MePhiMeetup: February January 19, 2009 7:07 PM   Subscribe

MetaPhilter: A Philly Meetup in Phebruary.

On the strength of piratebowling's excellently planned and executed MeFiMeetup last night, it was suggested that we begin planning another!

What: Philadelphia MeFi Meetup, February



Chihiro has already asked that it be scheduled for after February 8, which seems totally reasonable to me. And since Sunday night worked so very well this time, I'm going to move that we attempt either the 15th or the 20th.

Second? Anyone? Bueller? Conflicts? Eagles games?

Did we like 7:00pm? Was it good for you?



We have requests for Chinatown, with vegetarian options. There is dim sum potential, which cries out for input from shui mai baby.

The restaurants themselves seem not to feel the need to broadcast themselves on the internet, but luckily, there are some citizen journalists (critics?) out there happy to help with their own reviews. This one covers H.K. Golden Phoenix, Lakeside Chinese Deli, and Ocean Harbor - though making mention of New Harmony as an unreviewed, good vegetarian option. Since then, it appears that Lakeside Chinese Deli has closed (confirmed via Zagat).

And then there were three. Okay, not really, but in the interest of keeping the discussion contained let's focus on those three and go from there. If we absolutely must rule them out, or if there is something better that we are skipping over, do not hesitate to speak up!

H.K Golden Phoenix: Open late (midnight), private rooms available, accepts credit cards, apparently not a tourist trap.

Ocean Harbor: Open until 11pm, accepts credit cards, loved by people who hate PF Chang's (?), slightly decrepit (who are we kidding, we love slightly decrepit)

New Harmony: Open until 11pm, accepts cards, veggie, BYO, terrible decor, all you can eat dim sum (!?)


Other Miscellany:

I'll be happy to bring nametags, which were in high demand last night. I'm also happy to keep with the tradition of the planner bringing secret baked goods. Any other issues that need taking care of? Speak!
posted by greekphilosophy to MetaFilter Gatherings at 7:07 PM (78 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I've been to New Harmony and I had the unlimited dim sum dinner. It was quite good. Like you said, the decor is nothing to write home about, but it didn't really matter because the food was yummy. Also, it's more about meeting other mefites, rather than having an amazing dining experience anyway, right? I've never been to the other two places, so I can't really make a comparison. (Hopefully I'll be able to make it, this time.)
posted by zorrine at 7:47 PM on January 19, 2009

I keep hearing good things about New Harmony, I've been there three times, and I've never been happy with the food. So I vote for not-that.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:19 PM on January 19, 2009

I'll be honest, the terrible decor and veggie options just call me ("All the food you want, piratebowling." It coos, "Also, we will be poorly decor'd"). Therefore, New Harmony is alluring, but if it ends up not being the final contender, I will be in attendance regardless.

Also, I have a friend that may be able to help with secret baked goods. She's a bit exhausted from making pudding cupcakes with tapioca pudding frosting and lemon bars today, but I hear she'll be perked up again by February.
posted by piratebowling at 11:18 PM on January 19, 2009

15th would be excellent. Dim sum is totally the way to go. I've been to New Harmony and also Kingdom of Vegetarians and both were tasty, although seriously I would not notice a difference if we went elsewhere.
posted by miagaille at 6:26 AM on January 20, 2009

I'm sensing a general ambivalence. We need fire and brimstone here, people. Hyperbole. Bring it!

(I'm really just commenting to move this to my recent activity feed.)
posted by greekphilosophy at 6:37 AM on January 20, 2009

We could go even earlier, say 5-ish, to give us more time to stuff our faces, digest, eat more.

I hear nice things about all three of the places you mention; I can't remember to which I've been. But isn't New Harmony much smaller? I dunno, perhaps I'm remembering someplace else.

Other well-regarded dim sum places include Ocean City and Imperial Inn.

Also, Lunar New Year is coming up! Oxen represent!
posted by desuetude at 6:40 AM on January 20, 2009

Oh man, can someone punctuate this review of H.K. Golden Phoenix to actually make sense?:


It's the word "decor" thrown in there, not particularly attached to any of the words surrounding it, that throws me off.

Also, while I remember, *gives desuetude secret oxen handshake*.
posted by piratebowling at 7:06 AM on January 20, 2009

I clearly parse it as declaring that the decor had a service quality all of its own. How thoughtful!
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:14 AM on January 20, 2009


It's obviously an ad for adult services. Full-body shampoo, I'm guessing.
posted by desuetude at 7:54 AM on January 20, 2009

My attempt: Somewhat salty, but tasty, food. Wide selection. Decor: Had a service (read: industrial) quality, as though the guests were somewhat more important than the business.

On a related note: We'll be taking up a collection at this MeetUp to purchase the Strunk and White "Elements of Style" for the poor little grammarian refugee who wrote that review. Hopefully Zagat can get it to them asap.

But then again, caps lock *is* cruise control for awesome. /facepalm
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:56 AM on January 20, 2009

Sunday nights are no good for me till after March (hence my missing the other night's meetup). When I went to a meetup last summer, someone asked if the group had scared me, because it seemed there were a string of people that showed up at one meetup but were never seen again. I would like to tell that person (desuetude? misanthropic?) that I'm still fond of the MeFites but haven't had the right schedule. I'll make one soon, I promise.
posted by sjuhawk31 at 10:03 AM on January 20, 2009

are there going to be big ass tables at these places? or tables we can move together so that we can sit as one, big, loud, geeky group? because if we all have to sit at separate tables, that's lame. i think i've been to new harmony, and i don't remember there being a "big ass group" option.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 11:13 AM on January 20, 2009

That was me, sjuhawk31. And I'll believe your continued existence when you confirm it in person. Until then, I'll assume the hazing was just too harsh. ;)

Big-ass group option is important. Maybe not New Harmony, then.
posted by desuetude at 11:31 AM on January 20, 2009

And then there were two!

Auf wiedersehn, New Harmony!
posted by greekphilosophy at 1:31 PM on January 20, 2009

As much as I'd like to be a huge nerd and rule out H.K. Golden Phoenix because of the grammatically terrifying review, it is the one that offers a private room. If we have a head count going in, it may make things much easier to have a reservation under metafilter and a room to geek out in. Privately.
posted by piratebowling at 1:47 PM on January 20, 2009

Oh my goodness, private room status!? We are ascending to truly great things.
posted by miagaille at 2:07 PM on January 20, 2009

This is a new era, people: private rooms for EVERYONE!!! ;-)

The 15th would be great for me, but whenever really.
posted by chihiro at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2009

I also like how none of you called me on my terribad math. The 15th and 20th cannot both be Sundays, for those of you playing along at home. Therefore, we shall amend the options to be the 15th and 22nd!

We have one vote for 15th!

I'm also a fan of the private room potential.
posted by greekphilosophy at 3:12 PM on January 20, 2009

I live in Brooklyn but visit Philadelphia often. I attended the most recent NYC meetup (first one ever, really) and I think I did allright. I mean, is it fine if I go to this one in Philadelphia too? Is that okay?
posted by ezekieldas at 4:45 PM on January 20, 2009

ezekieldas, when a MeFite is visiting from out of town, we ask for at least five vouchers from verified Mefites of their town.

No, I'm joshin' ya. Please come down. I know Philly Mefites have ventured up for NYC meetups, so if we start pulling people down from New York, I'd be mightily impressed.
posted by piratebowling at 5:11 PM on January 20, 2009

Meanwhile, in piratebowling's head: "Holycrap, my plan is working faster than I planned!"

At last weekend's meetup there was talk of siphoning off NYers, and competing with NY for meetup frequency.
posted by greekphilosophy at 5:37 PM on January 20, 2009

15th, I realize, is totally out for me.

Hey, who's bringing the [ahem] "welcome NYCer!" supplies?
posted by desuetude at 5:54 PM on January 20, 2009

The 22nd is no-go for me, as I'll be in an entirely different country.

Hey, who's bringing the [ahem] "welcome NYCer!" supplies?

Can't be me, I'm all out of sharp sticks.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:10 PM on January 20, 2009

Howdy! I am good for pretty much any of those dates, although I will have to pray to the gods of Kobol that last-minute work issues won't crop up and keep me from going, as was the case this past weekend.

A couple of other places to consider, since I, for one, am a big fan of the heavenly xiao long bao, aka soup dumplings.

1. Dim Sum Garden, which looks like a dive but serves excellent food and is quite inexpensive.

2. Zhi Wei Guan (some great pics in that link), a relatively new addition to Chinatown, but also gaining a lot of notice for their soup dumplings. I tried to go here on Saturday, totally excited at the prospect, only to be greeted with a darkened restaurant. Turns out their pipes had burst from the recent cold snap, although I'm sure they'll be back up and running by the time our meetup rolls around.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:25 AM on January 21, 2009

What about Friday the 20th? (Which I originally, mistakenly, proposed.) Any absolute bars to that happening? I only stuck with Sundays because they appeared to be pretty good for last week, but we're reasonable people, right? We can be flexible!

I'd prefer to pick a date that works for everyone who wants to come, if possible. If not possible, well, we'll just have you jello-wrestle to determine who gets to come and who has to miss it.

Meanwhile, shiu mai baby, OMG THOSE PICTURES! nom nom nom...
posted by greekphilosophy at 6:55 AM on January 21, 2009

I also like how none of you called me on my terribad math.
i was going to, but am lazy.

i like the private room option as well.

i like the idea of friday the 20th myself, but i'm also open to the 22nd. the 15th is out for me (but only because desuetude can't be there and i can't go to meetups she doesn't go to).
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:01 AM on January 21, 2009

okay, i think we should go to zhi wei guan, because the owner posted this in the thread that shiu mai baby linked, and it made me happy.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 7:07 AM on January 21, 2009

shiu mai baby!! I appoint you to the position of Professor of Soup Dumplings. (OMG we get to introduce people to xiao long bao!)

Friday the 20th is good for me, too. And I also totally vote for Zhi Wei Guan -- I can't believe I forgot about that eGullet thread.
posted by desuetude at 8:04 AM on January 21, 2009


Hear ye! Hear ye!

The next Philly meetup shall be on Friday night, February 20th at Zhi Wei Guan!

925 Race Street
Philadelphia, PA

We shall begin congregating around 7.

I'd like to give the place a heads-up, and potentially secure a secluded nerdy spot. So let's have a Mouseketeer roll-call!
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:19 AM on January 21, 2009

Anette! I mean...piratebowling!
posted by piratebowling at 8:21 AM on January 21, 2009

AWESOME. I will move heaven and earth to be there. I will fake dysentery to get out of any last-minute work issues, for I am a very good dysentery faker.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:54 AM on January 21, 2009

Also, any place that advertises itself as


has already won a cherished spot in my tiny little heart.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:59 AM on January 21, 2009

It's my wedding anniversary. I am both happy and sad about that now. ;-)

Have fun!
posted by chihiro at 11:15 AM on January 21, 2009

chihiro, know what you can celebrate at a chinese restaurant? anniversaries!

i shall be there.

i am mightily surprised by the efficiency and quickness with which we decided this.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 12:28 PM on January 21, 2009

I'll be there!

Note to any quiet less-adventurous eaters or vegetarians who have seen too many photos of chicken feet and jellyfish: Fear not. We will take good care of you and make sure that you get plenty to eat within your comfort level.
posted by desuetude at 12:35 PM on January 21, 2009

I'll be there with metaphorical bells on, prepared to eat chicken feet if I have to.
posted by miagaille at 1:47 PM on January 21, 2009

i will not be eating tongue, feet, intestines, brain, eyes, face, or any other weird animal bits.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:37 PM on January 21, 2009

I will be in attendance.
posted by ludwig_van at 9:12 AM on January 22, 2009

I'm thinking 86% possibility. I have many matters in flux at the moment... I won't know for sure until end of 1st week of Feb. 86% chance yes for now.
posted by ezekieldas at 11:08 AM on January 22, 2009

So, that's seven plus a possible eight. Who else? Tomorrowful? zorrine? Other people who have not yet commented in this thread?
posted by desuetude at 10:27 AM on January 23, 2009

I'm in as long as I'm not occupied with preparing for my flight the next day.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:34 PM on January 23, 2009

Hey, so I may be late to this thing. The museum stays open until 8 on Friday, and I will probably be working that night, but I'll give you all a heads up closer to the date if that does turn out to be the case.
posted by piratebowling at 2:14 PM on January 26, 2009

I'm in Philly for now; the previous meetup sounded like such a Dim Sum cart of delights, I might like to come out for this one. Count myself, plus perhaps my sister and her boyfriend, both employees of Eastern State Penitentiary.
posted by Tufa at 6:03 PM on January 26, 2009

Eastern State Penitentiary? I LOVE that place! Damned anniversary...11 years isn't that exciting, is it?


(Hope to meet you and your interesting relatives at a later meetup, Tufa!)
posted by chihiro at 7:10 PM on January 26, 2009

11th? Well, how do you feel about Steel? Or Fashion Jewelry?

posted by Tufa at 8:54 PM on January 26, 2009

Ooo! I need to start checking this stuff out more often. Count me in for a MeFiMeetUp too!
posted by SansPoint at 7:19 AM on January 27, 2009

This sounds awesome. My mefi roommate and I might go, but I'm not too familiar with Philadelphia (Dorming in Ewing, NJ for TCNJ, have driven close to Philly for student observation when I was an education major). Is there a deadline we'd need to RSVP by? Anyone have good directions to this place from I95 south?

It'd be my first MeFi meetup, so I'd really like to make it, but I can't tell if that's a good day this far in advance.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:20 PM on January 27, 2009

Jump on 95-S (I presume, from Ewing, at least), and head toward Philly. Go past many billboards for hair plugs and gentleman's clubs.

Take the exit for the Ben Franklin Bridge, which is also for downtown. It is a little tricky. There is an exit for a street (maybe Girard) that is exit only, which prevents you from staying all the way to the right, which is where you really want to be. So stay ALMOST all the way over to the right, and stay that way. Eventually, the highway will split, and if you find yourself on the very rightmost of the highway, you'll be fine.

Take a right on Callowhill, which is the light at the bottom of the ramp that you've just come down.

Continue on Callowhill until you see an available left turn. Probably around 10th street, maybe as low as 8th street.

You're in Chinatown, and you've just passed under Vine St. Race Street is your next major street. It is one-way-going-East. Find 925 Race, and you've found us!

It'll be nice to meet you and your roommate if you can make it!
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:19 AM on January 28, 2009

For the (March?) meetup, may I get on the record Joe's Peking Duck, Original Since 1984? This is a wonderful, wonderful fusion Chinese/Japanese tapas place, nearly on the Delaware. Mr. Poon was formerly a nutritionist in Upstate New York.

He came out personally between every course to talk with me and my sister, and on parting left us with three consecutive complimentary desserts: a fantastic platter of chocolate, shortbread and raspberry treats (with drawings of desert animals from my home state in chocolate sauce), a bag of famous almond cookies, two fancy Asian pears, and as we went out the door, he called Wait! wait! One last dessert! For the Philadelphia-Arizona connection! And sliced a red grape on an angle, and threaded it inwards on a toothpick, to make a heart. Unbelievable hospitality. And he takes big groups.
posted by Tufa at 4:16 PM on January 29, 2009

I'm pretty sure I'll go, time and my car working permitting. Not sure about my roomie, but I'll keep you posted (I'll reveal his name if he confirms, but I don't think he'd mind if I did. He's out of town, so I don't know if he'll go for sure).
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:51 AM on February 1, 2009

Just a quick reminder. We're t-minus one week until the next meetup! Join us if you can!
posted by greekphilosophy at 3:33 PM on February 13, 2009

I hope to be there. Sounds fun and delicious.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:59 AM on February 15, 2009

Two days to go. Do we need another headcount?
posted by desuetude at 8:14 AM on February 18, 2009

Yeah, let's have a quick "I'm in" or "I'm probably in" or a "Screw you hippies!" so that I can stop by after work today and have a quick chat with them about what the most convenient arrangement for them will be.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:06 AM on February 18, 2009

Turns out I have a bachelor party that requires my attendance. I could probably make it out later in the evening, drunkenness-permitting, but I'll miss dinner. :(
posted by ludwig_van at 10:31 AM on February 18, 2009

I think I'd like to come! A might bring my sister.
posted by Tufa at 7:45 PM on February 18, 2009

I might. I might bring a sister.
posted by Tufa at 7:46 PM on February 18, 2009

Screw you hippies!
I am totally in.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:57 AM on February 19, 2009

I'm in! So is dmd!
posted by miagaille at 6:41 AM on February 19, 2009

Wouldn't miss it.
posted by desuetude at 12:07 PM on February 19, 2009

I'm in!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 4:13 PM on February 19, 2009

I and Mr. Shiu Mai will be there tonight. Woot!
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:33 AM on February 20, 2009

Have a good time, y'all! I can't make it, but I expect pictures of all the delicious-ness that went on.
posted by lagreen at 6:00 AM on February 20, 2009

I'm in! I hope you knew that before! Internet has been weird for me lately, and I forgot to check in.
posted by piratebowling at 3:16 PM on February 20, 2009

My travel-planning has gone well, so I will be in!
posted by Tomorrowful at 3:16 PM on February 20, 2009

I'll try to get there (be about 7:30ish I think)
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:23 PM on February 20, 2009

Running late, will be there by 7:30.
posted by desuetude at 3:36 PM on February 20, 2009

Woo! First ones back! It was awesome everybody, sorry we had to split early.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:58 PM on February 20, 2009

Not two minutes after we left you all, a short, greasy, angry white man hustled up to us. "SHRIMP FRIED RICE," he said, "shrimp fried rice. rrrrrrrrrr. shrimp fried rice."
posted by miagaille at 8:35 PM on February 20, 2009

This meetup was delightful as always. You people make me nerd-snort more than is healthy for my sinuses.

Also, I am currently 62% soup dumpling, but only 11% greatest cat ever.
posted by miagaille at 8:39 PM on February 20, 2009

Piratebowling's chocolate caramel crackery things should be a controlled substance. MY GOD, PEOPLE.
posted by shiu mai baby at 1:40 PM on February 21, 2009

Piratebowling's chocolate caramel crackery things should be a controlled substance. MY GOD, PEOPLE.

agreed. recipe posted, immediately.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 4:12 PM on February 21, 2009

I bought baby bok choy at the market today, hoping to recreate that which we had last night.

piratebowling, please bring us more crack soon.
mccarty.tim, you get a special prize for traveling the furthest. Next time we should bring ribbons.
Deathalicious and shiu mai baby, please get your SOs Metafiltered, thanks.
miagaille, what's the other 27%?
posted by desuetude at 6:54 PM on February 21, 2009

Good to meet you Deathalicious, shiu mai baby (and your respective SOs!), and mccarty.tim!

Meanwhile, piratebowling told me that she found the recipe online. So I looked for what she mentioned and found this:

1 pkg. Keebler crackers
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 stick butter
1 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. milk
2/3 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. butterscotch chips
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Butter 9"x13" pan. Layer crackers on bottom of pan. Boil together for 3 minutes the sugar, brown sugar, butter, cracker crumbs and milk. Pour over crackers in pan and cover with another layer of crackers. Melt together peanut butter, butterscotch chips and chocolate chips. Pour over crackers and chill.

Her instructions involved completely ignoring the butterscotch chips. (Possibly replacing them with more chocolate?) In any event, even if this recipe doesn't work - at least you know it'll be a tasty disaster.


So who is planning the March meetup?
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:09 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I replaced the butterscotch chips with an equal amount of chocolate chips.

Good to see you all! Looking forward to March.
posted by piratebowling at 6:22 PM on February 25, 2009

i will not plan march. but i'll probably attend!
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:50 PM on February 25, 2009

Oh also, use parchment paper instead of buttering the pan, trust me, it's easier to deal with. Also, the recipe I used called for half and half instead of milk.
posted by piratebowling at 10:37 AM on February 26, 2009

Parchment paper makes me happy to be alive. No really, it does. For years I struggled with PAM and butter+flour and then migrated to Silpat, and then one day someone told me about the magic of parchment paper and it frakkin' changed my life.

I am not passionate about many things, but lord, for this amateur baker parchment paper definitely rates.
posted by shiu mai baby at 2:54 PM on February 26, 2009

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