Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why Did I Eat This? Domino's Specialty Chicken

Contrary to what Eater reported, Domino's Specialty Chicken doesn't really qualify as "pizza with a breaded chicken crust," but it's as good a description as any for the pile of fried chicken chunks fused together with cheese and drizzled with assorted sauces.

Whatever the nomenclature, it's hard not to like this marriage of appetizer and main course. We tried the Classic Hot Buffalo and the Crispy Bacon and Tomato offerings, and both were great, albeit small. When I opened the box and saw that they were no bigger than a French bread pizza, I was disappointed, even though you get at least a dozen chunks of meat that actually have the taste and texture of chicken. This turned out to be a good thing, however, because it forced me to control my portions. Granted, I went to bed hungry, but at least I could look myself in the mirror when I woke up. Right now, you can get two for $5.99 each. I strongly recommend ordering six. Buen provecho.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Eat Like a Top Chef Judge: Nick Elmi's Laurel

As Seen on TV. Four of Elmi's Seven Course Tasting Menu

After 16 weeks spent writing, singing, and spoken word-ing about the guy (plus another 8 weeks until we could get a table), Mrs. Gastro and I finally got to taste Nicholas Elmi's food.

There are words, but I can't find them/use them without sounding like a starfucker. Besides, the critics have already set the tone (here, here, and here). Suffice to say that the meal exceeded expectations, especially the ricotta gnocchi, which rested dangerously atop that precarious foundation of overhype until I found myself licking the empty bowl and wishing for a real-life instant replay button to relive each bite. Our server told us that some people order a second bowl for dessert, but since we were there on a Friday, only the seven course tasting was available (some food for thought when making reservations).

What you need to know if you want to go:
1. According to Elmi himself (because he runs your food and says 'hi' and makes you feel all cool because he was on national TV and said "jawn" while on national TV and also won Top Chef), they're booked until August, but don't let that deter you...
2. Because Elmi also says, "Everyone in the dining room has been waiting for this table for weeks or months, or they're willing to take the 10:40 seating on Tuesday. This is constantly on my mind and I make sure it's also on the mind of my staff. What they're eating in September should be exactly what you're eating now."
3. You may be tempted to "jump-hug" Nick. Do your best to suppress this urge. The dining room is too small.
4. Laurel is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

I'm hoping we can get back again someday, but for now the gnocchi (and the rest of the meal) will live in my dreams. Buen provecho.

Laurel Restaurant
1617 East Passyunk
Phila, PA 19148
$200 including coffee and tip. We brought our own wine.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Fat Ham Isn't Open for Lunch Anymore

(Fidel Gastro eagerly walks up Walnut St and into The Fat Ham)

The Fat Ham Employees: We're not open for lunch.

(awkward stares you'd expect from the dudes behind the counter at Supreme)

Me: Really? Fuck.

(walks out of The Fat Ham. Has a shitty turkey melt at the "Irish" pub next door. Cries)

In case you didn't already know, The Fat Ham is no longer open for lunch as previously advertised. Buen Provecho.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Why Did I Eat This? Taco Bell's XXL Steak Taco

More of an XL, don't you think?
Today's trip to Taco Bell is brought to you by double-rationalization. Since I ran for a humblebraggingly long 45 minutes and I felt like writing (slow workday), I decided to treat myself, which was an XXL mistake. In the interest of your time, I'll keep this fairly short and to the point. Don't waste your money on the XXL Steak Taco. The slightly oversized shell falls apart at first crunch, and it's a bland sonofabitch (probably because I've spent the last year eating shells that are either made of assorted Doritos flavors or waffles). The steak wasn't actually too bad, though it was more brisket than steak, and there was nowhere near enough of it to warrant 'XXL' status. The avocado ranch sauce was more sour creamy than anything (not a bad thing), but the whole experience felt like I was eating a boring old taco supreme. Good thing I could chase it with a Fiery Doritos Locos taco. In retrospect, I probably should have just gotten two of those, which I could have done for the same price as one stupid slightly bigger taco.

In summary, we should just let Nate Robinson have them all, because we can't handle the XXL Steak Taco. Buen provecho.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

5 Reasons Why You Should Drink Cortados

Hub Bub Coffee Makes an Exceptional Cortado

If coffee has become more than part of your daily routine to wake up, then you've probably heard of a cortado, the espresso drink that lacks the shittily poured beer foaminess of a cappucino, but has enough steamed milk to remind you that you don't really like coffee unless it's full of cream and sugar. It is coffee's best example of a happy medium. If this is the first time you're hearing about this nifty new coffee drink, then please take this moment to read this dumbass list while you sip your Cookie Dough Iced Coffee, then find your nearest non-Starbucks and go order one.

1. The coffee-milk ratio is such that you can drink a cortado immediately.
2. When you order one, the barista knows that you know, and that part of you that wants so badly to be the cool kid inwardly smiles.
3. You get more than a single gulp of an espresso.
4. Matt Duckor drinks them when he's not drinking Negronis. Matt Duckor is cool as shit and you want his job. See #2 above.
5. Motherfuck a latte.

Lists are stupid. This one is no exception. Buen provecho.