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Trip Report: Dining unexpectedly on a dime

I should clarify - Lee is the quirky owner who has an... interesting deadpan sense of humor.

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Trip Report: Dining unexpectedly on a dime

that 100% sounds like a comment Lee himself would make. pretty sure it was a joke, TU

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Quick trip from DC - Monk's Cafe, Vedge, Hop Sing?

agree with above 100%

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Quick trip from DC - Monk's Cafe, Vedge, Hop Sing?

Another vote for zahav. It's truly the best for both a vegetarian and meat eater to enjoy as well as a great restaurant that is very unique to this city - highly recommend.

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Best Indian Food on the Main Line

Yeah, I miss having a reason to dine that far out (fiance's commute is now local) on the mainline. Their Lamb Pasanda (similar to korma but deeper flavor) was a favorite.

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Trip Report: Dining unexpectedly on a dime

I *think* you are joking but at Hop Sing they card everyone. Before you are let inside. I once saw a woman well above 21 who did not have ID and she was turned away so they are pretty serious about it and also, nothing to do with criminal activity

Sep 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Best Indian Food on the Main Line

I live in Center City and as of last year Taste of India was better any any of the options downtown hands down (Ekta, Saffron, and some really awful spots on South Street)

Sep 12, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Best dumpling dive in Phl Chinatown?

Might as well update this - anyone looking for Dim Sum Garden: it's moved north, to 1020 Race street right across from Hop Sing and next to Lan Zhou

Sep 12, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Finally scored a Laurel reservations...any recommendations?

Have to be honest, I dined here soon after it opened and felt very 'meh' about my experience. The food was good, but as mentioned by others in this thread, nothing blew my mind or made me want to return asap. The menu is very small and specific - my partner and I did not have multiple choices we were torn over which to order as at most 'first time dine' restaurants ... we ate what we wanted and felt satisfied having experienced Laurel but would not have gone out of our way to recommend to others.

Sep 12, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Abe Fisher

Abe Fisher (a Cook & Solo restaurant) officially opens today just across from Federal Donuts and next to Dizengoff. I was lucky enough to get a preview of some of the menu items last week:

Kasha Varnishkes - ravioli with buckwheat filling, English peas, truffle butter + poppy seeds. Our server said this was the most popular item in the veg category of the night. It was pretty good, you could definitely taste the buckwheat kasha but did not get any hints of truffle in the sauce which was a bummer

Roasted Carrots - aged gouda, pumpernickel lekvar - this was a nice simple dish but the pumpernickel was a savory pumpernickel bread pudding that was so immensely tasty. If I could get an entire bowl of that, I would.

Hot Smoked Sable - cucumber, dill old bay - this was great. I love the smoked sable dish at Zahav so I knew this would be good. It's simply a breaded fried fishcake with tasty aioli and pickles but oh man the smoked sable flavor! So good.

Corned Pork Belly - challah pretzel, emmental, manischewitz mustard, radish kraut - this dish was a little unexpected in presentation. Instead of it being a hunk of meat, large plate style, it was actually shaved charcuterie/deli meat style. The pork belly slices reminded me a lot of the sliced pig head at Serpico. The challah pretzels were nugget sized and filled with the emmental, but not much cheese or cheese flavor to speak of. The dish had interesting components and was tasty enough I suppose but seems more suited for the beginning of the meal rather than the end.

Dry Aged Lamb Minute Steak - potato latke, redeye gravy - this was delicious, if a touch salty. The thin lamb steak was cooked to a lovely crisp on the fat cap, almost like a chicharron. Great deep flavor all around and compared to the pork belly this looked and tasted like a true large plate. Would definitely order again.

Bacon and Egg Cream - maple custard, chocolate foam - What a fun dessert. Served in a glass and layered: smoked maple syrup, custard, bacon bits, and a chocolate egg cream foam. Would definitely get again, lots going on in this dish.

The table next to us got the hungarian duck tasting and holy moly the smell coming off that duck was mouth wateringly intoxicating, I was a little jealous.

Oh and instead of a bread basket we were served a savory challah monkey bread - buttery shmaltz and spices spiraled around this tender bread, wish we had asked for another!

Overall, a lovely meal, definitely interested to see how the menu changes long term.

Sep 02, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Society Hill Society

hmm... the restaurant was definitely full (saturday night) but i don't remember much about the service timing so i'd think it was pretty standard/nothing noteworthy

Jul 27, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Serpico

the early bird menu is actually the regular portions of each dish, definitely not scaled down - this was also confirmed by our server

Jul 27, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia
1

Where's great in Philadelphia

do they? personally i think modern/high end israeli is not something most cities have.. and even then, do they do it notably well? probably not.

the op is visiting a number of other cities that also do american comfort food well, and i would think it makes sense to mix it up with a few options certainly unique to our city that i would also rate as top tier.

Jul 16, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Where's great in Philadelphia

also should add Kanella for brunch/lunch and if you enjoy cocktails, hop sing laundromat

Jul 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Where's great in Philadelphia

Definitely agree on Zahav and Capogiro, and would 100% recommend skipping City Tavern (extremely forgettable colonial food) or even the Italian spots mentioned.

I think Philly has some interesting modern one off restaurants that you cannot find elsewhere, particularly in the other cities you are visiting. Philly cheesesteak is definitely iconic and good to eat once, but it's definitely gut busting casual eating.

Jul 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Society Hill Society

Finally got around to checking out Society Hill Society on Headhouse Square - had a really nice meal. Originally I was a little skeptical (could the name be more lame?) but our two cocktails were interesting and perfectly balanced, the complementary pretzel bread was delicious, and the meal satisfying. Nice to have a place like this so close, they seem to be doing really well.

We had:

jin jawn - gin, tincture of herbs (tarragon, chive, and maybe parsley?), lemon, cane sugar. this drink was sweet with a touch of savory from the herbs, nothing too overpowering, really refreshing

Mind killer - gin, lemon, amaro abano, spiced wine syrup, olive oil, egg white. This was cool - the egg white was whipped and was a foam topper to the drink rather than mixed in like a flip. It was also lightly blow torched and had a meringue/smore quality to it. I was worried the drink would taste too much like spiced wine, but it was far more nuanced

pierogies - truffle, onion jam, creme fraiche - tasty small appetizer of 4 tiny dumplings. Good but kind of pricey at $9.

boneless pork rib sandwich - saurkraut, pickle, mustard - this was a very mustard heavy which kind of turned me off. It was fine, but nothing special.

diver scallops with corn cakes - with fresh peas and baby carrots. This was a great seasonal dish, tasted great and was simple but not boring.

For 2 people the 2 bar dishes and one main was the right amount of food - definitely interested in going back.

Jul 15, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Latest on Serpico

Serpico recently started offering an early bird price fixe that may be the best deal in the city right now: $40 for four (full sized) courses between 5 and 630pm Sun - Fri. The options are selections from the current menu, when we went it was 2 options for each course but now I think they have added in a third choice.

See below for the menu when we went, I heard that duck mousse and lamb ribs have been added, which I'd love to go back for. We had the head x 2 (sliced thin, prosciutto style) and then everything else offered. Every dish was excellent and had it's own unique flavors.

Jul 05, 2014
kasiav in Philadelphia

Decent lobster roll, off season, Hyannis area - does this exist?

I actually thought their roll was decent - it did not have the shredded meat you describe. for the off season, I would recommend the roll, but would not recommend much else on the menu (which seemed middling)

Mar 31, 2014
kasiav in Southern New England

Decent lobster roll, off season, Hyannis area - does this exist?

thanks will have to try - their clams look really great. on tuesday by default i ended up at Brax Landing (Harwich). I would not recommend their regular menu but the lobster roll was more than decent. $20.99, lots of lobster, chunks and claws rather than shredded salad, and very lightly dressed in mayo. needed the squeeze of lemon but i was very happy with it. biggest downside was the shredded lettuce in the sandwich - get that filler out!

had a cup of the chowder which had a LOT of clam in it but tasted canned. would not recommend.

Mar 27, 2014
kasiav in Southern New England

Decent lobster roll, off season, Hyannis area - does this exist?

Splitting time between Hyannis and Harwich for the week and looking for a decent lobster roll (no Canadian meat), CT style (butter) would be a plus but not a requirement. Looked though a number of threads and found a short list of 5 or so great spots in the area but all are still closed for the season. Please help me get my roll fix, hounds!

Mar 25, 2014
kasiav in Southern New England

Hong Kong Mid Range dim sum - most variety of dumplings?

bbq meat + noodles are definitely on the list as well but the dumplings are what i needed the most help with. unfortunately there's only so much i can eat in a 22 hour period!

Feb 18, 2014
kasiav in China & Southeast Asia

Hong Kong Mid Range dim sum - most variety of dumplings?

thanks both. I will only have 22 hours in the city but am hoping to maximize it!

Feb 17, 2014
kasiav in China & Southeast Asia

Hong Kong Mid Range dim sum - most variety of dumplings?

Combing through the chowhound dim sum recs but having a hard time figuring out which mid range dim sum restaurant has the most interesting variety of dumplings? beyond the standard har gow and pork buns i'm looking for varieties including

- taro dumplings (savory)
- shrimp, peanut and pork
- chive dumplings
- pea shoot dumplings
- purple yam (sweet)
- black sesame seed dumplings

openrice photos make Golden Leaf at the conrad hilton seem like they have a decent variety. can anyone speak from their experience or make additional recommendations?

Feb 16, 2014
kasiav in China & Southeast Asia

Umami by Travail

tickets available for the week of Oct 9 - just snagged 4 for Wednesday randomly googling info about the pop up

Oct 01, 2013
kasiav in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Serpico

had dinner this evening - it was booked up on OT but had no problem walking in. they have a long bar around the open kitchen with a lot of availability

menu has a surprising amount of items i recognized from the momofuku cookbook (Fluke with Buttermilk, Soy & Poppy Seeds just done with scallops instead, Shaved Foie Gras, Lychee & Pine Nut Brittle has elderflower gelee instead of lychee etc). not complaining, i think its a great way to experience momofuku without the drive or line but i do think this is a little sketchy since david chang is not affiliated (from what i can tell) but a momofuku alum is. i know you cant really patent a dish but this menu goes beyond heavily borrowing...

anyway, we had

scallop crudo with buttermilk, poppy seeds, shoyu. i've made the cookbook version, loved it then, loved it now. very summary, great flavor for a light dish

market ceviche razor clams, oysters, pineapple, seaweed and fennel (this tasted very 'green.' refreshing but not sure i'd order again)

hand torn pasta with chicken sausage, snails, crispy chicken skin, pecorino (this was weird and tasty, pasta was perfect)

caper brined trout pan seared nice and crispy with smoked potato salad (no mayo), peperoncini, blue crab (didnt see this in the dish), trout roe, chive oil. no capers, basically fish on a bed of tiny cubes of very flavorful potatoes. i wouldnt say 'smoked' was the flavor but it was pretty delicious.

Jun 23, 2013
kasiav in Philadelphia

St Paul's best

also forgot to add WA Frost

Apr 22, 2013
kasiav in Minneapolis-St. Paul

St Paul's best

After 5 years, I'm back out in the MSP area for about a year and have had great luck with my old favorites as well as some really excellent new restaurants in Minneapolis. However, it's been difficult to find a post devoted solely to St Paul's best. From some of the bets of the TCs threads it seems we have:

The Happy Gnome
Meritage
Heartland
On's Thai Kitchen

MSP please help! I seriously need to diversify - any price point and any cuisine, as long as its GOOD.

Thanks!

Apr 22, 2013
kasiav in Minneapolis-St. Paul

Black sesame paste, where can you buy it?

definitely at any of the asian supermarkets on washington, i have a jar i picked up myself a few years back

Mar 24, 2013
kasiav in Philadelphia

Mildred??

went for an anniversary dinner a few weeks ago and i could not have loved it more. upscale but homey neighborhood spot style food - they really seem to be aware of location and priced meals accordingly.

most of the menu is fired in a wood oven and the food is super comforting. the servers and host were awesome and really charming without being annoying, brought us 2 glasses of comp champagne right away and left a really sweet handwritten note with the check thanking us for celebrating with them.

we split 3 apps and 1 main which was almost too much food:

chestnut soup with glazed sweetbreads & fried chestnuts - the soup was simple and tasty but the star was the most tender sweetbreads. there were 3 which definitely blurred the line between garnish and actual food component. wish i could just get a whole plate of them. awesome.

hand-spun chitarra with braised cockles, bacon & beer - this was good but not as good as the other dishes. pasta tasted of the ocean rather than the tasty bacon flavor in the cockles

braised oxtail with barley and parsnip risotto - i want to eat this all winter. so warm and comforting.

slow braised rib of beef with broiled parmesan macaroni & caramelized romanesco - i have never had beef so deliciously melty. my bf said he wished the mac was more cheesy, but it was all baked off in a staub iron casserole so i think it was just a product of how it was cooked. loved this.

my one complaint (which I dont even care much about) is the walls seemed really stark. the spot is lit nicely and has homey exposed beams so the bare walls stuck out and looked like they needed some art on them

we had a lovely meal and it is definitely on my short list to return

Jan 03, 2013
kasiav in Philadelphia

Real Ranch Dressing

i also second making it yourself - it is really easy and tastes worlds better. here is the recipe i use:

3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream or greek yogurt (full fat greek = much creamier dressing than 2%)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives/scallion (optional)
1 teaspoon dill
1 teaspoon parsley (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tsp cider vinegar

Jan 03, 2013
kasiav in Philadelphia