Friday, November 25, 2011

More Grubbin

Like honestly, I've been eating better at college than I do at home. I seriously eat like a frikin king most of the time. And I'm so greatful for it. Food is like what I spend my money on. It's really money well spent too. Here are my latest and greatest eats since I last posted.

Also I'm busy at work confiting turkey in my frikin sous vide supreme so check back in soon to see how that turns out. I'm real hype for that. Curing in salt, garlic, sage, sugar right now. Really wanted to cure it in a sweet/spicy soy ginger sriracha cure but it's frikin Thanksgiving, you gotta go with tradition. 

Udon noodle soup with brisket from this crappy Chinese place next to the quad. Decent meal. Brisket was decent. I love soups in the winter. Been grubbin on soup non-stop recently. My favorite soup is the Tom Yum Seafood soup from Sangkee--not technically Chinese but absolutely bangin. Spicy but not too spicy. It's like, by the end you're like wow that was frikin hot--spicy, but each individual spoonful isn't spicy so it just entices you to keep going.

So on last Saturday I didn't have too much work so I walked to La Colombe--Philly's premier coffe shop--for my morning cappuccino. Great setting, great foam, great coffee. I can't stress the foam enough. Note to Starbucks/Au Bon Pain, the foam is why I order a cappuccino. I recently tweeted "Why do I keep giving au Bon pain another shot at making a cappuccino? It always ends with me contemplating suicide."

This is a good story.  As I passed Rittenhouse Square on my way to La Colombe I saw my friend who used to work at Lacroix with me selling Canales at the Rittenhouse Square Farmer's Market. After she left Lacroix, her and her boyfriend started their own canale business Market Day Canale. They gave me a free box. The canales were great. So Different. Airy and creamy in the center, caramelized on the outside.

Close friend visited from home and brought us pumpkin muffins that his mom made.

Baby Blue's BBQ, right off of Penn's Campus. I've been there so many times since school started. It's just great. Mac and cheese, pork and beans, brisket, ribs, fries, cornbread, all the good stuff.

Here's my roommate on the left and my boy from home on the right at Baby Blue's.

For my Management 100 class, my team of 10 and I partnered up with the non-profit Hip Hop Inc. which aims to reduce the dropout rate in West Philadelphia High School. To raise money for Hip Hop we held an event which featured food from the local restaurants. To read more about it, check out our sweet write-up in Meal Ticket. This is some pasta from the food truck Chewy's.

Here's country pate with foie gras from Fond.  The pate was just incredible.

Here's some pizza from Fork.

Some fried rice from Chabaa Thai Bistro.

Pizza from Axis Pizza.

Gaspare was nice enough to send me some chocolates to my dorm.

Here are the coffee flavored chocolates. So good. I love coffee and anything coffee-flavored (yogurt, ice cream etc) so these were perfect for me.

A few other chocolates. The highlights were the caramel on the bottom, and the passionfruit chocolates on the top. It was like a burst of passionfruit in my mouth. Unexpected and delicious.

BBQ spare ribs from some crappy Japanese place that everyone goes to for Sake bombing. These ribs were just so lackluster.

This is seafood miso soup from the same place. Same deal.

That's all for now. Thanksgiving updates to come.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Overview of College Eats Since October

So how's the food at Penn? 

Thus far incredible, but mostly because I've been blessed with some great food experiences so far. I've been eating out a lot, and seriously avoiding the dining halls. At most of the halls, the food is hardly bearable--I usually just go for the sandwiches when I'm forced to eat at the halls. 

So I got that new Iphone in late October and I've been taking pics non-stop, mostly of my food. Here's what I've been eating since late October. 

Here's some grilled chicken, msuhrooms with peppers, roasted tofu with garbanzos. From the one of two solid dining halls on campus. This is actually from the Kosher dining hall. I'm not Jewish, but I go there because all the servers are so much friendlier. It's nuts.

Scallops from Distrito. Been to Distrito a few times since it's right off campus. Always fun to go, food is always good. I've basically had everything on their menu once.

Hiramasa (yellowtail) ceviche with habanero sauce and sangrito sorbet.

 The mushroom flatbread from Distrito. This is a great dish at Distrito.

 Half-eaten ice cream sandwich from Insomnia. 2 warm chocolate chip cookies sandwiching vanilla ice cream.

 Dan dan noodles from Han Dynasty. These noodles are one of the top dishes in Philadelphia. It's unreal how good these are. So oily, but not unpleasantly so and you hardly pay attention when you're grubbin hard on these.

Went to Han Dynasty with this girl from one of my classes who is also into food. Great experience overall. Fun company, laid back atmosphere, great food. Han Dynasty isn't too expensive either. We were stuffed and had leftovers after spending $22 each on food.

 Pork dumplings at Han.

Tripe in chili oil at Han. Soo spicy, love the funky flavor of the tripe.

"Rabbit hot pot." Basically rabbit with lots of vegetables in a spicy sauce.

After eating at Han Dynasty we went to the Franklin Fountain a few blocks over and I got the maple walnut and the pumpkin ice cream. Great stuff. I love anything pumpkin flavored in the fall, and the mixture of the pumpkin and the maple was great.

This is a roasted who branzino from Susanna Foo's in Wayne. I went with my best friend/roommate's family. Was really underwhelmed by this. Expected something really delicious but the sauce was really lackluster. Nothing exciting about this dish.

This is a burrito bowl from the other acceptable dining hall on campus. Unlike the other one, this one forces you to use "dining dollars" which are part of a meal plan, but are a more precious commodity than the meal swipes, which you can use at the other halls.

The burritos they make there are great. Approaching Chipotle status. The meat is consistently underseasoned however and the "spicy" salsa barely provides any kick. They really need to work on ratcheting up the flavor, making it less bland.

I also went to Pod with my best friend's family. I enjoy going to Pod everytime I go, but it's like the food there is just so boring. All of it tastes good, but if I'm spending my own money to go out to a nice restaurant, please take me somewhere where I will be wowed by the food.

That said, it's such a fun place to go with groups (we were sitting in one of the pods) and its always fun eating in the restaurant because you feel really young and hip.

Sushi at Pod.

Braised baby back ribs.

Rock shrimp with pecans in aioili.

A brownie for the birthday girl, my roommate's sister.

My favorite dessert, cheesecake, for me.

The lunch trucks are huge around Penn. They're really popular among the students because they provide a cheap, welcome alternative to the dining halls. Something I learned the other day was that each meal swipe at a dining hall is worth $15!!!! 15 DOLLARS. I could get 3 meals at a cart out of that.

I still need to check out more carts, but this one is great and its legendary around Penn. It's called Hemo's and they're famous for their chicken and their cheesesteaks. I really like the grilled chicken with mushrooms, extra chicken and two fried eggs. Nothing better for a hangover.

I tried out Il Pittore with a Upenn alumni. It was a very good meal, but not worth the price. I won't go back. Nothing made me jump out of my seat for the price I paid (I'm still kind of bitter).

Here's foie gras with some pitzelles and preserves. Uhhh, good, but no different than any foie I can get anywhere else.

These were delicious, pumpkin/mascarpone gnocchi in brown butter. Very pillowy and not so heavy gnocchi. Like just reading the description of the dish you automatically think how could this be bad? Some chefs say "when all else fails add more butter" but I would like to extend that to "when all else fails add some browned butter."

I'd honestly like restaurants to start serving congealed brown butter with bread instead of regular butter. I did that at home once. It was great.

Duck agnlotti. Great. Phenomenal. Probably the best dish of the night, although I am a HUGE sucker for suckling pig (which I had later in the meal).

Turbo with bagna cruda. I loved the anchovy in the sauce. Bagna Cauda is great, but maybe a tad overpowering for a lean white fish like turbot.

Overall not an incredible dish--the sides could definitely use some work--but the suckling pig was great. Crispy skin, tender meat.  29 bucks is a lot to pay for this dish though.

Here's a dish from Sabrina's which I went to last Saturday for brunch. It's right up on Drexel's campus, just a good 10-15 minute walk from my dorm. It's an egg white omelet with turkey bacon. It was Underseasoned!!! Egg whites have no flavor as is so make sure you season the damn thangs!

It's also my fault for ordering egg whites. What was I thinking? I don't know. The potatoes were real good though--not your frustratingly greasy-gross potato concoctions that you get from Joe's diner down the street.

Also the inside of Sabrina's is really really nice. Like I want to go there again this weekend. It's such a nice place and they make a real solid cappuccino which I'm a HUGE sucker for (it's impossible to get a good cappuccino on campus).  And literally every publication raves about their cream cheese stuffed french toast. I also really want their pumpkin pancakes because I love all things pumpkin.

That's it for now, but now that I have an Iphone and an actually decent camera on my phone, I really do expect to be back here frequently. It's just too easy to take pictures of food when a decent camera is right in your pocket. Talk to you guys soon