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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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Feeding Frenzy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this past Summer (which is entirely possible, and I’m not here to judge), the Ramen Burger has been sweeping the food scene coast to coast. Yes, a burger sandwiched between two “buns” made from what you ate that entire last semester of college because you ran out of money for groceries. And who better to bring the trend to Philly than the awesome gang over at Cheu Noodle Bar! For one night only, the noodle joint was cranking out McD’s inspired versions of the hot, new food craze, including a Tonkatsu (fried chicken) patty and their own Cheu-ized version of the Filet O’ Fish.

I might be more inclined to eat at a fast food place if I could request to “combo that jawn”.

All the ramen buns were being fried up on the fly, so naturally there was a bit of a wait. But that’s what we’re all here for, right?

Since the pop-up started at 6, I decided to try and get there as early as possible in case a line started to form. 5:30 – no one was there yet, so I felt a little weird just hanging around outside by myself and sat across the street in a park like a creeper, keeping an eye out. Finally, a small group started to gather around 5:45 and at 5:57, we were allowed inside. I took a seat at the counter, I placed my order, and by some miracle of the Ramen Burger gods (or maybe just the fact that I was one of the few solo diners), I got served the very first ramen burger of the night!

View from the top: The noodles look so cool!

The burger looked AMAZING! The ramen bun held together well enough after the first bite, but began to unravel as I continued eating. It was messy, but probably the best kind of messy you could ask for. The burger itself was delicious and juicy, cooked perfectly medium. The homemade “special sauce” gave it a nice flavor. And while I don’t normally care for raw onions, they were just thin enough that the taste didn’t bother me. Plus, how can you have a “Big Mac” without the onions? The fries were garnished with some bonito flakes; they were supposed to have been drizzled with a miso truffle sauce, but I didn’t mind since I prefer to dip then to have something coating my fries (plus I just dipped them in the leftover special sauce).

Ramen Burger cross-section: So many layers!

An older gentleman was seated next to me at the counter and had actually wandered into the pop-up purely by accident. He had heard it was a noodle place, so he was surprised by the strange burger happenings of the evening. I told him about what was going on, and that he should brag to all his friends tomorrow that he went to one of the hottest food events of the year. His Filet O’ Fish on ramen bun was arriving just as I was leaving, so I hope he enjoyed himself! I heard they ran out of food just around 9 o’clock, which is not surprising at all judging by the crowd of people waiting outside when I left. As for the ramen burger itself, I’m not sure if it would be something that I would eat regularly, but it was definitely fun to try.

So what’s next for whacky food concoctions that cause people to wait in ridiculous long lines for hours on end? Will someone put a cronut between two ramen buns? Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

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