Category: Food

#GirlsTrip – Where we ate in Philly

TL;DRPhilly’s food scene is legit. Check out the BYO places (BYO brunch, what?!) and epic happy hours (see Double Knot below) and make a reso at one of the fancier…

TL;DRPhilly’s food scene is legit. Check out the BYO places (BYO brunch, what?!) and epic happy hours (see Double Knot below) and make a reso at one of the fancier neighborhood places. Loosen your belt loop a notch and enjoy!

Before we dive in

A little background – it’s been FIFTEEN YEARS since we graduated high school! Man those years have flown. What started as a Facebook post about a new food hall in Brooklyn escalated pretty quickly into a trip to the East Coast.

Scattered across the country since graduation, the four of us have not been in the same place together since… senior year when Alani came to visit us (she left us a year early). We’ve all come a long way since those days sitting under the library during lunch. College. Marriage. More College. Kids. It’s wild to think how long I’ve known these girls. 🙂

Flying in

Aside from Kristy, who lives in Philly and let us all crash at her place (thanks!!), we flew in. Alani from San Francisco, Karen from Minneapolis, and me from Hawaii. I expected epic jetlag the first few days, but my new strategy worked and we were all up and eating shake shack at 11pm because #vacay.

We crammed a LOT into those two days. Thanks once again to Kristy for being our tour guide and planning everything! She made sure we were able to see a ton for such a short trip.

 

Reading Terminal Market

While it’s a bit of a tourist trap, I’m still a sucker for a good food hall. We started off at Dutch Eating Place and Beiler’s Doughnuts in Reading Terminal Market. The turkey sandwich was delish, but the apple dumplings are what I’d go back for. Skip all the cake doughnuts at Beiler’s and go straight for the Fritters (blueberry or apple). The line can be long, but it moves fast and those fritters are legit. They were super fresh and reminded me of a combo between a malasada and a doughnut. This is also a cool spot to swing by for omiyage since there’s so many little Philly-only shops.

Chinatown and City Center Quick Eats

Philly has a LOT to offer in terms of shopping and eating. In the City Center, you’ll find Shake Shack, Uniqlo as well as all the standard retailers (H&M, Sephora, etc). Chinatown Square is a new-ish food hall that opened up with HALAL GUYS (!) and the original rolled ice cream place from NYC (I-CE-NY). We walked through, but since we just ate didn’t pick anything up (plus, we would be in NYC in a few days). We did manage to fit in a trip to Shake Shack, even though it was at 11pm.

Double Knot

Aside from the quick service places, there’s a huge foodie scene and tons of restaurants that are BYO (bring your own alcohol and no corkage = amazing). On our first night, we had happy hour at Double Knot, where the happy hour menu plates and drinks were $4! The food was amazing and the four of us left super full and a bit tipsy with a tab under $50.

Cheesesteak

What’s Philly without a cheesesteak!? We went to Jim’s but were a bit disappointed. The line was long, and while that gave us time to google the right words to order, it also maybe added to the hype. We’ll have to try one of the other places next time. The meat was more like ground beef and a bit flavorless. Maybe we should’ve had it whiz wit afterall.

Noord

We had dinner at Noord on the second night – Scandinavian fare. I had rabbit for the first time (and it was delish, sorry bunnies) and wow the bread here. I probably could’ve survived on just the bread, but the rest of the food was amazing as well. I’m usually not a huge raw fish person unless it’s poke, but the salmon was tasty! It was another BYO place and we brought 2 bottles of wine and took our time enjoying the food and the company. 🙂 The restaurant is small, but they do take reservations.

Honey’s Sit N Eat

Who knew that BYO BRUNCH places exist? Philly, definitely doing it right! Brought some champagne and made mimosas, because #vacay. We got the toad in a hole, corned beef and eggs and the honey cristo. The honey cristo was my fave because the sweet and savory was perfect – and it was topped with a sunny egg. Perfection. Toad in a hole was also delish, but a little too much cheese for me to handle *pops lactaid*.

La Colombe

After brunch, we went to the La Colombe in Fishtown. It was huuuuuge and this neighborhood 100% reminded me of Williamsburg. The guy at the register was even wearing plaid and had a handlebar mustache. Haha. If you haven’t been to a La Colombe (in Philly or in NYC) you should definitely check it out. Their draft lattes and cold brew (you can get a black and tan which is half cold brew and half draft latte) are delish.

Federal Donuts

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about donuts – but did you know that I actually do NOT like cake donuts? I mean, does anyone even like them? Hahaha. Moving on. Kristy said that we have to try this place, as she also doesn’t like cake donuts, but loves these! So we gave them a shot. We got a fancy (smores) as well as their standard hot and fresh (Cinnamon) – and okay, fine. I’m mayyyyybe sold – but only on the hot and fresh. 😉 The fancy was okay, but too sweet and too many things going on for me.

Talula’s Garden

A half-open garden / half-inside restaurant, we came here for dinner on our last night in the City. This one, although not BYO, is a place I would definitely come back to. We sat and had a drink at the garden bar before we moved inside for dinner. We ordered the Ricotta Gnudi, Berkshire Pork Belly, Collard Greens, and Overnight Bone-In Short Rib. The pork belly was melt-in-your-mouth amazing. Seriously. Their menu changes often, so definitely check in with the servers on what’s popular for the type of food you’re craving.

Heh. Alani also sneakily told the server that it was my birthday. 🙂 It was our last dinner together, so it was kind of a perfect send-off.


It was an amazing weekend that I seriously should’ve written about earlier. I can’t believe it’s already been so long! While we were there, Kristy was taking part in the Holoholo Lens Project a neat traveling photography project coordinated by Ricky Li. You can check out her pics here: Kristy’s Holoholo Lens Project photos.


Heading to Philly?

I created a quick google map of everywhere we ate.

Map of our Philly Adventures

Map of our Philly Adventures

 

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Modern Toilet – Eating from toilets in Taipei

Eating from toilets can be …fun? We checked out Modern Toilet in Taipei.

I’m sure you’re extremely concerned for my health right now and trying to think if you’ve shared food/drinks with me since we’ve been back from our trip. Right? Lol.

tl;dr: Modern Toilet is a theme restaurant that revolves around toilets, bathrooms, and everything poop. The food is decent (nothing to write home about), but the decor is #worthit. There are some novelties that are best experienced first hand!

So we’re sitting on the train and Ryan tells me that he really wants to check out this “poop restaurant”.  Of course, I’m in. We decided we’d check it out as soon as we got into Taipei, but our plans were foiled by an 11am open time (note to self: check opening times!).

Getting there

Since we were early, we meandered to the nearby Lungshan temple and when we were done decided to hop on the train for the quick one stop ride to Ximen station. From there it’s just five minutes, using Exit 6, walk 2 blocks North on Hanzhong Street then West until you see:

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Look at that building! So epic. We knew that there were only good things to come. Walking in, we realized the restaurant is pretty big, with multiple floors and seating for small and larger parties.

Yep, even the bathrooms are extra special. You sit on toilet seat chairs, over a poop bowl table and walk into the building to a chorus of interesting noises. We are obviously not normal since after this we were still starving and ready to order.

The food comes in various forms of poop and other bathroom paraphernalia. We ordered the ham & cheese stuffed chicken meal, fries, poop bread and ice cream.  They have a ton of different things to choose from – everything from hot pot and curries to spaghetti and au gratin.

Totally forgot to take photos of the menu, but found these pics on the internets.

2017-03-13 12.13.09

Overall, the food was good, but the experience was better. They had menus in English, but attracted a crowd of both locals and tourists alike. I would suggest coming early, since by the time we were leaving (closer to noon) it was starting to get crowded.

Modern Toilet (便所主題餐廳)

No. 46, Xining South Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108 / +886 2 2311 8822
Yelp / Trip Advisor

Hours: Mon-Fri 1130am – 10pm / Sat-Sun: 11am-10p

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Downtown Eats: Rain

Living in Downtown seriously has its perks. Taking a quick break from the trip posts to write about some food you can eat right now!

Living in Downtown definitely has its perks. Spacing out the travel posts with some local places. Some of it will be food, and others will be coffee shops that we visit on “Work from Wherever Wednesday” – our team’s excuse to get out of the office and get our collaboration on.

Rain Honolulu

tl;dr: This place does happy hour and specials right. Come here early on Thursdays (make a reso as this place gets crowded quick) and take advantage of happy hour food + half off cocktails!

We’d been excited to come here after seeing the signage and peeking in windows when we walked by on lunch breaks. Hard to miss, it sits on the corner of Fort Street Mall and S. Pauahi, a block in from Hotel Street. If you’re driving, they offer 2 hours of validated parking at Mark’s Garage.

On a normal night (after happy hour), this place is pretty pricey. Drinks range from $10 – $12 for their cocktails and entrees are around $16 – $23. It’s definitely not an everyday place for us, but the interior has great ambiance with the lighting, music and decor.

You should either make reservations or plan to sneak out of the office and get there early. Both times, when we arrived at around 5p, it was fairly empty, but filled up quick as folks got off work in search of happy hour.

Happiest Hour

The happy hour food menu is an amazing deal. The portions were large enough to share as apps, and everything we ordered was tasty! The menu changed a few times in the beginning, but it seems like it’s pretty set now.

?: Elliot

As for the drinks, the classic and hand crafted martinis all come with a “sidecar”, basically another full drink in a tiny carafe in a fish bowl of ice. So you’re really getting two drinks for the price of one – hard to go wrong there.

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Specials

Last but not least, make sure you check out their specials:

Weekly Specials at Rain Honolulu

We’ll definitely be back for that Monday AYCE chicken. I can already think of a few people that would eat their $13 worth (and more) of fried chicken. If you live or work nearby, definitely check this place out. It’s a great happy hour spot to get the night started.

As of June 14th, they’re also open for lunch – haven’t been yet, but linked the menu at the bottom.

Rain Honolulu

1138 Fort Street Mall, Honolulu, HI 96813
Yelp / Open Table (reservations) / Instagram / Facebook
MenusLunch Menu / Dinner Menu / Cocktail menu

Hours:
Lunch: Monday – Friday (11am – 2pm)
Dinner: Monday – Friday (430pm – 11pm), Saturday – Sunday (5pm – 12am)

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Eating in Hong Kong

A quick summary of everywhere we ate on our short trip to Hong Kong!

Going to be totally honest here – when it comes to travel, one of our first priorities is figuring out where we’re going to eat. Below is a snippet of the places we ate while we were in Hong Kong. I did full write ups on the few that I felt were worth mentioning separately, but linked them below as well. Hope you’re not hungry before you dive in!

Crystal Jade

 

We stumbled across this restaurant after we checked out the waterfront in Tsim Sha Tsui. There are a bunch of locations, but the one we went to was in the Harbor City Mall.

Go there for the: Xiao Long Bao (aka soup dumplings) and the Dan Dan Mian.

Crystal Jade La Mian Xiao Long Bao
Shop 3328, 3/F, Gateway Arcade,
Harbour City, 17 Canton Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Owl’s Choux Cream

 

Actually stumbled across this place while we were in search of the coffee place next door. There was a sign on the window saying they were on the Michelin Guide for street food, so of course we had to try them even though we just ate lunch.

Go there for the: We only tried the salted caramel and vanilla cream, but if we go back, I’d totally try those epic looking gelato sammies.

Owl’s Choux Cream
32 Mody Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Facebook / Instagram

Ufufu Cafe

 

Cute Japanese cafe that we stumbled upon after meandering around TST as we were unable to make a dinner decision post 18-miles of walking. It’s on the 5th floor, but thankfully there’s an elevator.

Go there for the: Omu Rice and parfaits for dessert!

Ufufu Cafe
Tern Plaza, Tern Plaza 5/F via Cameron Ln,
3A-3C Cameron Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Facebook / Website

Wah Kee Snack Food Shop

 

This place is on an assuming, but pretty busy corner in TST, just a few blocks from the MTR station. Ryan heard that this place had legit street food, and he was totally right.

Go there for the: Everything. They have a variety of skewered foods that they heat and sauce up when you order. We had the cheese sausage (cheese bits in sausage) in spicy sauce – delish!

Wah Kee Snack Shop
Kundamal House, 4 Prat Ave, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

Kai Kee Restaurant

 

We met up with a friend in town and he took us here for a classic Hong Kong breakfast. The menu was pretty interesting – Western breakfast included dishes with instant ramen and macaroni noodles. We opted for coffee and pastries.

Go there for the: Toast with sweetened condensed milk. It’s such a simple thing, but so perfect! They also have a take out window for grab and go pastries.

Kai Kee Restaurant
Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui, Prat Ave, 13~15號
Trip Advisor / Open Rice

Ya Kun Coffee & Toast (Ya Kun Family Cafe)

 

Another “just happened to walk by and this place looked cool” discovery. I was craving bread, but this was far from your standard toast. We had to literally watch a youtube video on how to eat this.

Go there for the: Kaya Toast! Make sure you order it with the set. It’s interesting – comes with 2 poached eggs and you’re supposed to scramble them up with the pepper and dark shoyu. Then dip and eat. I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive, but ended up really liking it. For the less adventurous, they also have just butter + sugar toast, which I imagine is just as tasty!

Ya Kun Coffee & Toast
45-51 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
Website

Oddies Foodies

 

Last week’s post! Check out the full write up on these eggette waffles and gelato sundaes here. 

Oddies Foodies
45 Gough St, Central, Hong Kong
Facebook / Instagram

Tim Ho Wan

 

Already did a write up on why you should check out Tim Ho Wan, so check that out and give this place a try. Even if you don’t have plans to head to Hong Kong, there’s one in NYC and soon, Hawaii!

Tim Ho Wan (添好運)
Website
Shop 12A, Hong Kong Station (Podium Level 1, IFC Mall), Central, Hong Kong
中環香港站12A鋪(IFC地庫一層)

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Egg Waffles and Gelato at Oddies Foodies

A bit off the beaten path, but an awesome spot for unique dessert that’s tasty and totally instagram worthy. Definitely get one of the eggette sundaes! 

Where did the month go?!

I can’t believe an entire month has gone by since my last post. Yikes. Aside from the usual shenanigans, my rather addictive behavior has been currently focused on marathon training and a new diet that we’re implementing into our lifestyle. So lots of meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and running.

Not a lot of blogging.

Regardless, I’m back and jumping right back in with one of my favorite dessert spots from our cruise destinations.

Oddies Foodies!

tl;dr: A bit off the beaten path, but an awesome spot for unique dessert that’s tasty and totally instagram worthy. Definitely get one of the eggette sundaes!

Ryan came across this place online while he was researching where to go. It’s a cute little shop, located about a 5 minute walk from the Central to Mid Level Escalators, or 15 minutes from the Central MTR stop.

Oddies Foodies Location

We took the scenic route and went through a bunch of the small streets, passing tables setup on sidewalks serving noodles and vendors selling household items and produce. It was pretty crowded walking there, but I figure we should walk off the impending calories.

The shop doesn’t really stand out on this colorful street, but once you step inside, the brightly lit interior and fun neon signage definitely feels modern and new. A convenient plus is that all of their signage is in both English and Chinese. When we got there (around 3pm on a Thursday), it was pretty empty – occupied with just a single worker and 2 customers ahead of us.

There are only 6 seats along a high top that’s against the wall, so if you’re coming during peak hours, expect to stand around or take this on the go.

What makes Oddies so odd?

From their facebook page:

‘Odd Food’ – it’s being creative on food combinations, be brave with our palette and most importantly, have fun playing from street food style to premium ice cream theme dessert.

They aren’t kidding around – with gelato flavors like “Oh My Abs” (Apricot gelato, graham crackers, toasted hazelnut and vanilla chantilly cream) and toppings that range from butter crumbs to apple yuzu jelly, you can imagine how some of these pairings can definitely be “brave”.

 

Coming in at around $8 USD ($1USD: $7.80HKD), it’s pretty cheap when you consider all the things that go into it. For our order, the Night Wolf, there was twist soft serve, butter crumbs(!?), caramelized banana gelato, passion fruit panna cotta, brownie chocolate chip eggettes and crunchy flakes. That’s Ryan eating it in under 2 minutes! 😀

 

I would definitely come back – but only if we had other plans in Central. As much as I loved it, it’s hard for me to say I’d go out of my way for ice cream – especially when I’m sure there are awesome places that we haven’t tried all over Hong Kong.

Oddies Foodies

45 Gough St, Central, Hong Kong
Facebook / Instagram
Hours: Everyday, 12:00pm – 10:30pm

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Tim Ho Wan – The world’s cheapest Michelin-star restaurant

Let the food and adventures begin! We started out our trip in Hong Kong, and while our list of places to write about is long, I figured this is a good place to start since they’re slated to open up a store in Royal Hawaiian Center this summer!

Let the food adventures begin! We started out our trip in Hong Kong, and while our list of places to write about is long, I figured this is a good place to start since Tim Ho Wan is planning to open up in Royal Hawaiian Center this summer! They also have a location in NYC if you can’t wait that long!

TL;DR: This place is worth it. If you’re anti-queues, go at an off hour and make sure you read the notes below on how to get there (if you’re headed to the HK MTR location). If you only have room for one thing: Baked Bun with BBQ Pork ?

Navigational woes

Google Map

There are four locations in Hong Kong and we had originally planned to go to the one in Olympian City, but since we were already at IFC (International Finance Center) after trekking the mid to central escalators, we decided to check out the one in the IFC Mall.

The address listed online was IFC Mall MTR Shop 12A, which seemed easy enough to find, but it’s a maze! I’ll save you our 15 minute back and forth confusion:

46

It’s actually NOT in the IFC Mall. Go to the Hong Kong station and head toward the Airport Express ticketing area. At the end, take the escalator down, go straight ahead, and it will be on your right. It’s in the L1 section on the above layout.

If you’re already in the mall, you can find it by heading toward the Airport Express or the MTR station (Tim Ho Won is located one level above the Airport Express). Look for this logo:

600px-MTRAirportExpress_logo.svg

We found it!

We arrived at a weird time, around 3:30 pm, but there were still a few people in line. Since we were on a pretty tight timeline, we opted for takeout and were given a paper order sheet to check off what we wanted.

Most people said it was packed when they came for lunch/dinner, so I definitely suggest coming at an off hour if your game plan is to sit down and eat (there aren’t any shared tables or places to sit in the station). Since our next stop was the Kowloon Walled City Park, we decided to jump on the MTR and eat in the park.

HOLY COW. The baked bun with BBQ pork was maybe the best thing ever. It’s not the traditional char siu bao that I’m used to getting at dim sum places in Hawaii (or anywhere else we’ve been, really). It was slightly sweet, flakey and so delish! So good that the previously vegetarian husband had TWO.

The pan fried turnip cakes were also great, but the baked pork bun stole the show. At $58 HKD (~$7.50 USD) for everything, it was definitely the cheapest Michelin-star food we’ve ever had, and chances are high that we’ll check out the one in Waikiki.

Tim Ho Wan (添好運)

中環香港站12A鋪(IFC地庫一層)
Hours: Mon to Sun, 9am – 9pm
Note: Cash only

Additional Links

Open Rice Link (Asia’s Yelp)
US Menu with pictures
Yelp Link for NYC location

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