Day 8. So… this is American food, huh?


After the supposed-to-be-humorous but ended-up-very-controversial Runaway Food: A-Z – A is for America (Taco Bell), I asked people, “So then, what do you think American food is?”

I was actually curious. But no answer.


Yesterday, I had ‘The American food’ experience at dinner last night.

Jones, a restaurant of one of the most famous chefs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stephen Starr, described the food as “American Comfort food”.

There are a number of Stephen Starr’s restaurants in town, with various themes such as Japanese, Mexican, English, French… but since I’m here, American comfort food seems like a right choice.



When I first walked through the thick glass doors, my impression of Jones was ‘very fancy’. But the little props in the dining room were friendly and intimate. The big picture of the ladies playing with the balls, simple dining booths and utensils, and friendly music. Though, it didn’t feel like it was okay to walk in with shorts and flip-flops. Maybe I’m wrong, but maybe not.


Jones Stephen Starr Restaurant Philadelphia2


Jones Stephen Starr Restaurant Philadelphia Table


Again, *friendly warning* this might not be vegetarian friendly.  But hey, I had to explore! 🙂



Matzo Ball Soup

This one was new to me. According to Wikipedia, Matzo ball soup is Matzah balls (Yiddish: קניידלעך kneydlekh pl., singular קניידל kneydl; also kneydls, matza balls, matzoh balls, or matzo balls) are a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish dumpling made from matzah meal.


Jones Stephen Starr Restaurant Philadelphia Matzo ball soup
Mac and Cheese

Who knew, simple Mac and Cheese could turn into this extra-ordinary dinner dish! Mac and Cheese is supposed to made with macaroni and cheese but it taste like something more complex. I guess that’s the beauty of a well-cooked meal.

I couldn’t drop my spoon. The whole time I was eating Mac and Cheese, I was secretly praying for our host to bring the Entrees quickly so I could finally stop eating. It was that good.


Jones Stephen Starr Restaurant Philadelphia Mac and Cheese


Meat Loaf

Meat loaf was the one everybody suggested. I really SHOULD have meat loaf if I go to Jones, so I did. Again, just two pieces of meat, whipped potatos and peas, and some gravy on top. That common and simple combination created a wonderful world on the dinner table. It was good till this morning.


Jones Stephen Starr Restaurant Philadelphia Meat loaf


Chicken Pot Pie

This one was a monster, I tell ya. I had a good meat pie and chicken pie before this, but this one was unspeakably (I think this is the fist time I’m using this word) delicious. The crust, the gravy, the chicken – Everything! Yes, I know this is a lot of food that I narrated, and there was only two of us, but we had to finish this chicken pot pie. I just could not leave without seeing the empty bowl.


Jones Stephen Starr Restaurant Philadelphia Chicken Pot pie


Jones Stephen Starr Restaurant Philadelphia Chicken Pot Pie-



After eating here, I think the key of his success was how he made the everyday meal into upscale dining. The restaurant looked really fancy but the menu was simple – Meat loaf, Mac and cheese, Thanksgiving dinner, Chicken pie… But, the taste wasn’t simple at all. I’m sure the other Starr restaurants are different, and that is certainly one of the reasons why his restaurants are so successful.


And yes, so… this is American food I guess? Or at least this is some parts of American food, yes? And I get to tell you all, that I love American food! (But I haven’t checked out the local Taco Bell yet though 🙂  Just kidding!)


Jones Stephen Starr Restaurant Philadelphia3


*Special thanks to Philadelphia Convention & Visitor’s Bureau for their warm hospitality and letting me enjoy their city, in various ways.  

Enjoying my journey in the US?

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27 thoughts on “Runaway Daily: USA – Day 8. So… this is American Food, huh?”

    1. Do it! Yes, Philly was amazing and we really enjoyed Jones. American comfort food! 🙂 But I didn’t check out Hersey Factory. How was it?

  1. It is kind of difficult to define what is “American food.” But I think you found it. Meatloaf and chicken pot pie are definitely up there. I would say steak and potatoes as well.

    But the really good stuff is when you start hitting the regional food specialties.

  2. What a day for American food in Korea! I skyped my brother this morning and caught up with him while he chowed down on grilled steak and green beans. And then I read this. Meatloaf and Mac n Cheese are definitely in my top five. You’ll have to splurge up in Maine and have lobsters. Only boiled and served with butter, beer and good company. No other way. And maybe Maryland crabcakes? And definitely Taco Bell…just kidding 🙂

  3. You know what, funny. I have THE best crap cake in Gettysburg, in old tavern. It was really, the best. it was good till the next day.
    I’m sorry I made you a homesick but you know, it happens because I love good food!

    But all i had yesterday was one and a half bacon and egg in the morning, rice cake in afternoon and a half bowl of pasta yesterday. Sometimes I’m starving, so don’t worry. I”m not going back with a huge butt! 🙂

  4. Wow– Juno, you managed to sample so many classic american dishes in one sitting! All you missed were ribs, fried chicken, buffalo wings 🙂 I’m so glad you realized Taco Bell is *not* good American food.

  5. How did you fit all of that food in??!!?? I work down the block from Jones so we sometimes go in for lunch. And you’re right, the mac&cheese is HEAVEN!

  6. I agree with Travel Chica, “American food” is hard to define as is anything American. We are such a melting pot of both past and present cultures that saying anything is definitely American can be tricky. If you had to pick a few, you landed on some good choices.

    1. Good 🙂 Yes, that’s what I thought. But certainly there’s a traditional way though. I think I got some great taste of traditional American food.

  7. Mac and cheese is true comfort food (even for this Canadian gal!). When we were at a “cultural day” celebration at an int’l school in Honduras, all the American families brought Kraft Dinner (poor mans Mac and cheese) and hot dogs! Don’t forget to have hot dogs! 🙂

    1. You’re not gonna believe this…. actually I travel with one fancy shoes and I wore them that day. 🙂 But I”m sure I would be fine with flip-flops.

  8. How was it? But I”m sure I would be fine with flip-flops. I agree with Travel Chica, “American food” is hard to define as is anything American. i want meatloaf!!!

    1. Yeah… I guess so. It’s such a diverse culture. Food was AMAZING. I still dream about the chicken pot pie…… Oh man! So good! And yes I would’ve been okay with flipflops. Just wanted to fancy it up for a change. 🙂

  9. actually I travel with one fancy shoes and I wore them that day. It is kind of difficult to define what is “American food.” But I think you found it.

  10. I’ve never considered Matzo Ball Soup as American comfort food but the rest definitely. I want that Mac & Cheese and the Chicken Pot Pie! 🙂

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