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Doc Pete x

Philly Recommendations

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Heading to Philly for the coming weekend. I'd like to do a mini-survey of the required places, both high- and low-end. So I'm looking for the top couple of restaurants for dinner (I'm thinking the bistro part of Bec Fin and the place in the Four Seasons), and some more downscale stuff for daytime snacking, in particular cheese steaks. I haven't been to Philly in ages, so I don't really know what's good now. Jim's?

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Doc you may want to check out the HollyEats.com web site, which has a lot of the stuff you may be looking for.

Its got a lot of great pics and reviews of cheesesteak places -- and you gotta love the guy for being one of the inventors of the Big Mac!

http://www.hollyeats.com

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Wow. That site is a goldmine of information of exactly the source I was looking for. I'll test some of those recommendations and report back after the weekend.

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There are two restaurants I can recommend, both coincidentally owned by my cousin (full disclosure :) ) but really, they're terrific. Monk's Cafe has the largest collection of Belgian beer in the US, as well as fabulous mussels (cooked in various beers) and frites. Bobbing Head is a brew pub. Of the two, Monk is my favorite. It's casual and inexpensive (under 25.00 for dinner).

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B. Edulis

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Breakfast:  Carman's Country Kitchen 11th and Wharton.  Was mentioned in Bryan Millers piece on Philadelphia in last week's Sunday Times Travel section.  Creative specials, and no trip to Philadelphia is complete without meeting Carman.  Also Jack McDavid's Down Home Diner in Reading Terminal Market.  Sothern comfort breakfasts - I go for the biscuits and gravy - either sausage or ham.  

Cheese Steaks.   Head to the Roxboro area (overlooking Manyunk) and try a cheese steak from both Chubbies and Delsandros.  Different from the south philly places in that they chop the beef on the grill and melt provolone over it.  

Dinner:  Ralphs for classic South Philly Italian, but unless your last name is Soprano, be prepared to wait 30-45 minutes for a table.  Charles Plaza in Chinatown for clean crisp Chinese Food (Charles practiced medicine in his home country and is very health conscious, Jack McDavid's more upscale restaurant, Jack's Firehouse, Steve Starr's Buddakan or for a bit more of an adventure head to north 5th Street just off the Roosevelt expressway, to La Tierra Columbiana - half Cuban and Half Columbian cuisine.  The diffence in the cost of a meal at Bistro Perrier and La Tierra Columbiana will pretty much pay for you hotel room for a night.

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Holly Moore

http://www.HollyEats.Com

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Holly, I very much appreciate those recommendations and they came just as I had one foot out the door. I've printed them out and will use them as my bible for the trip.

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Holly, I wish I'd had more time in Philly to pursue a broader range of your recommendations, but I was able to try three. I will always be in your debt for the recommendation of Carman's Country Kitchen. This was perhaps the best breakfast I've ever had. The French toast with fruit and yogurt was crunchy on the outside and mushy on the inside and so in balance it was amazing. I also had brunch at Four Seasons and couldn't get nearly as excited about it. The food was abundant and beautiful but it was nothing but a fancy hotel breakfast. You could have been anywhere. You are also a heroic figure in my eyes for turning me on to the totally superior Chubbies and Dallesandro's style of cheese steak. I now understand why people like cheese steaks. I never loved what I now know is called the South Philly style. Over at Le Bec Fin or rather Le Bar Lyonnais I experienced joyless average bistro fare I could have easily gotten at Pastis or Balthazar. I have two more trips to Philly coming up in the next few months so I hope to keep this dialog going.

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Tangerine was fabulous. Brasserie Pierre was ok. Be sure to walk thru Reading Market.

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Rosie

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Did Poor Henry's brewpub and restaurant go out of business?


John the hot dog guy

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Quote: from Doc Pete x on 12:39 am on Aug. 5, 2001

.....Over at Le Bec Fin or rather Le Bar Lyonnais I experienced joyless average bistro fare I could have easily gotten at Pastis or Balthazar. I have two more trips to Philly coming up in the next few months so I hope to keep this dialog going.

          I am curious about the description of the food at "le bar Lyonnais" as "joyless average bistro fare".  I think that the hardest thing to find fault with is the food !  The food is coming off of the same line as upstairs at Le bec-fin, and I have found it to be uniformly excellant.  I have only been there twice since the new Chef de Cuisine took over ( Frederic Cote, ex-sous chef from Daniel), but what I had was very good.

     To my  mind, the main flaws in the restaurant are the ferociously expensive wine list, the cramped space and the often amatuerish service.  I am mainly interested in food, so the relatively low cost of the meal more than balances out the other negatives.  I wonder if some of these other flaws ruined your appreciation of the meal.

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Quote: from Rosie x on 12:40 am on Aug. 5, 2001

Tangerine was fabulous. Brasserie Pierre was ok. Be sure to walk thru Reading Market.

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Rosie

       

  Hi Rosie,

                 What was fabulous about Tangerine ?  The impression I had was that it was more  of a "scene" than a serious restaurant.   What didn't you like about Brasserie Perrier ?  I thought the replacement of Francesco Marteralla with Chris Scaduzio (sp.?) was  a  major improvement in that the food seems more consistent.  I will be having dinner there on wednesday, so  I will see if it is as good as I remember.  My main complaint in the past was that the restaurant was to inconsistent for that price point.  I was usually happier to eat less expensive and generally better food at Le Bar-Lyonnais.

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Yes indeed Poor Henry's is gone.  They had quite a large facility and I don't think they could generate the revenues they needed in their location in Northern Liberties.

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I've got to second the recomendation for Monk's Cafe. The food is sometimes good, but with the exception of their fries, never great. But the beer list is astounding, as long as you like Belgian Ale. They have a lot of 'normal' beer, even the mass produced American fluff. Their real strength is in imported beer and Belgian ale. I've also found that the waiters are normally pretty helpful if you don't know what you're looking at and want some advice on what to pick.

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