Food and Drink

Vote for Food In Jars!

When Marisa stepped down from being the lead blogger over at Slashfood she was in a bit of a funk. She was afraid that Slashfood was the only way people would get to read her food writing, and that bummed her out.

I strongly suggested that she start a blog devoted to food that she could control completely. Everything on it would be by Marisa, and she could write about whatever it is her little heart desired.

That's about as much credit as I can take for Marisa's wonderful blog Food In Jars. The idea is brilliant: take Marisa's unhealthy obsession with jars into something that is both fun to read and informative.

Now, I'm a little biased since I'm married to Marisa and all, but I think her blog is pretty darned good. It seems that I'm not the only one since Saveur (a fancypants food magazine) has included Food In Jars as one of the nominees for their "Best Special Interest Blog" category of their first annual Best Food Blog Awards:

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So what are you waiting for? Go vote for Marisa! A vote for Food in Jars is a vote for America (I mean, who eats tacos everyday?).


Fork You: Wines, PA Style

I'm not a big drinker (well, I supposed technically I'm a big drinker since I'm a large man... but I don't drink much so I guess I'm a big occasional drinker) but when the opportunity was presented to tour the Berks County Wine Trail (for free) we couldn't turn it down. Check out this episode of Fork You to find out about the wine the drank, the kitty we met, and meet some lovely PA winemakers. The wine that we drank was good, but I was really struck by the people making the wine. Each winery we visited was a family affair (even Clover Hill, by far the largest operation we stopped at, is a family business). It really inspired me to not give up on making a living doing what I love (of course since I pretty much make a living writing one could argue that I'm living the dream!). Anyway I had fun, and if you're in PA and into wine you really should check out the wineries that are in our backyard.

A honeymoon in food

As we sat down to our first real meal of the honeymoon I thought it would be a great idea to snap an iPhone picture of each meal I ate during the trip. I always have my iPhone with me, and I'm always taking crappy pictures of my food with it so clearly this idea was meant to be.

Sadly, I would often be so hungry that I would either: start eating before I remembered to take a picture OR finish eating before remembering to take a picture. I did, however, manage to snap pics of 22 meals over the course of 8 days. Here they are, in order consumed from the earliest to the latest:

Bennington, VT

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I'm not sure who thought putting the insides of a chicken pot pie into a bread bowl was a good idea, but they were absolutely correct. This was our first real meal of the honeymoon and we had it at the Perfect Wife. Very good, and the prices were reasonable.

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One of the great things about staying at a bed and breakfast is that you get both a bed AND breakfast (genius!). We were the only guests at breakfast our first morning, so I couldn't refuse the big bowl of fruit (not a fan of fruit). I covered it up with yogurt and only ate the cantaloupe.

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After the disappointing fruit (which was only disappointing because I don't like fruit, mind you) the good innkeeper at The Inn on the Covered Bridge Green made up for it with some delicious eggs benedict.

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Our lunch stop was the Blue Benn Diner. If you're ever in Bennington, VT you have got to stop at this tiny diner (it is one of those dinners in a train car). The hot chocolate was great, as was the...

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Eggplant thing that I got. I asked the waitress what she would recommend, since the menu is huge, and she said the stuffed eggplant was the way to go. She didn't steer me wrong.

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Not having enough colonial experiences in Philadelphia we decided to have dinner at Ye Olde Tavern. The pictures aren't great because that place is dark. I mean, seriously dark. These were some cranberry fritters that we got whilst waiting for our meal. Pretty good.

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The cheese plate was the highlight of the meal for both Marisa and myself.

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I ordered the tournedos of filet mignon, which is filet mignon topped with lobster served with béarnaise. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't mind blowing either.

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This was our last breakfast at the good old Inn on the Covered Bridge Green and it consisted of lemon and blueberry pancakes. They were good, sadly I had a childhood trauma involving blueberry pancakes (watch me tell the story of my trauma and eat some blueberry jam!) so I didn't really enjoy them (though I soaked them through and through with maple syrup, which seemed to help). The bacon was very good.

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We spent a lot of time in random stores during the honeymoon and the Vermont Country Store has got to be the most random of them all. However, the Bryant House Restaurant that is next to their location in Weston, Vermont is very good. I had the Yankee Pot Roast open face sandwich. I wish they could FedEx one to me tomorrow. Very tasty.

Rutland, VT

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I thought the Mountain Top Inn and Resort was a little more rustic and secluded than it actually was, but they make a mean french dip!

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Maple Sugar and Vermont Spice makes the best pancakes I have ever had in my life. Above you see an order of their sugar and spice pancakes. After we finished our breakfast I turned to Marisa and said, "We have to have breakfast here again tomorrow." Read on to see if we did! (Spoiler alert: we did, and it was just as good).

Hanover, New Hampshire

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We somehow found ourselves in New Hampshire where we saw Fame (don't ask). I was craving some Asian food so we stopped at Yama II. This soup was tasty but super hot.

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The pad thai was very good, indeed. The place really had a 'college town eatery' vibe that I dug.

Rutland, VT

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I told you we went back! This time I had the breakfast sampler with pancakes, two eggs, two pieces of bacon, and two sausage links. And a maple syrup chaser.

Lake Placid, NY

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Kanu is the restaurant inside the Whiteface Lodge, and it is very good. Not pictured were two appetizers that we shared: a mac and cheese to die for and some very good grilled scallops. My entree was the pulled pork which was porktastic. Sadly, the baked beans weren't cooked all the way through so I didn't eat them. The cornbread was good though.

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Breakfast was included in our rate at the Whiteface Lodge, so you can bet your bippy that we had breakfast there. Best of all it was a breakfast buffet (and a very good one at that). I must have eaten seven of those cinnamon roll things.

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At this point Marisa decided that we hadn't been eating enough vegetables ("Wait, bacon ISN'T a vegetable?!") so we had some raw veggies and hummus for lunch.

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Milano North is responsible for this, and it was much better tasting than it looks in this picture (it kind of looks like gagh, which you might know as Klingon Blood Worms). Marisa wasn't a fan of her dinner, but they did give us a free dessert (which I devoured before my iPhone could snap a pic).

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One bagel, two toppings. Madness!

Mt. Tremper, NY

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I did not have high hopes for Brios, but my chicken parm was very good. There were a few too many screaming children here for my taste, but that isn't the restaurant's fault.

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When we saw that the menu featured four different types of multigrain pancakes we knew we had found the right place for Marisa (damn, hippy). The omelet was very good, and the toast was fantastic (they bake their own bread). Sweet Sue's is worth a stop if you ever find yourself in Phoenicia, NY.


Fork You: Beer here

Not only have I been slacking on blogging here, but I've been slacking on editing episodes of Fork You! Luckily, it has been decided that we are going to shoot some more Fork Yous set in our very own kitchen (since some people seem to prefer those), however, we still have a few Fork You Lives to get up on the site.

Beer Here was filmed during Philadelphia's 2009 Beer Week, and so it was fitting that we cooked a bunch of stuff using beer.


Clearly Philadelphians have no taste

saywhatphilly.jpgGirl Scout Cookie season is upon us and you know what that means! A poll on Philly.com asking people what their favorite kind is. To the right you'll see the results as of 11:32pm today.

Clearly, these people have no taste. Sure, we all know that people love the disgusting Thin Mints but how could the far superior Shortbread cookie (known, confusingly, in these parts as Trefoils) come in last? I do believe the invisible hand of the powerful Mint lobby is at work here. I can see them in their white linen suits sipping on a trefoils.jpgjulep and making sure that the honorable Shortbread cookie was once again passed over the the top spot.

How else can you explain the Do-si-do (or the Peanut Butter Sandwich) actually scoring about 100 FEWER votes than the Shortbread cookie, yet the Do-si-do is still listed above the Trefoil.

Fie on this poll, say I, fie indeed.

I shant rest until this crime against shortbread is corrected.


Parc: ok food, horribly awful service

parc.jpgI'm not one to complain about restaurants. It is true that I've never worked in the service industry (or retail for that matter), but I understand those jobs aren't easy. Dealing with hungry people like me can't possibly be pleasant for anyone. I get it.

That being said, when I'm spending pretty good money for a lunch I expect a certain level of service. Especially when I'm taking my mom out to lunch (as you know, she was in town for Thanksgiving) on one of her few visits to Philly.

I thought it would be a great idea to take my Mom to Parc, Stephen Star's new French restaurant on Rittenhouse Square. I had been there before for lunch, and enjoyed it.

The afternoon started out well as the very friendly hostess showed us to a table with a great view of the Square. The table was set, and it had two empty water glasses. My mother and I say down, chatted, looked over the menus.

Five minutes pass. Our water glasses are still empty but we have decided what we are going to order.

10 minutes pass. Our water glasses remain empty. I fail to make eye contact with the 2 waiters who walk past our table a few times (though they serve the ladies seated next to us).

15 minutes pass. Still no water in our glasses. Still no eye contact with any waiters. Still no service.

20 minutes pass. Our glasses are decidedly empty, but our coats are back on as we decide to leave.

On the way out I tell the hostess, 'You might not want to seat anyone else at that table.'

'Oh, was there a draft?'

I shake my head and say, 'Nope, but we sat there for 20 minutes while 3 different waiters ignored us.'

The manager of Parc was there, and he did apologize to us. He seemed genuinely upset and wanted us to sit back down, but at that point we just wanted to eat, we weren't interested in drama.

We ended up going to Rouge where our water glasses were filled within 2 minutes of us sitting down, and we had ordered within 5 minutes (we both got the famous Rouge burger, because that's just what you get at Rouge!).


Lunch and the Italian Market


Lunch and the Italian Market from Fork You on Vimeo.

Another video for your viewing pleasure. This time took the Flip MinoHD along to lunch at Ants Pants with Marisa and Shay. Then Marisa and I headed to the Italian Market for some wondering around (and to buy the cookies that were featured in my Flip vs. Zi6 video).

Watch. Laugh. Enjoy.

Oh, and if you're in Philly you should check out Ants Pants Cafe. It was very good.


Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper

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Sweet, sweet Pepsi is my first carbonated love (the Mexican type especially, since they still use pure cane sugar), but a little over 3 years ago I decided that I should really cut back on my Pepsi consumption. They only problem was that I hated diet soda.

I then found Diet Dr. Pepper, which tastes more like Dr. Pepper than you would think, and all was well in soda land. I wasn't in love with Diet Dr. Pepper, but it filled my caffeine needs adequately.

Then the wonderful folks at Dr. Pepper introduced the best diet soda known to man: Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper (unlike the atrocity that is Diet Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper). There was a time when the Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper (henceforth to be called 'DCVDP') flowed like water. You could walk into any store in Philly and get yourself a little can of wonderful. Then, out of no where, the DCVDP river dried up. Sure, once in a cherry moon (see what I did there?) I would discover a cache of the stuff, but it looked like my love affair with the good Doctor was coming to a close.

That is, until I went to Lancaster County. I was there for a certain wedding but whilst there Marisa wanted to do some antiquing (which is lady talk for "let's look at old crap we don't need being sold by people who are at least as old as the dusty artifacts they are hawking"). I was parched, so we stopped at a Turkey Hill Convenience store and there was great rejoicing.

The picture above shows me in my moment of triumph: the store had some DCVDP and so I did what anyone in my position would do: immediately grabbed every bottle they had. Then I thought about it a second, and put most of them back leaving me with 3 bottles of ambrosia.

Luckily for me, it would seem that DCVDP is making a comeback in the Philly area. My local CVS had some in stock last night (and I bought another 3 bottles), so I am hoping that means the DCVDP flows again.


Fork You Live: March 15th, 2008 at 2pm

Where are you going to be this Saturday at 2pm? You should have at Foster's on Market and 4th in Philadelphia to attend a taping of Fork You Live, America's favorite cooking podcast starring myself and Marisa.

Why should you come? Well, other than the fact that it is a hoot, we'll give you some brownies, blondies, or rice crispy treats. What is not to like about that?


Fork You Live: Mac and cheese

Another episode of Fork You is up for your enjoyment! This time around we made three kinds of Mac and cheese.

This episode also marks the first Fork You ever that I didn't edit myself. I'll admit it was a little tough to let someone else work on my baby, but I think you'll agree that Vincent did a great job with the material.

Don't forget that there is yet another Fork You Live this Saturday at Foster's. All the details are here. We'll be making brownies, blondies, and rice crispy treats! Be there, or you don't get a square (see what I did there?).


Adventures in limited edition food: Diet Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper

cherrychocolatedrpepper.jpgHurrah! A new series on Blankbaby! That's right, folks, I plan on actually POSTING to Blankbaby once again (who is excited?).

This new series was inspired by Terry. He stopped by my desk after I tweeted about the MacBook Air and said, "I'm going to ask your opinion about what everyone must be asking you about: Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper."

Terry, being the scamp that he is, knew that no one had asked me about said bubbly beverage, but that I would be intrigued. Ever since swearing off sweet, sweet Pepsi I have been a Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper drinker. I frickin' love the stuff, which is sad because it isn't as widely available as I would like (what's up with that, bottlers and distributors of Dr. Pepper?). It would follow that Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper would pique my interest. Terry waskind enough to give me a can from the 3 cases that he bought (without tasting the stuff first, I might add). Terry seemed to be enjoying it, but one must note that Terry is a fan of the vile Diet Berries & Cream Dr. Pepper, so his opinion is suspect.

Oonto the review:

The packaging

badcandrpepper.jpgTerry supplied me with a can of this stuff, as seen to the right. As you can see both on bottles and cans of this stuff the image of cherries semi-coated with chocolate are displayed prominently. I don't care for this one bit, mostly because the image of a red orb dripping with some DietDrP_CherryVan.jpgsort of brown liquid doesn't scream, 'DRINK ME!' It mostly says, 'potential biohazard,' to me.

Contrast this with the branding for Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper as seen here. The cherries, though you can hardly make them out in this picture, look like heathy cherries and the pin-striping calls to mind a soda shop from yesteryear. Who wouldn't want to quaff a heaping mouthful of anything in that can?

Cherry Chocolate Diet Dr. Pepper could learn a thing or two from Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper's packaging, though the addition of the pin-wheel burst is a nice touch but it still doesn't work as well as the pin-striping.

The taste

I was skeptical, at best, when I first heard of this beverage. I'm not a huge fan of chocolate to begin with (I like it just fine, but I do not go ga-ga for it like some people) so I was doubtful that Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper would unseat Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper as the king of my diet soda drinking. I was afraid that the chocolate would be overpowering, and just kill the rest of the soda. I'm happy to report that the chocolate isn't overpowering at all. There is, what can only be described as a 'ribbon' of chocolaty taste in this beverage which does not offend the taste-buds at all.

Before all you chocolohics rush out to buy 45 cases of this stuff let me point out that while I could easily identify the taste as chocolaty it isn't a pure chocolate taste. At first I was reminded of Yoo-hoo but then Terry set me straight: it sort of tastes like you're drinking a chocolate Tootsie-Pop. I like chocolate Tootsie-Pops, but Godiva they ain't.

Did I like it? Chocolate Cherry Diet Dr. Pepper isn't bad, and is a fine once in awhile beverage. It isn't the beverage I would reach for first to quench my thirst, and furthermore if I see it for sale I won't buy it for myself.

Final Thoughts

I applaud the fine people at Dr. Pepper for being inventive with their products. It is tough to keep something that has been around for as long as Dr. Pepper has been interesting, and they are doing a great job. I still love Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper, but I am always willing to give their newest additions a fair shake. Chocolate Cherry Diet Dr. Pepper is drinkable, which is more than I can say for the vile Berries & Cream Dr. Pepper, so at least progress is being made. I, for one, look forward to a brave new Dr. Pepper future.


Fork You: Turkey sidecar

The second part of Fork You's three part series on Thanksgiving is ready for your viewing pleasure (we cooked a turkey in the first part, and that turkey was damned good). This time around we whip up some garlic mashed potatoes and a healthy serving of peas and carrots. As Marisa explains, we went with peas and carrots because I hate string beans.

Anyway, check out the episode and feel free to copy the recipes down and make these sides yourself (Scott and Marisa not included).


I'm a food blogger?

phillyfoodbloggers.jpgSomehow, without knowing it, I became something of a food blogger. I became aware of this when I was included on an email about the upcoming Philadelphia Food Blogger Meetup and Potluck. Who knew?

I'll be going, because I like free food and I like bloggers. The only problem is, what the hell should I bring? I don't know nothing about food and these folks are going to want to be impressed with whatever I bring. The pressure, as they say, is on.


Fork You Season 2, Episode 1

Looky here, another episode of Fork You, and this time we're talking coffee. Peet's was kind enough to send Erica Hess to talk with us about the ins and outs of making a good cup of coffee.

This episode also marks the debut of our fancy new camera, and our second season! If you do watch this episode, bigger is better... so instead of watching it here watch it over here (or click this link for the QuickTime version).


Sour Cream & Onion Quakes

sourcreamquakes.jpg Thanks to the whole Scott Gets Fit thing I've had to rethink my snacking behavior. Gone are the days when I would get 14 donuts and a pint of ice cream (that's a slight exaggeration, I would eat 2 donuts and a pint of ice cream max). However, it is silly to think that since you're trying to lose weight you can't have a snack.

Today I was at the store getting some salad dressing for dinner (well, to put on the salad that I was having for dinner) and I saw these Sour Cream & Onion Quake sitting on the shelf. I enjoy rice cakes, and I enjoy sour cream and onion so I thought it was prudent to give them a shot.

10 cakes is 70 calories, which isn't bad I suppose, but the important thing is that they are super tasty. I might be in love with the Quaker Oats dude (or is that Barbara Bush?).