3 Recent YELP reviews from me: Sampan, Farmer's Cabinet, Gunner's Run

Sampan 5 out of 5 stars~
Category: Asian Fusion
Neighborhood: Market East
Despite a minor hiccup on the initial service (I also did join my party a few minutes after they were seated so I chalk up the delay to the server not realizing I had arrived yet), we really enjoyed Sampan.

We sat inside and it was open, modern and sleek looking. Loved the dark wood and the open kitchen. They have Asahi Super Dry on tap (a personal fave of mine). We shared between 3 of us:
-duck spring roll: flavorful
-crab won tons: good (but Latest Dish STILL has the best crab won tons in the city!)
-pork potstickers: very tasty
-General Tso's soup dumpling: OH. EM. GEE. This was awesome! Kinda like the french onion soup dumplings from Starr's Continentals but I have to say I liked Sampan's soup dumplings better. Such a neat idea and so yummy!

Each dish came with about 3 or 4 pieces, we were all fully satisfied after the meal. I can't wait to come back and try their happy hour deals! The outdoor Graphitti Bar in the back is also on the list to try!

The Farmers' Cabinet - 2 out of 5 stars
Categories: Bars, Gastropubs
Neighborhood: Market East
It really is interesting how people seem to LOVE this place or HATE it. Unfortunately I am on the negative side of spectrum.

I really wanted to like The Farmer's Cabinet as I read so many great twitter reviews prior to our visit. I did quite enjoy the food. We had the spare ribs and the rabbit two ways. Both were really good (except the slates they came out on were just plain silly!).

I hated the communal table we were seated at for dinner. The people that they sat next to us were so close they made the joke "Sorry we're late" to us as they sat down. There was a space 2 seats away that would've put some space between us but of course the hostess didn't put them there. It's just awkward!

I am not really a "beer person." I'm a lager or stella drinker. My boyfriend is a guinness or lager person. Boyfriend asked for lager after they advised they didn't have guinness, was told they didn't carry domestics. He tried to then just order a Jameson and ginger ale to which the reply was they didn't really have Jameson or any Irish whiskey, that they only really carried what was used to make their specialty cocktails. I picked something out for him but it was too hoppy (my fault!) for him and it took quite a while to get to him (I had my drink for quite a few minutes before he got his). The best part was we were joking about how they probably couldn't find the beer b/c they had some many varieties only to glance over at the bar to see 2 bartenders with flashlights looking at bottles. I did partake in the Walnut Street Shuffle cocktail made with St Germain (one of my fave liqueurs) and that was glorious! But I would say overpriced for the size.

So I would say go for the food and hope you get seated at one of the barrel tables!

Gunners Run - 3 out of 5 stars
Category: American (New)
Neighborhood: Northern Liberties
The menu on the Gunner's Run website has a lot more on it than what was available both times I went in this past weekend, but I say they're off to an ok start.

The 1st time we went in was the Friday before their grand opening, we had to wait quite a long time for a server to approach us once we were seated and my man-friend finally stopped someone and asked for a server. It was very busy.

Our lager cans took FOREVER, but the food came out pretty quickly. We had the chicken fried chicken and the Bad Luck Burger. The chicken friend chicken was super crispy and the sriracha mayo it's served with was totally tasty. I absolutely loved the Bad Luck Burger. It was so good, Craig N's suggestion that it is "an upscale version of a Big Mac" is the truth. This is not a bad thing at all. The fries were good but not great. The burger was worth the price of admission, a double cheeseburger for $9 is reasonable to me.

I was hoping to try the kobe corn dogs listed on their website's menu but sadly they didn't have them on the menu yet.

I really liked the HUGE map of Philadelphia they have on the back wall now, it's really interesting.

The 2nd time we went on a slow Sunday and both got Bad Luck Burgers b/c they were that good. I hope they extend their menu soon and continue to improve their service.



I will happily admit that Sean and I are major fanboys when it comes to chefs; both of us are avid Top Chef / No Reservations viewers and pride ourselves in how many Iron Chef restaurants we have visited (for the record, the count is: 5 Bobby Flay, 2 Morimoto and 1 Garces). So when I learned about the 10 ARTS / LE BERNADIN Chef’s dinner happening at 10 ARTS this past Tuesday, I snatched up reservations as soon as I could. We have celebrated Sean’s birthday at 10 ARTS before, and while this dinner would take place exactly 1 week before, the prospect of sampling both Jen Carroll’s AND Eric Ripert’s fare was an opportunity we could not afford to miss!

Here's what we had:

Amuse Bouche – A single oyster with so many flavors packed into it was our Amuse Bouche. I wish I could remember what exactly went into that oyster but I can tell you it was divine and a great start to the meal.

1st Course – The first course was by Ripert and featured insanely thinly pounded layers of tuna (it was basically like a super flat tuna tartare) that featured a toasted baguette in the middle topped with Foie Gras, chives and olive oil. I am a foie gras fanatic and I absolutely loved this dish. The combination of the olive oil, foie and tuna was so rich and satisfying. This course looked huge but the tuna was flattened so much so that I imagine we were really only eating a few ounces. I have to say this was my favorite dish of the evening, certainly not to take away from the amazing courses to come!

2nd Course – Jen Carroll’s 2nd course consisted of roasted asparagus topped with poached egg and herb butter underneath. To me, I could see this as a great breakfast side or a modified Egg’s Benedict for veggie lovers. The egg was cooked to perfection and the butter was SO good. Butter in (good) restaurants never ceases to amaze. We use Kerrygold and while that butter is the best I can find in the grocery store, Jen’s herb butter blows that out of the water!

3rd Course – Ripert prepared the next 2 dishes which I believe he used to his advantage. The 3rd Course was a charred octopus that featured a black bean-pear sauce and ink-miso vinaigrette. I have had squid before but never octopus so I was a little weary that I may find it too chewy. I should never worry when it comes to Ripert; the octopus was light and tasty, the ink-miso vinaigrette really stood out flavor-wise and the purple basil was both a pretty garnish and tasty accompaniment.

4th Course – Ripert really spotlighted his talent with his 4th course which flowed effortlessly from the previous octopus dish. Striped bass was prepared medallion style with a baby carrot-herb salad and miso butter sauce. You would think that having miso in 2 subsequent courses might seem like overkill but quite the contrary: you could tell miso was in both dishes but the ways it was used simply heightened the dishes and allowed them to complement each other in such an amazing and flavorful way. Purple basil was again a garnish but I find these small touches what makes Ripert a world-renowned chef.

5th Course – Carroll’s rack of lamb came with a quinoa and feta tabbouleh and pomegranate jus. The lamb was cooked to perfection and had just the right amount of fat. While I am not a huge fan of feta I found it went well with the quinoa and pomegranate jus as well. The jus was sweet enough to off-set the slight bitterness of the feta.

6th Course – the dessert course featured a plethora of different tastes: peanut brittle, lemon curd and the cardomon sorbet were the definite stars of this course. The desserts were prepared by the resident pastry chef, Monica Glass.

While the food was the crux of the evening, the highlight was the fact that Ripert and Carroll both made the rounds to the guests dining at 10 ARTS that evening; Ripert was sincerely nice albeit a bit soft-spoken while Carroll was very friendly and complimented my hair AND my Flyers arm band (WEET!) We were able to get pictures with both of them which I felt made for a great birthday present for Sean. While 10 ARTS is Ripert’s restaurant, I think this only seals our fate that at some point we will need to go to Le Bernadin in NYC for the full Ripert experience.