Thursday, May 27, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
As I write my resignation letter to my office today, I would like to share the news with you as well. While I will not be resigning my post as "The Worst Vegetarian Ever," I will be leaving Philly and its fabulous and unique foodie culture behind as I embark on the next chapter of my life.
Philadelphia has very much become my home. I feel as if I have been here for longer than six years when I think about how much I have experienced here. I distinctly remember the very first day I visited, feeling like a small town girl in a big city. I marveled at the countless shops and more importantly restaurants all within walking distance. The concept of buying your next meal off the food truck down the block was entirely foreign to me. Now I exist almost soley on breakfast sandwiches, Magic Carpet, and soft preztels. Ok and the occasional hot dog.
I have witnessed Philly embrace many of the values of the new food revolution taking place around the world. We have restaurants serving local products, farmer's markets, CSA's, community gardens that would make Alice Waters proud, and grassroots organizations working hard to educate the masses. In the past few years I have changed the way that I eat, cook, and buy food in remarkable ways. I'm far less dependent on the supermarket than I used to be, and I've accepted that I can only eat certain fruits and vegetables when they are in season. It used to be that eating locally and organically meant shelling out a few extra bucks, but I've discovered that it's just not true any more. I think I manage to eat very well on my meager budget.
My journey continues on to Charlottesville, VA where my budget might not increase but where I hope to have time and kitchen space to keep up with my culinary explorations. I have already begun researching farmer's markets in the area. I have been accepted into a co-op, and my understanding is that the philosophy centers around shared food preparation and sustainability. I can't wait to have the opportunity to compost again!
I will continue to write, I promise. Writing has given me a creative outlet and a chance to document some important memories whether I have a large audience or not. There are far more talented, entertaining, and original folks out there I know. If at the end of the day if I'm the only one who reads it that's ok with me. At the very least I'll have a scrapbook/journal of some of my favorite memories and recipes.
But then again, maybe my tv career will take off soon. They air my episode of Chef's Vs. City in July.
As always, thanks for reading.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
But that doesn't mean I can't be excited when I might have the opportunity to have my face shown on a Food Network show right? Ok I'm probably a huge hypocrite. I attribute it more to boredom than hypocrisy.
Whatever the case may be, here's the scoop for any foodies and television junkies in the area. The Food Network is taping a Philly episode of "Chef's Vs. City" tomorrow. If you haven't seen it, it's about as hokey as you'd expect it to be. Teams of celebrity chefs and wannabe Food Network "stars" race across major cities performing challenges like shoving fiery curry down their faces as quickly as possible.
I don't know what all the stops in Philly will be - I would imagine there are cheesesteaks and soft pretzels involved - but I do know that around lunchtime they will be filming at 34th and Walnut. As a loyal patron of the food truck Magic Carpet, I am thrilled that the challenge will include contestants making and selling falafel on the street. I'll be the first in line. Followed closely by Betty and Slagheap if only because I'll be dragging them down there to scope out the scene with me. I figure with 3 people we have a better shot at having someone's face end up in the final cut.
So look out world, WVE is officially making it's television debut. We're gonna be huge.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Any resident, employee or student of University City probably knows the same 3 or 4 bars with decent happy hour specials. While convenient, the cheese fries from New Deck and the half price margaritas from Mad4 start to get old after a few years. It may have something to do with the infamous purse melting incident at Mad4, but that's a story for another day.
Landmark Americana Tap and Grill
3333 Market Street
Friday, May 14, 2010
This year it was "Oceans" and late night dinner at Xochitl. I was tipped off to spectacular late night specials at Xochitl, Thursdays 10-close. Something along the lines of half off almost everything on an already reasonably priced menu.
Even though it required substantial planning for me to eat dinner at 10 pm (I'm an old man, I like my dinner at 6 and I'm in bed by 10) it was worth it. The set up is great, although a little dark in the basement bar where they sat us. The service could have been better, but at half price I think it's allowed. Just don't expect to get out of there any time before midnight.
You'd be proud. I ordered pretty much the only vegetarian options on the menu, the empanadas and the black bean and huitlacoche burger. Both were more than satisfactory.
Oh and watch out for Earth Day 2011: "African Cats" and Zocalo
408 S. 2nd Street
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This is very simple recipe for everyone’s favorite happy hour treat – Artichoke Dip. There are lots of variations of the classic tortilla chip dipping food. But I got this one mix by watching an old man whip it up in all of 4 minutes before a BBQ. I thought, hell, I can do that. I made it a week later for family and friends – including Wilma – and it was a hit. The old man didn’t use measurements so neither did I. The best recipes are ones that are made with the eye and can evolve with each time out. Keep that in mind when making the dip. Here’s the recipe…
Zeke’s Artichoke Surprise
What you need:
1 can artichoke hearts
1 can black olives
1 spoon full of minced garlic from a jar
1 bag of 4 cheese blend (bigger the better)
1 heavy pour from a bag or can of grated parmesan cheese
6 healthy turns of fresh ground pepper (or more)
3 solid scoops of mayonnaise
· Optional Hot sauce
What you do:
Chop up the artichoke hearts in a few pieces. You don’t need to dice these too much because they will break down in the oven, but get them into sizes you would want to see on your chip and add to a large mixing bowl.
Then cut up olives into 3-4 slices per olive and toss them in the bowl. If you used pre-diced olives you can just throw them in the bowl as is, minus that nasty grey water they keep them in.
Add garlic and mix up current ingredients.
Now add the cheeses and mayo. You don’t want the mix to be soupy, however you want a good amount of mayo so that you aren’t dipping into a solid gooey cheese bowl, as appetizing as that sounds.
Add the pepper and any other spices you think will make it taste good. You won’t need any extra salt because the olives and artichokes will have enough in them already.
I personally like to add some chili powder or hot sauce just to give it a small kick
Mix the whole thing up and then put in a casserole dish ready for baking, evenly spreading out the top like a batch of brownies.
Place dish in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until the top turns golden. You can also cook for 30 and then broil the top for a few minutes for a crunchy top.
Crack a beer and wait.
When dip is done, finish your beer, crack another and grab chips. Eat.
Monday, May 10, 2010
So how did it taste? It was the big tender hunk of meat I'd been craving. I'm not wimp when it comes to heat, but I had to say the spicy that we ordered was bordering on unpalatable. I'm not one to ever leave a piece of meat uneaten, however, and after eating enough, you don't notice it so much anyways. Fred and I got different sides as you can see. They were tasty enough, but I can't comment on authenticity. The coleslaw was a little sweet for my tastes, but had a nice tang as opposed to the mayonaise goo you sometimes find.
Verdict: If you live in the neighborhood and are craving some BBQ, it will hit the spot. Just maybe order the medium instead of the hot.
1627 South St.