September 19, 2016 |
'You've got to have one of these," Steven Balin said as he opened the door to Lily of the Valley Cupcakery and Cafe in Glenside. "One of these" was a strawberry shortcake cupcake, a diet-buster unless one is your limit. This particular variety turned out to be Balin's sit-down-and-consume choice of the moment, but he had Lily of the Valley's co-owner, Terence Baldwin, pack up a few more, as well as others in the cupcakery's portfolio of sweet treats. "There are 19 kids in our neighborhood in Center City, and they love them," Balin explained.
May 22, 2015
There's ironic turnabout in the recent arrival of New York City's Cantonese dim sum classic, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, in a former hardware space on 13th Street. Philly's Chinatown, founded in 1880, was dominated by Cantonese flavors until just the last decade, when menus began veering toward a more diverse menu of regional flavors from Sichuan, Xi'an, and Shanghai, whose "soup dumplings" ( xiao long bao ) are all the rage at Dim Sum Garden and elsewhere. Now Wilson Tang of Nom Wah hopes to sway local diners back to those Cantonese roots: "I want to get peoples' minds away from xiao long baos . " Nom Wah's own lackluster soup dumplings (thick-skinned yet frustratingly fragile)
March 20, 2015
The truck: The dumpling has landed, folks. The missing link in Philly's food-truck scene. Mobile. Boiled. Fried. Go traditional or branch out with a specialty. Also, there are spring rolls. Welcome to Dump-N-Roll, the sandwich-n-taco alternative. Taste test: Peter Tong, who has been cooking for about 10 years, including stints at Susanna Foo and Morimoto, agreed to whip up some dumplings for us yesterday at the mobile-food commissary in Brewerytown. We were not disappointed.
January 12, 2014 |
RESTAURANTS Banana Leaf 1009 Arch St., 215-592-8288; bananaleafphilly.com This Penang spin-off has overtaken the original as my favorite Chinatown Malaysian due to consistency and vivid flavors. Don't miss the delicate roti canai pancakes with chicken curry, spot-on satay, steamed poh piah jicama spring rolls, crispy whole fish in tangy Thai sauce, fried squid with funky "special sauce," or the richly curried beef rendang. Bar-Ly 101 N. 11th St., 215-922-2688; bar-ly.com Come here to drink and watch a game more than to eat. But Chinatown's first craft-beer bar has 60 taps with a generally high-quality lineup (Great Lakes, Unibroue, Staropramen)
July 27, 2013 |
A version of this review appeared in the Shore Dining Guide. Revel survived the hurricane but has been under water of a different sort - a bankruptcy it emerged from in May. Of course I knew Revel had issues last year when, during my review of the new casino's restaurants, I shook my head at the lack of an Asian noodle bar. Coincidence that a noodle bar, Yuboka, was one of the first new orders of business? I think not. It may surprise some that Jose Garces has been tapped to run it. But he does have some Asian experience with Chifa, and the sectioned-off platform of raised counter seats, set between the gambling floor and Amada, is already a bustling hub of noodle-slurping and steamer-basket feasts.
December 6, 2012
Konstantinos Pitsillides isn't exaggerating when he calls the plump dumplings known as manti a "sensitive issue. " Just ask the diner of Turkish descent who picked a fight with the Kanella chef/owner one recent evening. The diner asked "how dare I make manti?" said the Cypriot chef, culturally conscious of the dish thanks to Turkey's invasion and occupation of part of his Mediterranean island homeland. "I asked, 'Did you like it?' He said it's one of the best he's ever had. " Turks are prideful about manti in part because it can be traced to the Ottoman Empire, but its populist deliciousness has universal appeal.
November 23, 2011
Chinatown's Michael Chow and his Sang Kee noodle machine is in rapid suburban expansion mod, branching out simultaneously into Cherry Hill (where he's co-owner) and Newtown Square where he's just consulting). Crafted in the modern spirit of his successful Wynnewood locale, the Cherry Hill space is a sleek but tiny 45-seat BYO with no reservations. But a recent weekend meal showed why there are steady lines already. South Jersey has few Chinese kitchens that can match Sang Kee for its fresh, affordable, authentic Hong Kong flavors.
July 14, 2011
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat: C.L.: Anyone visit the Vendy awards in the Piazza Sunday? We've got video of the event, shot by one of our intrepid interns, Greg Thomas (Philly.com/vendys). I was tickled to see that one of our veteran food trucks, Gigi's, was the Vendy Cup winner, not one of the nouveau fusion additions. It would have been so easy for Guapos Tacos to take that prize, but ... I just had a FAN-TASTIC Caribbean lunch from Gigi's.
May 21, 2011
You've probably heard by now that some folks believe the apocalypse will get under way Saturday evening, with the four horsemen already clip-clopping up to the starting gate and the seven-headed beast tugging at the leash. Chances are, most of you aren't buying it. Suit yourself, but it never hurts to be prepared. So, in case the end is at hand, here are a few recommendations for music, TV shows, movies, meals, poems, and books (short ones, natch) you might want to sample before time runs out. And if the sun comes up tomorrow, no harm done.
October 3, 2010 |
I see in the listings in the calendar of months in my copy of The Dumpling: A Seasonal Guide that, along with bacon and sage roly-poly, and always-popular beef-stuffed plantain balls in a cassava-corn soup, the cheddar cheese and potato pierogi (and its lentil-onion version of Polish parentage) gets a shout-out under October. This, it turns out, fits neatly with the trajectory of my latest pierogi safari, begun this summer at Silk City Diner, the hipster hangout on Spring Garden Street, where a now-departed chef turned me on to a short-rib-stuffed pocket, and a secret of his frugal Polish grandmother: Use the water the potatoes cook in for the pierogi dough.