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eG Foodblog: MarketStEl - Today in History


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Tonight's the meat fest at Picanha, which I can't attend.  Still going, Sandy?  If so, have a good time, and have a chicken heart for me!  :cool:

Yes, I'm still going, armed with my camera!

I will be heading straight to Picanha from Chester. After accounting for transfers (Bus Route 109 > R2 inbound > Market-Frankford El > Bus Route 59) and waiting time, I will probably get there just a little bit late. I've let Jeff L know.

I'll have extra chicken hearts for you, dear heart. Sorry to hear you won't make it.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Meatloaf! I immediately made one for dinner. Living in Japan, I forgot about the existence of things like meatloaf for years on end. We'll be having ours with rice and miso soup, of course.

I keep envisaging you trying to resist the urge to take photos of lunch in the jury room!

Trust me, it was very easy to resist the urge. I had to check my camera and my cell phone at the entrance.

What follows is the only photo I could take inside the Criminal Justice Center, shot when I went in on Monday morning:

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Alert viewers with good memories may note that the light fixtures in the lobby of the Criminal Justice Center (1999) bear passing resemblance to those in the main hall of 30th Street Station (1932), photos of which ran in my first blog (click on the link in my .sig to refresh your memory if you care). Postmodernism is so much fun because you can mix and match styles and influences with abandon if you are so inclined. However, I'd characterize this building as a cross between stripped-down classical and stripped-down Art Deco.

The crowds in the lobby are mainly victims, defendants and their families, waiting to pass through the metal detectors at the main entrance. Visitors must remove all metal objects -- even their belts -- before passing through them. Lawyers, court employees and jurors serving on cases may use a restricted entrance with less sensitive metal detectors (you can keep your belt on). Employees and attorneys can keep their cell phones with them as well.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I have also been thinking about meatloaf since reading it on your blog.  I's on my list now.  I think that meatloaf's success lies in the accompaniments.  You serve a lovely plate.  Thanks for this blog, Sandy.

You're welcome.

But as you are host of the France forum, I'd like to ask you:

Is there anything like meatloaf in French cooking?

I would think that some pates might count, but I'm not sure.

Lots of dishes, Sandy. But they tend to use less beef and more pork.

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Latvian community in West Philadelphia? Where?

Unless I'm very much mistaken, that community is history now. I wouldn't know where to find it, or any culinary traces of its existence (what would those be, anyway?).

We (like I was there) were in the 40s, I believe, in the tree streets. Looking at a map I think we might've lived on Filbert Street. I'm not sure how many of us were there, but there were enough to support a Latvian Baptist Church somewhere - that's where my grandparents met! Their generation started having babies and moving out to the 'burbs (Manoa) in the 1930s and '40s. The only thing my family left behind is the stained glass "L" (for Luhks, corrupted at immigration from Lujks) in their front window.

Culinarily, the only Latvian food I know of is some obscure sauerkraut recipe I haven't had since grandma left us, and the magical, heavenly Piragi. Pronounced "peadogs"! We only make them for holidays because it's so tedious and time-consuming to chop up pounds of ham, bacon and onions to go inside the savory dough buns. But oh, wow, you had better believe they are worth it :wub:

There are Latvians all over the place but you might never know it since we are hard to spot (people guess I'm English) and assimilated so well. My forbears were adamant about becoming Americans. This included speaking English and cooking from magazines. I probably know more about depression-era cooking than anything Latvian!

I did my own rant on "the sixth borough" back in my first foodblog

Sandy, from what you and one of my friends have said, I will just have to believe that the "City of Brotherly Love" must necessarily also be the "City of Brotherly Arm-Punching" :wink:

I always liked Philadelphia whether from genetics or experience. If it weren't for my desire to move around until I finally settled in New York, the only U.S. city frenetic enough to keep me entertained, I'd probably still live there. The entire family is thrilled that my sister's there now so they have an excuse to go visit.

When I moved here, there were Ethiopian restaurants--two of them, one in Center City and one at 45th and Locust. The latter was called the Red Sea then; it's called Abyssinia now. The former is long gone. But there were no Jamaican places, nothing serving up West African fare, no authetic Mexican restaurants, nothing from South America, nothing from Russia, and only the Warsaw Cafe representing Eastern Europe. You will find all of these and more here now.

I went to Red Sea! I love that I got to try Ethiopian food in college. For the life of me, I don't remember when I found Indian or Thai, but it was definitely afterwards. Did you ever have that conversation? Or think about the first time you tried something? A few weeks ago I went out for Vietnamese Pho with my teenaged cousins and was impressed with their openness. Things sure have changed.

If you haven't gotten your hoagie yet, would you consider going to Lee's? And not just because they also sell Butterscotch Krimpet Tastykakes. :laugh:

Oh, and I totally thought that lobby you photographed looked 30th-Street-Station-ish!

To hell with poverty! We'll get drunk on cheap wine - Gang of Four

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Okay, now that things are at a brief lull as the end of the workday approaches, I can maybe catch up with yesterday.

Since I was getting back up to speed both with my exercise routine (hah! That was interrupted again today) and with a pile of work on my desk, I ate there yesterday. Lunch consisted of a meatloaf sandwich, made from the leftover meatloaf from Tuesday.

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As I believe I said in my first foodblog, I often prepare dinner with an eye on having plenty of leftovers for lunches the rest of the week. There are certain dishes -- meatloaf is one of them; Hamburger Helper is another -- that Gary asks I pack him for the next day's lunch when I cook them. In the case of Hamburger Helper, that's only if he hasn't polished off what's left that night.

Speaking of leftovers, though, one thing I am finding out about Widener is that food is a standard accompaniment for all but the most mundane meetings. At receptions, you will find the infamous cheese and fruit platter I described in my first foodblog; for business meetings at meal times, there will either be coffee, juice and breakfast pastries and breads or sandwiches and salads. Since I work in Old Main, the original PMC classroom and barracks building, which now houses the administration on the first two floors, the Nursing School on the next two and nothing at all on the fifth, there are a lot of administrative meetings in the conference room down the hall from me. Inevitably, not everything gets consumed, and what isn't consumed shows up in the room with the copier and coffee machine, as it did yesterday:

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I grabbed the half tuna salad sandwich in this picture as well, along with some potato chips also left over.

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I had packed a tossed salad before going to work as well -- it's still sitting in the fridge, for reasons you will see when I get to chronicling today -- and had forgotten that I had a bottle of honey Dijon dressing in the office fridge, so I tried to do something interesting with ingredients on hand. I had wanted to get rid of this mislabeled product:

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I say it's mislabeled because if there was any soya bean extract in it, the molasses swamped it, along with the salt. "Molasses with Soy Flavoring" would have been a far more accurate label.

So I combined this with some industrial balsamic vinegar, a liberal amount of olive oil and some ginger, and got something that I could swallow but would not recommend you try at home. As I try not to waste food, I will consume this concoction eventually. Maybe I'll take it back home and stir-fry something in it.

After work, it was off to PGMC rehearsal, where we ran through some of the longer works for our holiday concert ("Nutcracker: Men in Tights" -- I will be a Sugar Plum Fairy in the title work, which is a sendup of the Christmas staple that keeps ballet companies across the country solvent) and a quick run through of the songs we will sing on Saturday, when we open for Joan Rivers, who is stopping at the Keswick Theater in Glenside on her current concert tour.

Afterwards, Vince and I -- still in our office drag --

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stopped off at 13th Street Pizza before heading to Karaoke Blvd. at Pure so as not to drink on an empty stomach.

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This all-night hole in the wall used to serve pizza that was as reputable as some of the patrons who swamp the place around bar closing time. (The sidewalk in front of the establishment is a gathering place for young black queens who head out to vogue parties in West Philly in the wee small hours after hanging around for a while around closing time, and a less benign element sometimes inserts itself into the mix.) That has changed since the shop reopened after closing for a three-week makeover.

I had two slices, one a meat lover's special with pepperoni, sausage, bacon and Cheddar, which I topped with grated Parmesan from a jar:

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and one a chicken ranch pizza.

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Both were made with very good quality ingredients, and had thin crusts that weren't quite up to NYPD Pizza's standard but came awfully close -- especially the chicken ranch pie, thanks to the absence of sauce (it had ranch dressing drizzled over the chicken).

On the scale we developed for the Best of Philly Review Tour, I would rate these pies as 10-milers -- quite good indeed. (I explained the scale to Vince while we were waiting for our slices. He was surprised that I rated the pies at Joseph's as only one-milers, and that I was underwhelmed by Celebre's.)

Then we went off to drink and sing and carouse.

Now I have to get outta here pronto, because I have to make some close connections to get to Pichanha Grill in time. I will resume on the other side of a meat-induced coma.

Edited to add additional photo.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Great smile, great to see your hands at work

*racheld likes these things to include photos of handwriting, I like pix of hands.

I DO, TOO!!! I asked for hands AND writing, way back yonder, but that's one thing about getting old---nobody pays any attention to you. In my case, that's just as well. :raz:

And I've never been any closer to Philadelphia than Titusville, but I've loved these tours you give every now and then.

I showed both! Really, I did!

Sandy, this is great. Thanks so much for all of the time you are putting into this! Getting exhausted yet?

(I can't wait to try Italian sausage in my meatloaf. My husband's family adds it to their stuffed cabbage - similar philosophy.)

Danielle Altshuler Wiley

a.k.a. Foodmomiac

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You sure did, DW. And kids! There's a photo in your first blog of your then one & only throwing a fit on the floor... loved it. Shared it with many parents of small fry heading into that age. Think of it often.

I've been to Philly once, for a little over an hour. I found a cheese-steak sandwich, and was happy. Seems like a nice place for a longer visit.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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That yogurt/oatmeal combo was a favorite of my college roomies. It ..... encourages movement.  Phew, was that delicate enough?

Does it encourage anything else? I've been having gas of late...

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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That yogurt/oatmeal combo was a favorite of my college roomies. It ..... encourages movement.  Phew, was that delicate enough?

Does it encourage anything else? I've been having gas of late...

The soluble fiber in oatmeal does tend to promote gas in some people--ironically, it's that same soluble fiber that is supposed to be responsible for its cholesterol-lowering qualities. If you've just recently added it to your routine, your system may just need a few weeks to adjust to the change.

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Okay, before I collapse, let me at least get lunch today up here.

Recall what I said about Widener feeding you? That salad I mentioned yesterday is still in the fridge, because I got fed again.

This time it was because I'm on the planning committee for our Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month observations. The noontime meeting called for more than the Ubiquitous Cheese and Fruit Platter:

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Instead, there was a grilled chicken salad with potatoes, olives and roasted red peppers:

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a slightly spicy chicken noodle soup:

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and carrot cake.

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As I'm really tired now, I'm going to have to put off the commentary and the rest of the day until tomorrow.

I think it's the aftereffects of all that meat.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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About the yoghurt and oatmeal, do you toast your oatmeal before adding it, or just add it raw? I eat yoghurt with granola (nature valley), and quite like it, but I can't imagine how it would taste with just plain oatmeal. Toasted oatmeal might be OK, but ordinary oatmeal....I'm just not sure about it.

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Sandy:

Sorry I missed the meatfest. Looking forward to the pix and report. I had to work. Next time I'll make it. This is the second local rodizio run I've missed. :angry:

Great blogging so far! You're doing us proud. Carry on...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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About the yoghurt and oatmeal, do you toast your oatmeal before adding it, or just add it raw?  I eat yoghurt with granola (nature valley), and quite like it, but I can't imagine how it would taste with just plain oatmeal.  Toasted oatmeal might be OK, but ordinary oatmeal....I'm just not sure about it.

I dump it in raw, just as Jeff does.

It has the texture of cardboard and the rather bland flavor of oats.

Maybe I should try toasting it.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Thank God it's...

Friday, October 27, the 300th day of 2006 and the 324th anniversary of the founding of the city of Philadelphia. There are 65 days left in the year.

Today's Philadelphia forecast: Mix of clouds and sun this morning, becoming cloudy this afternoon, rain likely later tonight. Forecast high 52F, forecast low 42F.

On this day:

In 1275, according to tradition, the city of Amsterdam was founded.

In 1795, the Treaty of Madrid establishes the boundaries between the United States and Spain's colonies in North America.

In 1838, Missouri Governor Lilburn Boggs issues the Extermination Order, driving all Mormons from the state.

In 1904, the first line of the Interborough Rapid Transit -- New York's first subway -- opened. The system would eventually grow into the largest in North America and one of the largest in the world.

In 1936, Wallis Simpson filed for the divorce that would eventually allow her to marry King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, which in turn would require him to abdicate the throne.

In 1946, Geographically Speaking, the first commercially sponsored TV program (sponsored by Bristol-Myers), aired.

In 1995, Latvia applied for membership in the European Union.

In 1999, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 554.26 points as stock markets worldwide crashed out of fears of a global economic meltdown. The drop triggered "circuit breakers" created after a similar crash in October 1987 and forced the New York Stock Exchange to close early. The DJIA rose some 300 points the following day.

In 2002, trade unionist Luis Inacio Lula de Silva was elected President of Brazil.

In 2004, the Boston Red Sox finally shook the "Curse of the Bambino" by defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of the World Series, taking their first Series title since 1918.

Famous people born on this day include:

Erasmus of Rotterdam, Dutch theologian, in 1466.

James Cook, British naval captain and explorer, in 1728 in Marton, North Yorkshire.

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States and first American Nobel laureate (winner of the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize), in 1858 in New York City.

Emily Price (Emily Post), American etiquette maven, in 1873 in Baltimore.

Dylan Thomas, Welsh poet, in 1914 in Swansea.

Ruby Dee, American actress, in 1924 in Cleveland.

John Cleese, English comedian (Monty Python, Fawlty Towers), in 1939 in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset.

Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Brazil, in 1945 in Caetes (Garanhuns), Pernambuco. His birth registration is dated Oct. 6, but this is the date his mother recalls as his birth date and the one he prefers to use.

Why am I noting Lula here? Answer to be provided later today.

Edited by MarketStEl (log)

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Happy Birthday Sandy.. Hope you have a great year.. Looking forward to your blog.. If I could suggest something it would be a good BYOB that you like.. And perhaps explain Philly's deal with that..

Thanks again.

Actually, the place where we reconnoitered last night qualifies as a good BYOB, even though Jeff L brought the Bs. And they do a really good job with barbecue (even though they cook over an open flame, I will grant churrascuria status as barbecue because the marinades and the nature of their open-flame cooking technique -- closer to rotisserie cooking -- produces a result far closer to barbecuing than open-flame grilling does).

Which makes this a perfect time to segue into last night's cow-out. I went almost straight from Chester to the Northeast, interrupting the trip only to stop at Commerce Bank to put some cash into my partner's bank account. That 10-minute interval probably meant the difference between my arriving at the Picanha Grill in time to make the first course (everybody was to have met at 6:30 pm) and my getting there at 7:07 pm, after everybody else had gotten a taste of the delicious pork sausage that opens this protein marathon.

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The rest of the crew -- Jeff L, saxchik, her husband Matt, and Mummer -- were already working their way through the meal when I walked through the door, and had polished off half of Jeff's first bottle of wine. (I promise that when we next head up here, I will bring one too, Jeff.)

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So I went about catching up, helping myself to some tasty short ribs in a mango-y sauce and some of the other side dishes offered at the buffet.

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But as you can see, I took care to take small portions of each, for we were all here at Picanha Brazilian Grill mainly because of the meat.

And what meat it was! Order the all-you-can-eat special (somewhere around $25) and they bring it out to you, speared and ready to carve. Having missed the pork sausage, my meat orgy began with brisket:

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then pork short ribs:

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then chicken wrapped in bacon.

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But wait! There's more! Rare top sirloin:

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My portion of this, with salad topped with salsa cruda and a pea-and-potato salad:

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followed by marinated chicken wings that tasted like tandoori chicken.

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Charlie (Mummer) passed on these, explaining to us that a several-month stint working at a KFC permanently turned him off to chicken parts. He will eat the bird in other forms, though--he had the bacon-wrapped breast chunks as well as the chicken sausage:

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that came out after a delicious interlude of grilled pineapple.

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We all agreed that the pork sausage was the better of the two.

saxchik wanted no part of the chicken hearts that came out next:

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but that's okay -- that left more for me to eat.

And we still weren't finished. There was roast pork loin to be had:

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and finally, flank steak, which only Charlie and I had room for.

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We're still trying to figure out what it was they marinated the flank steak in -- it imparted a dark brown color and an unusual flavor we couldn't put our finger on to the meat.

All of this was accompanied by the two excellent wines Jeff brought:

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and consumed with animated conversation about food, memorable dining experiences, things worth blowing serious money ($100 or more) on -- dinner at StudioKitchen, yes; seeing Wynton Marsalis play in front of an intimate crowd (what I'm saving up for later this fall), yes; designer threads, well... -- all against the backdrop of programming from TV Globo, Brazil's leading TV network. There was news about the upcoming second round of balloting in the national election (hence the references to Lula above; while he is expected to win, he has alienated a significant portion of his base among Brazil's poor), tomorrow's weather forecast:

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and telenovelas. The show that followed the newscast had a title that I think translates into "Lizards and Snakes" and (judging from its opening and closing titles, which I thought were very clever) deals with the lives of families across the socioeconomic divide that separates richer from poorer.

There were also images on these programs that -- if the shocked reaction two years ago to that pre-Monday Night Football teaser involving The Former Eagle Whose Number Was 81 And Whose Name Should Not Be Uttered in Public and a Desperate Housewives star is any guide -- Americans are not yet ready to deal with in prime time, although they are apparently mature enough to handle during the day:

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We all agreed that this guy looked a bit like Isaiah Thomas. His style would probably have the NAACP crying foul were this a US TV program, but from what I understand about Brazilian society, racial roles and relations are far more fluid than they are in the United States. As I once heard it put, "In Brazil, anyone can be white, no matter what color they are." But racial discrimination is not a completely alien notion there: the predominantly Afro-Brazilian Northeast, Brazil's answer to the Southeastern United States, is also the country's poorest region. Both Brazil and the US also share a history of race-based slavery, but it seems to be a less sensitive subject in Brazil, possibly because it ended there (around 1880) without civil war.

Oh, and there were plenty of scenes featuring topless hunky men that would probably be classified as soft-core up this way, not to mention a towel-dropping along the lines of the one that scandalized the nation when What's-His-Name did it in that MNF teaser.

As this program was drawing to a close, so was our meal. We finished it off with dessert -- one of Picanha's tasty custards for Jeff (he chose guava):

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and flan for the rest of us.

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The only thing Jeff and I missed was the salt-encrusted ribeye (or was it some other cut?) we had on our first visit here.

With the guava drink I ordered, dessert, tax and tip, the whole bill came to $35 -- a real bargain for a fun evening.

I forgot to mention to the rest of the crew that work is proceeding apace on a Philadelphia branch of Fogo de Chao, a national chain of Brazilian churriascurias, in the grand Chestnut Street space that used to house the jewelers J.E. Caldwell & Co. (Preservationists are a bit up in arms about the defacing of this high-ceilinged space). Whatever FdeC may have in style, however, it will no doubt lack in authenticity, unless they can stock the place with gorgeous, friendly Brazilians like those who served us at Picanha. This restaurant is definitely worth the trek to the Northeast (about 40 minutes from Center City via SEPTA, and faster if you drive) to experience.

Picanha Brazilian Grill

6501 Castor Avenue (at Hellerman)

215-743-4647

Nearest SEPTA service: Bus Route 59 from Margaret-Orthodox station, Market-Frankford Line, to Castor and Hellerman avenues. The restarurant's right at the corner.

Coming up: Phillyphood History Lesson Number One, triggered by a somewhat inebriated roomie.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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But first, I forgot to answer Daniel's question about why there are so many BYOBs in Philadelphia.

Chalk this up to the state's liquor laws. Like neighboring New Jersey, Pennsylvania limits the number of liquor licenses that can be issued in a given area (county, borough or city; townships are incorporated into county quotas). They are allocated on a formula based on population; however, cities that have lost population, as both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh have, can keep the licenses they already had when the current system and formulas went into effect.

The result is that a liquor license is a precious and expensive commodity, and many restaurateurs choose not to obtain one when they open new places, preferring to wait until they've established a track record, customer base and steady revenue stream to buy a license. This has had a beneficial side effect, though -- the proliferation of BYOBs in Philadelphia has resulted in a slew of creative, interesting restaurants that diners can experience without completely draining their wallets. Some of the most-talked-about new restaurants in the city -- places like Mercado near me, for instance -- are BYOBs.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I can't get over the sheer amount of....meat. Was all that...for just your table? Or did they walk those skewers from table to table, carving as needed?

That's amazing. And only $25 per person? That seems like a real bargain.

What's the point of limiting liquor licenses to restaurants if people can still bring and drink alcohol in that restaurant? I mean, it's not like they're limiting the amount of liquor available in the area that way. Are they just trusting people wouldn't consume as much if they had to bring it themselves? Because, you know, for me it works the other way, since I'm free to pay only $6/bottle, I consume a lot more.

But I'm from Nova Scotia, where the liquor laws are even more archaic. I remember encountering the idea of "off license" for the first time in Australia. I hopped into a cab and asked the cabbie to take me to a liquor store.

"None near here, love. Why don't I take you to the pub, you can get a few cans there." he said.

"Wait - " I said, "The pubs do take-out?

...@#$%, this really is the promised land."

After relating this tale to the general hilarity of my parents, they assured me this was quite a normal practice is most civilized places, but not, tragically, in the backward province they chose to raise me.

Don't get me started on what happened when I realized Asia has no open-liquor laws.

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.  This restaurant is definitely worth the trek to the Northeast (about 40 minutes from Center City via SEPTA, and faster if you drive) to experience.

Picanha Brazilian Grill

6501 Castor Avenue (at Hellerman)

215-743-4647

Nearest SEPTA service: Bus Route 59 from Margaret-Orthodox station, Market-Frankford Line, to Castor and Hellerman avenues. The restarurant's right at the corner.

Coming up: Phillyphood History Lesson Number One, triggered by a somewhat inebriated roomie.

Well darn! Sandy, was it the pictures, or did that food look even better last night than on our first visit there? Sure sorry I missed it, but I know there will be other times. I do like those chicken hearts, along with all the other stuff of course, but I'll be darned if I'd go to all the trouble of skewing those little suckers! :raz:

And I'm assuming it was a reflection on the TV, but that 'scandalous' picture with the black guy made it look like he had some weird pink mustache!

"Fat is money." (Per a cracklings maker shown on Dirty Jobs.)
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I can't get over the sheer amount of....meat. Was all that...for just your table? Or did they walk those skewers from table to table, carving as needed?

Those meats were portioned for our party of five, more or less. And if they weren't, we behaved as if they were.

That's amazing. And only $25 per person? That seems like a real bargain.

What's the point of limiting liquor licenses to restaurants if people can still bring and drink alcohol in that restaurant? I mean, it's not like they're limiting the amount of liquor available in the area that way. Are they just trusting people wouldn't consume as much if they had to bring it themselves? Because, you know, for me it works the other way, since I'm free to pay only $6/bottle, I consume a lot more.

I really don't understand the rationale behind rationing liquor licenses except to note that it does make sense in the context of a system that is -- or was -- set up to limit access to alcohol across the board.

In Pennsylvania, you cannot buy beer and wine in supermarkets the way you can in many US states, though the Liquor Control Board has begun opening Wine & Spirits stores inside supermarkets where you can pay for all your purchases at the same register. If you want less than a case of beer, you go to one type of store (usually a bar, deli or convenience food store) and pay dearly for the privilege; if you don't want to pay a lot for your beer, you must buy a case of it from a beer distributor.

But I'm from Nova Scotia, where the liquor laws are even more archaic. I remember encountering the idea of "off license" for the first time in Australia. I hopped into a cab and asked the cabbie to take me to a liquor store.

"None near here, love. Why don't I take you to the pub, you can get a few cans there." he said.

"Wait - " I said, "The pubs do take-out?

...@#$%, this really is the promised land."

After relating this tale to the general hilarity of my parents, they assured me this was quite a normal practice is most civilized places, but not, tragically, in the backward province they chose to raise me.

It seems to me that most Canadian provinces have liquor laws on a par with Pennsylvania's at best. Why did this come to be the case? Canada never had Prohibition, if I'm not mistaken.

Don't get me started on what happened when I realized Asia has no open-liquor laws.

So what do they do when they want to drink there?

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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Wow, that meat-fest is making me simultaneously drool, and experience phantom gout-twinges in my big toe. :laugh::wub:

Meanwhile ...

About the yoghurt and oatmeal, do you toast your oatmeal before adding it, or just add it raw?  I eat yoghurt with granola (nature valley), and quite like it, but I can't imagine how it would taste with just plain oatmeal.  Toasted oatmeal might be OK, but ordinary oatmeal....I'm just not sure about it.

I dump it in raw, just as Jeff does.

It has the texture of cardboard and the rather bland flavor of oats.

Maybe I should try toasting it.

Yeah, rolled-oat flakes aren't really at their best uncooked. You might also try stirring the yogurt into fully-cooked oatmeal (if pre-commute speed is of the essence, you can cook the oatmeal in the microwave, then dump the whole lot in one of those insulated covered coffee mugs for easy transport).

Oh, and I couldn't resist an add-on to your trivia of the day:

In 1936, Wallis Simpson filed for the divorce that would eventually allow her to marry King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, which in turn would require him to abdicate the throne.

Legend has it that Simpson, at the time a resident of the beautiful community of Coronado near San Diego, first met King Edward VIII at the celebrated Hotel del Coronado, more famous to non-San Diegans as the backdrop for the "Florida" scenes in the movie "Some Like It Hot."

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I can't speak for other Canadian provinces, but considering that Nova Scotia has only recently consented to Sunday shopping, and only after several major corporations took the province to the Supreme court, I could say that these liquor laws are based on a certain...traditionality...of the locals. In Nova Scotia, you must also buy alcohol in government regulated stores only, and for a long time, you couldn't get it at all on Sundays, due to the shopping by-laws. In recent years the government has located liquor outlets in major grocery stores, but purchases must be paid for separately within the liquor outlet, and can't be brought to the main register with your regular groceries. Unless it's changed since I've been back, but it's been a long time since I've returned (in part, owing to many of these lifestyle annoyances).

When I moved to Korea, I was startled to find that they had no (enforced) laws prohibiting the consumption of alcohol openly in public.

Japan has beer in vending machines, which I consider the latest word in civilization.

Here in Viet Nam the police have bigger fish to fry than to fine you for drinking a beer on the street. Although Draft Beer corner during the APEC crackdown promises to be a fascinating sight.

On an entirely unrelated note, I also take oatmeal and yogurt in the morning; which; accompanied with a bracing double shot of Trung Nguyen coffee keeps me charmingly regular.

Not that that's generally a problem in South-East Asia.

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Maybe I should try toasting it.

And throw a little grated coconut or sliced almonds on the cookie sheet as it toasts---it totally changes the flavor of the oatmeal to something---well, better than plain oatmeal. Kinda like granola with none of the work or sugar.

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