Archive: March, 2009
We're all for slow food, home-cooked and preservative-free. Why buy frozen pizza dough when you can make it at home for fifty cents' worth of flour and yeast? Some things, though, really bite our butts. Like peeling hard-boiled eggs. When all you want is a quick, protein-rich lunch, removing tiny flecks of shell with your germy fingernails is not the kind of labor that builds up an appetite.
Enter Trader Joe's, grocery crush of our miserly little hearts. Yes, the sad produce is individually triple-bagged in styrofoam and cello, but for certain things, TJ's can't be beat. One pound of raw almonds for $6.99? We'll take it. Free samples of pasta alfredo and tiny cups of coffee? Give it here. Likewise for their bag of 10 large hard-boiled and peeled eggs for $3.29. Though not quite the deal of the century, the eggs are perfectly hard-cooked (no creepy green ring-round-the-yolk), raised totally cage-free, and are ready to be mashed into a instant egg salad sandwich.
Trader Joe's, 2121 Market St., 215-569-9282, traderjoes.com
After the jump, the recipe for Cheaters Ever Prosper Egg Salad (with potato chips!).
Cheaters Ever Prosper Egg Salad
(serves one for lunch)
Go Get This:
Three hard-boiled eggs, diced or mashed
A healthy squirt of Frank's Red Hot, Tabasco, whatever hot sauce you like
1/2 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard
A turn of fresh-ground black pepper
One Tablespoon ofï¿½ mayonnaise (or to taste, if you like more or less)
Dash of celery salt (for the lazy) OR one stalk celery, diced very small
Generous handful of your fave potato chips ï¿½ I like Lay's Classic Chips
Now Do This:
Combine all ingredients except potato chips in a bowl, blending well. Taste for seasoning, but don't add salt until you top the egg salad with the potato chips. Heap the chips on top of the egg salad and dig in.
Meal Ticket photo contributor Mike Persico made a wicked slideshow of Philly Beer Week for Keystone Edge, an online publication devoted to entrepreneurship and innovation happening across the commonwealth.
Eyeball up Standard Tap owner William Reed hefting The Keg Hammer of Glory, Hitachino Nest brewer Toshiyuki Kiuchi meeting the minds behind Beer Week and a few rare drafts that are now nothing but a glimmering memory.
Meal Ticket readers,ï¿½ share your sweet Beer Week snaps! The best will be published here. Send jpegs along to felicia[dot]dambrosio[at]citypaper[dot]net.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
According to manager Michele Iovino, March 18 will mark the official Philly reopening of Girasole, which called 1305 Locust home for 16 years. (That space is now Camac.) Now nestled on the Pine Street side of Symphony House (440 S. Broad St., 215-732-2728), the restaurant's original location closed in 2004.
Owners/brothers Gino and Franco Iovino (Michele's dad) run another Girasole in Atlantic City, but this branch has more of a boutique-y feel, with around 45 seats (bar, banquette and tables), a copper, bronze and black color scheme, oversize bistro mirrors and a big painting of their signature sunflowers. The bar and wine rack should clue you in that they've working with a liquor license.
On the menu, they're touting their carpaccios (tonno, yellow fin with sun-dried tomato, scallion, black olives and balsamic; spigola, Italian sea bass with citrus and capers) and homemade pastas (gnocchi, chittara, tagliatelle) as signatures. The old Girasole was a huge pre-theater destination, so they'll keep that going here with a $35 three-course prix fixe from Sunday to Friday.
They'll be open for lunch Mon.-Fri., 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and open for dinner Mon.-Fri., Sun., 5-11 p.m.; Sat., 5 p.m.-mid.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who's a little sad that Philly Beer Week is almost over. But let's not dwell on the inevitable ï¿½ there are still many, many kegs that need to be kicked this weekend.
So I want to know ï¿½ what are your plans for the last three nights of PBW09? Me? I'm getting ready to head over to South Philly Taproom for a Founder's beer dinner. Saturday I'm gonna take it easy. Then on Sunday ï¿½ the Zythos Belgian Beer Festival at Penn Museum, the same venue that hosted last week's Brewer's Plate.
Hit us with your itinerary in the comments. And be sure to check out all the Philly Beer Week coverage on Meal Ticket up to this point.
Received an e-mail earlier this week signed "The Patron's of Bridgid's" with the heading "Beer Mugs ï¿½ Glass or Pewter?"
Bridgid's is the Fairmount tappy that is, for my money, the best neighborhood bar in the city, what with its combination of excellent handles and discerning customer base [full disclosure: it is not my neighborhood bar, alas].
The collected drinkerdom there put their heads together to settle a couple of things: Are pewter mugs better than glass mugs? Does beer in a pewter mug taste better the longer the vessel is held in one's hand? Does sex influence this? I'll let them take over now:
The patronï¿½s of Bridgidï¿½s restaurant in Philadelphia, PA are composed of people with sophisticated palates and an understanding of finer beers. Discussing the finer points of hops, barley and ingredients that makeup more flavored beers, the patrons wondered if the temperature of the beer influenced the taste. To further the question, they asked if the taste of the beer changed over time due to the handling of the beer as the warmth of the beer drinkerï¿½s hand warms the beer thereby altering the taste.
Based on these questions, the patrons started an informal clinical trial comparing glass beer mugs to pewter beer mugs. The purpose of the clinical trial was to determine if a pewter mug, which maintains temperature and insulates the beer from the warmth transferred by the drinkerï¿½s hand, provides a better drinking experience than traditional glass beer mugs. Specifically, Bridgidï¿½s compared the taste in a chilled glass mug and a chilled pewter mug at 1, 3, 10, 15 and 20 minutes. The results are as follows:
Total Group - Results
1 min ï¿½ 50% glass, 50% pewter
3 min ï¿½ 40% glass, 60% pewter
10 min ï¿½ 20% glass, 80% pewter
15 min ï¿½ 67% glass, 33% pewter
20 min ï¿½ 33% glass, 67% pewter
Men - Results
1 min ï¿½ 29% glass, 71% pewter
3 min ï¿½ 29% glass, 71% pewter
10 min ï¿½ 14% glass, 86% pewter
15 min ï¿½ 67% glass, 33% pewter
20 min ï¿½ 17% glass, 83% pewter
Women - Results
1 min ï¿½ 100% glass, 0% pewter
3 min ï¿½ 67% glass, 33% pewter
10 min ï¿½ 33% glass, 67% pewter
15 min ï¿½ 67% glass, 33% pewter
20 min ï¿½ 67% glass, 33% pewter
As indicated by the results, pewter was the favored mug among the total population. The results changed however based on gender. Men, almost consistently preferred the pewter mug and women preferred glass mugs. While no clear determination as to why women preferred glass, it is hypothesized that presentation was a factor. This hypothesis is based on comments made by the women during the trial and further supported by Tom Kehoe, founder and brewmaster of Yards Brewery in Philadelphia, PA.
Noted during the trial was that women commented on the aesthetically pleasing appearance of the amber beer served in a clear glass mug. This assertion was supported by brewmaster Tomï¿½s experience which, as stated, ï¿½the presentation often influences the drinkerï¿½s perception.ï¿½
The result leads us to a single question, can you separate taste from presentation?
- The Patrons of Bridgidï¿½s
|Photo | Drew Lazor
Last night, Felicia D. told you all about today's Friday the Firkenteenth event at The Grey Lodge. Here's an update on how the 30-cask adventure is progressing so far, thanks the Northeast Philly bar's Twitter account:
Get up there.
Meal Ticket is giving away four pairs of tickets to Gourmet Women & Wine, scheduled for Sat., March 28 at the Diamond Club at Citizens Bank Park.
Running from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the event will feature wine education courtesy of the Wine School of Philadelphia, plenty of sippable samples, cookbook signings, a cocktail party/luncheon and more. (On the Friday prior, local Les Dames d' Escoffier-affiliated chefs, including Alison Barshak, Margaret Kuo, Susanna Foo, will offer special four-course menus at their restaurants. More info here.)
Half of the proceeds from the event benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The first four Meal Ticket readers to e-mail drew.lazor @ citypaper.net (subject line: Gourmet Women & Wine) with the correct answers to the wine-related trivia questions after the jump win two tix a pop. DO NOT LEAVE ANSWERS AS A COMMENT.
Good luck, winos.
UPDATE [1:15 p.m.]: Just one pair of tickets left, folks. Who wants them?
UPDATE [2 p.m.]: Congratulations to winners Jillian Brainard, Jacklin Baik, Cindy Mashaintonio and Corinne Driver. Answers after the jump.
1. The only wines that can carry the name Bourdeaux are made in the Bourdeaux region of France. What is the term for a wine in the style of red Bourdeaux that's produced outside this region?
That'd be "meritage," which is also the name of a great restaurant at 20th and Lombard.
2. In the movie Sideways, Paul Giamatti's character, Miles Raymond, is an unpublished author. What is the name of his novel?
Maya: What's the title?
Miles Raymond: The Day After Yesterday.
Maya: Oh ... you mean today?
3. In what year did Chester County's Chaddsford Winery debut its first wine?
An irrational and consuming fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia. The tongue-twister has small chance of being spoken correctly on your soberest day, and after the frenzied consumption of Friday the Firkinteenth, odds dwindle significantly.
Mike "Scoats" Scotese, cellarmaster and evil genius behind the brilliant beer list at The Grey Lodge, dreamed up a way to change the hard-luck reputation of every paraskavedekatriaphobic's worst nightmare. On every Friday the 13th (four this year!), he dishes out at least 13ï¿½ firkins filled with ales both monster and mild. The Beer Week edition of the Firkinteenth will feature 30 casks, tapped seven at a time, starting at 9 a.m. When one kicks, it's on to the next, in whatever order they emerge from the walk-in.
Of the 30 casks, a few are making their Philadelphia-area firkin debut at the Firkinteenth, including Victory Brewing's Yakima Twilight, Florida's St. Somewhere oak-barrel-aged, dry-hopped Saison Athenee, and Ballast Point Big Eye IPA. See the full list of firkins on The Grey Lodge Web site here.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, the boys of Yards Brewing are hosting Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em, a festival of smoked beers and barbecued meats. The classic German rauchbier (smoke beer) was made famous by the city of Bamberg, where green malts dried over open fires translated into beers with intense smokiness. These bacon-y brews were meant to be consumed alongside the equally smoked Bamberg sausages, but attendees at the Yards event will have a bevy of firey choices at their disposal.
Local barbecue beacons Sweet Lucy's, El Camino Real and Tommy Gunn's will be bringing on the meat; Christopher Curtin of ï¿½clat Chocolate will be plying the girls with chocolates dressed demurely in smoked sea salt. Live music and an amateur barbecue contest round out the offerings. $15 gets you into the fest, food, your first beer (more than 30 will be available) and a commemorative glass.
Acutely aware of the agonizing decision situation they put their fellow beer drinkers in, The Grey Lodge and Yards teamed up to provide a free bus shuttle between the events ï¿½ so leave the car at home and smoke 'em if you got 'em, it's Friday the Firkinteenth!
The Grey Lodge, 6235 Frankford Ave., 215-825-5357, greylodge.com; event kicks off at 9 a.m. and runs 'til the last drops are drunk, pay as you go.
Yards Brewing, 901 N. Delaware Ave., 215-634-2600, yardsbrewing.com;ï¿½ event runs 11 a.m.-6 p.m., $15
When I got the word that chef Michael Solomonov of Zahav (247 St. James Place, 215-625-8800, zahavrestaurant.com) was hooking up with master spice blender Lior Lev Sercarz of NYCï¿½s La Boï¿½te ï¿½ Epices, it was like hearing that Batman had hooked up with Spider-man; that Bowie had linked up with Eno; that De Niro had hooked up with Pacino. OK, forget that last one. I hated Righteous Kill.
Anyway. The two old pals are doing a Night of Spice Dinner tonight, Thu., March 12. (Two seats are left for 9:30 p.m. ï¿½ act fast!) Sercarz, who will be in attendance, will drop science on La Boite a Epicesï¿½s mad-glad secret spice blends. The five-course menu will showcase five different blends.
Sercarz is a both procurer of rare spices and a creator of new blends ï¿½ 30 of them at present, with new ones coming all the time. He uses spices from around the world, mixing them into new forms for chefs/home cooks to allow them to play around of their own accord. ï¿½I have an inspiration when I create each spice, but have no specific purpose in my mind,ï¿½ says Sercarz. ï¿½I want chefs to come up with their own recipes and their own inspirations, whether itï¿½s for savory or for sweet.ï¿½
The expert aims to quell the fears of cooks who might not know enough about the range of spices and their delicate differences. ï¿½I think people are afraid of spices," he says. "There isnï¿½t enough knowledge regarding that. But itï¿½s a fantastic world, and Iï¿½ve taken it upon myself to promote that world, to give spices the proper glory they once had centuries ago.ï¿½ Itï¿½s rewarding for him to see how 10 different people approach one spice with 10 different ideas.
In terms of tonightï¿½s meal, Sercarz says he didn't share too many of his own opinions with Solomonov. ï¿½Michael and I come from similar backgrounds," says Sercarz. "Weï¿½re both inspired by the same elements. It was natural for us to work together. But these are his recipes and dishes, [and] Iï¿½m more than happy to be part of [it].ï¿½
Hereï¿½s the lineup of spice blends/dishes for tonight's dinner:
- Tangier No. 23 for duck rillettes and barbecue heart
- Amber No. 2 for Spanish mackerel confit, beets and labaneh
- Coquelicot No. 24 for Tasmanian sea trout, pumpernickel and mustard
- Sri Lanka No. 14 for wild boar, chestnuts and cranberries
- Yemen No. 10 for persimmon cake, raisin ice cream and almond milk.
The spice man breaks it all down after the jump.
Meal Ticket: What is Sercarzï¿½s Tangier No. 23?
Lior Lev Sercarz: Itï¿½s a blend inspired by Moroccan cuisine. What characterizes that is the mix between sweet notes and savory ones ï¿½ cinnamon and rose petals blending with elements of cumin, cardamom and different styles of peppers.
MT: Sri Lanka No. 14?
LLS: The idea behind it is the soft stick cinnamon. Itï¿½s not known to a lot of people. Most people know the Chinese kind. This is a much more fragrant kind, sweet, and floral even. The combination is very bright. The sweet and the anise flavors really come together. It can reflect northern African and Middle Eastern cooking, with some notes of the Far East.
CP: Youï¿½ve got two fish dishes here ï¿½ Spanish mackerel and Tasmanian sea trout. What are the differences?
LLS: Amber No. 2 has a lot of smoky notes ï¿½ thereï¿½s actual chilies in it, [and] a little brown sugar. The sweet and the smoky make for a very warm spice. Coquelicot No. 24 has a crunchy component ï¿½ poppy seeds, lemon, celery. You can sense the element of texture within it.
CP: And the Yemen No. 10 for persimmon cake, raisin ice cream and almond milk?
LLS: Thereï¿½s cinnamon ï¿½ the Chinese kind ï¿½ and ginger in it. Itï¿½s citrusy and fragrant. Goes well with dairy.
CP: Canï¿½t wait.
LLS: Neither can I.
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