Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rogue Brewery

720 Southwest Bay Blvd.
Newport, OR
‎ 97365
(541) 265-3188

As excited as I was to eat here and drink the delicious beers, my enthusiasm faded quickly. When I got my French dip, the portion was small. Okay, I can deal with that, but when I looked at the bread, I noticed that there was fresh human blood on it. So gross. I alerted the server, who was embarrassed, and took it back. She assured me that she would "try to get it comped." Seriously? Try? I almost just ate your cook's blood. She came back in a few minutes to assure me she was able to comp the WHOLE sandwich. The general consensus was that they certainly could have bought me a beer. Or a round for the table. I mean, we were AT the brewery.

Afterwards, the bartender on the way out bragged to us that he was the one responsible for taking care of comping it. I am sorry, but if I served you a contaminated sandwich, I would do whatever I could to make it right. Not brag that I "took care of it." Sad.


The trip is going amazing. Sorry for the delay in pictures, but I am having too much fun.

Friday, June 25, 2010

This Just-in

I am going on vacation. Actually, I am going on a bike tour of Oregon, then headed to Portland, and after that will be attending a very special wedding. Fear not, I will be updating from the road, much like Okeechobee, except this trip promises better food and a larger selection of micro-brews than Budlight and Blue Moon. Below are some pics of my last trip that way, just to give you an idea of the terrain we will be riding. To say I am excited would be a gross understatement.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tampopo (guest report)

104 South 21st St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Well, let me start off by saying this is my first foray into food blogging and I'm flattered to have the opportunity to contribute to Philly Phoodie's reputable database of local reviews. This trip to Tampopo, however, was not my first. I have visited multiple times in the past few years when my mid-day appetite calls for some Japanese-style home cooking.

The place isn't big, not by any stretch of the imagination. The tables are close together and it seats about 16 when maxed out. You place your order at the counter, pay, and find a seat until your name is called - this can take anywhere from 3-10 minutes, and is never any longer. The kitchen is open to the dining area, it's nice to be able to see everything that's happening, there's no risk of finding any shady business here.

A self-proclaimed Korean food aficionado (in my opinion, it's the world's loveliest cuisine), I decided to go with the Beef & Egg BiBimBap, priced at a reasonable $8.50. The ingredients are always fresh, the dishes are always colorful and the portions are always plentiful.

If ever you've experienced BiBimBap in the traditional Korean atmosphere, you'd know that they offer the dish as seen here, but they also offer a slightly different version, the Dol Sot or Kop Dol - one that's served in a steaming hot stone bowl. Today's meal pales in comparison to that favored serving vessel, but the flavor here makes up for that lack of excitement I generally get from the scolding hot Dol Sot BiBimBap I've come to know so well.

Their go chu jang sauce is not quite the thicker, authentic version I'm so accustomed to, but has a uniquely Japanese flair to it - one that is reminiscent of a sweet and spicy Teriyaki-pepper sauce. They give you plenty and showed no hesitation in allowing me extra sauce upon my request. Once all mixed together, the bowl became a comforting flavor explosion that I never wanted to end. The vegetables and savory thin-sliced, Teriyaki marinated beef are in perfect proportion to the rice below. The egg is pan fried to perfection, the yolk breaks to neatly coat the flurry of colorful components.

I highly recommend everything on their menu - they offer a fresh tuna (sushi-grade) version of the BiBimBap, but don't serve fresh fish until the month of July. If only I could have waited another week to satiate my craving!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jake's Sandwich Board Update

Jake's is great. It really is. In my efforts to try most of the menu, I gave the Midtown Chicken a go: chicken, roasted red pepper and avocado puree, red onion and a mozzarella cheddar blend.

This one was okay. I didn't expect the world. But the onions threw me off. Otherwise it was a bit like a chicken cheesesteak with sweet guacamole. The raw onion slices were kind of, can I say, misleading? Everything else on the sandwich was rich and warmish, and though they were thinly sliced, the intended bite of crispness came to me as a strange and highly unnecessary surprise of tangy raw onion (who could have seen that coming?). What's wrong with some fried onion to join the warmth of all other ingredients? Overall I would probably not go back to this one, considering they offer the Village Turkey for that "lighter lunch." I was missing the cherry spread and bacon on the Midtown.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Old Original Nick's Roast Beef

2149 South 20th Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 463-4114

I have not been to Nick's in a long time. Far too long, I know, but there are so many new (and delicious) places to eat, I just haven't been to that neighborhood in a very long time. My mistake, for sure, and one that I will not make again.

Nick's is located in deep South Philly. It's old school. And that is what makes it so amazing. Although the prices have slightly increased since my last visit, the remarkably dingy, dark dining has not. Neither has the most incredible roast beef I may have ever tasted. Ever. Although they offer a few other items, the beef is where it's at. Hand carved to order, the au jus tastes as though it has been slowly reducing from the original slab of beef when they opened sixty years ago. That good.

I order the roast beef combo, on the outs, meaning they slice the crispy bits off of the outside and mix it with your sandwich meat. A slice of provolone makes it a combo and oh, SO good (can you tell I like this place?).

The interiors of the bun are lightly dipped in the meat gravy, and you won't believe how good it is. Rich, salty, indulgent, simple and oh so satisfying. The only condiments are banana peppers, horseradish and yellow mustard, all served table side. I made a vow to eat here more often, and I am already planning my next trip. Oh wait, I forgot to mention the gravy fries (I don't know how, they are AMAZING!).

Smothered (and I mean smothered) in shredded beef and au jus, these things are just the ticket to ensure you reach your maximum allowance of red meat in one meal. The fries themselves are just your standard, battered frozen french fries. But when coated with that delicious gravy, they transform into a comforting meal of meat and potatoes in its most delectable form. You are going to have to use a fork, which is convenient, because one of the biggest problems is fending off the people you are having dinner with before they eat all of the fries. The gravy soaked delights usually come out a few minutes after the sandwiches, so here's a little tip, eat the first half of your sandwich, take a bite of the second half, and then dig into the fries. As soon as they hit the table, drop that sandwich (it will be there waiting for you when you're ready for it again) and stake a claim to your sector of that juicy fry boat. You'll notice that when sharing an order, some people definitely end up eating more than their fair share... Don't say you never learned anything over here!

The pictures really can't do these sandwiches justice. If they look dark it's because they are. The gravy is deep and darkly hued, and the dining room is just as dark. It's the perfect place to enjoy a guilty pleasure. $7 pitchers aren't too shabby either! Below is the old school sign marking the spot. Although it says Nick's Cafe, we all know its Nick's Roast Beef.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shank's Pier 40

901 S. Columbus Blvd.
across from Christian St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Although I previously made the claim that Shank's Pier 40 has the best cheesesteaks around, I had neglected to mention something just as important. Breakfast. They make some rib-sticking, hold-you-over-until-lunch breakfast sandwiches that deserve mention. They are also pretty convenient, and the sandwiches are $5 with a coffee. Can't beat that. I love the steak, egg and cheese, which incorporates their delicious cheesesteak meat folded into eggs and covered with a healthy layer of cheese. Certainly not the sandwich to eat before getting your cholesterol checked, but worth every artery squeezing calorie.

If you are in the mood for something more traditional, the bacon, egg and cheese is a safe bet. The bacon is always cooked until perfectly crispy, and in typical Shank's fashion, generously portioned. As usual, I ask for mine with some banana peppers for a bit of a morning kick. Also, there are few combos as satisfying as spicy, briny banana peppers and eggs.

They even offer something for all of the (ahem) non-meat eaters out there. I will even order this item, and in fact, it's one of my favorites. Potato, egg and cheese is a take on the traditional diner breakfast, crammed into a long roll. Delicious. Although I was skeptical of the meatless breakfast, the crispy potato cubes made up for the protein I was craving. They added a great substance and texture to the sandwich, with the crispy edges giving a satisfying crunch. I would gladly eat this sandwich for any breakfast. Shank's now has longer hours, and they are open every day from 7 a.m. to midnight. If you can't tell, this is very exciting news for my palate, and devastating news for my waistline. The thought of someone going to Pat's or Geno's, with this as an alternative shocks me to my very core!

Here is a shot of the chicken cutlet hoagie. The chicken cutlet Italiano is in the running for best non-cheesesteak sandwich in the city, as voted by WIP. I can't say I blame them. The Italiano is amazing. I opt for a side of sauce, and you would be wise to do the same. They make red sauce (gravy) that is some of the best around. Seriously.

Oh, and the cheesesteaks are still amazing. Man I feel fat just thinking about all this food!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Maru Global

255 South 10th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(267) 273-0567

I had never eaten Takoyaki, but I had heard good things about Maru Global, so I jumped at the chance to give it a try. I am a HUGE street food fan, and the interior of this place really gives it that "street food feel."

I had the opportunity to sample the "Tako" yaki first, with sirloin, chopped scallion and red ginger topped with dried bonito flakes, dried seaweed, and a sweet sauce. The best part (other than the $3.25 for 6 price tag) is the way that the bonito flakes rehydrate on top of the hot-off-the-pan dough balls. Check out the video, it's pretty amazing.

The BBQ octopus with cilantro, jalapeno, and caramelized onions was a sweet, smoky ball that was sadly lacking in octopus. I would have loved some tentacle to add some thicker, more chewy texture. The maru balls overall were good, and I loved the outside, but sadly, seventy five percent of them came out with the inside completely raw. I am sure that it is difficult to get them cooked throughout, but if your specialty is maru balls, and you are called Maru Global, it's pretty important that you ensure that those little spheres are properly cooked, even perfected.

I was excited to see Philly cheesesteak balls on the menu, and they were quite good, but once again, instead of a burst of cheese on the inside, it was raw liquid dough. Admittedly, they were having some kitchen problems, as they claimed the cook was hit by a car last night, but even so... The dough was the consistency of crepe batter; it was an eggy, floury, taste that took over, leaving me desiring that non-existent cheesy center even more.

The French fries were decent. Not as crispy as I would have liked, nor as thin, but the spicy Kewpie (I believe) mayo was addictive. I have a real weak spot for spicy Japanese mayo.

Overall, it was pretty good, a unique experience, made better by the good company. I would definitely come back, and if they got the cooking method nearly perfected, I might have a real problem with this place. I love the idea of cheap street snacks, but the execution was lacking.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brandywine Creek

Beat the rain, got some good mountain biking in, and sweat like I was in a sauna. If you look carefully behind my head, you can see the DuPont estate. Not a bad Sunday.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

John's Water Ice

701 Christian Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147-3911
(215) 925-6955

I love water ice. I really do. But I must admit, after a couple of tries, John's just doesn't do it for me. I really, really want to love this place, but I can't. And I feel (gasp) that Rita's is better. There, I said it.

The picture is blurry, but I mean, it's water ice. You get the idea. I felt as though it was too frozen, and reminiscent of Luigi's. Also, it tastes really artificial. I am aware that they use "natural fruit syrup" but, what does that mean exactly? Anyway, I would go if I was in the neighborhood, as in, in front of the store, but other than that, I will pass.