Thursday, February 28, 2013

Philadium Tavern

1631 Packer Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19145
(215) 551-7844

I really shouldn't be doing this, because it's going to blow up my spot, but the Philadium is one of the best kept (not so) secret spots in South Philly. It's everything a divey sports bar should be. Cheap, delicious, and intimidating to the uninitiated.

While there is another, extremely famous (overrated) bar across the street, this is the type of place a true fan watches the game.

And they have a fireplace!

Cheap domestic beer, wing specials on Monday night, and a damn fine cheesesteak/chicken cheesesteak, make up a triple threat.

A chicken cheesesteak hoagie is a massive sandwich, smothered in cheese and including a hefty dose of sweet fried onions.

The bread does the trick, and the plain, salty Utz keep you drinking.

The best deal around, however, are the Monday night wings. $7 for 20. They are nicely sized, really crispy, and not overly sauced. This is the wing special that I wish for in other spots around the city.

They are exactly what wings should be. Spicy, crunchy, and salty. Perfect.

Although there is usually no wait, I have come here on game day and it can be packed, so plan accordingly. And get the wings.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sly Fox Brewery

331 Circle of Progress Dr.
Pottstown, PA 19464
(484) 524-8210

The Pottstown Sly Fox brewery is tucked away in the unfortunately named "Circle of Progress" by the airport, which I am pretty sure has no other businesses operating in the numerous buildings crowded around the circle. When I got there around noon on a Saturday and there was only one car in the lot, I was a bit worried that they weren't open. Or I was going to be kidnapped.

As it turns out, most people don't drink beer just before noon, even in Pottstown, and it filled up quickly after about fifteen minutes.

The food menu is small, but perfect for bar eats. Plus, you are here for the beer anyway, aren't you?

Big shout-out to brewer Matt Goodall. He made one hell of a Saison.

They offer four very tasty, and very different BBQ sauces. My personal favorites were the mustard, and the St. Louis.

I started with the Andouille sausage fritters. These little Johnny Cakes were laced with corn, and just crispy enough on the outside to hold up to my hyper-aggressive dipping. The corn added some sweetness with a hint of smoke contributed by the sausage.

Speaking of aggressive dipping, this chipotle aioli was hard not to eat with a spoon.

The pizzas were calling my name, so I decided to tuck into a bacon and blue. This pizza boasted crispy bacon, rich blue cheese, caramelized onions, and creamy sauce. Do not try this one if you are on a diet, or you don't like stinky cheese. It will not work in either of those scenarios. Luckily, I am fat, and a passionate lover of cheeses. The best part of this pizza may have been how nicely the crust was browned. It was perfect.

As previously mentioned, I am fat. So I had to also try the Kielbasa pizza, a nod to my Polish roots. The kielbasa was thinly sliced (like pepperoni), which allowed it to crisp up around the edges, and render out some of its smoky grease. The three cheese blend was a nice change up from standard mozzarella, and the caramelized onions and BBQ sauce base balanced it out with some sweetness. This was the unanimous favorite.

Again, look at how nice that crust is.

I would definitely not miss this one if you happen to find yourself in Pottstown. Or in Phoenixville, at the main HQ. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon. Also, the beers are delicious (as we already knew).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Two Sisters Kitchen

707 N Congress St.
Jackson, MS 39202
(601) 353-1180

I was recently down in Mississippi, and in my search for fried chicken, this place came highly recommended.

It's literally an old, run down house that had the bedrooms converted into small dining rooms. Very promising...

You serve yourself at a buffet. Nothing fancy, but plenty of fat and salt to go around.

You are pretty much on your own, nothing is labeled, but you can always ask the Southern belles that work there.

The fried chicken was the star, and I waited for a fresh batch to be delivered, straight out the fryer.

A bit of Louisiana hot sauce added some vinegary kick to the savory plate I had assembled.

The one thing I had never heard of was the "angel biscuit," a light and airy puck of dough that you could literally wring the butter out of. Delicious. Deadly. Decadent. From twelve o'clock, you have pickle, collards, fried chicken, grits, fried vegetables, angel biscuits, chicken fried steak with gravy, and a corn bread biscuit. Under the pickle are some black eyed peas. This is not the type of thing you can eat every day. But I would if I could. What the food lacked in color, it made up for in cholesterol. Delicious.

The chicken was crispy, with a well seasoned crust.

The chicken fried steak, while appearing as a gray mass, was salty, tender, and generally awesome. This is like a homemade version of eating at Cracker Barrel, without the discrimination.

These angel biscuits, though, were the star. They get their name from the folded design, you know, like wings. Smothered in gravy, they were incredibly addictive.

While the chicken wasn't the best I have had, it was still very good.

You also receive a complimentary dessert of choice. I asked what the pretty, young server recommended, and she said, "the bread pudding with bourbon glaze." Hot damn! This is one way to roll out of a restaurant.

This is some real-deal Southern food, and I wish I could eat like this more often. Unfortunately, the allure of the great Northeast hoagie is like a siren call, and I had to return home.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Custom Bagels

15 South Olive St.
Media PA, 19063
(610) 891-6761

Bagels are a point of contention in the Philadelphia area. There are lovers, haters, and a load of non-believers. I am no bagel purist, but I do enjoy a good boiled-n-baked breakfast bread.

Custom Bagels is located out in Media, and on a recent trip out that way, I decided that they were worth a shot.

The inside is set up like just about every generic bagel shop I have been in. I mean, its a bagel shop, after all.

I heard they baked their own bread too, and seeing a Boars Head logo, I felt a hoagie was in order with my standard whitefish bagel.

The Italian grinder was okay. I wouldn't get it again, but it was fine in a pinch. The bread was pretty good, but it's hard to compete with the seeded rolls most delis use.

The whitefish salad itself was okay, not mind blowing, but it served its purpose. The bagel itself, however, was delicious. Chewy, yeasty, and well coated with "everything" seasoning, I should have grabbed a half dozen for the road.

Asking for anything more than a delicious bagel and cream cheese from a bagel shop is a bit drastic. For that reason, I appoint a 3 cheesesteak ranking, and urge you to get some breakfast with a hole in it during your next sojourn to the 'burbs.

Monday, February 18, 2013

La Bonne Soupe

920 8th St
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 492-9506

While I was out in Sacramento for work recently, I made it a point to try some places that were well-known in the city. This one was a soup cafe that was popular with workers from the Capital.

They offer a variety of homemade soups, and some pretty interesting Euro-inspired sandwiches.

I went with the blue crab bisque. It was nicely spiced, not overly heavy with cream, and had a solid amount of blue crab chunks.

I also got the highly recommended brie, apple, and fig sandwich.

This was served with matchstick apples and was nicely toasted, resulting in a deliciously gooey brie and fig melt.

This was a great little lunch spot, and if you are in the Capital area of Sac-town, I highly recommend it.