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Andrew Fenton

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Everything posted by Andrew Fenton

  1. Herb: I don't know specifically about substitutes for Sarcone's. But I've had bread that's as good, or close to it, and they can't bake enough for all these places. (Or can they?) Anyway, I made it to John's Roast Pork today and had a steak. It's good-- very good in a lot of ways-- but the best in the city? Au contraire, mon frere Laban! Good bread (about a third of an Italian loaf). The steak comes in nice thick slices (sliced not chopped); the meat isn't as greasy as most steaks are. Which is a problem: you want that perfect amount of meat juice and grease blending with the melted cheese, forming a perfect matrix of fats. The really striking thing about John's steaks is just how much cheese they use. Lots of cheese. And the thing is, they put it on the grilling meat just before it all goes into the bread. The result is a sandwich composed of strata of meat and cheese, the latter not fully melted when it comes off the grill. It's like geology on a roll: youy'll be eating through layers of meat and then suddenly hit a pocket of provolone (White Gold! Load up the truck and move to Beverly...) Which is fine, but-- the fat matrix, man! Where's the matrix? The non-melted cheese surprised and bothered me: was it just because they were busy when I was there? Or is that typical? I suppose if you really like a lot of cheese, this is the steak for you. (But I'd recommend letting it sit, tightly wrapped, for a minute or two in order to let the cheese melt fully.) As far as I'm concerned, though, Tony Luke's reigns supreme. Oh! One more thing: John's serves Coke in glass bottles. Which is so cool: scientists have proven that Coke bottled in glass tastes 30% better than Coke in aluminum or plastic. Makes a good accompaniment to cheesesteak.
  2. A crust topped with tequila, lime and triple sec? The trick is keeping the crushed ice from melting...
  3. "There are three kinds of people in this world: those who can count, and those who can't."
  4. Pizza margherita: the Platonic ideal of pizza. Any subtractions leave the pizza incomplete; any additions would be superfluous.
  5. How do you fit a vending machine in a tube?
  6. I grew up in Seattle, and I can tell you that oh yeah, it's there too. Just start with the Deliverance jokes and work your way down...
  7. Well, the sort of condescension you're talking about is inexcusable. And as Dave points out, it's not limited to food, but rather is part of a general stereotyping of the South. That said, it seems to me that it's the negative, flip side of a really wonderful phenomenon, namely Southern food traditions. Nobody visits Seattle or Minneapolis and asks about the best [insert local dish here] because those areas don't have distinctive regional cooking cultures. So I don't think it's wrong to look for Southern food in the South: when I plan a trip down to Savannah, I schedule in meals at Wall's BBQ or the Lady and Sons or Johnny Harris or the Crab Shack, not Elizabeth's. Elizabeth's is a terrific restaurant, but it's not terrific in a way that's significantly different from what I can get in Philly. But I can't get hoecakes or cornbread up here that compares to what I can get at the Lady. It is obnoxious that perception of what constitutes Southern food tends to start and finish with barbecue and a few other dishes. (Though let's be honest- most Americans west of Missouri or north of Virginia have no idea what barbecue is (or how it differs from grilling), let alone the regional variations.) So that's an argument for further proselytizing, on the part of eGulletteers, as well as others.
  8. Add mac n' cheese to your list of vegetarian-friendly Southern food. Can't beat mac n' cheese on a vegetable plate. How did you deal with meat-cooked vegetables? When I'm eating in the South, I'll often get a veggie plate for lunch: but not being a vegetarian, I don't mind finding a little piece of pork in my collards or green beans. I'd think that someone who doesn't eat meat would have a problem.
  9. I like the idea of PB in a tube. But only if I can pretend to be an astronaut while I eat it.
  10. Well, there's the old saying: "Eat dessert first-- life is uncertain."
  11. What a coincidence: I'll be in Opryland this summer too (Billy Joe Shaver at the Grand Old Opry). I'd been checking out the Nashville listings on DixieDining.com, a site that has always provided me with good advice in the past...
  12. When I visited Asheville, I stayed at the Red Rocker Inn, in Black Rock (about a 15 minute drive from downtown), which serves some terrific country cooking. If your friends will still be in Asheville on Sunday, have them head over there for Sunday dinner: first rate fried chicken, pot roast, grits, biscuits, and so on. Nothing fancy, but as tasty a traditional Southern meal as you could ask for. Breakfasts are equally good; they also serve dinner on other nights, but I didn't try it. Red Rocker Inn website
  13. Well, you can't say "mucilaginous" without saying "mmmmm", I guess...
  14. Andrew Fenton

    Onion Rings

    Onion rings are my favorite food, EVER. I have a very simple recipe: 1. Choose one of the recipes above. Prepare the onions accordingly. 2. Put the rings in a deep pot filled with hot oil. 3. Watch as my kitchen fills with deep black smoke, the alarm goes off, neighbors call 911, and my cats decide it's time to head to the hills... 4. Go to my favorite rings-serving restaurant. Realize that I suck at deep frying...
  15. I've seen that one! It was on a Heinz malt vinegar bottle, I think. You're absolutely right, it looked amazingly nasty. So nasty that I was almost tempted to try it: it had to be better than my expectations, no? But I think you're right: their testers must be drunk. Or something.
  16. No, haven't tried those yet, though I've been meaning to try the truck for a while now. The Rib Crib is okay; I like it mostly because it's just such a neat place, but (at least on weekends, which is when I've gone there) they don't cook the ribs long enough, which makes them a little too chewy for my taste. Rich, if you're looking for somebody to head out to Lawnside with you, let me know!
  17. Oh, I like that part! You've gotta have Wonderbread with 'cue: it's a combination napkin/side dish. Probably the only acceptable use for Wonderbread... I don't understand-- which concept is that? I'm not a huge fan of Phoebe's either: it's okay, but not much more than that. I still have yet to find really first-rate BBQ in Philly. The Route 40 places are pretty damn good, but it's a long drive out there, and you have to wait until summertime...
  18. Exactly. I'm a big fan of tradition (yay, tradition!) and long-term family businesses (go family businesses!) and I wanted to like Ron's. I just... didn't.
  19. Oh man, that's right: how could I have forgotten Blimpy? Best fried mushrooms I've had: crispy and juicy all at once. And the burgers are A. Mazing. "Cheaper than food..." A2 is a great town for cheap eats in general. Start with the bibimbap at the Korean diners in town and work on from there...
  20. Heck, I'd drive out to Michigan just to pay a visit to Zingerman's in Ann Arbor. Maybe the best deli sandwiches on the planet...
  21. Yeah, after the lovefest, I feel like a jerk for saying that the one time I went there, I found the food to be just this side of inedible. The ribs were tough and the sauce was bitter. I must have ordered the greens-- I always do, when I have the chance-- but I don't remember them one way or another. Maybe the reopening will lead to a rejuvenated product?
  22. Fair enough. But is making your customers feel ignorant-- even if it's educational or morally uplifting-- a good way to run a business?
  23. While I basically agree, it occurs to me that the American style is essentially more democratic: anybody can read the description and get a sense of what they're going to eat. Whereas if you're at a French restaurant and see, sayf, "tournedos Rossini" and don't know what those are, you have to fess up to your ignorance.
  24. Good point. Having been raised by wolves, I tend to just crack the bones and suck the marrow right out. (Quickly, before the others can get to them...)
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