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foodzings: March 2009

Monday, March 30, 2009

Le Bus

We made an unexpected jaunt to Manayunk for a late brunch. Do you know this Le Bus? Can you believe I've never been? I know they bake bread, and that's about all I knew about the place. I've seen long lines there before during brunch hours. The place is pretty big on the inside, and was mighty crowded.
E got a turkey burger. Dude, so tasty. This was a well made turkey burger blended with celery, onions, shallots, garlic, scallions, and peppers. And man, do all those ingredients make for a delicious little burger. I wish I had ordered this.
C got the chicken salad platter. She wasn't too crazy about this. It was pretty bland. It came with some sliced sour apples, and these apples were terrible. Super sour, so much that they weren't really edible. What's the point of even including these?
I think this was the colorado chicken salad. Grilled chicken, grilled corn, lettuce, tomato, blue cheese, and asparagus. What a great salad, other than the evil blue cheese. J commented that the one thing that would have made the salad perfect was if they'd grilled the asparagus. And we all wholeheartedly agreed. If you're going to have grilled chicken and corn, why not go all the way and grill the asparagus too. I mean it tasted fine, but it was just plain cold asparagus. It would have been that much better if they were grilled.
I actually ordered one of the specials of the day, which was a bbq chicken sandwich. It was a whole grilled chicken breast with cheese, bacon, and bbq sauce on top. It was good! The bbq sauce was really great, I should have asked them what kind it was. I asked for sweet potato fries cuz you know I love them. One thing E and I couldn't figure out was what this mysterious white sauce was that got served with the sweet potato fries. It wasn't mayonnaise, it wasn't sour cream, it wasn't horseradish, we just couldn't figure it out. It ended up being wasted on both of us.

Our waitress was spacey. Like seriously spacey. Her eyes were out of control, and she kept saying everything was awesome. But then later on she said she'd been working since 5AM, so maybe she had a right to be a bit spacey. I liked this place. If I end up in Manayunk again, I could certainly eat here.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ardmore Birthday Dinner

So it was birthday time again, my mom this time. And if history tells me so, you know she's gonna pick a sushi restaurant. She's a pretty predictable lil lady. So this time, we stayed round me and she picked Mikado / Thai Pepper. The place has been around for a long time, but it's been years since I've been there. And the last time I was there, it was still two separate restaurants. Now they're physically linked together. So because these two restaurants are together, you can get both japanese and thai cuisine at the same time, which can be handy.
So I got an ardmore roll as a little appetizer. I forget exactly what it was but it had spicy tuna, avocado, and tempura crunchies on it, with some sauce on it. This was delicious! And it had some of the softest most melt-in-your-mouth avocado I'd ever had. And the roll was so big! I picked a damn winner this time around.
My mom got the sushi and sashimi for one. This is what she typically goes for, one of those for one dealies. It had plenty of food in it, but the fish was pretty standard - tuna, salmon, shrimp, and one other thing. So nothing extra special in this, but plenty of food for one person. And the sashimi was nice and thick.
For me, I got the tempura udon. When I feel like getting a non-sushi entree, I usually always go with an udon dish. I love me some udon noodles. And while it's still not the warmest out, I'm going to enjoy as much soup as I possibly can. This udon was ok. The broth was nothing special, and neither were the noodles. The shrimp were pretty good though, and it also had some carrot and sweet potato tempura in it too. The portion was surprisingly large for the price. All in all, a decent bowl of udon and a pretty decent price.

The service was pretty good. Our waitress seemed to be japanese, fresh off the boat, and her grasp of the english language was questionable. She started every sentence with "excusa me". It was too polite and after awhile, it got annoying. She doesn't have to excuse herself when she brings me food, it's her job, and it's what I went there for! In all, everyone was very pleasant and friendly.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Warehouse

So after the singing, and after eating at old city pizza, I had to go to dinner again. I know, I just ate, but we had to meet peeps for dinner! So with my still full belly, we headed over to the Spaghetti Warehouse to meet with some seminarians. Yes, you heard that right, seminarians. Priests-in-training, fathers-to-be... Not people I typically spend my saturday nights with. And yes, that's right, I said Spaghetti Warehouse. A place I would never ever choose to go to if I didn't have to. In fact, every time I drive past it, I joke about eating there. In fact, I'd sooner choose the Olive Garden. [I do have to give them at least some credit, their website is Ha!]

So the Spaghetti Warehouse. It's a chain. It's seriously a warehouse. The space is ginormous, with super high ceilings, and space beyond reason. We did sit in the trolley car though. Yes, the place is so big it can fit a trolley car. And then some.
You get some complimentary freshly baked sourdough bread. So ok, the bread is not bad. And it comes with an herby butter. Nothing bad about any of this. In order to withstand this experience, we did need some serious liquid action. I had an amazing strawberry daiquiri. I downed this way too fast.
The Turin Trio. Obviously not something that one normal human could eat. They are of the gigantic portion world here. It's a huge heap of their 15-layer lasagna, fettuccini alfredo, and chicken parm. It's seriously a lot of food. Even the priest-to-be could not muster the powers above to put much of a dent in this thing.
The other priest-to-be just got the 15-layer lasagna. Yeah, that's one entree. It's enough for an entire seminary, don't you think? He tried, but he had plenty to take home.
J got the chicken marsala. While the chicken itself seemed to be cooked just fine, the sauce was just way too thick and sweet. Perhaps this came out of a can or a jar? It just didn't seem typical of chicken marsala. I've seen chicken marsala dozens of times, and it's never been like this.
As for me, I wasn't hungry at all. But I felt like food had to be ordered. So I got the soup and salad. The salad was fine, but the dressing was just too much. It was italian and just drowning my iceberg (which I actually like) and obviously out of a generic bottle. The soup choices were italian wedding and minestrone. I asked the waitress which was better and she said italian wedding. Ugh. This soup was so beyond bland it was nuts. Ok, so the little sausage balls, or whatever those balls were, they actually had flavor and were somewhat tasty. But the rest of the soup, or the 98% remaining, was bland beyond all get out. It's shocking that they can pass this slop off as soup.
In addition to my strawberry daiquiri and some beers, we ended up having a couple of Sidecars. The waitress and the bartender didn't really know what they were, and in reality, neither did any of us. But with the trusty aid of the interwebs, we had the bartender whip up some cognac based Sidecars. The priest-to-be who wanted the Sidecars in the first place, said this was a man's drink. And then when we got them, they were served in these girly glasses. So perhaps its man-ness needs to be reconsidered. But damn, this was a fine drink. And at the Spaghetti Warehouse no less. The service was good. Our waitress was friendly and she appreciated that we weren't using a coupon. We're probably not the typical crowd here, so she seemed to enjoy us. There is a high percentage of coupon using clientele here. Sitting in the trolley car was pretty cool though. We also saw a little old lady fall over while we were eating. She caused quite the commotion, but ended up being ok. I still can't believe I ate at the Spaghetti Warehouse. Sure, you get tons of food for the price (and who can knock value these days), but I'm going to go back to avoiding this place again. Because it was what I expected!

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Post 80's Eats

On Saturday, R and I took in some impromptu culture by experiencing some hilarious 80's songs being sung by boys who like boys. It was fantastic, hilarious, and thoroughly entertaining. Neither of us got to eat beforehand, so afterwards, we had to eat, stat. We headed over to old city to meet up with E, and then walked to old city pizza. I'm thinking the place is run by greeks, as they had baklava and the like as dessert options. E got chicken fingers. She said they're pretty good. Since she lives around here, she's eaten from here plenty of times.
R got a pizza, half plain, half white. For such a small pizza with only seemingly 3 ingredients or so, this certainly took a long time to come out. Both E and I were pretty much done with our food before this pizza was brought out. We really think they probably forgot about it. It was pretty greasy looking too.
As for me, I got ravioli with sausage. I also got some complimentary bread with my entree. The ravioli were actually quite good, so was the sauce. They forgot to bring out the sausage initially, so I got them after the ravioli came out. The sausage was weird. But since I was starving, I ate it anyway. But were it not for my being famished, I probably wouldn't have. The sausage was too mushy. It was just not normal.

Service... eh. Not too hot, but what do you expect, it's pretty much a pizza take-out joint.

Old City Pizza
100 N 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 574-9494

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sidecar Sandwiches

We decided to take a break from the pho madness that had been happening every weekend. So we finally headed over to the Sidecar for dinner.
J got the pulled pork sandwich. I'd gotten this here awhile back, but this time, it was different. Last time it was much more wet and bbq-y. This time, the meat was very very smoky, like jerky. Good, but in a completely different way. I remember the cornbread though, and it's still awesome.
I just got a burger, with bacon, cheese, and caramelized onions. This was a good burger. And it came with a giant heap of fries, which were also good. The Good Dog burger is still better, but this one is pretty good as well. We sat at the bar and also had some cold Reading beers. They serve them in frosted glasses, which makes it even colder, and so that much better. It was loud and crowded as usual. They're supposedly opening up the second floor for dining. I can't wait until that happens!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Airport Snacking

The Indianapolis airport is quite nice. It's small, but it's quite new, so it's sparkling clean. And they have tons of food options, which is always a plus. I wasn't that hungry, so I just snacked mostly. During this trip I became a big fan of the cheese danish at Starbucks. Seriously good. I also got some soup at the Wolfgang Puck place. It was tortilla soup, and also good.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mama Carolla's

After only having eaten DQ, we actually needed real food once we got back to Indianapolis. Wouldn't you know it started thundering and pouring on our drive back, making it all the more precarious. J has friends in the food industry who live in Indianapolis, so he made a call and because we felt like Italian, the friend recommended Mama Carolla's.

The place is pretty cool. It's in an old house that was a model home for some spanish villa type houses that got built back in the day. The house was super cool, I would dream of having a house like that. We got seated in an upstairs nook looking kind of area of the house.
We started off with a fried ravioli appetizer. Very hot (temperature) and very tasty.
J went old school, and got spaghetti with italian sausage. I was impressed with his ability to house this.
I got the Chef Mike's "Pasta Too Good", which was penne tossed with chicken, shrimp, broccoli, tomatoes, and garlic. It was just what I wanted, nothing too heavy, but still very flavorful. Service was just ok. There was a serious cold draft where we were sitting, so neither of us enjoyed that so much. But it was a great dinner of solid italian food.

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Causing A Raucous At Dairy Queen

After seeing how all that delicious canned food got made, we were starving. Cuz y'know, we hadn't eaten all day. So we hopped across the street from the factory for some quick calorie intake at the Dairy Queen. This was an old ass fashioned Dairy Queen. Check out the signage. So old that it actually still says Dairy Queen, and not DQ.
I scarfed down a strawberry cheesequake blizzard. Delicious, but not as good as I've had before. There's supposed to be cheesecake chunks in there, but I found none. I think maybe she just blizzarded them all into smithereens. It's better when there's still chunks. We got a lot of stares while we were there, as we had just increased the minority quotient of this town by.... oh 100%. But they were still nice to us. But yeah, we didn't stay too long!


This Is How Canned Food Is Made!

One of the client visits I had was to a canned food manufacturing company in Austin, Indiana. They make canned soups, beans, and such for grocery chain house labels, including Wal-Mart, Kroger, Piggly Wiggly. After the bidness part of the day was over, they offered us a tour of the plant. Heck yeah! I live for this stuff. Have any of you watched the PCN network? Where they take tours of different manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania? It's like the greatest channel ever. I've watched tons of random stuff being made. I love seeing how things get to where they get to. It's the enginerd in me, I guess.
Empty cans, yo. These are made in Canada and shipped down.
Look at all these raw ingredients. Those are probably beans. Billions and billions of beans.
See these giant vats? They're full of boiling water. Please, do NOT fall into one of these!
And what do those vats of water do? Why, they wash and soak the beans.
After the cans are filled with the beans, they get lids put on. And yes, they do go round and round in lines up in the sky!
Did you know that beans and soups and canned goods in general, that everything is cooked while in the can? These are the cookers. These are brand spankin new and haven't even been used yet. You have no idea how impressed I was with this kind of machinery.
And here are the filled cans! Rows and rows of them!
They get labelled...
Then packed up...
Shrink wrapped...And then stored until shipping. They even have kosher cans! Once a month, they clean out all the equipment, get their rabbi to come down, and with his blessing they do some kosher runs. This was one of the things I've ever seen in my life. I love to see stuff like this in action!

Doubling the Greatness

On our way to Austin, IN, we didn't really have any time to eat. So we went to the McDonalds drive-thru. I know, how horrible of me. But I have to admit, I have a weakness for one and only one item (other than their fries, c'mon, who doesn't like their fries?) - the filet 'o fish sandwich. I know, some of you are probably grossed out, but I simply love these things. Well, to our surprise, they had a DOUBLE filet o' fish. And man, this this was doubly tasty. I'm sold!


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Steak n Shake

There was a Steak n Shake directly across from my hotel. The last time I ate at a Steak n Shake, I was somewhere else in the midwest, and I don't remember where. I remember liking it though, and I remember really liking the milkshakes. Detroit is seeming like that may have been it.
It's a diner-type place, with lots of burgers and milkshakes and such. Nothing fancy here, but there is something on the menu you can't find in most places. They have this thing called chili mac. Yes chili mac. I believe it's cincinnati style chili, which means it's a plate of spaghetti that they put chili and cheese and onions on top of. I'd seen this on tv, but never in person. I had to have it! So have it I did. And you know what? It was good. Seriously. I mean, what's not to like? Spaghetti, check! Chili, check! Really, how can you go wrong with this?
I also got a banana shake. I couldn't not get a shake while I was here. Yes, it was as good as I remembered. Service was a mess. I got this to go, but the girl who waited on me was a trainee and had no idea what she was doing. The girl cooking the food looked miserable. But whatever, I liked what I got!


Quick To Go's at Tim Hortons

We didn't get to eat a proper lunch in ohio, so we had to eat a little snack before heading back to Indiana. My bro lives in Columbus, so I asked him where toe at. He pointed us to his favorite sushi spot but when we got there, it hadn't opened yet. We could not wait one more minute to eat, so we hopped on over to the Tim Hortons instead. J got two little egg salad wraps. I got a turkey sandwich on a bagel. And a donut. Don't forget about the donut. My sandwich was awesome, by the way. It had some delicious honey mustard on it, much to my surprise.
I told you this is a coffee place, so similar to our dunkin donuts, you can get your own tim hortons roasts and brew it at home.
Oh, the delectable display of donuts, muffins, and pastries. They are from canada, so there are things with "maple" in the name. They were super nice too, and yes, it was attached to Wendy's. We were in Columbus, home of Wendy's, so it all made sense.

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Truck Stop Breakfast

Tuesday was an extreme driving day. From indianapolis we ventured east to both dayton and columbus ohio. It was an awful lot of driving. On the way, we stopped for a breakfast buffet treat at the Country Market. It was at a big truck stop Flying J. Most of the items were too heavy to me (sausage, etx....). So I tried to stick to light things, and a couple of sweets. I can't say no to certain sweets.
Sausage, grits, hash browns, corned beef hash, bacon, some egg fritatta looking thing.
Let's see.... biscuits and gravy, more potatoes, scramby eggs.
French toast and two different kinds of cinnamon rolls! For $6.99, you can't beat it. Can't say truckers don't eat!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I'm in Indianapolis, yo! So I was chillin it, true midwest style. After driving around northern Indiana all day, once we cruised back into the big city, we had to eat real food. Sure, we were starving and had stopped at Arby's for a quick bite, but once we got downtown, we had to get a proper meal. After walking around a tiny bit, we just decided to go to Oceanaire. It's a chain, but I'd never been. And after looking at their website, guess what? There's one in Philly.
It's a fairly nice restaurant. They've got tons of seafood, a wide selection at the raw oyster bar, and an extremely large wall of booze. And lots of stuffed fish on the walls. We hung out at the bar during this visit. The bartender was very cool and treated us well.
They give you complimentary fresh baked sourdough bread. Dude, this bread is good! And it comes with a plate of random stuff - pickled herring, raw veggies, and olives. It's an odd mix, but I'm sure there's a reason for it, I just don't know it. I've never had pickled herring before, you know I'm not jewish or swedish, so I had to try it. Well, it wasn't bad. It just tastes like a really strong tasting fish that's been pickled. I wouldn't order and entire dish of it or anything, but I didn't mind it at all. I was proud of myself for trying.
While waiting for our food, the chef sent us a little appetizer which was basically a tortilla chip, topped with a salsa-like concoction which included crab meat. Oh man, this thing was awesome. I wish I could have had a whole bucketful of these happy chips.
We both got the oceanaire chopped salad and a bowl of clam chowder. The chopped salad was just the right size. Small, but not too small. It came with lettuce, tomato, hard boiled egg, a big ass slice of parmesan, bay shrimp, and crab, in a greek vinaigrette. The clam chowder was really quite awesome, some of the bet chowder I've had in a long time, and it was surprisingly large. Neither of us could finish our bowls! It's swanky seafood, so it ain't cheap, but definitely worth trying.

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