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Philly Cheesesteaks @ Tony Luke’s: Whiz or Real Cheese?

Tony Luke's
Tony Luke’s
39 E Oregon Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19148

Saturday morning. I wake up.  Okay, late late morning, I wake up. LAW asks if I want to go on a roadtrip. I say sure. So we rent a car and decide to drive to Philly for a Philly cheesesteak. (LAW also spent a few years of his childhood there, so we thought it would be cool to find his old home. I don’t just travel to eat…) Finding the best cheesesteak in Philly is like finding the best pizza in New York. At a certain level, it becomes completely subjective. I did some research and ended up picking a locally well-regarded place (Pat’s and Geno’s are the tourist faves) that had both the cheez whiz and real cheese options on their menu. In my research, I found that the Whiz vs. Cheese debate is very much alive and intense.

Tony Luke's
Tony Luke’s is a skinny (the space, not the food) little fast food esque joint in south Philly that apparently always has a line of hungry people.

Tony Luke's
We got the classic cheese steak: steak, caramelized onions, and cheez whiz. We also added mushrooms. The steak at Tony Luke’s is thin cut rib-eye (never chopped, they say) and the whiz is Kraft Cheez Whiz. Branded stuff here.  Continue reading

Eataly: BEST Prime Rib Sandwich I’ve had!

Eataly: Prime Rib Sandwich
Eataly
200 5th Ave
New York, NY 10010

You all know now that I love Eataly (especially after my trip to Italy). LAW and I were in the neighborhood and decided to grab a quick lunch. G.B. had told me numerous times that him and N.T. always split the Prime Rib sandwich from Eataly’s Rosticceria. This butcher counter sells a different meat per day of the week (for example, porchetta Thursdays and meatball Fridays). You can buy roasted meat and rotisserie chicken by the pound, or buy freshly made sandwiches and sides (they have roasted brussels sprouts!). Continue reading

KILLER Poboys

Killer Poboys
Erin Rose Bar
811 Conti St
New Orleans, LA 70112
Neighborhood: French Quarter

When I think of po’ boys, I think of lots of fried seafood and lettuce in a soft, crusty bread. It’s not my favorite. I need more flavor than mayo and fried seafood. G.B. still feels that way but only because he didn’t go with us to Killer Poboys. After much research on the Internet, I found that Killer Poboys offers some of the best poboys in French Quarter district. To get to Killer Poboys, you have to enter Erin Rose bar and weave through the drunken Nola crowd to the back. There is a room in the back decorated with all kinds of lights and signs reserved for the po’boy craftsmen.

The two men in the kitchen were both very large, jacked, and looked like they would have each owned a Harley or something. Watching them cook was very interesting. They treated their ingredients very delicately (see photo of one of them measuring pork belly on a scale).

LAW and I shared one as a snack before dinner. We got the Coriander Lime Gulf Shrimp Poboy (market price that day was $12 – expensive). The shrimp was some of the freshest I’ve had and was marinated in strong cajun-like spices and grilled to perfection. It had a nice smoky flavor and was so tender, sweet, and juicy. Delicious. Continue reading

Melt Shop, “gourmet” grilled cheese

Melt ShopMelt Shop
601 Lexington Ave
(between 52nd St & 53rd St)
New York, NY 10022

This is a late post, as you can tell from my box. I went with some coworkers on Valentine’s Day for lunch because we decided that since we were indulging in chocolate all day, might as well go all out with a heavy, greasy grilled cheese for lunch. I rarely order grilled cheeses because I feel like it’s something I make quite well myself. It’s all about having good bread, decent cheese, butter, and a panini press. The last time I ordered a grilled cheese was when I was at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, and everyone knows that is a must-try. It turned out good but just as good as my own… anyway, I gave Melt Shop a try since I love specialty restaurants.

Melt Shop
E.D. and I both ordered the Truffle Melt ($7.95) with havarti, arugula, cracked black pepper and truffle oil on sourdough. I remember distinctly it was freezing that day because the guy working the takeout window kept closing the window as soon as someone placed their order. Nonetheless, he was very cheery and told me to have a sweet valentine’s day. Continue reading

Baguettes and Jambon Sandwiches in Paris

I know. I’ve been terrible. I’ve had a crazy month filled with lots of work, lots of studying, and lots of writing (clearly not about food). Somewhere in the midst of all that, I was able to squeeze in a one week trip to Paris with LAW. But now I’m back, and determined to get back on schedule. I’ve been in the city for over a week now and the one thing I miss from Paris the most is their baguettes. We had a full baguette for breakfast every morning, along with a croissant and a pain au chocolat. Every. Single. Morning. I learned that not every boulangerie has amazing pastries. You have to go to the ones that are packed in the morning and where the bread is constantly coming out of the oven. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a crusty, warm, springy baguette… I distinctly remember my first great baguette in Paris. We were walking along next to the Montparnasse cemetery and I took a bite out of a piping hot baguette we had just gotten off of Rue Daguerre.The crust made that amazing crackle sound every bite I took. Delicious.

In addition to baguettes, we had a lot of sandwiches. Continue reading

Parker & Otis

Parker & Otis
112 S Duke St
Durham, NC 27701

Second time in Durham, second time at Parker & Otis.  The place is rustic, charming, and full of fun little trinkets.  It’s a place where you find yourself meandering through the aisles of goodies but end up leaving with nothing.  A bar of chocolate was $7.  Enough said.

The food, on the other hand, is decently priced.  I split two sandwiches and three sides with LAW.  Pictured here is the turkey and Stonewall Kitchen mango chutney sandwich with bacon, lettuce, red onion, mayo, and yellow cheddar on sourdough ($7.99).  The ratios of their sandwiches are not quite my ideal because they give waaaay too much meat for the thin slices of bread that they use.  The turkey was decent though a little dry and the sourdough was also just meh.  The mango chutney, on the other hand, was delicious!  It was sweet, slightly spiced, and added a great kick to the sandwich.  Bacon was crispy and not too fatty, giving the sandwich a little texture.  Though, the best bacon in a sandwich can be found in my last post: Fosters Market. Continue reading

A Turkey Club at its Finest

Foster’s Market
2694 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd
Durham, NC 27707

I was in Durham this past weekend for a music video that Chen + Wong were shooting for Delta Rae.  I had been to Durham once before for another music video shoot but never had the chance to hit up Foster’s Market.  Foster’s Market is a food market and cafe that offers all kinds of pastries, soups, sandwiches, and various sides (such as green pickled mango).


LAW had been here once before and said that the Cheddar Herb Biscuits were amazing, hence we each got one ($1.50).

Continue reading

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String …

These are a few of my favorite things!  Valentine’s surprise from my favorite person included some of my very favorite foods.  You’ll start to notice that I particularly love starch-wrapped things.  Dumplings, hot dogs, sandwichs, lobster rolls, all kinds of buns, burritos, tacos, burgers etc. – I love ‘em all!

 

‘Twas a hodgepodge dinner of…

 

Baohaus: Birdhaus Bun
238 E 14th St
(between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY 10003
  

Baohaus is a tiny restaurant that boasts a lot of swag.  There are usually 3 people working, the bao-man (man who makes the actual bun), the stuffer, and the cashier.  They play a lot of old school hip hop music and have swagalicious bao-art up on the walls.  Check out my older post about the place for more info.  Of all the baos, this one is my fav.  Fried chicken with spicy seasoning, salt, cilantro, crushed peanuts, and taiwanese red sugar.  Taro fries on the right are also deeeeelicious, if you truly love taro that is.  If you’ve only had taro bubble tea, you don’t know what taro actually tastes like.  I suggest you get your butt over to Baohaus and check out these fries.  They are starchier than the average potato, maybe more like a yucca, and have a distinctly sweeter flavor.  The fries are served up with a side of “Haus sauce,” which is a garlicy peanuty sauce.

 

Luke’s Lobster
93 E 7th St
(between 1st Ave & Avenue A)
New York, NY 10009

Luke’s Lobster is a tiny shack in the East Village (also in many other locations) that serves up some fresh Maine lobster rolls with trendy sodas like Ginger Root and Sarsaparilla.  The owner was a savvy investment banker who left the industry to pursue his true passion: lobster.  His father provides all the lobster, already cooked, from the family seafood processing company in Maine. Continue reading

Taiwanese Club Sandwich

I randomly decided to buy pork floss from HK Supermarket the other day because it is possibly one of the greatest comfort foods.  I grew up eating this and always felt that we, the pork floss and I, had a very special relationship.  It was a little weird like I was*, kind of funny looking**, and often misunderstood***.  It was also always looking out for me.  Anytime a bland food would force itself upon me, Pork Floss would always be on the rescue to make life a little sweeter, saltier, and tastier.

 

Anyway, with Pork Floss readily available in my kitchen cupboard, I decided to make a Taiwanese Club Sandwich for brunch.  This is a type of sandwich that you can find in every bakery in China or Chinatown.  Like the banh mi from my last post, this is a East-meets-West fusion kind of sandwich.

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Xe May Sandwich Shop: The Hog

Xe May Sandwich Shop
96 Saint Marks Pl
New York, NY 10009

 

Banh Mi is a gastronomic example of French colonialism in Vietnam.  The sandwich uses French and Vietnamese ingredients, combined to produce a delectable East-meets-West concoction.  The Hog is a speciality banh mi that Xe May serves up with grilled pork, scallion oil, and fried shallots, all sandwiched between either a white or whole wheat baguette.  Like classic banh mis, this banh mi also includes fresh cilantro, pickled carrots, daikons, cucumbers, and chili mayo.

I was looking for a cheap place for lunch and found Xe May through Yelp as one of the highest rated places in the East Village area.  And though my expectations were high (4.5 stars is pretty significant!), I was not disappointed!  The bread had a nice crisp edge that I’m sure would sound beautiful if I had the chance to listen to it, like how Colette from Ratatouille tells us to listen for the sound of the crust.*  Oh, and the bread comes in whole wheat too if you’d like.  The fillings were tasty: grilled pork tasted a bit like char siu (Chinese bbq pork) and pickles were nice and sour to cut the sweetness of the pork.  The fried shallots were not quite crispy enough as they wilted very quickly after being caught amidst the saucy meat and juicy pickles.

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