I’m sad I didn’t get to Chinatown more – it was very close to the tournament and offered quick, cheap, delicious eats. I’m sorry I missed Nan Zhou, a hand cut noodle shop.
Dim Sum Garden
I love dim sum cafés. I went with a group of 6 and we were able to try an assortment of dishes, including soup dumplings and a new dish I’ve never had before. They called it shumai, but unlike the basket shaped pork dumplings I’m used to, these were small beggar’s purses filled with sticky rice. Strange, but delicious.
59 N 11th St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
I think I enjoyed it more than Steve did. I started with Muc Nuong Xa – squid that was grilled with lemon grass. I thought it was tender and had a nice smoky charred flavor. My pho was not outstanding, but it hit the spot, as I was sick and desperately wanted soup. Steve was hoping the Banh Xeo, described as a crispy crepe filled with shrimp, pork, onion and sprouts was their version of a scallion pancake. It wasn’t, it was more like a filled omelet. I thought his Suon Nuong (pork chops marinated in lemon grass, hoisin and soy) was quite good, but he just shrugged when I asked him if he liked it.
There’s a mini empire on 13th st, between Chestnut and Sansom built by Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran. They have a total of 6 restaurants and boutiques on the one small block. I went to two and was very pleased by both.
Jamonera – Spanish wine bar. We went twice for their late night happy hour specials (S-Th, 10-11:30). Steve was able to enjoy $5 glasses of wine and we snacked on $2 tapas including a wonderful calamari fried in squid ink and $5 fries that were wrapped in bundles with Serrano ham, dusted with sheep’s milk cheese and truffled salt. Yum!
Barbuzzo – Mediterranean kitchen and bar. Steve and I enjoyed a really wonderful meal here. Everything was great, from start to finish. We began with the pizza special: porchetta, fontina, green apples and pine nuts. The crust was flavorful and crispy, really everything you want in a gourmet pizza. Next was pan seared gnocchi with smoked corn, trumpet mushrooms, guanciale, and truffle butter. The gnocchi were quite good, although not as light as I’ve had, but the flavors all went together well. I enjoyed the sautéed greens. The mizuna and kale were tossed with small cubes of spicy coppa and was well balanced acid. I loved the grilled bronzino we had for our main course. The fish really picked up the smoke from the wood burning oven. But dessert stole the show; the salted caramel budino was my favorite dessert of the whole trip.
I just found the recipe for the budino in the September 2011 issue of Bon Appetit!