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Andrew Fenton

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Posts posted by Andrew Fenton

  1. I will admit that, while I always make my own duck confit, I rarely make mayonnaise at home. I know how, but the jar is simpler, and it has preservatives, so it lasts longer. I really hate battling my fridge in terms of expiration dates.

    This is an excellent point. If I'm serving a dish in which mayonnaise is a key ingredient, I can make it. But if I want a turkey sandwich with mayo for lunch? No way am I going to make up a batch of mayonnaise just for that.

  2. For ages, I was convinced that pizza was something you'd be crazy not to make yourself. I'd make pizza once a month or so- homemade dough, the whole bit. And I got pretty good at it.

    Then tonight, in the middle of making pizza, I realized: I don't really like making pizza. I don't like working with pizza dough. I don't like running back and forth between the kitchen and dining room as pizzas go in and out of the oven. And I don't like the huge mess that it makes. I think I was making pizza for bad reasons: because people would tell me that it's better when it's homemade, or because it's supposed to be a "fun" thing to do.

    If I lived somewhere that you couldn't get good pizza, I might feel differently. As I said, my pizza is pretty good. It's definitely a hundred times better than Papa John's or whatever. But I live somewhere that has good pizza, and where the pizza scene is getting better. I don't think I'll ever be able to turn out pie that's as good as the pizza at Osteria. And even among delivery pizzas, I have some very good options.

    So after tonight, I don't think I'm going to bother making pizza. And I'm okay with that.

  3. I remain convinced that Sweet Potatoes is the best restaurant in Savannah. Another visit, another terrific meal, starring the fried oyster platter with cheese grits and green beans. Just straight-up delicious Southern food, prepared with care and love. I could eat there every day.

    Papa's new digs are nice; their barbecue is good and the larger space gives them the opportunity to offer a wider menu. There's nothing too special, but I liked the crab stew pretty well. It's a nice place if you're out in that direction.

    We had one upscale dinner at Eos, a newish small-plates restaurant that has receiving some accolades. While we enjoyed some dishes there (most notably the duck breast with risotto), most of it was disappointing. Some dishes were just a little sloppy (Spanish-style garlic shrimp were overcooked and over salted; gritty cheesecake), and nothing was particularly inspired or, well, delicious. It also suffers from small-plates price inflation: if I'm going to spend $13 for five medium-sized shrimp, they really ought to be something special, you know? So I also remained convinced (alas) that fine dining in Savannah is just a few steps behind where it ought to be. But I'll keep looking...

  4. They're really doing something special at Koo Zee Doo.

    That pork and clams dish may just be the best thing EVER. The potatoes, so crispy! The clams, so tender! The pork, so... porky! It's really something special. Ditto the the gizzards- I agree that it'd be easy to scarf down an entire bowl.

    I've gotta get back, as soon as possible. Man.

  5. Those dishes all look great, Phil. I'm a fan of Little Fish and have been wanting to get to the new spot for what seems like ages now.

    Just out of curiosity, though: does anybody know how one cleans a serving platter made of salt?

  6. I really wanted to love Percy Street. It's only a couple of blocks from my house, and a first-rate neighborhood BBQ joint would be as good for my piece of mind as it would be bad for my arteries. And I really enjoyed Erin O'Shea's cooking at Marigold and looked forward to seeing what she'd do in a new location.

    Unfortunately, it's not only a new location but a whole new genre-- less Bertolucci and more Leone-- and I found Percy Street to be a mixed bag. So in true western style, cue up the Ennio Morricone soundtrack:

    The good. The brisket is excellent: rich, smoky, not afraid of fat. Really, it's the best thing on the menu and there's no reason to order any other meat there. Some of the sides stood out as well, including the pinto beans. I liked the green beans, and I think they've probably improved from Phil's visit: not a trace of tomato, for one thing.

    The bad. Some of the dishes were pretty mediocre. The smoked pork belly was a little bland; it could have improved by being cured, cold-smoked, cut into thin strips and fried until crispy. (Hey, somebody ought to try that some time!) The BBQ chicken had excellent flavor, but was overcooked and a little mushy.

    The ugly. The sausage was pretty foul stuff: loose, crumbly and extremely greasy. From what I've read, that's representative of Texas-style BBQ sausage; if so, they can keep it, because it's awful.

    The bottom line for me is that the quality just isn't where it ought to be, especially at the prices. Better to walk a few blocks south, pick up some 'cue at Bebe's for a few dollars less, take it home and enjoy it with a Clint Eastwood movie.

  7. Next week, which will be the last of the 2009 season for Headhouse, Beechwood will be selling all its apples for $1 a pound.

    I saw this today, and it's worth highlighting what a screamingly good deal this is. Unfortunately, I'll be out of town then; otherwise I'd totally pick up a giant bag of your Newtown Pippins and eat them all winter long. Instead, I picked up a medium bag of Gold Rushes and will eat them over the week. Dang, I love those things.

  8. I don't remember seeing cotechino in markets around Philadelphia; if you don't get lucky, you might try asking in the New York forum. Alternatively, an off-the-wall suggestion: I believe Modo Mio has cotechino on their menu. You might ask them where they get theirs, if it's not house made.

  9. Yes, lousy hours and service that's just this side of surly are the price you have to endure for the pho at Cafe Diem! It's probably worth it, though I'm still glad there's a new kid on the block that's putting out a good product.

  10. Jong Ka Jib may be my new favorite restaurant in Philadelphia. I can't believe it took me so long to make it up there... so many wasted years.

    Obviously the soon doo boo is the main point there- I'd never had it before, and it was terrific. But the banchan were good too (if not as bounteous as some places). The squid pancake (paejon? is that right?) was good, but could have used more squid. We ordered some BBQ'd kalbi, too, which were okay, but nothing special. Bottom line is that you are there for tofu, but still, when the soup is only $9, you might as well order a few extra dishes...

    Looking out at this crazy cold, windy weather, I feel the need for another tofu fix ASAP.

  11. Pho Saigon is the real deal! Pace mrbigjas, I thought the broth was pretty substantial (and it's less clear than many other places), meaty and rich. I think Cafe Diem is still the gold standard for Philadelphia pho-- especially when it comes to the broth-- but this is a pretty close second.

  12. I don't know. I mean absolutely no offense to anyone when I say this but, with eGullet being the hub for the culinary adventurous to gather and discuss things that it is, there are a lot of surprisingly conservative views towards food and food wording. "Charred culets of lamb" is too descriptive and off-putting but a simple "cutlets of lamb" would be deemed not descriptive enough. We want to know how it's prepared! "We're serving scallops with the beef." Well they must have an overstock of scallops they want to get rid of, nobody else would do that. "Buffalo yoghurt" is silly but "buffalo mozzarella" is fine.

    The problem with "charred cutlets of lamb" isn't overdescription, it's bad description. "Grilled" or even "char-grilled" would be okay, but "charred" just sounds burned and unappetizing. Ditto the "blistered tomato", which sounds like it needs a course of antibiotics; I'm guessing that "roasted tomato" would be equally descriptive, and more appetizing.

  13. An altogether grotesque piece of wine snobbery, of the type that makes people think that knowing anything about wine makes you an insufferable boor.

    And worse: she doesn't mention food even once! Evidently she (and the Collector) don't care whether their super-special bottles will actually pair well with what's being served. It's just about showing off the size of one's *ahem* collection.

  14. Go to Osteria. I'm not sure if it's still on the menu, but their steak for two was easily among the best pieces of meat in the city when I had it, and you'll have much more sucess with the rest of the menu if you choose to go that direction.

    The best steak (non-steakhouse category) would be an interesting topic, wouldn't it? (Definitely more interesting than this one.) I agree that the fiorentina at Osteria would be a contender for that title; it's pretty fantastic.

  15. I hope they do well. I want this place to stay around.

    me too. i hope their family style servings and the associated price points will allow them to. it's not that fun to go with just two people, for instance, because you can only have a couple of apps and one entree without spending a mint and having a ton of leftovers -- it makes it hard to decide what to get.

    Hmm, I made reservations a few days ago, and was glad to see Phil A's positive review. But there are just the two of us... worth it? Or should we invite some friends along?

  16. At my wife's request, Thanksgiving this year will feature, in addition to a turkey, a ham. While I've smoked many a butt, I've never smoked a ham and I'm looking for a little guidance.

    I have Ruhlman/Polcyn's Charcuterie book, which has a straightforward-looking recipe, one that's not too different from what I do with a butt: brine, dry, smoke. The differences seem to be that there's some pink salt in the cure (makes it "hammier", I guess), and that there's a glaze added while cooking. So far, so good.

    But I have a couple of questions: first, while I don't think I'll have a problem getting a fresh ham from the butcher, would it be a problem if I use a picnic shoulder? And what final temperature should I be aiming for? I assume I don't want to get it up to pulled pork temperatures. And finally, any techniques or recipes I should know about?

  17. johnny's hots is alive and well, and now open on saturdays.

    gfweb, you never went to levis at 6th & south? they had the combo. johnny's hots still does it, as does texas weiner. i've never heard of it anywhere else, but also i've never lived anywhere else.

    Nope, never went there either. But not for long. The surf and turf sounds so foul it might be good. LOL

    It's not foul at all; really, it's totally inoffensive. I just don't think it tastes like much...

  18. I like Johnny's Hots. Glad to know they are still active. I've had their surf n' turf and... it's okay. Really, a fishcake just doesn't taste like much. Mostly just starch. I don't really get the point...

    I tried Moe's the other day: it's on my way to work, so I picked up a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast. I noticed two things: first, the sandwich was good, but when it comes to BE&C, it's not like there's a huge difference between good and OK. I should have just had a hot dog, you know?

    The other thing about Moe's was that the counter staff were ridiculously upbeat and happy for 6:30 AM. Good for them!

  19. I've never eaten at La Buca, but I walked by last night and looked at the menu. It looked pretty good, with some solid pasta choices, including northern Italian standards that you don't see all that often here (like tortellini in brodo). And they offer half portions of pasta, so you can get a secondo as well. But I don't know if the food is any good... anybody eaten there?

    Also, Modo Mio shouldn't be ignored. As folks have said, it can be hit-or-miss, but when it's on, it's very good, a real bargain, and a little more on the Italian end of the scale than most of the South Philly joints. I had a great dinner there on Saturday night...

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