|Photo courtesy Marie DiFeliciantonio|
|You can just call her LP|
Over the past 17 months, there's been many a deadline day when Team Meal Ticket has bemoaned our lack of a competent, food-crazy intern to write witty posts while we frantically hammer away at print articles, attend the events we'd accidentally triple-booked ourselves for and provide insight to the eternal question, "Where do we go for lunch?"
Now our prayers have been answered in the form of chef-writer Marie DiFeliciantonio, whose surname manages to mash all of Felicia D.'s monikers together with those of her immediate family. Marie, henceforth known as "Lucky Porkchops" or "LP" to avoid confusion with her blogging brethren, has a degree in communications and culinary arts, once served as private chef to a very swanky family and has never met an unfamiliar ingredient she didn't long to ingest.
We put our newest player through the Q&A routine after the jump.
Meal Ticket: Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you want to break into the food-writing realm.
Lucky Porkchops: I firmly believe in doing what you love and success will come. Eating and writing are my favorite pastimes. Combining my Communications degree with my Culinary Arts degree and writing a food blog is something I enjoy doing.
MT: What do you plan on contributing to Meal Ticket?
LP: I want to bring my view to Meal Ticket as a chef-writer and expose readers to my side of the bridge (NJ) and my side of the story as it pertains to food life. I'd like to share my experience as a caterer, personal chef, and restaurant addict.
MT: What bars or restaurants in Philly might we find you hanging out at on the regular?
LP: I am an experience junkie. I want to do it all (as long as it doesn't involve insane heights), see it all (as long as it isn't a horror movie) and try it all (as long as it isn't poison). That being said, in conjunction with the constant amazing additions to the Philly dining scene, you most likely won't find me making reservations at the same place twice. I have to try them all! To not totally evade the question I will say that there are a few places where you will find me in the near future including Cichetteria 19, Fish, Village Whiskey, and Modo Mio.
MT: What is your favorite dish to cook at home, or for a dinner party to impress your friends?
LP: It is hard to say what dish I enjoy making the most. Dinner is like the nightly improv show in which I perform. You never know what will end up on that plate. I will say that if I have a party and don't make hummus, I will hear about it all night.
MT: Is there any certain item you can never resist on a restaurant's menu? Why?
LP: As a self-proclaimed experience junkie, if there is an item that has never crossed my tastebuds before on a restaurant/bar's menu, it is most certainly the one I will order. I have taken it on as my mission to leave no flavor untasted. I'm usually not disappointed, either.
In his latest review, CP critic David Snyder praises Stephen Starr's Pizzeria Stella, and draws a correlation between the Headhouse Square eatery and Starr's flagship Continental and Second and Market:
Fourteen years ago, Philly's dining scene appealed to a much older crowd ï¿½ to the extent there was a dining scene at all. But after Stephen Starr opened the Continental in 1995, everything changed. The Old City martini bar "struck a nerve with people who were young, and people who wanted to feel young," Starr recalled in a recent interview. [...]
Pizzeria Stella, the latest addition to Starr's ever-expanding restaurant galaxy, may turn out to be just as revolutionary for Philly.
Holly Moore of hollyeats.com took umbrage with Snyder's characterization of he Continental as a harbinger of imbibable modernity here in Philly. His response, in the comments (Snyder writes back, too):
Yo you young whippersnapper: Ever hear of the Restaurant Renaissance? Ever hear of Yuppies? Philadelphia has had an exciting restaurant scene since at least the mid 70's. All along it has been at least partially driven by young professionals.
Stephen Starr is an important part of today's restaurant scene, but I don't recall the Continental being all that groundbreaking other than serving a bunch of flavored martinis.
This discussion raises a few interesting questions. Snyder is not the only person we've heard cite the opening of the Continental as a hashmark moment in the development of Philly's current dining identity. But is the martini bar's importance overstated? Would Philly's restaurant scene still have advanced healthily without it, or did it set the bar for others? What do you think? We'd especially like to hear from those who've lived in the city since 1995, when the Continental first opened.
Leave your opinion in the comments here and/or in the comments of the Stella review.
|Photo | Mark Stehle|
Over on the Green Aisle Grocery blog, Meal Ticket's very own Felicia D shares her can't-miss hot toddy recipe for all those chilly present-wrapping nights ahead of you. Though the recipe is not entirely one-stop ï¿½ Green Aisle (1618 E. Passyunk Ave.) doesn't sell bourbon, of course ï¿½ you can get almost all of the other ingredients from Andrew and Adam Erace's store. Checkit!
Thanks to a glut of work, some personal business and a pesky, nagging, nasty illness, Team Meal Ticket's brain currently boasts a consistency comparable to that of watery polenta. Gonna take the rest of the day off. Have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Monday.
|Photos | Mark Stehle|
If you picked up a copy of City Paper this week, you probably already peeped out our fall '09 Meal Ticket supplement, which features features, recipes and more. It's now online, so be sure to check out Felicia D's roundup of delicious fall dishes (featuring recipes from Fork and Sweetie's Pie Diner) plus her feature on the hot toddy, everyone's favorite chill-in-the-air beverage. Cheers!
|Photo | Mike Persico for Grub Street
You may not know this, but Meal Ticket's very own Felicia D is also a badass bartender/font of boozy knowledge at the Belgian Cafï¿½. Grub Street provides a cool profile of our girl via their recurring Bartender's Bible series. Choice excerpt:
What's your patented drunk-handling technique?: Enlist the drunkï¿½s friends as allies, stall and ï¿½forgetï¿½ to serve them another drink, serve fake all-soda drinks if necessary. Gently shaming them works, too, if they are not too far gone.
Not that she's done that to us or anything. Read the full piece here.
Totally missed this earlier this week because we were too busy working, but October 7 was this little blog's first birthday. (Look, it's our first post!) A huge thanks from Team Meal Ticket for reading, commenting, linking and contributing to our way-obsessive discussions of Philly's dining scene. Keep it up, and we'll try our best to do the same.
If you ever have any questions, comments, thoughts, concerns, etc., remember that we always, always want to hear from you ï¿½ e-mail us anytime at email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org.
OK, back to work. Thanks again, and cheers.
The 215 Festival kicks off tonight. You should definitely hit up their site for a full schedule of what's planned for this weekend, but we want to direct special attention to the food bloggers brunch scheduled for this coming Sunday, Oct. 4.
Come to National Mechanics (22 S. Third St.) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to check out a panel discussion featuring bloggy types from Foodaphilia, Mac & Cheese, Phoodie, Unbreaded, A Hamburger Today/The Girl Who Ate Everything and us! Jess from Fries with That Shake will moderate the convo. And of course there will be eggy things and Bloody Marys at the ready. Hope to see you there.
Posting in the next week will be a little lighter than usual, as this half of Meal Ticket is trucking it up to the great state of Maine for some much-needed R&R. But we've got some good stuff in the works to tide you over in the meantime. For now ï¿½ anything that's important for us to see/eat/drink up there? Let us know in the comments ...
Meal Ticket's very own Felicia D'Ambrosio will be on the judges' panel at the very first "Pro" ChefAMe event, scheduled for Mon., Sept. 14 at Tavern 17 in the Warwick Hotel (220 S. 17th St.).
For those who don't know, Open ChefAMe (like "sesame") is a culinary open mic night of sorts that allows amateur/aspiring chefs to cook a real meal in a real restaurant kitchen ï¿½ Felicia D. herself participated in the second installment, held in May at the Dark Horse. This time, though, our girl will be casting a critic's eye on three competitors, all of whom work in Tavern 17's kitchen (hence the "pro") ï¿½ exec chef Ben Young, sous chef Christopher Spellman and chef Cathy Chambers. There are three rounds ï¿½ scallop, chicken and beef tenderloin ï¿½ meaning each diner gets to try a total of nine separate dishes. Victory is providing beer pairings.
Tix are $40 and available here.
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