The Really Food Review

 

Welcome to The Really Food Review! Here you’ll find insights and adventures about the Philadelphia food world, from the perspective of the experts: us, The Really Cooks! We are confident that you will be thoroughly entertained, and perhaps you will even be inspired to visit some of the places we’ve reviewed… as a character yourself!

List of entries:

King Alon at Nam Phuong

 

King Alon ready to eat at Nam Phuong!

Nam Phuong
1100 Washington Ave
(215) 468-0410

 

 

Welcome back to the The Really Food Review! King Alon will journey to the far-off land of 11th and Washington, to enjoy food from even farther-off: Vietnam! The place? Nam Phuong.

 

 

 

 

 

The restaurant was almost as big as King Alon's castle.

 

 

 

One thing that really struck the king was its regal atmosphere: glass chandeliers (probably pure crystal) hung from every table.

 

 

No one was bold enough to glance at the king as he strutted past.

 

 

King Alon made as royal an entrance as ever, strutting down the aisle of tables until arriving at his own, where he removed his 2834 karat gold cufflinks and got comfortable.

King Alon cannot eat with the cufflinks on, as they each weigh about 89 pounds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King Alon is an expert tea-pourer, and so did not need a stunt double for this shot.

Nam Phuong's logo looked quite similar to a treble clef. This pleased King Alon.

 

 

Upon arrival, the waiter provided King Alon with a menu, and he perused at his will (the king’s will). He was also brought tea, which the king sipped with glee!

 

 

 

In a few moments, the waiter arrived, this time to take the king’s order, Pho Ga (chicken pho).

Waiters at Vietnamese places are experts at knowing the corresponding number for each food dish.

 

Usually you don’t define a word with the word itself, but in this case it is necessary because there’s nothing quite like it. Basically, if your Jewish grandmother were actually Vietnamese, pho is what she would serve you. It’s a noodle soup made from special chicken or beef stock and various delicious spices (including star anise and roasted ginger).

And these side garnishes:

sprouts, Asian basil, lime, and chili peppers

 

 

There’s a debate on how to pronounce it, though. Is it “Foh”? “Fuhhh”? There’s really no reason for it to be a debate because there’s pretty much only one way.

 

 

And wow, there wasn’ttime to finish that tangent before the pho (foh? fuhhh?) itself arrived! It couldn’t have been more than five minutes. Before tasting, the king had to garnish with the spices and sides.

Basil...

 

sprouts...

and Sriracha!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, he was ready. The king slowly and gingerly, as only a king could, sipped his first taste.

A sip...

This is actually not a still image, it's a three hour video. King Alon was actually temporarily immobilized in this position from his complete euphoric state.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And wow… who cares how it’s pronounced, this was the most delicious thing he had ever tasted. Ever. He fired his 5 royal chefs immediately.

You can't see it, but the table is resting solely on King Alon's gigantic belly.

 

It was just so tongue-tingling, so spice-filled, so packed with flavor and comfort and love. In a short moment, dripping with sweat, the king found the bottom of the bowl. Most non-royal folk would have only managed to finish half, but due to his extremely portly nature, King Alon was well equipped to handle the whole thing.

 

 

He was inspired by the deliciousness of the pho to become the conductor of a 100-piece symphony orchestra.

Conductor Alon

 

But then he realized they couldn’t make pho. So he fired them. (It would be much easier to train the pho chefs to become professional musicians than vice-versa… see below).

a chef-kestra

violin-chef!

 

 

King Alon was so happy and pleased with Nam Phuong and its pho, that he had to have a royal portrait painted with the staff.

 

royal portrait

and a royal watercolor!

 

 

 

 

 

 

King Alon highly suggests — nay, orders you as his royal subjects — to go eat at this fabulous food establishment. Pho is only about $6, and he’ll give you 10 solid 3984234 karat gold coins if you bring him more pho, since he no longer has any royal chefs.

Thanks for reading… next time Josh Band will be featured and his favorite Rock and roll joint, Johnny Rockets!

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South Street Souvlaki, and Paul’s Idaho Fries

Paul’s Idaho Fries
429 South Street

South Street Souvlaki
507 South Street
(215) 925-3026

Lem outside South Street Souvlaki

Lem outside Paul's

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Lem’s first entry, and he was under the impression that for every food review thus far, we had all been flown first-class to foreign countries courtesy of the venues we were critiquing, and so he obviously requested Greece.

Of course, not wanting to disappoint, we blindfolded him until arriving at South Street Souvlaki, the closest thing to Greece within five miles.

the CLAW!

 

Lem was immediately impressed with it, and gave us the official claw of approval.

He was so excited to be in an authentic Greek restaurant, and though we were not in Greece (which Lem was not aware of), South Street Souvlaki did not disappoint.He wrote this poem about it:

Their food is made fresh,
And displayed for all to see,
I don’t know its name,
But oh how scrumptious it will be!

Wow!

Must... cut through... glass...!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lem decided to go with the classic gyro, the sandwich we all know and love.

Luckily he didn't notice that "Karinos foods, Inc." was written on the bottom.

 

 

 

 

While waiting, he glanced with wonder at all the Greek on the signs and walls.

 

 

 

 

"But how can we be located right there, if we can't even fit inside that map?!"

 

 

 

He also admired the maps, and when King Alon noticed this, he regaled Lem with Greek tales of past kingdoms, evil villains, and heroic battles. Some were the classic Greek myths of Homer, but others were true stories about King Alon’s kingdom and its confrontations with Greece. But that’s for another day. Maybe you’ll read about it in another few thousand years.

 

 

 

Apparently Chris, the Souvlaki server, had never shaken hands with a lemon before!

 

 

 

 

Finally the gyro came!

 

 

 

 

It was wrapped in pure silver.

 

The first bite did not disappoint — the meat was tender, and the tzatziki sauce was creamy and fresh.

 

And doubles as a moisturizer too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So delicious, he wouldn't even stop eating for a picture with the band.

Until we told him that we were not in Greece, but rather on South Street. Then he started crying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But regardless, I think we all learned a lesson: it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come from… all that matters, is how good your food is. Also, we learned that Lem will believe he’s in any country you tell him he’s in.

Leemon me, when you're not strong, I'll be your Lem...

 

 

 

To make Lem feel better, we took him to Lemonville, a magical place where lemons roam free, along with their potato pals and funnel cake friends. AKA Paul’s Boardwalk Fries.

 

 

 

 

Lemonade? $4. Lem? Priceless.

 

 

The menu was nice and simple: lemonade, soda, funnel cake, hot dogs, fried Oreos, and fries. It was the perfect place to stop by for a snack!

 

 

Josh Band gave Dottie the money for lemonade, but the security cameras captured this footage:

Josh is nervous...

Lem appears at just the right moment...

And SNATCHES the change!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Success! And he marketed for the band, to boot!

Yipee!

 

 

The lemonade was simply delicious. Sweet, tasty, and frozen, so as it melted, you could enjoy it all over again. Being at a lemon-themed location made Lem so happy. And rightly so. Imagine if all your life, you were in a strange place, where all these strange hominids walked around, rival fruits dominated, and everyone thought you were a sourpuss? For people, it’s like seeing the first human after being lost and isolated for months!

 

 

Wait. There's a SQUEEZED lemonade?!

 

 

 

Then he suddenly realized… this was not a lemon store… it was a lemonade store! And how is lemonade made? By squeeeezing those innocent little lemons until there’s no life left!

 

He reached for his poor lemon comrades, oblivious to their destiny…

 

Come, my lemon friends!

 

Will he save them, or will it be too late? Find out next time!

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Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen

Pete Band outside the deli

Famous Fourth Street Delicatessen
700 S. 4th Street
(215) 922-3274
Open 8am-9pm
www.famous4thstreetdelicatessen.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next review finds us again on South Street, this time with Pete Band at fourth. Famous Fourth Street, that is. This Jewish delicatessen has been around since 1923, and rightly so. Every morsel is huge, delicious, and never disappointing!

Of course because it’s called “Famous” Fourth Street, Pete marched in strutting his stuff, like the coolest of the cool. But despite its name, you don’t have to be a movie star or famous chef to frequent this place. Or cool. Whew! Are they hiring?!

The coolest cook around...

Well I'm a chef! A Jewish chef in fact! And I can even work an alarm system!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first thing Pete noticed when walking in was the size and grandeur of it all… they had enough mugs to serve all of King Alon’s army! Not to mention the huge black and white cookies (take that, Seinfeld), meats, egg and tuna salads… Pete was almost full just by looking at it all.

Regular unleaded, premium, and super

Like the Mario 3 Giant World...

 

Salads, meats, cheeses, oh my!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The place had a very New York-style deli feel, with the checkered black and white pattern all around.

The Wall of Fame. Maybe we might be on it, probably sort of.

 

Much better than having this black and white pattern:

Though if you span fast enough it would look like this

You could probably subsist purely on pickles and slaw... unless you're a Really Cook!

 

But we must press on, and so we did. Our waitress graciously sat us at an unassuming table, and brought out the standard pickle-and-coleslaw to nosh on. They were delicious, and there were both half- and fully sour pickles, for those with a preference. Mmm!

 

 

Now Pete had to choose what to get. Luckily for him, he found a friend to help him decide! Looked just like him too. Pete Band, Jr., perhaps? There were definitely some questions to be answered about this alternate universe. But that is not within the scope of this blog.

Hmmm...

What do you think?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pete and his mirror friend decided on the Chicken Soup with kasha (the Jewish and much more awesome sounding word for buckwheat).

King Alon approves this message

Meanwhile, to get in the spirit of things (when in Rome… or in this case, Fourth Street), King Alon broke out his yad and had a go at deciphering the ancient holy scripture framed on the wall. Obviously it had no relevance to the current story, so we’ll move on.

Something about “two chefs… feed world… a lemon… food… music… a King… Elvis Presley…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After seeing this soup, there's no question that the word "delicious" comes from the word "delicatessen"!

 

And the soup arrived! Steam poured off like Old Faithful in Yellowstone, except this was delicious-smelling steam! Sweet sweet slow-cooked onion, chicken, warm broth, carrots, and of course the delicious kasha, which gives it a slightly nutty flavor. A Jewish nut. That’s really what it is. Jewish nut-grain. Here’s Pete’s excitement over the soup, displayed with 21st century technology, far surpassing 90’s computer animation: Animated GIFs.

 

 

He even offered some to his mirror friend.

Luckily Pete didn't realize the tops were still on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good to the last kasha!

 

Defying the law of diminishing marginal utility, each bite was better than the last, and by the end Pete became so ravenous that he starting eating the bowl.

 

 

 

Ow!

 

A shame Dr. Lemonade had already left, or Pete would not have lost all his teeth.

 

 

 

 

 

But it’s okay, because after every meal at 4th Street, you are given a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie! And wouldn’t you know it, Pete’s teeth grew back! That place sure is magical.

Wow! A cookie!

Can't... eat... no... teeth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly it was time to leave, but what better way to celebrate the return of Pete’s teeth than…

Oh bother... Doesn't he know it's a hair salon?!...

SUGARRR!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yo. We're tough. We're chefs. What's it to YOU?

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Phileo Yogurt

The gents at Phileo, with some friendly faces in the background!

Phileo Yogurt
416 South Street
(215) 873-8361

The next part of our food journey brings us to South Street, where we’ll take you for our next six entries!

Philadelphia isn’t stranger to the frozen yogurt craze, and so our first stop was Phileo Yogurt. The name “Philly-yo!” fits in perfectly with the hip, unique-to-Philly vibe of South Street.

Green! Pink! Love!

 

Upon arriving, we were blown away by the fancy lime-green-and-pink color scheme of the place, though it didn’t quite match our outfits… we’ll have to call ahead next time and have a word with the management on that one.

Pete managed to decipher Phileo’s secret instructions for how to obtain the yogurt, which the owners must have foolishly left posted right on the wall. Haha!

Hmmm...

What's the code?!...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aha! It's written in... English!

 

The yogurt cups were perfectly sized for four people, so we grabbed one and got to work.

Lemons and strawberries go so well together!

 

One thing Phileo’s got going for it over most yogurt stops is the flavors! My gosh, we didn’t know there could be anything more than plain tart, chocolate, and vanilla, but they had cheesecake, green tea, strawberry, coffee, lychee tart, banana, cookies and cream, peach, snickerdoodle, and more!

 

 

King Alon was trained in yogurt dispensation as a prince

 

It was unclear how these mysterious in-the-wall dispensing machines worked (hydraulics? electricity? trolls), but it didn’t matter — we selected our favorite flavors and were off toward the register…

Ain't she a beaut?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course along the way we stopped to greet some die-hard fans for a 3-hour photo-op:

There was a third offscreen (that's where Lem's looking)

 

Whoops! Where'd the fans go? I guess they saw our chef outfits and got hungry.

 

Our yogurt obviously melted. We freaked, having no idea how much melted yogurt would cost. Luckily the kind employee at the register refroze it for us with some liquid nitrogen (just like that stuff they have at the Franklin Institute!) At $0.49/ounce, ours cost only $3!

Despite the bountiful selection of toppings, we couldn't wait any longer.

Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all took spoons, clinked, and tasted… and it was delicious! So cold and creamy, and every flavor was sublime! King Alon’s favorite was the tart, while Josh and Pete preferred Peanut Butter.

"Say cheese!" (cheese and yogurt are related, they're both dairy)

Dr. Lemonade had no preference... he was lucky any of it ended up in his mouth at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a dessert-tastic time at Phileo, but sadly it was time to depart.

Accidenti!

 

 

Josh and Pete were so sad they wept and wept, and almost slipped on their own tears! Lem threw down the “Caution: Wet Floor” sign in the nick of time. It was in Spanish though, so they fell anyway.

 

 

 

 

Good old King Alon decided to cheer everyone up. He took them to his best friend’s castle for games and silly antics.

Kingdom!

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Pub and Kitchen

outside Pub and Kitchen

Pub and Kitchen
1946 Lombard Street
(215) 545-0350
thepubandkitchen.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the next stop in our food journey, Josh Band searched far and wide for the best burger in town. One so moist, so succulent, so burger-riffic, that the Germans from Hamburg would would shake in das Boot if they were to ever have a taste!

The sunlight gave Josh his daily dose of Vitamin D

From a royal scout’s report, Josh decided to try a local pub called “Pub and Kitchen”. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, and the windows were expansive enough to let in abundant sunshine, so much so that lighting was hardly needed.

 

 

 

 

Is it a pig, or is it a rabbit?!

In addition, the “pabbit”, a cross between pig and rabbit, is Pub and Kitchen’s featured mascot, and the quirkiness of this animal shines through to their menu… in a good way!

 

 

 

 

 

"You've GOT to try this!"

The Churchill Burger

Josh immediately ordered the burger that Don suggested, a delicious aged beef called the Churchill Burger.

 

 

 

While waiting, Josh and the gang took a shot at creating photographic art with a deep message, but just managed to take a picture of themselves in a mirror, and failed miserably.

so artsy... not! Just stick with music and food, dudes.

 

Suddenly, the burger arrived, courtesy of Don!

Oh look! A french fry! One of them looks like a burger!

Oh, I guess it's a burger! And french-fry-shaped burgers too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the first bite, Josh was practically paralyzed from its moist, delicious nature, and did not–nay, could not–let go!

It's...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...so...

...good! I can't let go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eventually he managed to, and as he continued, he witnessed the following: the bun’s sweetness, its crispy texture, almost like a croissant… the burger’s juicy, rich flavor… and the sauteed onions augmented the sweetness of the bun beautifully! And the fries were a perfect touch to the meal, crispy and delicious. The Churchill Burger was the best choice, and Josh could only assume that Winston Churchill himself hand-crafted it 80 years ago. It was dry-aged, after all.

 

Mmmm!

Josh promptly napped, and didn’t wake up for days. Dreaming about the burger and Pub and Kitchen, he never wanted to witness a moment without this burger in his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where did it go? I must have been dreaming...

 

But then he realized that was silly, so he woke up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Till next time… peace and garlic sauce!

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Farmer’s Market and La Colombe

Pete deciding between parsnips and carrots

Farmer’s Market at Rittenhouse Square
18th and Walnut Streets
10am to 2pm on Saturdays, all year round
More info about this (and other farmer’s markets) here

La Colombe Torrefaction
1414 South Penn Square, (215) 977-7770 ‎
www.lacolombe.com

 

 

 

 

 

After the perfect pizza from Pietro’s, it was time for Pete Band to take a stroll through the Park. Rittenhouse Park that is. It was Saturday, so fresh produce and locally made treats were filling the sidewalks. Being winter, root vegetables were in season, so Pete Band had his choice between carrots, parsnips, onions, potatoes, and more!

Pete used his patented technique of knocking on the carrots to decide which was best.

Pete buying his dream vegetables!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily, the vendor, was happy to sell Pete his delicious onion and carrot, which he promptly snacked on.

 

 

 

Onions are usually cooked before eaten, but Pete just couldn't wait!

 

Next stop was the pickle stand, Philly Bills Dills, where Kevin had a selection of delicious pickles — sour, sweet, spicy. In the end, there really was no choice: Pete’s one true love is Spice, and the habanero pickles filled that void.

Pete even ran into his friend Brooke, who helped us enjoy the pickles!

Nice logo!

 

Crispy, crunchy, spicy, and full of flavor! They were well worth the $5 for the pint.

 

 

Pete and the Pickles

 

 

Cold tea for a hot day! Er, hot tea for a cold day!

 

Finally, a selection of hot cider and tea, perfect for a chilly day! Aldo and Alie were happy to offer Pete a cup of warm spiced ginger pear tea. It was sweet and delicious.

 

 

 

 

La Colombe logo!

 

 

After the market, the guys decided to take shelter from the bitter cold a block away, at Philadelphia’s premier coffee shop, La Colombe.

 

Pete Band, Josh Band, and King Alon waited in line patiently before ordering their espresso and cappuccino.

 

Each of the three gingerly took sips from the cappuccino, which was perfect and strong, the foam light.

King Alon

Josh Band

Pete Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the espresso — whoops! Josh Band misheard Pete and the King… they said “Josh, take a sip!” but he heard “lose your grip!” and dropped the espresso as he was about to drink it.

Accidenti!

King Alon consoling Josh Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

After leaving La Colombe, the three made their way back home to the castle. Of course, on the way Pete tried to sneak into one of his favorite (but FORBIDDEN) food establishments, but King Alon caught him! Haha! Pete would undergo the royal punishment for such an offense… beheading!

Nice try Pete Band!

 

No just kidding. A slap on the wrist would do. Until next time!

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Pietro’s Coal Oven Pizzeria

King Alon was pleased with the gold-plated stenciling.

Pietro’s Coal Oven Pizzeria
Type: Pizza/Italian
Neighborhood: Rittenhouse
Address/Phone: 1714 Walnut Street, (215) 735-8090
Website: pietrospizza.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This first foray into the food world follows King Alon on his first journey outside of his castle walls since his visit to the castle wall wallpaper shop (for the annual castle redecoration). Let’s hope that he remembers how to act among the commoners! Who better to accompany him on this trip than his top chefs, Josh and Pete Band?

King Alon and Josh Band waiting for the bus!

 

a bus high-five

 

After disembarking from the royal SEPTA coach, the gentlemen ventured across the city, until arriving at their destination: Pietro’s Coal Oven Pizzeria!

With a view of the chefs themselves, King Alon (as well as a common customer) could be confident a rival king's vezir would not poison his pizza!

The first thing King Alon noticed was the atmosphere: a warmly lit, yet not overly bright lighting scheme provided a welcomed ambience to the bitter cold of a winter’s day.

But what to order? The Four Cheese? The Gardeneria? The menu offerings sure seemed promising, but would the food be up to the standards of the Really Cooks?!

 

 

King Alon enlisted the aid of Eldina, who recommended her favorite: Pietro's Classic.

 

While waiting for the meal, the lovely waitress Eldina graciously brought fresh bread to the King. When mixed with olive oil (infused with peppers and herbs), the warm bread was the perfect thing to whet King Alon’s appetite.

 

 

After only a brief wait, Eldina presented Pietro’s Classic to the King, to his pleasant surprise! Smoked mozzarella, prosciutto, and baby arugula, all at the modest price of $15.50 (about 1 gold coin).

Pietro's classic!

 

Alon enjoying his slice

The crust was crisp but moist, the prosciutto was sweet and lightly salty, and the arugula provided a nice bite to the combination of flavors. Smoked mozzarella when used in moderation can be quite pleasant, and Pietro’s managed to nail it.

 

 

 

Though he could not finish the whole pie (five dozen eggs every morning will do that to you), King Alon was satiated more than he had been in a long while.

Though he could not finish the whole pie (five dozen eggs every morning will do that to you), King Alon was satiated more than he had been in a long while.

This will definitely be a regular spot for the King and his men. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming, the food was delicious, and the service was akin to that found in King Alon’s castle (in other words, impeccable). King Alon offered Eldina a position in his royal kitchen (paying $1,000 an hour), but she graciously declined.

The gentlemen, feeling tired and full, decided to call upon King Alon’s royal helicopter to transport them back to the castle! But where was his crown he wondered? Luckily for him, a friendly peasant helped the King find his crown… which was on his head the whole time!

Oh, there's the crown!

 

Until next time… peace and garlic sauce!

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