Sampan – Philadelphia, PA

Standard

I went to dinner for my best friend’s birthday at Sampan last month and I really enjoyed most everything about it. Tapas = great for groups! My biggest complaint – some of the dishes were a little too salty (but I am very salt-sensitive because I rarely cook with it.) There were four of us and we decided to order the chef’s tasting menu. Y’all, this is a phenomenal deal!! [[The chef’s tasting at White Do in Wayne is also a great option for fresh, local food]] For $45 a person we got 9 dishes to share + the cutest little homemade, soft-serve ice cream cones! The dim lighting and illuminated walls make for a cool, sophisticated, wannabe-NYC atmosphere. I wasn’t complaining! Oh wait, I was. The wine. The year listed in the menu was not what they brought out. I noticed the difference but she checked and said there had been a change to the menu and they only had what she brought. I asked for a discount because of the difference (wine was not aged as long) but the manager came over and said they couldn’t do that. I didn’t want to cause a scene and argue too much so I let it go but beware, they may try to substitute wines. I’m not enough of a connoisseur to know if what I got was worth more or less, better or worse.

The Food.

Shrimp & Lobster Dumpling (salty)

Chicken Bao Bun

Pork Potsticker (salty)

20140723-224626-81986092.jpg20140723-224604-81964465.jpg20140723-224642-82002534.jpg

Seared Tuna (Maybe my favorite!)

Crab Wonton Taco (eh)

Pekin Duck

Seared Scallops (spicy kick)

20140723-224547-81947018.jpg20140723-224604-81964156.jpg20140723-224643-82003366.jpg20140723-224645-82005458.jpg

Kobe Beef Fried Rice (a little chewy)

Shrimp Pad Thai (forgot the picture)

huge portions^couldn’t finish

20140723-224644-82004458.jpg

Milk Dud (yummmmm)

Forget other flavor..banana?:-/

Sorbeto & sparkler

20140723-224659-82019448.jpg20140723-224700-82020039.jpg

20140723-224626-81986673.jpg20140723-224627-81987682.jpg

Stuffed & Happy

If you click “download menus” from the website you will see a different menu than if you click “dinner”.

We had the “dinner” menu when we dined.

I would go back any time. Definitely want to check out Grafitti Bar too.

Up Next: Talula’s Table!!!

My honey booked a year in advance as it’s the only way to get a reservation. So I, and 10 of my nearest and dearest, will indulge tomorrow in eight courses of culinary magic. You can watch and read about it here and here. Ahhhh:-)

Restaurant Review: Honeygrow – Honest Eating, Growing Local

Standard

Tell me my last post was not March 1st! Eeeek. I completely fell off these past few months. I like to think I’m great at multitasking but when life got hectic, Kthroughfood was the first to fall by the wayside. I found out last week that I got a (slightly) new job which will allow me more time to do the things I love beyond the work day. Prayers have been answered!! So here’s to summer fun, new culinary adventures, and a lot of good books!

Do you know about honeygrow?

20140625-224614-81974999.jpg

Months ago I happened upon their website and just recently saw they opened a store in Radnor. After Pure Barre (with Heath, finally! and she loved it), I decided to check it out for dinner. I’d say it’s real, local food on the go. Honeygrow offers stir fry, salads, smoothies, and a honey bar aka. yogurt with toppings.

All orders are placed via four touch screen computers and the option to pay by card is available at the order station. An employee told me between 11:45am-2:00pm they see approx. 300 customers!! My advice: plan your order ahead so you can breeze through without holding things up – or go at an off peak time like I did (8:30pm).

Choose from 6 pre-designed salads (which you can still tweak) or create your own. Create your own ($6.50) with multiple lettuces, 3 vegetables, and 2 crunches, plus a protein for a little extra.

My salad:

  • Romaine, kale, spinach
  • Whole wheat noodles (+$0.25)
  • Grilled free range chicken (+$1.95)
  • Broccoli, cucumber, roasted squash
  • Honey roasted cashews (didn’t know I could pick two)
  • Apple cider vinegar dressing (did not like, ended up eating sans dressing)
  • Total: $8.70 + tax. I ate half for dinner and I’ll take half for lunch

20140625-224614-81974143.jpg

I loved everything!! I got home an added tomatoes and ate it without the dressing. The noodles added a savory dimension to an otherwise healthy, refreshing salad. My experience was enhanced by the friendly staff and the iPads at the side bar seating area. I can’t wait to go back and try more of their menu. I think you get what you pay for. The downside…I could have easily made a $15 salad with shrimp and avocado and more veggies. Open 11am-10pm. Be sure to stop in and support a local business. Located next to the Radnor Hotel, directly next to Jimmy John’s and across from the Radnor HS fields.

Cool tidbits:

  • Some items are locally sourced like eggs, mushrooms, apples, maple syrup
  • NO FREEZER!!
  • Dressings & sauces are made in-house, fresh daily
  • Each dining room chair was made using the plastic of 111 coke bottles by a PA manufacturer
  • Smoothies are free of added sugars, salt, and protein, and are made fresh throughout the day
  • Originated in Philly, June 8, 2012.

20140625-224613-81973341.jpg

20140625-224613-81973547.jpg

20140625-224613-81973750.jpg20140625-224613-81973955.jpg

20140625-224615-81975549.jpg

 

20140625-224616-81976188.jpg20140625-224614-81974620.jpg

20140625-224615-81975870.jpg

Website: Honeygrow.com

Locations: Philadelphia – Bala Cynwyd – Radnor (230 N. Radnor Chester Rd.)

Up Next: Recapping Sampan in the city and the StoneRose restaurant

Twelve Baskets Cupcakes

Standard

20140301-213811.jpg

Ever heard of an Asian fusion cupcake? Me neither. Until I stumbled upon Twelve Baskets Cupcake Company, a delivery-based cupcake company run by cousins Michelle and Pauline on the Main Line. Naturally I liked their Facebook page and followed them on Twitter but I almost fell out of my chair when I read a message from Michelle that they actually wanted me to sample their cupcakes! News flash- this has never happened before! (but for the record, I will graciously accept offers to try any kind of culinary creation.)

Michelle and I sat down at Whole Foods and talked about her passion for baking, how they got started, her plans for growing the company and of course, cupcakes! The concept is Asian-fusion cupcakes inspired by their Korean heritage and time spent living abroad. Don’t worry, you can still find the classics. In fact you can even mix and match batters and icing flavors to create your own unique desserts.

20140301-213836.jpg

I think the cupcakes are a perfect cross between a dense, rich cupcake and light, airy angel food cake with icing that is to die for! I am not an icing person. In fact, I usually scrape it off and leave the thinnest layer possible. This frosting just looked different, almost like it was starting to melt it was so soft. It was so pretty and the cupcake so mini that I decided to start at the top and take a little lick just like an ice cream cone! Wow. I was shocked! I loved the smooth, luscious, creamy icing. I had to try it again just to confirm it wasn’t all an illusion in my head. Nope. Still amazing. The cupcakes didn’t disappoint either. Not to sweet which is a huge plus for me. I first tried the Miso Caramel Apple and then the Azuki and Cream and then the Chocolatey Chocolate and then my boyfriend said, “Shouldn’t you eat your dinner first?” I was caught.

20140301-213734.jpg

  • Top: Azuki n Cream – Tasted like a luscious vanilla, but better. It has a slight cookie taste from the red bean. Fantastic!
  • Bottom Left: Miso Caramel Apple – I could taste a hint of ginger. The granny apple pieces were diced perfectly. I liked that it was chunky instead of pureed. It reminded me of an apple pie filling but in a cupcake and not as sweet.
  • Bottom Right: Chocolately Chocolate – I could really taste the cocoa in the cupcake because it wasn’t overpowered by the sugar and other ingredients.

20140301-213800.jpg

I saved two to share with my foodie friends at work. There were lots of nods and “mmm”s. I can’t wait to get my hands on more of these. Based in Montgomery County they will deliver within a 10-mile radius of Wynnewood! You can also find them in Lulu’s Casita and Margaret Kuo’s. Just last week Twelve Baskets debuted at Artisan Exchange in West Chester — talk about convenient! They just celebrated their 1-year anniversary and are excited to see what amazing adventures year two will bring! Check them out and help support a great local bakery. I highly support Twelve Baskets cupcakes and thanks again for the opportunity to meet you , Michelle, and sample your yummy mini treats!

A portion of their profits go towards mission work overseas.

Read “About Us” to find out how Twelve Baskets got its name.

20140301-213820.jpg

20140301-213843.jpg

20140301-213857.jpg

30 days.

Standard

finished-the-w30-fb-cover

I am throwing myself a little party over here. I have never done anything like this in my life. As someone who does not participate in Lent, I now know what all of my friends have felt when they give up a certain food or habit that is very much embedded into their daily lives. It’s rough at first but then when you get to a place where you finally have control again, it’s awesome.

So here I am. Day 31. With a total weight loss of 12 pounds.

I’m not running to have a bowl of cereal or whip up a batch of pancakes. Honestly, I don’t really want it. And if I’m really honest, I’m scared Ill get sick or bloated and undo all of my hard work. Of course today had to be Super Bowl too! I’ll be making Sweet and Sour Meatballs and we have carrots and guac, shrimp and wings. There may be a few cheats but who knows. I am happy to welcome back natural sweeteners like raw honey, molasses, and maple syrup to my diet. And baking. I love to bake. That has been one of the hardest parts of the Whole30 – not forcing my old diet into a Paleo version by eating Paleo pancakes, Paleo muffins, Paleo bread, Paleo cupcakes, etc. I think my sweet tooth is much more under control. I just purchased raw cacao powder and I’m eager to use my new Kitchen Aid that I got for Christmas. But for now, I’m going to cook up some scrambled eggs with zucchini and squash and a side of turkey sausage. And maybe a mimosa – if I’m feeling froggy😉

Restaurant-Quality Ceasar Halibut [Whole30-approved]

Standard

20140202-082246.jpg

Per usual, I’m late with posting. I literally fell asleep sitting up with my fingers on the keyboard last night. There’s a first time for everything. I saw Ina Garten making this recipe on Barefoot Contessa and knew it would be the perfect Friday night meal. The theme of her show was local and fresh so she had sea bass from a local fisherman. I don’t have those connections and sea bass is pretty pricey. Also, if it’s Chilean Sea Bass, it’s usually sold frozen which just adds extra time to thaw. My boyfriend offered to pick up the fish. He went with halibut because it was similar in texture, not too flaky like cod is. Little did I know halibut is not cheap either – about $19.00/lb. One pound was perfect for two people and we had extra.

Ina’s recipe was for 3 lbs of fish (6 servings). I halved the recipe and thought it was just the right amount to cook and garnish with before serving.

*Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Ingredients: (For 1 lb of Halibut)

  • 1 large clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/8 of a cup of chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1/2 Tbs of anchovy paste
  • 1 tsp or Dijon mustard

Add these four ingredients to a food processor and pulse a few times until they’re combined. Then add the following four ingredients and pulse/blend again until it becomes a smooth sauce.

  • 1 cup of mayonnaise – I used my homemade Paleo mayonnaise
  • the zest of 1 lemon (About 1/2 Tbs)
  • the juice of half a lemon (About 1 1/2 Tbs)
  • dash of salt and pepper

Place the fish onto a foil-covered baking sheet. If the skin is off, salt and pepper both sides. If the skin is still on then only season the top. (I used fish with the skin on. I find it helps seal in the juices.) Then pour about 2/3 of the Caesar sauce onto the fish. Poke a few holes with a fork so the sauce gets into the fish.

Top with 1 or 2 chopped scallions. Let sit for 10 minutes. The place the fish in the oven and back for 12-14 minutes.

20140202-082211.jpg

While the fish is baking cook the capers. Drain 1-2 Tbs of capers. Pat dry with a paper towel. Add them to a very hot pan with olive oil. Saute for 30-60 seconds until the capers start to pop and crisp a little. Be careful of the oil. if the capers aren’t dry the water from them will react with the hot oil and it splatters.

Remove the fish and let it sit so the juices reabsorb. Option to cover the fish with foil. Serve the fish and garnish with capers and the remaining Caesar sauce. Find the original recipe here.
20140202-082237.jpg

 

20140202-082259.jpg

Sides: I served my fish with spinach, sauteed in olive oil and garlic, and cauliflower mash. Only thing missing was a glass of white wine.

Up Next: The fastest, easiest recipe for cauliflower mashed “potatoes”.

 

Whole30 Update

Standard

20140122-220324.jpg
I can’t believe it’s Day 21. So, what have I learned so far?

  • Sugar is in everything! Any kind of sauce, marinade, ketchup, bacon, even my organic tea has stevia in it. Read those labels. Corn syrup is the 3rd ingredient in A1 steak sauce. Totally unnecessary.
  • Soy is also in everything and it’s really not good for you. I used to eat a whole bag of edamame in one sitting. Yea, probably won’t do that again. Soy lattes, a thing of the past.
  • And, canola oil is in everything. I wasn’t in the mood to cook so I stopped at the WF bar to get salad with grilled chicken. You guessed it – canola oil was listed under ingredients.
  • Breakfast doesn’t always have to be breakfast. On occasion I’ve eaten chicken and vegetables at 7:30am and it’s fine. Look at food for what it is – fuel – and then you can release yourself from the mindset that eggs are for breakfast and meat is for dinner. Switch it up here and there.
  • I love raspberries.
  • Planning helps to avoid unhealthy slip-ups. It’s much easier to pass on the cookies in the break room if you have a bag of cashews, fruit or applesauce to eat instead. Don’t ever get to the point where you’re starving because then you’ll eat whatever is there and regret it later.
  • Drink tea out of a wine glass. It helps! Something is very comforting about holding a wine glass and catching up with a friend.

I’m telling you, with Day 30 fast approaching, I think I really want to keep up with the Paleo lifestyle – a few cheat days/meals here and there. [oh and wine, that’ll definitely be making a comeback.] It’s working. I feel great!

I Cheated!

Standard

I know what you’re all thinking so before you get too carried away on what forbidden food I indulged in – freeze! I didn’t cheat with food. I stepped on the scale. The Whole30 creators advise against weighing yourself during the challenge. I can see where this would be important during the first 2 or 2 1/2 weeks because there were days I felt so bloated and fat, my clothes fit tighter, everything. I think that was just my body trying to cope with all of my dietary changes and learning to rely on stored fat for fuel as opposed to simple carbs and sugar. Had I weighed myself earlier I might have been frustrated or let down. And if you’re doing the Whole30 for the right reasons, then weight loss really isn’t your top priority. It’s restoring your body, crushing cravings, regaining control, increasing energy, sleeping soundly, and banishing an unhealthy relationship with food. The weight loss is just an added bonus😉

scale

I usually weigh myself naked, first thing in the morning, and after going to the bathroom for the lowest number possible (you all know you do the same thing, well ladies anyway!) so instead of all that I ate breakfast, kept my glasses on, slippers on, sweatpants on and wore a big bulky sweatshirt (yay snow day #2) to mask the true number. I halfway cheated, right? As of today, Day 20, I am down 7.5 lbs. I’ll do the proper weigh-in on Day 31.

Don’t get hung up on the number! I mean it. Don’t.

Focus on how your clothes fit, how you look in the mirror, and how you feel.

A few examples, the last one is my favorite:

Image

Image

Image