Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Monkeys Fly Too – Flying Monkey Bakery

ImageSeptember 25, 2012
Flying Monkey Bakery, Philadelphia PA
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Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcake
Butterscotch Cupcake
Pumpkin Chai Whoopie Pie
Espresso Whoopie Pie
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I needed to go to Center City so I decided it was a good time to visit Reading Terminal Market and get some delicious goodies from Flying Monkey Bakery. I loved the atmosphere inside, with endless food options, most of which was so appetizing that I know I will be back very soon. Sticking with my plan, though, I found my way amidst all the different vendors to the display cases filled with cupcakes, Whoopie pies, brownies, and a bunch of other delicious-looking treats. 

The first was the Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcake. These cupcakes was slightly frozen but still moist and soft. The cake was not particularly sweet but had rather a nice and light aroma. The peanut butter buttercream was slightly too buttery and light for me instead of sugary and dense. However, the savory taste made up for it so that it was not too oily. The strawberry jelly was cold, sticky, and sweet with strawberry pieces. The flavors blended fabulously and really resembled a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.Image

The Butterscotch Cupcake was disappointing. The buttercream was too greasy, light, and not sweet enough. The chocolate cake was nice but again not very sweet. I liked the few butterscotch chips on top but overall, there was not enough flavor to balance out the overwhelming butteriness of the frosting. The cupcake was good if you like greasy frosting and a semisweet dessert, but for me, I prefer my cupcakes to be not so bland.

The Pumpkin Chai Whoopie was out of this world. The cake shells were dense, soft, and very moist. They were also very sweet and with quite a decent pumpkin spice flavor. The chai icing in the middle was not greasy and very sweet and nicely spiced. It was sugary rather than buttery and the while treat was absolutely scrumptious! It was so warm, the flavors, perfect for the fall.Image

Finally, I had the Espresso Whoopie Pie. The chocolate cake shells were again only semisweet but moist and dense. The espresso frosting inside could have used a sweeter and stronger coffee flavor, although it was not unbearably oily. The flavors we’re there, just faint. Image

I am quite pleased with the Whoopie pies but not so much the cupcakes. At $2.50 each, I would definitely go back for the Whoopie pies and maybe a cake truffle! It is not too overpriced and the good was quite good quality wise. The frosting on the cupcakes were just not my style but for those who like it for what it is, Flying Monkey Bakery is a great bakery. 

Flying Monkey Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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Go, Eagles, Go! Err… Fly! – Dunkin’ Donuts

ImageSeptember 25, 2012
Dunkin’ Donuts, Philadelphia PA
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Eagles Donut
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Going to Center City took me to the subway station at City Hall. While exiting, I spotted a special Eagles Donut in Dunkin’ Donuts and made the effort to go back and get one myself once I ran my errands. It was just a regular doughnut with green frosting and drizzled with the white and somewhat clear sugar icing. The colors resembled the Philadelphia Eagles but the taste was like every other traditional frosted doughnut. The dough was actually a little dry but the inside was still airy and soft. At least it was cool in the sense that it supported the team, or if you just liked eating artificial green food coloring things. 

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Not Sweet but Sour – Sweetgreen

ImageSeptember 24, 2012
Sweetgreen, Philadelphia PA
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September Salad
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I always see so many students eating inside Sweetgreen, each with their own gourmet salad. The bowls were wooden and thus very ‘gourmet.’ It is a quaint little salad joint, upscale, quite expensive, and clearly popular among health-conscious students.

I gave the September Salad a try – roasted eggplant, green and red peppers, basil, grape tomatoes, Parmesan reggiano, and lemon hummus tahini dressing over a bed of mesclun. I was surprised, first of all, by the small portion. There were about six pieces of the delicious roasted eggplant cubes and six tomato halves. The lemon hummus tahini dressing did not impress, either, as it was a bit too acidic and overwhelmingly sharp for me. The lemon was strong while the hummus did not have much distinction; it tasted weird. The slice of side bread was chewy with a slightly tough crust, which was nice, but it was a thin slice and very light. The salad was decent, with fresh ingredients, but for $7.35, it was very pricey for something without a meat or protein. 

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Man, I Love This Maki – Makiman Sushi

ImageSeptember 23, 2012
Makiman Sushi, Philadelphia PA
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MM Naruto Roll
McNabb Roll
Shrimp & Scallop Teriyaki
House Salad
Miso Soup
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I owed my friend David a nice dinner after he helped me a ridiculous amount a few months ago and perhaps saved me from staying in bed for two weeks. After getting a Groupon sometime ago, I decided it was time to check out Makiman Sushi. The place was very empty on a Sunday night but it was clean and the service was friendly.Image

Our first roll was the MM Naruto Roll, with tuna, salmon, kani or imitation crab, and tobiko wrapped in a sheet of cucumber, with no rice. You can be sure I will always get a rice-less roll if the option is available. The sashimi was fresh and the roll nicely presented. It was overpriced in my opinion, since non of the ingredients is particularly rare. The cucumber was quite thick for a slice but rather crunchy and refreshing. The roll was nice but not exactly amazing and no sauce tied it together so it was more like an assembly of the ingredients.

The McNabb Roll was superb, though, and it should at $14.95. It had spicy tuna, avocado, and unagi on the inside with torched squid, tobiko, and scallions on the outside. It was drizzled with spicy and eel sauces. I loved the super chewy yet tender squid and there was quite a good amount of it on top. The spicy tuna and spicy sauce gave the roll a spicy kick and I loved the eel sauce’s sweetness in contrast. The unagi inside was hidden behind he other ingredients, but the other flavors were quite bold. The rice was okay and there was an average amount of it. The roll kept on falling apart though so It needed to be rolled tighter. The presentation was fabulous. Image

Finally, we ordered the Shrimp & Scallop Teriyaki. It came on a sizzling hot plate with the shrimp and scallops covered in teriyaki sauce and the steamed vegetables bringing colors to the dish. The shrimp and scallops were nicely pan-fried and quite tender, although it was not the most succulent and juicy I have had. Both were slightly on the drier side and the outer edges of the scallops were a little hard. There was a scent amount for $19.95. I enjoyed the broccoli, carrots, and tofu cubes but not so much the potato chunks. Besides my favorite scallops, I loved the onions in the sweet sauce – just divine. Image

The teriyaki dish came with Miso Soup and a House Salad. The salad was fresh with crunchy romaine, greens, cucumbers, shredded carrot, and sliced tomatoes. The dressing was refreshingly acidic and seemed to be a wasabi dressing with a kick, but I found it to be a little overdressed. 

The Miso Soup was decent with the right amount of miso paste. The mini tofu cubes and seaweed were welcoming and it served as a good appetizer. Image

I would probably not return without a voucher of some sorts, except to maybe try their special rolls at 50% off on Tuesdays. The food is quite decent but in my opinion, not worth the regular price. The meal came to almost $50 before tips at menu prices so I think they are definitely overpriced. At least it was a great deal and one less favor owed!

 

Makiman Sushi on Urbanspoon

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A Tribute to Native Americans – Zea May’s

ImageSeptember 22, 2012
Zea May’s, Philadelphia PA
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Creamy Sweet Potato Empanada
Spicy Bean & Cheese Empanada
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The line was long. It was not even moving, hardly faster than a snail, or shall I say escargot. Yet, the attractiveness  of free food is strong and so, like many other students, I lined up in front of Zea May’s food truck. At least I was not disappointed by the empanadas, which were freshly fried and came out piping hot.

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The Creamy Sweet Potato was indeed creamy with the naturally sweet aroma of the aptly named sweet potato. The fried dough wrapper was crispy on the outside and chewy and soft on the inside. The crunch contrasted nicely with the filling, which had a few chunks of the mushy vegetable mixed in, not perfectly mashed up. The flavor was a little bland since sweet potatoes are not strongly flavored to begin with, and wrapped in the dough, I thought it perhaps needed a touch of cinnamon or something similar.

The Spicy Bean &Image Cheese Empanada should have been more flavorful but sadly, was not. The wrappers were again nicely fried but the filling was disappointing. The beans were not exactly mushy, there was barely any gooey, melty cheese to blend everything together, and the spices failed to deliver a distinct kick. Still, it was a nice change from the Asian food trucks that have become my go to sources when my stomach starts growling at me.Image

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A Philly Tradition – Philly Pretzel Factory


ImageSeptember 22, 2012

Philly Pretzel Factory, Philadelphia PA
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Traditional Real Pretzel
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Any celebration in Philadelphia calls for soft pretzels. Students especially love these chewy, savory, and quite gigantic snacks.

The Traditional Real Pretzel from Philly Pretzel Factory is certainly the most typical and there were boxes full of them, all of which were consumed by hungry students in three hours. They were slightly hard on the outside but chewy and dense on the inside – the perfect food to give your jaw a workout. I loved the simplicity of the plain dough taste with the few salt bits on top. 

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Seemingly Scallops – Le Anh

ImageSeptember 21, 2012
Le Anh, Philadelphia PA
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Scallop w/ Fresh Mushroom and Mixed Veggies
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Yet another Chinese food truck I have not tried was Le Anh. Apparently, both this and The Real Le Anh used to be owned by the same lady but this one was sold to her friend. This friend was also very friendly, with her smile and accented English, explaining to me they have different sauces that I can choose from if I preferred something not according to the menu. 

I got the Scallop w/ Fresh Mushroom and Mixed Veggies, which came with the garlic sauce that I wanted anyway. I still am not sure whether the scallops were fake, but they seemed like imitation crab meat except a bit coarser and thicker. The sheets of what I am guessing is some kind of tofu product were rolled together and cut into scallop shapes. They were tender and had a nice, slightly sweet flavor, though. I got fried rice and the lady was very accommodating with giving me less rice and more vegetables. The vegetables and mushrooms were steamed, as were the scallops. Then, garlic sauce was ladled onto everything. I would have preferred an actually stir fried dish, but it was not greasy and a rather flavorful and healthy lunch.

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A Student’s Staple – The Best House Pizzeria

ImageSeptember 20, 2012
The Best House Pizzeria, Philadelphia PA
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Pepperoni Pizza
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School events more often than not do not live up to the hype the flyers and group emails generate. However, you can always depend on the smaller events for pizza, even if you are half an hour late. This was what I did after retuning from the Baltimore Ave Dollar Stroll and for dinner, I had pizza from The Best House Pizzeria.

The slice of Pepperoni Pizza was nothing special but not too bad either. I liked the crust, especially it’s chewiness ad plain flour taste. It was quite thick so I really enjoyed biting into it. The pepperoni was nicely seasoned but a bit too greasy. The cheese was a little bland. But again, I am not expecting anything gourmet at student events, just your ordinary slice of hardly Italian comfort food.

Best House on Urbanspoon

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Bucks for Box – Sweet Box Cupcakes

ImageSeptember 20, 2012
Sweet Box Cupcakes, Philadelphia PA
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Cookies & Cream Cupcake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake
Pumpkin Spice Cupcake
Red Velvet Cupcake
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The last stop on the Dollar Stroll before I had to head back was at Sweet Box Cupcakes a cupcake truck not always around campus. Each small cupcake was $1 and the line was so long. They were good cupcakes, though!

The Cookies & Cream Cupcake had a nice and sweet buttercream with cookie crumbles in it. It did not taste particularly like a cookie, just something sweet. The chocolate cake was not too sweet either, and personally, I wanted more sweetness. The mini chocolate vanilla cream cookie sandwich on top was cute and crunchy.Image

The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake was delicious. While the chocolate cake could have been moister and sweeter, the buttercream had a very strong peanut butter flavor. It was dense and sweet and savory at the same time, super creamy and rich. The chocolate bits on top made it quite pleasing for the eye as well.

The Pumpkin Spice Cupcake was another of my favorites. The cake and buttercream both had strong pumpkin spice flavors and was decently sweet. The buttercream was especially aromatic, smooth, and sweet. The cake could have been more moist, like all of the other cupcakes, but it was still airy and soft.Image

Finally, the Red Velvet Cupcake, while pretty with the little pink heart on top, was the most disappointing. The cake was a bit too dry for me and quite bland. It had no flavor and needed more sweetness. The buttercream seemed to have some cream cheese in it but not much. It was hard for me to tell. The texture was good but very generically sweet. I was certainly looking for a more identifying feature or flavor in this cupcake.

I would have loved to check out more vendors at thus event. $1 deals are hard to come by nowadays unless you are at McDonald’s. Perhaps next year, but at least I got my share of cupcakes!Image

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Eat Those Cookies Fresh – Subway

ImageSeptember 20, 2012
Subway, Philadelphia PA
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Sugar Cookie
White Chocolate Macadamian Cookie
Chocolate Chip Cookie
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Next stop at the Dollar Stroll was Subway with their $1 deal for three cookies.

The Sugar Cookie had a slight artificial almond taste, but apart from that, it was simple and sweet. The cookie was soft but could have been even softer. The edges were harder but it was hue and well worth 1/3 of a dollar.Image

The White Chocolate Macadamian Cookie was my favorite. The macadamia nuts were crunchy and the white chocolate chips sweet. More nuts would have been nice, though, and I found myself wishing it had just came out of the oven.Image

Finally, the Chocolate Chip Cookie was nothing special. It was somewhat soft and the chocolate chips were slightly melted, but I wanted something sweeter. What is with chocolate chip cookies not being sweet enough in general nowadays? it was still certainly worth 1/3 of a dollar, though!

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