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Cook the Book: 'My Pizza'

I live with a vegetarian who doesnt eat vegetables so pizza is a staple of our diet. However in a tiny kitchen with no counter space, dough is definitely a challenge. No knead? No problem! Its my go to, once every two weeks ... plus pizza is like a jedi mind trick. The man sees vegetables yet he only registers pizza. The force is strong in lahey

your priciest meal?

pavlov definitely wins this thread but here's mine... a year ago i had brunch with 6 friends at la croix in philadelphia. its a buffet in a five star setting. when you walk in, you are first shown the bloody mary bar (i believe 5 different mixes, about 15 - 20 different garnishes and various hot sauces) and then taken on a tour. theres the canapes/amuse/salads with things like dark chocolate ganache foie gras lollipops, cardamom consomme shots, then the raw bar (oysters, sashimi, sushi), the waffle/bagel/toast zone, the dessert table (about 20 different single bite desserts), then you get taken into the kitchen where there are about 20 hot items including freshly carved slabs of meat, duck confit w/ grits, crispy pork belly, and a couple fresh faced line cooks and the best part would definitely be the fondue zone... 2 kinds of chocolate fondue fountains and about 15 different things to dip in. the move to make is to get their house cured thick cut bacon and fondue that. all told, there are about 100+ items all of amazingly high caliber and yes.. it is truly and indeed never ending amounts of food. for our group of seven, after food, copious bloodys, coffees, teas and a nice little birthday surprise dessert, we paid $1200 w/ tip. yeah... 1200 for brunch. so freakin worth it.

AHT Giveaway: Case of Pat LaFrieda Burgers

bitter wilted greens w/ a super fatty patty

Cook the Book: 'Cooking in the Moment'

pickling with my mom when in the season gets overwhelming... pickled sesame leaves, tomatoes, scallions, watermelon rinds, garlic... yum and then some

AHT Giveaway: Case of Pat LaFrieda Burgers

in n out double double animal style med rare w/ a whole grilled onion and chopped chilis. yum and thank you

Cook the Book: 'Food Trucks'

theres a guy in philly at 20th and market and his food truck is unlike all others in the city. where normally the cart is burdened with sodas, chips, cookies and other crap snacks, he has braids of garlic bulbs, potted plants, dried chilis and fresh fruit. turkish in origin, he wears impeccably clean chef whites (sometimes reds) and serves up a daily platter usually along the lines of rosemary glazed chargrilled chicken over tabouleh, red leaf lettuce salad with lentils and grapes, freshly made falafel, hummus or baba ganouj, and warmed pita. worth the 30 min wait every time. the scent coming from his truck chimney is unbelievable and is carried on the wind for blocks

Building a Pizzeria: Demolition and More Progress

as a pizza devourer and cycling enthusiast, that hat is just spot on. really digging the color combo and fabric... definitely a nice change from t-shirts and baseball caps/mesh hats

Service Rant/Rave--haven't had one of these threads in awhile.

so i signed up as a restaurant evaluator with one of those "mystery shopper" programs and wow... what a terrible meal!

i wanted to give the server the benefit of the doubt as she was new to that particular outpost (not a chain, they just have 2 locations within an hour of each other) but it really was just poor service.

started by asking us what we'd like to drink. i say i'd like a lagunitas sumtim sumtim, she tells me its been replaced with the lagunitas censored. okay so i ask if there are any other changes to the menu... no, according to her. fine, ordered beer and sipped while looking over the menu. server comes back and asks if we are ready to order. i ask, "specials?". she says they no longer have the seafood stew, they now have a clam bake and sometime else (cant remember) has been 86'd for the night. i thought i covered this when i asked, "are there any additional changes to the menu". well whatever. ordered grilled flatbread, mussels, mac n cheese and calamari. standard food, nothing new or inventive about them. that being said, how can you eff up all 4 of those? you call yourself a restaurant? calamari - underseasoned and the "tarragon aioli"??? more like mayo in a ramekin. mussels in garlic white wine cream sauce - aka suspect mussels in "watered down alfredo" according to my guy. ate 2 and gave up on them, and yes. we both felt ill afterward. mac and cheese was ... ehh. wasnt expecting much, definitely didnt get much. and the flatbread OY the flatbread! the dough was still a bit raw.

ok.. so this is supposed to be a server rant. let me re focus. so you have a table of 2 and they have 4 almost completely untouched plates. what do you do? you probably should check in. what does she do? she walked in these ridiculous circles so as to avoid walking past our table. perhaps 20 mins of listless picking continues while my guy and i think of new ways to describe the horribleness that is the food when the server returns. we ask that the flatbread be taken off the check cause it was truly inedible. she asks if we would like dessert and im thinking.. okay, there's no way this wack place is making dessert in house so i should be relatively safe. WRONG. i ordered bread pudding, i got the "no problem. the bread pudding is great. you'll love the whiskey sauce" and then the "oops. sorry, the kitchen is seasonally changing the menu and we are now going to carry cheesecake in place". okay, sure, gimme some cheesecake. "oops, sorry, we havent gotten it in yet".

wow. just wow. if i wasnt supposed to attempt to remain fairly anonymous, that would definitely have been a "bring me a manager" kinda moment cause its just too friggin much. at least offer me a freaking beer or something! and, as a server, if that was my table, i would have been mortified and i would have offered to bring the mgr cause a genuine apology really makes up for imcompetance/lack of knowledge/wack experience.

whew. i feel better. i wanted to yelp the whole experience but i know its so unfair to rate a place on one go .. but honestly, why would i ever go back.

Cook the Book: 'Michael's Genuine Food'

genuine food is the kinda food you grew up with, you can taste the memories and history in every bite

Cook the Book: 'River Cottage Every Day'

i make lots and lots of rice but last night's iteration was declared best rice yet by my rice-stuffed other half. its a new one, but already has achieved classic status in my book: jasmine rice cooked w/ veg broth, saffron, basil stems, star anise and then finished with fresh peas, chiff'd basil and spiced nuts (dehydrated lime, cayenne, white pepper, korean chili powder). serve with whatever veg on hand that appreciates a good grilling

A Sandwich a Day: Cheesesteak at Chink's Steaks in Philadelphia

wow. definitely disappointed to see a review about this place considering how eff-ed up the name is. seriously?

with so many places to review, this is ridiculous. the place got its name because the owner was nicknamed "chink" for his slanted eyes, though he is caucasian. would you review and publish a post about a restaurant called "n*****" cause the owner was a tan white dude and his friends back in the JIM CROW ERA called him that?

im become a pretty addicted reader to your blog and, yeah, sometimes a name can be controversial, like fat ho burger, for the publicity. but the difference is that "ho" is not a distinct category of people with traceable institutionalized discrimination. this place has kept its shameful name despite protests, outcry, conversations, what have you from within and beyond the asian/asian american community.

Places to eat and drink in Philadelphia

oh boy oh boy! i would like to throw out kraftwerk (fishtown) as an awesome spot to enjoy great beers, great food, fun crowd watching ... 24 rotating drafts, some belgians, all microbrews; second the bar ferdinand (northern liberties) thing, they might still be doing half priced bottles of wine on mondays. unique experience? when you go to reading terminal *cause you have to*, sit at the dutch eating place. its staffed by all amish folk and while the food isnt spectacular, think dive diner, its a culturally unique experience. you probably get great pizza in new york but if you wanna try out a place in philly, i would recommend taconellis (port richmond). you must make reservations at least a day in advance and know how many pizzas you want, i generally go 2/3 of a pie per head. i dont see many laotian restaurants anywhere ever and i think vientiane cafe might be a great place. double check but they are byob, which means you can go to the foodery and pick up amazing beers (vientiane is west philly, there is a foodery in northern liberties and another in center city). get a hoagie from sarcones (south philly), the best bread ever. go there early cause sometimes they run outta bread as early as 2pm, if you cant make it, get over to shanks (one in south philly, one in center city, one on delaware ave) and get an eggplant parm. they are amazing. or a roast pork, broc rabe and provolone of course. late night, head down to washington ave for a soft pretzel at the philly soft pretzel factory and do get a cup of cheese. its the philly thing to do. they are open all kinds of late night. late night chinatown... davids mai lai wah and what you should order: salt and pepper wings, pan fried dumplings, beef chow fun, seafood fish maw soup, garlic snow pea leaves. the people watching is also hilarious... a combination of drunk asians, big beefy bouncers and their stripper girl friends, trannies, and folks in the restaurant biz. i would only go to monks for the beer, the food has really fallen off. for a more off the beaten path beer option, check out pope, pub on passyunk east. passyunk street has been undergoing a great revitalization in the last 5 years and pope is just another great spot with amazing beers and great food to back it up. for an awesome byob dinner, i would recommend pumpkin (center city). and just cause these places need mentioning cause they are good: pub and kitchen (center city), kanella (center city, brunch yes! cypriot breakfast yes!), zahav (old city, israeli, super duper chef), osteria (fairmount, super duper chef, amaaaaaazing food), village whiskey (center city, holy bourbon heaven), capogiro (center city, gelato ummmm yummmmmmm!), and bindi (center city, modern indian byob).

i hope you spend all 36 hours eating!!!

Cook the Book: 'Serve Yourself'

when i lived solo and wanted to treat myself right, i would crack open a gooooooood bottle of red, let that sucker breathe, seared up a mean steak (sorry apt building for smoking yall out), and a reduction of beef drippings, some of that good ass wine and if i was feeling punchy, perhaps some rendered bacon fat. something simple on the side, probably a baked tater and some spinach to keep it classic and balanced. yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Hangover Helper: Creamed Chipped Beef on Toast at Melrose Diner, Philadelphia

yummmmmmmmmmmmmm. i miss philly diners. my hangover helper was most definitely creamed chipped beef add 2 over easy eggs to the equation with bacon crumbled on top, ya know, for garnish.

does anyone have experience with EyeSpy?

thanks dbcurrie, i've done the whole google thing, looked them up on, on better business bureau. i was just fishing for any feedback from folks who have for sure done it.

seriousb, i'm not really sure what your comment is supposed to mean. i know they are a "secret shopper" service. so?


i feel you, kanye-west-of-the-serious-eats-world. i actually walked out of a grocery store checkout line because when i didnt have their card, they didnt furnish one straight away despite their application process requiring me to exit the line, go to customer service, fill out their form, get approved and then be issued a card. a process that takes, if there is no line in customer service, 10 minutes according to them. so, have fun paging a manager and voiding my whole sale and please mr. underpaid manager, dont approach me as i walk back to my car because you almost got maced.

Weekly grocery bill...

i spend anywhere from 70 - 150 a week on groceries depending on whether the man comes along with me. i am a perimeter shopper, he is a prepared/convenience shopper, you see. he needs a constant supply of tofurkey, chips, good balsamic, protein bars, more chips, cereal, beans and soup. when im not at home to cook for him, he also need many many frozen pizzas. he can cook, he just seems to have forgotten how after living with me for 1.5 years, spoiling him. i need rice, noodles, broth, lots of veggies, fruit, bagels and chips too. i spend about 50 on a monthly asian grocery store trip, re-upping on all kinds of noodles (seriously... every kind of noodle from generally less than 3 bucks), pastes, sauces, rices, nori, kombu, and if im feeling umamish, some hon-dashi. my last asian grocery trip bill of 45 included 5 kinds of noodles, 2 kinds of rice totaling 8 lbs, about a dozen udon packs, a cleaver, a sharpening stone, 2 kinds of nori, kombu, and a bag of just snacks. throw in 2 dogs and a couple cases of beer, our monthly food budget is about 600.

Cook the Book: 'Plenty'

when i went vegetarian and then vegan in high school, my mom adapted everything we ate to accommodate me, boy am i spoiled. it took her about 2 years of experimenting but she finally made a kimchi with the same sea-worthy brinyness without fish sauce, anchovies, or salted shrimps using concentrated kombu dashi.

Anybody out there still enjoy an after dinner smoke?

i love myself a good digestive toke, affectionately referred to as a d.t. isnt smoking supposed to be an appetite suppressant? i guess for me, afterwards, it eases my feeling of fullness.

Oriental Market Virgin

"oriental"? yowza, lets fast forward to the 21st century! regardless of what the stores refer to themselves as (have you ever heard of pandering to a wide demographic?), oriental went out as a term with, well, i dont like using colorful language of that sort, so we'll just leave it at that, missroundeyes, i mean browneyes.

oh gosh, anyways. aside from that, i second the rec's about getting dried mushrooms (great way to start veg broths), variety of dried noodles (most are between $1 - 4), toasted sesame oil and sauces (i would get a chili oil, black bean sauce, and a good miso. great on their own or mixed in w/other sauces) rice wine vinegar, and perhaps some heartier produce such as lemongrass or shiso leaves. meat and produce are going to be similar to what you can get in an occidental market except some specialty items that i dont think are your cup of tea, like turtles, chicken feet, and all kinds of tripe.

i bought dill... now what

yay! thanks so much! tonight will be smashed potatoes with dill and some fish in parchment. tomorrow morning will be dill cream cheese n bagels, tomorrow night i will definitely incorporate it into some soup action and roasted carrots with dill. sadly my very picky vegetarian boyfriend has an aversion to cucumbers (and really all vegetables that crunch) and i never enjoy food i cook for myself only as much as food i cook for others so sadly those rec's may be way-sided. im so excited!!!! dare i throw it into the juicer in the morning as well? oh yippee possibilities

Nasty Bits: Korean Blood Sausage

gosh... the trip back to korea was damn... 7 years ago. the batter was straight up corn dog batter. and instead of mustard, i got the traditional salt/gochu garu/sesame seeds dry rub dip. so freakin yum. i tried making soondae once just a year out of being vegetarian and it almost scared me right back into it. but now that im in an asian-foodless void, methinks a special trip to the viet markets for coagulated blood is in order.

Nasty Bits: Korean Blood Sausage

since we're talking about korean food stalls, lemme tell you how i squealed with glee when i came across a stand selling soondae corndogs. oh friggin yes. soondae, on a stick, battered, and deep fried. i thought i loved it when i tried it in the states, but going to korea and finding places whose speciality/only item on the menu was soondae took it to a next level. an even less user friendly soondae item, the casing was made of tripe. offal in offal so not awful.