Thursday, April 21, 2016

As If Brian Dwyer Wasn't Already Cool Enough

Photo: Brian's GoFundMe Page

I've never met Brian Dwyer, but he's the stuff of legend. And if you live in Philly and like to eat food (especially pizza), then the folklore isn't lost on you.

I didn't take notice when his social media became less social. There's an ebb and flow and boredom and excitement to it, so it's rare when I think to myself, "Shit, that dude hasn't posted for a bit." Kind of like this food blog. It's there when I need it, but otherwise it gathers digital dust.

And then a few months ago, he popped up on Instagram, being about as Brian Dwyer as Brian Dwyer can be. Fun, strange, a character actor who isn't actually acting. And also in the frame, his smiling boy who is not much younger than my son. Yesterday, I found out the reason for the hiatus, and God almighty, it was heavy.

Brian's boy has been battling cancer for the past two years, and as cancer does, it wrecked shop. As a fellow parent (and one who can barely deal with a skinned knee), this is the type of thing that gives you a fuckton of perspective, so it's great that Dwyer decided to tell Waldo's story. It's not a sad one, but it is definitely left of center (because, well, that's how Dwyer does).

The standard course of action when cancer shows up is chemotherapy. In essence, drugs. Expensive drugs. And then more drugs to combat the side effects of those drugs. On a baby who is not even two years old. When you think about it, it doesn't make sense, but since that's the way it's always been, then that's what everybody does with fingers crossed for a positive outcome. This is what Dwyer did for a time, but ultimately got fed up at watching his boy suffer and found another option.

Cannabis oil.

Yes, illegal drugs, but drugs just the same. Brian switched from chemo to cannabis on a recommendation from Waldo's uncle, and the results were nothing short of miraculous.

Throughout the whole ordeal, Dwyer has been filming, and yesterday he announced that he'll be releasing a documentary on Waldo and the benefits of "alternative" medicine. In order to finish editing it, he's raising money via GoFundMe. He also needs a new belt, or so he says (I think the belt looks fine). The additional proceeds (goal has already been met but you can still donate) will go toward Waldo's medical bills, so if you haven't done so yet, please consider dropping a few bucks in the virtual tip jar. After all, if it weren't for Brian, we wouldn't have a pizza museum. Buen provecho.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Why Did I Eat This? Wawa's Pulled Pork Burrito

This is probably the least appetizing picture of Mexican food I have ever seen.
Most people or places can't be everything to everyone, but Wawa will certainly never stop trying. The latest in their attempt to leverage trends is the burrito, whose launch happened right around the time of the E.coli outbreak at Chipotle. Coincedence? Perhaps, but I'll leave that to the 9/11 truthers and other people who wear tin foil hats. I am merely here to discuss the successes and failures of mass produced foodstuffs and whether you should give them a try. Is the Wawa burrito a success? Let's analyze a few key performance indicators to make the decision:

Heft: Wawa's value proposition, like the rest of the fast food world, wants to kill you. An abundance of food for little money makes everyone happy, including me. Whether that food is wholesome is another story. Once assembled, Wawa's burrito weighs in at over a pound, which isn't bad for five bucks. Grade: A-

Tortilla: The tortilla itself is passable, but Wawa uses the same industrial grade toaster they use for hoagies to warm up the assembled burrito. Mine was left in the dry heat of this contraption too long, leaving my tortilla as brittle as stale matzo. Grade: B-

Rice: As great of a cook that my mother was (and still is), her rice skills sucked. Rice was an afterthought after beans and green chile, and to this day, I still question its presence in a burrito. Wawa's rice was reminiscent of my mom's, a watery mess of bland overcooked mush. Grade: C

Beans: Beans are easy to fuck up, unless said beans are from a can. Like Wawa's. Grade: B+

Pulled Pork: I had the utmost confidence that this would be the worst part of the burrito. Wawa's meats are of the boil-in-bag variety. Surprisingly, despite the pork being underseasoned, it had a excellent texture and it was hard to tell whether it actually came from a boil-in-bag. Grade: A-

Overall Grade: B.

I'm just as surprised as you are, though I'll probably stick to hoagies moving forward. Buen provecho.

Friday, April 01, 2016

Stargazy: Does Pie and Mash Make You Run Faster?

No Fault in This Star

Nutrition is a big part of race training, or so I've heard. I'm not really one to follow any sort of food regimen while training (or in general, really), but I try not to be a total dumbass about it, either. That means things like no drinking before a workout, Alfredo sauce or otherwise (although I did have the best swim of my life after four Bud Lights at the Gowanus Yacht Club many years ago (remember that place?)), no heavy food, blah, blah, blah.

So it would seem that pie and mash from Stargazy might not be the best idea whilst training, but I was really in the mood for a pie today and they're 2.2 miles from my office so I went ahead and said, "Fuck it," fully prepared to run back to the office afterward with a belly full of delicious savory pie.

But instead of a painful 2 post-pie miles, I experienced an amplified runner's high. Turns out that pie and mash is actually great for mid-race nutrition. And if you don't believe me, check out these statistics:

The Run to and from Stargazy
My pace is boxed in yellow. I'm hovering around 9 minutes per mile. The first two miles were probably fueled by my excitement about eating pie and mash. Mile 3 was the slowest, but I hit a lot of red lights on the way back. Mile 4 was exhilarating. I felt like a fat middle-aged Prefontaine (this is a good thing) and could have probably run another 4 miles. Now take a look at my previous three runs:

Boring Ass Treadmill Run
Run Along Kelly Drive, I Think
Run Back to Manayunk
As you can see, today's pace was a full minute faster than my previous three runs. Ladies and gents, I have discovered the secret to running faster! Now all we need is a race belt that can fit a few pies in it. Any investors out there? Buen provecho.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pitchers Pub. Really? Yes, Really.

Whether or not you choose to run the 7 miles home from Center City to Manayunk, you should really do yourself the favor of stopping into Pitchers Pub between the hours of 6pm and 8pm.

I am not joking when I say that this is hands down the best happy hour in Philadelphia in terms of value for money. For $3 a pop, you can get at least 75% of what's on their draft list of 27, and it's a serious draft list. I stumbled into the place with my brother-in-law thinking I'd knock back a Miller High Life, and the next thing I know I'm on my fourth pint of Fat Head's Headhunter. Food was an afterthought, but also cheap and surprisingly delicious.

There's a chance you'll walk by this place and think, "Wow, what a shithole," or maybe, "But I'm not wearing a white hat and boat shoes!"

Keep these thoughts to yourself and just walk in. You'll be as surprised as I was. Buen provecho.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Belated Easter!

This is my Easter Ham and I think it's just lovely. That is all. Hope everyone had an Easter full of good news (He is risen) and great food (like the ham pictured above). Buen provecho.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why Did I Eat This? Buffalo Wild Wings

They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot. And a Red Robin. And a Buffalo Wild Wings. And some self-service frozen yogurt shop that will be closed in six to nine months. And a PetValu.

But most importantly, a Buffalo Wild Wings, or B Dubs, as it is lazily shortened (because fuck syllables). For some, this is much more of a paradise than the empty field full of snakes and broken bottles (and at one time, deer probably, who are now displaced and confused and inevitably roadkill) it replaced. For me, it was a step just below adequate until the diarrhea kicked in later that evening and lasted most of the day Sunday and I contemplated arson. I don't understand how we as humans choose convenience over intestinal discomfort more often than not. I suppose it's easy to choose the path of excess when it's paved with five thousand times the recommended daily allowance of sodium. Wash it all down with a beer to forget that you're in the suburbs, then yes, it is paradise; a temporary vacation where you're given a "Guest Experience Captain" who will bring you unlimited samples of B Dubs' signature sauces and/or anything on draft (may I please have 100 samples of Miller Lite?).

The disappointing truth is that while you're dying to go there (whether ironically or not), the reason you want do is because of their endless commercials and the fact that it's more socially acceptable than Hooters. Aside from the glut of TVs in the place, it's no different than any other chain.

At least that was my experience. Our server was bummed that we only ordered a sampler platter and a snack size order of bone-in wings (plus two kids' meals), which were undersauced and just a touch past cooked. Raw chicken texture isn't my favorite. The boneless wings that were included in the platter were all bread and also devoid of sauce. The nachos were soggy, topped with mealy tomatoes and a congealed off-yellow queso. The mozzarella sticks held up, but you've got much bigger problems if you're fucking up mozzarella sticks.

Although I wasn't happy paying $60 for 48 hours' worth of intestinal discomfort, there's a 100% chance I'll go again because I hate myself. Plus, I didn't get my nifty cardboard hat this time, so they owe me that (I may also try out the unlimited beer sample scheme). If you can avoid being swayed by their marketing and that stupid winged buffalo logo, you're a better person than I. If not, stick to mozzarella sticks if you get suckered into going. Buen provecho.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

March Madness: Five Burning Questions for Duke's Head Coach

One shining moment
1. Why is your last name pronounced "Shuh-shef-skee?" Did you just make that up?
2. Can't we just say, "Kurzizewsky?"
3. Can you tie a Half Windsor instead of that sloppy Four-in-Hand knot?
4. Seriously, what the fuck is up with that last name?
5. Are you a fan of pierogies?
6 (Bonus Question). Why does everybody hate Duke Basketball so much?