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Author Archives: Bluejeanfoodcritic

Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl

(The following is a special series on written by guest contributing writer William Knowles. He highlights his passions of of trying something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, or possibly something old, but new again since it has been a while. I hope you enjoy his very special perspective that I am sure many of you can relate to. Follow him on his exciting journey “Around Town”)

pass walk sign

Wednesday evening, October 22nd, saw East Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia taken over by Halloween ghouls, goblins, witches and the like for the annual Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl.  Thirteen bars total along the famed South Philly street took part in the revelry, celebrating both a fun holiday, all proceeds benefiting EPABID’s cleaning and greening programs, and possibly the most fascinating season of the year for craft breweries.

pass walk beer

Kicking off at the Garage, located directly across the street from both Philly cheesesteak landmarks Geno’s and Pat’s, the tone was set early as a very large crowd gathered to partake in the festivities.  All were garbed in Halloween attire, either of the frightening or provocative nature.  Spirits were high as we strolled from bar to bar, including Cantina los Caballitos, the legendary Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar, South Philly Bar and Grill, The Pub on Passyunk East, Noir, and Stogie Joe’s, amongst others.  The event wrapped up at the Adobe Cafe, where prizes were awarded for most creative costumes.

pass walk los

In addition to providing a fun and innovative way to celebrate Halloween, the venture down Passyunk provided an opportunity to see many new shops, bars and cafes that are now thriving in this part of our city.  Although this area has always had a certain element of neighborhood charm, it seems that it is now more vital than ever as the volume of people out on a chilly and somewhat rainy night proves.

pass walk crowd

I look forward to attending this annual event again in the future.  If this is the adult version of trick or treating these days, then you can count me in!  See you around town…

Kermit’s Bake Shoppe – Philadelphia, PA

Kermit’s Bake Shoppe – Philadelphia, PA

kermit box

Situated along a stretch of Washington Avenue known more as a place to buy lumber or plumbing parts, is Kermit’s Bake Shoppe (KBS). The interior is very homely and small. With no chairs or tables and just a counter on the wall, KBS is take-out or delivery only. The service was very friendly, fast, and knowledgeable. I had a little bit of everything at KBS.

kermit food

Let us start with the good which was a slice of white mushroom pizza. The pizza was a white sauce with crimini and maitake mushrooms, sliced leeks, sea salt, crucolo, and the cheeses were grana pandano, pecorino romano, and mozzarella cheese. It was absolutely fabulous. Cooked just right with it being crisp yet soft and flavors just the perfect mix. This was one of the better single slices of pizza I had in a long time and will be back to eat more and try other varieties of pizzas they serve. The pizza was followed by a cheeseburger hot pocket. It was way better than your average frozen variety, but still was not something I would go out of my way to get. It was extremely flaky and almost fell apart with each bite, seemed to be much too salty for my taste, and the onions were nowhere near as caramelized as I would have liked. If you enjoy hot pockets, this is certainly of higher quality than most, but not my cup of tea.

I finished my visit off with an éclair. I was hoping to end with bang, but went out with a whimper. The exterior was too hard and airy and the filling just was missing something to make it grand. The saving grace was the chocolate which was very good.

I have to say when things started out at KBS I thought I found a new must visit location to call my own. KBS will be one of my must visits for a decent slice or two of pizza, but I will have to continue my search of what else I would like to pick up while I am there.


Two and a Half out of Five Stars

Dim Sum Garden – Chinatown 11th St – Philadelphia, PA

Dim Sum Garden – Chinatown 11th St – Philadelphia, PA

Sitting in a dark tunneled corridor on 11th Street is Dim Sum Garden (DSG). It is almost hidden next to a bus depot and parking garage across the street making the corridor not really retail friendly. Once inside DSG it is a whole different ballgame. The interior is small, not a lot going on décor wise, but service was very friendly and menu options affordable. My order would be Stew Chicken with Fried Rice.

stew chicken

I was thoroughly surprised with my dish as it sounded plain, but was nowhere near being plain at all. The spices and herbs gave the chicken such an amazing flavor, while the meat was tender and moist, and sauce was good enough to drink and complimented the fried rice perfectly. DSG was a surprise in every manner to me and I will definitely be back to try even more things from them now that they are on my radar. This may be a short review, but if you visit DSG you will see that they seem basic, but after eating there you will change your mind.


Three and Three-Fouth Stars out of Five

High Steaks: The Great Philly Cheesesteak Challenge and Cocktail Competition Coverage

(The following is a special series on written by guest contributing writer William Knowles. He highlights his passions of trying something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, or possibly something old, but new again since it has been awhile. I hope you enjoy his very special perspective that I am sure many of you can relate to. Follow him on his exciting journey “Around Town”)

chessesteak challange

Square 1682, a popular restaurant located in the heart of Center City Philadelphia, held an event on Sunday, October 12, celebrating our cities most beloved delicacy – the cheesesteak.  High Steaks: The Great Philly Cheesesteak Challenge and Cocktail Competition brought together some of the city’s finest dining destinations in the form of a block party, to pit their own versions of our favorite sandwich and decide who earns the top spot as judged by a panel of local “experts”.  The proceeds from the event go to benefit Philabundance, the local non-profit food bank.

Some notable highlights were Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, who went the traditional route with a chopped steak and smokey cheese on a soft long roll.  Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse had an excellent cheesesteak egg roll – tender meat in a crisp wrap, with ketchup and a special cheese sauce to dip.  I thought this would earn the top reviews from both the judges and public alike, but then we came across the tent for Tuk Tuk Real.  This is a Thai/Mexican eatery that was previously mentioned here on Around Town for my review of the Ferment Your Event at the Philly Tour Hub.  In my mind, the award for both creativity and deliciousness firmly resides here, as their specially crafted cheesesteak dumpling was well worth the wait.  It seemed that many others agreed…

In addition to the food competition was a cocktail creation event, spearheaded by Victory Brewing Company and Manatawny Still Works.  All in all, over 20 local establishments participated.  A beautiful fall day helped for what was an excellent turn out that both celebrates the city’s culinary vision, while helping those less fortunate in the process.  See everyone soon at more events like this, around town…


Press Release:


east pass

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Grab your broomstick and fly around East Passyunk Avenue during the 5th Annual Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl on Wednesday, October 22, 2014, from 5:30pm to 9:30pm. Enjoy seasonal craft beers bubbling up in cauldrons at 13 bars and restaurants along Philadelphia’s new restaurant row.  Registration takes place at Garage (1231 EPA) from 5:30pm to 7:00pm. Tickets are $6.66 and include $3.00 craft beers, a witch hat and a Witch CRAFT stamp card (for a chance to win $325 in prizes). Tickets can be purchased online at All proceeds benefit East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District’s cleaning and greening programs.

Cast your spell at 13 award-winning bars and restaurants this year, including:

* Adobe Cafe (1919 EPA)

* Birrra (1700 EPA)

* Brigantessa (1520 EPA)

* Cantina los Caballitos (1651EPA)

* Garage (1231 EPA)

* Lucky 13 (1820 EPA)

* Noir (1909 EPA)

* Pub on Passyunk East (1501 EPA)

* Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar (1200 EPA)

* South Philly Bar & Grill (1235 EPA)

* Stateside (1536 EPA)

* Stogie Joe’s (1801 EPA)

* The Bottle Shop (1837 EPA)

Every witch can earn a stamp on their Witch CRAFT stamp card by purchasing a craft beer, food or other beverage at above locations. Witches that collect five or more stamps will be entered to win a gift certificate prize package worth $325+ and prizes from Victory Brewing Company. Scare up your most frighting garb and enter the costume contest for more prizes. One winner will be named the “Witch of East Passyunk” and another “Most Original.” The costume contest is held at 9:30pm at Adobe Cafe (1919 EPA).

Other tricky and fun along the Avenue will include:

* Bell’s Bike Shop (1320 EPA) will serve samples of natural Apples and Cinnamon Skratch labs hydration drink and a special “warmed” adult version.

* Nicole Rae Styer Boutique (1822 EPA) will offer 20% off anything orange and black including jewelry, vintage, antiques and one-of-a-kinds.

* NOORD eetcafe (11th & Tasker) will host an outdoor Bitterballen stand.

* Passyunk Gardens (1304 EPA) will entice with natural witches brew.

* Look for other tricks and treats to be announced soon!

Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl is presented by East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District, with support from sponsors Victory Brewing Company, Drink Philly and Yelp.

Witch CRAFT Beer Crawl is 21+ only. Please drink responsibly. East Passyunk Avenue is easily accessible by SEPTA via the Broad Street Line and several bus lines. Taxis are accessible on Broad Street, or bartenders can call one for you.

East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District is home to over 150 independently-owned shops and restaurants. For more information, like East Passyunk Avenue on Facebook, follow @epassyunkave on Twitter, pin East Passyunk Avenue on Pinterest or visit

Sang Kee Peking Duck House – Philadelphia (Chinatown), PA

Sang Kee Peking Duck House – Philadelphia (Chinatown), PA

Sang Kee Peking Duck House (SK) in the Chinatown section of Philadelphia is the original location since 1980 of the many different variations of the Sang Kee brand all over the Pennsylvania and New Jersey region now. With wanting to see what put SK on the map, I decided to go with their namesake, Peking Duck in their Peking Duck Dinner for two option. The dinner consisted of Wontons with Vegetable Soup, chopped Peking Duck with Pancakes and Hoisin Sauce, Shredded Duck Meat with String Beans in a XO Sauce, and their House Special Fried Rice.

sang kee
Let me start out by saying the dinner was flat-out phenomenal. The wontons in the soup were light yet flavorful with a nice selection of vegetables throughout. The chopped pieces of Peking Duck were very meaty with the skin nice and crispy and not too fatty like a lot of places that serve duck and once put in the fresh warm pancake covered in the hoisin sauce, every bite was like floating in a cloud of wonderful tastes. The shredded duck with string beans in XO sauce was also a nice surprise. The spices of the sauce give the dish a slight spicy kick, yet it did not drown out the duck flavor or take away from the crisp string beans and other fresh veggies sautéed in the dish. To finalize the dinner, the house special fried rice really brought it all together. I am not usually a fan of these sort of rice dishes, but SK really pulled it off with high quality and fantastic flavors.

The staff at SK was very friendly and the pace at SK is very fast. Everything seems to be moving at the speed of light, from servers bouncing around to food being brought out to tables being bused for the next round of diners to sit down. It was very loud in SK and with the fast pace surrounding me got to be a little much to me. SK is perfect to eat your meal there, but also perfect to bring home with you as well at a very affordable price for what you seem to be getting here. SK has been around for over thirty years and has grown into a name brand destination for many patrons in many different towns now, and if they keep up doing what they are doing I see them getting thirty more years and many more locations to come.

Four and Half Stars out of Five

Ferment Your Event Party

(The following is a special series on written by guest contributing writer William Knowles. He highlights his passions of trying something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, or possibly something old, but new again since it has been awhile. I hope you enjoy his very special perspective that I am sure many of you can relate to. Follow him on his exciting journey “Around Town”)

ferment tour

The Philly Tour Hub recently opened shop at 229 Arch St. in a historic building in the Old City Neighborhood of Philadelphia. The newly renovated facility recently held an open house to spotlight a few regional businesses looking to expand the public’s knowledge of them. Philly Tour Hub is a new private venture that offers walking and riding tours of our great city. Segway tours are also available to the destination of your choice.

ferm sign

Another venture highlighted was Ferment Your Event, an upstart agency that will liven up your office party, business workshops, dinner party, and fundraising events and so on by providing a unique take on the ever growing world of craft beer.  Owners Tara Nurin and Gary Rosen specialize in creating specialized beer menus for your event big or small, and their expertise in the industry dates back years. They have partnered with gourmet chocolatier Elyissia Chinchilla, who founded 2 Chicks with Chocolate in Northern New Jersey several years ago with her mother.  The novelty pairings of beer and chocolate surprised and impressed the visitors, including myself.

ferm choc

The beer and chocolate were more than enough to have a great party, but to top it off, Tuk Tuk Real, a combination Thai and Mexican restaurant located at 428 South Street, provided amazing food (notably a great pork kaprow taco).

ferm beer

All in all, it was a unique way for multiple businesses to get their word out, while emphasizing fun by thinking outside the box. See you at more events like this, around town…


More info on:

Ferment Your Event – CLICK HERE

2 Chicks with Chocolate – CLICK HERE

Philly Tour Hub – CLICK HERE

Tuk Tuk Real – CLICK HERE


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