Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Victory Brewing Co.

650 W Cypress Street
Kennett Square, PA 19348
(484) 730-1870
Website

Already well known for their beer, Victory has a Downingtown location with quite passable food for a brewery. They opened another eatery/brewery down in beautiful Kennett Square, and it makes the flagship location pale in comparison (at least food wise). They built this giant brick building to house the brewery (located on the first floor).


As you can see, they are not hurting for tap options either.


The kitchen at this location has a lot more freedom to experiment, and my word!, can they come up with some dishes. Take for instance the fried cauliflower small plate, on a bed of tahini, za'atar, and olive oil.


The cauliflower is crispy, perfectly cooked inside, and the dusting of spices worked in perfect harmony with the nutty, creamy, sesame laden dip. This is a fantastic starter. And healthy, which I usually would treat with some level of caution.


The Kennett burger, medium rare of course, came with thick sliced, perfectly crispy bacon and a nice melted blue cheese topping. To finish it off, they included world famous Kennett Square mushrooms.


Look at the temp on this burger. Quality, well-seasoned ground beef met with perfect timing.


The second (and favorite of the day) was the Hand Crafted Burger. Cooper sharp, shredded lettuce, red onion, fry sauce, and thick sliced pickles on a sesame seed bun. It was like what a Big Mac could be, if it was made out of actual food and not whatever shit they serve these days. In a word, it was perfect.


Again, they cooked the meat spot-on, and the loosely packed meat was heavenly. I LOVE this burger.


The fries are another winner. Very well salted, expertly fried (and every time I have been back since has been the same), and served with a dynamite malt vinegar aioli. If you dare, ask for an order of the Hop Devil beer cheese to go alongside. You won't be sorry.


I have now eaten here four times, and each time I am blown away at the output. This review is a whole-hearted endorsement of the food at this brewery. It sets the bar very high for brewery grub, and I now consider it the gold standard.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cebula's Bar & Lounge

295 Main Street
Dupont, PA 18641
(570) 655-8809
Website

NEPA is home to the "Pizza Capital of the World" in Old Forge, but to be honest, I didn't really like the look of most of the options there. On a drive up 81, I decided Dupont was the stop for me. They have a gem called Cebula's, which boasts Polish potato crust pizza. When I pulled up, I knew it was the place for me.


A few locals were inside drinking and eating "reheats" which are slices that have been pre-made, and reheated, obviously. There were not a whole host of options, which made sense. Some kind of proprietary hot pepper blend, and the standard garlic powder and oregano. Worked for me.


The slices that came out were surprisingly good. A sort of hybrid of frozen Sicilian and pizzaz, the crust was uniquely soft and airy on top, but still nicely browned on the bottom.


The sauce was crushed tomato and onion, nothing too crazy, but nice and rich.


Now when I say "slices" I'm utilizing my cultural finesse; in the great northeast, they're called "cuts" and a whole pizza pie isn't a pie at all – it's a "tray" – and that's that. Consider yourself learned and don't ask questions. My half-tray boasted 8 large cuts and so I definitely took some to go. I'll admit, a cut of reheats that you reheat again is where it's at.


The cheese, however, was perhaps even stranger than the potato dough. It was a blend of some sort, but definitely had a heavy American cheese presence. I love the creamy texture of American on pizza (once in a while) and it complemented the spongy soft texture of the crust (thanks, potato flour).


At $2.25 a cut, it was cheap for our area, but apparently expensive for NEPA. Either way, I loved the atmosphere, the pizza, and the place. Will definitely stop back when I am on my way up north.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

6 Techniques to Get 86% More Chipotle Burrito (for free!)

Okay, we were contacted by reader Dylan Grosz (< click the link to see his original article), a blogger and intern at Apartement List Rentonomics (no idea what that is, but it must be awesome if their interns are so adept) and were absolutely BLOWN AWAY by his brilliance. Read below, and have your life changed for the better. Dylan - you are a true American culinary hero and we here at Philly Phoodie thank you sincerely for your efforts. Keep up the good work!

apartmentlist-burrito-fillings-at-chipotle

It’s basically a universal truth that the only thing better than Chipotle is…more Chipotle. I’m no religious scholar, but I’m pretty sure heaven is just one big Chipotle restaurant where the guac and chips are ALWAYS free and hell is just some Taco Bell. So when one of my co-workers at Apartment List brought up the question of how to hack Chipotle to get the most burrito for your buck, I was intrigued. If ever there was a noble intern task, this was obviously it.

Through a lot of burrito research and even more company write-offs and office burrito donations, I’ve discovered these 6 tips that can increase the size of your burrito by 86% without spending any more money.

You’re welcome, world. Please send the Nobel Prize to my mom’s house.

The Experiment

apartmentlist-ordering-burritos

So I took my geeky love of data and my black hole of a belly to Chipotle for several days and ordered 5 burritos each day (35 burritos total), then returned to the office to meticulously separate out and weigh the ingredients. Finally, I combined all the best methods to confirm the total burrito size increase. Additional methodology footnotes are below, but for now – on to the meat of the experiment (pun intended).

Tip 1: Get a burrito bowl  with a tortilla on the side

Tip 1

At its onset, Chipotle introduced the innovative burrito bowl that combined its authentic Mexican cuisine with the ease of knife-and-fork dining. Burrito legend has it that the bowl’s lack of tortilla constraints influences servers to give burrito bowl customers huge portions in general. In my experiments, I found that this method alone gets 15% more ingredients across the board, without changing anything else about the order. Still craving that full burrito experience? No problem – you can easily ask for a tortilla on the side. Which leads to our next tip…

Tip 2: Double wrapping (asking for two tortillas)

Tip 2

This method of calling in tortilla reinforcements was initially introduced by Chipotle to save burritos that busted open their first tortilla, but Chipotle sometimes lets you ask for a double wrap for free, which adds another 4.25 ounce tortilla to your burrito (ask for the tortillas at the end, when the staff just wants you to go away). Congratulations, your burrito just became 25% bigger. Ordering tortillas on the side and wrapping it yourself may be a daunting task for some, but if you value the time it takes you to wrap the burrito at $0 per hour (hey, burritos are worth your time), then you should add this method to your burrito maximization arsenal.

Tip 3: Order both kinds of rice

Tip 3

The next time your server asks if you want white or brown rice, request both types – you’ll get almost 93% more rice, at no extra cost. This carbo-loading method increases the overall weight of the burrito by 23%. As an ancient American proverb puts it: more burrito, more food, more happiness.

Tip 4: Order both types of beans

Tip 4

Just like rice, there are two different types of beans we can choose from: black and pinto. If you really want to maximize burrito weight, asking for both kinds gets you 92% more beans (another note: we aren’t responsible for the gas you’ll be having afterwards). With this method, you get a 16% burrito weight increase.

Tip 5: Half/half meats

Tip 5

In theory, asking for half chicken, half steak should yield one full serving, but our tests showed that you actually get 54% more meat – basically 3/4 scoop of each. This increase in meat grows the burrito’s weight by around 9%. You must note, however, that you’ll be charged for the more expensive of the meats, but we’ve put the many finance and accounting degrees here at Apartment List to good use and determined that it’s still financially worth it.

Tip 6: Ask for fajita veggies and corn salsa

Tip 6

Hidden away and rarely mentioned by servers, the fajita vegetable mix and corn salsa are free to add, and taste good to boot. These underappreciated ingredients will cure any feeling you might have that your burrito might be lacking in terms of a balanced Food Pyramid. Grilled veggies and corn not only add more color and flavor to your burrito, but they also add around 2.55 ounces, increasing the weight by about 15% (vs. the standard burrito). Not only do you have more burrito, but you can also tell your friends and family that your burrito is totally 100% healthy.

Add it all together and you get….

apartmentlist-maximized-burrito-on-scale

Doing all the tricks together (you’ll have to double-wrap the burrito yourself) gets you a giant burrito that weighs almost 32 ounces, at no additional cost! You’re going to need a course to learn how to wrap all that. Don’t worry about finding one: we got you covered.

See below for the change in weight, by ingredient:

Table

So, in a nutshell:

There you have it. By using each of the six tricks I suggest, you may end up with a little less cheese and salsa (that comes at the end, when your bowl will already be pretty full), but you get a lot more rice, beans, and meat.My final burrito weighed 86% more than the control. Sounds like it’s time to go to Chipotle! 

Methodology:

I ordered a lot of burritos.

Every day for about two weeks, I, the intern, set off to the same Chipotle around 3 P.M. to order five same burritos from the same shift of workers. The control burrito I compared everything to was a white rice, black beans, chicken, mild salsa, and cheese burrito. I excluded guacamole and sour cream from all burritos so that separating ingredients wouldn’t be such a hellish nightmare that would make me cry into the burrito and mess up the data. The weights I use are an average across these five burritos. Yes, that does mean I ordered 35 burritos.

It’s okay, though, it was all a write off.

writeoff

There was no need to worry about wasting food afterwards because after I was done with the burritos I left them on the office kitchen counter and they all mysteriously disappeared within a few minutes. For some, my five burritos per day offering didn’t fully satisfy, so some coworkers and I had a contest to see who could get the biggest burrito (that we’d get to eat). The winner didn’t even use Tip #1 and got a 30.25 ounce burrito!

Overall, I worked quite a few hours to gather all this data and consequently received funny looks from coworkers. It was then that it hit me how strange it was to be separating burritos at an apartment marketplace company. I have this irking feeling that my boss just didn’t know what to do with me and let me pursue my passion, but that would never happen to an intern. Though, with these astonishing results and all those dirty looks, I’d say it was totally worth it.

August 10, 2015   |    by  

Monday, August 3, 2015

Big Chickie

5520 Rainier Ave South
Seattle, WA 98118
(206) 946-1519
Website

On a recent trip out West, rave reviews from folks I trust on food brought me to Big Chickie. I typically wouldn't seek out rotisserie chicken, but I figured it was worth a try. Big Chickie does things better than what we are used to. Charcoal rotisserie chicken served until they run out. A whole host of sides, and beer.


They've got a great logo too. Located in Hillman City, just about 20 minutes SE of downtown Seattle, they have all outdoor seating, half covered, so the rain can't get in the way of your night out for some down-home cooking.


The whole chicken (for two people) is the way to go, and comes with dips, two sides, and cornbread.


They untie and quarter the bird to order. Look at that skin. The slow charcoal, rotisserie cooking renders out the fat but the skin just keeps it nice and tight and lets it absorb back into the meat; distributes that flava' evenly.


It was so rich, dark and flavorful with tender, meltingly juicy meat underneath. The spice rub has notes of cumin, lots of garlic and paprika.


The flavor was unbelievable. I have been trying to re-create this experience on my Big Green Egg in the time since, and have gotten close, but am not there yet.


As though that beautiful bird wasn't enough, the sides were great as well. Some of them were dangerously close to healthy, but never the less were still flavorful and delicious.


From left: chili glazed carrots, lime glazed sweet potatoes, kale salad, and cheesy potatoes.


Potatoes were the big winner here. Rich, cheesy, and gooey. They had just enough salt, and the potatoes were tender with crispy tops.


Kale salad was surprisingly good, and had raisins, edamame, carrots, and a homemade lemon dressing.


The sweet potatoes were good, but could have used a glaze or something sweet/spicy. They were nice and acidic, but I was just left wanting a bit more.


The chili glazed carrots were incredible. Very spicy, tender, and thoroughly coated in a sweet and smoky glaze. Big fan.


The saddest thing in the world has to be rolling up and seeing the neon below lit up. Some folks after us had that misfortune, and you could hear their heart breaking. Ordering the sides alone is okay, but that bird would bring me back.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Gusto

240 South 22nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 546-7200
Website

Gusto is tucked away on 22nd, and to be honest, I totally forgot about it. I ate there years ago (+/- 8) when I lived in Rittenhouse, and it was good, but not that memorable. It's still about the same. But for the prices and quality of ingredients, Gusto earns a hefty 4 cheesesteak rating. The pictures will show you why.


The buffalo chicken cheesesteak hoagie was pretty decent. It had freshly shredded romaine and sliced tomato over gooey chicken smothered in a tangy, spicy buffalo sauce served on a nice crusty roll.


The bread here would be better suited to hosting a po' boy, but even with that, it made for a good vessel.


They certainly didn't skimp on the blue cheese either. It was nothing life changing, but not bad in a pinch (that area is a tough spot for a decent lunch at times).


I have also recently had the Italian hoagie, and though it was a bit fancy for my liking, it was surprisingly delicious. I attribute this to the quality of ingredients they use in all of their food. Again, you could certainly do worse, given the neighborhood.


Did I mention the pricing??? The above mentioned chicken cheesesteak ran a whopping $8 and the Italian hoagie came in at under $7. I mean, DiBruno's would serve the same for about twice the price.


They use Carangi's rolls and this seeded version won my heart. The freshly sliced and generously applied Italian meats and thick chunks of sharp prov didn't hurt either. I mean, it is a fancier version of my favorite Italian and given the competitive pricing in a ritzy part of town, I think I'll be revisiting Gusto sooner than later.


Well played.