say cheese!

Luckily for me, I was working close to Temple University and was able to grab lunch at the Say Cheese! food truck earlier this week.

Say Cheese! is a food truck offering different kinds of grilled cheese. Their menu is split into three sections, The Standard Issue, Gourmet Sammies, and The Recruit. The Standard Issue is a create your own sandwich section where you choose your bread, cheese, veggies, and sauce. Gourmet Sammies are creations put together by the Say Cheese! crew like El Duke, a Mexican inspired grilled cheese, and Mary D, a meatball grilled cheese. Lastly, The Recruit is similar to The Standard Issue, just less ingredients and also a buck cheaper.

The special earlier this week was The Frenchy, a French onion grilled cheese! I was tempted to order it but went with the Wild Bill off the sammies menu instead. The Will Bill is grilled marinated chicken breast, cheddar, buffalo sauce, and blue cheese dressing on ciabatta. When I returned to the truck to eat, I was surprised at how large the sandwich was. This wasn’t terrible, as I was feeling pretty hungry. Although messy, the sandwich tasted great. The chicken was cooked perfectly and was flavorful. The ciabatta was also fresh, with a soft, airy interior.

I have a hard time calling the Wild Bill a grilled cheese. I’ll tell you what I can call it though, a damn good buffalo chicken sandwich! Definitely looking forward to trying more of their sandwiches in the future.

Say Cheese!
Near the corner of 12th & Norris St. (Temple University) most of the time
LOVE Park on Fridays
Philadelphia, PA

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standard tap – standard burger

I’ve been to Standard Tap several times for beer. Not just because it’s in my hood, but also because they always have a great selection of brews on tap. They also have food, and last weekend, I finally got around to trying their burger, the Standard Burger.

The Standard Burger consists of jack cheese, sauteed mushrooms, grilled onion, and lettuce. It sits between a standard bun and comes with a side of ketchup, fries, and pickle slices.

Let’s talk about the good. The burger itself was cooked to medium rare, tasted great, and was juicy. The fries were so tasty that I had a flashback to when I used to down McDonald’s fries like deep fried crack in my adolescence.

Now the let-downs. The burger to bun ratio was quite far from 1:1. Towards the end of the burger, me AND my other dining companions all had large pieces of burgerless bun at the end. Besides the ratio, the bun was way too bready and lacked a slight airiness/lightness that the bun should have. Another underwhelming factor was the toppings. I personally don’t think jack cheese is a good burger cheese and it also wasn’t quite melted enough. The ring of onions used was just a cross section that was grilled as is. This led to several onionless bites and some bites with too much onion. Lastly, there wasn’t much adding more moisture to the burger. The aforementioned juicy burger wasn’t enough to add to the lack of moisture in the toppings.

I’ll definitely be back at Standard Tap for it’s chill vibe, great beer selection, and awesome fries…not so much for their burger.

Standard Tap
901 N. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19123

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beer: wagner valley sled dog doppelbock

Today’s guest post is by my good friend and homebrewer, Erin Mulrooney.

While wine touring last fall in the Finger Lakes of upstate New York, one of the stops brought me to Wagner Vineyards, which also has its own brewing company. I first tried Sled Dog in their tasting room, and enjoyed it so much that I bought a few six packs to bring home with me.

Sled Dog pours a medium caramel color, and is extremely effervescent with fairly large bubbles and a small head that dissipates quickly. The aroma from this beer contains rich notes of caramel, and almost no bitterness.

Doppelbocks are known for being extremely malty and having a fairly high ABV, and Sled Dog does not disappoint. Weighing in at 8.5%, I was surprised at how smoothly this beer drinks, with very little alcohol taste. When I initially tried this beer, I was with my grandfather (who is not a big beer drinker), and even he commented on the smoothness. In addition to the ever-present caramel, you also get a pretty big dose of molasses in the flavor. With more sips, I started to notice the sticky quality that such a malty beer like this has – it actually stayed on my palate after finishing the beer. Despite the initial effervescence, it is almost nonexistent throughout the drinking of this beer.

Sled Dog is an enjoyable beer, especially if Doppelbock is a new style for you. It isn’t the kind of beer that you’d want to have a few of in one evening, mostly due to the stickiness, but it does make for a good pint on a cold night. If you ever find yourself in the Finger Lakes, I’d recommend a stop at Wagner to sample the other beers they produce in addition to Sled Dog.

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dim sum garden

I was the first to get to Dim Sum Garden last week. As I waited for my friends to arrive I couldn’t help but notice the picture of a familiar food I haven’t seen in years. I immediately asked the waitress what it was. I even asked her to say it in Chinese, the only way it would ring a bell.

Pictured above is sheng jian bao. It’s kind of like XLB, a soup dumpling with pork, though it’s pan fried and has a much thicker, slightly bready outside. I was more than excited to eat these since me and my friends ordered this all the time when we were in Shanghai. In addition to the sheng jian bao, we ordered XLB, guo tie, pork noodles, and shumai.

xiao long bao

Dim Sum Garden offers a decent variety of dim sum, though I don’t think you’re getting a true dim sum experience since they’re lacking the moving carts and large variety that Ocean Harbor or Joy Tsin Lau has. The sheng jian bao and xiao long bao are pretty tasty though, and I’ll certainly be back to have em.

Does anywhere else in Philly have sheng jian bao?

guo tie

Also, in case you were wondering how to order these since the English names aren’t exactly translated 100%:
Sheng jian bao = 2a. Shanghai Pan Fried Pork Juicy Buns
Xiao long bao = 1. Shanghai Steamed Pork Juicy Buns
Guo tie = 9. Pan Fried Napa & Pork Dumplings

Dim Sum Garden
59 N. 11th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107

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foodspotting’s 2nd birthday party

One year ago from Sunday all of us Philly Foodspotters met for the first time at the late Adsum. Two years ago from Sunday, Foodspotting was launched by Alexa Andrzejewski , Ted Grubb and Soraya Darabi.

To celebrate the 2nd birthday, we gathered at Khyber Pass Pub in Old City where they offered us drink specials for the night. In addition to the great food and drink that Khyber offers, our own Philly Foodspotter & Cupcake Karma frontwoman, Jackie Seigle made a Foodspotting cake and cupcakes.

The cake had the Foodspotting logo on top and was made of an almond poundcake with strawberry and buttercream filling. The cupcakes were topped with various Philly food staples such as cheesesteaks, pretzels, and Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets. Two different kinds of cupcakes were made, chocolate cake with chocolate peanut butter mousse filling and salted caramel buttercream and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and toasted coconut. Everything was out of this world.

Check out some of the other spots from the event on the Foodspotting guide. Keep up with Philly Foodspotting on Twitter & Facebook.

Thanks a bunch to the Khyber Pass Pub staff and Jackie for the cakes!

*All non-food photos taken by Philly Foodspotter Mikey Ilagan. Thanks Mikey!

Here are some more photos from the party! Check out the rest on Mikey’s Flickr.

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