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Posts posted by mssurgeon81

  1. My drinking-partner-in-crime Jon and I were grabbing dinner and drinks at Village Whiskey last night, and I mentioned to him that I'd heard about this place and wanted to try it soon. We were already on our third round at VW and it seemed like a great idea to head over there and continue drinking. Unfortunately I couldn't remember the name or address of the bar, so about twenty minutes were spent with Google and my phone's GPS trying to find it. And, as anyone who's been there knows, you can pretty much trip over this place and not see it!

    I'm so glad we DID find it, though. We were lucky enough to be the only two people there (9 PM on a Sunday), and after striking up a conversation with the incredibly friendly and knowledgeable staff (all of whose names I got and none of which I remember) I decided on a Center City swizzle and Jon got some kind of tequila-based drink. The Swizzle rocked...it's very well-balanced, to the point where none of the individual flavors are noticeable but just blend together into refreshing goodness. I definitely noticed a little spicy kick at the finish of each sip, which I think may have been the falernum (although our bartender said he thought sherry was the dominant flavor). Regardless, amazing drink.

    We really had planned to just have one drink to check the place out, but at this point we were having so much fun that we didn't really want to leave. I actually think it was one of the staff who suggested a Ramos Gin Fizz, and Jon didn't take much convincing since they seemed so excited to make it. They cranked up some fast music and we all took turns shaking the hell out of the drink. I've had a RGF before and wasn't very impressed, mostly because I thought the long shaking process made the end drink too watery for my tastes, but this one was much more like what I'd imagined - creamy, fizzy, and tart. While Jon drank the RGF I had an Aviation (in the interests of comparing it with Village Whiskey's version). I think I like Franklin's Aviation better, although by this point in the evening I can't imagine my palate was at its most discriminating.

    Our bartender was nice enough to show us the draft of their new fall menu, which looks great. They have all the classic drinks, a whole section of tiki-style punches, plus some new drinks that sound intriguing.

    In short it was a fun, memorable visit and we will definitely be back. I agree with Philadining...this is one of those places that you're almost reluctant to tell people about, because those six barstools are going to be hard to come by this winter....

  2. I have a batch of TPMA going now. The first batch of strawberries that I used were pretty so-so, but after infusing for six days I lucked out and got my hands on some amazing deep red, sweet berries. So I strained the first berries out, started the second ones infusing (along with a vanilla bean) and we're about two weeks away from finding out the results! I'm so excited....

  3. Thanks to the arrival of Moving Day, it was a very stressful week in the mssurgeon household. Of course the refrigerator in the new place broke as soon as I'd unpacked all my food into it, which didn't help matters. However my awesome new neighbors brought me over some of their homegrown heirloom tomatoes (who knew you could grow beauties like this in Center City Philly?), and when sliced over a bed of arugula and steamed edamame, with a balsamic vinaigrette, they made an amazing inaugural supper on my new apartment's deck.


  4. I love smoothies....my basic recipe is fruit, nonfat yogurt, ice, and maybe a splash of skim milk. The flavor of yogurt varies with what type of fruit I'm using.

    Berries with strawberry yogurt

    Bananas with vanilla yogurt + peanut butter

    Bananas with strawberry/banana yogurt

    Mango with strawberry/banana yogurt


    I think the principal component of a smoothie should by definition be the fruit. Too much yogurt/milk/what-have-you and it kinda becomes a shake.

    Oh, and I should add that any of the above can be improved by a splash of a complimentary spirit, although that may make them unsuitable for weekday breakfast consumption :wink:

  5. I got roped into watching the "Sex and the City" movie last night, and my friend wanted to drink Cosmos while watching. I eventually persuaded her to let me make something "like a cosmo" with the ingredients I did have....

    2 parts gin

    0.75 part Cointreau

    0.5 part lime juice

    0.5 part pomegranate juice

    It was yummy....

    (That sangria looks amazing by the way. Now I'm stuck on call at the hospital and thirsty!)

  6. Went to Varga a couple weeks ago with some girlfriends on a Friday night. We ordered some apps and a few glasses of wine.

    The space is awesome - very open and airy. However, I'm not sure how it's going to work once the cold weather hits - the indoor part of the restaurant is pretty small.

    I second the onion rings....they would have been fabulous with the sauce on the side. The sliders were juicy and good, if a bit over-cooked for my taste (definitely more on the medium-well side). The crab fries were a hit - crispy skin-on fries with big lumps of crab on the cheese topping.

    I can see Varga being a frequent stop for those nights when you just want some nibbles and a beverage. Still need to go back and investigate the bar/cocktail offerings more thoroughly.

  7. Most importantly, am I expecting you and your crew on Thursday?  Shall I save you a table indoors or out?  Bar seats are first come, first serve, but we most certainly take reservations for the dining room.  Feel free to call 215.625.3700 if a proper reservation is required.  And by all means introduce yourself upon arrival.  Happy to tailor your cocktail experience as much as I'm able if I'm not too tied up with other guests.

    Thanks Katie!...and everybody else. We're definitely including Chick's and Southwark. The rest of the crawl is still under debate.

    Since we're all med/surg residents who have to be at work at 6AM (or earlier) on Friday, I think a Thursday night is out. Probably looking at this Saturday or next. But I'll definitely let you know once we pick a date for sure :smile: I'm so excited!!

    p.s I've been wanting to try both the Aviatrix and the Front Stoop Lemonade since I read your descriptions of them last year. So we'll def have both!

  8. Amada >> Zahav >>Xochitl>>Southwark>>Chick's>>James.  If you can still stand, go to the Cantina Los Caballitos.

    That's designed for geographical efficiency, not a drink style progression or anything, and James actually closes earlier than the others, so maybe you want to do it backwards.

    I like this. A lot. Although I'm a little intimidated by the quantity of alcohol involved :raz: . I haven't heard a lot of buzz on Zahav as a cocktail place, but I'd love to try it. Any recommendations?

    The idea about the "cocktail omakase" is kick-ass as well.

    I think if we're doing this many places, there will have to be a lot of crawling involved in between so that I don't give myself alcohol poisoning.....

  9. So a couple of my buddies and I were sitting around Marathon Grill drinking beer the other night, and reflecting on the fact that our regular Thursday night happy hours are somewhat repetitive. Talk turned to cocktails and we discovered that all of us are closet cocktail junkies, and we started making a list of places we want to try.

    The end result of all this was we decided to do a cocktail crawl through Center City....which is now up to me to plan.

    I was thinking four places would probably be the maximum number we could do realistically in one night. Obviously we have to include Chick's on the list, and I was also thinking about Apothecary and Southwark.

    Suggestions?...either places to go or drinks to try? I'm a pretty adventurous drinker but am still working my way through trying all the classic drinks (i.e., cocktail newbie but eager to learn) while my two buddies are more the hardcore mixologist types.

    This little expedition is the warm-up to our planned excursion to the Pegu Club later this summer :raz:

  10. Oh wow. I made a batch of grenadine last night using a 1:1.5 mix of POM and granulated sugar, shaken vigorously while I watched TV.  I added a dash of vanilla and OFW for a little added flavor.

    Then tasted...

    ...dear God this stuff is good. Totally different from the stuff off the shelf in the grocery store. Now the question is, how do I use it?  I'm picturing maybe a champagne cocktail with pomegranate liquer (I have a bottle of the stuff that I haven't been able to figure out a use for)....or maybe the Jack Rose that someone mentioned downthread.

    I've been loving the Scoff Law, which I believe is from the Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails (at least according to this blog post) by Ted Haigh - I found the recipe on cocktaildb.com, and later googled it.

    I've been making mine as somewhat of a bastardization, with the following ingredients:

    1/2 oz lemon juice

    1/2 oz grenadine

    1 oz whiskey (it calls for Canadian, any rye would work, it was also tasty with Tenesee whiskey)

    1 oz parts dry vermouth (I use Noilly Prat)

    1 dash of orange bitters (Regan's for me)

    Shake and strain. It really highlights the flavor of the grenadine for me, and regardless it's extremely delicious and drinkable, while being moderately complex.

    Will try this and report back :raz:

  11. Oh wow. I made a batch of grenadine last night using a 1:1.5 mix of POM and granulated sugar, shaken vigorously while I watched TV. I added a dash of vanilla and OFW for a little added flavor.

    Then tasted...

    ...dear God this stuff is good. Totally different from the stuff off the shelf in the grocery store. Now the question is, how do I use it? I'm picturing maybe a champagne cocktail with pomegranate liquer (I have a bottle of the stuff that I haven't been able to figure out a use for)....or maybe the Jack Rose that someone mentioned downthread.

  12. Having a fine libation in hand makes me feel as if I'm traveling first class...even below in steerage

    I couldn't agree more. I have a stash of little three-ounce plastic bottles that I fill with my spirit(s) of choice...then it's just a matter of choosing a mixer once on board. I have to say, I've never had the elan to bring my own garnishes, though....

  13. It's been so great seeing all the creative meals people are coming up with! I definitely never realized how much extra food I had even in my tiny little studio kitchen! This challenge has totally saved me SO much money and time.

    I think I'll be able to squeak by this week on leftover pasta and figure out something creative to make with sausage, black beans, and rice. I may have to top off my stock of perishables this weekend simply because I'm really craving some fresh milk, cheese, and salad greens, but I think I can keep that in the 10% budget limit. Next week is really going to be interesting, though....

  14. I'll be making my "potluck" dish tonight but I'll have to pass on the fortnight challenge since I'm going on vacation (to Miami!) next week. However, in rummaging through my freezer and pantry I realized I have more than enough to go another week - I still have pasta, meatballs, sausage, beans, pizza dough, canned tuna....when I get back from vacation, I'll probably try to eke out another week with maybe just a quick trip to the market to replenish my store of fruits and veggies.

  15. gallery_60806_6494_674392.jpg

    Last night's dinner was all the (rapidly wilting) salad greens I'd been hanging onto this week, plus a few cherry tomatoes. They're out of season but I'd picked some up last week at the farmer's market because they looked so good. (I should have known better). And lots of feta cheese, with a pear-champagne vinaigrette from Trader Joe's.

    So healthy-tasting, so yummy....

  16. Pics! From Day #1 of the challenge, which was spent preparing for the week....

    Here's the butternut squash post-roasting....I'm going to saute up some pancetta and make a butternut squash pasta with lots of parmesan and black pepper later on this week.


    Bread (half of one loaf is missing because I couldn't stop slicing pieces off and eating them with KerryGold butter)


    And chili-cheese calzones, for the inevitable late night when I don't feel like cooking


  17. Day 1 for me was yesterday.

    I've realized that often I get home so late and tired that I don't really feel like cooking, and thus most of the stuff that I buy to cook goes un-used while I make frequent shopping trips for more convenient provisions. This is a direct consequence of the fact that my weekly shopping trips consist of buying for planned meals that I never get around to making.

    So this experiment is going to force me to actually cook some of the stuff I've been planning on making for awhile.

    In order to maximize my chances of success, I decided to spend yesterday doing a lot of the prep work for the week. I'd been on call overnight at the hospital, so spending a lazy sunday watching TV and cooking sounded like a great plan.

    Breakfast was (a lot of) mimosas with one of my buddies while we watched last week's Lost. (Post-call drinking is one of the great under-rated pleasures of residency).

    I decided to make a couple loaves of sandwich bread to have on hand for the week. It's been awhile since I've made bread, it's one of those things that I usually just pick up at the local bakery. I'd forgotten how much fun it is!

    While the dough was rising I chopped up my butternut squash and put it in the oven to roast. I plan on using this with the pancetta later this week to make a pasta dish.

    After the squash finished roasting I slid my loaves into the oven. As the house filled with the aroma of baking bread (yum!) I pulled the leftover chili out of the fridge and rolled out one of my previously-frozen batches of pizza dough. The chili, plus a healthy handful of cheese, was folded into the dough to make chili-cheese calzones. These went into the oven after the bread.

    Dinner was a nice chunk of warm bread, with lots of butter, plus the cold asparagus salad I had in the fridge. And a couple glasses of wine while I watched the Oscars :biggrin:

    So, going into the week I have the calzones and the roasted squash pasta planned so far. I'll post pics later this AM once I get a chance to download them.

    Loving everyone's meals so far!!

  18. Alright, I'm kicking off my week starting tomorrow morning, since I'm in the hospital on call tonight. Normally I would have gone shopping this weekend and picked up fresh fruits and veggies for the week, since I'm pretty well-stocked on staples. I'm already panicking about the fact I won't be eating much salad this week! Anyway, here's my pantry stash (from memory, since I'm at work...I'll post a fridge pic when I get home):


    -1 can albacore tuna

    -1 can black beans

    -1 can garbanzo beans

    -Dried spaghetti

    -Rice noodles

    -2 jars marinara sauce

    -Oyster crackers

    -1 package tomato/roasted red pepper soup

    -1 butternut squash

    -Brown rice

    -Breakfast bars


    -1 bag arugula

    -Sheep's milk feta


    -1 bag shredded asiago/mozzarella blend

    -Steamed asparagus


    -Flour tortillas

    -Greek yogurt

    -Almond butter

    -Strawberry jelly

    -Plate of brownies :biggrin:



    -A dozen frozen meatballs

    -A batch of black bean/steak chili

    -3 jalapeno chicken sausages

    -A turkey sausage stromboli

    -Chicken stock


    -2 bags of pizza dough

    (Obviously I'm not counting staple ingredients like olive oil, spices, etc.)

    I was planning on buying Arborio rice to make a risotto with the butternut squash and pancetta, but I guess I'll have to figure out something else creative to do with them. I'd also had a vague plan to use the chili to make enchiladas but again, lacking some of the ingredients I'll have to improvise.

    I'm really only going to have to plan out dinners, since breakfast is usually a breakfast bar and coffee, and I usually grab a quick bite at work for lunch. The hardest thing is going to be, as I mentioned before, doing without fruits/veggies (which I usually buy a couple times a week). This is going to be fun!!

  19. Usually post-call weekend breakfast is an extravagant affair, but I'm on an away rotation and staying with a friend. So I've been living off frozen meals and a few staples from the local Trader Joes.

    This morning, to provide emotional recovery from a very difficult night at the hospital, I had a warm flour tortilla filled with salty sheep's milk feta, chopped tomatoes, and a drizzle of olive oil. And a very, very stiff screwdriver.

    (Camera is back at home, I'll post pics next time)

  20. Katie, after reading through this thread (and the Chick's review in the Best of Philly issue of Philadelphia Magazine) I'm jonesing for a cocktail in the worst way imaginable. I'm definitely swinging by this weekend to say hi and down a couple Front Stoop Lemonades...


    (Long-time lurker, cocktail junkie :-) )

  21. I made the Left Bank Martini off the St Germain website last night - it was amazing! I'm just starting to try out gin-based cocktails, and while a straight-up Bombay Sapphire gin-and-tonic still tastes a little medicinal to me, the St Germain in this drink added some smoothing floral notes that made the gin much more approachable.

    Still looking for new ideas for using this stuff...I may have to try that St Germain margarita one...

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