The Endless Road Trip, Philly: A Thousand Layers of Joy

thousand layer

 

At Rangoon, a Burmese restaurant in Philly’s Chinatown (one of only a few longstanding Burmese spots on the East Coast), there are curries and skewers and tea leaf salads (all delicious), but the star of the show is a not-so-humble slice of bread.

Their thousand-layer bread is similar to an Indian paratha — a buttery, crispy fried pancake of dough — except here the hot and greasy bread achieves such a flaky, pull-apart consistency that it’s only a slight exaggeration to bill it as having a thousand layers. Each time you tear into this thing it comes apart with such soft and gooey satisfaction, offering all the joy of pulling apart those endless Pillsbury biscuits (pretty much one of my favorite things to do as a fat little kid), albeit with a thousand times more flavor. It comes with curry or a thick white “vantana” bean sauce for spreading/dipping, but really nothing else is needed but this hot and heavenly roll of carb-y wonder.

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The Endless Road Trip, Philly: A Smorgas-bread of Brunch Foods

Most tourists only make it to South Philly for the gloopy fake-cheese fest at the intersection of Pat’s and Geno’s, but it’s worth going just a little further south for a taste of the North Sea at Noord Eetcafe. Dutch-born chef Joncarl Lachman pays homage to his home country as well as the foods of Denmark, Norway and the rest of Northern Europe at this homey BYOB spot. Anyone who thinks Sunday brunch is the time for chefs to phone it in should check out the full-fledged flavors on display here, from warm, caraway-studded grilled bread and butter plopped on the table immediately…

bread

….to the pickled cauliflower, onions and green tomatoes that come with nearly everything, including the crispy fried mushroom and chicken kroket:

kroket

Noord’s daily-changing take on Scandinavian smorrebrod sandwiches always features an array of smoked fish—salmon, scallops and head-on shrimp when I stopped in—finished with a deliciously creamy, mustard seed-spiked dressing, plus more of those lovely pickled veggies.

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The Endless Road Trip, Philly: Breakfast Sandwich of the Year

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A couple years back Endless Simmer took you to Philadelphia for an epic foodie road trip, taste testing everything from soup dumplings to Tastycakes. This week we’re returning to the city of brotherly love to find out what new foods Philly has on offer — and we were quite taken with several of Philadelphia’s newest restaurants.

Our follow-up on Philly’s five best new food items kicks off today with a breakfast sandwich that will make you forget it’s some ungodly low temperature outside.

Served at High Street on Market — a great farm-to-table find in the otherwise chain-y area near Independence Mall — the pastrami and has breakfast sandwich piles everything there is to love on breakfast onto one fresh-baked poppy seed roll: including a thick, extra-crispy square of hash browns (love that carb-on-carb action), a mound cheesy scrambled eggs, grilled red peppers, tender shaved pastrami and just a little Russian dressing, for a little Rueben-y kick to your morning,  along with a tart house-made hot sauce on the side.

I know it’s only February, but I’m confident saying this is the breakfast sandwich of the year.

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Hello Hello from the Philippines

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I just returned from a trip to the Philippines, which has gotta have one of the most oddball food cultures in this whole entire world. I like to think of it as Asian tastes with American sensibilities — they’ve got all the fishy, funky flava you’ll find in Japanese or Korean cooking, but then they go and do things like deep-fry a whole dish or put cheese and ice cream on top. In other words, it’s pretty amazing.

But the most far-out dish of all I had there is known as halo halo — the ubiquitous Filipino dessert. It consists of a fruit cocktail melange topped by shaved ice and a scoop of ice cream (in this case, ube — purple yam — ice cream), with a cup of evaporated milk poured over the whole thing for a gooey, melty mess. But the kicker lies back in that melange of fruit cocktail, which basically seems to contain whatever the chef had in the fridge or lying on the counter that day. This version included bananas, syrupy peaches, coconut, sweet potato, regular potato, something that may or may not have been tapioca balls, lima beans, black beans, an old boot…you get the point: just surprise after mushy, delicious surprise.

Oh, and there’s Cheerios sprinkled on top of the whole thing, because why not?

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Cocktail O’Clock: Pomegranate Surprise

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This drink may look like a light and healthy brunch refresher, something you’d sip post-workout maybe. And it is all that…except for you know, tequila. White tequila that is — looking healthy but still getting you drunk since 1685.

Pomegranate Refresher

· 1 oz Herradura Silver tequila
· 1 oz Dolin Bianco vermouth
· Dash of orange bitters
· ½ oz lemon juice
· 1 oz club soda
· Pomegranate seeds

Place all ingredients except the soda into a high ball glass.

Add the club soda last, then using a bar spoon stir the ingredients together to chill & combine the flavors.

Garnish with a mint sprig and pomegranate seeds.

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Cocktail O’Clock: A Greener Bloody Mary

(Photo courtesy of Noah Fecks)

(Photo courtesy of Noah Fecks)

When you’re in your 20s you spend the week before New Year’s planning out your drinking schedule for the big night.

When you’re in your 30s you’re more concerned with how you’ll treat the hangover the next day.

Fortunately, we’ve got that one solved for you. Putting a Southern spin on America’s favorite brunch cocktail, the Green Bloody Mary mixes up Ole Smokey Moonshine corn whiskey with tomatillos, pickles, and plenty of spice for a New Year’s Day drink that will kick your 2015 into high gear.

Green Bloody Mary

6 tomatillos
1 dill pickle
3 garlic cloves
2 yellow heirloom tomatoes
1 serrano chili (seeds remove)
1 oz. Ole Smoky Original Moonshine
1 1?2 tablespoon preserved lemon
1?2 teaspoon each sugar, salt and pepper
Juice of 1?2 lime
3 dashes Tabasco

In a blender, puree ingredients. Fill glass with ice and strain in blended mixture.

To salt rim of glass: Put 1 tablespoon each salt, pepper, sugar and Aleppo pepper (optional) in a saucer. Wet rim with lime wedge, dab in saucer.

*Cocktail recipe courtesy of Distilled NYC

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Chew on This: Pistachio Rum Mini Bundt Cakes

Pistachio Chewy Bite Mini Rum Cakes

In one of those epic which-ice-cream-to-buy battle of the minds, a friend recently called me an “old man” for wanting to choose pistachio. Is this warranted? I mean, I know it’s not chocolate chip cookie dough, but it’s not rum raisin either. So maybe pistachio isn’t the most cutting-edge of all dessert flavors, but it’s freaking delicious. I was stoked to discover this new recipe from Heather Goldberg and Jenny Engel of Spork Foods, who combine the nuttiest of nuts with lots of wintry spices, yes, a little bit of rum, but yay, no raisins, for what they call Pistachio Chewy Bites. Yes, please.

Mini Pistachio Chewy Bite Rum Bundt Cakes

Yields 12 personal bundt cakes

Ingredients:
3/4 cup un-sweetened almond milk plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 cups organic un-bleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup evaporated cane sugar
1 tablespoon organic black strap molasses
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rum
1/4 cup neutral tasting oil (Safflower)
1/3 cup finely ground pistachios
3 Setton Farms Pistachio Chewy Bites
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
2 teaspoons un-sweetened almond milk

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