A trip down South Street.
Though the weather forecast said rain, that didn’t stop our troop from embarking on our first adventure! Qingxin, Edward, Luke, and I headed down Spruce and crossed the Schuykill via the South St. bridge (which had a beautiful view of the city skyline as remnants of sunlight broke through the clouds). On the way over, we wagered what our first “official” Dine-a-thon meal would be; Luke and I wagered it’d be pizza.
Turns out the two of us were partially right. Pizza was just one of many dishes we had that evening! During this first trip, we decided to make an amendment to our creed: depending on the restaurant we came across first, we would either have one dinner at a place that was moderately-priced or do take-out from multiple inexpensive locations and feast along the way.
Today would be a multiple-location day. The first place we encountered was Phoebe’s Bar-B-Q (tagged “Ribs with Attitude”). We ordered a “sandwich” of pork ribs (5 ribs accompanied with a hamburger bun) and went to enjoy our first pickings at the only seating area we could find… a bus bench. ^^;; We calmly ignored any stares and feasted!
Qingxin: “The sauce was lacking… too sour? The meat was quite tender, though.” ★★ (She knows her BBQ.)
Luke: “The meat was well-prepared and tender.” ★★★1/2
Nicole: “Quite tender! Sauce was thin… vinegar-based, so North Carolina style?” ★★★
Edward: “I love meat. Five stars all the way!” (Heehee. Truer words were never spoken.)
At the corner of the block was My Thai. We were hopeful that the food would be yummy; the many signs outside saying “AOL City Best”, “Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly”, and “City Paper Readers’ Choice Award” sounded promising (turns out most of these ratings are from 10 years ago). Unfortunately, our expectations weren’t exactly met. The first shocker when we sat down was the prices. Everything seemed to be marked up compared to your usual Thai restaurant. This fueled our decision to sample just a couple dishes; we went with the Dumpling Sampler and Pad Thai.
Luke: “It left a bad taste in my mouth. There was no texture… it was like mush in your mouth.” ★1/2
Qingxin: “The noodles were mushy and I didn’t like the spice. It was bland as well; it could have used more salt. And the dumplings… just wow. And not in the good sense.” ★1/2
Nicole: “The pad thai was mushy, with no bite to the noodles. Shrimp was overcooked as well. The dumplings were just sad and way overpriced– Trader Joes sells gyoza that’s 100 times better!” ★1/2
Edward: “I only had the vegetarian dumplings– they were oily, lacked flavor, and fell apart when I cut into them. The dumpling sampler was way overpriced too– 6 dumplings for $7?!?! In short, it was bad.” ★1/2
Disappointed with our experience, we left still hungry (c’mon, Ed only had two dumplings so far!). Across the street was Omega Pizza & Restaurant. Luke grabbed a slice of cheese pizza to go and munched on it as we traveled further east (I tried a nibble too).
Luke: “Great price– only $2 for a plain slice! Has a good taste and nice crust. A tad too saucy for my taste, but worth noting that they have a great selection of beer.” ★★★1/2
Nicole: “Good thin crust!”
Both Luke and I agreed that for pizza parlors, the slices they serve up are either average or amazing. It’s very hard to distinguish yourself with thin-crust/New York-style pizzas. Chicago-style deep dish pizza is more intricate, so it’ll be interesting to see what we encounter in future food adventures.
There was another stretch that lacked restaurants or had sit-down places to be saved for another time. At last, we reached some eateries near the Graduate Hospital area, eventually choosing to try Randazzo’s Pizzeria. Qingxin got a jumbo chicken finger, Luke bought another slice of cheese pizza, and Ed went for a spinach calzone. On the pizzeria’s little TV, Jeopardy just happened to be featuring a “molecular gastronomy” category at the moment, so we grabbed a table nearby and watched the show (which soon led into Wheel of Fortune)!
Qingxin: “The meat is good. There’s a strong peppery smell, but it’s surprisingly bland and not salty enough. It’s also overpriced.” ★★1/2
Luke: “The slice is massive! More expensive than Omega, but still a good price. It is thin, yet doughy… also too saucy, but I like the cheese. I’d like to come back to try the Italiano. Regarding Edward’s calzone, the super thin crust they use for the pizza translates very well to the calzone. The thick blending of ricotta and mozzarella ballanced well with the spinach.” ★★★1/2
Nicole: “The crust on the pizza here is more doughy; I prefer Omega to this.”
Edward: “The crust is my favorite part. It’s very cheesy and the portion is nice.” ★★★
The walk down to Front St. was nice. We saw a ton of shops (perusing a few) and spotted a ton of places that looked really yummy! It was going to take us awhile to get through South St. Upon reaching the Delaware, we turned left and walked north to Franklin Fountain. Thank god the line wasn’t as long this time! In fact, we were able to walk right up to the counter (although it was another matter entirely to decide what to get). Ed and I convinced Qingxin to share a Mt. Vesuvius so we could introduce her to the magic of the behemoth sundae. This time around we got peanut butter and strawberry ice creams, and it was just as delicious as we remembered.
The walk back was a great way to make up for the variety of dishes we tried today. Pedometer count on this journey? 17,498 steps. We are going to be so toned by the time our Dine-a-thon is over.
Phoebe’s Bar-B-Q ★★★
2214 South St.
My Thai ★1/2
2200 South St.
Omega Pizza ★★★1/2
2145 South St.
Randazzo’s Pizzeria ★★★
1826 South St.
Franklin Fountain ★★★★
116 Market St.