Wednesday, December 23, 2009


152 West Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19123
(267) 886-9556

Ok, I am going to make a bit of a bit claim here. As far as I am concerned, Paesano's has effectively created the best sandwich in the world. Their self titled sandwich is quite possibly the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Ever. And this is in light of the fact that it was the third sample of their sandwiches I ate that day. So extreme hunger did NOT come into play. What came into play however, was perfectly cooked brisket, creamy ricotta and roasted tomato, the burn of a good horseradish mayo, and a perfectly fried, yolky egg delicately balanced on top. This is a change up from the original Paesano, and a welcome one at that. Don't get me wrong, the original was great, but you simply cannot, in good faith, compare it to perfection. I would gladly take on any and all competitors for greatest sandwich in the world, and watch the others, though delicious, fall short every time. This is like a rustic Italian gourmet cheesesteak, but I have never eaten any cheesesteak that can hold a candle to this beast. Well, now that I have gotten my boasting out of the way (as though I had something to do with it, besides being infatuated with it), look at some pictures, read about some other incredible sandwiches, and GO TO PAESANO'S.

On to the Zawzeech (which I am assuming is pseudo Italian for sawseege). This sandwich is simply sweet Italian sausage, caramelized peppers and onions, sharp prov, and marinara like the Italian grandmother of your dreams might cook up on a good day. Simple, perfectly executed, and delicious. One trick they have going for them is their pans. They are completely covered in caked on delicious, delicious grease. The other thing that really makes a sandwich here is love. Attention to detail might be a more objective term for it. They painstakingly make every sandwich perfect. And it shows. The sausage is fried for a couple of minutes to brown it up, and it is SO GOOD with the overly caramelized onions and peppers, sharp prov and the most delicious sauce make this one ANOTHER winner.

Last but certainly not least is the Daddy Wad. It sounds gross, but it is actually their name for a traditional Italian Hoagie. Mortadella, and salami with sharp provolone (can never go wrong with sharp prov) as a base, with sweet peppers, arugula, tomato, hot peppers, and onion, and a splash of house dressing. Delicious. A hearty traditional Italian, done with quality and love. I am already dreaming of my next visit. Also, they are soon to open another shop where the old Butchers Block cafe (good riddance), used to be in the Italian Market (9th and Christian). Apparently some problem with PGW running the gas lines, and giving them the run-around is the hold up to them opening. I can't believe PGW made something inconvenient. Strange.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

By George!

12th and Arch
Reading Terminal Market

I have eaten at almost every place in the historic Reading Terminal Market, but in all the hustle and bustle I never realized that By George! makes cheesesteaks. It's not hard to believe, because there are about 3 other steak places in there, not to mention the fact that that is NOT the place I would normally go for a cheesesteak. But as I was walking by the other day, I saw their grill. And I noticed the portion of sizzling steak on there. Upon deducing that it was just a regular steaks worth, which could have easily been two steaks, I knew it would be worthwhile. By the time I saw wild mushroom's as an option, I was salivating heavily, and could feel my arteries preemptively squeezing and hardening. Hunkering down before the storm hit.

So I ordered the wild mushroom steak, with grilled onions and extra cheese. If you are going to go for it, you might as well get the extra cheese. A crusty roll can lend to a dry steak, and you can be left searching for cheese. By ordering extra, there is no excuse for a dry roll.

This was a great cheesesteak. Good chopped meat, gooey cheese, and just the right amount of grease. The bread held up perfectly, and really sopped up the fat. The mushrooms were meaty, earthy and absolutely perfect with a the hearty steak. It was highly satisfying, and an ample specimen. I would certainly recommend this over any of the other steak places in the market. They have a variety of toppings, and you could alternatively order regular mushrooms instead. One gripe, no refills. I mean if we had just spent $20 there, and were waiting for our food, and drank half of a soda, fill it up so the customer can enjoy a full beverage with the salty treats they have just purchased. What will it cost you, (literally) two cents?

Charlie's Hamburgers

(610) 461-4228
336 Kedron Ave
Folsom, PA 19033

Charlie's is an old-school burger and shake shack. They are closed on Tuesdays. They only serve hot-dogs and hamburgers, and they cook them on a flat top that still has grease from the time of the greasers still glistening off of the florescent lighting. It is a hamburger stand, and that is it. And it is delicious. This is what McDonald's started as. A simple grilled burger. Nothing gourmet, nothing you have never seen. But it is done well. Greasy and tasty. The black and white milkshakes are also a treat. You can order your burger Charlie style, and they will include ketchup, mustard, pickles, relish, and grilled onions. Perfect. I didn't realize that you can get double burgers, and therefore after I ate my first, I ordered another. At $2.40 a pop, that's a hit I can take. If you are out in Folsom, you need to check this place out. The fonz and company might be hanging out planning their next prank on their cross town rivals. It's that old school.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I found this on Stevil's blog. Had to post it, because it's that cool.

Friday, December 18, 2009


10th & Federal
Philadelphia, PA 19147
Phone:(215) 755-1121

I love middle eastern food, and Bitar's is just that, fresh, delicious ethnic food. One of the best parts, it is a block away from two of the worst cheesesteak places in the city that out of towners mysteriously line up for at all hours of the day. Yea, you know which ones I am talking about. So anyway, when I am around the Italian market, and I want something healthy(ish) I always go to Bitars. Plus, unlike every other place around it, they take cards ($10 minimum). And they have a small selection of specialty items, such as huge jars of tahini, fresh hummos (or hummus if you are American) and awesome pita bread. Plus you can find things like 300% harissa. I don't quite understand how all that can fit into a woefully inept can, as I am pretty sure it should be exploding out twice over.

Anyway, they actually make delicious falafel as well, as it is char-grilled instead of fried, and quite garlicy and crispy. But I usually opt for a grilled chicken wrap, or beef and lamb shawarma. You can get all of the options with different fillings, including dolmas INSIDE of the wrap. It's pretty awesome. One drawback, however, is size. They are perfectly reasonable for the average non-glutton, but I could easily put down two. A good option is getting a side of falafel or cucumber salad. If you are hankering for a gyro, this is a great alternative, and it's a bit easier on the figure. Oh and the pictures look like there is alot of lettuce but it's deceiving, the goodness is in there right behind it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Crystal's International Cuisine

Guest blogger Justin Smith, has an awesome write-up on a Gyro place out in Oregon. I can't wait to visit it this summer:

1425 Northwest Monroe Avenue
Corvallis, OR 97330-5884
(541) 752-6403
Corvallis, Oregon has pretty mediocre food on the whole. This is ironic because the region is an absolute mecca for organic vegetables, free-range whatevers, wine, seafood, and an array of other fresh ingredients. This makes for a cook's paradise and an eaters nightmare. Being a grad student with a plethora of free time, I'm definitely an eater. As eaters often do, I've eaten at about every food establishment in this town. Some satisfactory, some downright tearful, then along came Crystal's International Cuisine.

Cyrstal's International Cuisine is a very special place. Formerly, Crystal's Lebanese Cuisine (they have hotdogs and tuna on the menu now so that may have prompted the name change), their menu has everything you can dream up of the shawarma, gyro, falafel variety and some you might not. I've yet to venture into the seafood teritory of the menu but it's just a matter of time. Pictured below is their exquisite lamb gyro. It's about the lenght of a football and weights just as much. An incredible blend of seasoned lamb, saffron rice, and fresh lettuce is accented with an expertly prepared tzatziki sauce. They also dash some sort of special salt/ seasoning on top. It kind of looks like dirt and it is probably 99% MSG but I'm willing to accept that (I ate a whole lot of Doritos as a kid and if that didn't kill me this isn't going to ).

Aside from the food, Crystal's is a very unique place. They've got an array of hookas for sale, a museum of traditional Lebanese musical instruments on the wall, and below the baklava case there's an assortment of very small swords that appear to be for sale. In a pinch this may function as a culural exploration if ever the extreme homogeneity of the Oregon population ever gets you down.

The bottom line is that if you ever find yourself in Corvallis take adavantage of nearly two years of sorting through mediocre restaurants and go straight to Crystal's. Even if you don't like it you're still going to be fed for a whole day for about $6 (does not apply to accomplished "eaters"). It's on Monroe Avenue right across from the OSU campus and literally 5 feet away from Pita Pit.