End of Summer Philly Food

Today was our fifth day back at Penn, and food-wise these past days have been pretty eventful.  On our first day back, we had revisited Chinatown favorites (Nanzhou Hand-drawn Noodles for dinner, the Asian Market for groceries and sauces, and Tea Talk for bubble tea), but the days after, we treated our palates to new tastes.

Day 2

Twelve Baskets is probably the most unique cupcake company we’ve ever come across! Started by two cousins and based in Montgomery County, PA, we’re glad they deliver their “Asian-inspired fusion cupcakes” to Penn!  At a little over $3 a cupcake (depending on how many you order), they’re pricey but worth it in moderation. We ordered a dozen during reading days at the end of last semester (half “A Matcha Made in Heaven” and half “Azukies ‘n Cream”) to split amongst friends, but this go-around, although those two flavors were ridiculously delicious, we were itching to try new flavors. Our choice: Black Sesame Honey and the limited edition Raspberry Lychee.  As they should be, the Black Sesame Honey wasn’t overly sweet and the Raspberry Lychee was extremely flavorful. Not only did the lychee flavor shine without being overpowered by the raspberry, there were also lychee bits in the cake! With four down, there are still a few other flavors we want to try in the future, namely Lemongrass Blues, Miso Caramel Apple, and Sriracha Chocolate (a limited edition that we missed over the summer).

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Dinner was our first LivingSocial experience. (LivingSocial is similar to Groupon.) We dined at Supper, which usually offers a $89/person tasting menu. However, with the LivingSocial deal, two people could enjoy the chef’s tasting menu for $89. Take into account the $10 promo code we had for LivingSocial, the 1,000 points we’d get on Open Table for making a reservation through them (a $10 value), and the 4% cashback we’d receive from eBates, our paid value came down to around $66 for dinner for two. Still pricey but fair compared to the original $178 price tag. They didn’t skimp on the menu either! The tasting menu we received was the actual $89 one. There were two options for each of the four courses so naturally, we got one of everything to share. They seemed to have a sort of tomato theme going on as nearly every dish had or highlighted tomatoes, but hey, the portions were large, the food was innovative, and the atmosphere was young and energetic (the kitchen was open too so you could watch the chefs). As an added bonus, we even got a jar of “smoky-sweet, hints of morocco, ginger-laced” tomato jam touted to “surprise our taste buds” to take home as part of the LivingSocial deal!

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1. Tomato goat cheese deviled eggs
2. Heirloom tomato toast
3. BE farm heirloom tomato salad
4. Wood smoked farm chicken
5. Pan roasted LI stripped bass and crab succotash
6.Classic tomato gazpacho
7. Blueberry brown betty and buttermilk ice cream
8. Strawberry tomato sorbet with goat cheese mouse and fennel cookie

With dinner complete, we ended the evening with a rather briskly paced 2.8 mile walk back to our dorm.

Day 4

Dinner today was family style at Ho Sai Gai in Chinatown. One person in our group frequented that restaurant so we got a free cucumber dish, two free giant glasses of “chips,” and a slightly discounted meal. Normally when we go to Chinatown, we go to the same places, so it was fun to try something new! For dessert we had snow ice and played Jenga at the newly opened Tea Magic.

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Day 5

We purchased a Groupon for brunch at Tashan earlier in the summer and today was the last day to use it before the promotional value expired. For $25, we could order two breads, two entrees, and share dessert. You couldn’t actually choose your dessert, but we were more than happy with the dessert we were served: crème brulee with a doughnut in the center! The walk to and fro was a total of 4 miles. Yay for food and fitness!

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(From left to right and top to bottom)
1. Coconut anise pancakes
2. Creme brulee with masala spiced doughnut
3. Tashan free-range butter chicken
4. Peshawari naan
5. Crab naan

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View of the Center City skyline while walking to Tashan

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