Sang Kee Peking Duck House

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FACTS:  Located in Chinatown, Philadelphia

WHAT I ORDERED:

Shredded Duck Meat w/ String Beans in XO Sauce

Peking Duck w/ Pancake, Scallion & Sauce

MY ANALYSIS:  

I was thoroughly looking forward to our Peking duck dinner, given the fact that I hadn’t eaten it in over two years.  However, considering the fact that I don’t actually care for dark meat whatsoever, it would be virtually impossible for me to enjoy this dish without the assistance of the pancakes, scallions, and plum sauce that accompany it.  Yum!  As for the duck itself, it was extremely tender, along with being very greasy.  But, this should come as no surprise to anyone.

For a side dish, we ordered the string beans with shredded duck meat.  Unfortunately though, I did not care for the flavoring and found it to be duck overload, as well.

For dessert, we were served complimentary mint chip and red bean ice cream.  As an alternative, you may also choose red bean soup though.

In summation, I recommend this restaurant.  The food was very good, and the staff was extremely gracious.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Complimentary Dessert

Café Ole

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FACTS:  Located in Old City, Philadelphia

WHAT I ORDERED:

Pesto Omelette:  Pesto, Olives, Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato

Homemade Hot Chocolate

MY ANALYSIS:  

We recently dined here for brunch and I ordered the Pesto Omelette.  It came with an Israeli salad, Greek yogurt, and freshly baked bread.  In spite of being a fan of both omelettes and pesto, I did not care for the pairing of this union.  Nor, did I care for the mozzarella stuffing and will stick with sharp cheddar going forward.  However, partiality aside, this dish was bursting with flavor, and the presentation was lovely.

Thankfully, my fiancé ordered their fantastic House Special: Shakshuka.  And, on this rare occasion, sans any photos, it’s equally important that I mention this dish as well.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with this Middle Eastern dish, which was also new to us, it contains three slowly cooked poached eggs (which I ate around) in a homemade tomato sauce.  And, based on their four different Shakshuka styles to choose from, Lloyd selected the Morrocan, which is prepared with three eggs, chicken, and green olives.  In summation, it was the perfect cold weather remedy and I will be sure to order it the next time.

Speaking of a cold winter’s day, I also ordered a cup of their homemade hot chocolate.  Mixed with chocolate, brown sugar, and cinnamon (just to name a few of the ingredients), it completely hit the spot and exceeded my expectations.

Café Ole is truly a great neighborhood spot.  Packed with locals, it serves delicious and unique dishes, along with being incredibly affordable.  I highly recommend checking it out.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Free Wifi

Nomad Pizza a.k.a. Nomad Roman

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FACTS:  Located in Washington Square West, Philadelphia

WHAT I ORDERED:

Trenton Tomato Pie:  Upside Down Pizza with Mozzarella and Italian Tomatoes with Oregano, Organic Garlic, Crushed Red Pepper, Parmigiano, and Basil

Spicy Sausage:  Italian tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Renaissance Spicy Fennel Sausage, Caramelized Onions, Basil, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Parmigiano, and Black Pepper

MY ANALYSIS:  

After passing by Nomad’s Locust Street location on multiple occasions, along with spotting their food trucks throughout the city, we decided the time had finally come to stop in and try one, if not two, of their hand-rolled Roman-style pies.

Of course, it was only fitting that we order two pizzas to share between the two of us: the Trenton Tomato Pie and the Spicy Sausage.  As for my analysis, one could easily mistake the Trenton Tomato Pie for a Margherita pizza, minus the fresh mozzarella.  And, given its title, I didn’t actually find the Spicy Sausage pizza to be very spicy.  Furthermore, and unfortunately, the crust was a little too thin (and soggy) for my liking, besides which it lacked a certain oomph.  But, despite my grievances, I found the pizza from here to be both tasty and edible.

On a side note, I really loved the exposed brick walls and simple décor.  In fact, there was an immediate welcome factor and warmth that stood out to me.

In summation, I’m not at all surprised by this restaurant’s popularity.  However, since it didn’t end up making my top-ten list of favorite pizzas, I can’t in good faith, recommend it.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out all of their locations:  http://www.nomadpizzaco.com/philadelphia.html

Dos Segundos Cantina

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FACTS:  Located in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia

WHAT I ORDERED:

Nachos:  Roasted Corn, Pickled Jalapenos, Black Beans, Pico de Gallo, Melted Cheese, Crema, and Pork

Huevos con Chorizo:  Scrambled Eggs, Chorizo, White Rice Refried Beans, Pico de Gallo, and Breakfast Potatoes

MY ANALYSIS:  

Based on the fact that Khyber Pass Pub (see posting) serves the most phenomenal pork nachos that you will find anywhere, we were thrilled to learn recently about their sister restaurant, Dos Segundas Cantina.  Naturally, it was mandatory that we try the pork nachos from there as well.  However, as it turns out, you need to request the pork carnitas separately, since they only offer chicken and steak.  After trying the nachos at Dos Segundos, I must admit the pork nachos from Khyber Pass still remain at the top of my list.  Despite finding the pork nachos at Dos Segundos to be delicious, there’s something really special about those “pub” nachos.

On this rare occasion, I reluctantly passed on the Chilaquiles brunch option and ordered the Huevos con Chorizo instead.  The combination of scrambled eggs and chorizo, mixed with white rice, refried beans, pico de gallo, and breakfast potatoes sounded extremely tasty and, thankfully, it completely hit the spot.

In addition to recommending this restaurant, I would also like to mention the following:

  1. The salsa verde was outstanding.  More specifically, it had the perfect texture and flavoring.
  2. The dinner menu looked terrific, and I look forward to trying the Enchiladas Suizas and Budin Azteca. I’ll definitely be back for the Chilaquiles too.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out Khyber Pass Pub as well:  http://www.khyberpasspub.com/

Famous 4th Street Delicatessen

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FACTS:  Opened in 1923; located in Queens Village, Philadelphia 

WHAT I ORDERED:

Sandwich:  Pastrami, Corned Beef, Russian Dressing, and Coleslaw

Side:  Potato Pancakes

MY ANALYSIS:  

Based on my level of excitement after witnessing towering heaps of food pass by, along with wondering how to tackle my own sky-high sandwich, I couldn’t have been any more delighted to dine here.

As happens at most Jewish delis, we were immediately served a bowl of half-sour and sour pickles.  However, unlike at most Jewish delis, we were served their “Health Salad” instead of coleslaw.  “Health salad?”  Well, as it turns out, this is actually a more healthful version of coleslaw, minus the mayo and mixed with vinegar dressing instead.

As far as our monstrosity of a sandwich (which we split) was concerned, I decided to attack it with a knife and fork.  The sandwich was served on rye,  and we ordered the following ingredients: 50% pastrami, 50% corned beef, Russian dressing, and coleslaw.  Not only was this sandwich incredible, it was worth every single calorie.  The meat was tender and juicy and the bread was soft and chewy.  Delish!

With each sandwich order, you may also select a side dish, so, of course, we chose the potato pancakes.  They were crisp, delectable, and very cute in size.

If you are looking for an exceptional Jewish deli in Philadelphia, I highly, highly recommend this place.  The longevity of this establishment is understandable, and I can’t wait to return.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out their fantastic menu:  http://famous4thstreetdelicatessen.com/index_flash.html

Dizengoff

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FACTS:  A “hummusiya” named after a well-known street in Tel Aviv; located in Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia 

WHAT I ORDERED:

Hummus:  Israeli Salad and Potato with Schmaltz

Drink:  Frozen Lemonade

MY ANALYSIS:  

After devouring the best hummus ever at Zahav, Dizengoff, which is owned by the same restaurateurs, easily topped my list of new places to try.

Offered a wide variety of hummus to choose from, we selected the following toppings: Israeli Salad and Potato with Schmaltz.  While the hummus itself was fantastic, I was very disappointed with the Israeli salad.  As it was comprised primarily of radishes and kohlrabi, I didn’t care for this version whatsoever.  In addition, I wasn’t fond of the cinnamon spice flavoring. However, I really enjoyed the potato with schmaltz.  It was rich, flavorful, and delicious.  And, of course, once can never go wrong with warm, fresh pita bread.

On this rare occasion, I decided to order a drink, as well: “Frozen Lemonade.”  However, because of the added mint flavoring, it was much too sour for my liking.

Although the space was small, the ambience was lively and colorful, similar to the jar of Israeli Bazooka Bubble gum, located next to the cash register.

So, if you love hummus, then I highly recommend this little hipster joint.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to also check out  Zahav:  http://zahavrestaurant.com/

Kripalu

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FACTS:  Nonprofit Health and Yoga Center; located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts 

MY ANALYSIS:  

Over Thanksgiving, we drove up to the Berkshires for a little R&R.  More specifically, we were headed to Kripalu for three nights.

Kripalu offers a wide variety of classes to choose from, ranging from yoga to meditation to continuing education.  And, considering that the facility is set in the Berskshires, the grounds couldn’t be any more spectacular, allowing for fresh air, hikes, and a beautifully landscaped labyrinth walk.  That being said, the activities are plentiful, along with being extremely well organized.

Kripalu’s philosophy is to use as many organic and local ingredients as possible.  As a result, I found the food to be both healthful and tasty.  Furthermore, the dining hall is reminiscent of a school cafeteria where you are served three meals a day, buffet style. While my photos contain only a small portion (no pun intended) of what I actually ate during my stay, some of my other favorite dishes (not included in the photos) were the cold sesame noodles, split pea soup, and Thanksgiving Day luncheon.  But, hands down, their freshly baked breads were my absolute favorite.

While Kripalu may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I enjoyed my experience, and it’s one that I’ll remember for years to come.

QUICK TIDBIT:  Be sure to check out their website for more information:  http://www.kripalu.org/?device=c