Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Best on the Street – Street Food Philly

February 15, 2013
Street Food Philly, Philadelphia PA
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Korean Fried Chicken Tacos
Truffle Parmesan Fries
Chocolate Chip Cookie
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ImageMost food trucks around Drexel’s campus was closed around 2:30 so I decided to visit Street Food Philly, one of the only ones that were still serving late lunches. The guy was so nice and had superb service. He knows how to draw business.

I ordered one of their specials, the Korean Fried Chicken Tacos. The chicken was so tender and juicy and the batter was decent and not too thick. It soaked up the soy glaze nicely. I found the glaze to be a bit too salty, though, and the sesame seeds and scallions did not do too much to add to the flavours. I would have liked more of that pickled daikon. It was tangy and sweet, and very crunchy. The tacos had that processed corn taste, which made it comfort food.Image

I got a complimentary order of the Truffle Parmesan Fries as they were out of a full portion of the Lobster Risotto Arancini (I got the last three pieces for free and thy were flavorful, crispy, and delicious!) and the Mixed Green Salad. The fries were crisp, thick, and mushy on the inside. The flavour was toned down but there was definitely seasoning. I liked the shaved Parmesan and the homemade ketchup. The cheese melted and the ketchup, while a little watered down and not very sweet, was certainly fresh.Image

Finally, he also gave me a Chocolate Chip Cookie since I was the lucky gal who got the last order form. It was a bit crunchy on the edges but had so many gooey chocolate chunks inside! The cookie was not overwhelmingly sweet and clearly quite fresh.

It was certainly worth the trip over to Drexel. The food truck culture over there includes so much fusion comfort foods rather than the gyros and Chinese food on Penn’s campus. The people serving food are also so much more fun and nice.

Street Food Philly on Urbanspoon

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I <3 U, xoxo – Kiwi Yogurt

February 14, 2013
Kiwi Yogurt, Philadelphia PA
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Xoxo (Red Velvet Cake w/ Valentine’s M&M’s, Hershey’s Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup)
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ImageHappy Valentine’s Day! My significant other this year happened to be an accounting midterm. At least that was what I spent the majority of my evening with. Luckily, Kiwi Yogurt had a promotion and opened late.

Their special Xoxo was actually Red Velvet Cake Yogurt topped with Valentine’s M&M’s and Hershey’s Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup. The yogurt had that hint of semisweet cocoa and was a pretty shade of muted dark red. The M&M’s added a nice crunch and the chocolate syrup just brought everything together. It was just a bowl of red, pink, and white with sugar and chocolate, oh and somewhat healthy too! xoxo.

Kiwi Yogurt on Urbanspoon

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Grab that Mac – Mac Mart

February 13, 2013
Mac Mart, Philadelphia PA
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Marts’ Mac

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ImageA night to celebrate Valentine’s brought the Mac Mart to students. The actual truck itself is hot pink and yellow, so bright, eye-catching, and very girly. However, it draws attention so that is at least successful.

Despite the absence of the truck, they were serving up the regular size (Mac’n) of the Marts’ Mac, just like they would regularly serve it out of the truck. The macaroni was a little overdone, but not by much. Thus, the texture was still good. The five cheese and secret spices blend were slightly on the bland side for me and I could have used a sharper, cheesier flavour. Perhaps it was a little watered down? It was very creamy, though, and there was definitely enough cheese sauce. My favourite part was the buttered panko bread crumbs, which added a crunch to the mushy texture and a lovely, slightly burnt, buttery taste. I like my mac and cheese with a dash of ketchup, and I have to say, if I got this out of a food truck, I would be happy with the home-made recipe.

Mac Mart Food Truck on Urbanspoon

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The New Tang – Panda Express

February 13, 2013
McDonald’s, Philadelphia PA
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Tangy Jumbo Shrimp

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ImagePanda Express was promoting their new item, Tangy Jumbo Shrimp, and offered a free side entree portion with an online coupon. The side was supposed to have three shrimp, I think, but I got four. I actually liked this entrée. Even though it was considered low in calories and a healthier option, the tangy Asian was lovely and comforting, American Chinese fast food at its finest. The jumbo shrimp were quite large and tender on the inside, with the batter slightly crispy but also a bit soggy from the sauce on the exterior.  The sugar peas and red bell peppers looked so vibrant and colourful, contrasting the orange and making the dish look much better. They were crunchy but just slightly greasy. I do not think a sauce needs so much oil but the flavour was good.

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Shamrocks and Fish – McDonald’s

February 12, 2013
McDonald’s, Philadelphia PA
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Shamrock Shake
Fish McBites
Tartar Sauce
Grilled Onion Cheddar Burger
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ImageIt seems I am always repeating this, but McDonald’s needs more than three special menu items every four months. Honestly, that would keep the menu so much more interesting, but we digress.

It was only the beginning of February but since Valentine’s Day was over, it was apparently prime time to roll out the Shamrock Shake again. I was not going to miss it this year, and I am glad I did not. It was lovely and sweet, smooth as all McDonald’s shakes go. The mint added a different layer of flavour and made it light and refreshing, despite it still being a caloric bomb. The green was actually pretty and appetizing looking, and I just liked the balance of sweet vanilla and mint.Image

The new Fish McBites were on promotion for three days; a snack size was only $1. This was such a deal, as they were really good. Well, as good as fast food fish can get anyways. Each mini fish nugget had tender Alaskan Pollock inside, flaky with the layers visible. The batter on the outside was slightly crispy and quite thin, as well as nicely seasoned. The Tartar Sauce that came with it was the same as the one on the Filet-O-Fish, tangy, sour from the relish, and creamy.Image

The Grilled Cheddar Onion Burger was also only $1, now part of their regular Dollar Menu. The bun was slightly sweet and toasted. However, the ingredients were subpar. The onions were a little too greasy; the white cheddar was a little bland; the hamburger patty was dry and overdone, not juicy in any way. The idea of the burger is nice but the execution needed some serious improvement.

Now, I am wondering what they will churn out for Easter and late spring. That should be interesting, but something with chocolate would be nice. Those Easter bunnies would like that, too.

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Sweets in the Hub – HubBub Coffee

February 12, 2013
HubBub Coffee, Philadelphia PA
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Cinnamon Roll
Pain au Chocolat
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ImageI went to a presentation by a Penn alum who is the founder of the HubBub Coffee truck on campus. It was very interesting to hear about the business, and to enjoy some of the treats that they get regularly from Au Fournil.

The Cinnamon Roll was absolutely scrumptious and probably would have been even more amazing if it was toasted. The roll itself was soft and full of swirled cinnamon and sugar. The icing was also great. It was a very sweet but satisfying cinnamon roll, and huge as well. This will make anyone happy in the morning with a coffee.Image

The Pain au Chocolat was a bit disappointing. The pastry dough was flaky and soft, a little moist and doughy, the way I like it. However, the chocolate inside was cold and frozen, almost hard. There was also very little of it. This pastry definitely needed to be toasted and more chocolate would have been good.Image

These pastries from Au Fournil can also be found in Capogiro and I would think a few other places as well. They were very fresh so despite HubBub not making it themselves, these would be fine to go along with the coffee that they sell.

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Tap to the Beat – City Tap House

February 9, 2013
City Tap House, Philadelphia PA
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Abbruzzo Pepperoni Pizza
Jambalaya Pizza
Ten Spice Wings
Elise Mussels
Pancho Mussels
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ImageThanks to the snowstorm Nemo, our dance competition was cancelled at the last minute. Thus, our after party was also non-existent; instead, it just changed to a regular old hang out at City Tap House with the rest of the team. Everyone squished around tables, chatted, and had a fabulous start to the Year of the Snake. This was my first time eating at the gastropub and I have to say, the food was better than I expected with huge portions.

We ordered a couple of items to share and the first to arrive was the Abbruzzi Pepperoni Pizza. These are made in-house, with fresh dough and also freshly baked. The crust was thin yet still soft. I loved the cheese, sauce, pepperoni, and the sliced fresno peppers combination. The fresh mozzarella was really light and thus not overly greasy. The texture was very chewy, which I loved. The peppers really added a zing to the pizza that was totally unexpected and quite lovely.
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Our Jambalaya Pizza was also very good, again with a kick from the fresno peppers. There was a decent amount of brie on this but I could have gone with more andouille sausage, fresno peppers, and chicken confit. The creole shrimp sauce was good. This was certainly an interesting pizza, though. It was so fresh that it was going to be good regardless of the amount of toppings and it was very flavourful nonetheless.Image

The Ten Spice Wings were surprisingly good. They were cooked perfectly, so moist and tender throughout. The spice rub was really flavourful as well that I could have eaten it without the house blue dressing. The dressing itself was creamy and flavourful, with a little tang. I loved the crunchy celery and carrot sticks with the dip, though, but some grease got on the vegetables. This was just a great appetizer to share with friends.Image

The Elise Mussels were such a huge portion that four of us ate to our hearts’ content and there was still enough to go around. The tomato broth was very flavourful but the garlic aroma was not strong enough. I definitely could have used a stronger herb flavour, too. However, the basil chiffonade, garlic, and plum tomato chunks in the broth were lovely. The general manager even brought out extra bread at our request to soak up all the remaining broth, the best part! The mussels were a little undercooked, though. A few of them were still closed and very briny, slightly raw on the inside.Image

The Pancho Mussels were very similar in flavour to the Elise Mussels. The broth was pretty much the same, except this one had poblano peppers and spicy chorizo sausage. We thought this would be spicy but there was barely any heat. The sausage slices were good, though, as was the broth. These portions are so huge that they will be a full meal if you do not mind eating just mussels!

Both the service and atmosphere were great – casual, friendly, and relaxing. The vibe was so alive even after midnight, one of the pros of a pub. I was just glad to find the food was quite decent and they do not just care about their alcohol. Overall, I would definitely come back for a fun night out with friends.

City Tap House on Urbanspoon

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Bacon and Bagels – Dunkin’ Donuts

February 9, 2013
Dunkin’ Donuts, Philadelphia PA
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Glazed Donut
Vanilla Frosted Donut
Old Fashioned Cake Donut 
Marble Frosted Donut
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich
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The morning of the conference that we had been planning for the past half a year, we had to be there early. So, the club president bought everyone lots of donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts. At least we did not have to wake up early and starve.Image

The Glazed Donut was simple yet good. The doughnut was soft and moist, with the glaze very sugary and sweet. This will never be the best doughnut ever but it will always be one of those that you can depend on.Image

The Vanilla Frosted Donut was also very generic. The vanilla frosting was sweet and sugary. I loved the crunch the sprinkles provided. The yeast doughnut was airy and light.

The Old Fashioned Cake Donut was rather disappointing. I remember this doughnut from my childhood and Tim Hortons that it was a very dense cake-based doughnut with a lot of spices and cinnamon. The flavour was a little faint and the doughnut was on the dry side. Perhaps I should go back to Superstore or Tim Hortons.Image

I went out and bought myself the Marble Frosted Donut. The yeast-based doughnut was light and soft, very puffy. The frosting on top looked really cool but tasted very generic. It was simply white icing with a chocolate icing drizzle. Both were sweet and the chocolate icing provided a light cocoa flavour.Image

Finally, because it was National Bagel Day, I just had to get a bagel – on a breakfast sandwich. The Bacon, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich could have been served on anything but was pictured on a bagel, so that was what I got. Instead of plain, though, I got an Everything Bagel. I loved all the sesame and poppy seeds, garlic, onion, and oats. They added a nice crunch and aroma. The bacon was crispy, the egg omelet very yellow but airy, and the cheese generic and nicely melted. It was a good sandwich for fast food standards.

ImageFor reliable, cheap, and quick breakfast, Dunkin’ Donuts is definitely one of the best options around. However, I still wish they had Tim Hortons here, just because it feels so much more home-y. 

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Vanilla All Spiced Up – Starbucks

ImageFebruary 8, 2013
Starbucks, Philadelphia PA
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Vanilla Spice Latte
Turkey Rustico Panini
Cheesecake Brownie 
Petite Vanilla Bean Scone
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Unfortunately, Starbucks rewards expires sooner or later. Being so busy, I literally left it till the last day to redeem mine but it allowed me to go sit in a cafe for a while and de-stress and unwind. There is nothing more lovely sometimes than smelling coffee on your jacket for the rest of the evening. That aroma is just lovely.

If there was one thing I disliked about the Vanilla Spice Latte, it would be that there was no skinny option, or rather a sugar-free vanilla spice syrup. Besides that, I found it to be so much better than your regular vanilla latte. The spice really brought out the sweet, aromatic vanilla bean flavour since it provided contrast to that mild but definitely present spice. It was quite sweet but very flavourful.Image

The new Turkey Rustico Panini was actually really delicious. The wheat focaccia was toasted nicely and I loved the crunch of the sesame seeds on top. The turkey was sliced thin but had a generous portion. It tasted quite fresh. I loved the wilted baby kale with the sweet onion marmalade. They melted into the smoked Swiss cheese nicely. The Dijon mustard was a bit overpowering compared to the rest of the flavours. The mustard seeds were just a bit on the strong side.Image

Also new was the Cheesecake Brownie. It was literally half cheesecake, half fudge brownie, with some swirled fudge on top. I guess I was just expecting a thin layer of cream cheese topping but instead, I got sweet, creamy, and thick cheesecake. It was actually really good, especially with the fudge. The brownie on the bottom was very dense and the chocolate flavour was very strong. The whole thing was somewhat greasy and very dense, but still very good. I loved the chewiness.Image

The Petite Vanilla Bean Scone owed all its flavours to the vanilla bean glaze. It had that sweet aroma I was looking for. The scone itself was buttery, flaky, and crumbly but lacked much flavour overall.

Starbucks customer service is always so good. I think that is why reason people keep on going back. Whatever you need, they will get it for you. Oh, and did I mention free refills of regular brewed coffee for all registered card holders? 

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Where’s My Salt? – Axis Pizza

February 7, 2013
Axis Pizza, Philadelphia PA
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Fettuccine Alfredo
Axis Panini
[Garden Salad]
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ImageIt was National Fettuccine Alfredo Day and a Thursday so I decided I would finally pay a visit to Axis Pizza, a diner that seemed to be doing okay, although I have never seen anyone eat inside. It was large, clean, and casual. While there were a few other diners around and people seemed to come and go, it was no where near crowded like its sister restaurant, The Greek Lady. Perhaps since it is on the border of Penn and Drexel, so neither school’s students care to visit it.

The Fettuccine Alfredo was hugely disappointing. The pasta was actually al dente but clearly not completely freshly cooked. The sauce was just a Parmesan cheese and butter sauce with absolutely nothing else. No seasoning, no garnish, no herbs, no nothing. Just cheese and butter. It was certainly creamy enough but I though it really lacked flavour. Even the garlic bread knot it was served with had more flavour with its scallions inside, despite being very doughy and undercooked.

ImageThe Axis Panini was much better. The grilled portobello mushrooms were nice although slightly greasy. That was probably from the pesto though, which was actually decent. The fresh mozzarella was nice, as were the meaty tomatoes. The pesto was actually really oily and not the freshest, most aromatic pesto ever. However, it was still nice and tasted quite good on what I believe was ciabatta. The bread actually had a lovely, buttery crisp from the panini press on the outside while the inside was airy and soft.Image

Each dish was served with a side salad, so I had two plates to enjoy. While the entrees were meant for variety and taking half of it home for another meal, I ate both of the garden salads. They had romaine, green peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. One was a balsamic vinaigrette and one was Italian dressing. Both were okay and nothing special.

I think Axis Pizza is just in an awkward location. The food is by no means bad for a diner like this and I would definitely go back for a special or a quick, casual meal. My pasta was $2 off and they have other daily specials as well. At least it is by no means crowded inside.

Axis Pizza on Urbanspoon

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