The Endless Road Trip, Philly: A Waffle to End All Waffles



At Philly’s new V Street, the all-vegan menu is inspired by street food from around the world, fusing flavors from as far afield as Hungary, India, Peru and the Philippines into an amazing array of meat-free snacks like jerk trumpet mushrooms and harissa-grilled cauliflower mixed up with spiced avocado, olive salad and chermoula, an intensely flavorful North African marinade.

The cocktails are particularly off-the-wall—the “Cruz Control” mixes tequila with horchata, lime and tepache—a Mexican fermented pineapple drink—but the true crazy prize has to go to this dessert waffle: it’s layered with rich chocolate ganache, gooey bites of banana, vegan ice cream and a chunky miso caramel, with Sriracha peanuts and syrup poured over the whole thing. Yes, please.

(Photo: V Street)

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Endless Road Trip, Philly: Chicken Schmaltz Rugelach


This savory, fat-filled take on the classic Jewish pastry is just the amuse bouche at Abe Fisher, but it’s a perfect introduction to Chef Michael Solomonov’s unique new restaurant, where he explores inventive takes on foods from throughout the Jewish diaspora. Solomonov offers a tiny, flaky take on the rugelach cookie and fills it with schmaltz (clarified chicken fat, a Jewish traditional ingredient usually used for frying or spreading on bread). It may seem like a gimmick, but it’s one of those gimmick-seeming things that actually work, and makes you wonder why they ever put chocolate in these doughy pastries when pure chicken fat works so much better.

Elsewhere at Abe Fisher, the borscht tartare is a deconstructed beet dish topped with trout roe, hard-boiled egg and onion potato chips (any dish that has both caviar and chips wins my vote). The smoked sable cakes are a crispy, crustacean-less Kosher answer to Maryland crab cakes, bursting with the surprisingly effective combination of Old Bay and dill, while the requisite Kosher-busting piggy dish subs pork belly in for pastrami on a delightfully cheesy rueben. Even the simplest dishes here impress, like a side of warm and juicy carrots amped up with aged gouda, little bits of pumpernickel bread pudding and savory prune butter. Overall, one of the best new restaurants in the country I’ve been too lately. Also, it’s March and still like 10 freaking degrees. Can I get some more chicken schmaltz in here please?

(Photo: Yelp / Melissa P.)

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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…


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



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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Burns My Bacon: Anti-Booze States

Do you know what a State Store is? If you do, then you understand my endless rage. If you don’t, then you’ll most likely be enjoying the recent endless wines super-cheap case of wine gift with no frustrations. The rest of us are scrambling to find somebody in a neighboring state willing to open their doors to a case of wine while also willing to refrain from drinking it. (I’ll explain)

I know for most of you, you have no idea what I’m talking about. Some of you can stop at a gas station on your way home from work and pick up a pounder of Keystone for your enjoyment the minute you get home. Or you could stop at your local grocery store and get wine, beer, or yes, even liquor. You have no idea how much the rest of us envy you.

I live in the great state of Pennsylvania. We are home to two great cities, great sports, the Philadelphia Cheesesteak, the Liberty Bell, the homes of Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, and a site of which the constitution was drafted. We bring to America great pride in its history. But then there is this giant ink blotch on our state that we just can’t get rid of: The State Store.

Here in Pennsylvania, we are restricted to where and when we can get our booze. If you want beer, you need to go to a distributor. You want wine or the hard stuff?! Who the hell do you think you are? You need to go to what we call “state stores” run by the LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD (not controlling nanny-state-like at all). But wait—you can only go during certain hours, and we do not allow anyone to get any form of alcohol on Sundays (depending on where you live IN PA). God forbid. Phew. So those are the rules here.

Well…there is another catch. Apparently if these state stores (which have a giant selection and are run by experts in wine and booze…er…sarcasm) don’t have what you want,  you can’t even order if from  another state without going through the state store. And paying a tax nearing 20% on your purchase. You better pay for your booze you drunkard!

So that awesome deal that you’re trying to get…that’s hilarious! They can’t ship to Pennsylvania—that would be blasphemy.  I mean, unless you ship it to the state store and pay us back in taxes for allowing you to send a package to our door and hold it for you. That takes a lot of resources you know…

The deal is awesome. I’m pretty excited, and contemplating having the girlfriend let me ship to her house in New Jersey (just don’t tell anyone!). The rest of you…well, you know what I think about you. Pick up a 40 for me next time you’re out…anywhere. Celebrate the occasion that you’re free to buy whatever beverage you want, wherever you want. I’ll be lost in the maze of Pennsylvania legislation trying to figure out HOW THE HELL I CAN GET ME SOME NAKED WINE!

(Photo: Our Awesome Wine Sponsor)

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Doing it Right: (Some) Marathoners Eat Like ES-ers, Too

Now that snebbu and I are “runners” or something, we’ve been thinking a lot about what we are supposed to eat in addition to drowning ourselves in beer after a race. We’ve already expressed how we hate endless food plans,  and I hate fitness fanatics who only eat grass and seeds. I’ve learned that a lot of hardcore athletes are afraid of fat—my ex-boyfriend would only eat egg whites, oatmeal, and sandwiches with no condiments or cheese. What’s the point of all that working out if it doesn’t let you eat like shit without consequences?

I think I’ve found my running idol. After 36-year-old Philadelphian Michael McKeeman won the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday, he went to Jake’s Sandwich Board, got the Turbacon Sandwich (Slow roasted whole turkey, cranberry-apple spread, smoky grilled bacon, savory brown gravy and crispy potato pancakes) with a Peanut Chew milkshake. For dinner? A bacon cheeseburger with two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns.

Be still my heart.

(Photo: Jake’s Sandwich Board)

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