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Weekend must-tries: Hot dogging in Media; Thai-Laotian fare in South Philly

Steve Gariffo seemed to have it all. Besides the beautiful family, he had a thriving physical-therapy practice.

Steve Gariffo seemed to have it all.

Besides the beautiful family, he had a thriving physical-therapy practice.

Then the gregarious Southwest Philly native heeded the call of the restaurant business.

He's selling his practice and just last weekend opened My Three Sons, a cheery-looking but serious hot dog shop and bottled-beer emporium in downtown Media (300 W. State St., 610-565-3674).

Instead of rehabbing people in slings, Steve now slings custom-butchered, all-beef, 10-inch doggies off a flat-top into crusty, flash-grilled 8-inch Aversa rolls. The spacious dining room offers picnic-bench seating and TVs.

My Three Sons' hot dogs, "5-to-1s" in wiener parlance, are skinny and grill to a pleasing snap. They're topped with all sorts of in-house condiments; my wife and I loved the Luca-Teo-Cello (named after the boys), whose roll is stuffed with a smashed-up fish cake and topped with a pepper hash he makes with chipotle mayo, cabbage, green peppers, carrots and mustard. My Three Sons' beer case is filling up with all sorts of IPAs and other dog-friendly brews. Sides are simple: chili, baked tater tots, and cookies. Why do it? For his wife, Roxann, and their three sons, whom he wants to leave the business some day.

My Three Sons, 300 W. State St., Media, 610-565-3674.

Notes. After nearly four decades on Skippack Pike in Blue Bell, Palermo's Pizza has moved around the corner into 1016 DeKalb Pike, which used to be the hoity-toity Trinacria. (Who else finds it mildly offputting to see a soda case in the old dining room?) ... The first openings of 2013 should be the OCF Coffee House in Fairmount (Jan. 1) and Gennaro's Tomato Pie in South Philly (Jan. 2). ... Must-reading: Enjoying New Year's Eve solo, by Drew Lazor.

Thai-Laotian in South Philly. There have been two recent changes in the strip of stores on the east side of 11th Street just below Washington Avenue in South Philly. A couple of months ago, the Vietnamese Pho Ta replaced Pho Hoa at 1111 S. 11th -  same owner escaping the corporate umbrella to go out on his own. Now next door, we have 
Ratchada, a pleasant, white-tablecloth Thai-Laotian BYOB at 1117 S. 11th St., a rebranding of Cafe Du Laos. It's named after the Ratchada district of Bangkok. Similar menu (wonderful curries) and sweet staff, most of whom are holdovers from Cafe Du Laos.

Ratchada, 1117 S. 11th St., 215-467-1546.