After 3 or 4 years, I finally made it to Standard Tap

I’m feeling a little sick and my head is in a fog, but I finally found some time report back about yet another fantastic sandwich, covered in shoestring fries. That sentence hit so many points; I couldn’t be prouder.

It’s been a few years since I first saw Standard Tap, quietly looming over 2nd and Poplar. And while I have visited once or twice, I never really gave it my full attention until now. Meeting up with a friend for dinner, we sat in the oddly well-lit first floor bar. Things were pretty standard as far as these meet ups go: have a drink, chat with the bar tender, order food, have another drink, anxiously await food and pretend to be paying attention. You know, normal stuff. But then A BABY showed up. And not just any baby. This baby was cool as shit. She sat right on her dad’s lap and slapped the bar like she was ready for a drink. After her dad and uncle’s beers arrived, the bar tender handed her an orange slice. The little girl, like the boss that she is, just opened her mouth to accept his offering. Solid move, I wish it was still socially acceptable for me to do that every once in a while.

Finally, after what seemed like hours and a fuzzier-than-I-was-expecting head later, the food arrived and by this point I was so hungry I was simply throwing out words and confusing/terrifying the poor food runner. I ordered the portobello mushroom burger; my friend, the pulled pork sandwich with extra long hots. At this point, my memory gets awfully fuzzy. I know there was that first amazing, juicy bite where the top bun is crispy but the bottom has been soaking in deliciousness and the cheese is melted perfectly enough to string out as you pull away… But other than that, I was so absorbed in the efficient and total consumption of my sandwich that there are few other details. The fries were that awesome texture of thin, crispy, floppy, and greasy- basically the best kind of fry there is. And the beers we had were diverse, but easily accessible to a novice craft beer drinker. I stayed more on the darker side with dunkles and porters. My friend went with the lighter saisons they had on tap that moment. One thing I always fall for that I need to stop doing is the hand-pumped beers. It’s not that they can’t pour ’em at Standard Tap, because they can; they’re great at it. But a hand pumped beer never has the same amount of carbonation or chilly temperature I’m looking for. Really, there’s nothing worse than anticipating a cold, refreshing drink (of beer, water, juice, etic. this is a universal thing) and finding it lacking.

Image

Photobomb like a boss.

In all, Standard Tap is one of those places you need to try at least once. Their menu is significantly gastro pub, but more “conventional” meat eaters will find something they like. If you’re ever in Northern Liberties, check it out. I’ll be back for another beer or two, for sure.

I don’t know how the Vietnamese got a hold of jalepeños and cilantro, but I’m so glad they did.

Image

(Note the stoop handrail)

Author’s note: it’s been pointed out more than once that I misspelled banh my in the original posting. It has since been changed. Thank you to everyone who helped!

 

Being a twenty-something young professional, I can’t always go to fancy restaurants (more so out of boredom rather than price… You’ll see why in later posts).  This time, we went to BaLe in little south Philly Vietnam for banh my, or Vietnamese deli sandwiches. The deli part refers more to the fact that there is a table for non-refrigerated items like delicate flower cookies, an open refrigerator for sausages and preserved meats and the counter for ordering food. No tables, no chairs, no

nothin’. Also, good luck trying to tell the difference between fried tofu and chicken. It helps to know what fried tofu looks like, which my accomplice did not. So after ordering our sandwiches, we set out for a place to eat them. Now, imagine south Philly for a second. Bring up those memories of parks and benches and general ‘welcome, sit for a while’ atmosphere. Now realize that idea is a lie. There are no benches, only stoops. And what’s more, Murphy’s law dictates that halfway through your banh my, the owner of said stoop will come home to find you. Luckily, he will be very nice about the whole thing and invite you to continue eating.

IMG_2138

Also note the significant lack of chicken.

Fortunately, once you get over that awkwardness, you begin to appreciate the Vietnamese affinity for jalepeños and cilantro mixed in with your typical fresh vegetables (carrots, lettuce, cucumber, etc.). I’m not a culinary anthropologist, but I would love to know how jalepeños and cilantro made it all the way to south east Asia. Maybe they were always there and it was Central America that benefited from the import. Honestly, I’ve never looked into it, but I want to. I think fusion cuisine is a little weird, to be frank, it always seems forced. But that’s probably because I don’t know the history behind it. For example, Chifa: Peruvian-Chinese cuisine. What? But it comes from Chinese immigrants and the story behind that sounds so fascinating.

Anyway, the sandwiches were a good call: cheap, fast, new. But they were every bit the quality one would expect from a fast, cheap deli. Not bad by any means, just not winning a James Beard anytime soon. I still recommend it if you’re in the area and looking for a quick lunch. There’s also a highly recommended Pho place behind it. Unfortunately, you’ll never see me there because, well, beef broth.

Image

Of course, always end your night with a few beers and some warm blueberry bread pudding with whiskey-caramel sauce from Royal Tavern. It’s only right.