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Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Contributor

Charlie Taylor is a freelance eater, drinker and writer in Philadelphia. He has lived in the Delaware Valley and Philadelphia area all his life except for three brief, wild summers working as a line cook in Lewes, Delaware during college. He now lives in Passyunk Square, ground zero for the Philadelphia restaurant revolution, where his wife and twin daughters frequently demand he make them pancakes and French omelettes for breakfast. Did I mention he likes beer? No? Well, he does.

  • Location: Philadelphia, PA
  • Favorite foods: One of the hardest things for me to do is pick favorite foods but here's a flying stab at it: pot roast, raw oysters, almost anything with cumin in it, kimchi, panzerotti, Chinese broccoli, RICE NOODLES
  • Last bite on earth: Call me a cruel traditionalist if you like but probably a perfectly cooked veal chop.

The 6 Best Budget Ryes

I feel like $25 is a good budget line for rye since it is a little bit more of a specialty product as compared to bourbon. Rye is making a bit of a comeback so maybe at some point that line moves down to $20 but $25 isn't unreasonable for a decent bottle of booze. Personally though, I save my money for some Dad's Hat.

Thanksgiving Sandwich Showdown at Jake's Sandwich Board in Philly

@reposado: Thanks for the math check. It's fixed now.

The Food Lab: How to Make Turkey Weisswurst (White German Sausage)

If you get really into sausage making, it's best to find a source for uncured pork back fat (frozen is OK) and invest in a 5 lb. LEM sausage stuffer. Using the salted pork fat and then simmering makes it tough to know your exact salt content. I used to use the stuffer on the KitchenAid mixer but that was a nightmare, though that same attachment works great for grinding if you keep the blade sharp and the plates clean. Sausage like this turns out wonderfully when roasted as well.

How to Order Like a Local at South Philadelphia Taquerias

@Brian A: At the time I thought La Lupe was closed but I see that they have just moved farther north on 9th St. Having said that, my unofficial count had 23 taquerias in my surrounding area and it would be impossible to cover them all. My experience with La Lupe wasn't that great either. It is possible that that has changed and I was there on an off day.

@jtulsky: I will definitely have to try El Rodeo Truck. I love me some al pasto.

@TheSecretChef: Los Taquitos de Puebla was shortlisted but just didn't make it.

Jake's Wayback Burger, a Standout 'Better Burger' Joint

@bunnmr: While I can't speak for all the Jake's Wayback Burgers, I have been to several (at least 5) in the Philadelphia and I can say that none of them have been anything but exquisitely clean and the staff has always been friendly. As for the fries, I agree, they are not a strong point, at least not the plain ones. I'm not really a ketchup connoisseur and maybe not even a giant fan of ketchup at all but I know this, the burgers, hot dogs and chili I have had there have always been worth it. I find that the amount of grease at Five Guys is a distraction. Literally everything feels and tastes like it is coated with the stuff. And a couple of Five Guys I've been in have been less then spotlessly clean. Having said all that, I think franchises of any sort will always be hit or miss.

@A Serial Cereal Eater: I agree on the chips! I've had them and they're good but sadly didn't make the cut for this AHT entry.

Jake's Wayback Burger, a Standout 'Better Burger' Joint

@jbzepol: Haha, good point, but that's not real newspaper, it's specially printed deli paper with promo "news articles" for Jake's on it. You won't get any newsprint on your burgers or fries!

Ask the Critic: Where To Get Lunch Near Penn Station?

I go through Penn Station in my travels for work and often find myself dashing from Amtrak to the LIRR or vice versa because there simply didn't seem to be anything worthwhile nearby—and certainly nothing in Penn Station itself. Now I will take some time to check out some of the suggestions here. This is great, thanks!

What's Your Local Cheap Beer?

Many people have already mentioned Yuengling Lager and it's true that here in the Philadelphia region that's definitely one of those beers that was cheap and ubiquitous before the craft beer craze launched them into the spotlight. For a while there, Yuengling was contract brewing their lager and some of their canned Black & Tan and has since built a new brewery in Tampa(while still utilizing the original on a hillside in Pottsville) but most of their other beers, such as Lord Chesterfield and their Porter have never been brewed anywhere but Pottsville. I have fond memories of Black & Tan pounder cans that tasted just as good as the tap before they started contract brewing it in 12 oz cans. It's worth the trip to head towards upstate PA to get a really fresh case of Porter in the bottle.

Lionshead has definitely started to overtake Yuengling Lager in the popular and common cheap beer category, mostly because Lager isn't quite so cheap anymore, especially if you're getting it in a bar.

I'm quite surprised no one from the New Orleans area has mentioned Abita. Maybe because they're too big? I remember being able to get giant cups of the stuff for only a couple of bucks in the French Quarter and it was actually pretty decent.

Bright End-of-Summer Pies at Philadelphia's Bufad Pizza

I just noticed this place the other night on the way to Prohibition Tap Room. When I used to work at Broad and Callowhill, it was a seedy Chinese takeout. Thanks for the write-up, I'm definitely going to check it out.

Does Pho 75 Make the Best Pho in Philadelphia?

I agree that there is no bad pho but an honest evaluation would be worthwhile.

I actually usually eat at Pho Ta a lot but mostly because they are more kid-friendly and they have a more extensive menu that my wife likes. The staff is super friendly and the pho there is actually quite good but any meat other the eye-round steak is just OK.

I haven't been in to Nam Phuong for a while and it deserves another look.

Pho Ha was my go-to pho when I lived in Queen Village but it can get packed in there. They have the best hoisin sauce, by far.

Pho Saigon and Mekong River in Pennsport and Le Viet in "little Vietnam" are all recent additions to the pho scene and I can say for a fact that Mekong River is excellent.

Airport Food That's Actually Good

I'm a little late to this but I thought it was worth mentioning that there's Shake Shack in JFK now.

Taste Test: The Best Anchovy Fillets

Regardless of which type of anchovy person you are, chances are you've experienced that moment of grocery store paralysis, staring down those colorful battalions of tiny filleted fish. Jar or can, cheap or expensive—which is the best and, more importantly, does it always matter? We decided to find out. More