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Monthly Archives: January 2013

D.C. Eats

I took a little road trip this weekend to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C.! Goal #1 was to get white girl wasted for my birthday (accomplished in spades) and goal #2 was to eat a whole bunch of deliciousness and tell you about it. So here we go!

Saturday Brunch: Busboys and Poets

This was pretty much the coolest brunch spot I’ve been to in a while. Big and roomy with a hip staff – and a menu with Gandhi and MLK jr on the cover. I opted for the Oaxaca omelette (pronounced: wah-haw-kah) with black beans, cheese, pico de gallo and guacamole, served with whole-wheat toast and home fries, since I’m a sucker for anything mexican/tex-mex.

Saturday lunch: Oyamel

Touted as “authentic and creative mexican cuisine” – which it admittedly was – it was also secretly just an overpriced Mexican tapas place. I got the “Costilla de res con salsa verde”: Braised short ribs with a tangy green sauce of cilantro, parsley and garlic and the “Cachetes de puerco con camote:
Negra Modelo braised Kurobuta pork cheeks with sweet potato, habañero pepper, onion, cilantro and spiced pecans”

The pork cheeks were just melt in your mouth amazing, although I’m not sure the sweet potato creme or the whole THREE pecans on my plate really added anything extra to the dish.

The short ribs were nice and succulent, cooked to medium rare and so tender, it cut like butter. The salsa verde, while giving the meat a nice appearance on the plate, didn’t really enhance the dish but it didn’t really take away from it either, I suppose.

Late night Saturday post-club grub: Black & Orange burger

I really wanted to get a nice, delicious, greasy, sloppy burger to sop up all the alcohol from the evening so we cabbed it over to Black & Orange around 1:30 AM (It’s open til 5 AM on the weekend; something completely unheard of in Philadelphia). Went with their standard burger, known as the welterweight; a 1/4 lb patty on a brioche bun with lettuce, tomato & I added cheddar and avocado for an extra $2.

Looks great, doesn’t it? It was the biggest let down of the entire trip. The bun was basically stale. The burger patty was so small that I finished eating it and still nearly half the bun left in my hand when I realized I’d run out of meat. The fries were totally tasteless. I guess they just expect people to be extremely wasted when they come in here and not care about flavor or that their burger is practically the size of a slider. Not sure how this place stays in business. I was almost tempted to go to the McDonald’s across the street because I was left empty and dissatisfied.

Hopefully I’ll take another trip to D.C.  in the near future and get a better taste of what the town has to offer, food-wise.

………

And of course, what road trip to the south would be complete without a stop at the Waffle house on the way home? (Chocolate chip waffles FTW!)

Epic Mealtime

So, in case you were living under a rock for the past week, a local “crazy” burger joint here in Philadelphia named P.Y.T. put a bacon shell taco burger on their “burger of the week” menu that made the news everywhere from MSN to the Huffington Post.

The caveat was that they were only making 20 of these bad boys a day and naturally, I had to have one. So my friend and I got up at what we thought would be early enough on a Saturday (11:30) and headed on over to PYT only to find out there was only ONE BACON SHELL TACO BURGER remaining!!

So we decided to split it.

They told us it would take about 20 minutes since making a taco shell out of a bunch of bacon strips is not an easy or quick task, which was fine. And then, it arrived in all its bacon-y glory.

It was surprisingly not as greasy as we had expected. And the bacon was crunchy and flavorful. But we were actually glad there was only one left because after a few bites, we were kind of over it. There was barely any meat in the taco shell for the “burger” – a patty perhaps the size of a slider – and when I was taking my bites, I was worried that I might eat the whole burger before my friend actually got a chance to taste it.

Was it the best thing I’d ever eaten? Definitely not. But the novelty of a bacon shell taco was at least worth trying once.

Diner Disappointments

Recently I was reading through a blog of a local chef and was surprised to see that despite all the hype of other burgers in Philadelphia, her favorite was a mouthwatering-sounding, simple diner burger from a place in my neighborhood of Roxborough (Which may as well be another universe to people living in the city proper). I couldn’t believe this burger unicorn was just blocks away from where I lived, so I popped on down to Bob’s Diner to check it out.

Her description touted “a massive juicy patty on a toasty, buttery roll with bacon, barbecue sauce, cheddar and thin fried onion rings“, which led to me ordering the Smokey Burger (official menu name). And since I was feeling a little wild on a Saturday night (and not going on a date later), I ordered onion rings instead of fries.

My burger arrived and it was nothing to write home about. It was just a slim patty on top of a kaiser roll. Where was the toasty, buttery roll? Where was this massive patty? I felt like I’d been duped.

That’s it?

The burger was cooked through (I wasn’t asked how I wanted it cooked, anyway) and there was a lot of bun going on, which was ok I guess since something needed to contain the onion strings and BBQ sauce. Don’t get me wrong, it was tasty, but certainly quite a let down after what I’d envisioned in my head. At least the onion rings were decent.

I know I shouldn’t have expected so much from a diner, but Silk City is a local diner with pretty decent, upscale selections, so I thought maybe it would run in the same vein – especially since Bob’s seems to be pretty notable in the area. But the workers were nice and the place was clean, so I’ll give them credit for that. However, if you’re looking for a good burger to be had in Roxborough, this isn’t the place.

Burger rating: D

Burrito Behemoth!

Recently, I had the unfortunate pleasure of waking up at the crack of dawn on a Saturday to go to the DMV and renew my driver’s license. But, since every cloud has a silver lining, it meant that I got to beat everyone to the punch on brunch! So I ventured over to one of the newest locations of famed Philly breakfast spot, Green Eggs Cafe, on 13th and Locust. Their menu is pretty extensive, and they serve up specialties like Red Velvet pancakes and a little dish called the “Kitchen Sink”, which has all your breakfast favs in a cast-iron skillet. There’s also a rotating menu of daily specials. They had vegetarian breakfast tacos on the menu the day I went. I wasn’t keen on eating tofu before 9 AM, so I decided to go with the Breakfast Burrito (Admittedly, I was swayed by the non-vegan, house-made chorizo).

And then, this bad boy was presented in front of me:

Holy Guacamole, that thing was huge! Stuffed with eggs, corn, house made pork chorizo, potatoes, peppers, onions and tex mex cheese, topped with pico de gallo, sour cream and an avocado, and drizzled with a fire roasted red pepper black bean sauce, this breakfast burrito was not for the faint of heart. I only managed to eat 3/4 of it before I finally threw in the towel. But it was soooooo good! The black bean sauce was the perfect compliment to a fork full of eggs and chorizo, once I figured out how to properly dissect this beast, that is.

Look at the little bit of light from outside, shining on its delicious magnificence!

So, if you’re looking for a breakfast dish to satisfy your most intense burrito cravings and your wildest hungover hunger pains, Green Eggs is definitely the place to come. (And don’t forget to hit up the ATM first; it’s cash only!)

Getting Domestic

One of the biggest food trends in recent years is the shift by a lot of restaurants to use more local ingredients in their menus. While not completely restricting themselves to a microcosm such as only using Pennsylvania suppliers, JG Domestic (one of Jose Garces‘ many fine dining establishments) does its best to keep it as close to home as possible. As my waiter informed me, everything on the menu – from the food to the beer and wine – comes from the US (save for Tequila and Scotch, which we Americans apparently haven’t “perfected yet”, according to him). I came in for one of those unicorns of the food world: the “Lunch Menu Only” burger – paired with a side of duck fat fries because hey, who said I need to start working on my New Year’s Resolutions just yet?

The JG Domestic burger is comprised of Wolfe’s Neck sirloin, bibb lettuce, a Jersey tomato and 1000 island dressing, sandwiched between a seeded brioche bun (similar to the ones at Royal Tavern). I also added Grafton aged cheddar for an extra $3 (which seemed fair seeing as $15 seems to be the standard price point for ‘high end’ burgers these days). The only down side is that the fries do cost extra ($4 for regular, $5 for duck fat), so it quickly turned a plain $12 burger into a $20 lunch.

My burger came out and it was a behemoth! Definitely similar in size to the Hickory Lane burger and just as delicious. Once I managed to get my mouth around it to take a bite, all these delicious juices started flowing (which was good since it was slightly more on the medium-well side but without that dried out taste/texture). And the bun held up really well against the “drippage”.

The duck fat fries were also amazing. They come with a side of ketchup and a malt vinegar/mayo/aioli kind of dipping thing. But after finishing that burger, I could barely finish my fries; a shame since they were so delicious and crispy.

Burger rating: Once again, like with the Burger Bar Bistro burger, I’m going to have to knock down a few points since the burger didn’t come with fries. But these fries were definitely way better than BBB, so I’ll give the JG Domestic burger a solid “B+”.

The Vulgar Chef

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