Sake Fest: Food

30 04 2009

Philadelphia Sake Fest is all about the sake, but food vendors are invited as well.  The food is always gone in an hour.  This year was no exception so we made it a point to eat before we drank.

First we hit up Le Champignon De Tokio.  This is a quirky little restaurant in Old City that serves Japanese, Thai, and French cuisine.  The Japanese is the best and sometimes I think that the restaurant needs to focus on one type of cuisine.  I managed to taste a few different types from their sushi selection:

Le Champion


The rice was almost perfect–some would say it was all-the-way perfect but I like my rice a little moister than normal, and this rice was a tad dry for my taste.  The salmon was delicious–lots of flavor and very fresh.  A great start to the evening.sushi

Margaret Kuo’s, a very successful Asian food restaurant on the Main Line, had a chef making gyoza and fried rice on the spot.Kuo


This guy was fast:cooking

The gyoza was so uniquely flavored and nicely heavy on the ginger. The fried rice with wild mushrooms also contributed a strong flavor to the dish. The sweet ginger and smoky mushroom flavors complimented each other well.
fried rice and dumplings

Peace A Pizza makes decent pizza–the sauce is a little too sweet but I love the toppings. What were they doing at Sake Fest, though?

Peace A Pizza was the only vendor that had food left at the end of the event and people were lined up to get it.  a pizza

Morimoto was serving their tuna pizza on a tortilla with anchovy sauce and jalapeno pepper.  So fresh.  So clean.  So tasty. So pink and green.tuna pizza


I checked back at Le Champignon at 7:00 and the sushi was already gone:

empty at 7

Maido was giving out some tasty Japanese snacks.  Perfect with sake.



Then there were the Morimoto macarons.  I’ve already professed my love (click here).

morimoto macaroons


The overall food selection was decent and enjoyable, but I’d like to see more cohesiveness between what is being served and more of a connection between the food and the sake next year.

Philadelphia Phillies

28 04 2009

Philadelphia welcomes thousands of tourists during the summer months.   A unique experience for those who visit Philadelphia this summer starts on the Broad Street Subway Line (aka Orange Line) and goes south to South Philadelphia, where our sports teams play (and often disappoint) year round.  A Phillies Game, especially, can show you the heart and soul of the city through the fans who have stuck by the team through a World Series win in 1980, heartbreaking series in 1993, second Championship in 2009, and all of the boos and jeers in between.  With the new family-friendly Citizens Bank Park as the new home, a night at the ball park can be liberating, exciting, or boring.  It’s always a gamble and you take your chances–especially with the Phillies.


The crowds start arriving at the park early–usually between 5:30 and 6:00 for a 7:05 start.  The cheapest reserved seats are $16.  There are no bad seats in the park.  The only drawback to the cheap seats is that they are in the outfield and always catch the setting sun until around 8:00.  On a 90-degree day, those seats can be brutal.  Matt and I often watch the game from the concourse until the sun sets and then we settle in.  The best seats cost $41.  Call the box office about Standing Room Only seats–these can usually only be purchased when the regular seats are sold out or on the day of the game: (215) 463-1000.


The ballpark serves some premium beers–imported bottles and drafts are $6.75.  Hop Devil, Corona, and Sierra Nevada are our usual picks.


Get to your seats early to see the players warm up on the field (shown are my favorite active players, Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth).


The fans are extremely interactive.  Most games will be filled with waves and boos.  If you are visiting from a rival city, be careful wearing that gear in the stands.


Ashburn Alley (below) is where the action is.  Packed with shops and food, many people will watch the entire game from this spot (and do a lot of people watching between innings).  Food selections include Tony Luke’s cheese steaks, Chickie & Pete’s crab fries, and Philadelphia soft pretzels.

ashburn alley

The outfield is usually filled with rowdy fans.

rowdy crowd

Phan-o-vision is a fun distraction between innings.  Every game features the “Kissing Cam,”  “Flex Cam,” or Septa races.  If you’re lucky, you’ll see a proposal.

septa race

Many nights are promotion nights, and some are easy on your wallet, such as Dollar Dog nights.  Despite the reasonable prices of tickets, it’s possible to spend $40-$80 on food and drink in one night for two people, depending on your choice of drink (alcoholic vs. non) and food (nachos cost much more than hot dogs).

Dollar Dog Night

The fixings stand can be a bit scary, but it’s all for a dollar so wade in with your life preservers on.  Just stay away from the onions unless you like them pureed.


This is a Dollar Dog;


This is also a Dollar Dog:


Oh, and this is one, too.  My husband is trying to show how small they are.


And if you are lucky, the Phillie Phanatic (the best mascot in history) and the Hatfield Pig will shoot a dog up to you in the stands.  Phanatic

Play ball!

Keswick Tavern

24 04 2009

Quicky on the Keswick Tavern (or “KT” as the locals call it).  I used to frequent this bar whenever I came home for holidays in my mid-late 20s.  I hadn’t been back in about 4 years (this seems to be a phase with me right now–see my Oscar’s post below) and I remembered it much differently. Without the wall-to-wall drunk people that usually cram themselves in on weekends, it was run-down, dingy, and slightly depressing.  This was the view from my table.  I was waiting for people (isn’t that sad–me alone with my beer? I caught the last 15 minutes of Happy Hour and had to order a $1.50 beer).   keswick

I thought everything was overpriced.  Here is the complete menu

My mac n cheese obsession continues.  These were the Macaroni Cheese Wedges with thousand island chipotle sauce.  They were actually quite amazing.  Lightly fried, not too much batter.  The mac was in tact and not to mushy.  The cheese was melty and delicious.  It was all I needed from this place.  I was in my own little perfect world while I ate these.macncheese

The camera on my iPhone does not like taking pictures–especially closeups.  I will just have to go back and order these again so I can get a proper photo to show you.  Or you can run in, eat some yourself, and then run out.macncheese

 The KT could be a fun place to hang out.  They just have to lower their prices and get more than one bartender.  By the end of the evening there were about 30 people around the bar, and the bartender was splitting his time between pouring drinks, getting food from the kitchen, and watching the Flyers game.  Now that’s just not right. 

Check yelp for more reviews.