Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Road Trip | Dinner Party Contest

Remember that time I got to borrow one of Chevrolet's new Camaro's (aka Bumblebee) back in 2011? And I spent a week taking amazing road trips to Trenton and Baltimore, eating my way through each city? Well, Chevy strikes again, and this time, they're keeping it local!

They're hosting a farm-to-table dinner party November 14 at Bartram's Garden, the 18th century home of botanist & explorer, John Bartram. If you haven't been out to this strange section of West Philly on the Schuylkill, just below University City, then this is the time to at least try - you'd never believe they were hiding such glorious history over there. One lucky reader will get to be my guest at this one-time event (chauffeured in a new Chevy diesel) by yours truly!

That being said, even though it's close, it's still a drive away - a 'road trip' if you will.

I love road trips because it means I get to try new and different (and sometimes weird) regional cuisines. Lord knows I love my food!

What's your best memory of a food destination/out of the way trip for getting your food fix?

Leave your answer in the comments section by midnight on Wednesday, November 6 and be sure to have contact information accessible... winner will be announced November 7.

Thursday, October 24, 2013


211 North Clinton St.
Syracuse, NY 13202
(315) 373-0484

So the next time you are in Syracuse . . . go to this place. I know, you probably will never be there. BUT should you happen upon it, this is a funky little joint to get some lunch.

The menu changes constantly, so you should just check the website. I didn't even give them my name, but they spelled it correctly anyway. Pretty impressive.

This monster, known as the "Bobby Love's 81-SOUTH," consisted of pulled pork, ham, cheddar, coleslaw and frizzled onions. It was not healthy, but it was very delicious. Seems like those two are inversely proportional.

Another hit was the roast turkey with smoked gouda, hot pepper mayo, bacon, fried egg, and slaw, AKA "MoJo Rising." Again, nothing lite about this, but that's because fat + salt = flavor. It's a proven formula.

The final iteration was the oven fried chicken with buffalo mac and cheese, coleslaw, baked beans, frizzled onions, and BBQ sauce - let's call it the "Darwin's PICNIC BASKET" (because that's what they call it). Like a picnic on a roll.

Is this the best sandwich shop in the world? No. Is it a must try? If you find yourself near Syracuse, I would have to say yes.

Monday, October 21, 2013

DiCostanza Sandwich

1930 Market Street
Marcus Hook, PA 19061
(610) 494-3616

The DelCo hoagie scene has a distinct set of rules they play by. Most of the places use softer rolls, some don't believe in tomatoes, some take an everything hoagie to mean throwing pickles on it, and some/lots use the top wrap meat method, also known as the ham curtain. In the tri-state area, you will hear a lot of boasts. New Jersey claims the chicken cheesesteak as their own, South Philly, the cheesesteak, although there is much debate. Some places claim to have the best pizza, best hoagies, best donuts, and best bagels. But few are so bold as to claim to be the originator of the hoagie. Although to be fair, they ACTUALLY are claiming to be the originator of Italian Sandwiches.

Now this isn't the original location, as they have somewhat  recently moved.

Memorabilia hangs on the walls.

A word of warning. If you see the guy below working, you are in good hands. I have had long time loyal customers tell me they ONLY eat his sandwiches. Given the ingredients, I am sure you are in good hands either way. But I lucked out and the sandwich magician was working.

Things are made assembly-line style, with the meat sliced fresh to order. The rolls are soft, but work PERFECTLY for what they are intended.

The small is giant, and a steal at about $8. Look at the beauty occurring below.

I went with sharp prov and homemade seasoned long hots.

I also tried one with regular provolone, and cherry peppers. The razor-thin deli meats were perfect, the chopped onions a nice contrast to usual stringy onions, and the cheese was in perfect proportion. There is also something to be said for the slightly softer rolls as opposed to the usual ultra-crusty rippin'-and-tearin' type bread. This is not a good save-for-later hoagie, especially if you get it fully loaded. But for an eat-immediately, it was perfection.

Monday, October 14, 2013


110 South Jackson St.
Media, PA 19063
(610) 566-2505

In continuing my quest for the best sandwiches in Delco and beyond, I stumbled upon House in downtown Media and gave it a try.

It's a corner spot – a quaint and well cared for little tudor-style joint for the architecture enthusiasts out there.

The decor is straight out of Pinterest and appealed more to my *a hem* feminine side. If that even exists...

But all of that aside, it was time to try the Frenchie. Did I say feminine?

This one features smoked ham, double creme brie, caramelized onions, honey-dijon aioli and is served on a crusty baguette.

They also threw some mixed greens in there for a smack of crisp freshness. The ham was meltingly tender and masculinely thick. There were no chewy bits, every time I sunk my teeth into that pink meat, it cut right through without hesitation. Not to mention the generous portion of Brie that came along with it, all cut with some tangy-sweet, whole seed mustard spread. It's a well balanced, flavorful & generous portion of fancy ingredients for a meager $6.50.

Next item was the Southwestern Panini with house roasted turkey, roasted peppers, cheddar, bacon and chipotle remoulade.

Here was another stack of thick-cut meat with similar tenderness. The turkey looked like it was going to be too much and too dry, but when I took my first bite, I was surprised by the rich balance of ingredients. The turkey was anything but dry and the chipotle kick kept my mouth watering for more.

It was cooked just so all ingredients could meld together - nothing was left in the cold here.

Probably the highlight of my meal was the blue cheese and bacon potato salad. It doesn't get any better than this. Between the thoroughly mixed hints of blue cheese, the hearty pieces of bacon and the vinegar tang of the mustard, I was in flavor explosion heaven.

Another perfectly balanced flavor explosion.

Between the architecture, decor and all of the menu items I chose to sample, House certainly knows how to strike the right harmony in everything they present to their customer. Go see for yourself.

Friday, October 4, 2013

KOP Beerfest Royale | DONNERSTAG

King of Prussia Mall
Plaza Parking Lot
160 N Gulph Rd
King of Prussia, PA 19406


Session Two is sold out but there are still 300 tickets left for Session One. And until 11:59pm on Friday, October 4th, you can save $10 off of Session One tickets using the code "10DAYS" (*cannot be combined with any other offers and is not valid on designated driver tickets). The code expires the day of the event, so get them while you still can!

I was asked to do a preview of the KOP Beerfest Royale, by visiting the "Donnerstag" happy hour on Thursday night. I am going to provide a walk through of some of the things I saw, drank, and ate. I also smoked a Pennsylvania-grown-and-wrapped cigar, but at that point, pictures were getting a little fuzzy.

The lot is set up pretty nicely, and there are those trailered bathrooms that are 10 steps up from port-o-potties at the entrance. Big fan.

Upon entering the fest, I was greeted with the Dogfish Head Ancient Ales, and those are always a treat. Expensive and hard to find are two things that come to mind when I think of them. I also think delicious, and always welcome.

The ice sculpture was pretty "cool". God it's early.

The Hoppin John Orchestra was a 10 piece live band that kept the mood festive, and encouraged mass consumption. For someone like me, it didn't take much.

The pulled pork and flour cakes with feta and microgreens came from the Valley Tavern, which is located in the Valley Forge Casino. I had no idea it existed, but the giant beer list might drive me to drink away my winnings on the craps table.

Seasons 52 had the best looking display, with all of their samples on mirrors.

I also loved the desserts in a shot glass. Carrot cake and raspberry mascarpone (deconstructed cannoli) were my two favorites.

Ruth's Chris offered beef sliders (delicious) with a mild horseradish shmear, sweet potato cups, tuna spoons?, and creme brule. All were consumed with vigor.

Ralph's of South Philly apparently has an outpost in KOP, which I never knew. I demolished the meatballs and sausage, as well as the cannoli, with no sign of slowing down.

Peppers Restaurant offered brushetta and polenta. Go for the bruschetta.

Rock Bottom Brewery, located in the KOP mall itself, had a smoked sausage mac and cheese that was damn fine.

Surprisingly, Wegman's might have had the best spread. Thai peanut lettuce wraps, two kinds of sushi with seaweed salad, and floats made with Sly Fox. Yes please.

The cocktail tent just exacerbated the situation, with two of my favorites, Penn 1681 rye vodka, and Blue Coat gin, both of Philadelphia Distilling.

There were a bunch of people wearing pretzel necklaces like trophys. I am not sure who they flashed to get one, but I am pretty jealous.

There was even a mini cupcake truck, which made some incredible cakes.

Arnold Palmer (lemon cake with sweet tea frosting) on the right, and pumpkin on the left.

To say I overdid it is a gross understatement. I ate enough to feed a village, and drank enough to slick the thirst of the Russian army.

Luckily, they offered my favorite ride home, Uber, WITH a $25 credit. Baller. All together, this is the grown up version of the usual beer fest scene. There was no one throwing up or fighting (which I see far too often at these kinds of things) – just a whole lot of people with a whole lot of love for the finer things. See for yourself on Saturday, you will not be disappointed.