Saturday, May 17, 2008

Chicken Wings at Bards, Philadephia, PA

After our pathetic meal at Tavern 17, we headed to one of Giao's old college haunts and ordered a lot of wings.

16 Wings $12
A standard rendition.
Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 1

The Bards
2013 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Ridiculous Experience at Tavern 17, Phildelphia, PA

Strapped for time, I made a bad, bad choice. That choice was to eat at the restaurant at the hotel where Giao's friend, B., was staying. This was really a terrible experience and I was embarrased the whole time for having picked the place. The atmosphere was the opposite of authentic and relaxed. It felt like a prettied up Applebee's or something. The waitress, while very pleasant, was far from knowledgable about food or drink. Giao asked if they had any single malt scotches and she replied "yeah, i think we have all of them". They had 3, and not very good ones at that. Also, 2 of the things we ordered, wings and calamari, they were out of. We settled on sliders, which were actually not terrible. We couldn't get out of the place fast enough. I felt like a food fraud the entire time we were there.

Sliders $13
They had a bunch of different sliders, but we ordered the cheeseburger, the shortribs and the crab cake. They were not bad.

Food: 0
Decor: 0
Service: 1

Tavern 17
220 S 17th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Taste of Penn

The most interesting (at least for me) official event at Giao's college reunion was "A Taste of Penn". It was essentially a room full of themed buffets, the best of which was the Native American table. Also interesting was the kid who puked in his plate in line in front of us...

Native American:

Pickled Pumpkin
Cold and strange and very delicious. The acid really took the edge off of the usually cloying sweetness of pumpkin.

Bison Meatballs
Earthy, tender and all around tasty.

African American:

Jerk Chicken
Oddly flavorless.

Stewed Fish and Veggies
Sightly spicy, but nothing special.

Mac and Cheese
A very good, cheesy version of this classic.


Too bready and greasy.

Latin American:

Empanadas (tasty), Plantain Chips (not crisp enough), Some sort of weird tortilla roll (forgettable).

Steak with Cilantro Sauce
A bit tough, but the sauce was good.

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Breakfast from a Truck on Penn's Campus, Philadelphia, PA

We were at the Penn campus and went on a search for the lunch truck where Giao used to eat quite frequently in college. 10 years later, not only did we find the place, the woman who cooks in the truck remembered Giao.

Sausage, Egg and Cheese on a Roll $2.50
Huge and cheap.

BBQ Steak $4
Cheap, and tasty, but the bread was a bit too soft.


Friday, May 16, 2008

Great Small Plates at Ansill in Philadelphia, PA

We went to Ansill with Giao's friend, B, on B's recommendation. It turned out to be a really great find with some interesting dishes. The decor was modern, yet warm and homey. The staff were friendly and casual. The food was, on the whole, very good.

Three Types of Bread with Salty Butter
They get points for the tasty chunks of salt in the butter that added flavor and a nice crunch.

Bone Marrow on Grilled Bread with Parsley and Capers $6
Earthy and simple.

Charcuterie $18
This platter (above) was served with a variety of condiments (below), which were tasty in their own right.

Steak Tartare $12
A plentiful portion but a fairly standard preparation.

House Cured Salmon with Greek Yogurt and Dill $9
Good, but not special.

Papardelle with Escargot $10
Tender and flavorful.

Fish with Salad $15
I don't remember what fish this was, but it was tender and not too fishy. It matched the somewhat tart salad well.

Crispy Lamb's Tongue with Chickpeas $9
This was probably the highlight of the night. The texture contrast of the crisp exterior giving way to the very tender meat below was awesome and the meat was far from gamey.

Braised Baby Artichokes $6
Sweet and very evocative of spring.

Food: 2
Decor: 2
Service: 1

627 S 3rd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

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Is John's Roast Pork Philly's Finest?

Although Giao grew up in Philly he had never heard of John's Roast Pork, who received a James Beard award a while ago. A sandwich shack with a James Beard? We had to try it. In the end, the roast pork sandwich did, in fact, prove delicious, but the cheesesteak was just ok. Since the line for the grill, and hence, the cheesesteak, was infinitely longer than the line for the roast pork, which was already, well, roasted, if you go, go for the roast pork. You'll be stuffed in about 10 minutes total.
Large Roast Pork with Sharp Provolone $8
This was very, very big. It tasted kind of like a really delicious French dip, but you don't have to dip, because the meat juices are already soaking the bread. The meat and the juices very flavorful and thus, the sandwich needed no condiments.

Bacon Cheese Steak $9
Huge and decent, but not great.

Chicken Cheesesteak $7
Better than the bacon cheese steak, surprisingly. The chicken was finely chopped and, at Giao's request, slathered in mayo.

Food: 1
Decor: 0
Service: 1
John's Roast Pork
14 Snyder Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Refined Italian at Osteria, Philadelphia, PA

Before we got to Philly, we made plans to try Osteria, an Italian place we had heard was great. For the most part, it was pretty great, if a little expensive for Philly.

Octopus Pizza $17
The crust was crispy and wonderful and the octopus was very tender.

Fried Saffron Rice Balls with Bacalao $12
The bacalao was less salty than usual, which was a pleasant surprise. These were very tasty.

Tricolore Salad $10
This was the real stinker of the bunch. The cabbage was way too bitter.

Sausage Ravioli with Green Garlic, Parmesan and Brown Butter $16
The pasta was really thin and was perfect with the brown butter.

Roast Pork $24
The pork was tender and the potatoes were totally superfluous.

Rabbit with Pancetta, Sage, Brown Butter and Soft Polenta $26
Earthy, savory and very good.

Decor: 2
Service: 1
Food: 2

640 N Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19130

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Capagiro Gelato in Philadelphia, PA

Mango Champagne, Cappuccino and Limoncello Gelato $4
All flavors were delicious and smooth.

Food: 2
Decor: 1
Service: 1

Capogiro Gelato Artisans
Capriccio Cafe
The Radisson Plaza - Warwick Hotel
1701 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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Meat Fiesta at Fogo de Chao, Philadelphia, PA

We went to Fogo de Chao, one of the increasingly popular Brazilian BBQ joints. This one is a chain. Overall, it was pretty good. Some of the meat was surprisingly good. Some was alarmingly dry and/or tough. All in all, we were definitely stuffed in the end. Honestly, we ate so much meat that much of it we can no longer identify. Even so, we've displayed all of our gluttonous pictures below.

Cheesy Bread
Tasty little bread bites.

Chicken Leg (surprisingly tender) and Sausage (standard)

Garlic Steak

Parmesan crusted pork and some other meat we can't remember.


Caesar Salad, Smoked Salmon, Mozzerella, Butternut Squash
The raw butternut squash was weird, but the Giao's nephew enjoyed gnawing on it.

Salad, Mozzarella, Tabbouleh, Artichoke Hearts

Very, very tender.

Lamb Chops and Bacon Wrapped Goodness

Food: 1
Decor: 1
Service: 1

Fogo de Chao
1337 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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Post-Redeye Snack at Giao's Parents' House

Giao's parents had had some relatives in from France and we reaped the culinary benefits.

Pate, Salami, Cheese and Crackers

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lackluster Meal at SFO

We had an hour to kill before we got on our red-eye to Philly. We decided on Go Bistro, which seemed our best bet in a rather barren terminal. We'd had drinks there before, but never the food.

Fried Wontons with Spicy Noodles $9
This was a really terrible dish. The won tons were soggy and the "spicy" noodles were incredibly bland, not spicy at all.

Tonkatsu and Egg Rice Bowl $11
This was not terrible, but there was not enough sauce.

Food: 0
Decor: 0
Service: 1

Go Bistro
Terminal 1, Boarding Area B near Gate 24, post-security

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Drinking Snack at 40 Cycles of Yesteryear, San Francisco, CA

Garlic Parmesan Fries $5
Too big and not crispy enough, but very, very garlicky.

Food: 1
Decor: 0
Service: 1

Eddie Rickenbacker's 40 Cycles of Yesteryear
133 2nd St
San Francisco, CA 94105

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Dinner at Anchor and Hope, San Francisco, CA

We decided to give Anchor and Hope a try. It is the newest addition to the SOMA scene from the people behind Salt House and Town Hall. Anchor and Hope is seafood based and has a great selection of small plates. We sat at the (very long) bar and enjoyed our tasty snacks. Giao was disappointed to find that they only serve beer and wine, and do not have a full bar.

Corn and Clam Chowder $8
This soup was a bit sweet, but it was very smooth and there was a nice contrast between the tender clams and the crisp corn kernels.

Fries with Eyes $9
This is a very clever name for these fried smelts, which were melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

Bacon Wrapped Oysters $10
Very, very good. But isn't anything wrapped in bacon delicious?

Cracked Szechuan Pepper Shrimp $12
Although these were not as spicy as expected, they were really quite tasty.

Oysters $2 each
Fine, but nothing special.

Food: 1
Decor: 2
Service: 1

Anchor and Hope
83 Minna Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

Health Code Violations

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