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PHILLY OR Pittsburgh


Daniel
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Saturday day, we are going to go to the Barnes Museum, and eat around Redding Terminal. 

you do realize that these are about 15 miles away from each other, right?

i mean, not that that should stop you from doing both things. but the barnes is out in the suburbs (for now) and the terminal is right downtown. so you'll want to plan that into your schedule.

No i didnt... I appreciate it.. So i guess we will go breakfast, Barnes, Redding, drink, nap, dinner. :biggrin: Any place for a good breakfast by the Barnes.

charlie's right about murray's deli. good stuff.

another thing about the barnes is that they have timed tickets that you have to order in advance. so i would think that the timing of your visit and whether you have a car or not would define where you go for breakfast/lunch/etc. the terminal is also good for breakfast if you have to go out to the burbs at lunchtime.

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I've never been to this place, but there was a passing compliment on a NY Pizza thread about Il Pizzaiolo in Pittsburgh.

That post is here.

Not that NYC folks visiting Pittsburgh would necessarily want to eat pizza, but I might check it out next time I'm out west...

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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Yeh.. I definately caught that mention also.. I have that in my  Pittsburgh folder.  Would definately grab a slice or a pie, but that will be an after dinner visit.

Just make sure not to ask for a pie - Pittsburghers (among others) will look at you perplexed. "Pizza Pie" seems to be more of a New York term.

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Daniel:

Don't forget to have the Brink's truck pull around the back of Morimoto's before you get the bill. I'd be curious to see your opinion of the place after the fact. That's all I'm going to say about it.

Italian Market AND Reading Terminal are both must see locales for local flavor and shopping. Don't miss Fisher's Pretzel's in the RTM. Don't miss Claudio's Caseficio, a relatively new mozzarella cheese factory in the Italian Market. The balls of cheese are still warm when you buy them. There are no words to describe how yummy they are.

This Article may provide further insights into things to see and eat while you're here.

If you're arriving Friday evening or staying through Sunday late afternoon you're welcome to come visit me at Sansom Street Oyster House and have a few choice bi-valves shucked on your behalf. I'll be in both nights.

Let us know if you have any other questions and enjoy your visit!

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Thank you for the invite Katie.. I think we are comming out friday night.. We are most likely going to leave manhattan around 8 or 830..I think i saw your place closes at 10.. But it looks like a good place to grab a drink in between lunch and dinner. I am already getting ready to take a hit with the bill from Morimotos. I am expecting it to be a better version of Nobu.. Either way that type of cuisine I could live with out .

Edited by Daniel (log)
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Thank you for the invite Katie.. I think we are comming out friday night.. We are most likely going to leave manhattan around 8 or 830..I think i saw your place closes at 10.. But it looks like a good place to grab a drink in between lunch and dinner. I am already getting ready to take a hit with the bill from Morimotos.  I am expecting it to be a better version of Nobu.. Either way that type of cuisine I could live with out .

Daniel:

A better version of Nobu, huh? Okaaaaayyyy...Here's to hoping you aren't disappointed.

We do close at 10pm here at SSOH, but I will still be in all afternoon/evening on Sunday. We open at 3PM so if you stop in please ask for me and introduce yourself. :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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A better version of Nobu, huh?  Okaaaaayyyy...Here's to hoping you aren't disappointed.

Several of the items on Morimoto's menu are very similar to Nobu's, but I can't compare quality, having never been to Nobu. I had two very enjoyable meals at Morimoto, only one of which was insanely expensive.

Katie, did you not like it, or did you just think it was too expensive for what it was?

(forgive me if I'm reading too much onto that "Okaaaaayyyy")

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I was reading into that okayyyyy a little too. hehe.. I had the feeling she was trying to hold back her criticism in order for me to go with an open mind.. But if thats the case, please feel free to criticize away. I would rather be wary and surprised, then be excited and let down.

I have searched the board and have not seen a discussion on Morimotos. I would be very interested in seeing peoples opinions.

In terms of sunday, I am sad to say that me and my brown bettie coupon will not be able to make it. :biggrin: I would have loved to have met you, but maybe Saturday.

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Overhyped, overpriced and underwhelming is the consistent read I get from folks whose palates I trust and whose wallets can pay the freight without even flinching, unlike myself. I went once and just had a few pieces of sushi that nearly bankrupted me and found it to be much like most of the Starr establishments - theatrical but lacking in real substance and utterly devoid of a soul.

They just baked a couple of trays of Brown Betty this afternoon and my whole office smells like cinnamon and butter. :wub: The oven is right outside my office door. Quite distracting. The bread pudding smelled pretty good too. :smile:

Saturday I should be traipsing through the wilds of Brooklyn eating lots of pizza with like minded and stalwart Pizza Club companions. However, we do still do Happy Hour (even on Saturday and Sunday!! :shock:) so the $5/half dozen Blue Points and a fine pint of lager can still be had from 5-7PM, even if I'm not in to chat you up. Sit at the bar and the shuckers and bartenders will take good care of you.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Saturday day, we are going to go to the Barnes Museum,

Nice! Enjoy it while its there. :sad: I know this is not food related, but here is an inside tip for the Barnes: Try to ask them, either over the phone or when you're there, if there will be a guided tour. You will get shown around by one of the older ladies who studied with Barnes, and get to hear all about the "Barnes Method". Awesome, and something that you probably won't be able to do for much longer.

Then get yer roast pork at the terminal!

Yeah, I'm a little homesick...

edit: As far as getting from one to the other -- if you are planning to take the train, the reading terminal is fairly close to market east station, you can take the R5 to Merion (about 20 minutes) and walk up to the Barnes (about a 5 min walk). If you are taking a car, well, just park it in some lot I guess, but it should only be a 15-20 minute drive on a Saturday. You probably know this already, but make sure you buy the Barnes tickets in advance.

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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(BTW, if you knew anything about 'Burgh food culture, you would have called it "chip-chop ham.")

So, is this really a Pittsburgh specialty, or just something that everybody serves at family reunions and graduation parties, and sort-of affectionately tolerates?

I grew up in western NY, and one side of my family (who never had any link to Pittsburgh as far as I know...) served something like this at almost every casual get-together, but it's not something you would ever see in a restaurant, or would consider an indigenous food.

Regardless, what does one want to be sure to eat while in Pittsburgh? Something you really can only get there?

Chip-chop ham is actually a sort of Pittsburgh specialty. I haven't had it since I was -- probably 10 years old. It's the sort of thing one would make for children, not something you'd serve at a party or to adults. At least in my experience.

Something you can get only in Pittsburgh? Like most of the US, most Pittsburgh specialties are really from other places. There's always the Primanti Bros. sandwich, but it's really only good if you're completely drunk. Perogis -- but only certain places.

I guess there's a tradition of good Eastern European food in terms of home cooking or church fairs, but not restaurants.

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Oh i have another quesiton now.. In terms of me wanting to do grocery shopping in pHilly . . Is there like a Specialty or  Italian Market, or is Redding Terminal the best place to bring stuff home for the week.

Some specific recommendations for both the Italian Market (increasingly less Italian) and the Reading Terminal:

Meats: Best quality regardless of price: Harry Ochs, Reading Terminal; Best value for money: Esposito's, Italian Market

Produce: Iovine's, Reading Terminal; also, check the Pennsylvania Dutch (Lancaster County) merchants to see what they've got since you will be there on a Saturday. Also see the "Fair Food Farmstand" post in this subforum.

Cheeses: Besides Katie's recommendation, check out DiBruno Bros. three doors further south on 9th Street

If you like Asian ingredients, take a two-block detour west from 9th and Washington (Italian Market) and check out the Wing Phat Supermarket at 1108 Washington Ave.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Sunday, from these suggestions we are going to go to Tony Lukes and Jims.

I don't think anybody said this yet, but Tony Luke's is CLOSED on Sunday. (If you're going on Superbowl Sunday they /might/ be open with a very limited menu.) I'm not a big Jim's fan; I would recommend Pat's or Geno's (I prefer Geno's). You shouldn't miss Tony Luke's though.

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Sunday, from these suggestions we are going to go to Tony Lukes and Jims.

I don't think anybody said this yet, but Tony Luke's is CLOSED on Sunday. (If you're going on Superbowl Sunday they /might/ be open with a very limited menu.) I'm not a big Jim's fan; I would recommend Pat's or Geno's (I prefer Geno's). You shouldn't miss Tony Luke's though.

The new Tony Luke's Beer & Sports Bar (across Oregon from the original) I believe will be open; however, expect it to be overrun with Eagles fans after about 3 PM.

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Sunday, from these suggestions we are going to go to Tony Lukes and Jims.

I don't think anybody said this yet, but Tony Luke's is CLOSED on Sunday. (If you're going on Superbowl Sunday they /might/ be open with a very limited menu.) I'm not a big Jim's fan; I would recommend Pat's or Geno's (I prefer Geno's). You shouldn't miss Tony Luke's though.

The new Tony Luke's Beer & Sports Bar (across Oregon from the original) I believe will be open; however, expect it to be overrun with Eagles fans after about 3 PM.

As long as you're rooting for the Eagles, Super Bowl Sunday afternoon at either Tony Luke's or Chickie's and Pete's might not prove fatal. Might even be considered a sociological experiment. :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Yeh.. I have a fear of driving on certain Holidays or Days.. I consider Super Bowl Sunday to be like the Xmas Eve of drunk driving.. So i try to stay off the road as much as i can.. I will be grabbing a bunch of cheesesteaks, hitting a couple of markets and will be audi by like 1 the latest.

EDIT TO ADD: I am not going to look for trouble.. Isnt their a prison and a courtroom in the basement of Eagles Stadium.?

Edited by Daniel (log)
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EDIT TO ADD: I am not going to look for trouble.. Isnt their a prison and a courtroom in the basement of Eagles Stadium.?

I think that was at the Vet, which was demolished about a year ago.

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Yes, it was the good old Vet that housed Judge Seamus McCafferty and his holding cells for a short while. See that's the thing though, you may not be looking for trouble, but if you're not rooting for the Eagles, trouble could certainly find you. Especially down in South Philly. To avoid any confrontation, just wear something green and occasionally while walking down the street belt out an "E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!!!" I'll guarentee that no matter where you're at, somebody will have already joined in by the time you get to "A". Besides that, have a great time. And if you're looking for a serious cheesesteak, hit Dalessandro's on Henry Ave in Roxborough. Pat's and Geno's get all the pub and are definitely good steaks, but Dalessandro's is second to none. It's a damn shame that they're closed on Sundays though, they would make a mint.

I would kill everyone in this room for a drop of sweet beer...

Homer Simpson

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I guess there's a tradition of good Eastern European food in terms of home cooking or church fairs, but not restaurants.

Great Eastern European food can be had at Old Europe in the South Side (on Carson Street). The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and quite attentive. They also have quite a selection of ethnic adult beverages...all sorts of slivovic and fruit brandies from Eastern Europe.

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Overhyped, overpriced and underwhelming is the consistent read I get from folks whose palates I trust and whose wallets can pay the freight without even flinching, unlike myself.  I went once and just had a few pieces of sushi that nearly bankrupted me and found it to be much like most of the Starr establishments - theatrical but lacking in real substance and utterly devoid of a soul.

I haven't seen any dissenting opinions chime in on this one, so I figured I would! :-)

I've been to Morimoto's a number of times, and it's always been great. In fact, we're going back again on Valentine's. I also know a good number of folks that have been there as well and the only negative thing I've ever heard referred to the price... certainly not the food.

To be honest, it's hard to properly judge this place if you only do a sampling of sushi. There's really only so much you can do with sushi - by it's nature, it's pretty simple... as long as your ingredients are good, and the sushi chef knows what he's doing, it's hard to screw up. It's also hard to knock someones socks off with it. Morimoto's sushi is some of the best I've had, but it's certainly not my favoirite thing there.

It's the other menu items that knock it up a few levels. For folks that are going for the first time, I always suggest they start off with the omakase tasting menu... this really gives you a good feel of what they really have to offer. But, as mentioned... it comes at a price. The menu lists them at $80, $100, and $120 per, but you can pay much more than that. The best meal I had there was a $150 omakase (not on my dime, fortunately!) that was outstanding. The barbecue toro was in fact, one of those "knock your socks off" type dishes... so much so, that a second round of it was ordered for the table! The bill for 5 people was probably about the same as the price of a used Honda, but I think it was the best meal of my life. And the folks we were with (who have a long history of spare-no-expense business dinners at top-tier restaurants all over the country), still say this was their favorite as well.

Just my $0.02. ;-)

__Jason

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I can definitely second the recommendations for the Italian Market and Murray's for near the Barnes (The Barnes will blow you away, love the choices of what to display together with respect to colors etc.). Had great Matzoh ball soup and Pastrami at Murray's after the Barnes.

Italian Market definitely more authentic than Reading Terminal, though Reading's not bad. Personal Italian market faves:

Cheese/prepared meats - Claudio's, DiBruno's on 9th street

Italian sausage - Fiorella brothers 810 Christian Street

Sweets - Isgro's pastry a couple blocks west of Fiorella's on Christian street, go for a ricotta cannoli

Kitchen stuff - Fante's on 9th street (amazing store for cooking junkies)

Restaurant - Ralph's a little further north on 9th, 700 block, I think

Hoagies - Sarcone's a little further north on 9th from Ralph's

cheese steaks/pizza - Lorenzo's corner of 9th and Christian

Pork Sandwiches - George's next door to Lorenzo's

many good butchers and produce stands

Here's a link to the definitive guide to cheap good Philly eats:

http://www.hollyeats.com/Philadelphia.htm

Big chinatown also. I've had great meals at Sang Kee Duck house on 9th street about 3 blocks north of Market Street. They have a stall in the Reading Terminal, but go to the 9th street restaurant. Also had good stuff at Joe's Peking Duck house, 925 Race Street.

Enjoy! Go Eagles!!!

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I haven't seen any dissenting opinions chime in on this one, so I figured I would! :-)

I've been to Morimoto's a number of times, and it's always been great. ........

I agree, even the "modest" $80 omakase at Morimoto was one of the more memorable meals I've had in Philly. Sure, it's a little pricey, but we got out for less than we paid for similarly excellent meals at Lacroix and Striped Bass. I can't afford this kind of thing very often, but for special occasions, it has always felt "worth it" to me when the food and experience is good.

The NY boards seem plagued with these arguments: can a doughnut be worth $2? Can sushi justify $300 a head? what's the right price for a dumpling? Can Per Se possibly stand up to all the hype?

And in the end it's a personal thing... there certainly are restaurants that seem geared completely toward expense accounts and show-offs, others that charge more because they're popular, and others that give you value for even stratospheric prices.

I think it's totally understandable that folks might be put-off by some places that seem to be charging for the vibe, but to me, Morimoto had a very welcoming feel and a sense of place, perhaps even "soul". I might have gotten lucky, somehow ending up with the same good server twice, but everyone in my various dining parties wanted to go back...

In the end, the traditional sushi that was the last course of the omakase felt underwhelming, but I think it was more a function of being overshadowed by flashier early courses than being poor quality. Often overlooked in the fuss about fish, their rice is really outstanding. (That might seem like a ridiculous point, but we wax rhapsodic about hoagie rolls here, so I feel empowered to rave about rice...)

Anyway, I like it there. It's too expensive to be my regular sushi joint, and there's too much on the menu to distract me from sushi anyway. But for birthdays or other celebrations, it's high on my list.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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So, I am back from my trip..Thank you all for your suggestions and help.. Unfortunately, we didnt start taking pictures of food until Sunday.. I was really disappointed we didnt bring the camera to Morimotos..

Morimotos, was an absolute wonderful evening.. First, because of the company, and Second, because of the restaurant.. Instead of telling you the whole story of the evening i will speak about the food.. The first two appetizers we ordered were really good. Oysters served with brolied sea urchin, a piece of fois gras, all served in that bbq eel sauce.. It was awesome.. My date normally doesnt like sea urchin, but broiling it gives it some more texture and makes it less slimey. It all fit on a fork in a single bit.. All the flavors went really well together it was very rich and luxurious. Kobe Beef Tartare- This was Kobe Beef lightly seared, mixed with a few ingrediants topped with osetra caviar.. I believe it was like 23 bucks or something for a very small portion.. This was just ok.. Everything went well together, but it was over priced.. I would not have gotten this if it werent for the fact that my date had never tried kobe beef.

We then ordered the tasting appetizer or whatever its called.. This is a really cute idea, and was where some of the more impressive dishes were.. Basically, you have the choice of ordering 3, 5, or 8 little dishes that the chef prepares. We went with the 5 dishes and it was served in a cute looking tool box type thing.. The five dishes were perserved needle fish, a spicy japanese pumpkin, sea cucumber in a citrus sauce, this shredded smokey kobe beef dish, some sort of japanese fruit.. Almost resembling a lichee nut..

Next came out Morimoto Tempura - This was assorted vegetables served over a gorgonzola sauce.. There were mushrooms, eggplants, baby carrots, yuca, and a couple of shrimp.. The quality of the tempura itself was very impressive.. I dont often order tempura because i feel its a waiste to fill up on fried food at places that are known for fresh ingrediants.. This was some of the better i have had.. It was light, airy, crispy.. And the cheese sauce was a great accompaniment.

Then we odered a few pieces of sushi. The sushi list was pretty impressive.. I ordered two scallops sashimi, two o-toro sashimi, two jack mackeral, and two adult yellow tail sashimi.. The best piece of fish we had was the adult yellow taill.. It was a gorgeous piece of fish. It was firm, yet buttery like a piece of chu-toro.. It was really great.. The freshly grated wasabi was fantastic.. It was some of the better wasabi i have had, it was a little gritty, really sharp, and refreshing. I dont use soy sauce or wasabi on my sushi, but i like to pick at it afterwards.

The biggest biggest biggest criticism i have of this place are the desserts.. They should really be embarassed by them.. It seems like the whole dessert thing is an after thought at Morimotos.. And a poor after thought at that.. They have a terrible tea selection, no dessert sake menu, and some of the most god awful desserts i have ever had.. We ordered three of them.. A pot de creme with an espresso foam. A wasabi tiramisu, and something else. The pot de creme, was like a disgusting pudding made from a low grade chocolate.. The tiramisu was actually an angel food cake that had wasabi flavored whipped cream on top.. So poor. And the third one wasnt good or bad enough to remember.. Had an oolong tea that turned out to be very good however.

All in all, i would say that Morimotos is excellent.. The service was great, the room itself it really beautiful.. Bamboo floors and cielings. And despite that fact that the room look crowded, when you and a date are sitting along the walls, you have a lot of privacy. You cant hear other conversations, and you dont feel like people are listening in on yours.

I would say this place is a lot better then nobu and a great place to go. It has all his original dishes he made at Nobu and then newer more exciting things.. I am looking foward to trying that twice fried fish, or the pork belly in congree, or the tuna pizza.. And going back for the oysters with fois gras and sea urchin.. But next time i will make a reservation to have dessert somewhere else. I will be back to see the Dahli exhibit in a few weeks and will take pics this time.

Edited by Daniel (log)
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  The biggest biggest biggest criticism i have of this place are the desserts..They should really be embarassed by them..

I'll agree about the desserts, the little almond cake thing that came with the omakase was incredibly dull, and the wasabi tiramisu I had on another visit was downright bizarre. I actually didn't hate the tirimisu, but I wouldn't get it again.

I'd take it as a sign that you should saunter up to 13th and Sansom for Capogiro gelato.

I'm glad to know you liked Morimoto, where else did you get to?

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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