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Cool Dog Café – Cherry Hill, NJ

Cool Dog Café – Cherry Hill, NJ

When a local establishment receives national press, it makes me proud of the area I live in with the amount of diversity in food available. I would have to say for the most part when one of the places are mentioned nationally I usually say to myself, been there done that. Well Conde Nast named Cool Dog Café (CDC) as being one of the top fifteen hot dog destinations in the nation in 2013. Ever since I saw the list I wanted to try them as I had never been there. So finally after delaying for two years, a visit was in order ASAP.

CDC sits in a non-descript strip mall and has a nice cozy interior. The amount of hot dog variations is almost overbearing, but vastly entertaining to read. The staff was friendly and you order in the front before sitting down. I would go with their award winning Filipino Dog created by Alice Serenes and an order of fries.

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The hot dog is a Sabrett hot dog deep fried to perfection creating a nice crisp snap with every bite, topped with sticky rice, mango, and sweet chili sauce.  I must admit I quite thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a little bit of east meets west in all the right ways. The small order of fries were very nice and generous in the amount there were given.

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With the recent closings of Hot Diggity and Moe’s Hot Dog House in Philly and Hot Diggity Dog in Bellmawr it seemed like the day of the dog was numbered. Well CDC has given me hope that with an inventive twist, quality product, good service, and wallet friendly prices that we will still be seeing wieners slung around these parts for quite some time to come.

Overall

Four out of Five Stars

George’s Famous Roast Pork and Beef – George’s Luncheonette – Italian Market – 1007 S 9th Street – Philadelphia, PA

George’s Famous Roast Pork and Beef – George’s Luncheonette – Italian Market – 1007 S 9th Street – Philadelphia, PA

This is one of the few times I have to be very specific where I ate since this one block of the Italian Market has two of same named spots. George’s Famous Roast Pork and Beef – George’s Luncheonette (GFR) which is the one I went to and George’s Sandwich Shop up the other end of the street. GFR is a no frills, old school, but my kind service place. They do not mess around with any modern trends, deal with cash only, and has a charm that the Italian Market is losing every day. I would go with the pork sandwich with provolone.

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The pork was chopped nicely, sat in a nice gravy, just the right amount of cheese, and the roll did the job quite nicely. The pork was fresh and all the tasty fatty parts were included, which is the way all pork sandwiches should be served.

I like atmosphere in GFR, even though it is extremely dated and worn down. I just miss this kind of neighborhood eatery which was very common in my youth growing up in Philadelphia, but is going the way of newspapers and corded telephones. You are not going to get gourmet at GFR, but you will be nostalgic for the past when you are done eating.

Overall

Three Stars out of Five

The Bakeshop on Twentieth

The Bakeshop on Twentieth – Philadelphia, PA

I am always on the lookout for something new and exciting to eat. Even when I am not hungry, I somehow can always find room for a snack or treat along the way. That is what happened to me one day while strolling around Rittenhouse Square, I stumbled upon The Bakeshop on Twentieth (BOT). Very small, yet big on smiles and friendliness inside I decided to go with the neighborhood treat “The Rittenhouse Square”.

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This incarnation of brownie consisted of fudge chunks, pretzel crust, and caramel topping. It was good, and a chocolate lovers dream come true. I would have preferred if it was a little on the fluffier side and a tab bit less gooey, but I know I am probably in the minority on this thought. I enjoyed BOT and would not hesitate to go back and try a few other treats there.

Overall

Three and half stars out of Five

Wildwood Great American Cookout Tour

Headed down near Wildwood, NJ this weekend and want to make some extra cash? Great American Cookout Tour with BBQ celebrities Mike and Christine Peters are stopping by the New Jersey State BBQ Championship this weekend and are in dire need of brand ambassadors. They need three more people, and the shifts are as follows:

7/10/15 Friday: 3pm – 8 pm
7/11/15 Saturday: 10am – 8pm
7/12/15 Sunday: 11am – 5pm
Compensation: $15/hr, paid in cash at the end of the shifts

If interested email stephanie@mmacreative.com and tell them Bluejeanfoodcritic referred you.

Under The C Seafood – Philadelphia, PA

Under The C Seafood – Philadelphia, PA

There is no doubt about who the king of Philadelphia is. COMCAST! With their larger than life skyscraper sitting at 17th and Arch Streets and another skyscraper in the works, the Philadelphia skyline leaves no doubt who the force to be reckoned with is. With such a large presence, someone has to feed all the people who work there. Well sitting in the belly of the Comcast Center building sits a nice dining hall of all sorts of tasty places to try. My visit would take me to Under The C Seafood (UTC). Their display cases are things of beauty to look at and I wanted to try everything there as it all looked fresh and delicious. I would choose their very affordable for fresh seafood lunch special teriyaki salmon steak, green beans, mac and cheese, and a side order of soft shell crab.

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Things started out really well with the very tasty and meaty soft shell crab. It was cooked nicely and each bite was moist. The salmon was really nice as well and the teriyaki sauce complimented it perfectly. The downside of the meal were the sides. The mac and cheese was to me almost flavorless and the green beans were way too much on the crunchy side, almost seemly borderline like raw green beans. UTC specializes in seafood and they seemed to do that portion of the meal admirably to go along with an amazing display of seafood shown. IF UTC can get some good sides going, they may go from under the c to on top of the world.

Overall

Three out of Five Stars.

 

Kidari Sushi Yatai – Philadelphia, PA

Kidari Sushi Yatai – Philadelphia, PA

I always have a fear of chocking while eating or being struck suddenly with deadly food poisoning. So with this in mind, I felt safe stopping to eat at Kidari Sushi Yatai (KSY) as it sits in the shadow of Graduate Hospital. If anything went awry they could at least just carry me to the emergency room. Once inside KSY I knew I was in good hands though. Very chic, very friendly and a nice vibe emanated from the place. The service was very good and on a recommendation from the hostess I went with the Beef Donburi.

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The Beef Donburi consisted of sliced beef with korean bbq sauce, fried egg, carrots, onions, mushrooms, and white rice. Everything was very fresh and worked well together. The veggies were cooked just right, a nice amount of them, and the fried egg really enhanced the overview flavor of the entire dish. I enjoyed the sauce, but could have used more of it. The only other thing that I would have liked more is if the cut of beef was a little bit of a higher grade and maybe marinate it as well to really put it over the top. If you are in the area and want something a little out of the normal, I would definitely tell you to give KSY a try.

Overall

Three and One-Fourths Stars out of Five

 

Don Peppe’s – Ozone Park, NY

Don Peppe’s – Ozone Park, NY

With windows on the outside tinted completely dark, it took the “open” and “cash only” signs in the window to convince to even try to see if the door was unlocked. The door opened and after stepping into the actual restaurant I was transported to a quasi-Godfather/horse racing mecca mix called Don Peppe’s (DP). I was seated and instead of being given a menu or told about specials, all you have to do is look at the back wall as DP’s menu is hanging there and does not change daily. In this day and age, you have to have pretty good stuff not to have a rotating or seasonal menu. DP certainly played the part in ambiance, but it is the food that matters to me. The waiter was polite, but stoic. Friendly, but someone I would not want to get on their bad side. Absent at times, but always showing up exactly when needed or expected. I would start things out with their stuffed mushrooms.

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These were no ordinary stuffed mushrooms. They were fresh, gigantic, flavorful, and meaty. Cooked just right and juicy throughout I really liked them and one of the better stuffed mushrooms I have had. I think I would die and go to heaven if they ever thought of adding a little lump crab meat to these gems. Next up would be fettuccine al prosciutto

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This dish would be amazing. The nice pieces of prosciutto floating throughout added a beautiful salty punch to a nice sweet tomato sauce with pasta that was spot on. I have never had fettuccine al prosciutto and will be on the lookout for this in the future, but whoever serves it to me with have a high standard to live up to. As if that was not enough, next would be a dish of chicken lemon and butter.

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What sounded like a possible plain platter ended being a highlight of the night. The chicken served to me was cooked perfectly and sautéed in a lemon and butter sauce that I soaked up each and every drop of with the Italian bread provided. The chicken was just the right size as it was not too thick or thin and was able to cut through each piece with just my fork. I was stuffed, but left just enough room for dessert. I would get the pistachio Tartufo.

The dessert consisted of a ball of ice cream with pistachios and covered in a delicious chocolate shell. It was the perfect way to end a perfect meal in each and every way. DP provided an Italian meal that excited me from start to finish and did not miss a beat. DP is said to have strong ties to the mob, but as I stated early on, all I care about is the food and I will call anyone that eats at DP a wiseguy for knowing where good Italian food is.

Overall

Five out of Five Stars

 

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