Archive: January, 2009
|Oysters on ice|
Normally half a dozen fresh oysters on the half shell tops out at about $16, and the pleasure you get from the cold, briny mollusks is worth it. Sadly, it's a short-lived buzz. Jeweler Erica Weiner satisfies the craving for more with her quirky oyster earrings.
The dimensional shells are cast in brass and hang from short gold-plated hooks, with plastic stoppers to keep the lightweight earrings in place. At just $25, these baby bivalves should have the same aphrodisiac effect as a plate of the real thing -- no shucking required.
Order at EricaWeiner.com, and check out her fun cicada earrings and pretzel knot necklaces while you're at it.
|Carb-load your brain.|
Can you name 30 types of pasta in less than five minutes? Sporcle's Pasta Quiz challenges know-it-all foodies to prove their macaroni mettle by typing in the identities of the cheap staple.
Warning: The quiz will take the "American" name for some, but not all, pasta types. Otherwise, you better brush up on your Italian spelling and get in there.
Take the Pasta Quiz here. The highest no-cheating score at Meal Ticket so far is 17 out of 30. How many can YOU name?
SNACK TIME: veggie dogs down South, bloggers run for the border bar, Dish + Bitch hit the Hard Rock, veg-friendly lunches across town, I am my beloved's and my beloved is Amada
|Taylor finds veggie dogs in Charleston|
|Mac And Cheese Review|
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
- Charleston is the location of Taylor's first experience with a veggie dog from a cart. The Mac & Cheese blogger had to get all the way down south before she could mangle a coleslaw-covered dog! Clearly an opportunity is there to serve Philily's herds of herbivores under a cruelty-free umbrella.
-Bar Ferdinand owner Owen Kamihara can rock a space from conceptualization to punch list, swing a hammer lookin' better than Ty Pennington, and lure the lady food bloggers of Philly to his new Tex-Mex border bar El Camino Real with one tilt of his product-free bedhead. E from Foodaphilia, Jess and Jaime of Fries With That Shake, and indomitable Beer Lass Suzy Woods get all fluttery over ECR's mac and cheese in a dangerously cute cast iron mini-pot.
-Guest writer Jeff Gonick takes over the mic for Dish + Bitch, where the usual crew heads over to the irony-gone-wrong lunch choice of Uncle Jimmy Eats Philadelphia blogger/interviewee Jessica James Wilson, the Hard Rock Café. Gonick's pants-wettingly funny account of lunch at the first restaurant he has ever felt too cool for is well worth a read. Prime excerpt: "I’m pretty sure the executive chef is the only rock star that’s involved with the Hard Rock Café. It’s probably Keith Richards, who after 40 years of non-stop booze and coke and cigarettes, has the palette [sic] of a dead camel. He probably approved the menu during a blacked out stupor thinking he was signing the deed a house he was trying to trade for a slave-ship full of Bolivian Marching Powder and South American indentured servants."
- Kelly White makes a few friendly recommendations on the subject of lunch on her blog, Living on the Vedge. Paesano's on West Girard makes the cut, as well as the hushy Citadelle at 16th and Pine. Meal Ticket humbly adds on the finely crafted sandwiches at Quince on East Girard Ave., especially the eponymous quince jam, walnut and manchego combination.
-I'll Eat You blogger Lauren sheds some new lights on an old flame, Amada. Did you know Amada means "beloved"? I didn't. Lauren also proclaims her love by ignoring the "decor, location or anything like that. I would still go to Amada if it were located in an abandoned warehouse, in an angry bear's den, or under the sea." Lucky we don't have to go to such lengths to get some of our beloved teeny happy plates at this icon of Catalan cuisine.
|Crappy Cell Photos | Drew Lazor|
Clue: The second picture of this clearly-Irish-owned spot was snapped in its outdoor patio area.
Clue 2: The bar was recently overhauled, with a brand-new interior, decor and menu.
Where'd YOU eat/drink last night/this weekend? Let us know in the comments.
|Bridgid's chicken and waffles with a side of scrapple|
|Photo | Neal Santos|
Sunday brunch in Fairmount usually takes me to one of two places — Sabrina's Café and Spencer's Too or Mugshots. But when I was out for drinks the night before at Bridgid's, the brunch menu casually mentioned chicken and waffles among its offerings.
If you're not down with waiting in ridiculously long lines for often ridiculously priced food at other brunch spots around the city, Bridgid's offers you a moderately priced option in a cozy, quiet atmosphere.
The menu lists their offerings by price, with no individual item exceeding $10-$12. My friend and I enjoyed chicken and peanut soup ($5) to start. The broth featured the perfect blend of salty and sour, cooked down from a mirepoix base and peanuts.
Not long after the soup came, our lovely waitress came by with the chicken and waffles and the waffle egg sandwich, respectively, and our shared side of scrapple.
The waffle egg sandwich was no joke. The waffles, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with traces of vanilla and buttermilk was stuffed with a fried egg and crispy bacon. The dish ($10) came with a side of home fries.
The chicken and waffles wasn't exactly what I was expecting, as the "chicken" element was, in reality, chicken tenders. Once I got past the no-boned-surprise, the dish was well-equipped with fluffy waffles, plenty of syrup, and a side of strawberries and oranges. For $10, I had no complaints.
The scrapple ($3) came, to my surprise, crispy, salty and somewhat smokey in flavor. A delicious treat as I swapped between salty and sweet.
To top it off, we enjoyed a banana chocolate bread pudding ($5) with a cup of coffee that came with a generous dollop of whipped cream. The banana was a little firm on my palate, a little off-putting for pudding.
After a night of drinking Belgian beers, come back the morning after for chicken and waffles.
Eat this immediately.
Philly-based artists Hawk Krall and Kris Chau, who run the blog Drawing for Food, have posted an illustrated list of their favorite eats around the city in 2008. Among the picks: Cosmi's for best hoagie, Pub & Kitchen for best bar snacks, El Jarocho for best Mexican, Artisan Boulangerie for best reason to wake up in South Philly ("Fresh baked baguettes and brioches and the best damned croissants in the city, I say this with passion and a little bit of spit"); and much more. Read the full list on their blog. Nicely done, guys!
(Chau did a great illustration for my Dec. '08 story about restaurant secret shopper Marc Kravitz.)
I gotta give it to Burger King. Their marketing department is quite clever, from the ubiquitous creepy plastic-faced king to Web ads like this to the extremely controversial burger cherry popping of indigenous peoples they've dubbed "Whopper Virgins."
Put your Facebook friendships to the test, kids, because the top-dog social networking site and BK have teamed up in their most recent marketing scheme to get people to scarf down more Whoppers. The aptly named Whopper Sacrifice is a Facebook application that will give you a coupon for a free Whopper if you delete 10 Facebook friends.
I bet you think you already outwitted them, because it's easy to just delete someone and then add them back. (More than 215,000 people and counting have been sacrificed so far.) Facebook, however, will still notify the rest of your friends that you "just sacrified [name] for a free Whopper."
I'm getting used to seeing that on my news feed. I may end up alone, but at least I'll be full.
|Photos | James Saul|
The year of the ox is stampeding down the prairie, bringing winds of change to the vegan Chinese realm in Phlily. Ming Chu (pictured) who founded Kingdom of Vegetarians (129 N. 11th St.) a decade back and New Harmony Vegetarian (135 N. Ninth St.) in 2004, recently sold KoV to concentrate on making New Harmony the best place for vegans (and curious meat eaters) in Chinatown.
At KoV, nothing much has changed. The same takeout menu is taped to the front counter, those cheesy Mandarin pop songs play over the loudspeaker and the food magically appears via dumbwaiter. You'd never know that the place was under new management. The new owner was unavailable for comment, but according to waitress Fang Zhou, Kingdom is "the same space with the same food, [with] maybe a few new items after Chinese New Year."
|Photo | James Saul|
At New Harmony, there's an upgraded menu featuring peanut beef, fried mushroom strips — and deep-fried cheesecake! Move over, molten lava — this cake (pictured) will blow your mind with its uber-gooey, chocolaty goodness. On Chinese New Year's Day (Jan. 26), New Harmony is also opening a brand-new VIP room, good for groups of people looking to wile out on dim sum and karaoke. "Karaoke is good for the kids, it's fun!" Chu tells us. Couldn't have said it better ourselves. You're damn right we'll be there, with our best renditions of "Love Shack" and "Panama" at the ready.
To read more about the new New Harmony, check out this week's print edition. Until then, we'll be warming up our vocal cords.
|Courtesy Le Bec Fin|
I can’t tell you how weird and ill I felt after New Year’s Eve, seeing that the onyx-tinted Brasserie Perrier had closed down. High rents and easy payees, like the chain clothiers who'll line Walnut Street if we're not careful and the economy doesn't rise up — sob. But we always hope upon hope that Le Bec-Fin — Georges Perrier's bigger baby — stays solvent. And while we winced a tad at him offering that new a la carte jawn last season, we might be nearly OK with LBF’s Le Bar Lyonnais hosting a new happy hour downstairs from da Fin. It's dark. It's swank. And from 5 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, they got $5 Stoli Martinis, Sobieski Vodka Mixed Drinks and sommelier-selected wines to go with complimentary hors d'oeuvres from Le Bec-Fin's kitchen. I can live with this if you can.
Extremely unclear research suggests that Philly is both the most and least caffeine-addicted city in the nation
Today, HealthSaver came out with the results of its annual survey conducted "to determine the caffeine consumption habits and attitudes of consumers across the U.S." The first thing that caught my eye about was the strangely strong pro-caffeine assertions worked into the release:
The health benefits of caffeine are plentiful and well-documented in numerous studies in recent years. Coffee and tea, in particular, have emerged as good health food sources that can lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, colon cancer, and cirrhosis of the liver, as well as lift your mood, treat headaches and even lower risk of cavities. Caffeine also enhances athleticism, endurance and performance, according to health care experts.
Caffeine enhances athleticism? HealthSaver is in bed with Big Java.
The second odd thing about the "study": There is very little information in the release explaining how the by-city caffeine consumption data was compiled, which is why it's incredibly difficult to figure out Philly's role in the whole thing. Check it out: In 2007, we ranked second in "Least Caffeinated Cities" and second in "Cities Least Addicted to Caffeine." (What's the difference between these two categories? They don't say.) In 2008, however, we ranked second in "Cities Most Addicted to Caffeine." According to this, we somehow went from one of the five least caf-hooked cities in America to the second most hooked in the span of 12 months. But how?
I need some La Colombe to figure this out.
While I try to get HealthSaver to explain, check out all the survey's Philly mentions, from both 2007 and 2008, after the jump. Let me know if you can make any sense of this.
#2 in Least Caffeinated Cities
#5 in Least Caffeine Consumption (regular coffee and specialty coffee drinks)
#1 Least Cola Consumption (regular Coke, regular Pepsi, Mountain Dew)
#4 Most Tea Consumption (green tea, iced tea, black tea)
#1 Least Energy Drink Consumption (Red Bull, Monster, etc.)
#2 Cities Least Addicted to Caffeine
#5 Least Chocolate Consumption (candy, ice cream, cake, cookies)
#5 Least Energy Drink Consumption (tie with St. Louis)
#2 Cities Most Addicted to Caffeine
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