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.