Oct 2006

Smile Cafe – Philadelphia

October 6, 2006
Cuisine: Thai

105 S 22nd St, Philadelphia 19103
Btwn Chestnut St & Sansom St

Phone: 215-564-2502
Website: http://www.thaismilecafe.com/

Appetizer I: Lemongrass Soup

Appetizer II: Steamed Dumpling – Shrimp and corn with garlic Thai spice with sweet soy vinegar

Entree: Pad Thai – Stir-fried rice noodle w/ shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu, egg and peanuts.

Smile Cafe is a quaint (read: small) restaurant around the corner from my apartment. I’ve wanted to try it for sometime but am generally hesitant about Thai food in Philly. I went for lunch with some co-workers and had a surpisingly pleasant experience.

The restaurant has an incredible lunch special – two small appetizers and an entree for $7.95. Whatta steal! The appetizer choices I didn’t pick were the salad and spring roll. One of my co-workers ordered the salad and it looked great. No sign of iceberg anywhere; just lovely greens and other vegetables. A few co-workers opted for the “spring roll” option. It was deep fried and therefore an egg roll, but they seemed to dig it just fine.

My lemongrass soup was flavorful and mild. There were veggies in the soup including broccoli, yellow squash, and mushrooms. Very tasty, but could’ve been more spicy. I was served two good-sized dumplings. They were steamed to perfection and quite yummy especially with the sweet soy vinegar. The dumplings reminded me of dim sum, which is somewhat troubling because I was in a Thai restaurant. That’s the problem with Thai restaurants in Philadelphia; they cater to the white man’s love for Chinese food.

My Pad Thai entree was very good and the portion was quite large. I was a bit disappointed that I had to ask for limes (there should ALWAYS be limes on the side) and the waitress brought out lemons! South East Asian cuisine does not use lemons.

Overall, I found the food to be very tasty, but questionably Thai.

Smile Cafe on Urbanspoon

Oct 2006

Irish Pub – Philadelphia

October 5, 2006
Cuisine: American (Traditional), Bar Food, Irish

2007 Walnut St, At S 20th St
Philadelphia 19103 At S 20th St

Phone: 215-568-5603
Website: www.irishpubphilly.com

Entree I: Old World Meatloaf Melt – Thick slices of original recipe sirloin served on a Brick Oven Steak Roll with smokehouse bacon, melted FarmHouse Cheddar, and Caramelized Onion Bourginone sauce. Served with our house fries and crisp dill pickle slices.

Entree II: Crab Cake Sandwich – A Maryland style crab cake served on a pub roll served with tartar sauce and Honey Dijon Garden slaw. Served with our house fries and crisp dill pickle slices.

I love bar food. I really do. I think I adore it because my everyday fare lacks hardcore greasy and salty goodness. As I watched the Cardinals bury the poor Padres during game two of the national league division series, I enjoyed the crab cake sandwich. The Astronomer went for my old favorite, the meatloaf melt.

Both sandwiches were super salty, super greasy and thus, super tasty. First up, the crab cake sandwich. I smeared ketchup on my sandwich rather than tartar sauce because I prefer tangy straight up over tangy and creamy. The sandwich was piled high with lettuce, pickles, and a tomato. The “pub roll” was perfectly moist and held the contents well. A regular hamburger bun would not have been able to hold all the fixins nicely. The pub roll came through like a champ. All of the flavors melded together beautifully and I scarfed it down pretty quickly. The fries were thickly cut and decent. I gave most of them to the carb-seeking Astronomer.

The meatloaf melt is a lot like the Double Double from In and Out and maybe even a little better because it comes with BACON! There really isn’t much to say about this gem except that it’s really delicious and hits the spot like few can. Yah, it’s not all that healthy, but who cares? I’m in a pub and red meat rules (and cheese too)!

The “IP” is a three minute walk from my apartment. I’ll be returning the next time the Astronomer wants to watch some cable-only sports and my greasy spot needs its fill.

Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

Oct 2006

Pesto Brown Bread

  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of pesto sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, the salt, the baking soda, and the baking powder. In a bowl whisk together the buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of the butter, and the pesto, add the mixture to the flour mixture, and stir the dough until it is just combined. Turn the dough out into a buttered 9-inch ceramic or glass pie plate and with floured hands pat it into a 7-inch round loaf. Brush the top with buttermilk, cut an X 1/4 inch deep across the top, and bake the bread in the middle of a preheated 375°F. oven for 50 minutes, or until it is golden and sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped.

Makes 1 loaf.

Adapted from Gourmet, October 1991

[For Printable Recipe Click Here]