Archive for the 'Philadelphia' Category

Dutch Eating Place – Philadelphia

Dutch Eating Place - Reading Terminal Market - Philadelphia

Following our week-long stay in Beantown, The Astronomer and I flew to Philadelphia for the Swarthmore Cross Country Alumni Meet. Living in Los Angeles, we rarely get the chance to see our former teammates who’ve settled on the opposite side of the country. This annual pilgrimage gives us valuable face time with our bestest friends, all while running on the most dreadful 5K course ever. Oh, and we get to eat hoagies and pizza and acquire cheesy “Swarthmore Alum” flare, too. It’s a fantastic time. Really!

Dutch Eating Place - Reading Terminal Market - Philadelphia

On the morning of the race, The Astronomer and I went out for breakfast at the Dutch Eating Place located inside Reading Terminal Market. When we were greeted with a packed house, it seemed like my dream of an authentic Pennsylvania Dutch breakfast wasn’t in the cards. The line fortunately moved fairly quickly, so we were able to grab a bite without missing our train.

Dutch Eating Place - Reading Terminal Market - Philadelphia

Inside Reading Terminal Market, there are dozens of merchant families from Lancaster County of Amish and Mennonite background, as well as more secular strains of Pennsylvania Dutch. One of the more popular “Amish” stalls is the Dutch Eating Place, which is known for its blueberry pancakes, egg sandwiches, apple dumplings, fresh cut fries, deli sandwiches, and scrapple.

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Tony Luke’s – Philadelphia


After living away from Philadelphia for two long years, pulling into Center City on board the Chinatown bus felt kind of magical. The weather was blustery and the skies were gray, but all that didn’t matter. I was in my old stomping grounds and it felt beyond good to be back. For our first dinner in the city, The Astronomer and I paid Tony Luke and his famous cheesesteaks a visit. The cab ride to this distant part of the city cost more than our meal, but there was no other place we’d have rather been.


Back when I lived in Philly, I conducted a few cheesesteak throwdowns between Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks. My brother and I pitted the two South Philly powerhouses against one another in 2004 with Pat claiming victory. The Astronomer and I conducted a rematch during the spring of 2007 with Geno coming out on top. In the years since I’ve moved away from Philly, I’ve come to realize that both Pat and Geno are famewhores. The good stuff is at Tony Luke’s.


The counter at Tony Luke’s is manned by a brusque but efficient woman. Even though she wasn’t particularly friendly to us, I’d take her any day over the intimidating and burly beasts working over at Pat’s and Geno’s. I ordered a cheesesteak with grilled onions and Cheez Whiz ($7.25), while the Astronomer went for another Philadelphia classic, a roast pork sandwich ($6.25).


The sandwiches arrived rolled and wrapped in butcher paper.


Both of my sandwich’s namesake components were totally right on. The steak, a pleasing cross between hacked bits and thin slices, was well seasoned and browned around the edges. The “cheese” didn’t possess the most appealing color, but it tasted fine enough and moistened the entire sandwich. What’s especially noteworthy about Tony Luke’s creation is the bread. Soft, yet sturdy, the hefty Italian roll held every ingredient in place and gelled seamlessly with the meat, onions, and Whiz. With the weather so cold and my stomach so empty, I scarfed down this sandwich much too quickly.


The Astronomer’s roast pork sandwich was served on the same Italian roll as my cheesesteak and filled with slices upon slices of moist and juicy pork. Unfortunately, The Astronomer passed on the Provolone and broccoli rabe this evening, which I think are absolutely essential. Roast pork sandwiches may not be as popular as cheesesteaks, but they’re seriously just as good. Tony Luke’s roast pork is even better than DiNic’s, which is located inside the Reading Terminal Market.

After filling our gullets with authentic regional cuisine, The Astronomer and I met up with our old XC teammates for drinks at The Bards. I still can’t believe the Irish Pub was enforcing a cover charge. As if!

Tony Luke’s
39 East Oregon Avenue
Philadelphia, PA‎ 19148
Phone: 215-551-5725‎

Tony Luke's on Urbanspoon

Wiz Wit

Buddakan – Philadelphia

June 26, 2007
Cuisine: Asian, Eclectic & International, Pan-Asian & Pacific Rim

325 Chestnut St, Philadelphia 19106
Btwn S 3rd St & S 4th St

Phone: 215-574-9440


Appetizer: Crispy Calamari Salad ($9)


Entree I: Grilled Teriyaki Salmon – served with stir fried long beans, cream cheese and arugula sushi rolls ($25)


Entree II: Asian Barbeque Pork – grilled tenderloin with Chinese broccoli and giant panko crusted onion rings ($26)


Dessert I: “Dip Sum” Doughnuts – five spice sugar doughnuts, blackberry jam, chocolate sauce, gingered cream cheese ($9)

Dessert II: Banana Tower – rum glazed bananas, caramel cream in a cookie tower ($9)

Philly diners either love or hate Steven Starr, but there’s no denying that he is an influential player in the city’s food scene. I have always been an enthusiast of Starr’s restaurants and believe that his venues add value and variety to the dining landscape.

I once read that Starr built his empire around booze and babes, but for a gal who hardly ever drinks and is happily smooching one Astronomer, I enjoy his joints for a simpler reason—Starr and his minions crank out some really good eats. Striped Bass, Alma de Cuba, and Morimoto are all stellar, but Buddakan remains my favorite through and through.

For my last supper in the City of Brotherly love, The Astronomer and I headed to Old City to pay the obnoxious, glowing Buddha one last visit. For a Tuesday evening, the restaurant was packed and loud. In fact, the main dining room was so noisy that we requested a different table from our original seating. We were ultimately placed upstairs in a table next to the one we sat at on New Year’s Eve (!), which made conversation easier on the pipes.

Buddakan’s entrees and desserts have always been right on point, but their appetizers tend to leave me dissatisfied. We asked our waiter for a recommendation and he suggested we try the Crispy Calamari Salad. A small order of the salad was humongous and composed of five different types of greens including Napa cabbage, bok choy, and watercress. The salad was topped with a sweet miso dressing that complemented the greens and calamari wonderfully. The salad was cool, refreshing, and a great start to our dinner.

For our entrees, The Astronomer and I ordered our two favorite dishes, the Grilled Teriyaki Salmon and Asian Barbecue Pork. I requested the salmon be prepared rare and it came out just as I asked, which kept the meat tender yet flakey. The cream cheese and arugula sushi rolls were amazing (as always) and were my favorite part of the dish. Although the combination of ingredients inside the sushi may sound a bit strange, trust me when I say that the flavors really meld nicely together.

The pork dish was also delectable, especially the gigantic panko crusted onion rings. The pork tenderloin was thinly sliced, served in a hoisin based sauce, and arranged beautifully on the platter. The meat was moist and paired well with the sautéed Chinese broccoli. The Astronomer loves eating his greens when they’re covered in a delicious glaze.

For dessert we each ordered our own delight because The Astronomer dislikes bananas and I had to have a Banana Tower. I enjoyed a Banana Tower once prior with my brother but haven’t ordered it for a long while due to The Astronomer’s aversion. While I would normally insist on splitting dessert, since it was our final dinner in the city, splurging on two was totally acceptable.

The Tower combines two of my favorite ingredients—bananas and caramel—in a thick and buttery cookie. I enjoyed demolishing the cookie Tower and coupling it with the caramel pudding and ripe bananas. It’s amazingly easy to finish a dessert solo when it’s this divine.

The Astronomer enjoyed his donuts thoroughly and had a look of utter bliss on his face as he ate them. The donuts appeared to be a lot bigger than the ones served in the past, but The Astronomer managed to finish them with ease. The blackberry and ginger cream cheese were his favorite accompaniments.

Our dinner at Buddakan was unbelievably marvelous and provided the perfect ending to our Philadelphia adventure. Peace, Philly.

Buddakan on Urbanspoon

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