Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Indonesian-Style Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng)


Chile peppers have become quite the rage recently, with folks competing for the hottest chile peppers, and the spiciest hot sauces. But did you know that the word chile refers to capsicums in general, and not specifically just the hot ones? A sweet bell pepper would be considered a chile based on this classification.

Fascinating knowledge about all varieties of chiles can be found in the newly released reference guide and cookbook The Chile Pepper Bible by Judith Finlayson, ranging from their history to their health benefits, and including a full guide of the five major species of chiles, both with photos and extensive detailing.

I recently received a review copy of this cookbook to explore, and I must say, it is full of recipes, 250 to be more accurate. I rarely see cookbooks that are that robust, but this truly is a bible of information about the beloved chile. Recipes range extensively to include those featuring chiles in all forms such as fresh, dried, powdered, and more.

They also cover nearly every continent with traditional recipes from many international locations. I personally can't wait to try the Jamaican Beef Patties, Chicken Shahi Korma, Kashmiri-Style Lamb Curry (Rogan Josh), Thai-Style Hot-and-Sour Chicken Soup (Tom Yum Gai), Chicken Beef with Orange, and more.

The recipe I selected to start with is Asian, like many of the others on my list. The Indonesian-Style Fried Rice, or Nasi Goreng, is very easy to make and features a reasonable number of ingredients. The recipe tips point out that jasmine rice is authentic for this dish, but that the author prefers brown rice. Well I actually use brown jasmine rice for all of my fried rice dishes, so that kind of works out perfectly in this case!

Also, I went to my local Asian market in search of red Thai bird's-eye chiles, and they only carry them in a frozen vacuum-sealed bag. With that said, the 6-ounce bag only cost $1.75 so that's a serious bargain if you plan on using these chiles for other purposes (the index of the book lets you search for recipes by chile variety, which is quite convenient)! They are SUPER spicy (50,000 to 100,000 Scoville heat units compared to a jalapeno which is 3,500 to 10,000 SHU), so be very gentle when handling them. I actually used only 1 chile for my fried rice (the recipe suggests 1 to 2), and I removed the seeds as well, and I found the spiciness to be perfect for my family. There is definite heat, but it's not overwhelming.

The Nasi Goreng was a huge success. It is very easy to make, especially if you own a wok. I prepped my ingredients in the morning and stir-fried this delicious rice dish in preparation for a Saturday brunch, which is perfect considering the runny fried egg on top. Everything came together quickly, and yielded flavors my entire family (even the most skeptical critics) enjoyed.

I'm really excited to use the rest of my frozen stash of Thai bird's-eye chiles for more recipes from this book, as well as exploring many of the other 250 shared within this ultimate Chile Pepper Bible. This in-depth single-subject resource is an asset to any cook who enjoys chiles.

Indonesian-Style Fried Rice (Nasi Goreng)
Makes 4 servings
(Courtesy of The Chile Pepper Bible: From Sweet & Mild to Fiery & Everything in Between by Judith Finlayson © 2016 Reprinted with publisher permission. Available where books are sold)

Nasi goreng is Indonesia’s national dish. At its simplest, it is cold leftover rice, seasoned with sweet soy sauce (kecap manis) and whatever leftovers and spices the cook has on hand. Often it is topped with a fried egg and served for breakfast. Of course, it can be much more elaborate, depending on the circumstances under which it will be served. My version leans toward simplicity, making it a quick and easy weekday meal.

2 cups cold cooked rice (see Tips, below)
2 tablespoons oil                                  
8 ounces deveined peeled shrimp, chopped    
1 onion, finely chopped        
8 ounces ground pork                  
4 cloves garlic, minced          
1 to 2 red Thai bird’s-eye chile(s), minced  
3 tablespoons kecap manis (see Tips, below)
1 tablespoon fish sauce                  
4 fried eggs                              
Fried Shrimp Chips (see Tips, below), optional
Sriracha sauce (optional)

In a wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring, until pink and opaque throughout, about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.

Add onion and pork to wok and cook, stirring, until pork is no longer pink and onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add garlic, and bird’s-eye chile(s) to taste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add rice, kecap manis and fish sauce and cook, stirring and breaking up any clumps with a wooden spoon, until rice is heated through. Return shrimp to pan and toss well to combine.

Spoon rice mixture onto 4 warm serving plates and top each with 1 of the fried eggs. Serve with shrimp chips (if using). Pass sriracha sauce (if using) at the table.

It is more authentic to use jasmine rice in this dish, but I prefer brown rice.

If you don’t have kecap manis, mix together 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 mL) each soy sauce and pure maple syrup to use in place of it.

Make sure you save any leftovers, because they reheat well for lunch the next day.

Look for ready-to-cook shrimp chips at Asian markets. They are a tasty snack or accompaniment to fried rice, and they just need a quick fry to make them crispy and delicious.

To make Fried Shrimp Chips: Pour enough oil into a wok or large saucepan to come about 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the side of the pan. Heat until hot but not smoking, or until candy/deep-fry thermometer registers about 350°F (180°C). (Do not overheat. If the oil is too hot, the chips will curl up and cook unevenly.) Add shrimp chips, 2 at a time, and fry, turning constantly with tongs, until they are puffed all over, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and let drain.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Apple Cranberry Walnut Lattice Pie


When I recently visited Philadelphia, I had the pleasure of trying out Magpie in the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood of the city. I noshed on a slice of Pear Ginger Oatmeal Crumb pie, and it was excellent! When I returned home, I decided to order myself a copy of their cookbook because the one thing I enjoy as much as eating pie is making pie.

I like to think of pie making/eating as therapy. Fifty percent of the therapy is the process of making the pie, mixing the dough, rolling it out, preparing the filling, crimping the edges, etc. The other fifty percent is definitely eating the pie! There's nothing more therapeutic than a slice of freshly baked seasonal pie to comfort you after an exhausting week.

One of my favorite pie cookbooks is the Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book, and I've made several excellent pies from that book. It's hard to say this early in the game, but I feel like my new Magpie cookbook will easily tie with 4&20 as my ultimate go to pie book (I have others, but these are definitely the most inspiring and well-executed books on the subject).

I've only just started reading and baking from the book, but I have already been impressed with some of the techniques and tips that are shared. For example, I have always been of the mindset that a pie is best enjoyed the day it is baked (freshest). But Magpie always lets their fruit pies set overnight, uncovered at room temperature. This allows the filling to completely set, and yield perfect slices. In the past I have always had a bit of juiciness in my filling the day it is baked, and the leftover pie the next day always does seem to slice more cleanly, so this makes perfect sense. Leaving it uncovered is also key, I believe, because covering it will trap it's own moisture and then soften the crust, really detracting from that flaky quality you are aiming to achieve.

I also must say that in addition to some really great technique tips I have learned from reading the book, I am really floored by the incredible variety of pie recipes. They are divided up into Fruity Pies (which unofficially seem to be listed in order by season, beginning with fall and ending with summer), (Mostly) Creamy Pies, and Quiches, Potpies, and Other Savories.

A few of the sweet pies I'm anxious to try include Berry Custard Thyme Crumb Pie (next summer perhaps!), Hummingbird Pie (a riff on the classic Southern cake), Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Pretzel Crunch, and Peppermint Mousse Black Bottom Pie (maybe this Christmas!) among many others.

Some of the savory options have my mouthwatering as much as the sweet ones! I'm dying to try the Jalapeno Bacon "Popper" Quiche, the Smoked Gouda Butternut Squash Pie, as well as many others. I did note an editorial issue in the table of contents for the savory pies chapter, a couple of the pies are listed out of order with the wrong page numbers, but it's possible that was corrected in a later printing of the book.

To begin, I selected a pretty standard flavor profile for this time of year, and a pie that would be perfect for this upcoming Thanksgiving or Christmas: Apple Cranberry Walnut Lattice Pie. It's so incredibly seasonal, I just couldn't resist making a pie bringing together so many fall flavors.

I will say that even resting my pie overnight, it was still somewhat "juicy" and syrupy, like other fruit (apple/pear) pies I've made in the past. I personally like having some fruity syrup in my pie, but I was hoping to have a firmer, better set filling for this pie. I suppose with small pieces of apple (I quartered mine before thinly slicing) it's inevitable that it won't have the best structure as something more cohesive. After a couple days in the fridge, however, it definitely firmed up and yielded nicer slices, but in a single day's time it didn't really make much of a difference.

I also could have potentially baked my pie a bit longer. It did bake longer than the book suggests, but my oven is electric, not gas, and may have just required even a bit more time for the filling to really set thoroughly. It was bubbling around the edges, but probably could have used a few more minutes.

Regardless of that fact, this pie is seriously a winner! The bites of apple are fall perfection, while the essence of orange permeates the entire pie from both the zest and juice. Bursts of tartness punctuate every other bite from the ruby red cranberries, and of course the crunchy toasted walnuts add a bit of texture to the otherwise soft filling.

I love so many kinds of pie, and the ones featuring fall flavors tend to be some of my favorites. This is such a great pie variety for this time of year, and if you find yourself visiting your local apple orchard, or just needing a comforting pick-me-up as the weather begins to cool, or even planning your holiday dessert tables, this is a fantastic pie to feature on your menu.

Apple Cranberry Walnut Lattice Pie
Makes 1 (9-inch) pie
(From Magpie)

1 recipe Magpie Dough for Flaky Piecrust, chilled overnight (recipe below)
2 pounds (906 grams) sweet-tart apples (such as Honeycrisp or Gala), peeled, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
4 ounces (113 grams) fresh cranberries
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup (144 grams) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup (50 grams) walnut pieces, toasted and finely chopped
1 large egg yolk

Lightly flour a smooth work surface and a rolling pin.

Take a chilled disk of dough out of the fridge. Give it a couple of firm squeezes just to say hello, then unwrap it and set it on the floured work surface.

Set the pin crosswise on the dough and press down firmly, making a nice deep channel across the full width of the disk. Turn the disk 180 degrees and repeat, making a second indentation, forming a plus sign.

Use your rolling pin to press down each of the wedges, turning the dough 45 degrees each time. This will give you the beginnings of a thick circle.

Now, rolling from the center outward and rotating the dough a quarter turn to maintain a circular shape, roll the dough out to a 13-inch circle with an even thickness of 1/4 inch.

Set your 9-inch (23-cm) pie pan alongside the circle of dough. Brush off any loose flour, carefully fold the dough circle in half, transfer it to the pan, and unfold.

At this point, the dough will be lying across rather than fitted into the pan. Now, without stretching the dough, set the dough down into the pan so that it is flush up against the sides and bottom. The best way to do this is to gingerly lift the dough and gently shift it around so that it settles into the pan bit by bit. Use a very light touch to help cozy it in. Trim the overhang (if needed) to 1 inch all the way around. Cover the bottom crust with plastic wrap and put the pan in the refrigerator while you roll the dough for the top shell.

Fetch the second disk of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out as directed above. Fold the circle of dough in half and carefully transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet, then unfold to lay flat. Use a pizza cutter, pastry wheel, or large life, along with a ruler or straightedge, to cut the dough into six 2-inch-wide strips. Cover them with plastic wrap, slide the baking sheet into the refrigerator, and chill the strips until the pie is ready to be topped.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with a rack in the center. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

In a large bowl, toss the apples and cranberries with the orange zest and orange juice.

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, and walnuts. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the fruit and toss to coat the fruit and moisten the sugar and cornstarch so that no dry white streaks remain.

Retrieve the prepared bottom crust from the refrigerator, set the pan on the parchment-lined baking sheet and evenly layer the apples into the pie shell with your hands, keeping the top of the filling flat and level (not peaked). Use your index finger to scrape some of the syrupy fruit juices off the sides of the mixing bowl and generously moisten the top edge of the shell.

Fetch the dough strips from the refrigerator. Lay 3 of the strips vertically across the filling, spacing evenly. Fold back the two outer strips halfway and add a dough strip horizontally across the center of the pie so that it crosses the flat strip. Swap the folded and unfolded vertical strips and add a second horizontal strip across the flat strips. Repeat once more with the remaining strip to complete the lattice. Pinch the two edges of dough together, roll outward and under to form a ledge, and tuck the edge inside the lip of the pie pan. Crimp the edges all the way around at about 1-inch intervals, pressing from the inside with the knuckle of your index finger while supporting on the outside with the thumb and index finger of your opposite hand. Don’t pinch the dough, you want the flute to look like a thick rope.

Whisk the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Lightly brush the lattice with the egg wash.

Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake the pie 25 minutes at 400 degrees F, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F, rotate the baking sheet and bake 25 to 30 minutes more (mine baked an extra 40 minutes), or until the lattice is golden and the fruit is tender (the tip of a small knife can easily be inserted into the fruit through the spaces in the lattice) and the juices are bubbling up through the lattice. Tend the top with foil if the crust starts to over-brown.

Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the pie cool and set uncovered, at room temperature, overnight (or up to 3 days) before slicing and serving. Serve at room temperature, or rewarmed in a 425 degree F oven.

Magpie Dough for Flaky Piecrust
Makes Enough Dough for any of the Following:
2 (9-inch) single-crust pies, 1 (9-inch) double-crust or lattice-top pie, 8 (4 x 2-inch) potpies, 12 (2 x 1-inch) mini pies, 1 (9 x 3-inch) quiche, or 8 (4-inch) hand pies

2 1/2 cups (312 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (28 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (6 grams) fine salt
3/4 cup (170 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and frozen
1/4 cup (60 grams) vegetable shortening, preferably in baking stick form, frozen, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, and put back in the freezer
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (130 grams) ice-cold water

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse the machine 3 times to blend. Scatter the frozen butter cubes over the flour mixture. Pulse the machine 5 to 7 times, holding each pulse for 5 full seconds, to cut all of the butter into pea-size pieces.

Scatter the pieces of frozen shortening over the flour-and-butter mixture. Pulse the machine 4 more 1-second pulses to blend the shortening with the flour. The mixture will resemble coarse cornmeal, but will be a bit more floury and riddled with pale butter bits (no pure-white shortening should be visible).  Turn the mixture out into a large mixing bowl, and make a small well in the center.  If you find a few butter clumps that are closer to marble size than pea size (about 1/4 inch in diameter), carefully pick them out and give them a quick smoosh with your fingers. Pour the cold water into the well.

Use a curved bowl scraper to lightly scoop the flour mixture up and over the water, covering the water to help get the absorption started. Continue mixing by scraping the flour up from the sides and bottom of the bowl into the center, rotating the bowl as you mix, and occasionally pausing to clean off the scraper with your finger or the side of the bowl, until the mixture begins to gather into clumps but is still very crumbly. (If you are working in very dry conditions and the ingredients remain very floury and refuse to clump together at this stage, add another tablespoon of ice-cold water.)  Lightly gather the clumps with your fingers and use your palm to fold over and press the dough a few times (don’t knead! —just give the dough a few quick squishes), until it just begins to come together into a single large mass. It will be a raggedy wad, moist but not damp, that barely holds together; this is exactly as it should be—all it needs is a good night’s rest in the fridge.

For single- and double-crust pies, mini pies, potpies, or hand pies:  Divide the dough into 2 equal portions, gently shape each portion into a flat disk 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and wrap each tightly with plastic wrap. For quiche, leave the dough in one piece, flatten it into a single large disk 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.

No ifs, ands, or buts, the dough must have its beauty sleep.  That means 8 hours in the refrigerator at the very least. Extra rest is just fine; feel free to let the wrapped dough sit in the fridge for up to 3 days before rolling. (The dough may discolor slightly. No worries. This is merely oxidization and will not affect the flavor or appearance of your finished piecrust.)

Cooks' Note: The wrapped, chilled dough can be put in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before rolling.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Weekend in Philly: Day 2 (Matcha 101)


The main reason I went to Philadelphia to visit my friend was because she invited me to join her for a cooking class entitled Matcha 101 at Cook, a posh little demo kitchen near Rittenhouse Square. If you're familiar with my blog, you've probably read about my love of tea at one point or another, so it's no surprise I'm close friends with other like-minded tea-loving individuals. After a Saturday spent exploring the city, our Sunday was spent learning about the fascinating world of matcha tea!

The class was lead by Alexis Siemons, a tea consultant and writer local to the area. She shared her wealth of knowledge about matcha tea, from its growth and production to its many uses within the kitchen, both traditional and modern.

Our tasting began with a sparkling matcha lemonade cocktail, a tart infusion of lemon juice and honey brightened with green matcha and a splash of sparkling wine. It was tasty and a fun way to start our matcha experience.

While we sipped our cocktail, Alexis got to work on more of the dishes that we would be enjoying during our class. Alexis prepared ceremonial grade matcha powder into traditional matcha tea, using a bamboo whisk to combine the delicate ingredient with just enough hot water to make a smooth paste before thinning it out to the right consistency with additional water.

Matcha tea on its own is somewhat grassy and vegetal in flavor, and is best complimented with something very sweet. In Japan, they serve small sweets alongside the drink, so Alexis put an American spin on the practice by serving it with matcha rice krispie treats.

The rice krispie treats are sweet enough that a lot of the matcha flavor within them is somewhat masked, however, they really are the perfect complement to the shots of matcha tea, really balancing the flavor of the pure unadulterated matcha tea.

Our next pairing began with matcha fresh juice shots. Alexis combined fresh cucumber juice with matcha, as well as fresh honeydew juice with matcha. We tried both variations, and although they were different I was definitely a fan of both. The cucumber had a light crispness to it, while the honeydew was a bit sweeter, yet still delicate. This is a refreshing way to experience matcha tea!

One of my favorite bites from the afternoon was the matcha green tea and goat cheese crostini! It reminded me more of a tartine (open-faced sandwich) than a crostini due to its size, but that's really irrelevant because it was so tasty! A combination of creamy and tangy goat cheese with vibrant matcha powder is finished with a segment of orange and a drizzle of honey. This crostini walks the line between savory and sweet in the most delicious way.

The final pairing of the afternoon featured matcha custard pie served with cool and creamy iced mint matcha coconut latte. Both are definite winners in my book, and a wonderful finale to a fun afternoon learning about matcha tea in all of its glory!

Alexis was kind enough to let me share some of the recipes from the class, so I selected a couple to include in my post. If you're ever planning a trip to Philadelphia, check out the event calendar at Cook for some fun culinary experiences. I would definitely love to visit again for another class! That would be the perfect excuse to head back to Philly for some culinary fun!

Matcha Green Tea & Goat Cheese Crostini
Makes 8 crostini
(Recipe courtesy of Alexis Siemons of teaspoons & petals)

Small bread loaf
Olive oil, for drizzling
5 ounces goat cheese
1/2 teaspoon unsweetened matcha green tea powder (culinary grade)
Honey, for drizzling
1 orange, peeled, pith removed and segmented

To make the crostini, heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Slice loaf into 8 half-inch pieces, place the slices on a baking sheet, and drizzle both sides with olive oil. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until slightly crispy (note: You can make the crostini ahead and store at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 days).

While letting the crostini cool slightly, microwave goat cheese to soften. Sift matcha over softened goat cheese and mix until completely combined (no granules). Spread on warm crostini, drizzle with honey, and top each slice with one orange segment.

Tip: To preserve the bright green matcha color, mix with goat cheese right before serving.

Iced Mint Matcha Coconut Latte 
Makes 2 cups
(Recipe courtesy of Alexis Siemons of teaspoons & petals)

2 teaspoons unsweetened matcha green tea powder (culinary grade)
1/4 cup mint leaves (tightly packed, stems removed)
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon honey

Add coconut milk, mint leaves and honey to the pitcher of a blender. Sift in matcha. Place lid on the pitcher and blend on high speed until mint and matcha are combined. Add ice to two glasses, pour latte into glasses and serve.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Weekend in Philly: Day 1


This past weekend I visited one of my best friends from college who lives in Philadelphia. I've been to Philly on a couple of brief occasions in the past, but this was the first time I spent more than a day in the city. I let her do all the planning with one request: I wanted a Philly cheesesteak. Other than that, everything else was up to her to plan. She did an awesome job selecting delicious spots to try, showing me various neighborhoods around the city, and just being a fantastic companion for exploring (why do you think we're friends after all?).

I thought it would be fun to show you all a glimpse of my delicious fun weekend in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, the Birthplace of our Nation, and of course the land of Rocky Balboa ("Adrienne!!!!!").

On Saturday we started with brunch at Cuba Libre, a really fun spot in Old City with excellent Cuban decor and ambiance that makes you feel like you're practically in Havana.

We split the Homemade Latin Breakfast Breads basket, which contains banana bread, a guava cream cheese hojaldre, a crispy churro, a coconut-berry muffin, and a chocolate-chocolate chip muffin, along with mango butter, coconut-lime preserve, and guava marmalade for spreading.

Homemade Latin Breakfast Breads $11

We actually saved the muffins for later, but snacked on the other sweets before our meal arrived. The guava cream cheese hojaldre and the churro were my two favorites! I enjoyed all the spreads, but the the guava marmalade was the real winner. Guava rules!

Meanwhile, we both sipped on some of the non-alcoholic aguas frescas. I loved the hibiscus-blood orange-mango flavor!

Habiscus-Blood Orange-Mango Agua Fresca $5.50

We decided to split one of the breakfast tapas as well as the Cubano sandwich. The pressed Cuban sandwich is made Ybor City style with sour orange marinated pork loin, Genoa salami, ham, provolone and Swiss cheese with yellow mustard-pickle relish. It was delicious and satisfied that looming craving for a Cubano after my most recent viewing of the movie Chef.

El Cubano $16.50

We also split the One-Eyed Ropa Vieja Hash, which features a classic Cuban shredded beef brisket stewed with tomatoes, bell peppers, potato, boniato, maduros and corn hash, all topped with a fried egg. It was flavorful and juicy, and the runny yolk from the egg was just the icing on the figurative cake here.

One-Eyed Ropa Vieja Hash $9.50

I could practically feel Ricky Ricardo's spirit enter my soul after finishing up this Cuban meal ("Lucy!!!!").

About a block away from Cuba Libre is the Franklin Fountain, an old-timey ice cream parlor complete with an actual working old school telephone. I actually called it while we were there to see/hear it ring, and had one of the employees answer it. Pretty cool!

I love the vintage feel of this space (as well as the turn-of-the-century feel at Shane Confectionery, it's sister shop next door). The staff is very friendly, and it's definitely worth a visit! We tried a caramelized banana milkshake. It was super thick and decadent! Thankfully after our large meal of Cuban food, we were smart enough to split it instead of each getting our own.

Regular Caramelized Banana Milkshake $8.50

We wandered and shopped quite a bit while enjoying our shared milkshake. Eventually, we made our way to South Philadelphia, through the Italian neighborhood (we made a few stops along the way to buy cheese, because obvi), and finally reached our destination at a crossroads of Philly Cheesesteak nirvana.

Across the street from one another are two of Philadelphia's most legendary cheesesteak spots: Pat's and Geno's. The rivalry between the two, much like that of the Crips and the Bloods of LA, or the Montagues and Capulets of Verona, is pretty hard-core. People tend to pick sides and they are passionate about their choices.

Geno's is definitely the flashier of the two. Pat's looks a bit more run-down, but I think that's part of its charm. Based on the feedback of friends and family, I had decided long-ago that if I stood at the crossroads of these two, I wanted my first Philly Cheesesteak to come from Pat's. In theory, I would have loved to get a cheesesteak from each location and try them both simultaneously, but after a big Cuban brunch, an artery-clogging milkshake, and cheese-sampling along the way, my friend and I decided to split a cheesesteak between the two of us, because we still had dinner plans only a few hours later (true story).

Pat's it is! We opted for an American (cheese) wit (with onions). I argued with my friend, "I don't know if I can eat any! I'm still so full!" and then I easily scarfed down my half cheesesteak, it was so damn good! The bread was soft, yet chewy. The steak itself is sliced super thin, tender and incredibly juicy. And of course the cheese can range depending on your choice, but we found that the American melted really nicely beneath the hot steak. The experience was priceless, watching the cooks speedily putting together cheesesteak after cheesesteak, but truly the cheesesteak itself was the pinnacle of our adventure. It was delectable, delicious, every fantasy I had hoped it would be. I'm craving another one. Right. Now.

American wit (onions) $10

Remember I said we had dinner plans after this? Fortunately we had a few hours between death-by-cheesesteak and our next meal. I didn't fully document our dinner (it was pretty casual and I left my fancy camera at home), but I will share a few bits and pieces. We went to a small, laid back bistro called Miles Table near Rittenhouse Square. We started out by sharing a bowl of Blue Nachos. It was classic, yet nicely executed.

Blue Nachos w/ Guacamole $13

I only photographed my own entree choice, but it was also delicious. The Eggplant Parmesan is quite crispy when first served (before the basil marinara starts soaking in). It's layered with mushrooms, arugula, and gooey mozzarella, and served with a side of very lightly dressed greens. I kind of ignored the greens to be honest. The eggplant parm definitely stole the show, and I even enjoyed leftovers the next morning for breakfast. Good times.

Eggplant Parmesan $17

Although I don't have any photographic evidence, after dinner we stopped next door at Magpie where we ordered a few slices of pie to go. This would be part two of my breakfast the next morning. I selected the pear ginger with oatmeal crumble topping. It was a great way to start the day! Tune in next week for an exciting look at my second day in Philly, where we went to a cooking class and learned all about glories of matcha tea!

Cuba Libre
10 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627-0666

The Franklin Fountain
116 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627-1899

Pat's King of Steaks
1237 E Passyunk Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 468-1546

Miles Table
1620 South St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(267) 318-7337

1622 S St
Philadelphia, PA 19146
(267) 519-2904


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...