Eating, drinking, and being merry has left my brain full of holiday mush, so how about a quick list of highlights?
1. Crown pork roast with cranberry apple stuffing. This was the second of my mother-in-law's pork contributions made special for the birth of our savior, the first being a ham fresh from a pastured piggy. Both renditions of the other white meat were incredible.
2. Egg nog. I'm getting really good at making this, and electric mixers procured from wedding registries only increase my awesome power. I've used this recipe for three years running, but I cut down on the booze to please the crowd (and keep booze on hand for those who prefer a little nog with their booze).
3. Buffalo chicken dip. Put the word "buffalo" in front of pretty much anything and I'll eat it. This was no exception.
4. Wii Monopoly. Simply shake the Wii remote and pray you don't land on Boardwalk when there's a hotel there. The game does the rest.
"I received a beautiful tin of cookies from one Mrs. Fidel Gastro. Chocolate chip and peanut butter with Hershey's kisses. They are delicious. And I mean it. If I had a dollar for every time I said that, I would have one dollar."
Was actually Marathon Grill. In the four months I have been here, this was my first time patronizing the Philadelphia staple. The Cuban burger was a regrettable audible (I went in fully prepared to order chicken salad). The play on the Latin panini doesn't work with a hamburger patty in lieu of roast pork. D-tron's turkey burger with proscuitto was definitely the better option, and I was consumed with food envy.
Fidel: Hey D-tron, would you ever consider using your powers for evil? D-tron: I don't think I'm programmed that way. Should we hog and jog? Fidel: You mean dine and dash? D-tron: Whatever. I'll go to the bathroom first.
Hogging and jogging ensues.*
*Actual events may not have included hogging and jogging. D-tron, thanks for lunch.
Today I am eating a mushroom cheesesteak from a food cart over on 16th Street. I forget the name, but it's on the west side and close to Market. I know that "healthy cheesesteak" is an oxymoron, but this one has a "guiltless" taste to it (not a bad thing). It's almost as if I could eat three of them without filling up. Buen provecho.
Lunchtime stroll highlight: The junkie that stopped me to ask if "Holiday" has one or two "Ls" before he put sharpie to cardboard. Analog spell check. Brilliant.
I just got back to the office with some mediocre sesame chicken from the Chinese food truck on the east side of 18th Street between JFK and Market. The dude in the cubicle next to me is enjoying a lunchtime nap, snoring loudly, mouth agape (camera phones: what can't they capture?). Considering the current job market, it's probably a real stupid idea to play chicken pong* with him, but boy is it hard to resist. Buen provecho.
*Chicken chunks are the ping pong balls, his mouth is the cup. If I succeed in making the shot, hilarity ensues.
Amidst all the layoffs, party cancellations, and doorbuster stampedes, gift baskets manage to survive. The first of a hopeful many showed up at the office doorstep today, and so far I've eaten a half of a sweet sorpressata link, one eighth of an asiago cheese wheel, and a teeny tiny chocolate and hazelnut truffle. But, since nobody else seems to be interested, it's likely I'll take the whole thing down myself. Buen provecho.
Although they're dubbed with the same name as the bar food staple, the only thing Coyote Crossing's interpretation shares is the chicken part. The deep fryer is replaced with the slow cooker (or an oven set to low), Frank's Red Hot is replaced with god-knows-what-but-holy-shit-it's-delicious (my first guess would have to be a modified mole sauce), and the blue cheese is replaced with sour cream. The result is a tender treat that requires zero effort to wrest from a stubborn bone. As the chicken melts in your mouth, spice and sweet battle each other until you finally have to swallow. It's enough to make you forget about those other buffalo wings. Buen provecho.
Coyote Crossing is nestled among the blue collar townhomes of Conshohocken, PA. In addition to delicious ass wings, their margaritas and entrees do not disappoint. And if dancing's your thing, DJ Strike spins on Friday nights (but both times we have been there, the place was deserted).
I watched National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets last night (and you can punch me in the face for that). Despite Nic Cage's uncanny resemblance to a burn victim, I enjoyed it. Not so much for the shitty CG and lightning fast puzzle solving, but more for the fact that I knew a happy ending was inevitable, and with it a full update of the characters post-denouement. Way to go, Disney.
I'm 95% sure that the cart guy on 17th and Market put pastrami instead of bacon on my breakfast hoagie. I'm 100% sure that we're on to something here. There's a place in Salt Lake City called Crown Burger whose signature sandwich is a cheeseburger topped with pastrami. If you subscribe to the "everything's better with bacon" maxim (and if you actually put bacon on everything), I recommend spending a week trying this out with pastrami. It will change your life (or kill you). Buen provecho.
As a man on the move, sometimes life hands me lemons and I'm too busy to make lemonade. Having less than a moment to spare between pointless meetings that didn't require my presence, I grabbed a pretzel hot dog yesterday. Holy shit was it shitty. The dough wasn't fully cooked around the pretzel, so I alternated crunching and chewing a pretzel that literally tasted like cardboard (I took a bite of a cardboard box when I got home just to test the palate). As a young boy, I ate moldy bread thinking that the bluish spores were berries. I'd take the moldy bread any minute of any hour of any day over the pretzel hot dog that's probably still making its way through me now. Buen provecho.
Having Ma and Pa Gastro in town (stay tuned for a report on all the misadventures) gives just cause to eating Philadelphia's signature sandwich more than once, especially since they decided to stay for an entire week (yes, a whole week). Last night's choice was Chubby's, a place directly across the street from Delassandro's, who happen to be closed Sundays. Great fries, above average steak (the meat has a great seasoning), but the fake Cheez Whiz took it down a couple notches. Buen provecho.