Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Those Dean & DeLuca Guys are Good

I just got the new Dean & DeLuca catalog in the mail and it's blowing my mind right now.

Of course there are your staples...

  • The ever-present $225 ugly fondant cake that looks like it would taste like waxy plastic sugar-paste-vom.

  • The glorious selection of wine that I can't buy via mail because I live in Old-Timey-Village.com (I mean in Pennsylvania).

  • The flight of caviar that costs $655 (total of 6 oz.).

  • The $400 leg of Prosciutto di Parma (online a leg of Ibérico ham is a bargain at only $2,000!).

Sigh... I joyously flipped past these items assured in the knowledge that the stars were aligned, the appropriate items were appropriately overpriced, and that there are people out there who are more bat shit crazy then I... ones who were willing to spend $65 on "Fall Cupcakes" (... wtf???).

There were some noteworthy gems though:

For example, please reference Page 9 for the mailorder - Lobster Rolls

Wow. $135. For hot dog rolls and old-ass lobster slathered in mayo.

Mmm... (only if "Mmm" can be said with heavily sarcastic undertones).

Also on Page 9... my heart skipped a beat when I found the - Foie Gras Burger

Holy smokes. $60 for four burgers yes but, all kidding aside, I might kill a man for one. $60 is a small place to pay when compared to life in prison.

GEE-OOOOD that sounds good.

... And then there's the crème de la crème on Page 54. I nearly wet myself when I saw- The Ultimate Chocolate Truffle

Here is where I'm supposed to make fun of it... so ridiculous... so expensive... blah, blah, blah... but I don't want to. I want to eat it. I want to eat it all, not only in one sitting, but in one bite. Crap, shit... ARGH!!! I want it so bad.

I think I'm going to order one... and then after that I'm going to time how long it takes me to burn 350 one dollar bills. Yay. It'll be fun.

Chocolate Meat

In response to a comment on my last post, I thought I would shed a little light...

Courtesy of Wikipedia with bolded commentary by Uncle Jimmy:

Dinuguan -

... or pork blood stew in English... is a Filipino savory stew of blood and meat simmered in a rich, spicy gravy of pig blood, garlic, chili and vinegar (Mmm... spicy gravy of blood and vinegar. What a delightful flavor combination. I first learned of its splendor back when I was being tortured in POW camp. Ahh... Now those were the days). The term dinuguan comes from the word dugo meaning "blood" (naturally). It is recognizably thick and dark, hence the Westernized euphemism "chocolate meat." (sound of me throwing up in my own mouth). It is similar to the Singapore dish pig's organ soup, differing in that it does not contain vegetables (thank God) and has a characteristically thick gravy.

Due to the offal it is frequently considered an unusual or alarming dish to those in Western culture (I'm not sure it's the offal that's throwing me off), though it is rather similar to European-style blood sausage, or British black pudding in a saucy stew form (hmm... interesting synopsis). It is perhaps closer in appearance and preparation to the ancient Spartan dish (its only redeeming quality) known as black gruel (that's bad ass) whose primary ingredients were pork, vinegar and blood (this dish actually kicked your f*@%ing ass after you ate it). Dinuguan is often served with white rice or a Filipino rice cake called puto (Whatever dude. Don't try to make yourself look better now. You're made of blood and vinegar... 'chocolate meat' remember?).

A similar dish is also known among the Bataks of Indonesia, called sangsang (I do like the name...). Sangsang is made from pork or dog meat (Wow. That really happens? I need to travel more) or more rarely, water buffalo meat, coconut milk and spices ...

Sangsang has special significance to the Bataks, as it is an obligatory dish in Batak marriage celebrations (Oh dang. I would be dying old and alone).

Having said all of that, all kidding aside, I haven't but I would eat the shit out of Dinuguan. Anyone serving it in Philly do you think?

Friday, September 26, 2008

7 is The Magic Number

So, I must admit... I am a little Italy obsessed. I love Italian culture, Italian cuisine, Italian architecture, Italian people... all things Italian. I lived in Italy, I travel back each year. I study the cuisine, the wine, the language...

I kind of want to be Italian. I think everyone in my family does... in fact my Aunt tells a story about how, as a girl, she cried when she found out that we weren't.

Yeppers. I am just about as Irish-American as you can get. Almost 100%.

My Italian friends enjoy breaking my balls...

"Let's see... we have Donatello, da Vinci, and Raphael. You have Bono.

We have the most beautiful people on the planet. You have Gingers.

We have Tuscany. You have Belfast.

We have the Renaissance. You have famine.

We have the most well respected cuisine in the world. You have blood sausage."

Ha ha ha. You're so funny Italian friends. I get it. You're better than me. Cough*FU*Cough.

Having said that, because of my envy of all things Italian, I have always wanted to take part in the Christmas Eve tradition - The Feast of the Seven Fishes.

My Italian friends have threatened to never speak to me again if I kopp that tradition... unless I "marry in". So, I have decided that this year I would make up my own, ethnically appropriate, Christmas Eve tradition...

I'm going to have The Feast of the Seven Potatoes.

What do you think? WHO'S JEALOUS NOW ITALIAN FRIENDS!?!?!?

Twice Baked
Boiled with Salt

That's right. You're green with envy right now aren't you? (pun intended... get it? Irish... green...?)

No? You're not jealous? Shit. F. Yeah. You're right. You win. Damn.


Bangers and Mash. Eww... Why does it look like that?

Really... ?!? Who can take that shit seriously?

Speaking of phallic....

Huh... huh... huh...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I was out drinking the other night.

I was out late.

I was drinking a lot.

One of my partners in crime decided on a cheesesteak at 2am. At the time I turned up my nose in disgust but in the morning he advised me that he had no hangover. I, on the other hand, did. Mistake number one.

To make matters worse, I have had a song stuck in my head ever since and it's driving me bat shit crazy.

It's "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" by Indeep, except instead of "DJ" I keep singing "Cheesesteak"... "Last Night a Cheesesteak Saved My Life"... and it's in my friend's voice... and he is mocking me. The worst part is that those are the only words I know so it's just that line... over and over again.

Anyway, in an attempt to 'fix' said hangover I chose a mid-morning sushi binge. Yeah. WTF was I thinking, right? Mistake part deux.

Now, I know just as well as you that sushi is a poor choice for a hangover cure. It is painfully clear now that what I should have done was go directly to a food cart and purchased an egg sandwich.

Who was I trying to kid? There is really no other way to go.

Oh my sweet and gentle Jesus there are so many delicious variations. Bagel, croissant, English muffin, kaiser roll, long roll, wheat, white, wrap, biscuit, cheese, sausage, bacon, lto, mayo, ketchup, hot sauce... the possibilities are endless... sigh. Truly one of the great delicacies in the history of the universe AND, averaging around $2.50, one of the greatest steals of all time.

They ain't pretty and they ain't supposed to be pretty. They are good and cheap and filling and good... and cheap.

There is about a cart a block if you're in center city and the quality is strangely consistent so no favorites here. Maybe you have one...?

Food Cart
All Over the Place
Philadelphia, PA
No Phone

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New Way to Enjoy a Frosty Beverage

I just thought of something brilliant... trademark pending.


Here's what I'm thinking...

There are so many sweet and fruity beers hanging around these days, and some are so sweet that they seem good for only one thing... that thing being dessert.

So why don't we just go whole hog and add some mother humpin' ice cream.

In example - Take a little Buffalo Bill's Orange Blossom Cream Ale...

add a few big scoops of Breyer's Natural Vanilla Ice Cream... you know the kind with the black specs in it... Yay-Yer!

... let them bob around in 'der for a bit and wait for the party to start.

Beer float.

Sounds like a funky good time to me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

$100 Cheesesteak

I went to Barclay Prime.

I ordered it.

I ate it.

I feel so guilty.

Oh, the gluttony...

At least it comes with Champagne, right...? RIGHT...?!?

No one's agreeing with me are they? You're all just looking at me judging...?!? (said in panicky screechy voice)

Well let me tell you that I don't care because it was so very... very sinfully good.

When it sat down in front of me I wanted to grab it and tell it that I love it and that I would never let it go. I wanted to stare deep into its soul and listen to its heartbeat and playfully fight over which of us loves the other more. I wanted to spoon it in the morning and bring it home to my mother in the afternoon. I loved it so much.

It was such a fast and dangerous kind of love though. It couldn't last. I ate it all. I ate every last tender morsel.


I will say that a much less irrational choice would be the Kobe Sliders. They were just as delectable although, due to the much less devastating price, they were not nearly as exciting to order, to fall in love with, or to eat.

As another note, a foodie friend told me that he thinks Barclay can lay claim to the sexiest bar in the city and he meant it with the highest regard possible (cheesesteak not factored into his decision). Not sure if I agree or disagree... What do YOU think about that?

Barclay Prime - 237 South 18th Street Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 732-7560

Is Anyone Feeling Motivated?

It would really be super if someone could take care of this wine "situation" that we have here in Pennsylvania.

By situation I am of course referring to the inexplainable (and inexcusable) lack of any store within state boundaries who offer a wine selection of any merit and/or a staff that knows their ass from a hole in the ground.

I'm just not feeling up to it right now so if someone could get on that quick that would be great thanks.

Oh! and being able to find a bottle of Chablis without a handle would be nice.

Oh! Wait, wait! One more... getting out of the 18 fucking hundreds and selling booze in the grocery stores like every other place in... oh say... the entire world would be super too.

Thanks again.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rocket Propelled Shoes

... would be amazing but they are hard to come by so God was kind enough to gift us with espresso.

I have been liking Illy's. It's pretty darned good.

I drink my coffee black as night and bitter as hell. I love coffee more then I love most things in life. I love it more then I love happiness and certainly more then I love sunshine.

Mmm... like mother's milk.

At home, for guests, I make espresso in my old-timey espresso maker and serve it with milk scalded in a sauce pan. Sooo goooood (said in hearty Italian accent with hands making wildly and ridiculously exaggerated gestures in true Italian fashion).

This is What Happens When People Stop Acting Polite

... and start getting real.

Why are people dicks?

Kibitz, I don't care how fucking good your pastrami is, your staff is dicky and that's not acceptable.

... And stop putting so much god damn meat on your sandwiches. It's making me want to throw up.

Their shit is good though... dicks.

Kibitz In the City - 703 Chestnut St Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 928-1447

Friday, September 12, 2008

Baked Poe Tay Toe

If you have read my "Baked is Better" tortilla post then you know my affinity for baked things.

Well here's another...

The baked fry. Yes, yes, I know... I know... everyone knows that you can bake instead of fry a fry.... well then DO IT! It's tastier AND healthier.

Take a potato(s). Cut to desired fry shape (steak, batonette, chip, etc.). Toss in olive oil, salt and any other desired spices (I add lots of chopped garlic) and bake... make sure they are good and crispy and brown.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008


My friend Noop makes a sandwich. It's his own personal sandwich. He designed it, he makes it on occasion, and he calls it the C-Belt.

I was famished the other night and we got to talking about food. He described the sandwich to me in great detail and it sounded so sickeningly good... the kind of good that makes you feel guilty just thinking about it... like getting a hooker or stealing a wad of $100 bills. I thought it worthy of mention.

Are you sitting down?

Noop's C-Belt

This is a triple decker sandwich served on lightly toasted wheat bread.

C- Chipotle Mayonnaise with Goat Cheese Folded into it
B - Thick Cut Bacon
E - Fried Egg
L - Lettuce
T - Tomato
A - Avocado
(Technically it's called a C-Belta, but for some reason we decided that C-Belt just seems to work better.)

Wow. I haven't had it yet but for my birthday next year I was thinking about celebrating with C-Belts and hookers. Everyone is welcome to join me. The more the merrier.

Another friend who was with us said she makes a sandwich on French baguette, high quality butter, fleur de sel and French breakfast radishes.

I thought this also sounded stellar (although much less sinful). I noticed that each person's sandwich was representative of their individual personality traits. This got me to thinking of sandwiches and stuff of great depth... like people... and stuff.

I think everyone should have a signature sandwich, don't you agree?

Hmmm.... What would mine be??? Probably something with happiness... or peanut butter.

I think I just invented a new party game... like the "if you were a Beatle who would be?" game.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Chapter 2 - Pocantico Hills

After some crazy flawless navigation action by said iPhone (I’m still shocked at how amazing those little buggers are) I ended up (20 short minutes later) driving down the long winding driveway leading to Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns.

The place is breathtakingly beautiful.

Everything served in the restaurant is produced locally, comes from a very specific purveyor sourced for product superiority, OR it is actually grown/raised there on the grounds of the restaurant. They refuse to serve an ingredient that isn't at its prime and because of this you don't get an a la carte menu during the summer. The farmers and the chef tell you what is best that day...

You can choose between the "Five Course Tasting" and the "Farmer's Feast".

On the left hand side of the menu is a nonsensical list of ingredients, all running together, that will make an appearance somewhere within your tasting.

To put it very bluntly, and very simply, this was probably the best restaurant I have ever dined in and it is certainly the restaurant to which all other restaurants should look for inspiration, guidance and kinship.

It was an unmarred, sound and otherworldly meal. I didn't put one thing in my mouth that wasn't supreme. The wait staff is not only knowledgeable but passion courses through them.

I rarely find a restaurant worthy of destination dining but this is undoubtedly one. Go there. Travel to get there. Go for a special occasion. Go for a snack on your way to New England. Go when you are ready to be impressed.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns - 630 Bedford Rd. Pocantico Hills, NY 10591

Chapter 1 - Head Full of Squirrels and a Belly Full of Vittles

Summer is far from over but, to be honest, the ol' gal is getting on in months.

I've noticed this phenomenon happening each year around this time, and as a result, I've taken to celebrating its inevitable approach with an event I like to call:


To fully explain this tradition I must provide a little background.

You see... my story has humble beginnings. Uncle Jimmy’s parents were hippies. They got married and moved to Hippytown, USA (aka some woods somewhere in Vermont, just outside of some more woods that happen to be centered around a post office). Once established they immediately began smoking pot and smelling bad. My mom popped out a tiny lil’ Uncle Jimmy and Jimmy’s equally peculiar siblings.

My formative years were spent there in the deep woods of Vermont. As children we played naked among the pot plants while my parents skinned rabbits, gathered black walnuts, and foraged for mushrooms. They crafted nearly every morsel of sustenance that we put in our little hippy bodies.

These were the years when I learned how to get food into my mouth-hole, how to distinguish my ass from a hole in the ground, and how to recognize what a real god damn tomato tastes like (thanks Mom). It was amazing. Little was imported from the outside world and my palate happily developed in this hormone and pesticide free Shangri-La.


Something that's not a tomato:

Sigh. Vermont treated me well. I moved away years ago, but I go back often. I go back because Momma Jimmy wasn't the only one. It is a place where nearly every person crafts food with pride and where there's integrity behind every bite. It was in Vermont that I realized I was put on this earth to care about food... and it is to Vermont that I return to be reminded of just that.

So... It should come as no surprise that I spend a lot of time eating on my trips back. I have undoubtedly had some of the most wonderful meals of my life in New England whether it be a warm cinnamon bun from Momma Jimmy’s kitchen, a lobster tail from Thurston’s Lobster Pound, the white table cloth fare at Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond, or the most delectable fire roasted pizza from American Flatbread Company (the original in Waitsfield is arguably my favorite place on earth).

I won't even begin to discuss the general stores where it seems like each and every one offers an unrivaled array of locally raised hormone-free meats, artisanal cheeses all beautifully packaged like little gifts, and maple creamies that make you want to… well... creamy.

Wow. It all sounds so dreamy right?

Why don’t I live there you ask…???

Because! Vermont's colder then a witches titty yo.

Anyway, I digress. The long short of it is... in order to remind myself of my true sense of purpose and that there is life outside the smelly hot-trash-and-fecal-matter ridden streets of Philadelphia I go back.

(Purposefully omitting image of "smelly hot-trash-and-fecal-matter ridden streets" below and substituting stereotypically beautiful shot of Vermont during Fall foliage season. You can thank me later.)

So that is where you would have found me last weekend. I book no rooms, I make no reservations, I have no plans, and that’s the way I like it.

Day one –

6:30PM Left Philadelphia for a strenuous, sadistic and violent fight with 95. The battle royal culminated with a drop kick to the face of the George Washington Bridge.

I was tired and I needed food so I activated my inner food-GPS system. 9PM… beep boo boo beep... Just North of NYC… beep ba boop... Hungry… beep beep boop

Wait a god damn second!

...It was like the perfect storm. All the chaos and confusion that ever was gave up being chaotic and gave up being confusing if only for just one single moment.

It was like my fate had been decided years ago... Had every move I'd made up to this point been a series of steps leading me to this one divine moment...?

The heavens parted. Everything was still.

I whipped out the iPhone. How the hell do you get to Pocantico Hills…?

To Be Continued...

Momma Jimmy's Kitchen
123 None of your God Damn Business Dr.
Hippytown, USA 12345
www.don’t even fucking worry about it.com

Thurston's Lobster Pound
1 Thurston Road
Bernard, ME 04612

Kitchen Table Bistro
1840 W Main St
Richmond, VT 05477
(802) 434-8686

American Flatbread
46 Lareau Road
Waitsfield VT 05673
(802) 496-8856