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Everything posted by MarketStEl

  1. Cheaper than any therapist and far more delicious was the counseling session I had with Dr. Carman during my last extended bout with unemployment. Now that I'm back in the thick of it - check out my real estate blog, folks - I think I should try to make it down there to dine while I can.
  2. Here's a story that should inspire us all, from Philadelphia Daily News columnist Ronnie Polaneczky. The principal actors are Michael Rouse, who runs a summer camp for underprivileged children at Girard College* called Dream Camp, and Marc Vetri, arguably the finest chef cooking in Philadelphia today. Rouse's camp gives poor children the chance to have the kind of summer camp experience only affluent kids usually enjoy -- for free. Epicures wait for weeks to get a table at Vetri's eponymous restaurant on Spruce Street, where exquisite Italian meals run into the hundreds, while the rest of us w
  3. The "Love Burger" with "special sauce"? Shouldn't that be the "G. Love Burger with Special Sauce"? Will peruse this thread in full later, but right now, will go on record as saying: --500 Degrees is good, but not great; the burger struck me as a bit on the dry side, surprising given the place's pedigree --PYT's burger-of-the-week shtick is cute, and one of the Hall of Famers, the bacon and blue cheese number, is actually worth the heart attack you will have after eating it --so many places to try, so little time (and money); so now I gotta add the Oyster House to the list? --Five Guys still ha
  4. I never seem to be in the vicinity when you're at the bar, Katie. Feh. Maybe I'll convince some hungry choristers to make it an early dinner sometime.
  5. About the only thing I can contribute to this discussion is to observe that the shrimp cocktail and bluepoint oysters with cranberry sauce (peppery as well as sweet-tart) that Union Trust served as freebie appetizers for the last Our Night Out there were quite good, and if that is indicative of how that steakhouse treats non-steak fare, then you might want to give that place a try. Judging from Katie's comments above, they could use the business (which may have been why they chose to host Our Night Out, which in a typical month causes some 200-plus gay men and lesbians, most quite thirsty, to
  6. Just a general note: You cannot buy beer by the case and by the six-pack in the same place in Pennsylvania. Case sales are the exclusive province of beer distributors; only "restaurants" with the appropriate takeout license may sell six-packs. Now that I've said that, I'll repeat something I believe I've said on these forums in another context: According to at least one craft brewer I spoke with at this year's "Good Food, Good Beer and The Rest Is History" fundraiser for The Food Trust, we have Pennsylvania's consumer-hostile beer laws to thank for the robust beer culture around here. Those
  7. IOW, this Wegmans acquired a restaurant liquor license. Given that several Sheetz convenience stores in central and western Pennsylvania have done something similar, I assume that you can buy six-packs to carry out at this store. Am I right? Wegmans used to have prices significantly higher than most other supermarket chains, according to testimony I've heard from upstate New Yorkers I know. When management figured out that what their shoppers were doing was going to Wegmans for the wonderful prepared foods and specialty items, then going to Tops to buy most of their regular grocery list, t
  8. I was shocked to find this out just now - after I sent in a request to revive my lapsed subscription. Yes, a lot of the recipes were a stretch for the ordinary home cook, but wasn't that part of the point of the magazine? And in the same publication you could find serious treatments of food issues (e.g., how chickens are raised and processed) and the completely unexpected, like the paean to American cheese currently up on Gourmet.com (and presumably in the front-of-the-book in the November issue). What I liked about the current incarnation of the mag was its wide range and its adventurousness
  9. Take a cab? Bus? Walk? It's a pretty easily-accessible spot... Nearest SEPTA service: Bus Route 40 eastbound (via South Street daytime, via Pine evenings and weekends) to its terminus at 2d and Lombard; Bus Route 12 eastbound on Pine to its terminus at 3d, then walk two blocks; Bus Route 57 northbound on 3d or southbound on 4th to Lombard, then two- to three-block walk east. It's also about a 10-minute walk south from 2d Street station, Market-Frankford Line.
  10. Closed at the end of July. Fixtures and furnishings have been sold. She is going into semi-retirement - she will continue to operate her suburban outpost. Word on the street was that a retail tenant would take over the space, but there's been nothing else along these lines to confirm or refute. The space is currently listed as available.
  11. "That smell" -- which I notice more the closer I get to the fish counter at Hung Vuong -- comes from the fish handling area, if my own experience is any guide. Perhaps we should be glad these places do not sell live poultry. I find "that smell" I smell when I pass the place in the Italian Market that does this even more objectionable. But this now raises a question. The fishmongers in the Italian Market and at the RTM also handle and display whole fish, though usually not in tanks, as I have seen at Hung Vuong. And while I occasionally notice some fragrant aromas on 9th Street in warmer wea
  12. So much for the famed Amish disdain for modern technology, I guess! Somehow, I managed to miss all of this over the last two months. Chufi: If you actually can read posts while you're here, PM me and I'll send you a phone number. I greatly enjoy meeting visitors and showing this place off, as you might recall from my first foodblog. Hope you're enjoying your visit! I trust you will hit the RTM sometime today; if so, do get a hold of me - I live two blocks away.
  13. Barb & Suzy's and S&B Meats are two sides of the same coin. Both are run by the same owners. Barb & Suzy's is the sandwich counter, and S&B the retail butcher. The "Barb & Suzy's" sign is on the side of the store away from Kauffman's. I've got Illg's liverwurst on my must-try list. If you desire a mediator, I'm willing to serve.
  14. I'm hardly in their league, but I now post weekly RTM updates (I had tried to recruit Bob Libkind, but he passed on it) and other occasional items about specialty grocers and foods in Philly on Examiner.com. Look for me under "Philadelphia Specialty Grocery Examiner" -- and "Philadelphia Public Transportation Examiner" (surprised? ). I tweet when new items get posted: http://twitter.com/MarketStEl Edited to add: Of course, relevant tips always welcome. Tweet me, PM me, email me, IM me -- just get them to me if you can.
  15. This is something that's worth exploring, and I think i goes a long way towards explaining why the best "American steakhouse" restaurants are mostly in NYC. Perhaps more than any other kind of restaurant, with the possible exception of fish restaurants, the quality of a steakhouse depends upon the quality of the ingredients. There is no room for skill or technique to obscure or mitigate differences in quality. If two restaurants are broiling 2 inch thick porterhouse steaks in the same broiler to the same degree of doneness, then the only thing that can differentiate them is the quality of th
  16. What Chris Hennes said: I can't see Pecorino Romano as a substitute for Parmigiano-Reggiano or vice versa. The latter is mellower, less assertive, less peppery, and - yes - less salty, at least tastewise. I tend to snack on both, though, as I grate them. I use Parm-Reg so infrequently that I don't mind keeping a quarter pound or so on hand, usually to grate, sometimes in my mac and cheese or tomato soup. After encountering grapes accompanied by Cheddar and Swiss all the time, though, I think that Pecorino Romano would make a welcome change of pace. To the mother (aunt? grandma?) of the four-
  17. I note with pleasure the progress on the new space, and saw that FFFS had lots of good produce today when I went to the RTM, some of it at attractive prices, especially the peaches. But every time I pass by the stand with its giant Access Card sign on the side, or walk through one of the farmers markets where farmers post signs stating that they gladly accept WIC Farmers' Market Program checks, I wonder: How many low-income Philadelphians actually avail themselves of these options? I imagine the answer to that question is probably different at, say, a Food Trust farmers' market in Chester than
  18. Oh, and confidential to brescd01: No need to apologize for your Philly boosterism. I've come to appreciate that some "Negadelphians" are hard on their hometown because they love it to death and believe that it could be much better than it is (and in several areas, they're right to be hard on the place in this fashion). But what it is is already great, and in most cases better than the natives crack it down to be. A little Kansas City-style boosterism can't hurt in that case.
  19. This native Kansas Citian - who still bristles inside when he hears the term "New York strip" - thinks Mr. Kinsey has a point. I haven't visited any of the New York steakhouses in question and am not likely to when I next head up that way, because (1) the great steakhouses are wildly expensive (2) as a corollary, I think I can get more bang for my dining buck trying one of the hundreds - thousands? - of other interesting restaurants in the city that offer a world of cuisines, including some that may even offer some form of beef on the menu. That said, one thing I think I can say about the new
  20. Easy to carry grocery bags to? That honor probably belongs to the surface lot at the southwest corner of 12th and Arch, directly across 12th Street from the market. Second place goes to the Parkway garage immediately to its south -- which is where your parents should park anyway. The RTM offers discounted parking in this garage: $3 for 2 hours with a total of $10 in purchases from RTM merchants (save your receipts and have the merchant who puts your total over the $10 threshold validate your parking ticket). If you want this discount, you CANNOT pay with your credit card as you enter the gara
  21. So what's this place that's going to serve "punk rock BBQ"? I can't seem to find the original post. One thing I can tell you is that there is apparently a mighty hunger for good barbecue abroad in the land. I just found out from site owner Steve McCann that my writeup of Smokin' Betty's in my most recent PhillyGayCalendar.com column was the third-most-viewed column in July. I'd say Smokin' Betty's is good, not great, but I was pleasantly surprised that they had pretty much gotten the basics right, especially given that its owners also own Devil's Alley, which didn't impress me, and that -- as
  22. Looks good! Varga Bar is brought to you by the folks who run Valanni and Mercato. If Valanni is, as I maintain, a "gay bar on the DL," then this is its "straight" cousin. Needless to say, the owners don't observe these distinctions - everyone's welcome at both establishments. Think I need to schedule a visit soon.
  23. RonV: You wouldn't happen to be the former editor of the Philly edition of Metro, would you? If so, it's a bit of a shame the parent company is editing the local papers by remote control from New York. However, kudos are due you for your Newspaper of the Year Award this year. I've been impressed at how the paper zigs where the established duo zag (and loved your local primary election headline: "If you don't care, why should we?") and at how the paper has figured out a way to go deep on subjects while remaining true to its short-attention-span story length standards by doing multiple pieces
  24. *So did my mom! Funny, isn't it, that this is probably the only territory on Earth where the Prince outranks the King? However, I wouldn't dismiss this sandwich out of hand; it's mediocre, true, and Pat's has been resting on its laurels for some time, but it still has character, which is more than I can say for the place on the other side of Cheesesteak Corner. There all the character is supplied by the owner, not the sandwiches.
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