Friday, September 30, 2011

The Pizza Project Goes to the Movies...Well, Not Really!

Saucy loves to go to the movies. But he can't afford them anymore. So until someone starts paying us to do this sh*t, he is going to have to improvise. So here's this week's blind movie reviews.

There are many pros and cons with this one. Pro: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a rising star and a person who is starting to see the best scripts first, stars in the lead role. Con: Seth Rogen, who has begun to annoy me in pretty much anything he is in, is featured as Gordon-Levitt's supportive buddy. Pro: Anna Kendrick, fresh off of her 2009 Best Supporting Actress turn in Up in the Air, has a role as Gordon-Levitt's doctor. Con: Bryce Dallas Howard, whose films usually don't end up being very good, also shows up. Being that the film is directed by someone I have never heard of (Jonathan Levine), chances are good that it won't really impress. Still, it seems like a decent enough premise, and I am betting that most people will come out of it thinking, "You know, that was a pretty good movie although it would have been better if Jason Segal took the Rogen role."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Roundtable Review: Chap's Taproom Fall Beer Tasting

Señor Crusty: Good evening, Pizza Project Readers! Señor Crusty here. It is an honor to act as moderator for The Pizza Project's first Roundtable Review. Tonight, we attended the second beer dinner hosted by Chap's Taproom in Jeffersonville, PA. The evening featured a Fall Beer Tasting accompanied by a delicious four-course meal. Philly Daily News reporter Joe Sixpack was the guest host for the evening.
Let me start by asking the first question to Saucy. Saucy how are you feeling after the beer tasting?

Saucy: Pretty damn bloated.

SC: Spicy, how are you feeling after the dinner?

Spicy: Very full, very satisfied. The sausages were just like I like them: big and juicy.

SC: Isn't that nice! Now let's move on to more hard-hitting questions. Again to you Saucy, what did you think of the reception beer, Flying Dog Dogtoberfest?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ten Quick Thoughts on...The Beaver

1. "Heh heh. He said he was thinking about the beaver."

2. Really just an average movie. It wasn't horrible. But not incredibly effective either. Pretty much an "Eh," which might be the worst thing a movie can be. A movie about the horrors of depression that doesn't move you in any way? Could be Jodie Foster's boring, craftman-like direction? Maybe it was because it seemed like it was more about a crazy person than a depressed one? Dunno.

3. I do predict, however, that Mel Gibson will rake in a much deserved Oscar nomination for his role as depressed Dad Walter Black, who finds himself able to communicate with his family through a beaver puppet he finds in a trash dumpster. Just kidding. After insulting just about every race of people on the planet over the past few years, I have no idea who Gibson would have to kill in order to get an Oscar nomination. Maybe Michael Moore?

Tale of the Pie: Affamato's Pizza & Italian Restaurant

Before we launched The Pizza Project as a blog, it was simply a spreadsheet we used to keep track of the best and worst pie attributes from local pizzerias. Some of the worst belonged to an establishment by the name of Paesano's. So it's not exactly a surprise that Paesano's has since closed down and been replaced by a new pizza shop: Affamato's Pizza & Italian Restaurant.

With hopes that the same owners weren't simply reopening under a new name, we decided to give Affamato's a try. And while their pie was definitely a million times better than Paesano's, it still has some room for improvement.

We ordered a large pepperoni with a side of mozzerella sticks. At first bite, the crust seemed to be nearly perfect in texture and form. Curiously though, it got thicker and chewier with each subsequent bite, making the edge basically inedible. Light on the sauce, which was a bit watery, definitely not a robust tomato-y red. Heavy on the cheese, which I wouldn't really complain about, but if you're not a major cheese lover, you may find it a bit tough to swallow...literally. The pie was topped with just the right amount of flavorful pepperoni.

Mozz sticks (and accompanying sauce) were pretty run of the mill, and perhaps a bit cold because the cheese wasn't oozing.

Hubby picked up the pie - it was ready in 10-12 minutes even though they quoted us 20 (so get there early if you don't want a cold one). Friendly cashier and a significant difference in the number of people there picking up orders (from the extremely empty Paesano's).

To sum it up, it was an average pie, but we'd consider giving them another try a few months down the road (since they just recently opened).

Pros: Fast, friendly service, tasty pepperoni
Cons: Crust got too thick and chewy, sauce sparse and thin

Affamato's Pizza & Italian Restaurant
431 S. Trooper Road
Norristown, PA 19403


The Pizza Project
Just a nibble:
Single slice:
The full pie:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 50 Words or Less: Doctoberfest

Brewed as an homage to the best sports "bolg" of all time, this second #ZWRBEER is an easy drinking pumpkinesque beer from brewing mastermind, Vince of Iron Hill Brewery in North Wales, PA. Pleasing amber color with definite notes of vanilla and cinnamon. Definitely growler worthy.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble:
Single slice:
The full pie:

Monday, September 26, 2011 50 Words or Less: Lagunitas Lucky 13 Red Ale

Lagunitas Lucky 13 Red Ale
After experiencing rare Lagunitas misstep Hop Stoopid, decided not to turn my back on the brewery, but to get back on the horse. Loyalty, meet reward. This gem looks beautiful, features a crisp, uber-hoppy bite, and a kick that reminds one of citrus. A delectable treat for the tastebuds.

Top Ten LOLs from Yesterday's Eagles Loss to the Giants

1. Bumbling coach Andy Reid made the following idiotic moves: The Eagles had the ball. Third and 1 from the Giants 1-yard line. It was actually more like the one-inch mark. Rather than take another shot sneaking it over the goal line with Michael Vick or sending LeSean McCoy over the top via handoff, he chose to have Vick step about three yards back and hand the ball to seldom-used fullback Owen Schmitt. Schmitt was predictably stonewalled! LOLZ!

2. Early in the fourth quarter, the Eagles have a 16-14 lead. They have the ball at the Giants' 43. It's 4th and 1. The smart move would be to punt and allow the Giants to start deep in their own territory. So of course Reid chooses to hand off to McCoy, who was abruptly swallowed up by the entirety of the Giants' defense. With great field position, the Giants would grab the lead and never relinquish it. BWAHAHAHAAH!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


With two beer weekends back to back, Emmental is about to check in to Betty Ford, but is prepared to share with you the skinny on the Newtown 2011 Beer Fest. This is the one that takes place in the center of town versus the "fake" one that is about 2 miles from Newtown proper.

The best of the best are featured below with my notes as is from drinking it up with our lovely N'towners.

Cricket Hill - Festivus - Crisp, subtle spice. A bit drab. Like I made it over a really long weekend.

Ithaca - Apricot Wheat - Ah! Refreshing. Zing of apricot, mild wheat flow with every sip.

Twenty Thoughts on Nirvana's Nevermind at 20

1. Nevermind is easily my favorite ever made. If I were to attempt to think of one's that are close, the only ones I would be able to come up with are Beck's Odelay, The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols, Radiohead's OK Computer, and maybe Daft Punk's Discovery. But clearly Nevermind is the best and most complete album I've ever heard, and that includes the Beatles entire catalog, anything by the Rolling Stones. You name it. It is quite simply an exceptional recording even if you were to strip away all of its historical importance.

2. First reason would probably be the choruses. There isn't a song on the album that doesn't have a hummable chorus. The only album that compares in this area in my opinion would be The Strokes' Is This It? 50 Words or Less: Stone Brewing Company Arrogant Bastard Ale

Stone Brewing Company Arrogant Bastard Ale
An American strong ale of brownish appearance, it features the term "You're Not Worthy" on cap and bottle. The taste suggests that the marketers are correct. A little bit smoky, a little bit caramel, and all sorts of easy-drinking for an adult beverage with a 7.2% ABV. Devilishly good.

Friday, September 23, 2011 50 Words or Less: Anchor Brewing Company Liberty Ale

Anchor Brewing Company Liberty Ale
Sipping this golden-colored ale, I don't decipher a standout flavor. I don't pick up a floral bouquet when I approach my nose. And yet, I'm loving it. Reminds me that every once in a while a man needs a beer that just tastes Solid. Powerful. Striking. Beer.

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less: Wells Banana Bread Beer

I don't really like fruity beers, but this makes in into my all-time Top Five. My dad said it tastes like it's been brewed with unripe bananas. I love green bananas, but cringe at the thought of eating a banana after it's turned yellow (God forbid it has brown spots), which may explain my fondness for this beer. Rich, crisp, smooth and not too sweet.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble:
Single slice:
The full pie:

The Pizza Project Goes to the Movies...Well, Not Really!

Saucy loves to go to the movies. But he can't afford them anymore. So until someone starts paying us to do this sh*t, he is going to have to improvise. So here's this week's blind movie reviews.

MoneyballEven if you don't like baseball (who doesn't?) or nerdy statistics (who does?), you will love this movie. Why? First of all, it stars Brad Pitt, perhaps the most charismatic movie star in the world and one of the screen's most underrated great actors. Don't believe me? Check out The Tree of Life when it comes out on video. Or just watch Fight Club or 12 Monkeys again. Second, it is directed by Bennett Miller, who, while no means a household name, did direct Philip Seymour Hoffman (who is also in this movie) to an Oscar with 2005's Capote. I'm betting that he does a very good job with this material as well. Then there are the writers. The first version of the script was written by Steve Zaillian, who also had a hand in writing the modest indie hits, Gangs of New York and Schindler's List. When the makers of this film decided the piece needed a little touch-up, they went ahead and threw money at Aaron Sorkin, the guy who just won an Oscar for penning The Social Network. So yeah, the pedigrees here are quality. The only thing that could ruin this flick is the fact that it also stars Jonah Hill, also known as "the worst thing about every movie he has been in thus far in his career." However, early reviews have even been positive about his performance. Bank on it. This one is worth the 20 dollars you will pay for a large soda alone.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pizza in Curacao?

So the wife and I just recently returned from Curacao where we had stayed at a resort for roughly a week. While there, I had a the chance to taste a little slice of what they call pizza. When visiting one of the restaurants I was able to build my own personal pie with an assortment of toppings. The restaurant offered the normal toppings of pepperoni, ham, onions, and etc. Nothing really stood out about the pie but it didn't stop me from getting another one later on during the week.

What did catch me off guard was the pizza that the resort was serving at the buffet during lunch on several of the days. While looking at the pizza at first glance I had thought there were black olives on top. After grabbing a slice for myself and returning to our table I noticed the in fact they were raisins. Who in their right mind puts raisins on a pizza? I couldn't bring myself to try it and picked all of them off.

If you go to a Caribbean island make sure you look at what they put on your pizza because you may end up with some weird pickings.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble:
Single slice:
The full pie:

Deal Alert: CiCis Pizza and Italia Pizza & Fire Grill

Came across two pizza deals today:

CiCi's Pizza in Cherry Hill and Levittown on LivingSocial
Never been, but their commercials do make me hungry. Of course, most pizza commercials do. For $15 (regularly $32), you and three friends (or family members) can go to town at this establishment's buffet. Create your own salad, choose from a wide selection of pizza toppings and pasta options, and sample signature desserts like cinnamon buns. Cici's pizza crust is made from scratch daily.

Get the deal >>
Visit CiCi's Pizza>>

Italia Pizza & Fire Grill in Glenside on BuyWithMe
This one's valid for takeout only, so make sure you live nearby (or want to eat in your car). $15 gets you $30 worth of takeout food. Located in Glenside, Italia Pizza & Fire Grill is home to hand-tossed gourmet pizzas like their always-popular Hawaiian Style and garlicky White Pizza. They also serve up Pizza Italiane, including a salmon-topped Salmone (oof, not sure this would be the pie for me) and the classic Margherita. If you had pizza yesterday, why not check out their menu of hoagies, pastas, entrees and salads?

Get the deal >>
Visit Italia Pizza & Fire Grill >>


The Pizza Project
Just a nibble:
Single slice:
The full pie:

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time for a Random List: The Ten Best Radiohead Songs Ever Made

10. "Like Spinning Plates" (Amnesiac)

9. "Staircase" (Unreleased)

8. "Idioteque" (Kid A)

7. "No Surprises" (OK Computer)

6. "Bloom" (The King of Limbs)

5. "(Nice Dream)" (The Bends)

4. "All I Need" (In Rainbows)

3. "Myxamatosis" (Hail to the Thief)

2. "Let Down" (OK Computer)

When I Googled...

So I went to COSTCO today around lunch time to pick up a few essentials: a new Belkin N750DB wireless router, a book about dogs, and a bag of sweet potato Terra chips. You know, just the essentials. While there, I did what most COSTCO members do, eat their way around the store. My meal included some kind of lentil concoction, some chicken and beef soup and for the main course a potato and cheese pierogi. The pierogi was so good it gave me the inspiration for this week's "When I Googled..." This is what a search for "pierogi dinner" got me. Not sure what violins, babies and yoga poses have to do with pierogies but it's all good. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New to the Collection: Up

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. Unless he doesn't want to do that, at which point he will just do something else. This installment discusses Up, the 2009 animated film by Pixar Studios.

I had prepared a really long, pompous, snobby, interminable screed about the "Married Life sequence" in Up, the scene that I consider to be the greatest single piece of filmmaking in movies during the year of 2009, and probably one of the five or so best examples of film editing during the last decade. It was basically just a restating of the events that take place during the sequence, only I inserted some really absurd terms, like "meet-cute," "human condition," and "haunting image." Seriously, the thing really blew. I figured I would just scrap it and allow you to watch the scene for yourself. Follow the link and enjoy! 50 Words or Less: Bota Box Shiraz (2009)

Bota Box Shiraz (2009)
Well, the box is pretty huge. That's a plus. Truth is I'm only drinking this stuff because I am not having any beers during the week! A nice red is a good way to keep that post-workday edge off. Nothing more. Looking for subtle, provocative taste? Buy something else. 50 Words or Less: Appalachian Brewing Company Purist Pale Ale

Appalachian Brewing Company Purist Pale Ale
Went out of town for work. Had four 23-ouncers of this baby in hotel bar. It was decent, but it lacked the memorable flavor and bite of standouts like Victory Headwaters or Sierra Nevada. Next day? Ever try to film an accounting presentation with a hangover? Slow death.

Monday, September 19, 2011


And we're back to the grind...around and around we go until next summer!


The Pizza Project
Just a nibble:
Single slice:
The full pie:

Tale of the Pie: Tacconelli's Pizzeria

It's pretty ballsy for a pizza shop to require customers to make a reservation for their crust. For some, that may add to the mystique that has surrounded Tacconelli's for as long as I can remember. For others, that prerequisite (and the statement on their website that "well-behaved children are welcome") can leave a bad taste in their mouths before they even have a bite.

However, that taste will quickly be replaced by one of a delectable pie.

Since my mom is really awesome and super supportive of our blogging endeavour, she decided we should celebrate her birthday at the infamous Tacconelli's so we can add another review to the site. A party of eight adults and one nibble, we arrived at the modest, yet surprisingly spacious, shop with beer and wine in hand ready to put those pies to the test. We ordered one regular, one pepperoni, one margherita and one white specialty.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less: Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

Looks like a pumpkin beer. Smells only somewhat like a pumpkin beer. Tastes nothing like a pumpkin beer. And it's not just light on pumpkin flavor, but light on any flavor. Even the aftertaste seems watered down. A real dud. 50 Words or Less: Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale

Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale
First beer I've had from the Petaluma, California brewery that didn't blow me away with how delicious it is. Purchased in a 22-ouncer, the hops seemed a little mellow for a double IPA. There's a pleasant, fragrant nose, but the bold flavors don't completely translate. Not bland. Just underwhelming. 50 Words or Less: Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale

Oskar Blues Dale's Pale Ale
On the recommendation of a friend and loyal reader, picked this canned beer from Colorado's Oskar Blues. This gent sought to prove canned beers can pack serious flavor. He makes his point and then some. Weighing in just south of an IPA, this hoppy pale packs a crisp, powerful wallop.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Slightly Aimless Rant about...Several Things

Kids in My NeighborhoodLast week, I caught some little bastards throwing stones down the mushroom thingie that sits outside my house. You know, the thing that leads to the apparatus that shuttles the waste out of your house? Anywho, I went out there and chased the little MFers away and I thought that was the end of it. Apparently not. Last night, I flush the toilet and sewage water starts flowing into my basement like Niagara Falls. Had to have some dude come out to look at things and he tells me that, indeed, there were stones and mud in the line that toilet paper attached to, and the ensuing cocktail of disgustingness clogged up the line, causing the backup. So I have a bit of a quandary here. Do I have to go to the kids' houses and tell their parents so they can administer proper punishment? Well, the one kid's parents are crack fiends or something while the other's I don't happen to know. Plus, such a move would require me to have to talk to a neighbor, which is something I try to do as rarely as humanly possible. Should I call the cops on the little buggers next time I see them acting the fool? That seems a little extreme. So I guess I will have to handle this situation in the manner that I think is the most humane way possible. I'm simply going to have to kill the rotten sons of biltches.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Growler Wars: Brooklyn vs. Spaten

Two growlers. Two beers. Two frosted glasses. One winner.

Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale

While the scent of pumpkin is picked up as soon as you pick the glass up to your mouth, the flavor is not so sweet that it dominates the ale's finish. There are people that would probably think this is a bad thing. You know, because this is a PUMPKIN beer. But I don't like those pumpkin beverages that overwhelm you with cinnamon sweetness. I would list this as a quality variety of the genre, perhaps a little below the great ones, such as Smuttynose Pumpkin and Weyerbacher's revelatory Imperial Pumpkin.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When I Googled...

Remember when you had a school project, and you had to scour over issues of National Geographic Mags quickly flipping past the aboriginal boobies (mainly because your Mom or Dad was helping you) to find pics of rainforests, or cheetahs, or peninsulas? That was then, this is Google Images. I just love the random pics that appear when you are searching for a very specific item. So begins a small segment of the Pizza Project called "When I Googled..." You are invited to share other screen grabs of crazy pics that appear when you are looking for say a "monogram turkey platter." Enjoy

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less: Skinnygirl Sangria

Has a whole heck of a lot more flavor than the Skinnygirl Margarita. "Appley" and sweet, but not overly so, as you often find with pre-made sangria. Sans ice, it definitely packs a punch. Enjoy some now as you soak in those last few evenings of perfect weather.

Saucy Has a Confession!!!

Candid admissions from a secretive man.

1) I am seriously in love with that Katy Perry "Friday Night" song.When this song comes on, I literally cannot stop myself from dancing and singing like a 12-year-old girl. And I don't like it in an ironic way, like, "Wow, look at that 35-year-old dude with the beer gut freaking out to a silly pop song!" No, man! I actually think it is just really tremendous pop music. The guitar rhythm is completely infectious. The chorus is absolutely massive! The synth that emerges during the chorus feels sort of dangerous and dark. I mean, I like this song in both a very basic and highly intellectualized way. Even the video is awesome, what with its almost Web-redemptiony treatment of frequent punching bags Rebecca Black, Kenny G, Debbie Gibson, and Corey Feldman. It's very gallant of Ms. Perry in my opinion. She also looks very nice in the neon lycra.

2) I actually would seriously consider buying the whole album if it wasn't more than a year old.Because I actually like all of the singles. "Teenage Dream." "California Gurls." To a lesser extent, "Firework." Look man, this isn't easy for me to admit. I once broke up with a girl because she didn't like Kid A. The first CD I ever purchased was Philip Glass's soundtrack for the film Kundun. My Mount Rushmore of female musical artists would be Bjork, PJ Harvey, Billie Holiday, and Stevie Nicks. But what can I say? I'm feeling this shizz.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nino's Family Restaurant: A Fine Option for Italian in Wildwood

I'm not going to lie: When we were recently in Wildwood, I was not very excited when my Mom told us that we were going to go to Nino's Family Restaurant for dinner. First of all, the idea of Italian food in a Shore town doesn't exactly thrill me. It seems like the sort of place where you would simply want to get a pizza or some steaks or something. And then there is the fact that we were down there out of season. With so few people down there (even on a Labor Day weekend; the weather had driven a lot of people home), I found it hard to believe that the ingredients could be up to snuff. All this being said, I am not one to argue, especially when my Mom was going to be paying (thanks, Mom!).

PHOTO OF THE WEEK - Tribute in Light from Space

Photo Rendering by Julian LaVerdiere and Paul Myoda

We recognized the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks yesterday. The memorial plaza opened and again the tribute in light burst through the night sky. 

The photo of the week is artistic rendition of what the tribute would look like from space developed by the creators of the actual lighting design. It will be featured in TIME September 19.

The Freezer Case: Archer Farms Pepperoni Thin Crust Pizza

While recovering from the all-out celebration in honor of my little sister's wedding (congrats Ellio!), we kept things pretty simple meal-wise this weekend. So we picked up an Archer Farms Pepperoni Thin Crust Pizza from Target for only $3.75 (on sale and had a coupon).

Overall, it was a very good pie. Plenty of smoky, slightly spicy pepperoni, both sliced and julienned. An ample amount of robust sauce, even according to Saucy's standards. The toppings were spread all the way to the edge, leaving very little naked crust. This was a good thing, because the crust was the one weak point. A little too thin, a bit cardboardy and it crunched like a Ritz cracker.

Even with the bunk crust, we'd get this one again ... especially at that price! 50 Words or Less: Southern Tier Harvest Ale

Southern Tier Harvest Ale
Found this to be short on flavor. There's a bit of a hoppy, flowery feel, yet it seemed to be a bit flat. Despite the fact that there was not much to tickle the tastebuds, it did manage to generate somewhat of a lingering, funky aftertaste. Feel free to skip.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sorry! Twenty Reasons Why the Eagles Won't Be Winning the Super Bowl This Year!

As of this post, The Pizza Project is not sure about how much Philadelphia Eagles coverage they will have this year. You see, site sports fanatic Saucy McGilliguddy is still in the midst of a boycott due to the team's signing of psychopathic ex-con Michael Vick to call the signals. So enjoy this preview of Philadelphia's football squad and look out for additional articles when "The Sauce Boss" can lower himself to the depths necessary to watch a criminal run around with a pigskin for entertainment purposes.
So now, the twenty reasons the Eagles won't be winning the Super Bowl this year...AGAIN.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tale of the Pie: Mack's Pizza (Wildwood)

Now this is Boardwalk pizza.

Recently, the wife and I were heading home from Wildwood when we realized that during our two days in the shore town we had failed to have one slice of pizza. This was a wrong that needed immediate correction, so we decided to partake in a slice of Mack's Pizza before we departed. As we headed up to the boards and got hold of the extremely pleasing aroma escaping from the shop, we quickly decided that we would get a full pie instead of a mere segment.

If we went down in the midst of the busy season, I am sure we would not have gotten the terrific service that we received. This would be excusable because the place would have been crawling with teenagers and tourists. But as it was, we were some of the only people in the shop and the people operating the place treated us like V.I.P.'s. The guy behind the counter making the pies pointed us to our seats. The gent who served us was particularly awesome, taking our drink and food orders within minutes and getting crayons for Saucy Jr. without provocation. A master in rewarding kindness with scorn, Little Man quickly used them to paint the establishment's walls. Everything was topnotch service-wise and it made us feel right at home.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Poor Service Spoils a Fine Getaway to Cabanas in Cape May

This Labor Day, we shot down to Wildwood for a family get-together. On one particularly rainy day, the little guy simply did not want to take a nap. So we decided to go for a ride and see if that would help him slip off into Dreamland. To our satisfaction, the ploy worked and a drive around Wildwood quickly turned into an excursion to Cape May. The farthest shore point has always been a favorite of ours and one place where we have had a couple good experiences is Cabanas Beach Bar and Grill. On this day, we decided to stop in and get an appetizer and a couple of drinks before a dinner later that night.

While the vibe of Cabanas may be a bit on the kitschy side, I have always enjoyed it. I like the Caribbean feel of the decor. The Bob Marley tunes blaring out of the speakers really add to a relaxing atmosphere. For our appetizer, we decided to try the Mexican Nachos Grande, a plate of tortilla chips with pulled pork, refried beans, jalapenos, pico de gallo, and other pleasing toppings. I thought the dish worked very well, although I can admit to being a person who prefers a wet salsa to a pico de gallo. I think it works better for dipping and ensuring that your chips are never naked. This slight lack of ingredients was the main complaint of Spicy, who felt there were times when more toppings, especially the pulled pork, could have been in order. For myself, I can say that I did not think this was a major violation on their part. The toppings were a little tough to get to, what with some of them being under the chips, but I did not feel Cabanas was delinquent in their topping distribution. It just required the breaking out of forks and knives at times.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011 50 Words or Less: Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner Urquell
Faced with limited liquor store, chose this classic pilsner from Plzensky Prazdroj, a Czech Republic brewery. Helped me accomplish two aims. Worked as a summer beer with strong bite and smooth finish. And fancy name allowed me to look erudite on a family getaway in Wildwood. Only problem? Slight aftertaste.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Just got home from a smashing Labor Day weekend with friends down the shore in Avalon, New Jersey. Luckily we were not subdued to any kind of crowded cluster like these folks in the photo of the week...

A human-made "sea" provides escape from the summer heat—if not from the crowds—in China's Sichuan Province on August 14. 
Known as China's Dead Sea, the saltwater swimming pool is part of an indoor water park that can accommodate up to 10,000. Park officials say that more than a million people have visited the pool so far this summer, according to the Daily Mail.Taken from National Geographic's Best of August - Provided by AP. Pictures We Love: Best of August

Booze in 100 Words or Less: Jack Daniel's Tennessee Honey

Ever since touring the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, TN I have been a supporter of Mr. Jack's fine line of whiskeys. The newest addition to the family is the perfect beginner's drink that can also satisfy the whiskey aficionado.

The sweetness definitely comes first; then the Jack kicker, which was a delicious contrast. It was awesomely smooth. This can be confirmed by the half empty bottle in my freezer before the end of the night.

Take the label's advice and enjoy chilled.

Mr. Jack you've done it again. Cheers.

How much does your toddler really understand?

Now that the nibble is 20 months old, the hubby and I are beginning to realize that we have to censor ourselves a bit more. And not just in the obvious we-don't-want-him-repeating-the-f-word sort of way either.

What I wouldn't give to find out exactly how much of our daily conversations he actually understands. He's extremely social and has always attempted to participate in our discussions - laughing when we laugh, making the same facial expressions and hand gestures, and chiming in with a few strings of babble. I remember when the hubby left the house headed over to Chap's at 8 a.m. for his free growlers on April Fool's Day (yes, that was a joke) and I couldn't stop laughing from the second he locked the door until he called me realizing it was a joke. The nibble couldn't have possibly known what was going on, but he laughed the entire time too. And that just made me laugh harder.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Slightly Aimless Rant about...That Idiot Who Interfered on Hunter Pence's Home Run/Double/Out Today

2-2 ball game. Ryan Howard on first base. Hunter Pence at the plate. Pence lifts an opposite field shot to right field. Florida Marlins outfielder Whatshisname (Sorry, I don't know who the guy is, and why would I since he plays for a last-place team that draws 15 people to its home games?) jumps for the ball. Just as he approaches the ball, a pasty white guy with a massive beer gut and a hardly fitting Phillies jersey reaches over the field with his hat to try and "catch" the ball. He interferes with Outfielder McGee. The ball is ruled a double on the field. After protest by Marlins manager Jack McKeon, the umpires go to replay. Instead of a double that would have put runners on 2nd and 3rd in a tied contest, Pence is declared out and Ryan Howard is made to go back to first base. With everything settled on the field, the idiot in the stands goes back to drinking his 18th Bud Light of the day until the ushers come down and kick he and his equally foolhardy companion out of the got dam ballpark. After their departure, the stadium is declared to be containing less people than the average town in Cormac McCarthy's The Road.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Are the Eggs really Green?

A trip into Northern Liberties turned into an adventure filled with Philly Cream cheese, Smoked Atlantic Salmon(only the best), Pork Loin, Hollandaise, and Rosemary potatoes. But, I won't get ahead of myself...lets start from the beginning.

Having wanted to go eat at Greens Eggs Cafe for quite some time now (it only being a block away from my sister's house) Cheezy and I made time to go there for breakfast, choosing to go Labor Day weekend where we got seated right away. (I hear most have to wait in line between 30-40's just that good) We were seated outside where the breeze was blowing and the coffee was flowing. Wanting to try most everything on the menu, we each picked something different so that we could have a little bit of each. Myself picking-Philly Style Eggs Benedict, and Cheezy choosing-Smoked Salmon Benedict. Anxiously awaiting our meals we were a tad upset that we didn't see the matching bulldog pair that the neighborhood has to offer.

Once we saw the task at hand, we said to each other "Eat them! Eat them!, Here they are." Diving into the Philly Style first I was greeted by the savory taste of the eggs and pork, combined with the pretzel role that lie beneath. Not to mention the hollandaise...runny perfection! It being a party in my mouth and not wanting to leave, Cheezy urged me to try his smoked salmon, "You may like them. You will see. You may like them in a tree?"

"I would not, could not in a tree," but I may like them you will see. Smoked salmon eggs benedict - all one thing? Quite the contrary. This salmon came wrapped in cream cheese and was completely separated from the eggs and benedict, or eggs benedict? The result, no matter how you got around to it, was fantastic! "Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!"

So...In case you do not have the stamina to try both, quite possible since both meals are served with a heaping pile of roasted potatoes (either signature or rosemary), I'd recommend the Philly Style. Word of warning, the smoked salmon has more cream cheese then meets the eye. Although Green Eggs prepares you for this challenge by providing a fork, knife and spoon along with a heavy duty napkin to combat this problem, the amount of cream cheese is not a deal breaker in the overall goodness of the meal.

Green Eggs Cafe
Northern Liberties
719 North 2nd Street
215.922.EGGS (3447)

Green Eggs Cafe on Urbanspoon

Ten Things I'm Hating...RIGHT NOW!!!

1) The Greenpeace-type Organization's People Standing Outside My Bank's ATM - I go to the bank the other day and there are these moochers in green shirts trying to get people to sign up to save the whales or protect the seals or whatever their purpose was. This clearly isn't right. If someone is going to stop me on the street and beg me for money, I should be able to tell them I have none. I can't do this if these people are standing in front of a bank ATM. Getting money being the only reason I would be at such an establishment. This is a violation of a treasured social contract. You can beg for my money. And I can lie to you about having no money. I have to have that excuse in my back pocket, otherwise the whole process is off.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Booze ... In 50 Words or Less: River Horse Hipp-O-Lantern

This is THE pumpkin beer for any Belgian lovers out there. Nose and taste are only slightly pumpkiny compared to Weyerbacher or Smuttynose. At 9% ABV, I can definitely only handle one of these in a sitting. Reddish copper, slightly cloudy, quite smooth and very warming.

King of the Case: Yards Brewing Company

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

Extra Special Ale
This amber-colored beer features a strong, bold flavor with hints of cocoa and caramel. It is an English-style ale, but it seems a little more drinkable to me than the usual concoction from the United Kingdom.

Philadelphia Pale Ale
This beer is a revelation from first sip. As soon as you bring it near your nose, you pick up a powerful, citrus scent. When you take a drink, fruity, pungent hop flavor jumps out at you like a mugger near an ATM. It's got session-beer ABV (4.6%), but a complexity that you usually don't find in such an easy-to-drink varietal. It's a crisp, interesting beer whose layers of flavor can simply be reveled in. Reminded me of the first time I drank Lagunitas Little Sumpin Sumpin, which is to say I feel like I need to get a case of this alone.

Brawler Pugilist Style Ale
With its brownish coloring, this beer actually reminds a lot of the Extra Special Ale. The only difference is that this one has a bit of a smoky Rauchbier-type feel. This being said, I am not a huge fan of smoky beers. If made to choose, I would go with the Extra Special.

India Pale Ale
Yards does hops well. This one features well distributed hops and distinct flavor. It's not going to blow you away like some of the more spectacular West Coast IPAs, but it isn't run-of-the-mill either. Almost feel like I would have enjoyed it even more if I had not consumed it twenty minutes or so after knocking back the Philly Pale.

The LabelsFor the look of its labels, Yards shoots for a classic, dignified feel. However, by using vibrant color combinations, they are able to ensure that the bottles are never boring. I was tempted to declare the Extra Special Ale the winner simply because the green-and-yellow color combination appeals to me. I feel like I could drink this at a bar and it would communicate that I am a man who enjoys simple pleasures, like a manly beer, a novel by Hemingway, a film by John Ford. In the end though, I give the nod to Brawler. The blue-and-orange color combo, while it is the color of the New York Mets, has always been a favorite of mine. Plus, I enjoy the art of the fighter facing off against the demonic figure. I like to imagine that the fighter is Yards and the demon is the beer brand that believes it needs to put a "Super Cold" stripe on its cans to get idiots to buy it. Buffoonish saps! Keep fighting that fight, Yards!

The WinnerThese are all solid beers that I would not mind spending way too much money on while out at a fancy-schmancy night spot with my friends. The Brawler is probably the only one I would place as a "B" beer, and that is because I am not a major proponent for smoky beers. Still, in this battle of the beers, there is only one winner and it is undoubtedly the Philadelphia Pale Ale. Just an incredible specimen of beer craftsmanship. If you see this on a menu, order it immediately as it is one of the best beers I have tasted all year. One note of interest: Even if you buy it in a bottle, pour it in a glass. The open top releases all sorts of flavors upon your senses and it makes for a way-more-delectable experience.

Booze in 100 Words or Less - Double Header on The Bruery

Emmental considers himself a risk taker. After denying all senses of a four pack of Piraat, I decided to indeed try something completely different. Branch out. Folks, there's a reason why it's called bottom shelf and top shelf. I found these guys on the bottom shelf of the Devon Whole Foods today.

I snagged what I thought was going to be quite enjoyable brews by The Bruery who not only need a lesson in branding, web design, but ahem, brewing. The Orchard White...this tastes like I just licked dewey grass at midnight accompanied by a buffalo chip (but the chip could be from the menthol I had earlier). You're taking "earthy" to a whole new level. It's too grassy. If I wanted grass, well, I'd smoke it. The Black Orchard...eesh. Did you squeeze some disco floor sweat into this business? O-M-G, Bruery, O-M-G!

Here's a new texting abbreviation for you all - DNB. That's right Do Not Buy. BUNKO!