This morning we were fortunate enough to have coffee at Ray’s Cafe in Philly’s Chinatown. Hario coffee pots (and their characteristic brewing methods) are revered amongst coffee cognoscenti, and they have several of them at Ray’s. Best of all, they’ve had them since before they were trendy. I’m not geeky enough to know the models, but they look very elegant, like glistening, artistic versions of golden lab equipment. The ones they mainly use are small, apparently one-cup pots, and a couple of them are several feet tall. Lonnie knows more about coffee than I do, and I’m sure she’ll chime in if I’m wrong.
The ladies who waited on us were very sweet. We asked them which beans were freshest that day, and ordered the two that they named, Sumatra and Brazilian Santos. We had fun watching the “scientific” brewing method, and then we were treated to the most elegant coffee presentation I can recall – each of us received a decorative small tray with a delicate china cup of aromatic brew. Next to the cup were a tiny spoon, a cookie, and an adorable tiny pitcher of cream, all sitting on a little circular doily.
The flavor of the coffees had a very clean aspect, with the Sumatra being a bit smokier. Both were totally delicious without being heavy. It got Lonnie thinking about refinements she could make in her vacuum pot brewing technique. And all this for prices comparable to some of the fancier Starbucks offerings.
After this delightful prelude, we went down the street to Rangoon Restaurant. We love food from the Pacific Rim, but this was our first chance to have Burmese food. Lonnie ordered Coconut Chicken, and I went for Beef Kebab. The lunches included gently aromatic chicken soup and fried rice. We were dazzled by the vibrant, savory flavors, with the beef having a stronger spice kick. How much for each of these stunning lunches? For about the price of a cheesesteak, a full meal in a fine atmosphere served by extremely pleasant staff. Like anybody visiting Philly, we’ve enjoyed multiple cheesesteaks, and have been given amusingly contradictory advice on where we should go to get them, not to mention admonitions about how our choices were wrong. Let’s see, I’m thinking about it… cheesesteak or Burmese full gourmet lunch with exemplary service?? Hmmmmmm… thinking, thinking… I think I’ll take Rangoon. Sorry, cheese claim-steakers!
On our way out into the brilliant sunshine, we talked about how fortunate we were to sample a cuisine for the first time, and how phenomenal the food is all over Philly!