Sunday, November 20, 2005

Eh...this one is about food again...

Yeah....i kinda didn't do much all weekend except eat....I managed to catch the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra at the Kimmel Center. So beautiful!! Mike and I were totally ghetto tho. We were decked out in our best suits, him in a suit and shirt and me in the only evening dress i brought here, my black tube dress with stockings and boots so I wouldn't die in the cold of -3 deg celsius. We rocked up to the Kimmel Center, went to the ticket counter and said, "Can we use this buy one get one free voucher?" And then we asked for the cheapest tickets. Now if that's not cheap enough, we also doggie bagged Cosi sandwiches, sat at the lobby of a posh hotel and happily spread out our food across the table and munched away. It's like eating macdonald's at the lobby of the hilton. Then we were late for the concert. So we had to wait 34 min till the end of the first movement before being allowed in. But it was amazing. We heard four contemporary pieces by Kellogg (shock shock, he's still alive. That's why I bet none of you have ever heard of him) and symphony No. 4 in B-flat major by Beethoven. Then a fat guy sat in front of me and I ceased to see the orchestra. But besides that, i was blown away by the music.

Anyway back to food. Because I have been eating the whole weekend, and I want to procrastinate finishing up the last two pages of my essay, I shall do a mini food review of some of the restaurants in philly. Philly is known for its restaurants and food. When outside of the campus dining hall at least.

Asian Fusion
I had: Peking Duck and Wasabi-encrusted filet mignon with wasabi mash potatos
It was: Excellent. I'm a huge fan of wasabi so this filet mignon definitely packed a steamy punch. I was amazed at how well the wasabi complimented both the filet and the mash. The taste was smooth and fluid and added to the heartiness of the steak. The peking duck wasn't as mind blowing but it was tender and juicy with a tad too sweet sauce. And the edamame (steam soy beans) was the best I've ever tasted. Moist and salty.
It looked: Funky. Like a space ship. Pictures are in earlier blog entry.

Marathon Grill
I had: Filet Mignon with blue cheese sauce, grilled vegetables and mash. Had a taste of chicken penne, tuscany chicken soup and chocolate pudding.
It was: Very disappointing. I heard pretty good things about Mar Grill before so I was pretty surprised that the food tasted so bland I might as well carried my meal in the dining hall. The filet mignon was so small it might as well been french. I had a tough time trying to find it. I finally found it under ONE slice of grilled pepper. Which isn't saying much. The blue cheese sauce which resided inside my grilled veggie was definitely not the sauce for the steak. The combination was so disconcerting that I had to scrap the sauce off and just eat the steak plain. Tho' i asked for the steak to be medium done, it came out rarer than i expected. The mash was too hard and the veggies were just lacklustre. The soup tasted so bad I'm not suprised if its a combination of msg and dried chicken. The only redemming factor of the meal was that slither of brownie I had. But i've forgotten how it tasted, so it wasn't that good.
It looked: The lighting was terrible and the acoustics of the space made normal dining chatter from other tables sound louder than it should. And also, too cramp.

I had: Chocolate Bento Box and dessert wine
It was: Heavenly. If it's Stephen Starr restaurant (also owner of POD), it has to be good. The bento box consists of six petite and delightful chocolate desserts: chocolate sorbet with hazelnut and crystalized ginger, chocolate panna cotta, cocoa-dusted almonds, chocolate cake covered with warn chocolate sauce and seseme seeds, ginger chocolate biscotti with chocolate pudding and mocha something (I can't remember cuz' I don't take coffee). It was chocolate overload but so orgasmic. Each small dish of chocolate complimented the other. It was obvious that they didn't just use some corn syrup laden chocolate but actual pure dark high qualtity cocoa. The chocolate cake was my favourite. Totally comfort food that just transcends class. And they go so well with the dessert wine.
It looked: Besides the fact that I was reclining on the black and white photograph of a woman's face and the lamp in the middle of table made conversation slightly awkward, the surroundings were very surreal. I'm slightly cynical of restaurants that embark on this trend of making Buddha the theme of the restaurant (e.g Tao in NYC, Indochine in Singapore, Chocolate buddha in Melbourne), this one did looks similar to the rest. It was ostentatious enough without giving me a headache, but zen enough to make the huge golden statue of the Buddha look good.

Vietnamese Thai
I had: Grilled lemongrass pork and chicken on broken rice, ice rainbow, a bit of glass noodles in tom yam soup and some make-your-own rice roll thingie
It was: It has to be the best Vietnamese food you can get in philly. The broken rice was fragrant and fluffy, the meats were well marinated in the lemongrass and tasted oh so juicy. The tom yam was definitely authentic enough to be considered Thai (unlike pattaya grill where you get soy sauce in water and thai singha where you get water). The ice rainbow which is basically alot of beans in coconut milk was too coconutty for my liking, but decent. Best part: It was very very reasonably prized. $5.50 got me my massive plate of rice and meat.
It looked: Come on, it costs $5.50, expect sketchy surroundings, grotty dishes and odd blue lamps sticking out of nowhere. Very faux luxury.

I had: Salad, bruschetta, salami pizza, pasta with shrimp, spinach and sundried in cream sauce, and spaghetti bolognese
It was: Hearty. I wouldn't consider it fine dining Italian food, but it was more family portion (meaning massive), kids friendly with decent slightly better than fast food quality food. The cream-based pasta was too coyingly creamy and bland. The bolognese was well...decent.
It looked: Very quaint. I loved the decoration. They had picture frames of old newspaper clippings from the 50s, profiles of Miss Italy and various other interesting photos and pictures like ancient deoderant ads and pictures of the Pope. Very Serendipity meets Applebee kind of setting. Cute would be a good word to summarise it.

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