Thursday, May 26, 2011

Philadelphia: A Little of Everything

Ok well, not everything but decided to combine the last 2 days of my trip since there really isn't anything too exciting on the last day.

Since Hyatt doesn't offer free breakfast (shiesty), I was left to find my own sustenance in the morning, but luckily, Reading Terminal Market opens early so I was able to go there every morning.

Reading Terminal Market
51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

old city
Old City Coffee pretty much saved me the few days I was there. I needed every drop of the coffee to help me wake up.

Small space. They microroast their own coffee beans!

cafe latte
Possibly the best cafe latte I ever had, anywhere! The espresso flavor is so robust and bold, and it's piping hot, not like Starbucks where it is lukewarm sometimes.

Beiler's Bakery, a Dutch bakery inside the market has great donuts. Even though they are known for the sticky buns, my eyes could not tear away from the donut rack. I heart donuts haha.

apple fritter
Huge huge apple fritter. Fluffy and doesn't taste oily at all. Sometimes if it is fried for too long it has that greasy taste to it, but not here!

For lunch, decided to go back to the market to try out Cajun food at Beck's Cajun!

cajun food
Who would've thought that you could get authentic Cajun food in Philly?

Jambalaya. Holy it is good. Good amount of sausages, chicken, and veggies. I like how it is moist too and not dry.

Muffuletta! Marinated olive salad with different types of deli meat like mortadella between round Sicilian sesame bread! It's actually one of my favorite sandwiches. I ordered a quarter-sized sandwich thinking it was gonna be small, but I was way wrong.


A co-worker suggested that we take a few of our customers out to eat Chinese food for dinner, since the convention center is so close to Chinatown. Now... I really am not a big fan of Chinese food, unless it focuses on one regional part. However, some of our customers are from the Mid West and Chinese food is hard to come by except for Panda Express, off we went to a Chinese restaurant in Philly.

Tai Lake Seafood Restaurant
134 N 10th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Philly's Chinatown gate.

tai lake
Tai Lake.

seafood = frogs
First thing you see when you walk into the restaurant? FROGS! Yup, frogs are considered seafood, and yes, it did freak a few of the white people in the group. That was funny :P

Kinda cute...? I guess, in that slimy way. We were kind enough to let them live for one more night though since we didn't order frogs :D

menu book
Menu book & logo.

hot & sour soup
Of course, the best soup for all groups of people is the hot & sour soup! Not bad at all! I didn't have much of an expectation but was pleasantly surprised.

hot sauce
Two variety of hot sauces they provided: soy with jalapeno peppers & hot chili oil.

sweet & sour cod
Sweet & Sour Cod. Sweet & sour sauce is the way to go for novice Chinese food eaters. The guy from Indiana said it was the best he's had!

house special fried noodle
House special fried noodle. Can't go wrong with fried egg noodles!

broccoli beef
Broccoli Beef. See the trend now? We only ordered the "usual," so we don't scare people too much.

beef hofun
Beef hofun. Needed a bit hot sauce.

vegetable medley
Vegetable medley. Probably my favorite dish actually. Pot of veggies flavored simply with a little vinegar, soy sauce, and the natural flavors of the vegetables.

seafood tofu pot
Seafood tofu pot. Sorry for the half empty picture, but by the time it got to me, it was half gone haha.

black pepper filet mignon
Black pepper filet mignon. A little too much baking soda used to make the beef tender.

Tai Lake ended up being a pretty solid Chinese restaurant. All the dishes are the common ones you see but they do a fairly good job. Service was horrible though since it took forever for the food to come out. Apparently one table's ticket got in front of ours. Lamers.


For my last day in Philly, I decided I must eat another Philly cheesesteak. I've only had one at Jim's so far so I went to Reading Terminal Market once again, and stopped at Spataro's for a cheesesteak.

Cooking. The beef was frozen though so had a little doubt about this place.

Cheesesteak with Provoline, sweet & hot peppers, and onions.

with peppers & onions
I was a little sad that they didn't have whiz here and it's a little dry probably due to the meat being pretty frozen prior to cooking it. The sweet & hot peppers combo was awesome though!

Since we had time to kill at the airport, decided to grab more donuts from Dunkin' Donuts! More of an East Coast thang, decided I must try it before I leave haha.

Actually got a few but shared with co-workers but did manage to save a iced chocolate donut with sprinles! Kinda weird how the sprinkles is only to the side though haha. I think I like the shop in my neighborhood better. It's a little small :P

Overall, great trip to one of the oldest city in US. Didn't get to explore as much cause after all, I am here on work, so hopefully I'll get to come back here one day to try a few things left on my list!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Philadelphia: Pork & Beef

Day 2 in Philly meant that it was the opening day for the biggest industry show in the lighting. I actually didn't have time to grab breakfast and had to wait until around 1:30pm for my lunch break. Right across from the convention center is the Reading Terminal Market, which is a downtown farmer's market, with the same kind of feel to Seattle's Pike Place (much smaller of course). There's specialty foods vendor, butcher, fishmonger, bakery, grocer, and food spots.

With the convention right next door, the market was packed during the lunch rush, well into 2pm. Co-worker and I decided to walk around a bit first to see what our options were.

Reading Terminal Market
51 N 12th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

reading terminal market
Lots of people sit around the counter or just order to go.

Lots of cool looking vendors in there.

The famous Tommy DiNic's! They are known for their roast pork sandwiches.

Just look at that line! I had to try to so I stood in line just like the rest of the folks haha.


roast pork
Huge pieces of roasted pork to be delivered. Lucky bastards.

chopping & pulling station
Chopped up pork ready to be served.

roast pork w/ broccoli rabe
AHHHH my Tommy DiNic's Roast Pork with Broccoli Rabe & Sharp Provolone! Waited 40 minutes in line for this baby.

roast pork
Look at how the bread glistens :9

side profile
The last time I enjoyed a roasted pork sandwich this much was... never. Juicy and tender, the pork is as good as it gets, and the broccoli rabe has a little bit of bitterness that's perfect with the sandwich. One thing you can really taste is the sharp provolone!

I only had 20 minutes left but I'm pretty sure I devoured the sandwich in less than 15 minutes. Too gooood.

After the show we had a company dinner planned for several invited guests and a few of our important customers. I figured the best place would be a steakhouse and super elated to find that there's a Fogo de Chão about 15 minutes away on foot from the convention center so made a reservation!

Fogo de Chão
1337 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19107

fogo de chao
First ever Fogo de Chão experience. I've had Brazilian BBQ before but not Fogo. Some of the people kept on saying "Hey look did you have a long lost ancestor in South America??" -___-

salad bar
The awesome salad bar.

salad bar
Co-workers grabbing some salad.

charcuterie & cheese
Charcuterie (prosciutto, salame & smoke salmon) & cheese. I took a piece of cheese, wrap a slice of prosciutto, and just engulf it.


My salad plate. The basil cream dressing for the salad was out of this world. Never had basil flavored dressing before! Fresh mozza ball was seasoned with oregano and they actually provided you with real pieces of fatty bacon.

wine cellar
I sat next to the wine cellar. Didn't order any drinks since I wanted to save room for the protein, but maaaan... so close yet...

opus one
There was a crate of Opus One wine just sitting there.

fried banana
First side dish up, fried bananas!

garlic mashed
Garlic mashed potatoes.

Fried polenta with parmigiano. Never had polenta before. Not bad at all.

cheese bread
Fogo's famous buttery pão de queijo, cheesebread. OMG straight up addicting.

gaucho serving
Green light! Gauchos serving the cuts.

bacon wrapped
First to arrive, bacon wrapped filet mignon & bacon wrapped chicken. Yes!

Alcatra (top sirloin) & Beef Ancho (rib eye). Do you see the layer of fat around the rib eye? :P

chicken leg & sausage
Linguica (sausage), Frango (chicken leg), and more bacon wrapped filet mignon. The juicy sausage came together with the tender chicken leg. On the bottom right corner is actually the Picanha cut (top sirloin), which is Fogo's house special. Totally forgot to take a picture of it cause every time I would just devour it. My favorite!

Leg of lamb. There was also lamb racks... but after a bite, I realized I'm still not a big fan of lamb :P

filet mignon
Filet Mignon, perfect medium rare! Tender goodness.

Fraldinha (bottom sirloin). Plate's getting full hahah.

pork tenderloin
Lombo (pork loin). They sprinkle parmigiano over it as a seasoning!

After all that protein, one of the patrons wanted something to wash it all down and ended up ordering a fruit cup. Came with strawberries, papaya, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. It was good and refreshing but definitely not worth the $8. Good thing I ain't paying for it haha.

Since we ate so much, a few of my co-workers and I decided to take a 30 minute trek back to the hotel to help us digest. Along the way, I was taking pictures of historical buildings, as well as Yelping on my phone to see what was around the area. Found that there was an old-fashioned ice cream & soda shop so I convinced them to come with me. Nothing better than some ice cold sweets to help wash down the greasiness yea?

The Franklin Fountain
116 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

franklin fountain shop
Old school feel to the whole place. Lots of flavored syrup for soda drinks and sundaes.

old school
Love the cash register and the old-fashioned milk canister!

The offerings!

mint chip with waffle cone
Decided on an old-fashion mint chip ice cream with waffle cone.

mint chip
I like how it doesn't have that artificial green color to it! Creamy and nice mint flavor with big pieces of chocolate chip throughout. Perfect way to end the day!

Ok looking back at it now and typing this up.. I ate a lot that day O_O. No wonder I was craving for something healthy like a salad once I got back from Philly haha. Really though, gotta try the Fogo in Beverly Hills since I actually didn't get to try some other cuts of meat like ribs since I was so full when they came by.