Feb 2007

On the Map

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November 14, 2006


Food For Thought

Back in Blinq’s salad days – July 2005 – I put out the call for food blogs. I knew of only a couple, but there wasn’t one that bottled the energy of the restaurant scene in this town.

Since then Philly’s gone food bloggy. Messy & Picky are noshing their way through the city’s exotic eateries. Edible Complex is finding world cuisine among the strip malls of suburbia. Gastronomy’s use of words and pictures makes it a dangerous read on an empty stomach. Stella Bites is so good-looking it could be mistaken for a design blog.

There are more. For all the tasty blogs that post too infrequently (Minor Gourmandry is said to have skipped off to Cornell to study nutrition), Phila Foodie is something to bank on – a Center City lawyer’s chronicle of his adventures in food and drink. But Foobooz takes the prize for best-tended food blog. Food, drink and deals is Arthur Etchells’ beat, and if he were working the city desk, he’d be a cop reporter. There’s always something newsy, like the latest post, which informs us that Le Bec Fin has just received five stars from Mobil Travel Guide.

Then there are the service sites, like BYOB Philadelphia, the tourist agency’s creation, which places the city’s bring-your-own spots on a Google map — then shows how to find the closest State store. Lyle’s Guide is one man’s taste buds, eating their way through West Philadelphia. And Lyle Ungar has a good set. Another site, City Joints harnesses aspects of a social network to show you how people with palates like your rate a particular restaurant. It’s got a blog, too. There are national boards with Philly flavor, like Chowhound, Roadfood, the papers’ own Philadelphia Restaurants pages, and then, perhaps the oldest site on our list: Holly Eats.

Holly Eats has a motto of “Great Food. Cheap.” His real name is Hollister Moore, and he used to have a Rittenhouse Square restaurant during the renaissance of the late ’70s and early ’80s, and wrote a City Paper column. While he’s got a pic on the wall of the Palm, he’s more likely to poking his nose into The Baltic Bakery or Johnny’s Dog House. He awards points by the grease stains system.

So let’s dig in. Here are some fresher morsels from the world of Philadelphia food blogs:

The Gastronomer has only been posting since September. She usually takes her boyfriend along. He is known as the Astronomer. She went to Swarthmore. That’s about all we know of her so far, other than she raved about the Maggiano’s Little Italy chain, which is something snootier bloggers wouldn’t do.

She wrote: I loved my pasta! I wish the Chianti Beef Stew were a menu mainstay rather than a fleeting special. Sigh… The fall harvest menu ends on the 25th, so I have about a week left to indulge. The stew was perfectly seasoned, the meat was tender and plentiful, and the vegetables (carrots and mushrooms) were lovely foils. Pappardelle is my favorite pasta shape and went perfectly with the flavorful stew. So hearty and delicious.

Messy & Picky are Albert Yee and lady friend Kate Donnelly. He’s picky and she’s messy. They write little travelogues. Here they recall Loie Brasserie & Bar:

When the entrees arrived, about half an hour after we were through with our appetizers, we both stared in disbelief at Messy’s heirloom tomato tarte tatin with fresh buffalo mozzarella, baby greens and basil pistou. When Messy first saw the choice on the entree menu, having no idea what “tarte” or “tatin” means, she was expecting something somewhat substantial — maybe an heirloom tomato stuffed with cheese with a side salad and some crusty slices of bread. Not so — It was all of two slices of tomato and a little drop of mozzarella underneath a small pile of sprout-like greens. It was, basically a serving barely passable as an appetizer masquerading as an entree. However, it might have been the best two slices of tomato and cheese Messy has ever had in her life — it was seriously delicious. Unfortunately, she ate it in all of three or four bites and was left to ogle Picky’s completely incomparably-sized meal.

He’d ordered the 10 ounce Delmonico steak.

Stella Bites recently shared her favorite quick meal for when you’ve got about 25 minutes before your show starts – the easy, cheesy quesadilla:

Saute in some olive oil half of an onion diced. Cook until translucent and add 3/4 c of frozen corn, rinsed under warm water to thaw. Saute until corn is cooked through. Add a pinch of cumin and a dash of cayenne pepper and salt & pepper to taste. While corn is sauteing, in a separate dry frying pan, add a flour (or corn) tortilla to warm, flipping so each side gets slightly brown. Add 2T of the corn-onion mixture to one side of the tortilla along with a sprinkle of your favorite grated cheese (I used Monterey jack) and fold tortilla in half. Flip tortilla after about 30 seconds to melt cheese completely.

Cut filled tortilla in half to make 2 triangles and serve with sour cream and salsa (you can also add the salsa with the cheese and corn and onions, which is what I did here).

She has been known to drive 2.5 hours for a donut.

Here’s Philadelphia Foodie blogger/lawyer David Snyder, introducing a post about a certain popular BYOB on South Street:

All seasons bring change. But for many people, no season brings changes that are more evocative than autumn’s. The days are shorter. There’s a crisp bite in the air. Winter looms. It is a time of new beginnings, too—especially for those whose lives have ever revolved around an academic cycle (or watching football). Autumn is synonymous with the harvest. We set aside time to celebrate the fruits of our labor and explore the flavors of the year’s bounty. Autumn has a distinct feeling all its own. And the one symbol that captures that feeling, and uniquely represents the season of autumn, is the pumpkin.

Elisa Ludwig on Edible Complex goes for the exotic in the anodyne – ethnic eats in the shopping center. A taste:

King of Prussia, land of malls, has become something of a breeding ground for exotically themed chain eateries. (PF Chang, Bahama Breeze and California Pizza Kitchen, for instance.) But it is also home to one of my favorite Indian restaurants in the suburbs. Located in the DeKalb Plaza, and named for the 12th largest city in India, Jaipur is a consistent bite for your buck, and a good place to escape the sodden buffet-table Indian food that’s so prevalent in Center City.

Anyway, bet I’ve missed one or two. Please dish.

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