Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Mission Taqueria

1516 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 383-1200

I have been to Mission Taqueria a few times, specifically for Happy Hour, and I have yet to be disappointed. Located near my favorite Center City watering hole, Oscar's Tavern, and newcomer falafel/tahini shake spot Goldie, this upstairs eatery is easy to walk past if you are not paying attention. The discount offerings make this a fantastic place for after work boozing, and the snacks are all on point as well.

$2 tacos include carnitas and chicken, and they are each a steal.

The carnitas touts pulled pork, salsa verde, and pickled red onion on a small, well made corn tortilla. Simple taco heaven.

The chicken is garnished with guajillo-garlic glaze, salsa fresca, and cotija cheese. Tender, smoky chicken, and cool cotija mix well. Another $2 winner.

The wings have a pineapple habanero glaze, and are only $5 for the 5-7pm drinking slot. A very reasonable price for the complex and well rendered wings.

Likely my favorite of the lot was the fresh fried chicharron with spicy queso seasoning. Like eating the best cheeto you have ever tasted. Hot, light, extremely crispy. and salty, the ultimate drinking snack. $4 and worth every cent. Seriously addictive. However be careful, as it IS possible to have too many of these, but it will cost you about $12.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

La Porta Via

1192 N Middletown Road
Media, PA 19063
(610) 358-8970

If you like Paesano's, you will love La Porta Via. Located across from La Porta the mother restaurant, this sandwich shop has most of the favorites from the famous Philly stop.

The Italian fry bread makes for an incredible sauce sopping vessel. Covered in parm and herbs, one piece is a meal in and of itself.

Doughy, crispy, and comforting. This is a gluten free dieters nightmare. And while we are on the subject of fad diets, there is nothing vegan here either. Probably.

The daily meat slice of Sicilian style pizza is another quick belly buster. While I am partial to thin crust, this was a damn good hunk of goodness.

The always popular Torrezeaux is a spicy chicken cheesesteak, Italian style. With roasted chicken, mushrooms, sriracha cream, smoked mozzarella, spinach.

As you can see there is no lack of sauce to this sandwich. Creamy, salty, and umami rich, it is a chicken cheesesteak done right.

The Italian Rueben was another stunner. House brisket with sweet and sour kraut, caper mayo, and Swiss on rye. Not for the faint of heart.

Look at those lovely layers. This is sandwich poetry in motion. At this point I have eaten my way around the menu, and you will not go wrong.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Taco Shop

1288 Hornet Road
Rio Grande, NJ 08242
(609) 600-2961

Cape May Brewing is a fantastic off-the-beach shore stop. A wide selection of good beer, the only thing missing was something to eat. Until Taco Shop opened next door, that is. In the same industrial area that the brewery operates, a number of small shops have taken root.

Taco Shop has a small menu, with standard burrito, bowl, quesadilla, taco options and then a choice of protein for each. When I saw they were hand making the tortillas for the tacos, I figured a sampler was in order.

Place an order, step next door to the brewery and have a beer while you wait, then pop back in, pick it up, and head back to the bar.

I got some tacos, a special shrimp tostada, and some street corn.

From left are the mole chicken, the carne asada, and the chorizo.

The "De Chorizo Casero" consists of housemade chorizo, salsa roja, and xni-pec (pronounced shneee pec) has Mayan roots, and refers to a wet dogs nose, a reference to the runny nose you will have from this spicy habanero hot sauce. While I didn't find this particularly hot, I did rather enjoy the chorizo. While I generally like my chorizo rendered down and grilled hard, this had lots of flavor and a great texture.

"De Carne Asada" taco was garnished with cherry tomato, avocado, pickled red onion, and creamy chimichurri. The brisket was nicely crisped, and well rendered, but it was lacking a strong punch of flavor. The topping worked well together, but I was looking for a deeper, more beefy experience (perhaps adding some stock or boullion to the braise mixture would work). Certainly it was still good, but the flavor was a bit subdued as opposed to what I expected.

Meanwhile, "De Pollo" was well shredded chicken, simply garnished with mole poblano. pickled red onion, and queso fresco. Again, everything was fresh, well thought out, and assembled with care, but it was lacked the depth of flavor I expect from mole. It had no distinct, characteristic flavor, such as nutty, chocolaty, etc.

The shrimp tostada was my favorite of the protein (a special), because of the chiptole mayo. That stuff was like crack. A crisp tostada flat topped with avocado, tender shrimp, queso, and crema. The stuff dreams are made of.

Finally the street corn. Chipotle mayo (fantastic), crema, queso, El Muerto salt (red flakes below, absolutely delicious, you can buy it here), lime, and cilantro. I loved this street corn. The spicy mayo and El Muerto made it stand out from the dozens of variations I have tried, and numerous versions made myself. They might bump the flavor up a bit on some of the offerings (though I imagine they are catering to a specific niche, but overall, this is a SOLID place to eat when quaffing some delicious Cape May Brewery beers.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Roy Pitz Barrel House

990 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(215) 995-6792

I stopped by Roy Pitz for an after work drink with some friends. While I was not initially thrilled with the menu options, as they were rather run of the mill, I was pleasantly surprised by the execution.

The large interior space and proximity to Union Transfer makes it convenient for pre/post show drinks.

Roy Pitz started in Chambersburg, PA and then moved to Philly as an expansion. The focus is on barrel aged and sour beer, with other local spirits and wines available as well.

The Bavarian soft pretzel was quite a sleeper (I ordered a second after quickly polishing off the first), and the house mustard paired with Old Jail beer cheese sauce made for buttery carb-dipping bliss.

Golden brown, airy and with a generous salting, I enjoyed this much more than I had thought I might.

The Barrel House wings were another highlight, fried crispy and rendered down quite nicely, the Dutch Honey IPA Hot Sauce was a tasty play on traditional wing sauce, and the chunky blue cheese was a very welcome and chunky complement.

You can see the rendering of the skin, and the ample sauce. Very nice wings.

The Barrel House Burger boasts a blend of short rib and brisket burger with porter caramelized onions, pickles, sharp cheddar and Liquid Art sauce.

The burger was solid, with just enough bacon, cheese and grease.

I liked the thick pickles, and although past my requested medium rare, there was still pink in the middle.

The fries were fresh, crisp, and well seasoned.

To keep things light, I went with the Barleywine smoked brisket mac and cheese on the side. The roasted mushrooms were a nice touch. There was a significant amount of sauce on this mac, making for maximum cheesiness.

I liked all of the food options, and it was good, hearty beer drinking fare. I would certainly not hesitate to return.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


1526 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(267) 239-0777

Goldie came on the scene as a vegan, Israeli(ish) falafel spot. I am partial to Mama's, but always open to try new fried balls of deliciousness. They offer a small menu, but so does Mama's. This spot is a collaboration by Micheal Solomonov and Steve Cook, and thus subject to much fanfare. There was one thing that was worth its weight in gold, while a few others took home the bronze.

Located next to my favorite Center City bar, Oscar's, parking is horrible. I suggest walking, riding a bike, or taking public transportation. It SERIOUSLY sucks parking around here. Oh, and there WILL be a line. There will also be a machine making falafel. A falafel robot.

There will also be pickled tomato little bits, which is always a plus, though it was no Mama's topping bar (noticing a trend?).

They have few menu items. Tahina milkshakes, falafel sandwiches, (shwarma) french fries and falafel salads. That happens to be the order of precedence when you get to the counter. The tahina shake is hands down one of the best things I have consumed this year. It is a dairyless milkshake, that tastes like a hundred peanut butter cup interiors blended with ice. Just amazing. Among the best frozen shakes I have ever tasted. The consistency is thick but the large format straw made (too) quick work of it. I kept saying, "holy shit, this is good".

I ordered a salad, because I wanted to try everything on the menu. Baby kale, romaine, carrot, cucumber, tomato, tehina, za’atar, sumac, parsley, dill, mint. It was lacking "zing", and was likely the healthiest thing I have ever eaten. The falafel themselves were good, but not exceptional. They lacked crunch.

All of the ingredients were fresh, but it needed pickled tomatoes (I added some) and bit of heat and salt. Also, at $9 it was the most expensive thing on the menu.

I did like the falafel mix, fresh and herbaceous.

The sandwich with harissa was better than the salad. Probably due to the exceptional pita from Dizengoff. The harissa sauce was great, as expected, and the chewy wrapper held the crisp veggies in well. Again, it was the lack of crunch to the falafel that I took issue with.

The shwarma fries were good, fresh, a zesty spice mix, and nice portion in the paper bag. They could have used a couple more dipping options than ketchup and HOT schug. All in all, this place is good. But the shake is five cheesesteaks, the pita and fries are three, and the salad is two. Weighted together, an overall three.