The Runner’s Kitchen in Philly!

Since I promised a culinary recap of my time in Philadelphia, that’s what you’ll be getting today! Brian from Bridges, Burgers, Beer documented the tasty food that fueled me before and after the 1/2 marathon. I’m getting hungry just looking at these photos….


If you know Meg fairly well you If you know Meg well and/or read her blog frequently, you’re very aware of her love for addiction to Larabars. So of course at race number pickup/check-in, we found the Larabar tent and Meg went to town on grabbing samples (see above photo).

meg struggling with chopsticks

You may also know that Meg hates pasta but loves Asian noodles. Knowing this, I had to take her to Han Dynasty, a Sichuan restaurant in Old City Philadelphia, to try my favorite Asian noodle dish…EVER. Many places try to make dan dan mian, but can’t quite replicate the real taste and flavor. This is the only place I’ve been to so far that’s pretty much dead on to what I had in China. I loved it (obviously) and I’m pretty sure Meg did too, though she might have not said much because the spice may have been taking over (real Sichuan food is no joke for the unsuspecting palate). I also got to give some chopstick lessons!

can you see the excitement in her face?

To cool down our palate after our spicy Sichuan noodles, we headed just north to The Franklin Fountain, a traditional ice cream parlor complete with soda jerks and carbonated drinks (phosphates, egg creams, etc.). We decided on the homemade hot fudge sundae – 2 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream, homemade hot fudge, fresh whipped cream, and topped with a cherry. Oh so good.

heirloom tomatoes

Dinner time came quick and we went out on a foodie double date with Michelle and Art at Pizzeria Stella, Stephen Starr’s artisanal pizza joint in Society Hill. We started off with the two appetizer specials, heirloom tomatoes & red onion w/ a pesto aioli and topped with ricotta salata and eggplant bruschetta w/ caramelized onions and topped with ricotta salata. Three pizzas were ordered: piccante – capicola, aged provolone, crushed red pepper, tomato; spinach – baby spinach, oven roasted tomato, mozzarella, pine nuts; san daniele – prosciutto, smoked mozzarella, arugula. Of course, being the beer drinkers that we are, we washed down our meal with Ithaca Partly Sunny, which Stella has on tap.

spinach pizza

clockwise from bottom: gianduja, nocciola, stracciatella nocciola

This was a Meg day, so of course there were be sweets before night’s end. We hiked west towards Capogiro Gelato after dinner. Both of us are also big fans of gelato, so this was a must this weekend. We split a medium with three flavors: nocciola, gianduja, stracciatella nocciola.


hummus & laffa

crispy haloumi (Megan says – I’m sorry, but I just have to interject and say that the haloumi was one of the best things I have EVER eaten. Hot, crispy, salty, savory, and a little sweet!!)

After Meg was done kicking ass and setting a PR in the Philly half marathon, we headed over for lunch at Zahav, Chef Michael Solomonov’s Israeli restaurant in Society Hill. Since it was Philly Restaurant Week, they were offering a 4-course lunch menu. The appetizers were four salads – double cooked eggplant, fennel, radish, and cucumber/tomato; and hummus & laffa. I’ve been here once before and the hummus and laffa were amazing (and still is) – homemade, fresh, and brought out warm to your table. The second course were small plates and we ordered crispy haloumi w/ pine nuts & a date spread and house smoked sable over challah w/ a fried egg. Our main courses were the galil – eggplant over tomato couscous w/ zucchini and tahini and monsieur merguez – lamb sausage w/ couscous and matbucha. Lastly, for dessert, we had an almond semifreddo served w/ a chocolate crisp and halvah mousse w/ a chickpea praline and blueberries.

the galil

almond semifreddo

halvah mousse

meg w/ iced coffee

red velvet cupcake

Before sending Meg on her way, we took a stroll through one of, if not my favorite area of Philadelphia, Northern Liberties. We got iced coffee (no surprise, I’m sure) at One Shot Coffee and then went to Brown Betty Dessert Boutique for red velvet cupcakes!

nom nom nom nom

In Runners Kitchen style, here are my questions for you. Have you ever had authentic Sichuan food? Do you prefer artisanal or mom & pop (proper term?) style pizza? Gelato or ice cream? What’s your favorite kind of cupcake?

Thanks for reading! Huge thanks to Meg for giving me the chance to write here!

  • Woah, questions galore! But I will entertain them anyways.

    1. No, but this reminds me of Szechuan sauce, which I love. Is there szechuan sauce in Sichuan food? haha
    2. Artisanal, for sure, as long as the crust is CRISPY.
    3. Ooof, that’s a toughy. To me, they’re so similar since I like my ice cream mostly melted.
    4. Pumpkin!!! Picture of it from Crumbs:

    I’m a very big fan of pics of Megan enjoying food:)

  • philly food = yum! but no cheesesteak for you?! hahah!

    1. no
    2. yes although i’m not the biggest pizza fan out there
    3. both although i think gelato more just because i have it so infrequently that it’s still mysterious
    4. banana

  • Gelato! Mom and pop places are the best! My favorite cupcake is anything chocolate. I could eat chocolate any time of day all day long!

  • So many cute pictures of you! I don’t think I have ever had Sichuan style food, but it sounds awesome!

  • 1. Not sure, but I love spicy food!
    2. Tough one. I’ll go mom & pop though.
    3. Ice cream, you scream….
    4. Lemon with buttercream

    Also, this post made me very hungry.

  • I want to sink my teeth into that cupcake right this minute. Man, that looks SO good!

  • Julia

    1. I have no idea, since I haven’t made it to China to compare to the real thing, but there’s a place semi-near me that all the local Chinese eat at and say is the most authentic in silicon valley. I haven’t ever ordered the dan dan mian (but now I will!), as I usually get their specialty, ma po tofu.
    2. I gotta say, I’m a hole-in-the-wall, mom & pop pizza kind of girl. Thicker crust, rich sauce and plenty of cheese, please.
    3. Gelato, definitely.
    4. Carrot cake!

  • omg. can we do this in nyc sometime?? you guys went on quite the food tour!

    i will play along with the questions:
    1. i’ve never had authentic sichuan food. i’m actually scarred from chinese food after a traumatizing experience in chinatown in 2003, but maybe i just need a good reintroduction?
    2. artisanal all the way, but the crust has got to be gooooooood.
    3. ice cream. gelato is a very close second though. (love gianduja and nocciola!)
    4. i’m not a huge cupcake person, but i do like pumpkin with some buttercream. (megan, when are we going to butter lane!?)

  • ida

    Cute post! gelato, and Roman style pizza. Also Haloumi is so good – I am coveting that photo!

  • What a cute post, and what a fun double date! Although, I must say, we should have joined you at Capogiro. Your gelato looks otherworldly while mine was just okay. GelatoJeal = me

  • Ah hat fun you two had! Love the fab eats and cute pics!

    Never had authentic Sichuan food. I too like Leslie have had unpleasant and somewhat scarring experiences. Reintroduction might be good. As much as I love artisinal thin crust pizza, every once in awhile I crave a classic nyc pizza slice! As for cupcakes, I am all about the banana cake and maple frosting cupcake at butterlane. Good questions!

  • Okay… do I get my hands on that pizza and red velvet cupcake?? They look AMAZING.

    As for your questions, here goes:

    1. I have not had authentic Sichuan but am game.

    2. I tend to dig Mom & Pop pizza places – though I don’t discriminate against any pizza. Love ’em all.

    3. Gelato all the way. My absolute favorite is Bacio flavor followed closely by nocciola.

    4. Super moist golden cupcake with buttercream froasting & walnuts. Drooling just thinking about it.

  • Looks like you had a great time!

    1. Nope, but I’m a total wimp when it comes to spicy food!
    2. Any kind as long as it’s got fresh ingredients and isn’t too greasy.
    3. Um… both!
    4. Chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting 🙂

  • Wow, you guys hit a lot of places while you were in Philly! Brown Betty is my fav. I live close by and make it my treat every Friday. Oh and I also discovered the Lara bar freebies on Sat. and throughout the day, kept going over to that booth and taking some.

  • HAI BBB. Did you guys leave any food in Philly for the natives? Isn’t there supposed to be the best Italian restaurant in the country in Philly? This is what I read somewhere.

    To answer:
    1. No. Not because I don’t want to, but there is almost nothing w/o meat in it. I did eat at Grand Sichuan on St. Mark’s once, so maybe that counts.
    2. I’ve been disappointed so many times by so-called artisanal pizza that I’ll have to say mom & pop. Give me a generic Jersey slice any day.
    3. Gelato. Or soft-serve.
    4. Gingerbread, funfetti, or carrot cake.

  • Love this! Looks like you two fueled up in style before AND after… that haloumi is calling my name.

  • Love the new design! Gray is very chic right now 🙂

    1. nope!
    2. I like fancy pizzas!
    3. Gelato
    4. Red velvet – nom nom nom!

  • OH man that ice cream looks good!!!

    I love any good mom and pop stores. They have so much more character and usually really really care about what they’re serving/selling.

  • You have enjoyed plenty of delicious food. I like the most spinach pizza and red velvet cup cake. What a delicious….!!! I feel the taste of red velvet cup cake. 

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