Thursday, July 9, 2009

Philadelphia, Day 2: Ocean Harbor, Thai Chef & Noodle Fusion

Catch up! Day 1
The next day, I totally wanted to eat at this place for breakfast, but unfortunately it was too early and they were still closed. Magic kingdom of dough! Where else could I possibly want to be?
Nonetheless, I was happy to go to Ocean Harbor for dim sum instead. TL and I stepped into the large Hong Kong style restaurant just before they began serving, and waited along with everyone else for the carts to begin wheeling out of the kitchen. We had cups of hot tea to warm our hands and keep us company.
After only ten minutes or so, the dim sum started appearing. We quickly pointed to a bunch of items, knowing we were getting the freshest ones possible. Our table quickly filled up with the standards: crystal shrimp dumplings, shaomai, braised beef balls, fried rice-flour dumplings filled with ground pork, and fried taro dumplings filled with ground pork. I thought they were all pretty good, though the fried items were definitely a bit on the greasy side.
We couldn't pass up on the rice noodle rolls (can you tell I can't get enough of those things?), so we ordered a beef roll and a shrimp roll. I also asked for what the woman told me was soup dumplings, but I should have known better. They were terrible specimens, with thick skins, no soup inside, and a bland, heavy filling of pork. Of all the dim sum we ordered, that was the only real clunker.
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After breakfast we decided to make the uber-touristy move of taking a Ride the Ducks tour, which turned out to be, well, not super fun, but not bad either. The best part was being in the water. If our guide hadn't hated the world so much, it probably would have been a better tour.
Once the tour ended we made our way to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia's Mütter Museum, which was full of really creepy medical specimens like preserved human brains and a collection of foreign objects that had been removed from people's bodies. Fascinating stuff, though I actually felt kind of sick to my stomach after seeing some of the items in that museum. But this is a food blog, not a gross-out blog, so I won't get into it.
We had just enough time before our bus departure to have a quick meal before leaving. After trying to find something in the food no-man's-land immediately around the museum, we walked all the way to Continental Midtown only to be informed that they were between lunch and dinner service, and so wouldn't be able to feed us. We ended up backtracking to a whimsically decorated restaurant called Thai Chef & Noodle Fusion. (Their business card invites you to "Please Visit our Under Sea Dining" with the suggestion that "Maybe you Want to Jump into the Sea." Maybe, indeed.)
My pad see ew came with a significant amount of vegetable, far more than I'm used to with this dish. The sliced carrots, red and green peppers, and shredded cabbage certainly made the noodles healthier and more colorful, but I think I prefer my beef, rice noodles, broccoli, and egg unadorned. It was pretty good otherwise though, and the dish came in a hefty portion for its price.

Noodles noshed, there was little else to do but walk to the Bolt Bus departure area. TL and I were both really beat, and though I managed to take advantage of the free WiFi for a little while, it was only a matter of time before I passed out. When I woke again we were in Manhattan, with Philadelphia far behind us.

Day 1: Reading Terminal Market, DiNic's, Miller's Twist, Capogiero, Vietnam Palace
Day 2: Ocean Harbor, Thai Chef & Noodle Fusion

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