I have now been to Sampan, as well as Sampan’s Grafitti Bar a couple of times (each time with different DowntownDwellers and at different times in the day).
To get to the Grafitti Bar you have to walk along the side of the building (weird) and you end up in this little enclave of bar and grafitti murals.
If you’re going for brunch on Sunday, I highly recommend the spicy Bloody Mary. It is AMAZING! When I went to brunch, I had the Eggs Benedict over pork belly. The dish was great – a perfectly poached egg, on top of tender pork belly, with a buttered english muffin supporting it all.
Happy hour in the Graffiti Bar is also a lot of fun and it’s a great way to sample items from the Sampan menu. You can try little things on the menu ranging from $2-$6. They also have $4 beer and cocktail specials. The last time we were there we tried the crisy brussel sprouts, which are little bites of heaven. Or crack. Either way, they are divine.
I also recommend the edamame dumplings made with truffle and in a sake broth. The shrimp dumplings were also tasty, made with jicama, scallions, and ginger. The pork buns and the spring rolls are also delicious. The only thing on the menu that I haven’t loved, are the satays – the flavor just doesn’t quite compare to the dumplings, buns, and veggies.
All in all, the food is well-seasoned and the atmosphere is laid back. I will be back soon to get my brussel sprout fix!
Claire’s take: Though the season is definitely favoring outdoor dining, in the event of horrific downpours, I also recommend their indoor dining. Brad and I had a late dinner there a few weeks ago and it was wonderful. We showed up a bit early for our reservation & had a drink at the bar. I had the spicy margarita which was tasty, but I would have liked a little more kick. The atmosphere is really great – it’s lively but not too loud – a great place for a fun date night.
Crispy Brussel Sprouts
We sat down & then let the ordering begin… it’s so fun to dine here because all of the small dishes are inexpensive and all sound good – so you can just order all of them! As mentioned above, brussels are to die for. We had the shrimp satay which wasn’t anything to write home about, but I thought the kobe beef satay was juicy and delicious. Overall we ordered about 8 dishes between the two of us and were quite full by the end – and the total bill was under $60!
Bottom line: Sampan is great for every occasion – brunch, happy hour, or dinner! You will leave happy and won’t have burned a hole in your pocket.
Jordan and I finally found the time to visit Love Park for some lunch.
Monday through Friday, 11am- 3pm, Guapos Tacos, Far From Home Cafe, and Buttercream Cupcakes all park their trucks in Love Park to serve lunch. Jordan and I had lunch there on Friday. It was a beautiful day and there was live music in the park.
Far From Home Cafe wasn’t there, so we both had Guapos Tacos. We shared the Esquites ($4), which is made of sweet corn, queso fresco, and chipotle. It was sweet, spicy, and a little bit creamy. I really enjoyed this as a little starter. We both had orders of the Green Chile Chicken (2 tacos for $6), mainly because almost everything else was sold out by 1 pm. The tacos had white onions, radishes, cilantro, crema, and queso fresco. They were good, not amazing. I had hoped they wouldn’t need any hot sauce or extra seasoning, but they really did.
I’m not sure the truck is worth the prices. It was really the experience of seeing the bottle-cap covered truck, but in all honesty, there are way better food trucks driving around Philadelphia.
Great experience. Decent food. Overall, it was a pleasant day out in the park.
Renaissance Sausage truck
On Sunday, Claire and I visited the Headhouse Farmers Market. We bought some veggies and explored all of the vendors. We got some eggs and asparagus, but the highlight of the trip was definitely the lunch we devoured from the Renaissance Sausage food truck.
Claire had the Asian Chicken Sausage. The local free range chicken sausage was enhanced with asian herbs and spices, and topped with a spicy mango slaw.
I had the kielbasa sausage topped with homemade sauerkraut (I am a total sucker for anything pickled and/or sour). Both sandwhiches were tasty.
As any sandwich lover knows, one of the most important aspects of any sandwich is the Kielbasa, quality of its bread. Renaissance Sausage knows this; they use very fresh, deliciously crusty rolls.
Our verdict is in: Great bread + tasty sausages + excellent toppings = a perfect lunch.
Little Baby’s Ice Cream
The four of us took a trip to South Philly to try some treats from Little Baby’s Ice Cream.
This is not your typical food truck. They actually operate out of a custom-built tricycle.
The ice cream is out of this world. They make small batches of homemade ice cream in unusual flavors. Some may seem weird, but you should put your trust in these guys and try the weird ones. We all shared Cardamom Caramel, Coffee Toffee, and Birch Beer Vanilla Bean. My favorite was coffee toffee. It was creamy, smooth, and not overly sweet.
As we were eating our treats, we got to speak to one of the owners/ice-cream makers and his passion for ice cream was unbelievable. This is definitely a food “truck” that you should check out. They will officially be opened in a week and will be starting at the R5 Punk Rock Flea Market on Sunday, May 22.
The Philly Cheese Experiment
Hey Philly Readers -
We just signed up for the Food Experiment’s Philadelphia amateur cooking challenge – the Philly Cheese Experiment! Over the next few weeks we’ll be testing & refining our recipe and encourage everyone else to come & support us, or enter your own recipe! It’s on Sunday, June 5th, from 12-4. It’s $10 to spectate & taste, and part of the proceeds go to the Food Trust! Check it out!
Plays & Players
This past weekend I attended the last presentation of the PIFA New Play Festival at the Plays & Players Theater. This festival brought together playwrights of every experience level to participate in a writing exercise to “bake” a play using three “ingredients provided by local artists. Judges selected two of the plays submitted and those were staged and produced.
The two plays, Marilyn Monroe Has Sex for the Last Time with Groucho Marx by Greg Romero and The Stormy Hanky by Joy Cutler, were both great works that took very different approaches to addressing the “ingredients.”
The theater itself (located at 1714 Delancey Place) is a magnificent piece of history that is a thrill just to walk around in. It’s one of the oldest theaters in continuous use in the United States and was designed and constructed in 1912 by famed Philadelphia architect Amos W. Barnes. The main stage takes up the first two floors, though unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see those. On the third floor they have a cash bar that has a good selection of moderately priced drinks (they had Yuengling so I was happy), and a smaller stage where this performance was held. The intimacy of the gathering and general style of the building led to a spectacular experience all around. I would highly encourage anyone to go experience a performance there.