Friday, April 29, 2011 50 Words or Less: Morimoto Hazelnut Signature Ale (Rogue)

Morimoto Hazelnut Signature Ale (Rogue)
Also known as Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar, this 22-ouncer was split by the wife and myself. Definitely a distinctive taste, sort of like a Newcastle on steroids. Although I will say that it was a little better at Morimoto when paired with two other great beers and some impeccable sushi.

The Rare Night Out: Tamarindos Mexican Restaurant

With a sixteen-month old at home, the wife and I don't really get to go out much. However, the other night was one of our friend's birthday parties so my sister-in-law was gracious enough to do some babysitting (thanks, Elio!). So out we went to Tamarindos Mexican Restaurant in Ambler for a night of drunken fun and frivolity.

Before I touch on the food, let me discuss the atmosphere. It was a good place for our party, in that they had the music pumped up pretty loud. We tend to get somewhat loud, especially at a BYOB. So I would imagine the customers were probably wondering why the music had to be cranked, but it probably saved them from having to hear a lot of voluminous (and sometimes crude - the cruder the better in fact) laughing and joking. If I were to have my druthers, however, I probably would have wanted them to turn it down a little bit. It was impossible to hear a person more than one seat away from you (I had to strain for a discussion with the person right across the table from me) and the waitress was helpless to shout out the specials (she had to do them twice, once at each end of the table).

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Top Five Dump Andre Iguodala

1) He Is Holding the Entire Team Back - If I have to suffer through another season of Andre Iguodala bringing the ball up while Jrue Holiday, an emerging star, wonders what the F he is doing on the court, I will impale myself with a samurai sword. Holiday is the point guard and should therefore handle the ball, yet Doug Collins spent the whole season deferring to Iguodala, a guy who distributes the ball well yet has no business running an offense. He also plays the same position as Evan Turner, a guy who I was not a fan of in college and I don't know if he will ever be a star player, but at least he played like he had a sack in the playoffs. Thaddeus Young also gets minutes taken away by Iguodala. I don't know who you want on your team more, but I will take Young, the guy who was all over the court in Game 5 with the season on the line, instead of Iguodala, the guy who choked his way through the majority of the series, averaging about 6 points per game in the first three contests.

2) He Is Not a Leader - Maybe it isn't fair, but when you get paid the most money on the team, you are pretty much contractually bound to be the team leader. Iguodala? He ain't getting it done. If he was, there is no way Dwyane Wade gets away with throwing down a last-second dunk Wednesday night when the game was already decided. A real leader would have been running down the court to check Wade into the third row. Iguodala? He was most like trying to figure out whether he should or shouldn't wear his Urkel glasses during the post-game presser. After the game, the entire team, save a few guys who cherish their dignity (props out, Elton Brand), went over to the Heat slapping hands and hugging over the fact that they had just got unceremoniously dumped from the postseason. Ten seconds after the guy had clowned you with an unnecessary jam! Eh, I guess this will happen when your "best player" carries himself like he doesn't give a shizz!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Chain Reaction: Bertucci's Italian Restaurant

What can I say? I have always liked Bertucci's. I know it isn't authentic Italian, but their Rigatoni Abruzzi is one of my favorite meals. Well, I am glad to say that their pizza is just as good, whether it's made from some Sicilian dude fresh off the boat, a couple hombres hoping to get their green cards, or whatever.

Had it the other day when we went to Elio Totino's for a little Easter dinner. We bought a Roman-style sausage and pepperoni pie for $19, and with a coupon we also bought a large plain pie for $5. So it was $24.91 for enough pizza to feed an army. Not bad when you consider that they also provided us with about eight of their very delicious rolls along with some olive oil and a heaping helping of extra sauce for dipping (no charge for the additional red, a big plus).

Monday, April 25, 2011 50 Words or Less: Sierra Nevada Summerfest

Sierra Nevada Summerfest
Once spent a whole summer in Margate drinking only Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It was enough to convince one that it's the only beer they offer. However, their Kellerweis and Celebration Ale are both standouts. As for this refreshing pilsner, it was just the ticket on a warm spring day.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Freezer Case: Wegmans Thin Crust Specialty Plain Pizza

Okay, technically not a freezer case review, but close enough. You can find this "Thin Crust Specialty Plain Pizza" in Wegmans' prepared food section in a refrigerator case.

We were late eating dinner (which makes for a crabby nibble) and trying to get a few groceries when I decided to pick up a pie that I could pop in the oven as soon as we got home. We've had their regular (not labeled as specialty, whatever that means) pepperoni pizza in the past and always been pleased. However, it was a Friday, which means no meat, and you know I like a thin crust, so we decided to give this a try.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tale of Pie: Marzella's Pizza

It had been a while since the last time I had eaten anything from Marzella’s. From what I remembered as a child the food was good and greasy. That still holds up today, the only thing missing was the big pig holding a pizza outside the restaurant.

We called ahead for pick-up and ordered a small pepperoni pie and a small steak Stromboli with sauce inside. When we went to pick-up the order the place was packed with people waiting to order their food. Although we had already placed our order we had to wait in line while people were deciding what to order, all I’m saying is get another register and help the 70 year-old lady out up front.

Monday, April 18, 2011 50 Words or Less: Weyerbacher Brewing Company Blanche

I'm a fan of many beers by this Easton, Pa. brewery. Verboten is a very solid Belgian-style pale ale. My brother is a major advocate of Merry Monks tripel. Therefore, I was very disappointed to discover that this witbier is quite weak. Light on flavor. You can do better!

Saturday, April 16, 2011 50 Words or Less: Ballast Point Brewing Company Big Eye IPA

Another wonderful IPA with a fish on its label. Distinctive flavor with hoppy aftertaste. I thought this beer was made in Michigan, but when I read the bottle it turned out it is from San Diego. Not a shocker! I'm not sure if California can make a bad IPA.

Friday, April 15, 2011

When a frozen pizza just izn't enough ...

Include some boneless wings in the same box.

Oh, did I write wings? I meant wyngs. Uh, yeah. Do I even want to look at the ingredient list for those?

Well DiGiorno, I've got two things for you:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Better Late Than Never Reviews: Let England Shake - PJ Harvey

Her eighth studio album, Let England Shake is British songstress PJ Harvey's strongest work since 2000's Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea and quite possibly one of the most intriguing full-lengths one is likely to hear this year. On the surface, the songs are built from the most delicate of instruments. Harvey's main instrument of choice is the autoharp, which I think is a tiny, slightly mechanized version of the harp we all know and love, but I don't really know for sure. Two of the songs, the title track and "Bitter Branches," depend heavily on the xylophone. Rockers are for the most part absent from the menu, with any guitar that appears being of the acoustic variety. Despite the slight instrumentation, the album is harsh and bruising.

Tale of the Pie: Joe’s Pizza

On a night where we had the surprise company of my brother and his family we ordered some pizza from the place down the street. It was kind of surprising to hear Joey answer the phone in a thick Indian accent. We opted to pick the pie up since the place is less than half a mile away. With my lighting fast driving the pie was delivered piping hot.

After hearing Joe on the phone my expectations were not too high. The amount of sauce and cheese were ample enough. Nothing really stood out on taste. The sauce was pretty bland and the cheese seemed run of the mill. Unlike others on this blog I do like a somewhat doughy crust which this pie had.

I probably won’t go back to Joe’s Pizza anytime soon, however this place has been through several owners over the years and maybe the next one will get it right.

Pros: somewhat doughy crust to my liking.
Cons: bland sauce and cheese

Joe's Pizza
117 Gravel Pike
Collegeville, PA 19426

Joe's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Slightly Aimless Rant About the People at My Dunkin' Donuts

Every day I go to the same Dunkin' Donuts. And every day I go through the same dilemma. There is one section with two registers where the people quite wisely get in to two different lines. Being that this section is closer to where the trains let off, however, the lines tend to get pretty long.

Then there is this other section. Again, there are two registers. But it is a little hidden. People can't really see it what with the big lines at the other one, so there tend to be less people there. But there is one problem. No matter how many times the people at the registers yell "two lines," the people waiting in this section seem to stay in one line. It doesn't matter that there are two sets of footprints on the floor to signify that there are two lines; they stay in one line. it doesn't matter that there is a nylon rope type deal there to help people form two separate lines; people just stay in one line.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Six Quick Thoughts on...Inside Job

Inside Job, a film about the reasons - and culprits - behind the financial meltdown of 2008, was named Best Documentary at the 2011 Academy Awards.

1. I really liked the beginning of the film, which featured an interesting diversionary story about the economy of Iceland and how it was sent spiraling because of the chicanery of a bunch of greedy American bank-pillagers. Plus the credits were set to the monstrous-at-the-time, yet somehow forgotten, greatness that was Peter Gabriel's "Big Time." It reminded me that the 80s are known for a lot of sh*tty music, yet when you think of it a lot of the stuff that you think of as sh*tty you really enjoyed at the time and it really isn't even that sh*tty now. Know what I'm sayin'?

2. If I had it to do it over again, I probably would not have started this flick at 10 o'clock. It was interesting enough to keep me awake, but it definitely cost me some of my ability to concentrate on complicated issues. The fact that I knocked back about four or five beers from Flying Dog Brewery prior to (and during) the viewing probably didn't help either.

The Freezer Case: Freschetta Simply Inspired Rustic Pepperoni Pomodoro

Spicy here, checking in from a rough few weeks. I've got strep throat and the nibble's had back-to-back illnesses: first an upper respiratory infection, now an ear infection and two pink eyes. In 15 months, he's barely been sick at all (outside of minor colds), so I guess we're getting it all at once. When things get hectic around here (or I just can't make it to the grocery store), I'll occasionally use Genuardi's grocery delivery service, which is precisely how we ended up with the Freschetta Simply Inspired Rustic Pepperoni Pomodoro.

For the most part, the delivery service is great: you get the same sale prices available at the store and you can also get free delivery as long as you order five things from their list of hot items that week (which is quite a long and varied list, so it's pretty easy to do). However, there are two major drawbacks. First, items you have ordered may be out of stock, but you don't find that out until the groceries are delivered. Second, unless you have a few hours to spend reading the fine print online for each item ordered, you may end up with enough flank steak to feed the neighborhood or a pizza with mushrooms.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Slightly Aimless Rant About the Train Ride Home

So the other day we are approaching a stop. A bunch of folks stand up and move toward the door closest to them on the train. The train stops. People begin filing off the train. But there are three or four ladies who do not. You see, the door closest to us does not open. Is it supposed to be opened by a conductor? Is it supposed to open automatically upon coming to a stop? I don't know. All I know is it doesn't open. The ladies who are standing by it sort of look at each other with amazement. They ask if anybody sees a conductor. They basically stand there stupified wondering WHAT IS GOING ON! After a very decent stretch of time, the train starts up again. The ladies react as if one of their number has been struck by sniper fire. They have missed their allotted time to get off the train and the steel beast is back on its stoic, uncaring way. The train reaches the next stop. For whatever reason, the door opens this time. Rather than go upon her way, one vociferous lady seeks out a conductor. She yells at him! She requests his number so she can report him to his overlords! She proclaims that he should be fired for anyone who is willing to listen as well as all of the people who couldn't give a shizz, but can't help but overhear even though they are wearing headphones because she is so freaking loud (this is me)! Ironically, one of the things she kvetches about is the fact that the conductor has now MADE her late to pick up her "child," even though her extended harangue has delayed the departure of the train and therefore caused countless others to be late for whatever remains on their day's agenda. After a stand-off that lasts about five to seven minutes, the conductors leave the crazy woman to ponder her reverse-travel options and get back on the train to continue the travel toward Norristown. They shake their heads and giggle a bit.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tale of the Pie: Nonna Rosa Pizzeria and Restaurant

Another Friday, another pizza. This time, we decided to try out Nonna Rosa Pizzeria and Restaurant. Until Lent is over, pepperoni and buffalo wings are an absolute no-no, so we ordered a plain pie with extra sauce and a mozzarella sticks appetizer.

The pie was delivered in a fair amount of time for a pizza joint in the heart of No-Meat season. I would say it arrived about 45 minutes after the phone call. Even better, the delivery guy showed an admirable amount of honesty when, after he had quoted me the price of $18 (an affordable price for a large pie and sticks), I stated that I had a $2 coupon. Instead of just saying it had already been taken off, which I would have believed, he shaved the price of the coupon off of the $18. This act, along with the fact that Nonna Rosa has yet to jump on the delivery charge revolution, earned the delivery guy a very hearty 25 percent tip.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 50 Words or Less: Long Trail Pollenator

Long Trail Pollenator
I first picked up this spring ale for the cute cartoon bear on the label. From the name, I thought it might taste too much like honey. It turned out to not taste like much at all. And yet I am drinking my sixth one. Something is wrong with me.

Monday, April 4, 2011

2011 Phillies Preview...After Reviewing Three Games

Yeah, I guess this isn't really a preview, huh? I did already see three games. Good thing, too! If I hadn't I probably would have been ringing the alarm bells along with everyone else!





Yes, the reasons for concern were out there! But after watching three games, one thing is already clear:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ten Quick Thoughts on...The Fighter

1. It's funny how there was a Christian Bale backlash around awards season talking about how he played Dicky Eklund over the top. I don't know, the guy was a crackhead, and if you have ever seen footage of the real guy, he is a kook. As Eklund, Bale was never less than interesting. The movie usually benefitted when he was on the screen. Now, I guess an argument can be made that that shouldn't be what being a great "supporting actor" is about. But, for me, I thought it was a great performance. Plus, if anyone deserves one of these performances, it's Bale. He has been playing the anchor to a wildman performance since, what, American Psycho?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How Stupid Does Domino's Pizza Think We Are?

First, Domino's Pizza's nefarious CEO Patrick Doyle had the balls to tell us that people who think they are sitting in a bland conference room ragging on their pizza were somehow magically transported to a field of tomatoes, and now they are trying to make us swallow the idea that this blithering idiot Tate Dillow is responsible for the chicken at all of their 9,000 corporate and franchise locations! This, quite simply, is not physically possible. I refuse to believe that this guy, like some sort of pizza version of Fight Club's Tyler Durden, is flying from city to city making sure that every order of Domino's buffalo chicken wings is cooked to meat some sort of pre-set ideal. I don't care how many spices he sprinkles in for the cameraman's affirmation. I say that this Tate guy is a fraud. But I don't know. Maybe he does have some sort of mystical power for space-and-time manipulation. Meet the fellow and decide for yourself:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chain Reaction: Papa John's

One of the wife's favorite pastimes is ragging on me for liking Papa John's pizza. She says it isn't authentic enough. That no self-respecting Italian person would eat it. And I don't know, maybe she's right. All I know is that when you order a pizza from Papa John's you know what you are going to get. The sauce may be a little too sweet, but it isn't bland or watery. If you ask for extra sauce, the supposed artisan who is making your pie won't get insulted and drench your pie like a fireman trying to put out a five-alarm blaze. Will your pie seem like it derived from a masterclass on pizzamaking? No, but nine out of ten times you will be guaranteed NOT to receive a bust! It was this thought that drove me to ask the wife if we could get a Papa John's pizza on this evening. We needed to eat something without meat. They were running an ad for some sort of Tuscan Six-Cheese pizza, and it just seemed like a perfect fit. Surprisingly, the wife agreed, an order was placed, and, about a half-hour later, the pizza had arrived. 50 Words or Less: Sly Fox Pikeland Pils

Sly Fox Pikeland Pils
After I play basketball, I need something to rehydrate me and restore all of my essential proteins and minerals and stuff. Yes, I need to have a beer. And it needs to be in a can. Less effort to open. This smooth pilsner is my sports drink of choice.