Tuesday, January 31, 2012

PHOTO OF THE WEEK - New Year's Part II - Chinatown, Philadelphia

I ventured downtown with the camera club to shoot the festivities at 11 a.m. this past Sunday getting some great shots. Alas, my card got corrupted. This is a great experience for the family and the photographer here captured by Joseph Kaczmarek. Grabbed a banging wonton soup at Wong Wong on the corner of Race and 10th to keep warm. This party looks like it went on well into the evening and the night time certainly offers more character to the sizzling firecrackers and colorful dragons. Will be bringing a backup card and earplugs next year much later in the day.
Photo credit to Joseph Kaczmarek (©2012), see more photos at  http://www.joekaczmarek.blogspot.com/


The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Weyerbacher Winter Ale

Weyerbacher Winter Ale
While it probably helped that this was the first thing that touched my lips after two hours of full-court basketball, I think I would have enjoyed this beer no matter the conditions. It's supremely malted with a smoky character. Traces of cherry jumped out at first sip.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Southern Tier Pale Ale

Southern Tier Pale Ale
From the makers of one of the worst beers I have ever tasted, the vomalicious Pumking, a beer that a friend once accurately described as a "Yankee Candle in a glass," comes a subtly hopped pale ale of some distinction. Wonderful golden color, pungent floral scent, and crisp finish.

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Samuel Adams Tasman Red IPA

Samuel Adams Tasman Red IPA
Samuel Adams
is tough to peg. Big-box brewery? The sizeable commercial budget suggests they are. High-profile microbrewery? Maybe. Their collection of different varieties says so. As for this small-batch offering, it satisfies. Not only picking up strong hop flavor, but the rich smokiness of an exceptional brown.

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less: Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

Easy-drinking stout, but lacks the depth of other Dogfish Head selections. Color is black with a tiny tan head. Taste is roasted coffee with a touch of vanilla. Would have expected it to be a bit more bitter with the chicory.


The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: He'Brew Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale

He'Brew Genesis Dry Hopped Session Ale
I've researched as thoroughly as I'm prepared to do, and I'm still not sure where this beer comes from. From website: "Born & Based in San Francisco." Yet "Brewed & Bottled in New York." OoooooooK. Anyway, offers tremendous balance of malt and hops. Complex flavor for session beer.

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale

Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale
Yesterday, we went to one of our favorite local watering holes and ended up waiting an inexplicable 15 minutes before getting a server. It meant we would only have time for one beer and unfortunately I chose this one. Promised taste of caramel, chocolate, maple syrup, and more. Delivered nothing.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Slightly Aimless Rant about...My NBA Fantasy Team

For the longest time, I said I would never participate in this fantasy sports phenomenon. I don't know, man! I just thought it was silly. Banking on guys 15 years your junior to score 30 points so you could have bragging rights on your homies for something you had nothing to do with. Taking time away from your family so you can do research on what member of the Toronto Raptors was sitting out a game, opening up time for someone you could pick up on the sly. Praying for a guy to shoot a three up 30 points with five seconds left in the game so you could possibly get a couple more points on that week's opponent, the arrogant jackarse who you were just dying to annihilate and then denigrate via the trash-talk boards. Nah, it just wasn't for me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Twenty Bold Predictions on the 2011 Oscars*

1) The Artist will shock absolutely no one by winning Best Picture. It’s a silent movie and there are a lot of old heads in the Academy who will feel really good about themselves by carrying it to a Best Picture Oscar.
2) There will be a shocker in the Best Actor category. George Clooney already has an Oscar and people will not want to vote for the French guy who didn’t do any talking (Jean Dujardin). The vote will be split between Gary Oldman for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Brad Pitt for Moneyball. This leaves the winner as Demian Bichir, star of the little-seen Bicycle Thieves rip-off A Better Life.

Tale of the Pie: SliCE (Rittenhouse Square)

When we went to Rittenhouse Square's economically named SliCEthe other day, we forgot our notepad. So I took notes via texts to my wife's phone. I figured I would then just look at the sent messages and I could recount the experience that way. One problem: I then proceeded to lose my phone that night. Being that I did not want to monopolize my wife's phone for a significant stretch, I was kind of stuck. Five days after the experience, the memory is starting to fade slightly so I had to snatch Spicy's mobile. I will now write a review of the pie, only rather than using the notes as the backbone of the review, I will type the texts in their entirety and then try to translate them as best as possible as extinguished memories hopefully return.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Stone Pale Ale

Stone Pale Ale
I think I've been spoiled by Stone Brewing Company. Every time I crack their beer open, I expect to be floored. This one? I can pick up somewhat of a scent. It's easy to drink. Nothing offends. But the hops are too subtle. Slightly bland. Sorry for the blasphemy.

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Avery Karma Belgian-Style Pale Ale

Avery Karma Belgian-Style Pale Ale
Very crisp, complex offering from Boulder, Colorado brewer. Features very decent amount of Belgian spicing and a copious taste of coriander and orange. Also a plus? Its 5.4 percent ABV leaves it eligible for prolonged consumption without extreme inebriation. Should be said: This company does great label art.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Zake's Cafe: Cozy Fort Washington BYOB offers flavorful options for rich and lighter fare alike

Quaint and unassuming, Zake's Cafe was the perfect choice for a casual night out with my mom, sister and brother's girlfriend. As part of the Ambler-area restaurant week, we received an appetizer, entree and dessert sampler, along with a complementary glass of wine for only $25. This is absolutely a steal, considering that the entrees offered are typically $16-24.

Tables are definitely packed-in at this charming house-style BYOB, but I didn't feel as though we were too close to any of the other diners or struggling to hear each other. Luckily, there was sufficient surrounding noise that I don't believe anyone could overhear my sister and I sharing a story about the giant, whoopee cushion-esque fart that occurred during our last Pilates class.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Blue Point Brewing Company Toasted Lager

Blue Point Brewing Company Toasted Lager
Liking the feel of this beer. Most lagers are overly simplistic. While this is not as flavorful as the Dortmunder Gold that I had recently, it does have a great deal of complexity. There's a rustic taste, but it isn't without fruity contrast. Tasting something that resembles blueberry.

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Stone Levitation Ale

Stone Levitation Ale
Not the best beer I've had from perhaps California's most prestigious brewery. The American amber's a little light and yet it has a strong and lasting aftertaste. Honestly though, I was just shocked to realize post-purchase that it's just 4.4 ABV. Man! That's Miller Lite territory, right?

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Hitachino Nest XH

Hitachino Nest XH
Was getting a Hitachino Commemorative Ale for father-in-law at Capone's when some stoner dude told me I should try XH. Said it was "ten times better." It's a sour beer with a fruity aroma. Father-in-law hated it. I thought it was decent. Definitely an acquired taste.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA
Bought this six-pack when I had a cold. When drinking it and not catching much distinctive flavor, figured it was because my sinuses were full of snot. Now the Kleenex and nasal drip has done its job. Sense of taste has returned. Eh. Still not getting much. Don't like.

Looking Back at 2011: The Top 20 Albums of the Year (Part 2)

10. Biophilia - BjorkThere's a lot of white noise that surrounds an album release by Icelandic songstress Bjork these days. Coming along with this one was a different iPad app for every song. There was chatter about the different instruments she utilized for the making of the album, including a gamelaste, a pipe organ that was played through pushing buttons on the aforementioned iPad, and, oh yeah, a mutha flippin' Tesla coil. There were the concerts, in which she rocks a wig that looks like a massive twist of cotton candy and, to my eyes at least, struggles with the unpredictability of using a Tesla coil as one of the main instruments for several of your songs. Here is the thing though: if you listen to the album, none of this stuff matters. It's there in the dancing chimes and wailing drum-and-bass that is "Crystalline." It's there in the chaotically playful sound experiment, "Hollow," and the more delicate Vespertine throwback "Virus." It's there in the organ-and-percussion blast of rousing beatfest "Mutual Core." And always there is that voice, the one that in album closer "Solstice" is proven to be perhaps the least innovative instrument on the album, but also the most valuable.

Tale of the Pie: Via Roma Pizzeria

I could sum up Via Roma's pizza in one word: average. There is nothing exhilarating about this pie, but there also aren't any elements that are particularly offensive.
We ordered a large pepperoni and side of wings (with extra hot sauce) to go. As we're finding with most takeout orders these days, the quoted completion time was too long and the pie was already done when we picked it up, resulting in a cold pizza by the time we got it home. The texture of the crust was decent, thin enough for the most part, but perhaps a bit too soft in certain spots. The sauce was of the watery tomato variety, not especially flavorful and definitely not generously applied. The amount of cheese was just right, as was the gooey texture, but again, it was nothing that would send your taste buds popping. The only part of the pizza that did have much taste was the pepperoni, with a bit of a tangy kick.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Looking Back at 2011: The Top 20 Albums of the Year (Part 1)

20. The Hunter - Mastodon
This one was part of a two-horse race to see which CD would finish off the list. It was either this or Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay. It was brute force vs. expert songcraft. It was beefy vocals vs. soaring falsettos. It was guitar blitzkrieg vs. swirling synth artistry. While it really was a tough call, I always believe that, in the end, you have to go with the album that rocks your face off. And with crushers like "Black Tongue," "Curl of the Burl," and "Stargasm," the fifth album by the Atlanta rock quartet does just that.

19. Born This Way - Lady Gaga
Did this album have its flaws? Absolutely. Tops upon the list would most likely be "You and I," a lousy wannabe country song that probably should have been dropped from the album after the musicians started playing the first notes in rehearsals. However, it is also filled with songs that seek to push pop music forward, often while reaching shamelessly back into the past. Examples include the Giorgio Moroder-cribbing "Marry the Night" and the title track, which of course bares more than a passing resemblance to a major song by one of the fashion icon's most obvious inspirations.

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less: Bell's Cherry Stout

A rich yet sweet stout with a tart, almost sour cherry finish. Quite a unique flavor, mixing cherry, chocolate, vanilla, and the malts of a porter. A tad light for a stout. While I enjoyed it, I probably wouldn't order more than one in a single night.



The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 13, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Russian River Blind Pig IPA

Russian River Blind Pig IPA
An interesting brewery. They've got this Pliny the Elder, which I think you need to own a license or something to be able to sell. I've seen 12-ouncers of their Damnation selling for, like, $10 at Wegman's. This meets the hype. Crisp, yet a heavy hitter. Smells of raspberry.

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale

Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale
When I first heard of this beer, I thought it would be interesting to try a dark beer from Lagunitas, masters of extremely hoppy pale beverages. So imagine my surprise when what I got was another exquisitely brewed, hop-filled, golden IPA. Hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale
Don't get me wrong: I actually liked this beer from the Maryland brewers and Ralph Steadman aficionados. It has interesting notes of cherry, caramel, chocolate, and more. However, it is so malty, it almost seems like more of an Oktoberfest. I'm not complaining though.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Looking Back at 2011: Ten Shows I Should Have Watched When I Was Watching Dexter

The Showtime tentpole program, Dexter, has been a favorite for a long time. But this year was the second year in a row in which it seemed to backslide horribly. The villain was horrendous, the sister/adopted brother love story icky, the side characters vapid, and the plot lines increasingly meandering. Even Michael C. Hall, who I imagine could be interesting while starring as a guy waiting for a bus to take him to work, seemed to suffer. His performance sometimes felt listless and disinterested. It is actually amazing to think that I watched all 12 hours of this program while letting numerous other shows stand on the sidelines unwatched. So here are ten shows I probably should have checked out before the one about the friendly serial killer.

10. Hell on Wheels (AMC)
I watched a couple episodes, but maybe if I had watched the whole thing I would be able to stop whining about HBO dropping Deadwood five years ago. Doubt it though.

9. Modern Family (ABC)
Uh…I don’t know. Everyone is always talking about how good it is. Plus, there’s Sofia Vergara.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Victory Brewing Company Winter Haiku Contest

Looking for a quick diversion during the workday? Write a haiku that mentions Victory or any of its beers and submit it for a chance to win $50 and assorted Victory goodies.

Just send your poem, along with your name, age, phone number, mailing address and T-shirt size to inspired@victorybeer.com by Monday, Jan. 23.

Find more details about the contest at http://victorybeer.com/inspired/.

How do you write a haiku?  With only 17 syllables, in three lines of 5, 7 and 5 respectively. Here's a sample:

Required reading
for pizza and beer lovers
The Pizza Project

You get the point. Good luck!


The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 9, 2012

Even Thai Food Novices Can Be Dazzled by Pho Thai Nam

The other night, we were coming home from the Harrisburg Farm Show when the in-laws suggested that we go out for "Chinese." Why is Chinese in quotes? Because, and I suspect this was done on purpose due to my own culinary fears, when we actually showed up at the restaurant, it was not Chinese at all. It was Thai/Vietnamese. To be a little more exact, it was Pho Thai Nam, a restaurant in East Norriton, Pa. I have to say, I was none too pleased when we showed up at the spot and I realized what was going on. However, I quickly realized what a wonderful hidden jewel this place was, and how much I had been missing by avoiding Thai food all these years.

First of all, I had a great time just sitting in the restaurant. I found the decor to be quite pleasing with bold colors, overhead lamps that were shaped like flowers, and some tables being formed in the way of bamboo gazebos. Was it a little kitschy to have Thai television programs playing on a TV screen above the wait station? Perhaps. But I bought in, although I think that could also be due to the incredibly friendly service we got from our main server and another gentleman who looked to be a manager.

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Great Lakes Brewing Company Dortmunder Gold

Great Lakes Brewing Company Dortmunder Gold
Beers like to say they have won gold medals. I saw a commercial once where Miller Lite said they'd won a gold medal. For what? No clue. Dortmunder Gold says it won a gold medal at the World Beer Championships. They deserve it. One of the best lagers ever.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Williamsburg Alewerks Drake Tail IPA

Williamsburg Alewerks Drake Tail IPA
When I picked this up, I thought I was getting beer from a hip, new brewery in the "artist's section" of Brooklyn, NY. Turns out that it's from another Williamsburg, the one where the colonials came from in Virginia. Tasting some citrus and definite abundant hops. Good, not great.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale

Founders Dry Hopped Pale Ale
Probably a little less than I would expect from Founders - the makers of Centennial IPA, one of the best non-California IPAs around. There's a bit of a floral feel, but it's low in hop flavor. Hate to use the word "watered-down," but there you have it.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK - Night Fisherman

Night Fisherman by Arte Wolfe was a great find this week after a camera club member shared the Website www.luminous-landscape.com with the group. It's a great resource for the novice and pro photog alike. See the progression of Arte's shoot here  >> 

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Friday, January 6, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Stone Cali-Belgique IPA

Stone Cali-Belgique IPA
Effective combination of flavors expected from an IPA and a Belgian-style. Or...could make an argument that the effort to combine the two left the beer someplace in the middle, not reaching the peaks you anticipate from a great brewer's IPA or Belgian. Both thoughts would be fair.

Ten Quick Thoughts on...Crazy, Stupid, Love.

1. For the most part, this is a quality relationship comedy. The first 90 minutes (or so) of its two-hour running time is witty and fun, but it kind of falls off the wheels in the final half-hour and gets ridiculously cheesy in parts. The ending seeks to tie up way too many bows, and it just doesn't work.

2. I've liked Ryan Gosling in stuff he's done before (Blue Valentine jumps quickly to mind) and after seeing his performance as a highly skilled lothario in this one I am excited to see some of the other movies he put out this year, such as The Ides of March and Drive. The guy just seems like the consummate movie star. He is equally efficient in comedy and drama, and he simply exudes charm. He strikes me as the type of guy who has the potential to become as huge as a George Clooney or a Brad Pitt. I simply wonder if he will be willing to do the sort of schlock that they had to do early in their careers before they gained the ability to hand-pick their scripts and directors (although he may already be there). For examples of Clooney and Pitt schlock, see One Fine Day and Meet Joe Black, respectively.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Rogue Yellow Snow IPA

Rogue Yellow Snow IPA
For an IPA from one of America's most renowned breweries, this was a disappointment. Falls short in hops department. Almost resembles a pilsner. If you think of it that way, it is enjoyable enough. But that wasn't the stated goal. And it sure wasn't worth the $13 I paid.

The Recipe Files: Baked Kale Chips

If one of your new year's resolutions is to lose weight and/or eat healthier (which is one of mine every single year), kale chips can be a great low calorie alternative to potato chips as a side for pizza. They are very simple to make and taste surprisingly much better than they sound.

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt or seasoning of your choice (I used Penzeys BBQ 3000)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Frazzled, flustered, but quite a fine pie: Bake 425

Have you ever called a restaurant/eatery to place an order and been asked to call back because they were too busy? I certainly had not ... until we called Bake 425 last week to order a pie. Frazzled, frenzied, flustered ... I'm not sure which one best describes the employee we encountered there. After putting me on hold, he returned to the line with a million huffs and puffs and abruptly asked if I could call back in five minutes because he was just too busy at the moment. Normally, I would have been put off and selected a different establishment for my business, but I had been wanting to try Bake 425 for a while and on this day, we actually had the time to stop there (as it's a bit out of our way) on the way home from an outing to Strasburg with the nibble.

Bake 425 is an interesting concept from the owners of local Peace-A-Pizza chain: similar to a Mom's Bake at Home, but with completely organic, seasonal ingredients. After my five-minute wait, I called back and ordered a large Pepperoni. The guy was still quite flustered and quoted me a time of 35 minutes, which is a bit shocking for a pie that isn't even getting baked. But we headed over and decided to go inside after about 20 minutes.

In all fairness, Frazzled Freddy was the only employee there, and I do remember, from my many years is restaurant/food service, that being short-staffed really sucks, especially if you are trying to do a good job. But there was only one other customer in the store and the phone didn't seem to be ringing off the hook, so I'm not exactly sure why he was so overwhelmed. He did apologize for the delay and offered us extra pepperoni to compensate. Saucy naturally asked him to throw some extra sauce on there as well. After a few more minutes in the bright, modern store, Fred managed to get us our pie before the nibble re-colored the waiting bench with the crayons they luckily had out for customers.

After only two minutes in the oven, there was an unbelievable aroma emanating from the pie. I do believe the baking instructions need a bit of a tweak though, because the center of the pie was still not fully cooked after 15 minutes (the max time on the instructions). Perhaps this was partly due to the extra sauce. But since the sauce was highlight of the pie, I sure am glad we had extra.

It was of the thick, savory variety, with a strong tomato taste and just the right amount of sweetness (not as sweet as the Peace-A-Pizza sauce, for those of you familiar with it). The cheese was flavorful enough to stand out from the other ingredients, and just the right amount. The pepperoni was good, but nothing to write home about and paled in comparison to your typical uncured pepperoni flavor (Newman's and Whole Foods' come to mind).

Now the crust. The texture was decent - crispy yet still foldable. But the taste, eh. A bit Ritz cracker-esque when tasted solo. Luckily, the pie was so jammed with toppings that there wasn't even much of a naked edge.

All-in-all, we thoroughly enjoyed the pie and will probably try Bake 425 again. The nibble even asked for seconds, which is a rarity these days, since there are so many more important things to do than sitting at a dinner table.

If you decide to give it a go, be sure to look for a Groupon Now deal - we saved $5, bringing our total to a little over $8.

Bake 425
1012 West Lancaster Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA  19010



The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Looking Back at 2011: The Ten Best Pizzas We Ate

10. Paradise Pizza
This place might want to think about delivering. If they did, I'm sure we would be eating it a lot more often than we do.

9. Tacconelli's Pizzeria
These guys make a terrific pie for sure. But it is simply impossible to avoid knocking off points for their pretentious "reserve your dough" bullshizz and service that often acts like they are doing you a favor by taking your order.

8. Perrotto's Pizza
We only ordered this pie so we could write jokes about how they share a space with The Valley Forge Beef & Ale, a sort of last bastion for reprobates that still allows smoking within its walls. We expected the pizza to taste like a carton of Marlboro's, in other words. It is actually legit. Just walk in the back entrance if you don't want to smell like a smoke stack on the way out.

7. Mack & Manco Pizza Too
The Jersey Shore (region, not show) staple knows a good sauce-to-mozzarella ratio when they see it. The fact that you can down a slice under the summer sun while listening to the seagulls squawk? That helps too. Providing the birds don't organize a sudden divebomb in search of nourishment.

6. Marzano's Pizza and Steaks
How good was this pizza? We drove out to Exton only to realize that the place had no seats. No matter. We sat at a counter and ate the whole pie with a toddler balancing tenuously in our laps. Well worth it.

5. Olce Pizza Grille
We braved a thunderstorm to head out to this Skippack spot that's nestled into an area that looks like a collection of country stores. The pizza was flavorful, foldable, and expertly prepared. Served by one of the friendliest waitresses in the history of the food service industry.

4. Mack's Pizza
To think: We were blowing out of Wildwood after a wonderful family vacation when we decided on a lark to delay our departure and grab a pie at this Boardwalk standout. Always a wonderful idea. The slices were huge, greasy, saucy, and oozing with cheese. Everything you want in a Jersey shore slice.

3. Pepperoncini Restaurant & Bar
On a rare date night, the wife and I decided to go to this place in Conshohocken. We only went because we had some sort of coupon. Being that it was slightly fancy inside, I didn't even know they served pizza. They did. We bought it. And didn't regret the choice.

2. Rubirosa
An absolutely splendid version of New York pizza! Second-best sauce I had all year. Tomatoes tasted like they were just plucked off the vine. Thing was so good Saucy Jr. sat still for longer than he has in the last six months. That is about three minutes and 22 seconds, but still.

1. Charlie's Pizzeria
This place does not look like it is going to make you the best pizza you will taste all year. It's hot as hell in there. Ambience is equivalent to your average truck stop bathroom. There are fridges lining the walls and most of the space is taken up with Miller Lite, Coors Light, MGD 40s, Budweiser, etc. One would think a place selling beer for people with no taste would offer up a pie with the same qualities. Um...no. This pie was astounding. A tremendous tomato sauce is applied in abundant amounts whether you are ordering the red-top or the conventional. The cheese tastes spectacular with just the right amount of ooze. A complexly textured crust serves as the perfect base. If you should choose to get a topping (and you should), the pepperoni is spicy and distinct, supplying the customer with a taste that contrasts wonderfully with the other main ingredients. Let's be honest: The folks behind the counter? Yeah, they look like some serious characters. But when it comes to making pizza, they might as well be celebrity chefs.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Perry's Pizza and Pasta Proffers Pathetic, Pitiful Pie

Only a fool would go to a mall food court looking for culinary satisfaction. However, even with that accepted, the product offered up by Perry’s Pizza & Pasta at the King of Prussia Mall was a flagrant fail.

We went to the collection of shopping emporiums one night to get some final Christmas shopping done when the entire family seemed to get tremendously hungry at the same time. After studying our options, we narrowed it down to some burgers from Five Guys or a few slices from the aforementioned pizza shop. I am still kicking myself for not going for ground beef on a bun.

Looking Back at 2011: The Beers We Enjoyed Most (Haiku-Style)

10. Hitachino Nest White Ale
Intriguingly crisp.
Interesting spiced finish.
And world's best label.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Philadelphia Brewing Company Newbold IPA

Philadelphia Brewing Company Newbold IPA
Not going to say that this is one of the best IPAs I’ve had recently. That would be deceitful. Still, it's a worthy offering from a brewer in the heart of Philadelphia. Abundant hop flavor jumps out. What it’s missing is another flavor to make the main ingredient pop.

The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less: Pinnacle Cake Vodka

A little too sweet for an everyday vodka, but worked perfectly to ring in the new year. Two parts Pinnacle Cake, one part Trader Joe's limeade, serve over ice. Like a key lime pie in a glass. Switch the proportions if you don't exactly like the taste of vodka (what I had to do for Saucy).



The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Left Hand Sawtooth Ale

Left Hand Sawtooth Ale
Consumed on New Year's Eve. That's a good thing. It was able to qualify as one of the worst beers I had in 2011. Advertised as an English-style extra special bitter, it offered nothing in the area of flavor. Thought it was either skunked or flat. Probably just sucked.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Booze ... in 50 Words or Less: Stoli Chocolat Razberi

Hold the dessert - I'll take a Stoli Chocolat Razberi. Sweet aromas conjure images of fresh raspberries covered in warm chocolate and the taste does not disappoint. Delectable, but not overly sweet. The finish is just strong enough to remind you that you are, in fact, drinking vodka.



The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Deal Alert: Gianfranco Pizza Rustica

Grab your first pie of 2012 with today's LivingSocial deal from Gianfranco Pizza Rustica: For $10, get $20 to spend on a saucy taste of the pizza voted Best of Philly Pizza by Philadelphia Magazine for seven years running. Head to their South Philly, Olde City, or Center City locations for takeout only.

Get the deal >>


The Pizza Project
Just a nibble: http://twitter.com/ThePizzaProject
Single slice: http://www.facebook.com/ThePizzaProject
The full pie: http://thepizzaproject.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Booze...in 50 Words or Less: Green Flash Brewing Company Trippel Ale

Green Flash Brewing Company Trippel Ale
Was starting to wonder if the San Diego-based brewer made anything other than their West Coast IPA, which I've enjoyed on several occasions. When I saw this 22-ouncer, I passed up Stone's Cali-Belgique to give it a try. It's pretty respectable. Hope I made right decision.

Great Beer, Good Food, the Occasional Nude Woman Make Varga Bar a Spot Worth Visiting

When the wife and I decided to go to Center City's Varga Bar this weekend when we were in town to go to The Nutcracker, I got very excited. This is because I had heard that the establishment's walls were decked with posters and photographs of nude women. However, in retrospect, I am thinking that I should have been more jacked up for the place's classy, carefully selected beer list and better-than-expected food options.

Being that our visit took place on New Year's Eve afternoon, there were not a ton of customers crowding the bar. This allowed us to get two seats at the counter, which was great because our bartender - we did not get his name, but he was a stocky fellow with shaved head and healthy beard - was a joy to deal with. He was friendly, attentive, and full of suggestions, if asked. The first drink I had was called Beast of Burden. It was a beer cocktail consisting of Voodoo Pilzilla, vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. It was tremendously enjoyable with the ingredients mixing almost flawlessly. The ginger beer was probably the dominant element and the vodka was not incredibly noticeable until the final swill. This is a good thing for me as I am not a major fan of hard liquor. Extra points go out to the idea of serving the libation in a mason jar. There was something extremely manly about drinking a beer out of a container that might usually be used to hold strawberry preserves or something. The wife went with a beer that I was quite excited to see on the menu: Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale. However, I must report that she was not a major fan and when I partook in a sip, I could see why. It was advertised as a Belgian Strong Ale, and yet it was quite light on heft. No way would I have thought Stone would strike out on this beer, but it simply was not up to their usual standards.