Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's been a while

And my love of heading out into the city for cocktails, apps and shameless shenanigans is still as true as ever. But professionally, I'd like to concentrate on things of greater societal importance...like Philadelphia City Council meetings, for instance.

Today [the last meeting of the year] it was ugly sweaters, skateboarding vandals and digital billboards. Tomorrow, the world!


Look how awesome ----------------------------------------->

Seriously though. I can't be the only one that thinks local government is exciting...am I?

Either way. There's important stuff happening. And I'll be here to tell you all about it.

But first, some of those shenanigans!

Cheers!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Free pretzels at Philly Pretzel Factory



Whether you know me in real life or strictly online, you know I love the ‘F’ word. (It’s one of my all-time favs). And this week, we have Philly Pretzel Factory and LevelUp. to thank for dropping an f-bomb on us.

This week is free pretzel week at Philly Pretzel Factory and anyone who pays with their phone using the LevelUp app, will automatically receive $5 towards their purchase.

UPDATE: LevelUp has UPPED the ante to $10. 
Now, you can get 25 pretzels (which would normally be $9) for free. Boom.


This deal is good through July 20th at the following locations:

1001 Market St. The Gallery
1500 Market St. Philadelphia
1600 JFK Blvd. Suburban Station Philadelphia
1839 Chestnut St. Philadelphia
132 S. 11th St. Philadelphia
1532 Sansom St. Philadelphia


< On a side note, while surfing their website for images, I swear on my mother’s eyes that I got a whiff of fresh baked pretzels…crazy.

Go get yours! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dinner at American Cut

You can only imagine my excitement when I was invited to dinner at American Cut, Marc Forgione’s restaurant in the Revel Resorts. I’d yet to go to Revel, so expectations were running high. For better or worse, preconceived notions are a part of human nature. You draw from past experiences and try to fit the unfamiliar into some mold that you already know: like casino dining. It’s pretty standard across the board. You’ve tried one casino joint you’ve tried them all, right? 

http://www.kodakgallery.com/gallery/creativeapps/slideShow/Main.jsp;jsessionid=19D6FBA77FE9EBC4A46C9A709D37C3E9.ecom204_main?token=974226064214%3A2117702586&fbTitle=Check+out+my+photos+at+the+Kodak+Gallery&fbThumbURI=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.kodakgallery.com%2Fimaging-site%2Fservices%2Fdoc%2F6160770841105%2Fjpeg%2FBG%2F.jpg%3Fp%3D5417&_requestid=65883Not so, my friends. I’ve eaten a fair share in Atlantic City and with each meal came it’s own sordid stories, some with better outcomes than others. And I can say in good conscious, American Cut is impressive. And this sordid story ended with BJs, dolled out by Chef Forgione himself. No, for real! Read on.

American Cut is a quintessential steak house: the menu offers raw, cold, and hot apps, and the steaks, sides, and sauces are all served a la carte. The chairs are large, the lights are low, and the vibe is impressive. A big-ass dominating eagle greets you in the entryway, so much so that your awe is only briefly interrupted by the sights and sounds of aging guests in sport coats belittling hostesses. The usual. 

We were seated at a table towards the rear of the restaurant, in view of the open kitchen. To my surprise, Chef Marc was not only there, but even offered up conversation and a recommendation.

“Get the Tomahawk Chop, for the table,” he said.

At his request, we chose only our entrees and he would take care of the rest.

First out was a Hiramasa Tartare with a Sechuan button, avocado, and Saratoga chips.

Hiramasa, Tuna & Shrimp
Photo by Know it All Philly

It came with directions on a a step-by-step process. First, chew up the Sechuan peppercorn: a little tingle will wake up your tongue. Next take the chip and get a scoop of the hiramasa and avocado giving your tongue an instant cooling sensation. A fun way to start. More importantly, the fish was cold, fresh and the perfect pair to the creamy avocado.

Photo by Know it All Philly
Photo by Know it All Philly
< The tuna was delish; sliced paper thin, and delicately wrapped around a golf-ball sized tomato. The shrimp > (sorry for the blurr) were submerged in a flavorful cocktail sauce. A solid rendition of a classic. 



OG 1924 Hotel Caesar Salad

Photo by Know it All Philly
Next up was the OG 1924 Hotel Caesar Salad. A work station was wheeled out table side and back to chat it up, was the chef. 

He told us that he prefers that the servers chop the salad table-side, this way, he knows that it's properly dressed. Lucky for us, he was up for a demonstration and did it himself. 

Though it looks overdressed, the creamy, zesty Caesar dressing was perfectly portioned over the fresh, crisp romaine. 
Photo by Know it All Philly








Bacon & Eggs

Photo by Know it All Philly

I'm a Philly girl. And scrapple is one thing that's close to my heart. You can call it lips and ass-holes all you'd like, but it's not gonna slow me down. Especially when doused with syrup. 

That being said, while his accent may confuse you, Forgione is from New York. And when I heard him say "mustard" in his scrapple dish description I nearly threw it in reverse. It sounded like sacrilege to me. 


Truth be told, how dare I second guess an Iron Chef because it sure was tasty! Crisp scrapple, gooey egg yolk, and that tang of mustard?! It's literally a whole new flavor combination and I'm all about it.



Next out were the BBQ Baked Oysters, the Chili Lobster with Texas Toast, and the Bone Marrow with Burgandy Escargot and a ‘James Beard Salad' which Marc explained was Beard’s favorite – parsley and onion. All were solid winners, hands down. The oysters were fun, with a kind of A-1 flavor. If I could bathe in the chili lobster broth I would. And the marrow was out of this world.
I'll let you scroll through on the food porn shots.

BBQ Baked Oysters

Photo by Know it All Philly

Chili Lobster


Photo by Know it All Philly

Bone Marrow

Photo by Know it All Philly



Photo by Know it All Philly
Being the only woman at the table, I had felt completely stereotypical ordering the 10 oz. filet topped with foie gras, but I did and was perfectly happy with my choice.

I sliced through the charred exterior to reveal a perfectly pink and juicy medium-rare filet. The foie was crisp and creamy and the red wince sauce (not pictured) that I had chosen brought all the flavors together wonderfully.

Sometimes, when I write about my food experiences and even whilst I’m enjoying eating them, I have a temporary moment of disbelief. People are starving in the world, there’s war and sorrow. And here I am quipping about the gender implications of my ordering preferences. 

Photo by Know it All PhillyWtf. This is not my beautiful life. Nah mean?
Back to the meal at hand.

Between the hen of the woods mushrooms, the beer battered onion rings, and the truffled, twice-baked parmesan potatoes, I completely forgot to try both the spinach and the corn that were ordered. But these twice-baked potatoes (see below) are absolutely not to be missed.  

Photo by Know it All Philly
Of the three men whom rounded out our party of four, each ordered a variation on a theme: one with a steak and the chili lobster, one with a steak and the bone marrow and the third, a hanger steak with foie.

When the Tomahawk chop hit the table, flaked by half a dozen sides, each settled into its own cast iron pot, visions of Fred Flintstone dancing around with a brontosaurus bone flashed through my head.

      Tomahawk Ribeye Chop

Photo by Know it All Philly

Did I mention, the Pinot Noir by the glass? There’s only the one. It’s a wonderful match to the flavors of the menu; it’s served in a small carafe and poured at the table.

The wait staff was wonderful: well spoken, attentive, and friendly. 


And to have the Chef there was an especially nice touch. He warned that they’d have to wheel us out. And they nearly did. Dessert was a meal in itself and not to be missed. 


 Mini Ice Cream Cones 

Photo by Know it All Philly


 Pineapple Cake


Photo by Know it All Philly

 Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Photo by Know it All Philly

 Chocolate




Holy dinner: that was delish.  So get to American Cut. It's totally worth the scratch.

Oh yeah, BJs. I knew I forgot something. Dinner at American Cut isn't complete without a BJ, said Chef Marc as he passed out Banana infused Jameson, chilled with a single cube. Ice cold, very cool. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Get the Foobooz Discount: Taste of the Nation, tonight




The city's food community gathers tonight to end childhood hunger during Taste of the Nation at the Loews Hotel, May 7, at 6:30 p.m. 

Why should you buy a ticket? Locally, Taste of the Nation goes to benefit The Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, Philabundance, The Food Trust, and The Pennsylvania Hunger Action Center. 

Meaning, you can help all of these organizations at once! Plus, there are tons of restaurants participating (check out the list below) and you can get a discounted ticket through Foobooz.





Friday, May 4, 2012

First Friday: Hot Stops for the Rest of Us

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to be a hipster or a starving artist to partake in First Friday. I know, I know, big shocker, right. And just because you don't have a friend showing a coffee shop full of 3x5 cards decorated with the feelings of the ocean, you shouldn't feel like you're on the outs.

Check out these stops and be part of the action. And even though Old City 'proper' has lost the unofficially exclusive rights to First Friday, its still the best place to start a First Friday crawl.


OLD CITY
  • Drink Philly always hosts a First Friday shindig. This month, check out work by featured artists, Jessica Berlin, Monica Lui, Joi Washington, and Drew Scavello. There will be live jazz, and  drinks and snacks from The Boilermaker, Wash West's new tavern from the peeps over at Farmer's Cabinet. The event is free and open to all. You just have to sign up to be on Drink Philly's newsletter list.
  • The Race Street Pier is kicking off a season of events tonight with Park After Dark. From 7 p.m. - 9 p.m., check out the Art Star Craft Bazaar teaser event. Live entertainment and great food are promised. (Art Star is back next weekend, May 12 - 13, on Penn's Landing).

NOLIBS
  • Northern Liberties is getting into the action with its inaugural NoLibs First Friday tonight. There are tons of businesses involved, offering 10% discounts and some complimentary cocktails from 5 p.m. - 8 p.m. Check their Facebook page for a list of participating places. There are a bunch, on both 2nd and 3rd streets.


FISHTOWN
  • A Food Truck Pop-Up makes Fishtown a must for tonight's festivities. From 6 p.m. -11 p.m., at the Lutheran Settlement House, at 1340 Frankford Avenue. The Philadelphia Mobile Food Association recruited Little Baby's Ice Cream, Pitruco, Spot Burgers and Zea Mae's Kitchen for tonight's events. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Lutheran Settlement House, a non-profit benefiting and educating adults and seniors and those affected by homelessness and domestic violence. 


'May the Fourth Be With You' at Please Touch



Today, Friday May 4, celebrate Star Wars Day at the Please Touch Museum. There will be outer-space themed activities, Star Wars toys on display, a Star Wars themed art experience, and characters wandering the museum throughout the day.

From 3 p.m. - 5 p.m., Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers will lead museum guests in an Imperial March Parade.

So bust out those costumes and head over: Jedi robes recommended.

Finding Flea Markets: Fairmount

It's that time again. The time when only the threat of rain could put a damper on the haggling and browsing of the sidewalk market.

This weekend, head to 22nd & Fairmount from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., where over 200 vendors will be set up along the perimeter of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Last year's browsing was good: lots of old records, 'jungadells' (if someone knows how to properly spell that, post in the comments) and a ton of last minute Mother's Day gift ideas.

For more info, head to philafleamarkets.org or, in case of a flea market emergency, call the 24-hour info line...215-625-FLEA.

(really?!)


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Free Lunch at Reading Terminal Market

If you're in the vicinity of 12th and Filbert, stop in to the Reading Terminal Market for a free lunch on Wednesday, February 22, 2012. To celebrate the market's 120th Anniversary, the Market will be offering $10 towards your lunch from 11am - 4pm.

I know. The offer is wonderful. But there's always a hitch.

Luckily, this one is pretty simple. All you have to do is pay for lunch using the LevelUp app, a mobile app that allows you to pay with your phone. It's making its way throughout the city's merchants (250 to date), but has yet to really take off.

But if nothing else, free lunch can do it! Get yours at one of the 30 participating vendors.

Reading Terminal Market 51 North 12th Street  Philadelphia, PA 19107

Monday, January 16, 2012

Opa Launches Happy Hour with Complimentary Eats

There's no better way to entice the city's fiscally challenged, yet stylishly savvy to your swank Midtown Village restaurant than to launch your brand new happy hour with two hours of freebies and some undeniably great deals.

This Thursday, January 19, from 5 - 7pm, Opa will be kicking off its first-ever happy hour by offering complimentary food and drinks during unannounced half hour intervals. 

Opa's Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday, from 5pm – 7pm. On the agenda:

$1 Skewers
$2 Sliders
$3 Craft Beers
$3 Greekified Fries
$3 Meatballs
$4 House Wine
$5 Specialty Cocktails
$5 Sparkling Wine

Please be advised, these recession proof prices are only available at the bar. So get there early for a seat!

Btw, they're also doing a "Spread the word and win" promo. Like them on facebook or follow them on twitter and be entered to win a free happy hour. Winners will be named nightly through the end of the month. 

Opa 1311 Sansom Street Philadelphia, Pa

Le Virtu Hosts Winter Festival to Benefit Project H.O.M.E.

Philadelphia offers more than its fair share of Italian restaurants that run the gamut from cliché to half decent to lauded and authentic. Le Virtu has praised as the latter and boasts being one of only a handful of Italian restaurants in the country dedicated to the region of Italy known as Abruzzi. The area, about three hours east of Rome, is rich in history, food, tradition and for my family in particular, home.


The thing about Abruzzi is that while the land is rich, those who work it generally aren't. Luckily the Abruzzese (people of Abruzzi) know how to make the most of what's afforded. In the dead of winter, hearty soups, meats and breads can make every meal a feast.


At Le Virtu this Thursday, January 19, from 5pm - 8pm, owners Francis Cratil-Cretarola, Catherine Lee and Chef Joe Cicala will host La Cottora, a traditional Abruzzese winter festival.


The menu includes Sagne e Fasciul’, the Chef's variation of Abruzzi's pasta fagiole served with panini made with porchetta. There will be house-made hot mulled wine, apple cider with spiced rum and warm Abruzzese punch. There will also be biscottipizzelle cookies and roasted chestnuts 

The entire event will be held in La Virtu's outdoor space around several wood burning fires. And the best part? No, not the mulled wine. All the proceeds go to Project H.O.M.E., a non-profit aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness in Philadelphia.


Le Virtu 1927 E. Passyunnk Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19148

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Philly Based Web Series ~ My Ruined Life

When a friend of mine passed me the link to Portlandia's "Is it Local" skit I almost cried. It was hysterical. And also the first webisode I'd watched.

Recently, a new web series was sent my way - My Ruined Life.

It's got something to it, plus a whole lot of Philly roots. Check it out and see for yourself.


My Ruined Life: Trailer 2 from Retro Peel Productions on Vimeo.


Check out the series here.