When Mer asked me if I had ever been to the famous, fancy, delicious Asian restaurant, Sampan… I thought she was crazy.  I tried to explain to her that it’s pretty good but that it was just normal Chinese food… nothing special?  Mer was convinced she heard it was pretty spectacular… so I decided to go to my dear friend, GOOGLE.

Apparently… Sampan is indeed a fancy Asian restaurant downtown, not just the neighborhood place I grew up walking to.

1 point Mer.  0 points Beth.

Once I glanced at the menu, I was sold.  Mer… we’re so in!

We ended up going for Happy Hour on Wednesday for Center City SIPS with both of our guys (Dave and Mike) and their friend Lee.

The Happy Hour Menu is sorta like asian tapas.  Everything is from $3-$5.  Here’s what we picked out (and a fabulous ordering job done by Mer):

Korean BBQ Beef Satay:  Short Rib, Kim Chee, Ginger
Edamame Dumpling:  Truffle, Pea Shoot, Sake Broth
Pork Potsticker:  Kim Chee, Scallion, Shallot
Kobe Slider:  Soy, Swiss, Brioche
Kobe Hot Dog:  Smoked Mustard, Brioche
Pork Bao Bun:  Shallot, Pork Belly, Mint
Chicken Bao Bun:  Chili Sauce, Shallot, Sweet Basil
Kim Chee Fried Rice:  Shrimp, Shallot, Sunny Side Egg

Kobe Hot Dogs… 3 orders! I wished there was more mustard and maybe some kind of topping?

While I was most excited for the Kobe Hot Dog, that was probably the biggest disappointment.  I mean, it was a great hot dog and all… but there wasn’t much to it.  The biggest surprise was the Kim Chee Fried Rice… omg it was heavenly.

The server popped the egg and mixed up the rice for us tableside.

Closeup of the Fried Rice

I had some great expectations for the Edamame Dumplings due to tons and tons of Yelp reviews, and they lived up to their high standards.  The dumpling was really light while the edamame filling was super creamy.

Now, for the great “Bao Bun” challenge… which is better the Pork or the Chicken?  Dave and I are not really into pork so we were thinking the chicken would be better.  I tried the chicken first and thought there was NO WAY the pork could beat this.  It was soooooooo good.

Chicken Bao Buns

Winner, winner, Pork Bao Bun dinner!

Well, let me tell you… the next bite I had was the Pork Bao Bun and it was even better.  Couldn’t believe it!  The sauce it’s cooked in is sweet and tangy and the pork has a really nice crispiness to it.  WOW.

Kobe sliders were great as they usually are.. Kobe anything really… right?

The Pork Potstickers were tasty but nothing special… I guess this is comparing them to the Edamame Dumplings!

Korean BBQ Beef Satay was one of the last things to come out… it was amazing but I was too full to really enjoy it as much as I should have.

Lee let us know that missing dessert wasn’t an option.  We ordered some kind of Peanut Butter Smores Pie… UM WOW.  We almost fought over it.  Not a drop was left on the plate.

We also ordered the Mini-Ice Cream Cones… we were pretty disappointed by these.  Although the “Vanilla-Twizzler” flavor was strangely dead-on to Twizzler… there were only two (despite the fact that there were 3 holes for cones in the holder they used) and they were like… really really really small.  Not big enough to share.

Mocha Chocolate & Vanilla Twizzler Ice Cream… YUM! I want more!

All in all, Sampan in PHILLY is pretty awesome.  The restaurant itself is “trendy” and would work for happy hour with friends, a date, or really anything.  AND, just a little tip for when you go: Lee told Mer and I to check the bathroom… instead of music playing they have classic movie quotes.  How perfect for us two filmies!

Oh, and anywhere that has Sriracha on the table is a fine place for me!

Manayunk Tavern

I never get to do Happy Hour!  I pretty much exercise every day after work is over, so getting to a bar for cheap drinks and food never seems to happen for me.  EW!

I briefly mentioned on Monday, that this past Friday I had enough of this… and made a point to get out of work and get down to Happy Hour!  My boyfriend Dave and our friend Adam and I headed over to the artsy, adorable, bar-infested area of Philadelphia called Manayunk.  It couldn’t have been more of a beautiful day and we were determined to get a table outside.

For all of you NON-Philadelphians… it’s pronounced Man-EE-Yunk!

I’m loving fresh Margarita’s this season!

After the boys had a beer and I had a Margarita at Derek’s, we were able to get a PRIME seat at the Manayunk Tavern.  Our table was the first one outside of the restaurant, which was the perfect spot for people watching.  SO FUN!

I was pretty pumped because they had my favorite beer on tap!  Have you ever tried it?  It sounds really weird… and it is… but it’s SO GOOD!  It’s the 21st Amendment Brewery’s “Hell or High Watermelon“.  It’s a wheat beer, and yes, it’s flavored with watermelon.  It has a really refreshing flavor and surprisingly it works really well.  I know I’ve had it before from Wegmans, if you’re looking for it.


I’ve been to Manayunk Tavern for dinner before, and I absolutely love their soups.  They are always made fresh and really creative.  They have a spectacular butternut squash soup in the fall… i am craving it now!  It was too hot outside to get soup, so the three of us decided to try out the Calamari.

Great calamari!

You know how sometimes you order fried Calamari out at a restaurant, and it just sucks?  There are so many ways to screw it up, and I always feel such disappointment!  It can be soggy, too breaded, not seasoned well, not hot enough, etc…. ew!  Well let me tell you, this Calamari was fantastic!  It was fried to a crisp and was tossed with enough fried Jalapeno slices to give it a nice hot kick!  Easy A!

For dinner, I had to go against my attempt to “quit” cheese and order a really decadent burger.  It sounded so interesting I couldn’t resist… and I don’t even like bacon on burgers… but I had to do it!  I ordered the “Smokey” Burger, complete with a Smoked Paprika Dry Rub (on a burger?!?! right!?), Applewood Bacon, Smoked Mozz, Chipotle Remoulade, Lettuce, Toms, and Onions.  WOW!  It was awesome.  I chose the Sweet Potato Fries as my side, but they were a little too greasy so I didn’t eat that many.

The boys ordered a Filet sandwich which was loaded with good stuff… I’m sorry I don’t have a picture, but we all dug into our food so fast I didn’t get a chance!  lol.

Afterwards, we saw The Avengers.  Has anyone else seen it?  Thoughts?  I enjoyed it but was pretty unimpressed.  (although it did inspire Dave and I to watch Captain America on Saturday!)