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Nov 9, 2012 12:46 PM

LA Hound in Need of Philly Tips

Philly Hounds...

LA Hound coming to Philly first week of December. Taking the red-eye arriving Saturday and will run through Philly before heading to Sellersville for a reception. Then heading back Sunday for dinner at Zahav with one night in Philly, then training to NYC Monday mid-day. Will have a car through Sunday evening. A few questions:

- HOP SING - Drinks before Zahav. Drive, public transportation or taxi on a Sunday night?

- MESIBAH @ ZAHAV - Can it be done on a Sunday and only for two persons if ordered in advance? Can it be done for only one person allowing the other person to order off the a la carte menu? Do they allow corkage?

- BEST BREAKFAST - Dutch Eating Place @ RTM could be our arrival breakfast, but could use a Monday AM breakfast too.

- PAESANO'S - Which one should we go to? Girard or 9th Street?


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  1. HOP SING - If you are staying in the city, there is no good reason to drive (and especially park) in Center City Phila and doubly so if you are drinking. You could take the Market-Frankford Line subway from 11th St to 2nd St, or it's easy to hail a cab. Hop Sing is a little tucked away, so you might have to walk to Market St to find one, but on a Saturday you'll probably see some in Chinatown. I'd recommend walking to 10th St rather than the closer 11th St, it's a busier stretch and runs the right direction.

    ZAHAV - Yes it can be done on a Sunday and for two people, just call ahead and tell them. If your companion doesn't want the lamb, tell the server what the other person likes -- they are very accommodating and will be able to swap out the mezze plates and I have seen them bring alternative dishes out with the main course for vegetarians etc. As for corkage, I don't know but I have never heard them say No to customer request so, probably. Ask when you make the reservation.

    To be honest, I am not a fan of this trend (started by chownhound uhockey, I think) of ordering the Mesibah for one. It's not meant to be enjoyed that way (it translates to "party" which is not an activity usually enjoyed alone) and while the lamb is excellent so is the rest of the menu, and my best meals there have been ordered a la carte. You're going to end up overstuffed, have pounds (literally) of leftovers, and I think it is awkward to do it if the whole table is not participating. Just my two cents, it is delicious and you won't go wrong if you order it.

    BREAKFAST - Where are you staying? Besides RTM I don't think Center City has many great breakfast options but there are in the surrounding neighborhoods. What time do you want to eat and what kind of breakfast do you like?

    PAESANO'S - Haven't noticed a difference but I haven't eaten at either recently.

    6 Replies
    1. re: barryg

      My only comment is Hop Sing does not open until 6pm on Sundays. Plan accordingly. You can walk it if you do not mind cold or cab it. If you drive into the city. I would park once and then cab or walk.

      1. re: barryg

        I've had good luck getting cabs after leaving Hop Sing right out front on Race St., or failing that, one block south on Arch St. Parking around there is tough anyway, just take a cab.

        I would also recommend against the Mesibah at Zahav, if you're traveling around that much you're not going to be able to use leftovers, and you'll be missing out on most of the better, smaller dishes. Get the TaYim tasting menu instead. The lamb is very good but it's not the best thing on the menu there.

        I'd suggest the 9th St. Paesano's, it's in the Italian Market so there's more to see while you're there. The Girard location is much less happening.

        1. re: Buckethead

          What day were you planning in hitting the Dutch Eating Place? They are not open on Sundays or Mondays. make sure to get the pancakes there...

          As far as Zahav, I'd spring for the Mesibah. It is a lot of food but only a few bucks more, and the highlight is most definitely the lamb IMO with the haloumi cheese second. But do get the lamb.

          Never been to Hop Sing and was never blown away at Paesano's (it was decent though) so I will defer to the other experts here.

          1. re: bluehensfan

            Whoa! Thx for that warning! I had no idea Dutch Eating Place was not open Sunday or Monday. We will go Saturday when we drive through to Buck's County.

        2. re: barryg

          Thanks, to you all for the excellent suggestions! We are staying near Quakertown the first night and the Le Meridien in Philly the second night.

          Any suggestions for Monday Breakfast would be great and even lunch on Monday.

          If you like any place between Lansdale and Quakertown, would be great to know too.


          1. re: revets2

            I have been known to make a meal of a baguette from Alice's Bakery in North Wales and butter. Or stop in for sticky buns. (North Wales is just around the corner from Lansdale.)

        3. You may enjoy one breakfast at La Petite Dauphine on Rittenhouse Square. Here is a link to them, a lovely French Cafe on a beautiful Center City park.

          1. If you don't mind sweets for breakfast, head straight for Federal Donuts, Sansom St location for your Monday breakfast. At least, that's what I'd do.

            Both Paesanos locations are great. If you are driving, parking is easy on Girard, but 9th St is a nicer atmosphere.

            11 Replies
            1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

              This is a really good idea, probably the most unique breakfast choice in Center City.

              Other ideas are Parc for a French style breakfast on the park, food isn't amazing but the bread is great and the atmosphere is very nice. Famous 4th Street Deli (they have a 19th St location that is very close) has a very good smoked fish selection if you like that. Not cheap though.

              I know that a. kitchen in the AKA hotel does breakfast, anyone tried that?

              1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                Wait...donuts, fried chicken and coffee?!? Get outta here!

                I typically refrain from fried food and flour, but I'm going off the reservation big time. You might find me face down in some alley in South Philly. Eeesh! I hate this board. I love this board!

                1. re: revets2

                  Haven't you heard? Vacation calories don't count. ;))

                  1. re: revets2

                    You don't even need to go to South Philly, the Center City location is just a few blocks from your hotel!

                    1. re: barryg

                      I can't wait. I think I'll go to South Philly when I land from my red eye before heading up to Sellersville for a wedding reception. How we'll eat donuts and pancakes at Dutch Eating Place in one morning is beyond me. We'll hit the fried chix (though we get good Korean fried chicken in LA, but not with harissa), when we come back into the city for our food fest.

                      Any good ideas towards Sellersville, Lansdale, North Wales, Quakertown area?

                      1. re: revets2

                        Not to be contrary, but I think the donuts are better at Frangelli's (also in South Philly at 9th and Ritner). Different style, but still better to me.

                        1. re: Philly Ray

                          Ray I also like Frangelli's better but my gf keeps telling me to keep my opinions about the sweet stuff to myself... most people love FedNuts and it is of course much trendier.

                        2. re: revets2

                          I've been enjoying Alice Bakery in North Wales for pastries.

                          1. re: mookleknuck

                            We'll definitely stop by Frangelli's...because now we have to!

                            For those suggesting Alice's, was intending to pick up sticky buns at Frangelli's to take to family in Sellersville. Is Alice's better?

                            Thanks for all the great suggestions! You gals/guys are great!

                    2. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                      Donuts are available most of the time (flavors may be limited later in the day) but the Chicken doesn't start until 11 am - plan accordingly!

                      1. re: Bigley9

                        Get there earlier for best donut selection...the better ones (i.e. the fancy ones) sell out by later in the morning.

                    3. Thanks everyone for the excellent suggestions. Arrived on the red eye and headed straight for FedNuts. Great. Can't wait to try more flavors over the next few days. Didn't make it to Frangelli as the FedNuts folks and customers sent us to to Terreni. That flaky pastry with ricotta, orange blossom and candied citron is outta sight!

                      Drove up 9th. So fun to see the steak joints, Italian and open air markets.

                      To RTM after that and Dutch Eating Place did not disappoint. Introduced the SO to scrapple. Grabbed a pork sandie @ DiNic's. Just wolfed it in the car. Not bad. Tad dry. And service that's more interested in socializing with each other than taking your order.

                      The Duck Wonton Noodle Soup at San Kee was as good as any place in LA's Monterey Park.

                      More later. Thanks for all the great suggestions, Philly!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: revets2

                        Revets thanks for the great report. Your complaint about DiNics is not uncommon. I recommend folks order the sandwich wet, as they will add more au juice to the sandwich. Makes it even messier, but does overcome the issue of the pork being a bit dry. Look forward to your subsequent reports.

                        1. re: revets2

                          Thanks for letting us know what was good!

                        2. Hi Philly Hounds...
                          Great trip. Sorry to be a little tardy reporting.

                          Returned to Philly on Sunday for another whirlwind food tour:

                          - Federal Donuts Fried Chicken - Okay, maybe expectations were too high. Maybe should have gone back to original location for the dill pickle glaze

                          - Paesano's II - Gustaio & Arista - definitely a better sandie than DiNic's. The Arista was a tad salty, but the Gustaio was amazing. The lamb sausage offset with the mostarda and the crisp bread was very memorable.

                          - Hop Sing - Four Assorted Cocktails - All I can say is I wish there was someplace in all of Los Angeles that served cocktails like this. The Nevermore was a clear favorite, but all of the drinks were perfectly balanced and expertly prepared. Worth going through all the shenanigans for it. The highlight of our trip.

                          - Zahav - Fantastic. An amazing array of different dishes with the greatest hummus I've ever had (even better than Tel Aviv!). Was better than any of our NYC meals.

                          Thanks again Philly hounders. Couldn't have done it without you!

                          1 Reply