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?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Paying the Troll Toll: Andrew Zimmern

Celebrity is fucked. Even more fucked are the expectations of a celebrity's fan base. Of course you can't be all things to all people, but at a minimum, you should be allowed an opinion. Heck, your opinion is what got you in front of the camera in the first place, right? I'm specifically talking about Andrew Zimmern, who replaced his appetite for destruction with an appetite for increasingly strange foodstuffs and became a household name along the way. It's really hard not to like the guy, or at least his media persona. Follow him on Instagram and you'll see that despite enjoying opportunities that many of us won't, he's a humble ass dude and he's truly grateful for his lot in life.

Unfortunately, here's what else you'll see, especially when he uses his personal feed (yes, he's the one posting to Instagram (I think)) for things other than travel and food: his liberal aka tolerant leanings incite a vomitous stream of hatred, whether it's his position on addiction, gay marriage, or most recently, Donald Trump.

It's nothing out of the ordinary in a place where we can all hide in a digital stream of ones and zeroes, but for someone like Zimmern who just seems like a genuinely happy guy who wants other people to be just as happy, it's a shame that we as humans are terrible piles of garbage. Buen provecho.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Snap Judgment: Cleavers

After Spike Mendelsohn unceremoniously opened a Philly outpost of his Good Stuff Eatery in June of 2014 and then closed it a little over a year later, the lights are back on at 108 South 18th Street, this time in the form of a cheesesteak joint called Cleavers.

Although there wasn't much rework needed in the wake of Good Stuff Eatery's gut renovation of the space, the owners were smart enough to repaint and re-wallpaper all of the nonsense left behind by Spike's branding team. Unfortunately, they overcompensated a bit, plastering their namesake all over everything, including the salt and pepper shakers. They even have an actual brand they use to emboss their cheesesteak rolls (this is actually pretty cool but doesn't work as well as it should).

After my first bite, the reason for all this pomp and circumstance became dreadfully apparent.

This was a bad cheesesteak.

It was Upper mezzanine Aramark concession stand bad. Mall food court in Salt Lake City bad. Random country in the European Union trying to make a buck by leveraging Americana bad. Send it into Mikey Il's "This is Not a Cheesesteak" tumblr bad.

The seeded roll was so dense that I felt like a dog tearing at a chew toy in an attempt to extract the plastic squeaker with every bite. Each time, I lost a bit more of the underseasoned meat as it fell to the plate along with glob after glob of cheez whiz (at least they're using actual cheez whiz) until I was eating nothing but (bad) roll. The fries, of the crisscut variety, were also lacking in the salt department and soggy. In what seemed to be somewhat of a social experiment, there was one bottle of ketchup for the entire dining room (I hate ketchup so this didn't really affect me plus this is kind of petty because they just opened a week ago). If it actually were, I'm happy to report that humans, at least when fed, are generally friendly and willing to share their precious ketchup.

This "cowmap" is pretty fresh tho.
I'm not sure how (or if) they'll fix the bread situation, but I'm sure I'll give the place another shot in the near future. Hopefully by the time I go back, they'll have fixed the rest of the kinks as well, provided they don't shutter first. Buen provecho.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

A Quick Note on Rare India Pale Ales

For the first time since I rationalized my alcoholism by getting into fancy beers five years ago (and I swear I told that joke before stupid Jimmy Fallon did), I left work early to hunt the rare beer beast known as Pliny the Younger. It helped that Bru--who had a whole Leap Day thing going on with a list of other hoppy-as-fuck limited releases like Hopslam and Nugget Nectar--wasn't tapping their PTY until 4pm (most places will pull the trigger around 11am, which takes a bit more planning).

When I got there (probably 3:55pm), the line was deep, but it didn't look like 100-people deep (there's only so much to go around, like Bitcoin). I queued up, and just before I got to the front, like six people before the front, the well had run dry.

Or did it?

Fortunately for me and the rest of the stragglers who didn't leave work early enough, the guy at the door said that the dregs of the keg can usually kick out a few more pours before actually kicking, so he urged us to hang tight. I had given up at this point, but figured I'd wait since I had nothing better to do, and after about fifteen minutes, he came back out with enough tickets for the last of us. I would finally get to taste five years' worth of hype.

And sadly (but not surprisingly), the hype wasn't justified. Make no mistake, Pliny the Younger is good. Would I say it's 100-on-the-Beer-Advocate-Scale good? Probably not. A convincing 97/98, but for all its rarity, I think I'd rather have a Hopslam, or even a Firestone Walker Double Jack. I'm glad I got to try it, but I think the fact of the matter is this: we now live in a world where pours like Pliny are increasingly common and more accessible than ever. And if big beer continues to gobble up little beer at the pace they're currently going, not only will these high octane hop hippos be readily available, they'll probably be cheap enough to keep in the fridge on the reg. Let's just pray that consistency remains as they scale upward in pursuit of profits. Buen provecho.