Philly, Day Two, Part Two: Heung Fa Chun Sweet House, Pat’s King of Steaks, Capogiro Gelateria, and Medusa

Following our morning meal at Reading Terminal, Steph, John and I made a short walk to Chinatown and straight into the doors of Heung Fa Chun Sweet House. Here we were astounded by a menu that offered dofu fa in a fancy of forms…including a SAVOURY version. Savoury! Can you believe it? I had no idea savoury dofu fa even existed.

There’s also plenty of ches – coconut milk and sugar syrup based. Taro, tapioca, red beans, peanuts, grass jelly. Like. EVERYTHING. I also spotted a fried noodle dish, though that wasn’t listed on the menu.

Here’s the savoury dofu fa. Isn’t that quite sight? We didn’t order this, but the gentleman next to us, who clearly found humour in my fascination, asked if I wanted a photo of the dish :) The dofu fa is topped with fried onions, shrimp bits, and green onions. Not sure what the “broth” is.

We had the sweet dofu fa in its plainest form with a pour of ginger-syrup. Back in NYC I go to that shop with the red awning on Mott Street (right before you hit Pell Street). Nothing’s more amazing than cold dofu fa in the summer, and a hot dofu fa on a snowy day, or when you’re feeling under the weather!

To finish, a hot cup of fresh dou chaing. Sweetened just a little.

About ready for a nap, we drove back to John’s place and wore down our brains with a few truly horrid (and yet soooo good) television shows. The weather was pretty decent so we went up to the roof and watched a Saturday Philly afternoon from high above.

And climbed the ladder to nowhere.

Soon enough, our bellies were rumbling again and we drove over to Pat’s for another cheesesteak. Pat’s is the more understated of the two “rival” neighboring cheesesteakaries, though both were packed that Saturday evening. We parked right in front of Geno’s – I swear those neon lights just set you into a trance. I felt like we were at a carnival. The drunken crowds of people celebrating an early Saint Patrick’s Day simply added to the complete picture.

Steph and I had our first cheesesteak the night before at Jim’s but we were excited to try Pat’s, which “everyone” said was much better.

I didn’t find that there was huge difference in the cheesesteak itself (though it is a million times more awesome “wit whiz” than it is “wit provolone.” Mushrooms are also a must have. Pat’s edges out Jim’s by a slight bit, only because the “steak” at Jim’s was cut too fine for my preferences. (Though the pulled pork from Dinic’s at Reading Terminal wins over any cheesesteak in my world :)

I nabbed a few of John’s cheese fries…tasty, tasty ^_^

Cheesesteaks and fries did not sufficiently clog our arteries, so I suggested that we head right on over to Capogiro for our third gelato trip in two days. The 20th Street location is much better than the 13th Street one because here they have GELATO SANDWICHES. And gelato cakes. Big cakes and little cakes. All composed of gelato. At 13th Street they only have gelato by the scoop.

Behold, hazelnut gelato tucked between two salted chocolate cookies. A ramekin of whipped cream on the side, because my dear, one can never ever have too much whipped cream.

Capogiro was followed by Medusa, seemingly dark, but more friendly than you’d imagine (and that’s a good thing! :)

The night? A fun mix of dance and drink. It has recently come to my attention that I am wholly incapable of dancing with people. All the dances I’ve studied in the past has conveniently enough, involved only myself. One person. Never had to think about keeping beat or rhythm with another. I should really work on fixing this in the near future, heheh.

Happy Thursday :)

Heung Fa Chun Sweet House
112 N 10th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 238-8968

Pat’s King of Steaks
1237 E Passyunk Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 468-1546

Capogiro Gelateria
117 S 20th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 636-9250

27 S 21st Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 557-1981

Philly, Day Two, Part One: Reading Terminal Market

The plan was to wake at 8am on Saturday morning and dash off to the Reading Terminal Market for a breakfast of hoagies, pulled pork, apple dumplings, chocolate, and pretzels.

We ended up waking closer to noon, victims of a late Friday, beer (it was Beer Week in Philly) and wine. And the ridiculously comfy bed that John had set out. Steph and I couldn’t get over how much SPACE there was in the home – with a living room easily twice times the size of ours. You don’t realize just how little room there is in the city until you leave and its like whoa, this is what it is like to live in a “normal” home.

But in the end, I wouldn’t trade my current lack of space in the EV for anything in the world ^_^

Energized by hot coffee, we piled into John’s car, with a pile of notes from U-E’s guide to the Reading Terminal Market – we couldn’t have done this Reading Market trip without his post! We retraced his steps with a few minor changes.

Change I: pulled pork instead of roast pork at Dinic’s.
Change II: Fisher’s Dutch Treats no longer makes pretzels so we got the ones from Miller’s Twist instead.
Change III: Passed on Bassett’s ice cream for an third trip back to Capogiro’s.
Change IV: Had the Blue Cheese Fudge in addition to the r&d chocolates at Fair Food Farmstand.

So…here we go!

Stop I: Dinic’s Roast Pork and Beef

Find the menu here. We were torn between the ROAST pork and the PULLED pork, but the decision was made to go with PULLED when the gentleman in front us, “a born and raised South Philly boy” urged us to go the PULLED route. God was it good. We had it topped with “greens” and devoured the whole thing in barely a minute with hot juices soaked into the bun and dripping down our wrists. Next time, we’ll add on “greens” along with provolone and peppers!

Stop II: Salumeria

Ordered: The Italian Hoagie, complete with mortadella, coppa, spicy capicola. You’ll be asked, “the works?” And you must enthusiastically respond, “yesyesyes” as the woman behind the counter piles smothers on a tangy vinaigrette and follows with layers of raw onions, lettuce, sweet roasted peppers and provolone.

Stop III: Dutch Eating Place

It’s called a Hot Apple Dumpling. Could there be a more beautiful trio of words?

This photo alone should be sufficient. Buttery pastry harboring a single pitted apple, lightly spiced with cinnamon and baked till the innards get all tender and molten, the pastry golden just so. To eat: warm and pour over the cup of heavy cream. Sit next to the piano player two stalls over and whittle away the afternoon.

Stop IV: Miller’s Twist

We were sad to learn that Fisher’s Dutch Treats stopped making fresh pretzels awhile ago. But the woman we spoke with pointed to the crowded stall directly across from them and said, “that’s where you should go for pretzels.”

And we did, ordering a single warm, buttered pretzel, topped with chunks of salt. It was ridiculous. Growing up in Hawai’i, the Pretzel Maker at Kahala Mall was my default after school snack – especially on Thursdays when it was $1.50 pretzel day. I was a loyal holder of the green pretzel stamp card, buy 12 get 1 free. Mom, sister and I must have gone though dozens of cards.

And then I moved to NYC where the food is amazing but the pretzels are hard. If anyone knows where I can find a good soft pretzel here, please let me know :) I’m fond of the ones at Cafe Katja on the LES but you can’t just drop by for a pretzel to go. Is there really no place where one can pass in just for one warm, soft pretzel with a generous dip of butter?

Stop V: Fair Food Farmstand

We picked up a few chocolate confections here. First, a duo of Fleur de Sel Caramels by a local Philly company, r&d chocolates. These were forgettable at best, better sea salted caramels can be found back in NYC.

The Blue Sue Dark Chocolate Fudge with Birchrun Hills Blue Cheese was substantially more enjoyable, rich chocolately buttons speckled with bits of raw blue cheese.

A little more stuffed than we had anticipated, we leaned back on the metal chairs a digested. The we did the logical thing and took a walk. We walked right over to Chinatown to eat more, then went home for afternoon naps and bad television…then set off to Pat’s for cheesesteaks, another trip to Capogiro’s, and closed off the night at Medusa. Post to follow :)

Have a super happy Wednesday!

Reading Terminal Market
51 North 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 922-2317

Philly, Day One: Two Stops at Capogiro Gelato in Three Hours, Jim’s Steaks, Continential, and Tria

On Thursday, Steph and I had lunch at Zabb City, literally 66 steps from our apartment. They’ve got a $6.95 lunch special which is an awesome deal. AND they’re right next door to Momo Milk Bar…that is awfully convenient.

Over our bowls of Thai chicken soup…

…and pad kee mow, Steph said, “why don’t we ever travel together?” And so, the following morning, we packed our bags and made off to Philly for the weekend. It was as easy as that.

The main reason I don’t travel to nearby cities more frequently is because I have short patience for bus rides. It’s silly but true, and a mindset I must work on fixing. The ride to Philly (my first trip!) was two hours – not too shoddy. We arrived in the late afternoon and dashed down to gelato on 20th Street with our weekend bags and a sweet tooth.

In my dream world, the gelato boy and I would have fallen in love and we would escape to to Italy and master the art of gelato making. Post gelato-apprenticeship, we’d move back to NYC, purchase a West Village townhouse and open a gelateria across the street.

But alas, real life presented a different (though no less wonderful) story. Steph and I ordered the biggest gelato cup on the menu, complete with four flavours and a side of whipped cream. Pistachio, Bacio, Cassatta Siciliana, and Turkish Coffee Gelato made up the quartet. My favourite was a tie between the Bacio, complete with toasty hazelnut bits, and the Cassatta Siciliana, a ricotta number with candied orange zest. As for the Pistachio, I think L’arte del Gelato is significantly better, in terms of flavour, though not necessarily texture.

Whipped cream makes my heart go pitter patter, pitter patter :D

We ate quick, hoping to make it over to Reading Terminal Market for warm buttered pretzels before the market closed. Unfortunately we were too slow, and the market had just closed. Not to be let down, we wiped our tears and walked further down south to Jim’s Steaks for a pre-dinner snack of Philly cheesesteaks.

Cheesesteak with Provolone, Mushrooms and Peppers. Just a nice little appetizer, hehee.

Post-cheesesteak, John picked Steph and I up for dinner at the Continental. Here we had what must be the city’s largest tower of…

…shoestring fries. Chinese mustard sauce on the side. We also shared a few plates, including…

…French Onion Soup Dumplings…

…Scallops Au Gratin, Potato, Bacon, Mornay…

…BBQ Chicken Quesadilla and Avocado Sour Cream…

…and Pan Seared Hanger Steak with Blue Cheese and Red Wine Sauce.

After dinner, another gelato craving came about. And when I have a gelato craving, I HAVE A GELATO CRAVING. So we went back to Capogiro, only to the 13th Street location instead of the 20th Street location.

Why not go to both if you can, right? :)

This time around I had the medium cup instead of the large, which was probably a good idea, considering we just had our first cup no more than three hours ago. Toasted Almond, Dark Chocolate, and Thai Coconut Gelato. A fine flavour combination.

And because the night was still young…

…we headed to the nearby Tria right after to finish off the very lovely and low-key evening with wine and beer.

And that was our first Friday in Philly :)

Zabb City
244 E 13th St
New York, NY 10079
(212) 529-8770

Capogiro Gelateria
117 S 20th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 636-9250

Jim’s Steaks
400 South Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 928-1911

Continental Midtown
1801 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 567-1800

123 S. 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 972-8742

Capogiro Gelateria
119 S 13th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 351-0900

Steph and I Just Want…

…to say “hiii!” from Philadelphia. A million thanks to John for hosting/driving/eating a lot of food with us over the weekend ^_^

Gelato, gelato sandwiches, whipped cream, wine and beer, french fries, pulled pork sandwiches, warm pretzels, pastries, coffee, cheesesteaks, hoagies, apple dumplings, dofu fa, and chocolates to come soon.