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Everything posted by MarketStEl

  1. Dietz & Watson, Boar's Head and Thumann's are rivals at the top of the deli-counter heap, no doubt about it. I had heard from another source that ShopRite's Black Bear line is Dietz & Watson under another name. But thus far, I've generally preferred Boar's Head's deli meats to D&W's comparable products -- especially the regular ham; Boar's Head branded is head and shoulders above any other deli ham I've tried. The two purveyors are much closer together on roast beef, I will grant. I have yet to try Boar's Head franks, though. I find D&W's regular beef franks a bit bland for my taste. I tend to prefer bolder dogs, like Nathan's. Vienna Beef IMO is bolder than D&W but not as bold as Nathan's. I do, however, have this vague memory of purchasing some natural-casing premium D&W franks at a deli counter somewhere and finding them quite good indeed. (Edited to add: What is your neck of the woods, John? Most local supermarkets that carry D&W hot dogs carry both their beef and their beef and pork dogs, as well as the "lite" versions of each.) Philadelphians have pretty much made their preferences clear: When the Super Fresh chain, no doubt acting on orders from corporate in Montvale in the "New York" part of New Jersey, replaced Dietz & Watson with Boar's Head as the premium national brand line in its delis (the chain's delis also stock A&P's premium store brand, Master Choice; anyone know who makes it?), customers complained long and loud. Dietz & Watson regained pride of place at Super Fresh after about three months. It is. I misidentified the peppers as pepperoncini in my original post. And there is celery salt on it too.
  2. Good news, Chicago hot dog fans! The genuine article is now being served at a small bakery-cafe at the southeast corner of 12th and Chestnut streets. The place is called Blue in Green. You can't miss it -- look for the "Vienna Beef" sign in the front window and the food-porn photo of a Chicago dog with an "NK-17" (No ketchup for anyone over 17) advisory on the 12th Street side. I pass by this place every weekday, twice a day, on my way to and from work. I'm rushing to catch the train in the morning -- and besides, who has hot dogs for breakfast anyway? -- and in the evening, the shop is already closed for the day, so I hadn't had an opportunity to try one until a recent Saturday when I was looking to slay my hunger as a defense mechanism against spending even more on groceries than I do already. Folks, this is the genuine article, and it's good: One Vienna Beef hot dog (yet another purveyor that leaves Dietz & Watson dogs in the dust) on a poppy-seed hot dog bun, surrounded by onions, a dill pickle spear, a pepperoncini pepper, tomatoes, relish, and mustard. Besides being the only nutritionally complete and balanced hot dog on Earth, the Chicago hot dog is just plain delicious, and Blue and Green's rendition is no exception. As I chowed down on mine that Saturday, two women walked in and told the counterguy, "We're from Chicago, and we want hot dogs." I think this was as many Chicago dogs as he has sold in one day since he started offering them, judging from his response. Why don't you make his day and go order one yourself? Blue in Green Cafe Bakery 12th and Chestnut streets 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday (it appears) Nearest SEPTA service: Any Regional Rail line to Market East Station; Market-Frankford Line to 11th or 13th Street stations; any bus that runs eastbound on Chestnut or westbound on Walnut to 12th; Bus Route 23 southbound on 12th or northbound on 11th to Chestnut.
  3. This just in: Bad news, and maybe good news, about Rim Café: René must return to France for an indefinite period for family reasons and has put the shop up for rent -- more or less. The truth is that Rene does not want to sell the business -- he would rather keep it going in the hands of someone who can understand the distinctive personality and character of the place. While it will be impossible to duplicate René, surely there is someone around here who can operate Rim in the same warm and expansive spirit he did. One of his employees, a fellow named Giovanni, is actively working on ways to keep Rim alive and vibrant. For the time being, the cafe will be open from 3 p.m. to midnight. I plan on doing my Saturday grocery shopping on the late side this week so I can stop in. Care to join me for a cup of coffee or a Volcano? If you can't, go when you can -- I'm sure they will appreciate your continued patronage. There's more discussion of this development on Phillyblog.
  4. Actually, you're right about Carman's, but there's a fit issue there too -- namely, you have to enjoy having the proprietor as an intimate part of your meal if it's not too busy. It's been way too long since I've been there to eat. Maybe the next time I take a "work from home" day, I'll trek down, laptop (or newspaper, or sudoku puzzles) in tow.
  5. ← (emphasis added) Pardon me for picking up on this, but: Are you really going to find that at Parc? Or at Les Halles (NYC), for that matter? IMO about as close as you're going to get to that sort of cross-class mixing in Philadelphia is -- sorry, Holly -- the Reading Terminal Market's eateries, and even they are light on the upper crust. (Edited to add: And maybe some of the coffee houses. And perhaps Good Dog at certain times of the day, but again, I'm not so sure I'd call lawyers upper crust. ) I do worry every now and then that our society is splitting itself up into little (or not-so-little) insular enclaves that don't have (or care to have) much interaction with those not of their circle, and this snippet triggered one of my panic attacks.
  6. At one remove, a comment on a January Boston.com blog item he links to and is quoted in: So instead of keeping hope alive, we're gonna seal it inside? I assume we will all be kept up to date and that this saga won't match that of the conveyor-belt sushi place^W^W^W specialty pharmacy next to Maoz on Walnut Street. --Sandy "you wanna know my feelings about Barack Obama, go look up my posts on Phillyblog" Smith
  7. And what's happened to/at Snackbar?
  8. Didn't try the food when the last Phillyblog Happy Hour was forced inside to Table 31's bar because rain had shut down the Plaza Cafe on the Comcast Center's front terrace (also a Perrier operation), but I do give very high marks to the decor and the service at the bar. (Hey, I'm turning 50 in exactly two weeks. Maybe I should get someone to treat me to dinner here.) But since this is the Pennsylvania board: Nearest SEPTA service: The Comcast Center sits atop Suburban Station, through which every SEPTA Regional Rail line passes. Underground concourses connect Suburban Station to the central subway interchange station at 15th Street/City Hall, and about a dozen or so bus routes stop at 17th Street and JFK Boulevard westbound and 17th and Market, one-half block south, eastbound. In other words, if you can't figure out how to get here on SEPTA, you're beyond help.
  9. Road (or ideally, El and bus) trip to Picanha Grill for our visitor next time, anyone? If for no other reason than to prove that Lucullan feasts can be had at discount prices? (And to show him a part of the city that visitors rarely venture into, but which may be transforming more dramatically than any other?) Any takers?
  10. Nearest SEPTA or DART service: Ask a friend to give you a lift -- you're SOL on this one.
  11. If you're going to go for the "Philly experience," follow your foray to los Taquitos de Puebla with a trek one-half block further south (towards Cheesesteak Corner) on 9th Street to Rim Cafe. If it's not too hot, ask Rene to make you a Volcano. If it is, have one of their iced drinks. And if you do that, tell Rene I sent you.
  12. It appears that the owners of the former deli/convenience store on 10th Street across from St. Stephen's Church have decided to catch a passing wave, for their old space is now the fourth location for a fast-food chain out of Arlington, Va., called Bumblefish. Judging from the nascent chain's Web site, Bumblefish has as its goal making Japan's second-most-popular fast food (after ramen noodle soup) as American as tofuburgers. Menu items are grouped into four broad categories, all color-coded -- Veggie (green), Cooked (brown), Raw (red) and More (salads, soups, dumplings and spring rolls, blue) -- and the dishes are boxed to grab 'n' go. Seeing as the chain has two outlets in Kansas City -- this Philadelphia store is the chain's fourth location -- I'm guessing that the chain is succeeding at its goal. Or maybe the locals like the corny names for some of the sushi rolls on the menu ("You Sunk My Battered Shrimp", "Livin' La Vida Lobster"). Initial reports from Phillybloggers who have visited suggest this place lives up to its advance billing. I popped my head in the place yesterday and recognized the staff from the former deli. The place is bright, clean, neat and spare in decor. I'll have a full report once I eat there.
  13. What she said. Haven't found anything better than Sweet Lucy's yet myself.
  14. That's the one. Thanks for figuring out what I was talking about. I see this place got its start in Alexandria, Va., then migrated to Kansas City, and Philly will be location number four. After scanning the Web site, it looks like what they're doing is Americanizing Japan's native form of fast food, the bento box. I guess Kansas Citians have taken to Bumblefish, for there are two locations there, while their second Washington-area location, in the District itself, is still "Coming Soon". I will definitely have to visit the South 10th Street location once it opens (the Web site says "Spring 2008," but it's not open yet).
  15. Then it'll please you to know that it doesn't not. It means "grief", "sorrow", "mischance", "sadness". No precise English equivalent, but those will get you started on triangulation. In its event-specific sense, an illness is certainly an instance of "malheur", but "un malheur" is not necessarily an illness. In that context, it means an unfortunate event. ← Then it still mystifies me, for drinking this is anything but an unfortunate event... although I guess you might want to drink it to drown your sorrow, ease your grief, or dull the pain of your misfortune... ...and drinking too much of it too quickly can lead to illness.
  16. Sorry we missed you last night! We made three more converts as the night went on. The tally: two Dark and Stormys, a Manhattan, a bottle of Malheur* split three ways, one St. Bernard, one Italian bottled beer whose name escapes me, one IPA, one other beer. Vince and CSG were finishing small plates as I got there, and Vince offered me a nibble of his Mahon. The damage: Not that bad, considering, but more than Vince had expected. Guess we lost track of things. The followup: A five-block walk, partly in the rain, to catch the end of the performance at Bob and Barbara's. Funny thing about that place -- no matter what your taste in beer, you feel guilty ordering anything but a PBR there. Nonetheless, they do have a full selection of brews, including good ones. The choice was made easier for me, though, by the fact that I only had $3 in my wallet. PBR ($2) it was. Vince had a "Pabstini" -- I didn't note what else went into the glass along with the PBR and the olive, but the result was weirdly tasty. I suspect that you're going to see me a bit more often, Katie. *Why something this delicious would have a name that translates into English as "illness" mystifies me.
  17. Wow, what I've been missing by skipping this thread all these years! Unfortunately for me, the only memorably bad meals I've had weren't really bad either -- the food tasted good and was at least competently prepared. But they were in restaurants, and I don't get sick eating food as a matter of course, and these two meals made me spectacularly sick -- well, one of them not spectacularly, but it was sushi, and I was on the verge of heaving right after devouring the last piece. Neither of these experiences really qualify for this topic. I seem to have been blessed with friends and family who can cook and rarely make mistakes. My own disasters, I'm afraid, don't hold a candle to any of these here.
  18. I was walking up 10th Street between Chestnut and Market today, and across the street from St. Stephen's Church (on the site of the field where Ben Franklin conducted his famous electricity experiment), I saw that the former diner-turned-deli/convenience food store had closed and that a new eatery called Bobblefish had taken its place. Or was about to -- the signs were all up but the windows were covered over with brown paper. The signs indicate that this place will serve "sushi & more," and that it considers itself a "fast food" restaurant that doesn't serve "fast food". ("We use the same ingredients and preparation you would find at a gourmet restaurant," the sign announcing Bobblefish's impending opening announced. Or something like that.) Well, I'm a sucker for sushi, and I know that it is easy and quick to prepare, but difficult to do well, because the freshness of the ingredients matters a lot (since most of them are eaten raw, it has to). So I thought I'd see if I could get some advance reports on whether Bobblefish (if I have its name right) manages to pull it off -- and if so, at a reasonable price (I also don't think of "fast food" places as expensive). So why am I posting this query here when I live in Philadelphia? Because the bottom of the sign listed Bobblefish's four locations: Kansas City / Financial District Kansas City / Historic Westport Washington, DC / Old Town Alexandria Philadelphia / Center City Well, I know the last of these four isn't open yet, and if the other three are, then 2/3 of the existing locations are in Kansas City, which also leads me to believe that Bobblefish originated there too. (And frankly, I wouldn't associate my hometown with sushi -- fast food or otherwise -- at all, so I'm doubly curious.) So: what can you all tell me about Bobblefish? (I thought I typed in the address of its Web site, but got nothing.)
  19. Will you be open on the Fourth? How late if you are? Guess who called me today asking me to accompany him to see John Legend tomorrow night. As I already accepted an invite to a cookout at the home of a former Penn colleague who I haven't seen in a while in Oaklyn, I had to beg off, but said that afterwards, I'd be glad to join him and his for a swing by Chick's.
  20. When I hear the term "supper club," I don't think of anything remotely like the Union League or a country club minus the golf course. I'd understood a "supper club" to be a nightclub that also served food. You would go to a supper club to catch the performer and dine while watching the performance. Zanzibar Blue was an example. The "dinner theater" -- examples of which sprouted in Kansas City in the mid-1970s, but which I don't think ever took root in the Northeast -- is a related establishment.
  21. Jeez, Holly, damned if they do and damned if they don't! The management took a pretty good drubbing in the court of public opinion initially when they moved to boot him. Given the heated nature of the dispute, even when it was quietly simmering, don't you think that sticking Oliveri with the legal fees, although plainly within their rights, would have been portrayed as adding insult to injury in the press? You may not be so inclined, but I'd cut them some slack here. After all, Rick sued the management first. He could have simply shut down when his lease was up, but he chose to fight. Yes, management simply could have offered him a lease on the same terms as the other merchants. And Rick could have behaved in a way that did not lead the management to conclude before that time that he was simply too much of an obnoxious obstructionist to keep around, too. Once the suit was filed, all that was water under the bridge; I don't think you could have reasonably expected management not to defend itself, and offering a lease at that point would have been both extremely hypocritical and a major loss of face (as well as of control over the Market's general operations down the road). It's over now. It was what it was, and it's not what it isn't. Time to move on -- seems everyone else has, even the Amish.
  22. Which is precisely what she did for me last night, when I popped in with friends in tow. Well, they were friends when we all entered. They were fans -- of Katie and of Chick's -- by the time we left. My weissbrau-loving fellow second tenor friend Vince (you saw him in my second foodblog; we met through PGMC, but he no longer sings in the group -- we discussed one of the reasons why over drinks at Chick's) was thrilled with the mix of Midnight Wit (something I find I usually lack by that time; alcohol dulls the brain, y'know) and Peach Lambic Katie poured for him. That lemony concoction she prepared for me -- whose name I forget -- was equally delish. I think Vince's bf Brian had wine, but he was down at the other end of the bar, so I can't be sure. Cute Straight Guy (okay, his name is Jim, but I've already informed him that this moniker will stick with him as long as I'm around) had something special too. I came to Chick's off of the weekly PaperStreet bash at the Moshulu, where I felt like a cultural anthropologist among the heterosexuals but loved the vibe, dance music and setting. Three (free) vodka-and-Red Bulls left me in a state I can't say I've ever experienced before -- wired and toasted simultaneously -- so I was in pretty rare form by the time I got to Chick's. Katie handled me with aplomb. Great work, Katie. You made three new fans last night.
  23. They aren't, but if you'd like a report on what they are serving, I might be able to oblige, as this month's Phillyblog Happy Hour is taking place there tonight. (You can't read about it on Phillyblog at the time of this posting, as their server melted down. The site's been getting very heavy traffic.)
  24. If you are making a stop at the RTM, d'ya think you could (a) do it on Saturday midday and (b) give me a heads-up as to rough time? That's my usual grocery shopping day, and I wouldn't mind reconnoitering if that's possible, seeing as how you are also familiar with my hometown and all. I could certainly work my swing by the RTM in around your schedule. I'm hard up for serious dinner money of late, what with travel to Seattle and Miami and some past obligations to clear up, so most of my non-lunch dining has been at places well below the ones you've been recommended here on the quality/novelty/excitement scale, but they all have the virtue of being places I can afford on a regular basis. Lunch at the RTM is therefore a better option for me if this can happen.
  25. You buy coffee at Starbucks? I stick to tea there unless: --they're giving it away --I want one of those really sweet coffee-and-whipped-cream-type concoctions As for prepared foods: I haven't yet tried Union Gourmet, which opened last month right next to me, but for what they're charging, I sure hope they're better than what everyone has been reporting here.
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