going to do everyone a favor and say something to him! I promise!

El Camino Real
1040 N 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 925-1110

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Chapterhouse Latte

We've become big fans of Chapterhouse. Luckily, there's always a couple of seats left when we get there, even though it's always crowded. Instead of watching the Eagles game like the rest of the city, we chilled at Chapterhouse instead. And I sipped on this lovely and large caramel mocha latte.

They had new art up. I read mindless magazines and loved every minute of it. But they need more electrical outlets for plugging in laptops. And they need to get a real website. But I forgive!

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pho On A Frozen Day

This weekend was a particularly frigid one. We wanted to go to NYC for the day for my birthday, but the freezing ass temperatures put the kibosh on it. As much as I like wandering around the streets of new york, I don't like doing it in sub freezing temperatures. So with that plan on hold, we stayed in town and stopped by Pho & Cafe Viet Huong for some steamy vittles. I was in the mood for some spice, so I went with the pho bo kho. It was just what I wanted. I just wish there was more stewed meat in it and less joint/knuckle stuff. I know plenty of people who enjoy eating the knuckley jointy bits of the cow (and by plenty of people I mean my mom, her friends, and my grandmom), but it doesn't really do it for me. It's just kind of gelatenous and flavorless. I'm much more into the fleshy bits.
J got a ho fun with beef and vegetables dish. He was hoping for more veggies beyond just onions and sprouts. It was still good, but when someone reads vegetables, they imagine perhaps some broccoli, maybe a carrot or two. Maybe another time.

Something intrigued us during this visit. While we were eating, we kept hearing this "ding dong" doorbell type sound every so often. Not all the time, not on a regular interval, but just occasionally, randomly, a ding dong. We couldn't see anything directly causing the ding dong, nor could we see anything happen as a direct result of the ding dong. Unless someone can enlighten us, it shall remain a mystery.

Pho & Cafe Viet Huong

1110 Washington Ave # 2A
Philadelphia, PA

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Full-ish English Breakfast

Have y'all ever had a full english breakfast? Or a full irish breakfast? The contents can vary, but it usually involves some eggs, potatoes, bacon/ham type substance, baked beans, tomatoes, toast, and some sort of blood pudding. J had been talking about it for weeks, and he got me hankering, so I decided to make our dreams come true.

I cooked up some improvised potatoes, with onions, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. They turned out pretty well for me making up the whole thing. We went with turkey bacon to feign some semblance of healthiness. The beans were from trader joe's and they were quite excellent. And some eggs to round out the plate. Neither of us were interested in any type of blood pudding, which is a good thing as I would have had no clue as to where one can procure some. Hearty? Yes. Healthy? No. But I coveted every bite!

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Hot Dogs On The Slopes

Oh Blue Mountain cafeteria.... how I dislike you more and more each time I visit. What sucks is that you really don't have any other choice. After swooshing down some mountains, you get famished, and you need nourishment. But the food is so not pleasant. I mean I guess it could be worse, but it could be so much better! And it wouldn't take that much effort to kick it up a tiny little notch. They have plenty of candy, that's for damn sure.
We both ended up getting a coupla hot dogs. They were quite blah. I'm not a huge hot dog fan, but I know a good hot dog when I eat one, and these weren't them. And seeing as how the food here has amusement park / sports complex prices, they were hardly a bargain. Oh how I wished I could have a couple of 50 cent hot dogs from Ikea! My fries were cold. And let's not forget that I literally stood there waiting for these for 15 minutes. They said to me "the fries aren't made yet". And I told them fine, I'll wait. So I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Turns out that while I was standing there, they forgot that I wanted fries. So when I finally got them, they were cold. Beyond freaking annoying. I nearly wanted to just get my money back, but I just didn't want to talk to those idiots again. At least conditions on the mountain were good and I thoroughly enjoyed snowboarding and the bananas and gatorade that I brought with me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Eating at the Ants Pants Counter

The plan was to get brunch at the Ten Stone. But then we rethought that silly idea. The Eagles game was starting at 1, and it was bound to be loud and rowdy. So we hopped on over to the Ants Pants Cafe instead. The place is teeny tiny. Seriously, I can't stress enough how small this place is. It can't possibly seat more than 20, and that includes the two counters. So be forewarned! So that we didn't have to wait too long, we ended up sitting at the counter in the main dining area. And by main dining area, I mean the really cramped 5x10 space with tables squeezed in. They have tons of hot drinks, strong on the coffee side, including some "aussie drinks". These aussie drinks seem to be like the regular coffee based drinks, but they get special names, like "flat white" and "long black". Or you could be boring and get the latte or the americano instead. It's the same thing. The espresso con panna. In its tiny little cup, how cute is that?
S got the hungry man. Perfect for a hungry man, or even a hungry woman.
J went with the special french toast, complete with whipped cream, bananas, and walnuts. Who can resist this?
The eggs benedict, served over brioche instead of the typical english muffin. Good, but kind of a small plate for a big eater like J.
We'd gotten a text that the egg, ham, and brie sandwich was the best breakfast in town, so I had to go with it. The avocado could certainly have been a bit riper, but the sandwich was darn good. Because we needed a bit more food, we got the sweet potato fries, specifically because I saw pretty much everyone else in the place had ordered them. This had to be a good sign. Oh. My. Word. These were so motherf'in tasty. Seriously. A thousand times better than the Good Dog sweet potato fries, and I love me the fries there. These are cut wide and served with sweet chili sauce and sour cream. Who knew bottled sweet chili sauce were such an amazing accompaniment to sweet potato fries? We all scarfed these down like we hadn't even had any other food.

Service was good, as usual. We had the same waiter as last time, and he's a big sweetheart. He also cut his ponytail off, which I appreciated very much. Remember, this place is cash only!

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Chili F'in Rocks

People, people, listen up. I make good chili. It's a fact. And since it's clearly winter, it's just the time to whip up a batch. I've been making this for years, ever since I saw a recipe on Oprah (or something like that) and it was a copykat recipe of Wendy's chili. Then I adulterated it over the years and added things I felt like. But it always turns out well. So fight the cold weather and make yourself some chili.

Ground meat - pick your favorite, a lb or two, or anywhere in between
Chopped up onion
Canned beans - 3 or 4 cans of whatever you choose, typically kidney, white, pink, etc
1 can baked beans
1 can Campbell's french onion soup
1 can v8 or something equivalent
1 can stewed tomatoes, whatever variety you want
1 can tomato paste
Cut up frozen bell peppers, red/yellow/orange, I don't like green so I leave em out
Ketchup - some
BBQ sauce - some
Chili powder - however much you want
Paprika - you decide
Cayenne - you decide
Cumin - a little
Black pepper - however much you want
Garlic powder - you decide

In a big pot on highish heat, cook up onions and cook up the meat. Spoon out the grease, if you want. Throw in the soup, stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, v8, and stir it all up while simmering. Add the beans and stir this up too. Add in the bell peppers and then throw in all the spices and condiments, however much you want. Again, It's really up to you. And let this simmer for a long ass time, stirring occasionally, tasting and tweaking to your liking. If you want spice, you could chop up a chili pepper and throw it in. And you'll end up with a vat full of delicious homemade chili.Enjoy!

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Brunch at the Sidecar

We'd been wanting to go to the Sidecar to try out the new menu, but it was closed on New Year's Day. Boo!!! We were going to go for dinner on Saturday night, but then we decided to go to brunch on Sunday instead. We showed up fairly late for brunch, but all the tables were already taken. We were going to wait for one, but we eventually decided to eat at the bar.
Strong coffee that comes with a little star shaped ginger cookie. Cookie? Way too gingery, like real ginger root tasting, not cookie ginger tasting. Blech. I stopped after I nibbled on one teeny point of the star. But it'd be good for those who like genuine ginger.
The southwestern egg burrito. Sidecar gaffed this one, they forgot to put salsa in the burrito. So it was noticeably bland to J. It clearly indicated salsa on the menu and they totally just forgot it. He was given a little side of salsa and things were good again. These potatoes were pretty darn good. It also comes with a side of greens.
I had the re-New Orleans poached eggs. It was a crawfish potato hash, and the eggs were topped with a tomato Choron sauce. This was good, but the potatoes in the hash were a little crunchy. So that was a bit annoying. But aside from that, I enjoyed the dish.

Service was ok, as usual. Nothing great, but nothing bad. What did I think of this brunch? There were clearly a couple of big mistakes with our meals, but the food was good. But I think I will stick to the Sidecar for dinner and drinks.

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