Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New to the Collection: The Great Dictator (1940)

Every time Saucy adds a new DVD to his increasingly mammoth film collection, he will take the time to provide five indelible scenes that convinced him to spend his hard-earned sheckles on something he could have gotten for free with a DVD burner and a Netflix subscription. This installment discusses The Great Dictator, a 1940 satire of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich by silent film legend Charles Chaplin.

1.) The Globe Sequence
Easily the film’s most indelible scene, it shows a mad man in love with his own ambitions, oblivious to (or more likely, unmoved by) the calamities his megalomania is having on thousands of “Tomanian” citizens. Also, it is just an incredibly shot, choreographed, and acted sequence by a man as graceful as he was bold. Even showcases some early wire work.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Check Your Freezers: Kashi Frozen Pizza Recall

Kashi is recalling about 11,000 cases of frozen pizzas due to possible plastic fragments in an ingredient in the pizza crusts.

The impacted products include the following individually packaged pizzas:

  • Kashi Mediterranean Thin Crust Pizza packaged in a 12.7 ounce box and marked with UPC Code 1862732905 3 and Best If Used Beforedate of either May10 12NU, May18 12NU, or May19 12NU;
  • Kashi Roasted Vegetable Thin Crust Pizza packaged in a 12.2 ounce box and marked with UPC Code 1862737342 1 and Best If Used Beforedate of either May09 12NU or May14 12NU;
  • Kashi Mushroom Trio and Spinach Thin Crust Pizza packaged in an 11.9 ounce box and marked with UPC Code 1862737344 5 and Best If Used Before date of May17 12NU.

Monday, June 27, 2011

3 Quick Thoughts on ... Philly Mag's Very Best Pizza Feature

On Sunday, my dad was telling us about the cover story of Philadelphia Magazine's July Issue: The Very Best Pizza. He said he had checked inside to see if our blog was mentioned. I had to smile to myself because he really meant it. Alas, The Pizza Project has not yet graced the pages of Philly Mag, but you never know what the future holds ...

I was excited to get our issue and read the feature, especially after being so disappointed by June's Best of The Shore cover story. Uh yeah, while I enjoy looking at some ripped, tanned, shirtless lifeguards, I was also interested in hearing about the best places to eat, drink and shop.

But about the article itself - it is great and definitely worth checking out. I love how they divided the winners by category: Crust, Sauce, Toppings, At a Table and Paper Plate. We've definitely got our work cut out for us with this guide of good pizzas to review.

Five Reviews of Five CDs in Five Sentences: Gaga, The Strokes, and More

Angles - The Strokes
The New York-based quintet is just four albums into their career and it is clear that they have no idea what sort of band they want to be. Frontman Julian Casablancas' love for electric sheen has seaped into the band's repertoire and they seem to have forgotten how to do what they do best: write memorable choruses and epic, dueling guitar lines. For every awesome track, like "Taken for a Fool," it seems like you get two uninspired ones, like "Call Me Back," a dirge-like piece of business with odd time shifts and horrific vocoder interludes (the world would be a better place if they never recorded a song like this again). Word is Casablancas couldn't even bother showing up for the recording of this album, choosing to record his vocals on a different coast than the band. If they can't come up with better than this next time, perhaps they should all stop showing up for work?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Slightly Aimless Rant about...the Beer Guy at the Phillies Game

Went to the Phillies game the other day and decided to get a beer. While I am waiting in line, the guy working the register makes a grandiose declaration: "We card here! Have your identification ready!" I thought this pretty ridiculous in that I am 35 years old, but I acquiesced. I figured they were just trying to discourage some 18-year-old frat guy from standing in the line, and thought their efforts noble. I ordered my Anchor Steam and went about my way.

Fast-forward two innings. I go back to the same beer stand. Remembering the way I was carded the time before, I had my I.D. ready and presented it to the guy at the register. He laughs and says "Come on, man! You were born in the 70s," to the great entertainment of the rest of the people in line.

Friday, June 24, 2011

King of the Case: Smuttynose Brewing Company

Wherein I will buy a variety case and decide what the best beer in it is.

Smuttynose IPA
A crisp, hoppy offering with a fine finish. One of the best IPAs outside of the West Coast elite.

Robust Porter
I'm not a huge fan of porter beers, so I was a little disappointed when I found out that this was the "Brewer's Selection" on this particular occasion (no summer beer?). But the thing was pretty smooth despite its distinctive coffee flavor. I don't drink coffee and would rather my beer did not taste like it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Playing Hooky: A Wonderful Day of Film in the City!

Oh my gosh, I almost forgot to tell you, my rabid fan(s), about my wonderful day in the city! It was Monday! I go into work after a terrific Father's Day weekend, and I see that several of my co-workers are out for the day. I check my Inbox. I have nothing pressing. There are some little things I could do to bide my time, but nothing that absolutely demanded my presence. A decision was made straight-away: I was blowing the chicken coop and heading out to see some movies. I decided not to tell my wife because she would make me feel bad about going (although I told her later because I have an incredibly wicked guilt complex due to Catholic upbringing and general neurosis). Anyway, I checked the movie times, put in the PTO request, and prepared for a day of frivolity rare in my recent experience.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Slightly Aimless Rant About...the Lady Who Tried to Ruin My Father's Day

People often ask me, "Saucy, why is it that you hate people so much?" I sometimes wonder myself. Then I go to a Father's Day brunch at Chadwick's and some lady tries to get all up in my zone and ruin it for me, and I no longer have any reservations regarding my disdain for the human race.

Here's the scenario: On Sunday, we took my father-in-law out for what, in theory, was a tribute to the great job he has done as patron to his children. He certainly deserves it!

Props Out: Dude at the Phillies Game

Every once in a while, I like to hold a person up for scorn for the many ways they offend me without even knowing it. And, most likely, I will continue to do this.

Maybe even in my next post.

Still, a guy we were forced into cohabitating with in a social setting the other day did a very nice thing, so I am inventing a new post category in order to show him some love.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Farewell to Golden Key: Panda Pavilion's Dumplings Are Simply Much Tastier

Golden Key will always hold a place in my heart. My parents held my college graduation lunch there. My sibs and I threw them a 25th anniversary party there. We surprised a friend with a 30th birthday party there. All three events were wonderful and I've enjoyed their food for as long as I can remember.

But as Saucy noted in his March post, something terrible has happened to their dumplings as of late. Way too doughy and, even worse, way too wet. For me, the dumplings are the highlight of the Chinese food meal. So this was a serious problem.

Saturday, June 18, 2011 50 Words or Less: Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale

Flying Fish Farmhouse Summer Ale
Rough weekend for dieting. Yesterday, it was a Chap's burger followed by a late-night Domino's Pizza (sorry! they stay up late!). Today, we had Chinese for dinner. Tasty, with review to come! And, oh yeah, this beverage straight out the Chap's growler. Refreshing enough. Not transcendent. Still hits the spot.

Ten Quick Thoughts on...The King's Speech

1) The first two times I tried to watch The King's Speech, the story of King George VI and his struggle with his speech impediment, I fell asleep. I thought it was because I was tipsy both times or I turned it on too late. The third time, I made it through and I realized that the two times I conked out during the film were not due to alcohol consumption or need for shut-eye. No. It was because the film is kind of boring.

2) Colin Firth is a darn fine actor, and he does a very good job in the movie. This being said, I don't see why people were in such a rush to crown him with Oscar for this performance. I went into it expecting to be blown away by his work, and really it was a little underwhelming. I am now convinced that he was given the Oscar for portraying a guy with a speech impediment (the Academy loves characters with physical handicaps) or as a make-up call for not rewarding his incredible performance as a gay college professor struggling to recover from the loss of his partner in A Single Man. Maybe they should have given Firth the Oscar last year, and Jeff Bridges the Oscar for True Grit this year.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Happy Half-Birthday to the Nibble

The other day, I went into the nibble's room to re-cover him before going to bed and I stopped for a moment to just look at him. When did he get so big? The crib that once engulfed him now looked crowded with him and his three stuffed animals (or his "beebies" as he would call them).

Everyone tells you that kids grow up before you know it, but I really can't believe he is 18 months today. Not that I'm mourning the loss of his babyhood. Sure, dealing with full-on tantrums and actual discipline is a bit more challenging than the feed, cuddle, change diaper routine, but it's also much more rewarding. He's a like a little person, with his own ideas, mannerisms and dance moves. One of his big belly laughs is all I need to put a smile on my face. And sometimes, the highlight of my entire day is watching him clap when we get out of the car and he sees we're at the playground ... even though we've been there a million times before.

Thursday, June 16, 2011 50 Words or Less: Woodbridge Chardonnay

Woodbridge Chardonnay
Wine has a less disastrous impact on the mid-section than beer. So I am having a refreshing chardonnay from California's Woodbridge Winery. It has a crisp finish with an oakey aroma. Vibrant fruit flavor! Seriously, got that off the label. I know d*ck about wine. Jeez, I want a beer!

The Freezer Case: California Pizza Kitchen Crispy Thin Crust Hawaiian Pizza

My wife would gladly tell you (if you didn't already know) that I write way too long for the blog format. I know. I am really impressed with my own wit and it drives me to be a little verbose. I want to remedy this, however, and I thought I would begin (and probably end) with this post.

It's about the California Pizza Kitchen Hawaiian Pizza, frozen variety. And, well, everything about it was wack. The crust was crunchy and tasteless. The sauce was bland and practically nonexistent, so we had to freshen it with some tomato sauce of our own. The cheese was nondescript and a little clumpy. Then they went ahead and skimped on the ham-and-pineapple toppings, which I thought was kind of weak. But once I thought about it, the toppings were no good, so who really cares? In short, there is absolutely nothing good about the California Pizza Kitchen's frozen Hawaiian pie.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tale of 3 Pies: The Little Treehouse, Fox & Hound, and Domino's

As a true pizza fanatic, I'm not ashamed to say that I ate pizza three times last Friday and was totally in the mood for it again by the time Saturday rolled around.

To quickly recap my three pies of the day:

The nibble and I met a friend and her two girls at The Little Treehouse for some playtime and a bite. It's an indoor play space with a small jungle gym, make-believe play stations and several toys and books, as well as a small cafe with tables and chairs. Cool concept (and certainly lucrative at $8.50 per child), but I'm not sure it's a place we would frequent. Perhaps it's just that I don't have many mommy friends and I certainly cannot see myself going there to meet/talk to randoms. Or it might that most of the children over two were girls, which tipped me off to the fact that loud, energetic boy play probably isn't the thing to do there. Or maybe it's just that I don't like taking off my shoes in strange places.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hittin' Up Philly Beer Week: Memphis Taproom

Props out to Memphis Taproom, the hipsterish refuge in Fishtown, for putting together a Beer Week event that was perfect for that most underappreciated of beer enthusiasts: the one with kids. This past Saturday, we attended their ingenious Tot Lot festivities, a get-together that put their spectacular beer garden to great use.

Parents who wanted to take part in the Beer Week fun were invited to bring their kids to an event that featured a generous selection of canned beer (the better for tricking the kiddies into thinking it was just a normal old sodie pop), many different hot dog varieties from their lunch cart, and a host of activities for the kids, including assorted toys, healthy socialization, and a lively guitarist singing diddies and devising dance maneuvers for the youngins while their parents cheered them on.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less: Allagash Dubbel Reserve, Batch #97

Allagash Dubbel Reserve

Picked it up from Capone's after our Philly Beer Week outing on Saturday. Basic Belgian-style, decent, but not what I might expect from a reserve. In comparison to the other brews of the night, ten times better than Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat, not nearly as memorable as the Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Better Late Than Never Reviews: Pickin' Up the Pieces - Fitz and the Tantrums

A friend of mine and I have a dynamic when it comes to new music. He tells me about a certain album...and I resist. Such as when he tried to introduce me to a band called Passion Pit via their album Manners. I called it "just noise." Of course, a week later I had not only purchased the album, but I was unable to remove it from iPod rotation without a restraining order. It isn't that I don't trust his musical taste. In fact, I find it to be somewhat impeccable. I guess I just want to discover things for myself, and when someone hears about something before me I get... defensive.

5 Quick Thoughts on ... Pizza Project Post 101

Woohoo! This is post number 101 on The Pizza Project. From a random idea at a family lunch in February to 100 posts published, probably about half of them about pizza, we're pretty excited about getting this far. While we've got a bit to go before we are the Craig LaBans of the pizza world, we're ready to take this thing to the next level ...

1. Please Comment! We know we have visitors because of the nifty google blogger analytics, but we don't have nearly enough comments. Hate one of Saucy's opinionated rants? Love one of the pizza spots we reviewed? Just stopping by for the neon Chinese food sign photo? Have any suggestions on how to make this thing better? LET US KNOW! You can even post comments anonymously.

Hittin' Up Philly Beer Week: Capone's

My lady has me on the serious good foot. That means no Qdoba burritos, no Big Macs, and no Wendy's Spicy Chicken jawns for...well, pretty much for eternity.

But when Philadelphia Beer Week came to town, you knew we would be making an exception on the brewskis (which she allows me to drink in moderation; I ain't THAT whipped). On this night, it was Capone's Restaurant, the very well stocked eatery and beer stop in Norristown.

Nathan's Famous Frankfurters

I'd like to share my Nathan's experience with you in an equation because I do not know how to explain, in writing, my chili cheese dog, sausage and peppers dog, and the 42oz of Killian's Irish Red...

[(chili cheese dog + sausage and peppers dog + 42oz of beer) * shear excitement of seeing 42oz of beer for $6.25] / 1 trip to the lavatory = Epic bachelor party

Sunday, June 5, 2011 50 Words or Less: Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale

Hitachino Nest Red Rice Ale
Took a little break from the diet this weekend to enjoy Philadelphia Beer Week. Went to Capone's (review coming) and got some stuff from their beer store, including a 21-ounce of this fabulously labeled marvel. Not as exceptional as their White Ale, but still a distinctive, slightly bitter delicassie.

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less (this time More): Appalachian Brewing Co.

So I ended up at the new Appalachian Brewing Company restaurant for the second night in a row. I met up with a couple of friends to sample more of their beer. I decided to order a sampler which included 5 ounce glasses of all 7 "flagship" beers and one 5 ounce glass of a specialty beer. When I ordered the sampler the waitress looked at me, laughed and said "Is that just for you?" and I replied with a simple "yes." Then with a smile on her she face says "Okay champ, I will be back to clear the remaining 30% that you couldn't finish." Whoa, now I had to finish all the samples!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Rare Night Out: Audubon Ale House

Ok, so it wasn't really a "night" per se, but still, my mother-in-law was nice enough to stop in for 90 minutes and babysit. This gave us ample time to head to the Audubon Ale House for dinner and a couple of drinks. I don't know if I would give this establishment "hidden jewel" status, but I do think that it is an underrated choice when looking to spend some quality time in the local bar. So with time of the essence we chose to hit it up in lieu of other choices, The Saloon and the always reliable Chap's.

Thoughts from the Pizza Gallery: Franzone's Pizzeria

Looks like this Pizza Project thing is taking off! Someone actually filled out our pizza survey and left some notes. With that being said, we would like to share their experience:

Franzone's offers a thin crust sweet sauce on top pizza, which led this reviewer to proclaim them "the best sweet sauce on top of the cheese pizza west of Mack & Manko!"

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less: ABC Trail Blaze Organic Brown Ale

This beer has a deep copper color. The hop bitterness is balanced well with caramel characteristics and maybe a little hint of chocolate. Delicious, and yes it is certified organic.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less: TableLeaf Chardonnay

Very flavorful. The hubby said it tasted a bit like coconut ... and was pouring himself a second glass before mine was even halfway finished. Sort of a fruity vanilla taste to me, but definitely not too fruity. A bigun was only $12. Think this is going to replace Barefoot as my new at-home summer jam.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Recipe Files: Pepperoni & Marinated Mozz on a Rustic Crust

Back on the good foot after the holiday weekend, I decided to bake a healthy pizza with a wheat crust I had purchased in Giant's organic section a few weeks ago.

Rustic Crust Organic Great Grains
Rustic Crust Pizza Sauce
Uncured pepperoni
Fresh mozzarella balls marinated in olive oil, herbs and red pepper (got these at Trader Joe's)
Lowfat shredded mozzarella (also from Trader Joe's)