Ting Wong in Philadelphia

Ting Wong
138 N. 10th St
Philadelphia, PA

This is a great hole in the wall for fast cheap-eats. You walk in, order a meat over rice dish for under $5 and within minutes walk out with your hot food and change. There’s a 3 man team manning the front section, one cashier who moves as fast as lightening, one man tending to the food, and one Thor. By Thor, I mean a man who cleaves meat and bone like no other. All he does is stand there, holds the meat with his left hand and hacks your meat into thin slices with the meat cleaver in his right hand. The cashier is going back and forth from taking orders, filling to go cartons and bags, and manning the cash register. He has a wet towel at each station so that he is constantly moistening his hands, not stopping for anything. I saw him working on 3 separate orders at one time, filling different bags with different cartons. I finally caught his attention when I pulled on a $20 dollar bill, haha.

roast duck

Joe had the roast duck over white rice and I had the soy chicken over white rice. I’m not a huge fan of eating meat off the bone, it gets messy and I end up leaving a ton of meat on the bone. Although, for $4.50, this was a great meal.

soy chicken

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Wong Wong in Philadelphia, PA

Wong Wong
138 North 10th Street,
Philadelphia

Another decent hole in the wall where you can get quick cheap hot food within minutes. This is super convenient if you’re a student with a tight schedule, or if you happen to live in walking distance of Chinatown (cuz we all know how fun it is to find parking in any Chinatown in America).

crispy roast pork

Joe had the crispy roast pork over white rice and I had sesame chicken over white rice. They were decent, the sesame chicken was just a general gao’s chicken with sesame seeds coating it.

sesame chicken

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Miga in Philadelphia

Miga
211 S. 15th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Parking in center city is always a nightmare and this time was no exception and made worse by the rain. I had heard about this new Korean restaurant and wanted to check it out.

ambiance

I loved the ambiance when I walked in. the furniture was all luxurious. Although the crown molding gave me more of a Taj Mahal feel, the Korean pop music told me right away that I was in a Korean restaurant.

electric grill

When we sat down, I immediately sensed that something was off and realized that this place uses electric grills for Korean BBQ. Now I know all about the dangers of carcinogens in barbecued food but I feel like the gas grill adds a whole new dimension to the flavor of meat. We ended getting food prepared in the back.

seafood scallion pancake

We started with seafood scallion pancakes for $9. The pancakes came out very thick, a unique rice flour. There were mussels, calamari and shrimp inside with the Korean scallions.

ban chan

The ban chan (side dishes) came out surprisingly late. Usually it comes out shortly after the ice water but here, they brought it out after the seafood scallion pancake.

bulgogi lunch box

 

bulgogi

I had the bulgogi lunch box for $11. It came with 2 fried dumpling, egg custard, salad, 3 pieces of California roll, Korean vermicelli noodle, and some white rice. The bulgogi was taste less and absolutely difficult to chew. The dumplings and egg custard were alright. The salad dressing was watered down. The Korean vermicelli noodles came with no vegetables. A first for me.

miso soup

 

galbi lunch box

Joe had the galbi lunch box for $11 which came w all the same side dishes. Although there weren’t very many pieces of galbi, it was delicious! It was cooked well and retained it’s natural meaty flavor in addition to the marinade.

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Scoop DeVille in Philadelphia

Scoop DeVille
1734 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Even though it’s a chilly winter evening in phily, there is still a long line at this popular ice cream shop. The pink decor is very flashy but not obnoxious.

the front

I was taken aback from the super long list of toppings. We came here because we had a $20 living social deals and I have never spent so much on ice cream before so the mathematically oriented Asian part of my soul decided to do some quick math to calculate how many toppings to get to fulfill the $10 of my portion of the gift certificate.

so many choices

I estimated about 6 topping for my large butter pecan ice cream. Now this next part might sound gross but it kinda worked: bananas, chocolate chip cookie dough, Heath bar, snickers, brownies and butterscotch syrup. When I told the girl behind the counter that I had the living social deals gift certificate she understood. The next part shocked me: she put my ice cream and assortment of toppings in a blender type machine that looked like an oil drill and out came my potion of ice cream mess. I totally didn’t see that coming! I had never been here before and so was not familiar with this technique. My ice cream had become a frappé. I guess this made it easier to eat.

my concoction

Since Joe wasn’t as Asian as me and just ordered moose tracks in a waffle cone we had some $$ left to spend so we got a quarter pound of the almond butter crunch (w toffee in the middle) which was delicious!

moose tracks

my life’s motto:

almond butter crunch

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Lee How Fook in Philadelphia, PA

Lee How Fook
219 North 11th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-1821

This place was packed from the moment we walked in. After a bit of waiting a table by the door opened up ( freezing blast of wind w every group that walked in).

the front

$13.50 sea bass filet w black bean and hot peppers. I really liked the sauce with a dominant black bean flavor. The fish filet was cut up into smaller pieces and then steamed which made them very tender, falling apart at the slightest touch.

sea bass filet

$6.25 hot and sour soup was alright. Your generic hodge podge with pieces of chicken, pork, tofu and bamboo shoots.

hot and sour soup

$12.25 sirloin steak w Chinese vegetables was pretty good. Meat was a little tough to chew. And the sauce seemed to be a combination of soy sauce and oyster sauce. Nothing a little hot sauce can’t take care of!

sirloin steak

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Greek Lady in Philadelphia

Greek Lady
224 South 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

the new greek lady

 

i like it

I haven’t been to Greek Lady in 3 years. But I used to be a regular when I was at Penn (anywhere by campus, I became a regular).  I was surprised to  see the renovations. They definitely needed to expand but I was sad to see Izzy and Zoe’s go.

ambiance

The inside actually looks quite fancy with the warm lighting and color scheme.

garden salad w lamb gyro

Joe had the garden salad with lamb gyro as his meat. I asked for tzakiki sauce on the side and this was an awesome dish. I love that the meat comes off from that special rotisserie style grill and so the meat is juicy.

you know that the best part of any Greek Lady salad is the pita bread that comes with it:

pita bread

I had the long roll with chicken, spinach and feta cheese. They gave so much feta cheese! It was alright, I loved the feta cheese but the rest was just ok.

chicken, spinach and feta

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Vetri in Philadelphia

Vetri
1312 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107

ambiance

I was excited over the moon to be able to eat here tonight. For the four years I lived in Philly, I had never been able to get a reservation before 9 PM at Vetri and so I’ve never eaten here before. I called 3 months in advance and out of the 3 Saturdays I was going to be in Philadelphia, only one of them had an availability before 10 PM. This is definitely the most exclusive restaurant in Philadelphia with seats only for 36 patrons. When I made the reservation, the hostess said that Friday and Saturday is Grand Chef Tasting menu only which means Chef Vetri will give you a hand-painted menu from which you can say what you love or something you don’t eat and then from there, he will decided what to send to your table.

ambiance

We were the first ones there and so we got a nice cozy table in the corner. I loved the decor inside, it was peacefully rustic. As soon as we sat down, the hostess asked us if we would like to start with some complimentary Prosecco and hor d’ouerves while we looked over the menu. I think that is  a genius idea, bring out some nibbles to munch on while we read over the menu.

Prosecco

We started off with a half bottle of Classico Chianti. I don’t know why in my head I imagined them bringing out a full bottle of wine and pouring only half. Made sense that they brought out this cute little bottle. I think we got about 5 glasses out of it which was the perfect amount for dinner for two.

classico chianti

Our first course which was appetizers was a huge plate with 5 little “appe-teasers” on them. Each about the size of 1/4 of my palm. This is definitely a quality over quantity type of place which was fine by me. Joe gave me a bite of his squid dish which was pretty good (that’s a huge compliment from a non-seafood person).

foie gras over brioche

 

vegetable torta

 

salami

salami

baby carrot medley

squid galette

veal tartare w parmesan

quail egg over kale

tuna and swordfish carpaccio

radicchio over kale

veal tongue

Then our second course came out which was the duck and raddichio crepe for Joe and the sweet onion crepe for me. Being a good couple, we each ate half and then traded plates (almost every table there was doing this). The sweet onion crepe was by far my favorite, combining my three favorite flavors in the world: cheese, truffle and caramelized onions. With my first bite, it was like a church choir group was singing “Hallelujah” on my tongue!

duck crepe

sweet onion crepe

Our third course we each got a serving of the spinach gnocchi with ricotta salata. Joe said it was too rich for him but I was in love with it and gladly finished his. I am a huge fan gnocchi and therefore am pretty critical of it. The spinach gnocchi was amazing! So soft, it just melts in your mouth, and perfectly complimented by the brown butter. I cut one in half easily with my fork so that I could admire the grounded spinach by candle-light but Joe told me to hurry up and finish so he could see what would come out next.

spinach gnocchi

Our fourth course, we each received a serving of mint pappardelle with lamb ragu. The infused mint gave it a very interesting flavor, making the dish more complex on the palate. The lamb was so tender that the only way I could pick it up was if I scooped it up with my fork. We both loved it! You could really appreciate the texture cuz it was hand-made pasta.

mint pappardelle

Our next course, Joe was brought the whole roasted baby goat and I received the Creekstone aged ribeye with bean medley. The ribeye was medium-rare and practically melting in your mouth. But the clear winner of the two was the roasted baby goat (I had some serious reservations about this dish but I got over it with my first crispy bite).

whole roast baby goat

 

aged rib

I was amazed by how spot on Chef  Vetri’s selections for our table were, when I looked at the table next to us I noticed that their dishes were entirely different from ours. I had 2 thoughts come to my head: 1. thank God he sent the vegetarian main entrees to the other table and 2. is our table bugged? i felt underneath the table and didn’t feel any wires and then figured that with these tasting menu prices, he could probably afford wireless microphones.

goat cheese

Next we were asked if we would like to go straight into the dessert portion of the evening or would like a cheese platter. Without skipping a beat, I said cheese! We had 3 different types of cheeses, but I’ll only show my favorite, the Spanish goat cheese which had a strong flavor (my motto for cheese: the stinkier, the better).  They served it with toasted bread and this house-made honey and orange marmalade which Joe was using the bread to dunk and then scrub the plate clean with.  It was wonderfully sweet but not too sweet.

orange marmalade

Then we were brought our first dessert, a milk gelato with hot espresso poured over it at the table. This was perfect because I was considering ordering coffee with my dessert. It was so delicious! The sweetness of the gelato complimented the bitter espresso flavor, making it similar to coffee ice cream (it was still cold as we ate it). This was another example of when I thought our table might be tapped, because it was only a few seconds before when I told Joe I’ll probably need to  get some coffee after this meal and what is the first dessert that the waittress brings to our table? espresso!

milk gelato

Our second dessert, Joe was brought the lemon poppy seed cake with beet sorbet (unfortunately, neither of us were a fan of the strong poppy seed flavor), and I was brought a chocolate polenta souffle served with vanilla bean ice cream (even though this was super rich, we couldn’t get enough!) We were fighting over the last morsels of the chocolate-y goodness on my plate.

lemon poppy seed cake

 

chocolate polenta cake

 

vanilla bean cake

At this point we were getting extremely full and I think both of our jaws dropped when we saw the waittress bring out another plate(the waiters rotate all night so that you get a different person serving you each course).  This plate showcased a bunch of different desserts: marshmallow covered in powder sugar, tiramisu, peanut butter fudge, peanut brittle and lemon gumdrops. All of which, of course, were delicious.

dessert!

Being a good food blogger, I tried to write down everything we ate as they came out onto my iphone. Since I had never dined here before I didn’t realize that at the end of the night you get a goodie bag with a copy of the hand painted menu which made writing this blog entry so much easier. I love the bag! I’ll treasure it forever!

my goody bag

Now i’ve had some expensive meals in my life, (I’ve eaten at the 3 most expensive restaurants in Boston), but none of them compared to the $$/person for this meal. The tip alone for this meal cost more than any meal I’ve had at some of the more expensive restaurants in New Orleans. This was definitely a once in a life time meal that I’ll never forget. Best Italian restaurant in America, how could I not go? This chef is renown for his creativity and skill and rightly so, this had to be one of the best, if not THE best meal I’ve had in my life.

Vetri on Urbanspoon


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Amada in Philadelphia

Amada
217-219 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

amada

It was a mess trying to find parking in old city. We were able to find parking eventually but had to walk a bit of ways to the restaurant. When we got there, the place was packed! We were given a tiny table in the corner. Kinda sucked but we were 10 minutes late to our reservation so I guess it was understandable.

We started off with complimentary garlic dip:

complimentary garlic

I had convinced Joe that this place had the best sangria of my life so we ordered 2: the Tinto sangria $7 w apple and orange:

tinto sangria

and the Temporado sangria $8 w port and cranberries. We were pretty disappointed with how watery our drinks were.

temporado sangria

Costillas de ternera $12 w beef short ribs, horse radish, Parmesan and bacon. This was the most delicious in my opinion. The cheese complimented the beef wonderfully.

flatbread

$12 Spanish octopus. Pulpo a la gallega. The thing I liked was that it didn’t taste like octopus, kinda more like chicken. The texture reminded me of sausage though (a bit of crisp and thickness when you bite it). This is one of their most popular dishes so we wanted to try it but neither of us were impressed.

octopus

$9 garlic shrimp. Gambas al which was great but not special. But the garlic flavor is always a favorite for me.

garlic shrimp

$12 Shrimp and wild mushroom shirred eggs . This came with toast w a black truffle spread. It was like I had died and gone to truffle heaven. This was my 2nd favorite after the beef short rib flat bread.

shrimp and wild mushrooms

$11 lamb meatballs and shaved manchego. It didn’t taste like lamb which was nice but there wasn’t too much going on with this dish. I liked that the cream that came with it wasn’t too thick or overpowering.

lamb meatballs

Our table got free stuffed crab peppers. At first I thought it was cuz of the huge camera. But turns out the waiter brought the table to the wrong dish. We even told him that we hadn’t ordered it so he took it back to the kitchen and brought it back and insisted that we had. So by the time we had started eating, our original waitress came out and said that it was compliments of the chef (aka, they messed up! Free food on the house!).

stuffed crab peppers

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Sabrina's in Philadelphia

Sabrina’s
1802 Callowhill Street
Philadelphia

the front

I consider myself a Sabrina’s regular and so I knew it was of the utmost importance to get here early cuz 1) the food takes mad long to come out and 2) the place gets super crowded. Sabrina’s opened at 8 AM and we got there at 8:30 (yes, I admit I cut off a family with a baby stroller walking towards Sabrina’s by doing my Boston walk). . By 9 AM, the place was packed and people were standing around the tables waiting for one to open up.

ambiance

Joe had the $10.99 rancheros: 2 blue corn tortillas topped w our smoky chorizo topped w our smoky chorizo. I’ve never had guacamole and fried eggs which sounds like a gross combination but it was delicious! Another really good combination was the chili and hash browns which led to the perfect amount of saltiness and flavor.

Rancheros

I knew ahead of time how massive the Stuffed challah French toast  w farmers cream cheese and bananas and vanilla bean syrup would be, so I ordered for $5.50 for half portion but an extra $1 for 2 strawberries sliced seems like a scam. The strawberries were instrumental in keeping the sweet factor in check. The vanilla bean syrup was wonderful but I was very conscious of it’s thick viscosity and potential to ruin the front of my shirt.

challah french toast

It was impossible trying to get a waitresss attention first for our check and then for a working pen cuz the one she brought w our check didn’t work. I understand that this place was packed and so service won’t be that attentive but come on!

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