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Category Archives: food trucks

The Splatty Awards!

Welcome all to our 100th post! In honor of this milestone, I bring you a little something I like to call “The Splatty Awards!”: recapping the best things I have been eating, drinking & doing for the past year or so.

Best food item that comes in a jar: Tomato Conserva at In Riva 

Briefly removed from their winter menu for a few weeks in December (in which I cried into my pillow every night), the Tomato Conserva is back in action!

This sweet bruschetta will have you licking the jar clean & begging for more!

Best New York City to Philly transplant (other then myself): Shake Shack

Danny Meyer’s fast-casual burger joint quickly gained a fandom on Sansom Street in the summer of 2012, and expanded this year with outposts in University City & King of Prussia.

The Smoke Shack was initially conceived for the Philadelphia location, but has expanded to all Shacks globally.

Best food I used to be terrified of but now can’t stop eating: Oysters

Yeah, they’re slimy and salty and weird and jiggly, but they’re also delicious!

I’ve been making it my mission to hit every buck a shuck & half price oyster night in town.

Best pop-up: Lucky Old Souls’ Patty Melt Pop-up at Kennett

 When the LOS truck’s engine went kaput this fall, the team at Kennett lent them a hand – and their kitchen – for the evening to raise money for a new one.

And maybe I’m a little bit biased because it was my suggestion to turn out patty melts; a once in a blue moon burger special they were serving up on East Passyunk last spring.

Best Beer Drinking Event: Philly Beer Week Opening Tap

I’ve been partaking in Opening Tap for the past two years now, and seriously, if you’re not making this a priority during PBW, you’re missing out.

Opening Tap showcases the best and brightest of the local Philadelphia beer scene under one roof (the Independence Visitors Center, to be exact). But remember, it’s a marathon – not a sprint!

Best Beer Drinking Event Involving Animals: Summer Ale Fest at the Philadelphia Zoo

Great Beer + Local Food + Adorable Animals = One of the most awesome times you will ever have. Don’t forget to take a selfie of yourself “drinking a beer” with a tiger!

Most of the animals are actually awake compared to a day trip, and zoo docents are on hand to provide detailed information on your favorite critters.

Best Happy Hour (tie): Sampan and Alla Spina

Sampan gets the advantage as they have happy hour 7 days a week from 4-7 PM, but Alla Spina offers some great bar bites and their Victory Brewing beer collab, Novello, for only $3!

Don’t miss Sampan’s edamame dumplings or the pretzel bites with beer cheese at Alla Spina (they come in an adorable wooden piggy)!

Best Brunch: Jerry’s Bar

The Brunch crowd mourned the loss of Cafe Estelle for many months, but Marshall Green’s famous & delicious sticky buns have finally found a new home in Northern Liberties.

I hated Bloody Marys until I tried the one at Jerry’s and now I’m hooked. Seriously – best Bloody Mary ever!

Best Restaurant: Spot Burger

But isn’t Spot Burger a food truck?”, you’re probably asking yourself. Well, who says a restaurant needs to be defined by four brick walls?

 SpOt Owner/Grillmaster Josh Kim is the hardest working man in these streets right now, and he proves it on a weekly basis with his innovative specials (like a $10 Lobster Roll this summer), as well as his philanthropic efforts. He supports dozens of college organizations and local charities, frequently running specials and donating portions of his proceeds to these causes. He’s been a champion for food truck rights in Philadelphia, residing on the board of the Philly Mobile Food Association, and turned the corner of 33rd and Arch St into the “Food Truck Mecca”. So next time you see his yellow cart around, grab some grub; you won’t be disappointed! Spot serves up one of the best burgers in town.

And that concludes our awards ceremony! I hope you’ll at least check out some of the places and foods I love, in addition to the delicious burgers I recap for you guys each week. Got any great places and foods you think I should try? Post em up in the comments section and maybe they’ll wind up on my “best of” list next year!

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On a Roll

Growing up along the Long Island Sound, lobster rolls were a quintessential part of summer, right along with backyard BBQs and getting an ice cream cone from Mister Softee. I mean, my parents even moved to the birthplace of the lobster roll when I graduated college. So when I moved south and inland to Philadelphia, I was hit with sticker shock at a variety of restaurants who were pricing my favorite summer treat at nearly $20 or over! And they weren’t even the delicious, Connecticut-style kind. They were gross, mayo-laced New England atrocities. (Seriously guys, mayo and seafood is a terrible combination!) How was a girl to get her fix of warm, buttered crustacean on a bun?

Well, luckily, Luke’s Lobster heard my pleas and opened up shop in Philadelphia just a few months ago. For a mere $15, you can get your taste of Maine’s greatest export. Plus add a bag of chips & a soda for only $2!

Just when I thought summer couldn’t get any better, my favorite food truck, Spotburgers, brought back their much anticipated lobster roll special from last summer (which sold out within minutes whenever it was on the menu). For only TEN AMERICAN DOLLARS you got a whopping 6 oz of lobster with a little tomato & corn garnish, plus a side a fries. That was an even slicker deal then Luke’s! (and much tastier!)

And then, Johnny Brenda’s threw a clambake bash and put a NINE DOLLAR lobster roll on their menu! $9. It was unheard of! Oh sure, it didn’t come with fries, but I could drink a beer while enjoying it and that was good enough for me. Throw in a side of coleslaw, some pickles & a little lemon mayo and it was the perfect summer treat.

Now the Spot lobster roll is a special, so you’ll want to watch their Twitter feed (linked above) to find out where and when it’s popping up next. But for the best bargain lobster roll in town, head over to Luke’s Lobster on 17th & Sansom any time. (Plus, they even deliver after 5 PM, so you don’t even have to leave the house to get it!)

In LOVE with Vernalicious

Every week, LOVE Park on 16th and JFK has a rotating lineup of some of the finest food trucks in Philadelphia. (Try saying that last part 5 times fast!) This Tuesday I conveniently forgot my lunch and the very awesome VERNALICIOUS truck was there to save the day!

They’re mostly well known for making an amazing pulled pork grilled cheese and on top of that, they just won the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Vendy Awards. Once I found out they were parked down the block for lunch, I was really looking forward to one of their other hit menu items: the banh mi.

 

I opted for the tofu banh mi, since I am gearing up for Meatless March (I seriously considered getting  a burger but stopped myself). I’m a big fan of tofu banh mi and was excited to try Vernalicious’ take on the Vietnamese sandwich.

The sandwich was definitely smaller then you would get at a place in Chinatown or on Washington Ave, and it was $6 compared to QT’s $5.50 for a sandwich almost double in size. (I suppose you do have to take into consideration the cost of running a mobile food business compared to brick & mortar, though). The presentation was great and the flavor composition was in the right area. The tofu was nice and moist, and was balanced out well by the crusty bread and crunchy cucumbers.

I would definitely try this again if I was looking for a healthy lunch alternative or sticking to my vegetarian diet post-March. And if you happen to be in the LOVE Park area when Vernalicious is, and the banh mi is on the menu, you should check it out too!

Showing LOVE for LOS

I can’t believe I haven’t written about the Lucky Old Souls Burger Truck on here yet. I’ve done a Yelp review on them before but I haven’t talked about their awesomeness on this site yet, so here we go. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, Lucky Old Souls (or LOS) is an awesome burger truck that roams the streets of Philadelphia from LOVE park to Chestnut Hill – and they play fun jazz music while you wait.

They’ve got a great array of burgers: from build your own to their special burger of the day/week to the signature LOS burger, which is what I got for lunch the other day.

The LOS burger is a Lancaster grass fed beef burger topped with their homemade bacon, smoked cheddar, pickled tomatoes, sauteed onions and their signature “LOS sauce”. They also make their own ketchup (spoiler alert: It’s amazing!!), which is delicious and a perfect compliment to their handcut fries. 100x better then that burger I just had in D.C. and probably one of my favorite “on-the-go” burgers in town. So if you see a giant truck with diagrams on it and music blaring, stop by and satiate your burger craving! You won’t regret it.

National Food Day

Yesterday was National Food Day, and as part of promoting well, food, the Philly Mobile Food Association hosted a pop-up inside the courtyard of City Hall. Usually relegated to the space across the street in LOVE Park, this was the first time Food Trucks actually set up shop on City Hall’s property in what vendors hope will be a new spot where they can serve the public and hopefully bring attention to the growing popularity of food trucks in order to get Philly’s archaic mobile vending laws changed.

I decided to check out the Street Food Philly truck because they’re kind of elusive (They don’t even have a Twitter account, guys!). They post their location on Facebook and are usually set up around Drexel/U-City, which is hard for me to get to for lunch during the week. Their menu also changes daily so there’s always something new to try.

I decided to go with the Local Dry Aged Burger and the Sea Salt fries, obviously.

The burger took a while to cook, but that gave me time to check out what everyone else was getting. The brisket cheesesteak tacos didn’t really look so hot but they’re were flying out the window, along with the lentils & braised pork. Finally, my burger was done and I took a seat in the courtyard to enjoy my meal.

The burger came on a pretzel bun (because, Philadelphia) and was topped with white american cheese & a housemade mayo. I was really excited about the bun at first, but it kind of made everything too salty. Once I isolated the burger itself, it was actually pretty tasty. I tried putting some of the homemade ketchup on it but it was a fail. My big problem with some homemade ketchups is that they can either taste really good or taste like marinara sauce; this one was the latter. Since I’m not into putting Ragu on my burgers, I ate it sans my favorite condiment.

There was a lot of bun left in the end since it was so big, but I appreciated that the bun was kind of woven like a braided pretzel as opposed to some other pretzel buns that are just a roll and split. It fell apart in the right places and it’s thickness helped hold in all the juicy goodness from the meat.

The sea salt fries were ok but they were obviously frozen, cafeteria style fries. (I’m sure my cholesterol was through the roof with all the sodium I had that day!) And paired with the house ketchup, I could barely even finish eating them. I think my other problem with the ketchup was that it was cold. If it had been room temp and maybe a little sweeter, it might have been better. Either way, I think Street Food Philly is a solid addition to the Food Truck scene here and I hope to get the chance to try some more of their stuff in the future.

As if there aren’t enough food blogs!

Yes, yes. I’m well aware that anyone who loves to stuff their face and has internet access probably has created (or has thought about creating) some type of food blog while enjoying the “best they’ve ever had”. Today, that time has come for me.

Long ago, I had a short lived blog rating local Mexican restaurants. (To the best, I gave Five Sombreros.) Today, my food fancies range from the quest for Philadelphia’s Best Burger to scoping out the latest Food Trucks to hit the city streets. Do I consider myself a “foodie”? Not by any means. I like to eat. I like things that are tasty and interesting. I like sharing those tasty, interesting edibles with other people. I’m not a snob about it and I’m not trying to be. That’s why I created this blog.

I’ve called it ‘A Side of Ketchup‘ because growing up, I was a very picky eater. My go-to food was chicken nuggets and french fries, and I would put ketchup on literally everything. (Including filet mignon – leading to many a dinnertime cringe fest.) Since my teen years I’ve eaten lots of different things that I never would have imagined eating, broadening my limited ethnic cuisine range from “Fried” and “Italian” to Vietnamese, Sushi, Indian and beyond. Now, I will try anything once. My mother used to tell me, “You don’t know if you don’t like it if you’ve never tried it”. And I have a feeling that’s the case for most people who have never tried foods and simply ‘don’t like them.’ I’m here to try and alleviate some of your food fears – and hopefully make some friends in the process. So enjoy reading and feel free to eat along!

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