Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cafe La Maude

816 North 4th Street
Philadelphia PA 19123
(267) 318-7869

I have ridden past La Maude countless times, but if I am stopping for food on this block, it always ends up being Honey's. I figured it was high time that changed. This place is just a few doors north of the famous corner spot, and you can't miss it.

The fa├žade is really nice, with a great awning and wood framing. According to their site, they "look like Paris, and taste like Beirut."

They had a wide selection of pastries and desserts. Although I was tempted, I was here for some brunch.

It's all about high quality presentation here.

Prices are a bit high, but there is a great ambiance. And the food has a lot of creativity.

Also, the coffee is fantastic.

The benedict was delicious. Their version was served over thin slices of Canadian bacon with a generous smear of Brie, fresh avocado and topped with a bright & citrusy hollandaise.

Not to mention the skewers of fresh fruit...

The eggs were poached to perfection, and served with a side of some nicely crisped potato wedges. Everything on this plate was prepared just right.

I also got the Halloumi press, which consisted of grilled halloumi cheese, roasted tomatoes, green olives, mesclun greens, and pesto served on a French baguette.

While it may not have been the largest sandwich I have eaten, it was among the tastiest. Simple, refreshing, and delicious. There was a level of acidity that made the ingredients come alive, and the crispy toasted bread held everything together nicely.

I have to say, the next time Honey's is too full, I wouldn't think twice about heading down to La Maude. Even if it means a few extra bucks. I actually may be craving that sandwich in the near future and head down that way for a coffee and a sandwich on the sidewalk. Weather pending.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

In-N-Out Burger

2001 Alta Arden Expressway
Sacramento, CA
(800) 786-1000

It's no secret that In-n-Out is amazing. What I wouldn't do for one in our area. Luckily Shake Shack does an okay job of scratching that itch. However, any chance I get, I am going for the elusive West coast chain, with their druid-like secret menu.

One of the reasons they always hit the mark: a lot of people are working there at all times. And every single person is always working. Obviously this would never happen in Philadelphia.

All of the employees are always somewhat happy too (again, never in Philadelphia).

The pink lemonade is one of the highlights, besides all of the really great other stuff.

Enter, fatso numero uno. Given my general aversion to sweets, I skipped the shake. But I more than made up for it with my order.

First, was a double double burger. Two meat, two cheese. I had it cooked "animal style" which means the patties are fried in mustard, and secret sauce is added in addition to fried chopped onions. I also asked for chopped chiles on it, lending a beautiful zing of vinegar and a hint of heat to this heavy, delicious, and oh so decadent meal. It was phenomenal.

Now for the fries. In order to squeeze every single drop of artery clogging deliciousness out of this once-in-a-great-while treat, I ordered the fries well done, and served "animal style" as well. Hell.

What it basically comes down to is that the burgers are amazing. The fries are also good, but given a "one or the other" scenario, however remote the chance of that would ever be, I would go double double for sure. Now just bring an In-n-Out to Philadelphia, and we can all die happy. And even more quickly.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

El Cafeito

1700 North 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
(215) 278-2482

Tucked away on lonely Cecil B. Moore is a little Latin-inspired cafe with colorful paint and a nice outdoor courtyard.

You can get a variety of sweets here, but I was looking for coffee and a sandwich.

Luckily they specialize in both.

A cafe con leche.

The Cuban sounded great, so I ordered both the breakfast version, served in wrap form, and the more traditional lunch version, served on grilled bread.

Although the menu didn't mention it, this came with ham (as it should), as well as pulled pork, scrambled eggs, cheese, and avocado. Not quite traditional, but certainly delicious. It was a bit dry, so ask for a side of their chipotle aioli sauce.

The traditional Cubano came on delicious bread, was nicely griddled with more pulled pork, pickles, yellow mustard, and Swiss. This actually came with a smear of the chipotle sauce, but lacked the ham that the menu lead me to believe would be included. Role reversal.

This was an awfully good sandwich, with a great ratio of ingredients, as well as careful construction. I would definitely get it again - but I would also make sure that ham slides its way into the layering.

I also ordered a highly recommended Domincano sandwich to go. I made it nearly an hour before tearing into it, but it did not fare as well as its Cuban counterparts.

Everything seemed to be in place, but unfortunately, there was something very off-putting about this sandwich. I narrowed it down to the salami. Either it was a brand I didn't like, or it had been sitting for a while. At first I thought it might have been the sweet plantain mayo, but I am relatively certain the salami was to blame. I had two independent sources verify my suspicions. Anyway, it comes with American, sweet plantain mayo, lettuce, and tomato on another nicely grilled roll. I wanted it to be delicious, because this place was great otherwise, but alas, I will have to try again soon.

It was a very laid back atmosphere, and everyone working was incredibly nice. I will definitely be back for the cafe con leche and a Cuban, but will be hesitant on the Dominican.

Editor's note: El Cafeito was this close to being 4 cheesesteaks, but the Dominican fiasco really left a sour taste in my mouth, so to speak.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cut Above Deli

3523 West Chester Pike
Newtown Square, Pa 19073
(610) 353-4543

Newtown Square and the surrounding area have a lot of little unexplored territories that I will be trying to frequent in the future. Cut Above comes highly recommended, but since they don't have seating for lunch, I actually ate lunch at the bar next door. On my way back to the city, I casually grabbed a two foot hoagie to snack on.

They slice all of the meats and cheeses fresh and use Sarcone's rolls.

The prepared foods section was mighty tempting, maybe next trip.

There is a lot to be said for so much hoagie under $20.

The top was well seasoned, and the tomatoes were fresh and as ripe as can be expected in this region in January. I really love when deli meat is sliced paper thin, and they did not disappoint.

There was a solid amount of meat and cheese on this thing, which made it easy to eat, and quite delicious.

A good old Italian hoagie is one of the most complete food groups around. Meat, dairy, vegetables, grains, oil. This hoagie was no slouch. Will definitely be back for more...