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Andrew Fenton

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Everything posted by Andrew Fenton

  1. I'm confused. Wasn't the point to make one soup and leave with six different ones, or twelve, or however many were made? Why didn't everyone just get one of each? (Or, given allergies and dislikes, do some swapping.) There were twelve different soups; each person brought six quarts of one kind and went home with six different quarts. (In each round, you'd choose one quart of soup and there were six rounds.) So nobody got to go home with all of the different soups. It's true that there was potential for hurt feelings-- I tried to salve that by awarding a lovely parting gift to the creator of the last-chosen soup. I think everybody went home happy!
  2. We hosted our first soup swap this weekend, and it was a lot of fun. It's not like those other swap parties that they used to have back in the seventies: basically, the idea is to bring homemade soup to a party, and come home with a variety of homemade soups. Or as I put it in the invitation email: We got underway at around 3. About twenty people come to the swap, and twelve soups were represented. They were: French Onion Winter Mushroom Mom's Wonton Noodle Pumpkin Bisque Shiitake Mushroom Consomme Fabio's Creamless Creamy Squash Cuban Black Bean Corn & Ham Chowder Midwest Corn Chowder Chicken Tortilla Spiced Butternut Squash & Asian Pear Bean, Kale & Sausage Here is the table of soups in all their glory: After an hour or so of mingling, eating and drinking (including a truly outstanding Mother's Ruin Punch from eG's own Katie Loeb), we got down to the BIZNESS of soup swapping. First was the Telling of the Soups. Each person told a little bit about their soup: some were family recipes or a personal favorite, others something new. Some soups represented a personal struggle, overcoming long odds to create an awesome soup. Inspirational stuff. As you can see, this soup chef is mesmerizing the crowd with a description of her winter mushroom soup: And then it was time to swap the soup! Soup chefs picked numbers from a hat and went around, each person choosing one soup at a time. Sort of like the NFL draft, only far more competitive and cut-throat. There were prizes, for the first soup picked and the last soup picked. (Next time I'll do it for the first last soup to go.) Eventually only a few soups were left: And here is the creator of the first soup to be picked (the Cuban black bean), proudly brandishing her prize: the coveted Spoon of Destiny! At the end of the afternoon, everybody went home with six quarts of different homemade soups, and the food pantry got a whole bunch of cans of soup as well. It was a good time, an easy, low-stress event, and a great way to stock your freezer with some easy weeknight dinners. So: have you ever been to a soup swap? What did you make? Do you have any tips?
  3. I am 54 years old. I have lived in various places in the US. I have never seen a butcher shop. In Philadelphia, I can think of at least three or so butcher shops (depending on whether you count the poultry-only place) in the Reading Terminal Market alone. There are some other butchers elsewhere in the city as well. So, unless we have different ideas of what a butcher shop is, not extinct, no.
  4. I'm glad you tried it! It really was my favorite dish, and while I agree that it'd have been nice to see more octopus and less squid, both were perfectly cooked. I love cold octopus salad- it's one of those dishes you just don't see enough of, and this was really well done: tender, nicely dressed and with some, but not too much potato. Even my two year old loved it and kept asking for more octopus (I predict she'll be grossed out by the idea by the time she's four, but oh well).
  5. Truth. It's so easy to eat an entire pan of them without blinking. And since they deteriorate in quality so quickly, and since you just don't want them to go to waste...
  6. Stella was packed at Sunday lunchtime- lots of people out enjoying the beautiful fall weather, and, I imagine, more than a little spillover from the Head House Square farmers market. We sat outside- a little hot given the lack of shade, but great for people watching. I enjoyed the margherita pizza: good sauce, good cheese, good basil. The crust wasn't as puffy (or as well done) as in Phil's photos: obviously there's always going to be some variation, but this seemed a little bit underdone. The sausage pizza was even less well done than the margherita: I think the crumbled sausage weighed the crust down. I wasn't wild about it. Probably my favorite dish was actually the octopus and calamari salad: one of my favorite simple Italian dishes. I'd get that any time I went. I caught at least three or four typos on the menu, but I guess that that's to be expected at a little mom and pop restaurant that can't afford to hire a proofreader.
  7. Back to the lobster: Varga Bar's Clambake for Two has loads of seafood, is priced reasonably enough ($36 for two people) and includes lobster. Lobster stuffed with crab, actually: just in case one shellfish wasn't enough!
  8. Can you expand on that? ← Here's a video of Michel Richard making onion carbonara. It looks awfully good!
  9. I recently bought a Fra'Mani salametto, and was disappointed by it. The main flavor is salt; there's some garlic there too, but it's mostly salt with a pork aftertaste. It's not awful, but it's not something I want to eat on its own, or even in a sandwich (except maybe one in which it plays a supporting role, like a muffaletta.) Still, at $18 a pound, I want to use it up. So I'm looking for recipes that incorporate salami, in which the salami is balanced by other ingredients. How do you cook with salami?
  10. See, those are just plain ol' delicious-looking sandwiches. THIS is obscene: Two breaded fried chicken patties surrounding bacon and cheese, for people who like sandwiches but feel that all that healthy bread spoils the experience.
  11. Also also also also, I tried Nick's the other day. I wanted to like the filet sandwich, I really did! But it just didn't taste like much. Granted, they're not exactly going to be featuring wagyu on an $8 sandwich, but even so, I didn't get a lot of beef flavor or grill flavor, for that matter. I think there's a reason why filet isn't the standard cut for sandwiches. I'd rather have a roast beef Italiano, or a cheesesteak, for that matter. But I did really like the couple of bites of hot dog I had. And there are a lot of other things on the menu that I'd like to try.
  12. Also also also, I had what was just about the best hoagie of my life last week at Chickie's. It's a new sandwich that they'd posted in the window: Italian tuna, prosciutto, artichokes, olive spread and balsamic vinegar. The tuna gives it body, the prosciutto richness, the artichokes a bit of vegetable sweetness, olives for salt and the balsamic just ties it all together into something that's just amazing.
  13. Also also, the governor of grease stains himself, Mr. Holly Moore, gave a brief interview to the City Paper's Meal Ticket blog a couple of days ago, dropping some knowledge about Philadelphia restaurant history and what the Philadelphia food scene needs now. (hint: rhymes with "not frogs")
  14. Yep, that was it! And I'll second the recommendation of the hot dog art: I started following Hawk Krall's blog after seeing (and linking, up above) this excellent illustration of a Philly surf n' turf combo. Also, how great of a name is "Hawk Krall?" God, I'm jealous.
  15. How funny! I was just reading about Nick's Charcoal Pit on one of the Philadelphia food blogs (can't remember which one now) and thinking that I ought to give them a try at lunch tomorrow. That hot dog looks really good.
  16. Just one observation, that these tempura asparagus pictured upthread: are insanely good. Crispy, sweet, rich and light all at once. Eat them. EAT THEM ALL, MY PRETTIES!
  17. "Naples-style", actually. Which seemed a little odd: I'd never heard of it as a Neapolitan dish (though I'm sure they eat it there), and it wasn't substantially different from the more well-known Roman version. Chickpeas, maybe? Anyway, I thought it was pretty fantastic, probably the best tripe I've had in the city. Bistecca siciliana- breaded & fried, topped with an egg and served with soppressata. Mouth-watering, artery-hardening goodness! Quoted for truth. The place is oddly inconsistent (seriously, why spoil the agnolotti by going so heavy on the lemon juice?), but it gets enough right-- and the price is so right-- that I'll return.
  18. 1. You need new friends. 2. You need to come to a potluck at my house: that would've gotten eaten, for sure.
  19. Yes, Andre Brujon is particularly missed...
  20. It sounds like you need a new hobby. Take up knitting, or restoring classic cars, or raising orchids, or competitive bicycle racing or whatever.
  21. Okay, I hope the food is good and all, but this is just about the stupidest thing I have ever heard.
  22. Andrew Fenton

    The "Beer Summit"

    Well, it's the first beer summit. Give them time to develop the concept. Personally, I'm looking forward to the Vodka Summit with the leader of Kyrgyzstan or wherever. That should be a good time.
  23. The onion rings at Varga Bar are very good (though I'd prefer the sauce on the side.) And we really enjoyed the clambake for two. I'd like to try the confit Buffalo wings, one of these days.
  24. I want to update this to say that Lazaretto Creek is definitely the place to go for seafood. If you're staying at Tybee, definitely, but even if you're downtown it's probably worth the drive. If you turn off the main road just before Tybee, there's a complex with several businesses (all with the same owner, I'm sure): a restaurant, a dolphin tour boat, and a seafood stand. We bought seafood there several times during our most recent trip. The shrimp are fantastic, of course-- fresh Savannah shrimp have spoiled me for all others-- but it's worth it to check out the fish as well. There wasn't a lot of selection, just what had come in off the boat, but it was all very high quality. I asked what had come in that day, and got a couple of Spanish mackerel that grilled up wonderfully. The luck of the draw as far as what what you'll get, but definitely worth checking out.
  25. I sometimes fry (to a depth of 1" or so) in olive oil. I just fried some artichokes yesterday, and a week or two back, did up a fritto misto of squash blossoms and vegetables. They were all pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. But I don't know if I'd want to fill a deep fryer with olive oil- the oil gets nasty a lot faster than peanut oil does, that's for sure.
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