Friday, January 24, 2014

A Philadelphia Night Out

When we went to Han Dynasty for my birthday, CPM and I both were quite taken with the idea of getting a punch bowl for the table, and were rather surprised by the lack of recommendation our server gave us on that front...basically they told us not to do it, so we didn't. But the idea of drinking some kind of alcoholic beverage out of a punch bowl was not to float away on the river of our lives like a loose stick from a low hanging tree. Nope. CPM and I made an alternative plan. I knew that the scorpion bowl at Sampan was pretty delightful and so I suggested we go there, which is just what we did. We originally thought we'd just wing it and sit at the bar, but mid-day Friday we corresponded and decided that a reservation was probably not the worst idea...which was entirely true, as the bar was pretty solidly packed when we got there around 7:30. We were seated and quite enjoyed perusing the menu. Though I've been to Sampan a few times, it had been quite a bit of time, so many of the things of the menu appealed. In the end CPM and I chose a nice array of plates to share. For example, these 'wonton crab tacos,' which came with avocado, cilantro and pickled shallot. The crab salad element was good in portion size and delicious.
We also ordered the hamachi ceviche, which really is just a really delightful spoonful of magic. The dish usually comes three spoons to a plate, but the server suggested we add a fourth so there would be no bloodshed. A good call indeed.
These were Korean fried chicken skewers. Succulent. Hot. So GOOD.
We also ordered the "Philly Cheese Steak," which you can see in the far left corner...honestly this was the dish that was the least successful or pleasing. I'd give it a pass.
Our server did at first suggest that we didn't need a punch bowl in our lives...but after much deliberation, we chose to have one anyway.
Kobe beef skewers were unbelievably tender and while they had a bit of sauce/external flavor, the meat itself was pretty well and good magic on its own.
Do not doubt us, Sampan server, we will order and finish a punch bowl. Don't you worry about us none.
After that it was still relatively early in the evening, so we walked west in Center City. I was quite shocked to see that, which I tried to go to with Huckleberry back in the summer, was pretty much entirely empty. So we went on in there and enjoyed two delightful cocktails that will go unnamed because I can't seem to find the drink menu on the establishment's website. They also had a pretty neat-o looking oyster bar option. While we only had a drink, I would definitely suggest to those staying in the Philly area that they check this place out far more than I'll be able to do in my dwindling days in the city.
We then made a few more stops in our night, including a cocktail at Tank Bar and getting to McCrossen's just in time to see the Eagles not quite make it through the playoffs. A lovely evening with a fun friend. I liked that we balanced our evening so that we stopped in at a variety of locations, some more familiar than others. The night was, of course, a late one. And I could never do that sort of thing with any true frequency, but such evenings always remind me of just how much of Philadelphia is still a mystery to me, even after six years.

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