Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! What a day this is going to be. Since The Phillies won the World Series, there's a huge parade going on in the city starting a noon. My guess is that most of our city's residents and a fair number of suburban dwellers are going to be flooding the city in hopes of seeing our beloved Phils riding on floats and waving their hands. I can't get out of work, so I'll be making buttercream and apple crisp instead of hanging out on Broad Street with the rest of friends.
Tonight however, I'm mixing up a big pan of my cornbread and a big pot of Turkey Chili, and Alison is making a bowl of guacamole. We're having a group of friends over to watch a cheesy Halloween horror movie and hand out candy to the delightful Trick or Treaters that trapse around the Fairmount neighborhood. Whatever you do tonight, be safe and have fun!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sarcone's Deli

With a thousand tiny store front delis and hundreds of food trucks selling hoagies in this city, it's not hard to find a hoagie that you like, maybe even love. But no hoagie, in my opinion can compare to making the trek down to South Philly and getting a real authentic Italian style hoagie at Sarcone's Deli. If you have out of town friends visiting the City of Brotherly Love, and they're sort of foodies, you'd be doing them a disservice not to take them to Sarcone's for a real sandwich the likes of which they've probably never tasted.
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For authenticity's sake, stick with the Italian varieties. Sarcone's offers 4 varieties of Italian hoagies alone! Pictured here we have the American Italian. It's the mildest of the bunch and piled high with capacola, coteghini, salami, provolone cheese, oil, vinegar, herbs, lettuce, tomato, and onions.
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It may look similar, the but the flavor profile is totally punched up in this second Italian sandwich. The Old Fashioned Italian pictured here is loaded with thinly sliced proscuitto, hot soppressata, hot capacola, sharp provolone cheese, oil, vinegar, herbs, lettuce, tomato, and onions.

Maybe you don't like oil and vinegar all over your sandwich? Try it here, the bread is hearty and fresh enough (being baked just down the street) that it won't tear or leak the dressing all over you like some hoagies would. Besides, if you've just eaten a Sarcone's hoagie you should smell like you just ate one.

Sarcone's Deli
734 South 9th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Sarcone's Deli on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 23, 2008

For me, it's always a fun and interesting experience when online worlds and real-life worlds collide. About a year ago I joined an online foodie community called Foodbuzz as a Featured Publisher. Foodbuzz is a place for food bloggers and foodies without blogs to submit and share recipes, photos, restaurant ratings and great conversation about food. Ryan Stern, a director and editor at Foodbuzz recently hosted a dinner here in Philadelphia for the local Foodbuzz Featured Publishers and I was lucky enough to attend.
Foobuzz FP Dinner (2)
Dinner was held in the smaller private cafe side of Fork, etc. at the beautifully set table pictured above. Our server was attentive and helped make the evening a truly wonderful experience with excellent service and ability to keep the wine glasses full.
Foobuzz FP Dinner (4)
The dinner was really excellent, and I didn't expect any less from Fork. I started with the crispy duck confit with frisée, roasted quince, bacon, gorgonzola, and lime vinaigrette.
Foobuzz FP Dinner (6)
Beet salad was the only dish pictured that I didn't try. Never have I been a fan of beets, though I can say the presentation was lovely. Large chunks of beets were topped with micro greens and crumbled blue cheese, and every other blogger there seemed to love this dish.
Foobuzz FP Dinner (10)
The pan-roasted free-range chicken was served in a massive portion and presentation was tall and gorgeous atop french lentils with bacon and
Foobuzz FP Dinner (11)
The hanger steak was cooked to medium rare, as ordered and served with just cooked through swiss chard and super crispy yucca frites with spicy aioli.
Foobuzz FP Dinner (13)
For dessert I chose the hazelnut financier, a warm cake dusted with powdered sugar and served with white wine poached sekel pears and drizzled with dulce de leche.
Foodbuzz FP
All of the food pictured above was devoured in conjunction with two terrific wines hand picked by our local Foodbuzz wine expert, Joe, from 1WineDude. It was great to meet some more local bloggers who attack eating and drinking with the same nerdy passion that I do, so thanks Foodbuzz for bringing us all together, and thanks to Fork restaurant and their excellent service for making it a night to remember!

306 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19136
Fork on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I'm not shy about my love of the Metropolitan Bakery. I've waxed poetic about it before and have been lucky enough to tour Metro's baking facility up in Fishtown. That's why I'm so excited that Metropolitan Bakery is celebrating their 15th Anniversary.


In celebration of their anniversary Metropolitan Bakery has put together a 15 Month Calendar which touts their fine bakery products as well as input from long-time customers. The calendar features some of the bakery’s best-loved recipes as well as new recipes like spelt salad, sweet & spicy nuts, sea salted cherry chocolate chip cookies, and more. It would be good for you and good for others to purchase this spectacular calender as all of the proceeds from the sale of the calendar will go to Project H.O.M.E., a nationally recognized provider of housing and services for low-income and homeless adults, children and families.

Philadelphia, now is the time to show your support of one of our best bakeries and help give back to community at the same time. Please stop by any Metropolitan Bakery location and pick up a calender and maybe a little sweet treat for yourself.

Trick Or Treat!

Looking for something to do on the eve of Halloween? If you're like me costumes and candy are great for the kiddies, but I'm less and less into dress-up and crappy milk chocolate as I get older.
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Here is a fun event in Philadelphia that makes celebrating Halloween a little more age appropriate. City Food Tours is hosting a Ghoulish Gourmet Trick or Treat event that will make any foodie or Halloween junkie go wild!

The two and half hour adventure will take you on a tour of the city with stops at Capogiro Gelato, Joe Coffee, McGillin’s Olde Ale House, Naked Chocolate Café, Solefood, Tavern 17, Tbar, and Valanni Restaurant. Delicious samples at each shop are included in the $35 dollar price of the tour. Samples will include spiced sangria, Famous 4th Street cookies, Pumpkin Martini's and much more. Each stop will last about 15 minutes and you'll be stuffed and maybe a little drunk by the end of the evening.

According to my contact at City Food Tours, costumes are not required, but if you're into dressing up it will certainly make you the center of attention. Tickets are still available, but act fast, this event is sure to sell out.

Reservations are required and can be made online at or by calling 215-360-1996.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Lots of folks have been praising the newest spot for scarfing down Indian food in Philadelphia. Ekta is located on Girard Avenue in Fishtown. Opened by the former head chef at Tiffin, Ekta is giving Tiffin a run for their money.

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The interior of the place is not much to look at, but take out and delivery are both excellent alternative options to dining in.
Chicken Vindaloo is spicier than any we've had around the city, and a bit more generous with the portion of chicken. A small side of raita is a necessary and welcome accompaniment to the fiery gravy.
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Lamb Rogan Josh is another score for Ekta. Some of the most tender pieces of lamb I've ever had were abundant in the thick flavorful sauce of corriander, cumin and yogurt.

At a buck or two cheaper than my reigning favorite, and with equivalent pick up and delivery service, I may find myself needing to split my affections between two very good Indian restaurants.

250 E. Girard Ave
(Girard & Marlborough)
Philadelphia, PA 19125
Ekta on Urbanspoon

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Abbaye for Brunch

The Abbaye is an inconspicious gem in Northern Liberties. Serving delicious pub food with veggie friendly options until one in the morning every night of the week, it is a sure winner if you're like me and get hungry after a few drinks. Until recently, I'd never thought to try Brunch at The Abbaye, but Jillian said it was amongst her favorite places in the neighborhood when I was craving eggs, so off we went.

The menu is pretty diverse, classics are mixed with modern twists, and there is a nice balance of savory and sweet. Diners can choose from three types of eggs benedict and a plethora of ingredients to create your own omelet. Since it's the The Abbaye, there's a good selection of unique craft beer on tap as well as mimosa's and bloody mary's with a significant kick.
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Tomatoes, onions and cheddar cheese were a winning comibination in this fluffy omelet. Normally, I'm not much into breakfast potatoes. They're ususally just bland plate fillers. Not so at The Abbaye. These potatoes were lovingly prepared and cooked until crispy on the outside, which is essential in my opinion.
The Abbaye
The omelet was good, but the real winner was the Huevos Rancheros. The Abbaye makes their own impression on this class dish by swapping the corn tortillas for savory corn cakes. A healthy portion of homemade spicy beans, two runny eggs and fresh pico de gallo make this the perfect hangover cure and a delicious way to start the day. A bit too much sour cream topped it all off, but it was a decent trade off for the smiley face made from avocado.

If you've loved The Abbaye for pub food, good beer and game watching, make sure to venture there before three in the afternoon on the weekends to sample their delicious brunch options.

The Abbaye
637 N. Third Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123
Abbaye on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

This recipe is easy to put together and very healthy. If you have friends who are watching what they eat, for whatever reason, and dont' feel very confident in the kitchen, this dish practically makes itself and is sure to please.
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4 T extra virgin olive oil
2 jalapeños with seeds
6 garlic cloves
Small white onion
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
5-6 fresh roma tomatoes
1 15 oz can artichoke hearts in water
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (preferably Fire Roasted style)
1/2 c. dry sherry or red wine
Juice from one whole lemon, divided
4 fillets of Tilapia
1 avocado

Heat the oil in a large pot, add the chopped peppers, garlic and onions and cook until the garlic is brown and the onions are translucent. Chop the tomatoes roughly and add to the pot along with the red wine vinegar, the can of artichoke hearts and the crushed tomatoes. Let simmer for 10 minutes or until the roma tomatoes start to break down. Add the wine and half of the lemon juice and stir. Gently lay the Tilapia pieces into the tomato mixture and push down with a spoon so they're covered with the tomato sauce. Cover the pot and let simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through. It should flake easily and look opaque.

De-pit the avocado, peel off the skin and cut the flesh into chunks. Sprinkle with half the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt. Serve the fish with a good heaping ladle of the sauce and top with a spoonful of the avocado.