Thursday, May 9, 2013

Philadelphia: Federal Donuts & By George! for Cheesesteaks

I asked a bunch of people what is a must in Philly and they all told me that I must visit Federal Donuts, which is this gourmet/hipster donut shop that sells donuts and fried chicken!  It was bit far from from the convention center, but I was determined to try it, so I made the 20 minute trek to Federal Donuts' location in Center City during lunch.

Just realized that I visit a donut shop in every city I've been to and it's always some cool, new, hip thang.  Where's LA's hipster donut shop??

Federal Donuts
1632 Sansom St 
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Rittenhouse Square, Penn Center 

federal donuts
Federal Donuts!  Went with my coworker again.  He always said that if he follows me around, he'll be sure to try something good haha.

coffee, donuts, chicken.
Coffee, donuts, and chicken.  Genius.

Inside.  Very simple but pretty cool decor.

blueberry muffin
So for the donuts, they have two categories: fancy and hot fresh.  Fancy donuts cost a bit more and exactly like the name implies, fancier than your average donuts.  They only had two different ones left.  Got the Blueberry Muffin, and it is a donut covered with blueberry glaze, then sprinkled with blueberry muffin crumbs!

strawberry lemonade
Strawberry Lemonade!  Lemonade glaze with strawberry icing.  When I took that first bite, my brain was so confused because it really did taste like a strawberry lemonade, but I was eating a donut.  I got the last one too!

japanese ginger fried wings
Besides donuts, also got a 1/2 order of the fried chicken.  I'm actually not too sure which seasoning I got... since I ordered the Shabazzi but may have gotten the honey ginger.  In any case, ridiculously good fried chicken.  It's done like the Korean-style fried chicken, so a nice crunch outside and moist inside. They also give you a small side of Japanese cucumber pickles.

cinnamon brown sugar donut
With every order of the fried chicken, you get a honey donut!  It's part of the hot fresh, so they fry it on the spot.  Nothing better than fresh donuts

Some fried chicken and three donuts later, I went back a really happy dude.  Good thing I had that short work too just to work some of it off.  Dammit.  LA needs a place that sells donuts and fried chicken!


For my last day in Philly, I figured I should at least eat cheesesteak once.  It's just I've had a few cheesesteaks, and they have never lived up to the hype.  Yelped a bit, and found this vendor, By Geroge!, inside the Reading Terminal Market that sells Italian food and cheesesteaks.  A little skeptical, but all the other cheesesteak spots had crazy long lines, so I went for it.

By George! Pizza, Pasta & Cheesesteaks
Reading Terminal Market 
51 N 12th St 
Market East
Philadelphia, PA 19107

By George!
Still a line, but definitely not as long.  There's one vendor that had to use a security guard to direct the line.  That place wasn't even that good.

cheesesteak with onions, whiz, bacon
After about 20 minutes, my cheesesteak with whiz, onions, and bacon was finally ready!  It is a biiiig sandwich.  When I was walking back, I held it in the palm, in a horizontal position so the juices wouldn't all drip to one spot, and man my arm actually got tired.

Damn that's a lot of steak!

Bacon!  Someone told me that I had to get it this way.  Good thing I took his suggestion haha.

There is a layer of cheese whiz on the bottom so when you take your bite, after you go through the bread, your tongue hits the cheese!

Not gonna lie, it is probably the best cheesesteak I've had anywhere.  Tons of steak, tasty cheese whiz, and sturdy bread that held up to everything.  I'm sure the bacon helped too.  It was the last thing I ate in Philly and I'm glad it was that huge sandwich.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Philadelphia: Malaysian in Philly & Amis Trattoria

Best thing about traveling is discovering something new, but Malaysian?  Never thought I would be eating Malaysian in Philly.  I can only name one Malaysian restaurant I've tried in LA, but coworker and I were down to try something new, so for lunch, we walked over to Chinatown, which was about 2 blocks away from the convention center.

117 N 10th St 
Philadelphia, PA 19107 

Penang Philadelphia
Apparently, Penang is a popular chain on the East Coast.  Good Yelp and Zagat rating too.

roti canai
Our server was this old dude and he recommended us the Roti Canai.  Said that it was a must. Very glad we ordered it cause it was damn tasty.

Malaysian all time favorite, crispy style pancake & curry chicken potato dipping sauce
Roti Canai, a Malaysian favorite, is a crispy style pancake from India, and at Penang, they give you a little cup of chicken potato curry as dipping sauce.  After I tried the curry, I sorta regretted ordering noodles instead of a curry cause it was fantastic.

stir fried flat rice noodles w. fresh shrimp, squid, bean sprouts, eggs, soy sauce and chili paste
But still, I was glad with my Chow Kueh Teow.  It's another Malaysian staple: stir fried flat rice noodles with fresh shrimp, squid, bean sprouts, eggs, soy sauce, and chili paste.  First time trying it!  I got it medium spicy, but totally could have increased the heat level.

mee goreng
Coworker's Mee Goreng, which is Indian style stir-fried egg noodles in a mild dried squid sauce with tofu, potato, shrimp, egg, grounded peanut, and bean sprouts.  It was his first time eating anything from Southeast Asia besides Thai food.  I tried a little bit and gotta say, it is good. Looks like pad thai, but definitely doesn't taste like it!

After eating at Penang, I've decided to seek out some Malaysian restaurant in LA!  A little late to the party, but I liked what I tried in Philly!


Last time at Philly for the company dinner, we went to Fogo de Chao.  While Fogo is good, I wanted something that I can't get in LA, and with me in charge of reserving a restaurant for the company dinner this year, I chose an Italian restaurant, Amis Trattoria, which is about 15-20 minutes walking from the convention.

Oh also, sorry for the pics... since I was with some of our sales rep from other regions and customers, I didn't want to be rude and hold everybody so I tried to take the picture as fast as possible... resulting in some mediocre shots.

Amis Trattoria
412 S 13th St
Washington Square West
Philadelphia, PA 19147

amis trattoria
Amis Trattoria.

amis trattoria
Menu.  Amis'  menu is actually pretty modern for an Italian restaurant so some of the guests from the Midwest and the South, they were a little bit confused.

open kitchen
Open kitchen.  Very dim everywhere else.

Flying Fish Farmhouse Ale
Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale.  Decided to go with a beer since our table were more beer folks.  Pretty good choice though!  Very drinkable Belgian brew from New Jersey.

mixed salumi plate
Since most of the folks didn't know what to order except for their main plate, I ordered a few appetizers and the first to arrive was the Mixed Salumi Plate.  It is all made in house!

mortadella with hazelnut honey
Mortadella with Hazelnut Honey.  Love moradella and that hazelnut honey is perfect with it.

rabbit terrine
Rabbit Terrine.  I think some of the folks at our table was weirded out by the rabbit terrine, but after they tried it, they all liked it!  Terrine is sorta like meatloaf, except this one made with rabbit.

salami del giomo with marmalade
Salami del Giorno with marmalade.  Very lightly cured.  

meatballs with tomato potato
Meatball with tomato potato.  I wanted to try the swordfish meatball but decided that the old fashion meatball is much more familiar to everybody.

fried cauliflower with pecorino and salsa rossa
Fried cauliflower with Pecorino and salsa rossa.  I'm a sucker for cauliflower, especially ones that are fried!

rotini with mushrooms and fresh pea ragu
I actually ordered something else as my main, but they messed up so I got the Rotini as my main.  Came with a variety of mushrooms and a fresh pea ragu.

Huge fan of the pea ragu and they certainly know their cooking time for the pasta!  Perfect texture.

Overall, good dinner, except for the mess up.  Luckily, my pasta was still tasty and I didn't want to make the others wait.  Not too sure how the others felt about Amis since it was a little different from the Italian they are used to, but hopefully they liked it too because these dinners are so important in developing good business relationships!


After dinner, a coworker and I decided to walk back to our hotel instead of taking the cab to help digest a little bit.  On the way back, I remembered that two years ago, I went to the old fashion ice cream shop called the Franklin Fountain with the same coworker.  He's a huge fan of the sweets so we decided to make a little pit stop on our 30 minute walk back!

Franklin Fountain
116 Market St 
Old City
Philadelphia, PA 19106

franklin fountain
Outside of Franklin Fountain.

old fashion
Inside. Exactly how I remembered.  They definitely go for the old fashion feel.  

order counter
Ordering counter with a list of the homemade ice cream available.  

Rather than ordering just ice cream like last time, I went all out and got the Franklin Mint sundae. 

frankling mint
Holy it was a big sundae and so damn good.  I like mint chip so I went full speed for the first half.  The minty Creme de Menthe helped too, but I definitely slowed down quite a bit after that.  The marshmallow glaze was way too thiiick and in the end, I just ate all the ice cream, with about half the glaze left.  

Got back to the hotel with this crazy sugar rush for a good hour or so!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Philadelphia: Tommy DiNic's & Cuba Libre

Recently got back from Philly and Boston, so will be updating with pics from the two trips!  And yes, I actually flew to Philly, then flew back to LA, and then the next day out to Boston.  Philly was for work and when I was planning the Boston trip, I found out that it just wasn't worth it to pay to change my flight and book a train ticket, as well as paying for an extra night for hotel out of the own pocket.  Two red eye flights in one week, definitely tough.

To be honest, Philly is not really my destination of choice for exhibiting for a tradeshow, especially the largest in our industry, but Philly does offer some delicious grub (and not cheesesteaks).  The best part about the Philadelphia Convention Center is that the Reading Terminal Market is right across the street and Chinatown is about 3 small blocks away so there's plenty of option for dining.

Tommy DiNic's
Reading Terminal Market 
136 Arch St 
Market East
Philadelphia, PA 19147

reading terminal market
For lunch that first day, I knew what I wanted to eat so as soon lunch break arrived, I headed towards Reading Terminal Market for Tommy DiNic's!

line for cheesesteak
Why... would you wait for this average cheesesteak when you can get a much better hoagie/sandwich??

Tommy DiNic's!  

The line.  It was still shorter than the line for some cheesesteak vendor.  I made it a priority to go there because I knew that once the show started, the line would be twice as long.

Hmmmm.... a little pile of delicious roasted pork sitting right there.

pulled pork with sharp provolone & broccoli rabe
The Italian Style Pulled Pork with sharp Provolone and broccoli rabe!  I did a pretty horrible job ripping the sandwich apart :P

juicy pulled pork
Look at how the bread just soak up all the juices!  They put the sharp Provolone on the bottom so after you chew through the bread, the cheese is the next thing you taste.  Love the mildy bitter flavor of the rabe.  Still one of my favorite sandwich anywhere.


After doing manual labor in setting up the booth, we were rewarded with a dinner and bossman wanted to try something new, so on the way back to the hotel, we saw a Cuban restaurant and decided to dine there.

Apparently Cuba Libre is a popular high end Cuban restaurant, with several locations mostly on the Eastern part of US.  The only Cuban food I've had is Versailles in LA so definitely excited to check it out.

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
10 S 2nd St 
Old City
Philadelphia, PA 19106

cuba libre
Cuba Libre.

Bar area.  

cool decor
Cool decor to make you feel like you are in Cuba!

toasts with mango butter
Buttered toasts with mango butter!

lechon asado
I decided to go with a classic and ordered the Lechón Asado.  Definitely a lot more fancy than Versaille's.  Slow roasted marinated pulled pork, classic sour orange mojo with vigorón slaw, amarillo chile smashed yuca and black bean broth.

Mojo is the garlic sauce and a must for this dish.  The vigorón slaw is a cabbage salad with pork rinds.  Very nice and refreshing and since it is a bit acidic, helped with the heaviness of the pork!  At first I thought the mashed yuca was sweet potato because it was very similar.

seafood paella
Also got to try a bit of the Seafood Paella.  Comes with shrimp, clams, mussels, Mahi fillet, squid and baby octopus, and completed with saffron “Bomba” short grain rice and the roasted piquillo pepper salad.

seafood paella
I love the flavor of saffron so this dish was a win for me.  A little more wet than your Spanish paella, but never anything wrong with fresh seafood!

I gotta say, not bad for first day!  Even better that it is all paid for :]