Cordelia’s a must for Harbor Town dwellers

I have a confession to make. I hope this offends no one, but Harbor Town creeps me out a little bit. It’s just a little too pristine, pretty and picturesque.

It's Greek to Me sandwich casingThat said, if you live in Harbor Town, you have no excuse to miss out on Miss Cordelia’s. If you live or work within 15 minutes of Harbor Town, Downtown I’m looking at you here, you also have no excuse.

Nestled away in the back of the same-title grocery store, Miss Cordelia’s puts together good sandwiches, and, when I was there, had quite tasty Snickerdoodles (I can’t pass up trying Snickerdoodles).

So, I bustled over to Mud Island on my lunch break and brought the sandwhich (and cookies! don’t forget the cookies!) back to the office.

I was a little nervous about the size of the package I was handed for my It’s Greek to Me sandwich. It looked awfully small.

When I got it back to the office, I understood why it appeared small to me in the bag, while the sandwich was not wide or sprawling, it was stacked high! In point of fact, it was a bit too high and a little awkward to get my mouth around.

The flavor and mixture of ingredients was pleasant, though I wasn’t a big fan of the bread. The menu said it came on focaccia, but I’m fairly certain mine was on a wheat roll. Not bad, just wasn’t the best match for the sandwich.

I’ve written before of my affinity to feta cheese, which this sandwich has, but I’d like to also add that a well-roasted pepper is almost on the same level. Mix roasted red peppers, feta cheese, cucumber and chicken together with some pesto mayo and you’ve got Cordelia’s Greek. I wouldn’t have minded some olives or to have substituted hummus for the pesto mayo, but the sandwich was damned tasty (not to mention those snickerdoodles!).

photo-5All of their sides, displayed in a glass deli counter looked to be good quality, but I was unable to try them. They also sold these sides and certain entrees such as meatloaf by the pound.

I was also glad to see their presence on social networks. They have a twitter account (@MissCordelias), which they post specials or new local products (“We are happy to have a new local product. Going Nuts Pecans……Chocolate, Praline & Roasted…also their tasty peppermint bark.”).

Also, the ability to order it online is nice, and it seems to be function well (will have to try that out next time).

Cordelia's on Urbanspoon

A good lunch for a Bardog (oh the puns)

Sorry, I’ve been fairly quiet on posting recently, gang. Living life. Was ill for the better part of last week, too. I’m going to attempt to do better. – Note from the Geek Management

I hit Bardog for lunch with @rakuette not too long ago. The place has a lot of personality and it’s actually really welcoming as you walk in (I walked in from the rain, so perhaps that’s where the impression came from).

Meatball Hoagie and friesThe bar has two floors: the top floor is more of a bar and the bottom floor has no smoking and is more of the restaurant setting with more seating.

We sat at the bar on the top floor. Having a bar that’s nice to serve food on is a tricky business. Bardog’s misses the bill a little bit. It was a tad too high even for my 6-foot-3-inch frame and was even worse for my shorter lunch companion.

The fare is slightly upscale for a bar, including a $25 “Surf and Turf” entree.

We stuck to sandwiches, though.

I ordered the Meatball Hoagie and my compatriot ordered The Amazing Island Club.

I can’t speak for the club, but the Meatball Hoagie was quite delicious. Stuff with eight meatballs, provolone and parmagiano with marinara, the sandwich was perfect for the dreary October day. The problem lay in eating it without making a mess.

Innards of a Meatball HoagieThe bread was slightly too light to handle the dense meatballs and marinara. I had to eat the second half of my sandwich with a fork and knife, feeling distinctly British for some reason (who knows?). Flavor-wise, definitely a hit, but the bread was quite possibly a big whiff. I think a meatball sandwich needs a heartier bread. Not so stiff and crusty that you injure your gums, but something that the sauce won’t soak completely through.

Like the innards of the sandwich, the fries that came with our meals were a quite good. They’re seasoned with sugar. I love a good mix of savory and sweet and these were just right. Crispy, light and with the sugar, definitely something different, but lovely.

I’ll be giving Bardog another go in the coming weeks and will let you know. I think I’ll try the Sliders next.
Bardog Tavern on Urbanspoon

The long-awaited South Philly review

Cheesesteak and Water iceThat’s right, folks, I realize I’ve been slacking a little bit, but we’re back on schedule with a post about what has got to be the best cheesesteaks in Memphis (perhaps even the Mid-South).

I’ve eaten at what are arguably three of the best cheesesteak joints in Philadelphia: Pat’s, Jim’s and D’Alessandro’s. Although it’s been years since I had a cheesesteak in Philly, I’d put South Philly’s sandwiches right up there with those titans.

South Philly’s aim, according to their Web site, is “that the sound of the cook chopping the steaks on the sizzling grill, the savory aromas and the come-as-you-are setting bring the flavor of Philadelphia to you even before you take that first bite.”

This isn’t marketing hyperbole. When you walk into the restaurant, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the scent of cooking beef, the clang of metal on an iron griddle and the symphony of good conversation that seems to always be there when I enter (maybe that’s because I always enter around lunchtime on a weekday).

Scattered about the walls are photos and memorabilia from around Philly and they even have a sign teaching you how to order your sandwich, starting with whether you want the cheesesteak “WIT” or “WIT-OUT” onions (you should definitely order it “wit”).

When the food gets to your table, it’s hard not to notice one key thing: cheese integration. This is what makes or breaks a cheesesteak for me, and South Philly’s has been perfect nearly every time I’ve been. Each bite has a perfect mixture of beef, cheese and onions (I’m a purist, so that’s all you’ll find on a cheesesteak I order).

They’ve also brought another staple of Philly cuisine: water ice. I’m far from a connoisseur of water ice, so I can’t speak to how good their ice is. I enjoyed the Strawberry Lemonade flavor I tried, but it didn’t blow my mind quite like their cheesesteaks.

The thing that really puts South Philly over the top is the dedication to service. Owner Mike Dinwiddie is in the shop most days and if anything is ever wrong, he does his absolute best to make it right.

I promised previously that I would get to the bottom of the recent drought in the TastyKake market. I e-mailed Mike, and he took time out of his day to let me know what’s going on.

Unfortunately, Tastykake does not have a distributorship near Memphis. To the best of my knowledge they only distribute in the Delaware Valley, and as far south as Virginia, and as far north as NY.

Mike mentioned that shipments to out-of-region vendors may have stemmed from one person trying to “help out cheesesteak joints” and that it may have become too much of a burden.

South Philly may begin to sell Hostess in the future.”They are local and local is good,” Mike sent about Hostess.

My hat’s off to Mike for replying to me so passionately (he also informed me that they’e just switched to a local water ice vendor “Parker’s Water Ice” and that they use Amoroso, a roll “Philly people go nuts over” and Ritter meats) and for running an absolutely incredible “cheesesteak joint.”

If you haven’t already, hit them up downtown. If you’re in the area, you can order on-line and they’ll even deliver to certain areas.

It’s completely worth it.

South Philly on Urbanspoon

First time at the Madison Ave. Kwik Chek

I was a Midtown Memphis guy for a year. I’ve lived in Memphis my entire life. I work Downtown.

I had never, before today, entered into the Kwik Chek on Madison Ave. between Rembert and Morrison.

A very nice lunch surprise awaited me.

Looking for a quick lunch to pick up and bring back to the office, a couple co-workers and I ventured forth with the Kwik Chek as a recommendation from Mr. Alex McPeak, one of those guys that is an absolute guru for local eateries (he has yet to lead me astray).

When walking into the store, keep in mind, this is no high-end restaurant. This is a convenience store that also sells sandwiches. Don’t let the surroundings confuse you, head right back to the deli counter and stand confidently as you look over the menu posted above.

I couldn’t resist a wrap named the Hey Zeus. With a name like that, who could? With parmesan and feta cheese, who could resist it?

I wasn’t expecting a toasted wrap, but a toasted wrap is what I received. It will be hard going back to lifeless, flabby wraps after this. The wrap had just enough crisp, but not so much that you’ll end up slicing your gums on it.

The meats, chicken and roast beef, lettuce, mustard and lemon pepper dressing all blended together beautifully, but I can’t stress enough, there was also feta and parmesan. They really had me at “Hello” on this sandwich.

My compatriots had a Bloody Valentine, a vegitarian delight with habenaro sauce stuffed into a pita, and a pita stuffed with corned beef and provolone.

This trip can fall under the category of “lunch success.”

See for yourself when you’re in the area.

Kwik Chek on Urbanspoon