March 29, 2017 34st.com
GUIDE SPRING 2017 TABLE OF CONTENTS 3
Best of West Philly
Guy Fieri Drinking Game
Late Night Eats
Happy Hour Round–up
Rooster Soup Co.
Friday Saturday Sunday
Harp & Crown
Best Restaurants to SABS
Trendy Ice Cream
Wiz Kid ABOVE PHOTO: by Corey Fader from Friday Saturday Sunday
Sarah Tyree, Dining Guide Editor Olivia Weis, Dining Guide Editor Orly Greenberg, Editor–in–Chief Dani Blum, Managing Editor Chloe Shakin, Audience Engagement Director Sofie Praestgaard, Design Director Corey Fader, Photo Director Zack Greenstein, Design Editor Carissa Zou, Design Editor Teagan Aguirre, Design Editor Autumn Powell, Photo Editor Brinda Ramesh, Photo Editor Young Lee, Video Editor Emily Hason, Video Editor Kyler McVay, Copy Director Paola Ruano, Copy Editor
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Erin Farrell, Copy Editor Lea Eisenstein, Copy Editor Perren Carillo, Copy Editor COVER PHOTO: by Corey Fader from Friday Saturday Sunday Contacting 34th Street Magazine: If you have questions, comments, complaints or letters to the editor, email Orly Greenberg, Editor–in–Chief, at greenberg@ dailypennsylvanian.com. You can also call us at (215) 422-4640. www.34st.com ©2017 34th Street Magazine, The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. No part may be reproduced in whole or in part without the express, written consent of the editors (but I bet we will give you the a-okay). All rights reserved. 34th Street Magazine is published by The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc., 4015 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa., 19104, every Thursday.
THE BEST OF WEST DOCK STREET BREWERY
If you haven’t walked up Baltimore Avenue to Dock Street yet, you’re missing out on what I’d be willing to call the best pizza and beer in Philadelphia. On the way, you pass Clark Park, The A–Space (an anarchist art gallery) and Bindlestiff Books (a community–run bookshop) among various other sights. Just as you aren’t afraid to venture out into the unchartered world of West Philadelphia, this hipster haunt isn’t afraid to put sour cream (Potato Pie Pizza, $9.75), fig jam (Fig Jam Pizza, $9.75), or even mustard (Cheeburger Cheeburger Pizza, $9.75) on a pizza. But they have more conventional kinds too, like the Americana Pizza ($7.50), the Pepperoni Pizza ($8.25) and the Margherita Pizza ($8.95). They also serve sandwiches wrapped in pizza dough ($10.25), burgers ($10.50) and Trio Fries ($6.75), a blend of white potato fries, sweet potato fries and leeks. My criteria for determining the quality of a pizza are similar to that of Oscar on The Office; you need to evaluate both the quality of the ingredients and the overall taste. The mozzarella at Dock Street is juicy, the sauce is flavorful and the vegetables taste like they actually came from the ground (but like, without the dirt). But, most importantly for me, the crust has that wood–fired taste and texture. And then there’s the beer. Dock Street has six beers on tap and one in cask at any given moment. I’m not a professional beer describer, so I’ll leave it to the experts at Dock Street. On the menu, they describe drinking the No Exit IPA as “like getting punched in the mouth with hops.” They also call it “dank,” but I think that might mean something different in the beer world. Where: 701 South 50th Street When to go: When you have a pizza craving that just won't go away. TL;DR: Get off your arse and walk a few blocks west for some insane pizza and beer.
Delicious ways to leave your comfort zone
KABOBEESH This restaurant is one of my favorites because, despite being only a few blocks from campus, it feels like a whole other world; its typical clientele is large families from West Philadelphia, many of whom dress in traditional Muslim attire. That said, the atmosphere is casual. They’re even on GrubHub. The cuisine here is called Kashmiri, which comes from the Northernmost region of South Asia, comprised of areas of Pakistan, India and China. Everything is spicy and textured and served with rice and naan bread in huge portions, which, to me, pretty much means you can’t go wrong. That said, a few things stood out. The Lamb Kabob, which you can get as platter ($12) or wrapped in naan ($9) is tender and far more delicious than you might guess from the price. The Chana, a chickpea–based curry available a la carte ($5.50) or as a meal ($10.50) has surpassed grilled cheese as my favorite cold– weather comfort food. Most of the time, I’d say a samosa isn’t worth eating when you’re already getting a huge meal of this quality, but here, you have to go for it. Stuffed with chicken ($1.50) or vegetables ($0.99), they are to Kabobeesh meals as garlic bread is to pizza. There's an added perk: if you show your student ID, If you’ve never tried injera, a spongy sourdough from East Africa with a consistency that resembles a large crepe, then you need to get up and go to 45th and Locust, you uncultured swine! This Ethiopian restaurant and bar doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside is one of the best meals you will ever have. It’s the definition of a great hole–in–the–wall. Spring for a Combination Platter ($8.95–13.95), which is enough food for two and will allow you to try around four different dishes. I especially recommend the Ye'Gomen Wot ($7.95), collard greens sautéed with onions, fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil and the Kitfo ($10.85), spiced minced beef with a side of cottage cheese and collard greens. Injera covers the plate like a warm, loving blanket and is topped with different meats and vegetables served in a manner resembling curry. You eat with your hands, using the injera to soak up sauce and pick up chunks of food. Every bite contains so many flavors and textures that it’s almost overstimulating. The one negative thing I will say about this place is that the service is slow. But, in my experience, poor service is a hallmark of authenticity when it comes to food. Just ask anyone who’s spent time in Paris. And if you still have room when you’re finished (you won’t), head to Manakeesh at 44th & Walnut for some Lebanese baked goods such as crepes, baklava, macarons
they’ll give you a free mango juice, which is a perfect salve for your burning tongue after you ambitiously claim you want your food “spicy.” Which is, by the way, the most dangerous thing that’s happened to me in West Philly so far. Where: 4201 Chestnut Street When to go: When you don’t want to walk far but you need to get away. And also you’re hungry. TL;DR: An entirely different atmosphere and cuisine just a few blocks away.
and other less pronounceable (but still delicious) things. Where: 229 South 45th Street Who to bring: Someone you want to catch up with and possibly impress TL;DR: If you’re still eating with a fork, you’re missing out.
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WHAT YOUR FRY PREFERENCE SAYS ABOUT YOU Make every day fry-day!
You’re just a brutal person. You tell it how it is—there’s no soft, squishy side of you. Tough love is what you’re all about. Think Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. That bitch is 100% a thin fry: chic af, (potentially) less unhealthy and heartless.
ing mountain of tangled potato. The fries are tasty, but they’re missing the softness of a usual fry. The sauce is to die for (like Meryl’s purse), but alas, it’s just an accessory. They’re fun and tasty for an exotic night out, but not for every day.
You look like you have it all FOR THIN FRIES CHECK OUT: CONTINENTAL MIDTOWN together. You probably went Continental serves their to every single OCR info thin–cut fries in a tower- session. As Cher of Clueless
professional while sitting at the bar during White Dog happy hour. They bring you a heaping cone of crisp, perfectly composed fries and you dig in tentatively because you are 'mature" and have "self restraint." The fries are too good. You find yourself clawing the bottom of the waxed FOR TRUFFLE FRIES CHECK paper liner feeling for one last fry–niblet, parmesan strewn OUT: WHITE DOG You bask in the glory of across your lap and grease being mistaken for a young coating your fingers. So what if they’re not made with fresh truffles? They’re damn good. would say, however, you’re a “full–on Monet.” We all know there are no real truffles in those fries, and we all know that no college student has their life totally together. So enjoy the deceitful taste of your ½ teaspoon of truffle oil and Parmesan.
Book your graduation dinner with us! 1303 DIKINSON STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA 19147
Serving Penn for over 100 years. Your parents fell in love here, now it’s your turn. Enjoy your meal with live opera performed by our waitstaff. 4
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You’re obviously not from the West Coast, but you’re probably wearing Adidas Superstars anyway. You have joggers on under your Canada Goose, you DGAF and you’re just trying to hold your basic life together. We feel you. FOR CRINKLE CUT FRIES CHECK OUT: SHAKE SHACK Shake Shack, like you, is basic. The real thing it has going for it is its “unique” shape (just like how your Superstars are green, not black) and convenience. But it lacks any substantial flavor or remarkable feature. It’s just…a fry. Douse it in ketchup or
maybe cheese. Come back if you’re in the neighborhood (like that fuckboy you’ll call only because you’re desperate and he lives in your building).
You are so trendy. Really. Like, you totally knew about XYZ before everyone else and you reject the mainstream media. #FAKENEWS. You are the most adventurous person like, ever, and are always finding new fads. Either that or you’re Canadian. FOR POUTINE CHECK OUT: SHOOFRY Poutine fries look sloppy and you don’t really know what’s going on with them, but every flavor and ingredient is deliberate (just like your disheveled–in–an–intentional–way outfit). They are far from standard and easy to experiment with. Shoofry is all about the build–your–own fry experience, and you’re all about DIY and against #corporategreed. It’s a match made in fry heaven.
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GUY FIERI: THE DRINKING GAME
Drinking our way through Food Network's cringiest show
Guy Fieri is more than just a Food Network Star. He’s a Food Network legend. When we say “legend,” we mean the guy has absolutely no shame. His shows are filled with cringe–worthy, yet hilarious moments. So we figured, what better way to get through a Diners, Drive–Ins, and Dives episode than being shitfaced? If we've learned anything from our time at Penn, when it comes to secondhand embarrassment, there’s nothing a little alcohol can’t fix. Before you start the game, pour two shots out for his frighteningly bleach–blonde hair and creepy goatee. Then proceed to take them because you can’t start the show without being buzzed. TAKE A SHOT WHENEVER GUY FIERI: • • • • • • • • •
Mentions Flavortown Gets uncomfortably loud Makes a cringe–worthy joke or analogy Talks with his mouth full Eats the food while the chef is still preparing it Gets food in his goatee Mentions taking “just one more bite” but proceeds to eat more Calls the chef “boss” Avoids eggs
TAKE TWO SHOTS: •
CO-OP Restaurant & Lounge offers a fresh perspective on urban dining with an emphasis on seasonal & local ingredients
If Guy Fieri refer to anything as “money” (i.e. staring at what he is eating and saying “that is just money”)
TAKE THREE SHOTS: •
If the place Guy Fieri visits is not a diner or a drive-in or a dive.
BREAKFAST | 7 - 11AM LUNCH | 11 - 2PM HAPPY HOUR | 4 - 6PM DINNER | 5:30 - 10PM LOCATED AT THE STUDY AT UNIVERSITY CITY CORNER OF 33RD AND CHESTNUT 6
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Photo: Food Network
THE BEST BAR GRUB DINING GUIDE
Because isn't every bar crawl better with food?
Good Dog Bar
224 S 15th St Imagine Smokes' but smaller. Replace the sweaty frat boys with people in their late–twenties who do their own taxes. Good Dog Bar was reminiscent of that, with a warm burgundy color scheme and soft lighting throughout. It had an upscale divey feel, with a small candle at each old wooden booth and subtle dog– themed decorations adorning the bar area. They checked our IDs at the door and within seconds we were sitting down at a comfortable booth. We ordered fried pickles with goat cheese ranch dip for $6 and chicken tenders cordon bleu with honey grain mustard sauce for $10. While we were waiting for our food, “Money” by Pink Floyd came on, and the vibe of the bar was complete. When our food finally ar-
224 S 15th St
rived, it slapped our collective asses. We devoured both the fried pickles and chicken tenders within minutes. The pickles were coated in a layer of thin, crispy bread crumbs that paired perfectly with the goat cheese ranch dip. The chicken tenders and ham mixed together for a perfectly savory, yet sweet, bite of an animal wrapped in another animal. Though it’s slightly off the beaten path, we loved this bar and would recommend it for anyone looking to hang out and get a drink with their friends.
Nestled away in Queen Village is an elegant Southern hotel bar named Southwark. Above the door was a mounted jackalope, and the dim candlelight danced off the beautiful bar top. This is a cloth napkin establishment, ladies. There were only a few other patrons at the bar with us, but the place was so small that it felt very full. Simon and Garfunkel played softly in the bar area while the young hipster clientele chatted quietly. We opted for an order of the short rib poutine fries for $7 and some $6 wild mushroom croquettes. The little mushroom balls were sumptuously plated atop a reservoir of pesto, evenly breaded and very light. The poutine fries were the opposite, but not in a bad way. Brown gravy, pulled short rib, and cheese curds all mixed with me-
dium–cut fries were just what we needed. There were lots of options available for sharing—just make sure you're okay with waiting a little while for it. Though this bar was very tasteful and the food was delicious, it is definitely not a college–friendly venue. The small space and low–key mood were the exact opposite of your average Thursday night at Penn. It is a great place, though, for having a drink and bite with a close friend or date.
The Sidecar Bar and Grille 2201 Christian Street This place has all the trappings of a chic dad bar—minus the dads and the chic. It’s right across the South St. bridge, less than a mile from campus, and unimpressive all at the same time. It’s got a long bar and some small tables underneath televisions, and plays the same classic rock as your bland uncle. It was fairly empty when we showed up 45 minutes before closing, so we decided to spice things up with an overpriced carnitas taco for
$9.99 Fajitas - Thursdays 5pm - 10pm
$5 and some $7 macaroni carbonara. The pasta was cold and the cheese was nonexistent. Even the accompanying lime wedge wasn’t fresh. The best part of the meal were the pickled onions, but unfortunately I couldn’t order an a la carte bowl of them. Do yourself a favor and skip this block of town and its old–ass produce entirely. NICK JOYNER & ZOE ALBANO-ORITT
Philly’s Best Burgers!
40th and Spruce Streets, University City T: 215 382 1330
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Photo: @Sampanphilly on Instagram.com
One of Penn's favorite restaurants, uncovered.
SAMPAN REASONS B*TCHES LOVE
Multi year winner for best Buﬀalo Wings & Pizza
Approved Penn Vendor!
1. THE AESTHETIC
Need an Insta? Go to Sampan. Not only will it announce to the social media world that you go to cool and nice restaurants, but their illuminated–tree–design–backsplash thing actually is really aesthetically pleasing (and universally recognizable so everyone will know where you are. Geofilter not required!).
2. THE SABSING
Daily Lunch & Dinner Specials! 20 Buﬀalo Wings + Large Cheese Pizza $21.99! (Must mention oﬀer while ordering. Not to be combined with any other specials)
www.edswings.com 215.222.4000 Pick up • Dine In • Delivery • Catering • Open Late
Cazuelas Restaurant www.lascazuelas.net (215) 351-9144 426 W Girard Ave
BYOB Authentic Mexican food Great for Private Parties $5 plate sharing fee
HAVE YOUR next Fiesta with us! 8
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At Sampan, I promise you will see someone you at least vaguely recognize. Also, they will see you, further establishing your reputation as a person who goes to trendy places. Two birds with one stone!
3. THE EDAMAME DUMPLINGS Alright, there’s no denying that these much–hyped dumplings are dope, but there’s also some amazing other food on the menu (Peking Duck, I’m looking at you). Don’t restrict yourself. If you’re making the trek down to 13th Street, you’d better indulge.
4. DESSERT Rice. Krispy. Sushi. Not only does it look cool, but it also tastes unreal. 10/10 would recommend (and not just for insta value).
5. THE NEIGHBORHOOD Wow! Going off campus for dinner! So trendy! So hip! But actually, Sampan is right next door to some of Philly’s hottest bars (next door to Double Knot and across the street from Charlie was a Sinner). Stop by for a late dinner and stay downtown for a refreshing, new scene (or go back uptown to Smokes', no judgment here).
6. THE MUSIC They exclusively play clubbing music. So basically you get the “going downtown” experience without actually having to go to a downtown. It’s a win–win.
7. BAR/COCKTAILS It’s not a BYO (which is great for those of us unable to plan far enough ahead to pick up wine). Also, if you can’t get a reservation (because this place is ~popping~), just grab a seat at the bar! Not only do they serve a variety of awesome house cocktails, but they serve dinner there as well.
ROUNDUP The happiest time to get drunk is when it's cheap. SARAH TYREE
Objectively delicious, Zavino's biggest flaw is that it's closer to Drexel than it is to Penn. While their happy hour provides numerous drink options at seriously reasonable prices, their food options are somewhat limited (but when pizza is the limit, I'm not complaining). Monday–Friday, 4:30–6:30 p.m. $3 Bartender's Choice Beers, $4 Wines, $5 Zavino Cocktails, and $8 Margarita Pizza
The only thing more eclectic and tasteful than Distrito's decor? Their wide–reaching drink menu. If you haven't taken advantage of taco Tuesday, you should, and if $15 margs aren't your style, their happy hour drink prices are much more palatable. Tuesday, 5–7 p.m. $2 tacos, $5 guac and salsa, $3 corona light draft Sunday–Saturday, 5–7 p.m. $5 feliz margaritas, $6 sangria, $5 house wine, $5 salsa mexicana and chips, $7 veggie nachos, and $5 select beer
Not just for parents weekend, White Dog offers some serious
happy hour deals on both food and drinks. All–day Monday 50% off bottles of wine Monday–Friday, 4–7 p.m. $5 wine, 4 drafts, 5 cocktails, $6 for 6 oysters, $4 sides, $8 apps, $10 shared plates
$9.99 fajitas 5–10 p.m. $3 coronas 4–11 p.m.
Saturday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
Don't get me wrong, Pod is pretty good, but it's also pretty pricey. Their happy hour food deals let you embrace the hip ambience without breaking the bank.
$3 Bloody Marys and mimosas
NEW DECK TAVERN
Probably the most standard of bar happy hours near campus, It doesn't get more convenient their happy options are as than Tap. Classic and reliable, bar–basic as they come. at Tap you know what you're going to get—and it's going Monday–Friday, 5–7 p.m. to be drink. Happy hour $1 off all beer, cocktails, and provides a decent discount, wine by the glass and transitions you right into $6 Appetizers (Chicken Tendinner (Tap pizza, anyone?). ders, Nachos, Quesadillas, &
Monday–Friday, 5–7 p.m. $2 off all drafts and house wine, $6 sparkling sangria
Copa is always down to turn up. Exams end on a Monday? Head to Copa! They have a different special every day of the week. Monday–Thursday 5–7 p.m. & Friday 4–7 p.m. $3 & $4 draft beers, $3 well cocktails, $6 nachos, and $6 chicken and veggie quesadillas All–day Monday
Monday–Friday, 5–7 p.m. $6 select cocktailsHalf–off draft beer $6 sauvignon blanc and pinot noir $6–9 select appetizers (including unagi roles, cucumber roles, tuna poke, robata corn)
Monday all–day Tuesday–Saturday 3–6 p.m. $2.50 pints, $7.50 pitchers and $15 pizza and pitcher
After two successful ventures in our locations at Bryn Mawr and Fishtown, Ekta takes University City. We oﬀer ﬁne dining, private event space, catering, delivery and take out and best of all, it's a BYOB.
106 S. 40th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104 ektaindianrestaurant.com
(215) 222-7122 Mon - Thurs: 11am to 10pm Fri & Sat: 11am to 11pm Sun: 11pm to 10pm
WINNER Best Indian Cuisine
$5 classic margs 12–7 p.m. 50% off mojitos 4–10 p.m.
Yeah, yeah, you've heard since you were a freshman that Smokes' "only gets good after midnight." Screw that. Sure, our beloved Pennstitution isn't as lit on at 5 p.m. on a Thursday as it is eight hours later, but still, Smokes' happy hour offers cheap beer and a discount on that heavenly pizza. You don't even have to walk that far.
Ekta Indian Cuisine
Lunch Buﬀet $9.99 Dinner Buﬀet $12.99 Get a 10% discount with your student ID! *Dine-in Only
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ROOSTER SOUP COMPANY
This Federal Donuts outpost has quite a few things going for it before you even step in the door: it takes Fed ‘Nuts’ famous chicken, uses the scraps and converts them into stock. The stock is then used to make the eponymous soups. The restaurant doesn’t carry its parent company’s trademark fried chicken or donuts, but it does live up
to the quality comfort food reputation. In addition, their mission statement is that “100% of our profits go to support vulnerable Philadelphians through Broad Street Ministry’s Hospitality Collaborative.” This Collaborative supports Philadelphians who are food insecure and serves meals daily (as if you needed another reason to go there).
ANNABELLE WILLIAMS From the people who brought you Fed 'Nuts
Our waiter, Dylan, responded openly and comprehensively to the question of vegetarian/vegan food on the menu—even with the famous chicken stock, they provided one vegan soup and one sandwich (Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Sloppy Joe, respectively). The wait staff was remarkably friendly and attentive.
SATURN CLUB HAIR SALON
ANY CHEMICAL SERVICE (VALID FOR FIRST TIME CUSTOMERS ONLY!)
Monday - Saturday | 10am- 6pm | 3426 Sansom St. | 215-387-8981 1 0 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E M A R C H 2 9 , 2 017
Service was fast and friendly, and the food was, in a word, excellent.
STREET ATE: PATTY MELT ($11): Hamburger meat cooked to perfection set atop toasted white bread. It’s diner fare, elevated, and Rooster did it well. Watch yourselves, though—it’s filling. MUSHROOM BARLEY SOUP ($7 PER BOWL): The first thing you’ll notice about this soup is parsley. Lots of it. Upon tasting it, though, the famous chicken stock comes into play. The rich and salty flavor of the chicken stock pairs well with the mushroom and barley. This light soup is sure to warm you up. COCONUT CREAM PIE ($7 PER SLICE): This will probably change your life. The chef here used to work at Percy Street Barbecue, a famous joint in Philly, and took some of the southern influences with her to Rooster. The flavor is perfect: not too sweet and just light enough. Cue “Best I’ve Ever Had” on the speakers, please.
STREET DRANK: ROOSTER ISLAND ICED TEA ($12) This drink was described by Dylan as a “Long Island for people who are old enough to drink.” It lived up to its description and veered away from the saccharine taste of some other Long Islands. GRASSHOPPER ($10): Real–mint creme de menthe complements vodka in this classic drink that tastes much lighter than your typical grasshopper. SCHUG MARGARITA (NOT YET ON MENU): Street inadvertently showed up at Rooster on National Margarita Day. The generous bartender thus allowed us to sample a drink he was in the process of creating. The savory margarita uses an herb blend called Schug, made from jalapeño, cilantro and parsley. The margarita features finely chopped ice and just a hint of garlic. The unorthodox flavors play extremely well with the savory drink. We can’t wait to see this on the official menu.
SUNDAY No, not some weird article about weekend eats. Just a really good restaurant. SARAH TYREE
Just two blocks from the bustle of Rittenhouse, iconic Philadelphia restaurant Friday Saturday Sunday has reopened its doors. Their upgrades include an almost entirely new staff—such as mixologist Paul McDonald, formerly of A. Bar. My ~hot date~ (aka my roommate) and I were eager to check out the new digs. We imbibed and vibed in the romantic candlelit upstairs dining room and sent a picture to her parents, who had frequented the joint during their romantic days at Penn. Though much has changed—including an almost entirely new staff (our waiter Budd Connelly was the only member of the waitstaff onboard pre–renovation) and a complete interior renovation, it maintains its classic charm and incredible quality. The drink menu includes offerings such as "Trigger Warning” and "Safe Space." We ordered the "Control State" (vodka, lime, grapefruit, honey and savory bitters) and "Assassin’s Handbook" (Jamaican rum, cognac, mulled wine shrub, averna, habanero) per Budd's recommendations, both for $13. It’s out of control how killer these drinks were. The cocktails alone would have been enough to bring us back, but we opened the menu for
kicks. Though they offer a few larger, entrée–style dishes as well, Friday Saturday Sunday’s focus is on small plates. We began with the oysters ($16). As a self–proclaimed oyster purist, I was wary of the house–made frozen meyer lemon mignonette, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was certainly different, but the icy tang was refreshing. By the time we’d made it to the bottom of our oyster tower, we’d also made it to the bottom of our cocktails—so naturally, we inquired about the wine selection. I was taken aback by a vast selection of grapes from regions of which I had never heard. Further inquiry uncovered a sommelier specializing in Middle Eastern Wines (I wasn't familiar with Middle East–produced wine. How educational!). Our next two dishes were vegetable dishes. I love a good steak as much as the next girl, so I was skeptical of a vegetable–centric meal that doesn't come from Sweetgreen. But I was blown away. The Charred Cauliflower ($13) was unbelievable and perfectly complimented by the tangy purée, and the Confit Carrots ($12) were some of the best I’ve ever had.
The Octopus ($16) was an interesting dish—a tad on the salty side, but also heartier than typical preparations with its gordo beans and pickled onions. It was, however, somewhat set aside when the Roasted Potato Gnocchi was set down beside it. My roommate described them as “small,
delicious pillows,” and I can’t say I disagreed. The smaller plate sizes were ideal, as they left just enough room to explore the dessert options. We were glad we did. The pastry chef at Friday Saturday Sunday specializes in ice cream. Any given day, one might find six half–eaten pints of Halo
Top in my freezer, but those couldn’t hold a candle to Tish Smith's house made, French– style ice creams. Their egg yolk base makes them creamier than standard ice creams and the exotic flavors (we sampled Moroccan Mint Tea and Honeycomb) were as tasty as they sounded interesting.
bar and restaurant
For the perfect graduation party! Philly Mag Top 50 Bar & Restaurant 2017 20th & Lombard (just over bridge) 2 Happy Hours Nightly Make reservations now
visit LouBirds.net call (267 ) 804 -7977 M A R C H 2 9 , 2 017 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 1 1
university square for a complete list of retailers, visit
this destination district includes over 100 businesses, cultural and recreational venues, and public spaces in and around penn’s campus, along the tree-lined blocks of chestnut, walnut and spruce streets between 30th and 40th street.
dining au bon pain 421 curie blvd.
kiwi frozen yogurt 3606 chestnut st.
auntie anne’s 3405 Walnut St.
mad mex 3401 walnut st.
beijing restaurant 3714 spruce st.
mediterranean cafe 3409 walnut st.
ben and jerry’s 218 S. 40th St.
metropolitan bakery 4013 walnut st.
blarney stone 3929 Sansom st.
nom nom ramen 3401 walnut st.
brysi 233 S. 33rd st.
o’chatto 3608 chestnut st.
cavanaugh’s tavern 119 s. 39th st.
philly pretzel factory philly is nuts 3734 spruce st.
cosi 140 s. 36th st. dunkin donuts 3437 walnut st. federal donuts 3428 sansom st. fresh grocer 4001 walnut st. greek lady 222 s. 40th st. hip city veg 214 s. 40th st. honeygrow 3731 walnut st. hubbub coffee 3736 spruce st.
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kitchen gia 3716 spruce st.
pod 3636 sansom st. qdoba 230 s. 40th st. saladworks 3728 spruce st. saxby’s coffee 4000 locust st. smokey joe’s 210 s. 40th st. spread bagelry 3602 Chesnut st. taco bell 3401 walnut st. wawa 3604 chestnut st. 3744 spruce st.
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TLDR: A new all–day café with great coffee and even better food just across the Walnut Street bridge.
You can just stay in one place and eat all day.
3549 Chestnut St (215) 387-8808 sangkeenoodlehouse.com
15% off with this coupon (Expires 4/1) | Not valid with other offers
Order online Dinner Buffet - $12.95 for Pick-up CLASS OF or delivery Student Discounts For Fast Delivery Call 215-386-1941 Lunch Buffet - $9.95 Exp.2/23/12 4/11/12 Exp.
2016 Welcome Available with Valid I.D.
Buffet • Drinks Specials • Take-out
Exp.2/23/12 4/11/12 Exp.
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For Fast Delivery Call 215-386-1941
Exp.2/23/12 4/11/12 Exp.
When you get tired of the same University City coffee shops, stroll across the Walnut Street Bridge to the new hybrid concept café, Res Ipsa. Brought to Rittenhouse by the team behind Fishtown’s ReAnimator Coffee and Stock, Res Ipsa, an all–day café, is the new kid on the Philly food scene. Res Ipsa will bring you back to study abroad memories, courtesy of its Scandinavian style. The sunlight is ample; the music is calming and low. Lined with white marble tables, the small dining room is anchored by a large espresso machine cranking out shots from ReAnimator Coffee beans. Above the espresso machine hangs the small menu board with the cafés offerings. What the café lacks in quantity, they make up for in quality. Make no mistake: the fare of Res Ipsa goes far beyond the typical café food. The chef, Michael Vincent Ferrari, has worked in the kitchens of renowned Philly restaurants Zahav and Stock. The majority of the food is already made. Homemade pastries and savory snacks are served from a tray. Quick options include individually sized focaccia (with toppings including a sweet choice of pomegranate, ricotta, and a lime leaf glaze), empanada– esque hand pie, and a root vegetable cake with cream cheese icing and pepitas. The one made–to–order
Don't Miss: the breakfast sandwich with fennel cardamom sausage Price: $
item offered during the day is their signature breakfast sandwich. Served on a house– made English muffin, they elevate the classic by replacing an egg with a fluffy frittata square and the pleasantly bitter notes of an herb hot spread. There are several options for additions including spinach, fennel sausage, and pancetta; I recommend the fennel cardamom sausage. Admittedly, the sandwich is small. But, considering Rittenhouse prices, it is a steal at $4.50. After the cream and sugar are stashed away, the lights dim and candles are lit, transforming the café into an intimate BYO with a Southern Italian flair. Their main plates are meant for sharing. There are two family–style entrée options: a whole fish or roast chicken. Your table can also choose from an array of house–made pasta and salad options. The sharable plates boast traditional Sicilian flavors and ingredients such as a beet and ricotta salad, composed of roasted disks of red beets anchored by whipped ricotta and toasted almond. Or, you branch out and go for the octopus served with squid ink pasta. Word to the wise: don't kill the classy vibe, and leave the Franzia at home. Come grab a table, and spend your day camped out here before the rest of the city does (and yes, the Wi–Fi is free).
BAGELS OR BAE GOALS DINING GUIDE
Picture this: the weekend rolls around, you’re too incapacitated to get ready for a full brunch, but you still want something delicious to munch on. Bagels it is, then. We disagree with those "New York over all else" sentiments—Philly's bagels are top notch.
Spread Bagelry 3602 Chestnut Street Nestled on the intersection of 36th Street and Chestnut Street is Spread Bagelry. A Sunday brunch staple for many Penn students, Spread is home to Montreal–style bagels, which means they are “artisanal, hand rolled, [and] boiled in honey water.” The delicate care involved in making these bagels shows, and Spread has an impressive selection of homemade spreads available, including sea-
sonal sweet berry, hummus de jour and smoked nova salmon. If you’re in the mood for something a little heartier, they also offer bagel sandwiches. Check out the wood oven tuna melt, with melted gruyere, tomato and homemade tuna salad or the roast chicken cheesesteak, with
spinach, mushroom, grilled red onion and melted provolone. Pair that with a poppy or cinnamon raisin bagel, and you’ve got yourself a hell of a Sunday.
725 Walnut Street Knead It is definitely one the coziest of the bagelries listed, with the most seating available. The aesthetic is warm and welcoming, and it’s the perfect place to get a quick bite to eat on a weekend morning. Knead It has more savory than sweet bagel styles, but quality above quantity, right? Some of the sweet pairings can satisfy even the pickiest
eaters. They do offer some “non– traditional” bagel flavors—from black sesame to fennel and sea salt. I opted for Lavender bagel with Vanilla Honey Cream Cheese. It’s a sweet, crispy bagel with a hint of honey that leaves a somewhat strange aftertaste. While the small space offered a few salads, I’d recommend sticking to their namesake.
Schmear It 3601 Market Street Suite 5 Located right across from SHS sits Schmear It’s first brick–and–mortar location. It’s a tiny bagelry that shares a space with a PWS, meaning there aren’t a lot of seats available, but it does have the best selection of savory and sweet concoctions. As a bonus, the staff is also very friendly. A bagel with spread starts at a price of $3, with customizations priced at 50 cents each. If you want something a little more filling, egg sandwiches start at $4 with egg
and you can add tuna, whitefish, or salmon salad for a dollar. Their custom bagel sandwiches fall on a spectrum ranging from the Fruit Smoothie, topped with strawberries, apples, bananas and mangos to the “Dragon,” with jalapenos, walnuts and red pepper. On their website, you can even submit your “dream
Chestnut Street Bagels
1705 Chestnut Street Chestnut Street Bagels, your resident rainbow bagel provider, is a tiny restaurant near the Liberty Place shops in Center City. It’s not really a place to sit and eat, but the place does have fast service and a good selection for those early morning bagel runs. A bagel paired with a spread is only $2.40, making Chestnut Street Bagels the most budget–friendly place on the list (though it is a bit of a trek from campus). The rainbow bagel pairs great
with the raisin apple cream cheese for a sweet surprise. There are also traditional breakfast sandwiches available and a few specialty sandwiches, including the Nutella Banana Honey (with bananas, honey and nutella) or the Turkey Cali (with turkey, avocado, pepper jack cheese and sprouts). As a side note, their coffee is ridiculously good.
Live music • Film • Dance • Theater Art Education • Community
Schmear It” idea to channel your inner bagel artistry. If, for some reason, you’re not feeling bagels that day, the store also offers a variety of oatmeal and yogurt parfaits.
March 30 @ 9:00 PM -1:00 AM The Gathering Admission is $3 before 10pm, $5 after 10pm April 1 @ 8:oo PM Event Horizon presents Kip Rosser, Electric DIamond, & George Wallace Electronic and ambient music Free admission!
As an alcohol-free/smoke-free venue, The Rotunda provides an invaluable social alternative for all ages.
4014 Walnut • TheRotunda.org
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HARP & CROWN DINING GUIDE
The newest crown jewel of the Philly restaurant scene.
Brick Oven Pizza All Day Delivery Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night Cold Beer (Can be Delivered)
Open 11 AM - 12 AM, Sun through Thurs Open 11 AM - 3 AM, Fri & Sat 3942 Spruce St. | 215.382.8158 www.allegropizza.com 1 6 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E M A R C H 2 9 , 2 017
Located on a lively portion of Samson Street, behind an unobtrusive door, is a world far away from 1920 Commons. While fairly new to the Philly restaurant scene, Harp & Crown has the kind of antique vibe you want your dream hipster boytoy to reflect. The restaurant is a huge open space: there's a front area that resembles a southern sunroom, a massive open dining area with large dining tables, booths, and banquette seats with round swing–arm tables for couples, as well as a free–floating island bar. The restaurant has an antique attic vibe, like a place where the older crowd could go to feel at home but still relevant. While waiting for your table, you can sit in the cozy “lounge area” sipping on a cocktail shaken by bartenders wearing bowties and suspenders. While not extensive, the cocktail menu has some unique offerings with witty names like the “Rather Dapper” and “Blind Man's Strike.” Regardless, I wouldn’t come here just for a drink. The bar area and cocktail menu feels like an afterthought and there are better options more worthy of twelve of your dollars a few doors down. Downstairs are more two– person tables, another bar, and two actual bowling lanes with a lounge area full of plush couches. I recommend asking for a table with a view of the bowling lanes: the sight of my neighbor’s pizza wasn’t the only thing making me droll. The place was full of beautiful people: think the perfectly hunky yet slim young professional in a slim flannel with tailored jeans and a 5 p.m. shadow, who is capable of holding a real conversation. Based on the décor, I was expecting the seasonally changing menu to feature heartier options. While you can indulge in a ribeye for two at Harp & Crown or short rib pappardelle, the majority of the options are lighter and smaller. We started our meal with the
big eye tuna crudo. The dish came with just six small slices of the raw tuna topped with a slim slice of apple, olive, and tahini and chili oil. However, what the dish lacked in quantity it made up with in quality: the fish almost melted in my mouth, and the sweet and savory elements complemented each other perfectly. Next we had the burrata, which was complemented by kumquats, pistachios, and honey. The burrata was served with only four small pieces of mundane sub–par toast. While the burrata had the ideal runny consistency, the kumquats and mix of nuts and honey just didn’t seem to mesh. I wouldn’t waste your cheese allowance on this one. As healthy, grown–ass women we had to get our veggies in of course. We went for the roasted garlic brussels sprouts with chestnut streusel. Hands down, these were the best Brussels sprouts I’ve ever had. As someone who gets excited about going home because it means I can roast Brussels sprouts, this is saying a lot. Unexpectedly, the chestnut streusel complemented the savory flavors perfectly. We ended on a high note with the smoked octopus pizza topped with mozzarella, broccolini, almonds, and red chili. The perfect crust was baked to perfection and the smoked flavor tasted like it was infused into the dough. Don’t get me wrong, Harp & Crown could definitely be read as trying as hard as a freshman girl at NSO. I mean their waiters wear suspenders. There are massive rusted chandeliers and antique portraits, all meant to make their image feel homey and authentic. But to their credit, their aesthetic is well– curated, the food is delicious, and two hours in Harp & Crown felt like an experience, not just a meal. Give Harp & Crown a shot. Photo: @harpcrown / Instagram
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RESTAURANTS TO SABS
For those of us sick of Frontera. EMILY SCHWARTZ
bar & restaurant in center city, philadelphia
1511 Locust St. 215-732-5797 1801 JFK Blvd. 267-928-4297
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If there’s one thing we Penn kids are good at, it’s knowing how to SABS. Seeing and being seen is one of our most proud achievements, regarded just as highly as being able to stay up the latest out of your friends in Huntsman or being on a first name basis with Lyn. Luckily, we go to school in a city that offers far more venues to SABS than the tables outside Frontera and the benches outside Van Pelt—Parc Restaurant, The Continental Mid–town, and Elixr Coffee Roasters just to name a few. To aid Penn students in our SABSing efforts, I recently tried all three. Let me go ahead and say it— there’s nothing better than brunch at Parc on a warm Sunday afternoon. Yes, I know I may face some eye–rolls from those who believe Parc is too sceney, too corporate, too Steven Starr, but I don’t mind. It’s something about the French bistro’s black and white tiled floors, inviting red awnings, or outdoor tables facing Rittenhouse Square that just make Parc feel like a special occasion. That aside, it’s the perfect place to SABS—at 2:00 p.m. on a Sunday, way past peak brunch hour, the restaurant was still packed. Parc is known for its egg dishes at brunch, like its famous Eggs Benedict ($15), but the menu still satisfies non–breakfast lovers like me. I opted for the Onion Soup Gratineé ($12.50) as my first course: basically a beautiful, piping hot bowl of cheese baked over the rich, steaming broth. It’s as delicious as it is fun to engage in the battle of piercing that nearly impenetrable cheesy crust. For my entrée, I chose the Chicken Paillard ($14.50), a lighter dish composed of a chicken breast topped with a flavorful almond olive tapenade and a frisée salad. If you’re dining at Parc, be sure not to skip the bread basket at the beginning of the meal, another Parc classic. Dive headfirst into the diverse spread of cranberry walnut bread, French bread, and sourdough.
Though equally SABS–y, I was less thrilled with Continental, another Steven Starr and Rittenhouse Square staple. Continental seems like it’s a bit confused about its identity, and to be honest, so was I. Although that might be the point, Continental was too mismatched for my taste, from the clashing furniture to the unrelated flavors on the menu. First up was a Crispy Calamari Salad ($14) with carrots, tomatoes, sprouts and soy–sesame dressing. The salad definitely tasted good, but wasn’t unlike any other calamari salad I’ve had at other Philly restaurants. To stay in the Asian–flavors theme, I followed the salad with Grilled Thai Chicken Skewers ($13) served with jasmine rice and peanut sauce: another safe, solid order. I left feeling satisfied, but still confused about the dishes I chose to forego—Cheesesteak Eggrolls ($15) and French Onion Soup Dumplings ($10) among them. Last up was Elixr Coffee Roasters, my newfound favorite Philadelphia coffee shop. Elixr was definitely a great place to see and be seen—but refreshingly, not by Penn students. Instead, the place was chock–full at 9 a.m. on a Thursday morning with yoga–goers and young professionals alike, and felt like the perfect place to get off campus for an hour or two. I was equally thrilled with the vibes as I was with my order—eclectic wallpapers and dark wood lined the café, nicely complementing my cool iced matcha latte and gluten free banana bread (gluten free means healthy, right?). The whole thing cost $7.25. As someone who doesn’t drink coffee, I was pleased with the plentiful other drink options on the menu and the extensive pastry case. There’s no doubt that Philly is full of places to SABS. Check out these three next time you’re looking to fill that sceney craving—be it a big basket of bread or steaming latte and pastry in front of you, you certainly won’t regret it.
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DINING GUIDE FILM FILM FILM
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You’ll pick clusters of CHOCOLATE MOUSSE: The filling and frosting gush coconut off your carpet for days if • 215.387.8533 • •215.387.8533 *A*A*A simple simp sim PattayaRestaurant.com PattayaRestaurant.com PattayaRestaurant.com 215.387.8533 you’re not careful. But this donut with rich, whipped, velvety chocof of 100 of100 100 Penn Pen P • University • •University is beyond worth it—this baby’s olate. So. Much. Chocolate. Each 4006 4006 4006 Chestnut Chestnut Chestnut Street Street Street University City City City surveyed surveyed surveyed to to c Nirvana for any coconut lover. bite sings. 8 88 their their their film film fivie lmv M A R C H 2 9 , 2 017 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 1 9
OPEN LATE & LATE NITE DELIVERY
SUN-THURS: 10AM - 2AM • FRI-SAT: 10AM - 4AM WE MAKE ORDERING EASY! CALL DIRECT OR CHOOSE YOUR ONLINE OR MOBILE DEVICE
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4438 Chestnut St. 2 0 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E M A R C H 2 9 , 2 017
215-557-0940 401 N. 21st St.
They have more followers than you and don't care who knows it.
BEHIND THE FOODSTAGRAM DALTON DESTEFANO
Admit it: in the weeks after you got into Penn, you started checking Philly food Instagrams. Over the past few years, food accounts have blown up on Instagram; millions of people follow these pages to look at pictures of pizza, pasta, ice cream and countless other foods. Philly Foodies and Freshmen15 are two food accounts that hit close to home—one is based in our beloved city, and another is run by a current Penn student. Philly Foodies is an account that posts multiple pictures a day from numerous Philly restaurants; you’ve probably used it before when deciding where to go to eat over the weekend. Freshmen15 is an account with a completely different concept: it features food found near colleges across the country. Street spoke with people behind these two accounts to see what it’s like being Insta–famous. PHILLYFOODIES Street: To start off, just give us a little background on yourself. Philly Foodies: Well, my name is Mollie. I grew up in Lafayette Hills, Pennsylvania, and that’s where I still live now. I went to school at Penn State, studied communications and I minored in psychology. And now I work at a media buying and planning agency. Street: When did you start Philly Foodies? PF: I started it July 2014. I remember just like posting a lot of food photos on my own personal Instagram. I had, like, a couple in a row where I was like, alright, this is getting annoying, do my friends want to see this on my personal page? And that’s when I started to see a lot of the New York accounts come about: there weren’t many Philly ones, so I thought I should just make one based in Philly because that’s where I’m from and that’s where I’m eating out all the time. I thought it was like a niche market at the time—now there are so many accounts, but mine was one of the first. Street: Do you remember what your first post was? PF: Yeah, it was ice cream from Philly Flavors on Fairmount [Avenue]. Street: Do you have a specific type of food that you really like to post? PF: I think anything cheesy works great for pictures, because you can do the “cheese pull” and
sometimes you can take videos of them. But yeah, I love trying to do anything different with my food pictures. Street: Do you edit your photos, and do you have a specific app you use? PF: I don’t really edit them. I just will use the brightening thing on the actual Instagram app, but I think the best tip for getting a good food photo is honestly the lighting in the restaurant. Like if you can sit near a window in the daylight, it sounds so stupid, but you’ll get the best pictures. Or if it’s like a dark restaurant or its nighttime, I’ll have my friends or family hold their phone flashlights to like get good lighting so it’s not just with flash and its not just dark. Street: Do restaurants treat you differently if they find out who you are? PF: I never go to a restaurant and tell them who I am, it’s just not who I am and not what I’m about. But like when I’m getting invited to these events it’s mostly just trying their food for free, so that’s a really great perk. Street: What’s a restaurant that isn’t too popular, yet one that you want everyone to know about? PF: I don’t know, I feel like Harp and Crown is new on the scene, but I feel like there’s been so much buzz already. I went there and it was so good. I guess it’s like a newer place but I would definitely recommend. Street: This might be a random question, but do you put
the fact that you’re basically Insta–famous on your resume? PF: I do put it on my resume, because I feel like it’s great marketing experience, like I’m working one–on–one with brands and restaurants helping them with their social media and doing giveaways and sponsored posts and stuff. So yeah, it’s definitely good experience. FRESHMEN15 INTERVIEW: NIKKI SELIGSOHN (C'18) Street: Give us some background on yourself. F15: I’m Nikki, and I’m from Boca Raton, Florida. I grew up there, and I’m 21. I’m majoring in PPE. Street: So why did you start Freshmen15? F15: We started Freshmen15 the summer going into college, so in 2014, and it was me and my four high school best friends. Food accounts were just starting to become popular on Instagram then and we thought of a new creative idea that hadn’t been done yet—why don’t we upload food from each of our respective colleges because we all went to five different colleges across the country? So we thought it would be interesting to kind of document our meals at our different schools and we didn’t really expect it to gain a following, but it did. Street: What was the first thing you posted from Penn? F15: Probably one of the first
would’ve been at Green Eggs Café. I went the first week of coming to Penn and we got like the cookie dough French toast and the red velvet pancakes there. Street: How did you get over 200,000 followers? F15: It took a while to get popular. In the beginning we only had like 1,000 followers. Then we kept continually posting and keeping up with it, and I’d say probably last year is when it started to get really big, and once we hit 50,000 followers we kind of doubled in two months
and it just grew really exponentially from there. I think it had to do with both Instagram changing its algorithm, more stuff on the explore page, but also, since we tag the location as a college, if your friend goes to that college or wants to go to that college you’ll probably tag them in that photo. So a lot of word of mouth of friends tagging each other in our photos and stuff. Read more online at 34st.com
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THE BEST ICE CREAM AROUND MERCER’S WINE ICE CREAM
This dairy manufacturer from Boonville, NY has paired two of people’s favorite things— wine and ice cream—together in a beautiful, paper pint of joy. The blend did not disappoint. Not only did it taste just like the perfect, frozen combination between wine, cream and milk, but Mercer’s wine ice cream also gives you that same warmth in the stomach that you will feel after you take a sip of wine. That’s because Mercer’s uses actual alcohol as a flavoring: the product contains up to 5% alcohol by volume. Technically, it’s an “adult dessert,” restricted to those lucky few who have passed their 21st birthday. With ten flavors organized by wine type (blush, sparkling and white), Mercer’s pairs the notes of the wine with a similar ice cream flavor. For example, “Shiraz” is the product of bite–size dark chocolate cups filled with raspberry and Shiraz wine, which is known for its rich aromas of berry and smoky orange peel. Order a few pints online and impress your friends at your next night in! Where to Buy: Available to order from their website Not to Miss: Riesling, Cherry Merlot, Shiraz Photo: Dennis Amith / Flickr
PSA: Wine Ice Cream Exists LINDA LIN
TAIWANESE SHAVED ICE Taiwanese shaved ice is neither ice cream nor snow cone, but falls somewhere in between. It's more like thinly shaved ribbons of ice. Shaved ice has a unique texture, reminiscent of a frozen, denser cotton candy. The treat has gained popularity over the past few months: Winterfell Dessert, a local hotspot specializing in the frozen treat, has been packed since its opening this past summer. You can either build your own shaved ice or choose one of their preconfigured specials. Each sixteen–ounce cup comes with your chosen flavor of shaved ice as well as toppings and dressings. At Winterfell, flavors options include “sweet” ones (honeydew, mango, strawberry, lychee) and “savory” ones (taro, sesame, green tea), and the toppings and dressings are similar to what a regular ice cream shop would offer. It is best to enjoy a bite with a bit of ice and all the toppings so that you can enjoy the mixture of different textures and balance out the coldness. Bonus point: the interior design of Winterfell is very customer–friendly, with pop music videos playing on four screens, comfortable sofas and childhood board games. Where to Buy: Winterfell Dessert, 32 S. 40th Street Not to Miss: “Taipei” (green tea shaved ice with red bean, mochi and grass jelly toppings)
HALO TOP CREAMERY Your ultimate go–to ice cream on a diet, Halo Top produces low–calorie, low–sugar and high–protein ice cream—with all–natural ingredients. Inside one pint of the Lemon Cake flavor, there are only 240 calories, 6g fat and 16g sugar, all of which are about a fourth of the amount in a serving of Ben & Jerry’s. However, the lack of sugar does not correspond to a lack in taste. Halo Top uses organic stevia as a sugar replacement and an all–natural sweetener called Erythritol. The ice cream maintains its creaminess but is a bit lighter than your typical pint. The 17 flavors range from traditional choices like strawberry and mint chip, to more unique options like pistachio and black cherry. They don't disappoint, but can have a slight chalky texture if consumed straight from the freezer. Street advises that you let it sit out for a few minutes before diving into in this guilt–free treat. Where to Buy: Fresh Grocer, Whole Foods and Rittenhouse Market Not to Miss: Red Velvet, Oatmeal Cookie, Chocolate Almond Crunch 2 2 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E M A R C H 2 9 , 2 017
WIZ KID: PHILLY'S BEST VEGAN CHEESECAKE DINING GUIDE
No, that’s not an oxymoron, and yes, carnivores can enjoy it too.
Between 2001 and 2014, Vedge and V–Street owners Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau opened two restaurants, outgrew two others, and wrote four cookbooks. But they didn’t dare make a cheesesteak. They may not eat meat, but the reigning royalty of the Philadelphia vegan food scene knew that the city’s iconic cheesesteak is a sandwich that demands to be taken seriously. Two years ago, they got serious. Wiz Kid, the duo’s new fast–casual enterprise, delivers a cheesesteak as serious as any. And yes, it’s vegan. Though other restaurants in the city have been serving seitan cheesesteaks with packaged vegan cheeses for years, Wiz Kid owes its unique success to its namesake “wiz.” Jacoby spent two years developing the “wiz,” and that time that has paid off since Wiz Kid’s October opening inside the gargantuan new Center City Whole Foods. The secret, surprisingly, is rutabaga. It confers a subtly cheesy flavor to the sauce, enhanced by the addition of miso, nutritional yeast (a parmesan–like vegan staple), and vegan mayo. The Whole Foods stand offers three sandwiches: The WK Chopped (a veggie and tofu powerhouse topped with green goddess dressing), the KFT (Korean Fried Tempeh), and the Wiz Kid Philly, all priced at $11. The eponymous sandwich comes piled high with marinated seitan, mushrooms, fried onions, spicy pickled peppers, and, of course, the wiz. For an extra kick, try the togarashi fries, which come covered in a punchy Japanese seven–spice blend containing nori, sesame, and chili pepper ($4).
As a meatless Philly native and longtime fan of Jacoby and Landau’s collaborations, I had high expectations for the Wiz Kid Philly sandwich. The meat–eater who came with me didn’t. We ended up meeting somewhere in the middle. Every element of the sandwich is absolutely incredible. The seitan is tender and completely permeated by the juicy marinade, while perfectly sweet with hints of smoke. The mushrooms and onions are sautéed to perfection, although we’d have preferred a slightly higher ratio of veggies to seitan. Even the hefty potato roll that the “cheesesteak” is served on has an incredible flavor. The highlight of the sandwich, undoubtedly, is the wiz, with a dead–on consistency and taste that won our meat–eater’s full approval. The sandwich only falls short in the textural marriage of its ingredients. When assembled, the sandwich is definitely messy to eat, but it lacks some of the juicy, carnal sloppiness of a real Philly cheesesteak. While the seitan is far from dry, our biggest complaint was that the substituted protein didn’t really soak into the bread in the way you’d expect from a cheesesteak. This isn’t exactly the seitan’s fault—one extra spoonful of marinade or broth poured right onto the bread probably could have created that soggy on the inside, crispy on the outside balance that Philly loves so much. Our advice: don’t pass up on this spot. You’d be hard–pressed to find better and more creative sandwiches in Philadelphia. Just check your cheesesteak– purist attitude at the door and keep an open mind. M A R C H 2 9 , 2 017 3 4 T H S T R E E T M A G A Z I N E 2 3
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