Philadelphia Fine Dining – Part 2: The suburbs in bloom

As Philadelphia continues refining its vibrant Center City restaurant scene, the suburbs, a former culinary wasteland, are blooming with innovation in attractive locations.

The canal in Yardley, Bucks County, PA

In the suburbs:

On the Yardley riverfront Charcoal sizzles with creativity

Cured Sea Trout, Charcoal BYOB, Yardley, PA

The lowering sun casts a gold light on the swift flowing Delaware River as diners at Charcoal tuck into tender chunks of hanger steak, superbly seasoned octopus and wild mushroom soup with green curry.

Over the past 25 years the Greek menu at the Kitchen Bar has become an American

The Kitchen Bar, Abington, PA

It’s 9:00 pm on a Thursday evening and the Kitchen Bar Restaurant is nearly full. For a weekday night in leafy suburban Abington Township, where even most of the fast food chains are already closed, this is uncommon.

Kinnaree highlights the French influence on Thai dining

Pan Seared Hawaiian Butterfish, Kinnaree Restaurant, Horsham, PA

Set in an unassuming Horsham strip mall, Kinnaree Thai French Cuisine balances traditional Thai dishes with centuries old French influences.

Seafood Ceviche, El Sarape, Blue Bell, PA

El Sarape: Authentic Mexican in the Philadelphia Burbs

Devotees of authentic Mexican cuisine in the Philadelphia metro area have had few choices until El Sarape opened in suburban Blue Bell.

Historic Old City Philadelphia at Washington Square

In Center City:

El Vez is Starr Restaurant’s modern Mexican on Sansom Street

El Vez, Philadelphia, PA

There’s a lot of competition for customers seeking good dining on Philadelphia’s Sansom Street since it’s in proximity to everything of interest in center city.

Le Viet defines Vietnamese cuisine in South Philadelphia

Goi Hai San Trai Tho’m (pineapple & shrimp salad) Le Viet, Philadelphia, PA

The Italian Market/Queen Village district, to any resident of Philadelphia, is inexorably morphing into a little Southeast Asia.

M Restaurant in Philadelphia offers elegance and cutting edge cuisine

caraway scented goat cheese w/ multi colored beets, Meyer lemon, grated rye bread, M Restaurant, Philadelphia, PA

Set within an historic Philadelphia mansion, the M Restaurant & Bar is elegant yet unpretentious.

All my Examiner.com restaurant reviews are a click away: 

Philadelphia Fine Dining and International Dining Examiner

Laos in the North: Poised for Change

“The idea of the Laos government is to become the battery of Southeast Asia,” Robert Zoellick, World Bank president, Time, 12/09/2010

 According to the teachings of the Buddha, life is comparable to a river. It moves from cause to cause, effect to effect, one point to another, one state of existence to another, giving an outward impression that it is one continuous and unified movement, where as in reality it is not. So does life. It changes continuously, becomes something or other from moment to moment.  (The Buddhist Concept of Impermanence)

Is Laos in the 19th century racing towards the 21st? Not since the 1970′s has this most relaxed of southeast Asian societies faced the prospect of monumental changes globalization is bringing to this ancient land. In a series of articles for Suite101 and the Examiner, I explore these shifting forces even as I experience centuries of tradition.


Muang Ngoi on the Nam Ou, Laos

Forested mountains and ethnic villages may dominate photos of northern Laos, but it’s the region’s swift rivers an energy hungry southeast Asia covets.

Visit northern Laos timeless scene before time runs out 

 

The Forest Retreat Laos cafe, Luang Namtha, Laos

In the misty mountain provincial capital of Luang Namtha in northern Laos, a mere 50 miles from the Chinese border, a traveler would not normally expect to enjoy a perfect grilled cheese sandwich, stuffed with banana, while sipping a shot of Lao Lao.

The Forest Retreat Laos cafe and bar makes a mean grilled cheese

the Nam Oh, upriver of Nong Kiau in northern Laos

For eons, Laos 270 mile long Nam Ou has cut a path of incredible beauty providing easy transport and fertility to the northern interior.

The Nam Ou: Laos Rice Bowl River Changing Course

al fresco lunch in the Nam Ha National Biodiversity Conservation Area

Roasting eggplant and tomatoes imparts an earthy flavor to these two quick and easy Laotian dips or spreads.

Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes: Two Easy Laotian Appetizers

Nong Kiau Riverside Resort & Restaurant, Nong Kiau, Laos

In the far north of Laos, overlooking the swift flowing Nam Oh River as it cuts a path through towering forest covered limestone mountains, the Nong Kiau Riverside Resort and Restaurant melts into the lush countryside.

The view from Nong Kiau Riverside Resort and Restaurant is worth the trek

Mok Pa

An aromatic mix of onions, garlic, herbs and chili enveloping slices of fresh fish fillet may be the ingredients for Mok Pa, but the banana leaves are the secret.

Mok Pa: Laotian Fish Steamed in Banana Leaves

A relaxing ecotourism center spanning the Nam Ou, Nong Kiau is positioned to be a major player in Laos northern economic development.

Nong Kiau, Laos: Poised for Change

Ban Samsaath, Laos – a traditional weaving village