Monday, September 25, 2006

My good friend Angela from Ripon recently went on vacation with her mother to Alaska. When I heard about this trip I was insanely jealous because she was going at that special time of year when there is just an hour or two of darkness every night. Plus, new food experiences! I asked her to take pictures of things she ate, and of course she only remembered to take pictures on a single occasion. But that's okay, food blogging is not for the uncommitted,and it was her vacation after all. Many non-food Alaska pictures can be found here.

So, in Fairbanks, Angela and her mother visited The Gold Dredge #8. Pictured here are Angela and Connie working hard mining for gold. According to their website, the Gold Dredge #8 considers lunch an important part of the historical and social experience of mining for gold.

"Experience the gold mining legacy of Fairbanks at Gold Dredge No. 8, a National Historic District. This unique artifact of Alaskan gold mining offers visitors the chance to experience the thrill of prospecting.

Described as either a floating workhorse or a mechanical gold pan, Gold Dredge No. 8 extracted millions of ounces of gold from the frozen Alaskan ground. Today, the Gold Dredge No. 8 National Historic District serves as a monument to the hard working miners who built Fairbanks.

While visiting Gold Dredge No. 8, you can keep busy all day. Begin with a guided tour through the dredge, then strike it rich yourself panning for gold!

Don't worry if you don't know how, we'll show you. After panning your gold, visit the local "Assay Office" and have your gold weighed.

Enjoy a hearty Miner's Stew lunch, daily from 11-3 in our historic dining hall. Bring the kids and spend the whole day digging for gold!

Our unique combination of historic relics, friendly tour guides, hands-on gold panning experience and hearty lunch will ensure a memorable time for all at Gold Dredge No. 8."

This is a close up of the stew that was majority of the "Miner's Lunch". Looks pretty tasty and just the sort of stick to your ribs meal you'd expect to be served in a dining hall at a place that celebrates the tradition of panning for gold, year round in Alaska.

Here is a nice picture of Angela's dinner. She said the stew "had onions, potatoes, peas, carrots, corn, and beef. The blueberry muffin thing was really good. It had that crumbly topping (no clue what it is, but it comes on like coffee cake and stuff like that) that I really like. There was iced tea too, but I didn't have any because I don't like iced tea, but my mom said it was pretty good. Oh yeah, and the biscuit was really freaking good too; nice and flaky with a hard outside. It was good food. I'd probably get sick of it if I had to eat it everyday like the miners probably did."

Apparently they raked in 25 bucks worth of gold too, but it took a while.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Eating Omaha, Nebraska

Seriously Jimmy John's sandwich shop (72nd Street, one block south of dodge) makes the best hoagie west of Philly. The bread is so soft and perfect. They put just the right about of mayo and lettuce, the tomatoes are always roma and are delicious. Can't get enough Jimmy John's when I'm in Omaha. There used to only be one JJ's in Lincoln, NE. Natalie was actually the one who introduced me to it down on 14th and O after a long night of drinking beer and smoking cigarettes.

Another night I took out some steaks, which my parents usually have just sitting in the freezer waiting (what??!!??) and made a veggie pasta salad with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, red and yellow peppers and my homemade mustard dill dressing. I'd also like to point your attention to the bright purple spoon in the salad bowl. This spoon will be left to me in my mother's will. We've had it since, forever, we can't find another one like it. I will have it.

They look beautiful together, no? And it was a super simple meal with good contrast, the steak was hot and salty, the pasta salad cold, refreshing and a little tangy with the vinegar and mustard.

I met Sarah Burke out for martinis one night and even though I'd already eaten dinner a few hours earlier, I had the munchies. I ordered the Maryland crab dip with tortilla chips. This place is Charlie's on the Creek at 88th and Maple. Not to be confused with Charlie's on the Lake at 144th and L. Either way, luscious crab dip.

One of Dave and Claire's favorite places to dine out is Katie's for Greek food down on 40th and Dodge. I usually get the small Gyro sandwich and have trouble finishing it. Seriously.delicious.gyro. You may be drawn in to the place up Dodge with it's King Kong statue, but if it's authentic greek you want, go to Katie's.

Another reason the Gyro sandwich is sufficiently filling is that I can usually talk Mom and Dad into ordered the Saganaki, or the flaming cheese. The waitress brings out a small pan with the breaded and fried cheese in the center. She pours on some liquor, sets it on fire, yells "Opa" and then squeezes half of a fresh lemon on the flames, then sets it down for you to eat with their delicious pita bread. Love it!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

On an occasional weekend, I drive a few hours west and south to Shrewsbury in order hang out with my good friend from college, Donal, and his fun roommates Blake and Jill. Interestingly, all three work in the defense industry with majors like Philosophy, computer science and English, respectively. Go figure.

Anyway, food is usually a big part of these visits, as all members of the Park Street Collective love to eat and most of them enjoy cooking. On this day, however, we didn't cook, but hit up an Italian place in Glen Rock called Mignano Brothers.

We started with the Mignano Brother's fries, which would be insane to eat on your own, as the fries are smothered with three different kinds of cheese, bacon crumbles and other luscious goodies, but as a starter split four ways, it was awesome.

I ordered the regular stromboli. Presentation wasn't big at this restaurant, as you can see, the stromboli, which is rather attractive in it's own right, was just slapped on a plate and was accompanied by a small plastic cup filled with marinara sauce.

Inside was a treasure trove of yummy. Layers of Italian meats were surrounded with both mozzarella and ricotta cheese as well as sweet peppers. My only complaint was that it was a bit watery. I'm unsure of whether the excess water came from the cheeses or the peppers, but in either situation, the outside and bottom of my stromboli was wet and subsequently soggy as a result of first cutting in to it. Regardless, it wasn't necessarily a problem as I inhaled half of it at that moment, but as the other half was leftover for another occasion, it probably wasn't so awesome.

Mignano Bros Ristorante Italiano
14 Main St, Glen Rock, PA 17327
(717) 235-6884

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Two weekends ago, Alison and I hopped in the car and drove a few hours to Rehoboth, Delaware. Friends rented a place for the week and invited us down for the weekend, we had great weather, I let myself get a horrible sunburn and we ate and drank well. One thing I'd been wanting to do for a while since being in this area is to try blue crab. It's one of those meals where beer and napkins are a necessity and you'll probably end up hungry and drunk four hours after you start. What could be better?

E, Chad, Sam, Carrie, Brooke. Here we are midway through the meal


My first blue crab. Isn't he sweet? There is a decent about of meat in the two claws, but the majority lies hidden in the sides of the body. Blue crab require more work than say King crab or even Snow crab, and the amount of edible matter is lower despite the increased work required. I like the flavor that the Old Bay seasoning/boil imparts, but occasionally it overpowered the flavor of the crab.


This bag contains a quarter bushel. We got two bags for six people and only had a few leftover. In total we had half a bushel and it was around 85 bucks. We didn't find any special tools were required other than some butter knives used to crack the claws. I found the back of an ice cream scoop useful for the same task.


Getting to the meat of the crab is a time consuming process, but with sweet rewards. One must often multi-task, however, to avoid extreme boredom. Carrie exemplifies this multi-tasking behavior by talk on her phone and dissecting crab at same time.