Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday, Blog!

Well, it came to my attention today that this blog’s 1st birthday passed me by this weekend—Saturday the 23rd, to be precise. How I could have forgotten it, I don’t know! I think I knew, in my heart of hearts, because there was a lot of good food before me.

Saturday was rather tame, actually, food-wise and life-wise. It wasn’t until that evening, as I surveyed the bareness of my cupboards and fridge, did things get interesting. I didn’t have very much—2 shallots, half a bag of penne, and tomatoes. I also had squash, but I was strangely not in the mood (perhaps its because I used it in a take of Courtney’s 1-Pot Wonder two nights before…). So I sliced the shallots and put water on to boil. Then I quartered my cherry tomatoes and threw them over medium-low heat and sautéed them. With butter.

Yes, yes, my Saturday two-pot dish turned out to be a decadent mess of tender tomatoes and shallots, with just enough butter and the tomatoes’ own juices to make it saucy. The penne was al dente, of course, and the entire dish had a full, rich flavor. It was like eating like a queen for less than $5.

The next day, with my dear G.F’s triumphal return from working at a camp for 2.5 weeks, started with brunch at Ants Pants Cafe. I had heard both good and bad things about this brunch/lunch places—mostly bad, but the good reviews were seriously glowing. I decided to try it out for myself and I am glad I did. Ants Pants a pretty small place on South Street—only a couple of tables inside, with more extensive seating outside. Their menu isn’t massive, but I was pleased to see simple and no-nonsense food on the menu (none of those culinary brunch feats performed at places such as Sabrina’s). My G.F. chose the bacon, cheddar, and egg scramble, with hand-cut potato chips and a chocolate milkshake. The milkshake was excellent (chocolate shavings!) and I really liked to chips. I had the “bacon stack”: layers of arugula, tomato, bacon, and sunny-side up eggs all stacked on country white toast (I substituted a bagel. Good choice on my part!). I loved it. The flavors were clean, the eggs perfect, and the bacon was the perfect degree of crsipiness. (Doesn’t this make you crave brunch? Go!) In fact, there's a picture of the bacon stack on the website.

The rest of the day was taken up by window shopping and enjoying these last sun-drenched days of summer. We celebrated the beautiful day with gelato from Capogiro (I had blueberries and cream and crème fraiche—not nearly as good as the English Sea Salt gelato they’ve had this entire summer. Bring back the sea salt, Capogiro!). Later, we got Indian food at a place near my apartment—samosas, paneer, chicken, and warm naan and basmati rice. A tasty end to a lovely weekend.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ominvore's 100 Meme

How the Omnivore's 100 Works:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional: Post a comment at Very Good Taste, linking to your results.

My Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Wow! 44/100. I thought it would be a lot less....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dock Street Beer and Pizza

Well, over the weekend, I finally made it to the Dock Street, located in the beautiful, beautiful Firehouse at 50th and Baltimore. So, sooo many of my friends and coworkers have recommended this place and its beer and pizzas for soo long. And I have never gotten myself there. I even get acupuncture treatments on the third floor of the same building (yes, this is a shout-out for Philadelphia Community Acupuncture!) and I haven't propelled myself through the door.

But on Saturday, three friends and I finally did.

It is a really pleasant space, with lots of light and art, and a big wood-burning stove to make pizzas, paninis, and calzones. Dock Street also brews its own beer, which is delicious. We all tried the Bubbly Wit, a champagne yeast based white beer. It was quite quaffable, with a bite and a definite champagne after taste. We got 2 pizzas and I order the char-grilled sausage calzone. The California pizza, with sun-dried tomatoes and small dollops of goat cheese melted in, was also quite good.

My one issue with the Dock Street was the very salty crust, and the fact that my friends and I were on rather much the same wave-length and wanted sausage, instead of a wide array of the pizzas. I will certainly return to the Dock Street and taste more of their beers and eat of their pizzas (the salads look excellent as well!) I think all my readers should go too.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Summer afternoon

Well, my recovery from my trip to Israel was long and hard. I had a nasty, nasty cold that had to be treated with copious quantities of hot water, lemon, and honey. And the jet lag—oh, the jet lag! It was very difficult. Needless to say, I didn’t cook very much once I got home. My darling GF made all sorts of delightful things for me, like macaroni and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches, and lot of other stuff that involves cheese.

So the first time I really cooked was the following Thursday, when our dear friend J came for dinner. I wanted something simple, something quick, something light—something summery, in short. I hit on a recipe for orecchiette pasta with broccoli and asiago. On a whim and in homage for J (who is really, very adorable), I replaced the orecchiette with Trader Joe’s alphabet pasta, which was very flavorful. I love when you can really taste the vegetables in the pasta. Combine with these tasty letters was blanched and lightly sautéed broccoli crowns and garlic. All together it was a healthful and simple dish.

My favorite part of the meal, however, wasn’t something I made at all. My dear GF wanted to contribute and she chose a cherry tomato salad. I just love how something so simple can just be so amazingly good. The ingredients: cherry tomatoes sliced in half and scallions, tossed in a Dijon, vinegar, and olive oil dressing. It was like taking a bite out of those heady, humidity-heavy summer afternoons.