Sunday, April 28, 2013

Matyson - Philadelphia

Reading days = Eating days
We've been planning to go on our brunch outing for weeks and finally the day has come for us to go to Matyson. After cabbing over (too hungry to walk), we reached there and and were seated inside the cozy little restaurant. The place was pretty small, understated and lit only by the sun through the windows on the street-side of the restaurant. As soon as we were seated and given our menus, we all had the same thing in mind: chicken and waffles. After all, they were famous for it, and Shani loves her poultry & carbs ;) Nobody would budge choosing anything else (even though there were some other pretty good options like mushroom-asparagus skillet with sunny-side eggs and goat cheese, or brioche french toast with caramelized banana and strawberries). So we all settled with the same old dish :D Which we wouldn't regret a single bite of!

Chicken & waffle with Korean chili sauce, scallion waffle and fried egg

Before our walk back :)

37 S 19th St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 564-2925

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beau Monde - Philadelphia

Spinach, mushroom, swiss cheese crepe

It's finally the last day of classes -calling for a celebratory meal with my favorite! But what started out being a quick stop for a long awaited visit to this creperie before studying for finals turned out to be a full out day of nonstop eating from lunch to dinner. We started our gastronomical marathon at Beau Monde, a quirky little creperie with a distinctly French flair.

Naturally, Roopa and I both had been eyeing the same thing on the menu. We wanted savory crepes with a combination of any of the following ingredients: mushrooms, spinach, cheese, tomatoes, olives, etc. Rather than ordering two overly similar crepes, we decided to share one custom crepe between the two of us. We ordered the buckwheat crepe with swiss cheese, sautéed mushroom, and sautéed spinach (as you can see from the trio of toppings atop the crepe). The size was just perfect -not too much for you to be eating the same thing for, but not too little for you to still be needing more. Or was it? ;)

Dessert was also delicious. We were considering to get the banana, nutella crepe with hazelnut ice cream, but thought that it wouldn’t be worth going all the way there for something classic we could easily get at Houston. So we ended up getting the crepe with apples, toasted almonds, brown sugar, caramel and vanilla ice cream. The apples were sliced up, and the perfect level of cooked –they still had their shape, but were soft and warm throughout. The creamy vanilla ice cream and mound of whipped cream complemented the warm, cinnamony filling, and the toasted almond gave a nice crunch.
Sweet crepe with apples, toasted almonds, brown sugar, caramel and vanilla ice cream

Overall, we had a great meal. The service was very fast and the ambiance was super cozy. Definitely a recommended place for crepe lovers! (Who isn’t?!)
Cozy French-inspired interior

Beau Monde
624 S 6th St,
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(215) 592-0656

Dessert Pt.1 at Yogorino

Medium frozen yogurt with chopped hazelnut + chocolate-hazelnut-nougat sauce

There's definitely something up with Roopa and I. I think our appetites are irrepressible, and our stomachs endless. After dessert at Beau Monde, we wanted to go try out some froyo places on our way back to campus. We decided to walk back so that we could stop by at random shops to pick up some things and run some errands.
The walk down for froyo

We couldn't decide between Yogorino and Igloo -so obviously, why not try both? We decided to go to Yogorino first, because it was right across of Anju threads, so we could go right after eyebrow threading. Roopa had never gone before, so I told her it was a classic that she had to try. She said she wasn't a huge fan of just plain, tart froyo, but the toppings and sauces got her hooked. We got one with chocolate-hazelnut-nougat sauce, which hardened instantly. I loved how they hardened up into chunks of toffee-like bits. Personally, I think that the frozen yogurt itself is a bit overrated. It was very creamy and almost had the consistency of vanilla soft serve. The taste was a bit bland, not sweet like Kiwi, but not tart like Pinkberry or Sweetgreen.

1205 Walnut St
(215) 238-2669

Dessert Pt.2 At Igloo

Greek yogurt froyo with chopped almonds

Roopa and I weren't quite satisfied yet, so we decided to take one final stop at Igloo. After all, I had picked up two 25% off coupons from the Penn Appetit spring issue launching -which we forgot to use because we were so excited for our froyos. It took quite a while to find the place, but we finally did make it there and the froyo was delicious! I've been really looking forward to try out this new froyo joint, ever since Sherry introduced me to it, telling me they had Greek froyo. They were supposedly known for their Greek froyo, as well as a few specialty gelato flavors: dark chocolate hazelnut and salted caramel. Roopa and I got testers for both of the gelato flavors, but decided to skip them because they came in a fixed size, and we were up for some self-serve. The salted-caramel was my favorite between the two gelato flavors, though the dark chocolate had a nice hazelnutty undertone to it. I got the Greek froyo and found it to be very similar to the froyo at Yogorino -it was quite thick, creamy, plain and had a hint of tartness.

Igloo had a lot of flavors (perfect for Roopa's liking, as she prefferred these types of froyo over the plain one that we had earlier at Yogorino). Their tahitian vanilla was one of my favorites. They also had cookies & cream, peanut butter, dark chocolate and a few others. The toppings were good too, ranging from peanut butter chips to chopped nuts. I loved how the nuts were chopped quite coarsely, compared to the nuts at other froyo shops.

Our final treat of the outing

2223 Grays Ferry Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(267) 858-4290

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Garces Trading Co - Philadelphia

Brunch with big, g-big, g-big's bf, g-big's bf's little and g-big's bf's g-little ;)

Oil & vinegar heaven...

They had an incredible selection of oils and vinegars, from fruity vinegars to garlicky oils... Some really unique ones included the chili honey balsamic vinegar (one whiff goes straight up your nose with its spicy aroma), peach white vinegar (which tasted like a bellini), maple balsamic vinegar (thick and sweet), black truffle olive oil (super fragrant) and herb olive oil (very earthy). We took a bunch back to our table to try out :)
Gorgeous gbig :)

"We're known for our cheeses and charcuterie" 

All the guys ordered their steak and eggs, and us girls decided to split three dishes. We first decided on the mushroom pizza (using dough made with duck fat). Garces Trading Co was famous for their duck fat fries and pizza dough (both of which were delicious). The pizza was topped with a variety of cheese too, which added an interesting depth... From the shredded parmesan on top, to hints of what I thought to be blue cheese. There was a light truffle oil fragrance that was perfect and not at all overwhelming. We also chose to get the fruity pain perdu as well, balancing out the salty dish with sweetness. The pain  perdu was browned and slightly crispy on the outside, but had the soft and spongy texture of bread pudding inside, which also had bits of cranberry scattered throughout it. The dollop of lemon mascarpone on the side complemented the sweetness with a tangy sourness, and the sprinkled pistachios added a crunchy texture. It was so tasty that the syrup wasn't even necessary, though a drizzle of it did add a lovely sweetness. We decided to get a salad for our last main dish to incorporate our greens into it all ;)

Funghi duck fat pizza with maitakes, royal trumpets, taleggio and black truffle

Cranberry pain perdu with lemon mascarpone and pistachio rum butter

Duck fat fries

Steak & eggs x3 for all the (very original) boys hahaha :D

Dessert was a small slice of the delectable almond joy -a rich chocolate tart in a shell made of grated coconut. The fall-apart coconut shell was very buttery and crunchy -my favorite part of the dessert! The chocolate ganache quite clearly had a gingery undertone. The thing that impressed me most about all the dishes here is that the undertones claimed for all the dishes (e.g. for the oils, vinegars, pizzas, desserts, etc.) were very distinct and creative. Before leaving, gbig also got big and I some macarons (one salted caramel and one hazelnut-nutella). They were delicious!

Almond joy - coconut tart shell with valrhona chocolate & ginger ganache and almonds

My favorite foodie!!! <3

Garces Trading Company
1111 Locust St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 574-1099

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Random On-Campus Eats

Macaron fix from Sugar Philly (Mixed berry yogurt, green tea, chocolate ganache, tiramisu)

... For those days when you're feeling like a sweet little pick me up after classes in Huntsman, and the colorful Sugar Philly truck across the 38th and Walnut intersection is calling your name.
The owner pipes in the macaron filling immediately after each order, making sure the macarons are always super fresh. The macaron shells are crunchy on the outside, yet chewy inside; and the fillings are on the creamier/butterier side. Their classic macaron flavors are chocolate ganache, tiramisu and milk & honey, and they have a daily special that ranges from green tea to lemon-poppyseed. I haven't tried their other desserts, but apparently, they have a pretty mad cheesecake and creme brûlée too! Check out their menu and daily specials here.

Sugar Philly Truck
38th between Sansom & Walnut
Philadelphia, PA 19104


Oatmeal from McClelland - LOL

... For those mornings when you feel like it's seriously about time you swipe.
Monday and Thursday are oatmeal days for breakfast at McClelland. Otherwise, you get grits or cream of wheat -yikes. The oatmeal is probably the one thing at McClelland that I actually look forward to. After the lady rejects the bowl you hand over to her, plops a few scoops of oatmeal into one of her own bowls and hands it over to you with a snarl. Oh yes, good morning to you too.
I always top my warm bowl of oatmeal off with some granola to add some crunchy sweetness, as well as some peanut butter to add some flavor!

McClelland Dining Hall
The Quad
3700 Spruce St


Tonkotsu ramen at Ramen Bar 

... For those days when your best friend (as per usual) is craving some noodle.
I went over to the then newly-opened Ramen Bar just a few steps off campus with Maylynn at the start of the school year. The place was really new and modern, and the servers were all very enthusiastic. We both decided to order the classic tonkotsu ramen with straight noodles to be safe. The portions were quite generous (typical for any ramen restaurant) and the menu had quite a few interesting choices (they had quite a few donburi rice dishes like katsudon too). The texture of the broth was a bit too creamy and thick for my liking. I would've preferred something lighter that wouldn't be so difficult to finish. I'm really looking forward to try out the ramen at Nom Nom Ramen too, which is also known to have some pretty good pork belly buns.

Ramen Bar
4040 Locust St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 243-9999


Chicken schwarma in whole-wheat pita with everything (hummus, vegetables, onions, harif hot sauce and tahini)
Hearty pita sandwich from Hummus Grill

... For those days when a salad just won't do it.
Let's face it, sometimes we feel so hungry that we really need something hearty to really satisfy ourselves. After the first time I came to Hummus for dinner with my WAX mentor, Mark, I had come to realize how much of a gem Hummus was. They served the schwarma in a hot pita pocket (your choice between whole-wheat or regular) and top it with everything that ranges from the cool to hot side of the spectrum. I'm talking about refreshing cucumbers and tomatoes all the way to the tangy hot sauce (which I always ask for extra of). The combination of all the temperatures of flavors really hits my soft spot. I hear their falafel is pretty good too, but after my first chicken schwarma sandwich, I just had to order a repeat.

Hummus Grill
3931 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 222-5300


Bella Donna (tofu meatballs on rice & vegetables with cheese) from Magic Carpet

... For those days when you're just not feeling like you're up for meat.
Every time I walk back to the upper quad gate from somewhere on the east side of campus (ugh, DRL), I always pass by the longggg line of people at Magic Carpet. I decided to try it out one day for lunch to see if it really was worth the hype. That time, I got the marinated baked tofu salad, and frankly was not impressed. I was confused why the line won't just spread out to just pick up food from the other less-crowded food trucks... Still skeptical, yet curious, I decided to try it again a few months later -maybe I just made the wrong order all those months ago. With the suggestion of a friend, I got the Bella Donna with a side of pita. To my surprise and delight, it was far better than my first choice. The rice had a variety of vegetables throughout it and was drenched in a very tasty, hearty tomato sauce. It came with a few tofu meatballs (which I didn't even realize were tofu) and topped generously with cheese.

Magic Carpet Food Truck
36th and Spruce by the Lower Quad Gate
Philadelphia, PA 19104


Chinese food at Beijing

... For those days when you're missing home.
Beijing was a classic for Maylynn and I whenever we felt like having some Chinese food at the window seat and watching people pass by outside. I mean, it was literally only a few steps away. Personally, I prefer their food over Sangkee's and haven't found any other Chinese places in the city, with the exception of Han Dynasty, that I really liked. I love a lot of their veggie dishes, especially their clay pot eggplant and anything from their all-natural menu (see the miso-ginger vegetables with brown rice above). In fact, I could easily just down a warm bowl of their brown rice with the satisfying chili oil... The bubble tea though? Let's not go there... TeaDo instead!

3714 Spruce St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 222-5242


Late-night Insomnia runs with Roops!

... For those days when your favorite sweet tooth is having a late-night cookie craving.
Okay, these cookies are ubiquitous. Almost every meeting, birthday, study session and event I've attended had served boxes of Insomnia cookies and cakes. But I'm not complaining. They're always super buttery and chewy inside, but crisp on the outside. Plus, always warm thanks to the delivery hours until 3AM. My favorites are easily: chocolate chunk, snickerdoodle, white chocolate macadamia and peanut butter.

Insomnia Cookies
University of Pennsylvania
3417 Spruce St
(877) 632-6654


Sweet potato and beef tacos from Honest Tom's

... For those days when you're up for a nice walk to the row of restaurants on 44th.
Honest Tom's is a quaint little place beside some other pretty cute restaurants on 44th street. They had small soft tacos for $3 each, so when I went there with Bella and San, we tried one of sweet potato, beef, and steak & yucca. Apparently, they were best known for their sweet potato tacos though! Overall, I thought they were alright -a bit too small for my liking. We continued over to Tampopo and shared a hot stone bulgogi and then had dessert at Lil Pop Shop! After all, we had already made it so far! How could we pass them up?

Honest Tom's Taco Shop
261 44th St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 620-1851


... For those Whartonites who live in Huntsman and frequent Bridge Cafe.
First of all, the parfaits are a staple. Seeing other people eating them in class always makes me dart straight to Bridge after class to get one too. I think I easily buy two a day on a regular basis. They very much frequent my instagram and snapchat. I don't know what it is about the parfaits recently though, the granola hasn't been as crunchy as they used to be, and on some days has been really tasteless, soggy and nasty. My new favorite for Friday mornings when Huntsman is empty is the breakfast scramble which comes with delicious home fries that I shower with hot sauce. Perfect Friday breakfast.

Bridge Cafe
The Wharton School, Jon M. Huntsman Hall, 1st Floor
3730 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 746-1333

Monday, April 15, 2013

Berry Smoothie

Smoothies are perfect for a quick breakfast or after class pick-me-up… 
Here’s an easy, healthy classic that I always go to!

1 cup frozen mixed berries
1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
Optional: 1/2 Banana
Optional: Handful of rolled oats or almonds for a thicker consistency and more filling drink

In go the berries...

Pour the milk over and pile the yogurt on...

Blend it up...
And drink up!

Nutrition facts:
Calories: 320
Carbs: 58g
Fat: 4g
Protein: 19g