it's okay to play with your food

Saturday, May 30, 2009

RIP Merl's

Merl's South Philly Breakfast Spot, only recently featured in both kitchenplay and City Paper, is now closed. The exact circumstances are unclear, something about a new building owner, but the final result came swiftly and decisively. Merl's is no more.

Feldie and I heard rumors of a possible closing, so we went there for breakfast (and information gathering) this morning. Instead of being greeted by pencil drawings of the Obama family and a busy breakfast counter, we found shuttered windows and chairs for sale.

The possibility still exists that Merl will find another place to cook up her amazing pancakes and hash browns, but nothing is definite. If you are around 16th and Dickinson now, Merl and company are still there, tying up loose ends. Stop by and say thanks.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Un sogno di Milano

A friend's current gig in Milan has brought back memories of my month-long stint there a couple years ago. I was studying Italian and observing rehearsals of a new opera at La Scala. I had a horrible time. A man tried to mug me in the supermarket, I was terribly lonely and my Italian school was a bust. That said, three things made it worthwhile: the time spent watching rehearsals, hanging out with my former voice teacher, and eating.

In my "food bank," what an ex-boyfriend lovingly called my ability for remembering good meals, a few things stick out... the gelato at Chocolat, a simple pasta in marinara sauce at a spot just a few steps from La Scala, the osso bucco at Trattoria Milanese and a mini torta della nonna from a corner bakery on the street where I was staying.

This torta della nonna was my dinner on more than one occasion. With sugar crystals sprinkled amongst roasted pine nuts atop a thick, not-too-sweet cream filling, I understood what it meant to fall in love in Italy. It's been on my mind a lot lately (as has that pasta... and the pistachio gelato...), so I looked up a recipe for it online. Turns out that the filling can be a sweet cream or ricotta cream filling. The recipe below seems most like the one I fell for in Milan. I haven't actually tried it out yet, but when I do, I'll let you know.

Torta della Nonna (Grandmother's Cake)
Photo by Fabrizio Ferri

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (7 ounces), softened
2 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
Pastry cream
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
Two 2-by-1-inch strips of lemon zest
5 large egg yolks
1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Toasted pine nuts and fresh berries, for serving

Make the pastry: In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt. Add the butter in clumps and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the whole eggs and egg yolks and pulse a few times, until the dough just comes together. Turn the pastry dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together. Divide the pastry dough into 2 pieces, 1 slightly smaller than the other. Pat the pastry dough into disks, wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the pastry cream: Set a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk with 1/4 cup of the sugar, the vanilla bean and vanilla seeds and the lemon zest until the mixture is hot to the touch. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until blended. Stir in the flour until incorporated. Whisk in the hot milk in a thin stream.

Pour the pastry cream mixture back into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until thick and bubbling, about 2 minutes. Immediately strain the pastry cream into the bowl, scraping the strainer with a rubber spatula. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate until chilled, 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the larger disk of pastry to an 1/8-inch-thick round. Ease the pastry into the tart pan, pressing the dough into the corners. Don’t trim the overhang.
Spread the chilled pastry cream in the tart shell in an even layer. Roll out the remaining pastry disk to an 1/8-inch-thick round and set it over the tart; gently press out any air bubbles. Carefully roll the rolling pin over the tart pan rim to cut off the overhanging dough. Gently press the edge together to seal the tart.

Bake the tart in the lower third of the oven for about 40 minutes, rotating the tart pans halfway through baking, until the crust is golden brown. Let the tart cool completely in the tart pan. Unmold the tart and transfer it to a large serving plate. Sprinkle the tart with pine nuts, cut into wedges and serve with berries.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cantina Turns 3!

Cantina los Caballitos, a kitchenplay favorite, is turning three years old today! While three is young in human time, it's basically adolescence for a restaurant. Think of it as Cantina's Quinceanera!

So head over for late night happy hour specials, DJs Jem and Tim, and other games and prizes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Root of the Matter

E at Foodaphilia and The Sugar has been something of a food blog mentor to me. She started following kitchenplay earlier this year and introduced me to the Philly food blog community. She helped me get set up on Food Buzz and has offered lots of great comments on kitchenplay posts. Plus, I try to score as many baking tips from her as I can!

Not surprisingly, when she posted on Facebook that she was seeking company for a new liquor tasting, I jumped at the chance. It was for something called Root. A cursory online search informed me that it was a "new American spirit," produced by the folks at Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, brown and in a beautiful bottle. Other than that, I didn't know what to expect.

Here's the skinny. It's root beer, but alcoholic. In other words, it's genius.

Root takes as its starting point the original recipe for root beer, when it was known as (the alcoholic) root tea. Back in the day, Native Americans taught the recipe to settlers. It was particularly popular in Pennsylvania as the necessary ingredients were readily available. During the Temperance Movement, a pharmacist in Philly removed the alcohol and created the root beer with which we are familiar today. We can thank the creators of Hendrick's Gin for taking root beer back to its, ahem, roots.

Nicholas Jarrett tended bar at the tasting, mixing cocktails with the old-fashioned flair and attention to detail one expects from an Apothocary bartender. As interesting as the cocktail combinations were, my favorite incarnation was basic: straight, on the rocks, in a snifter. Coming in at a close second was the Root and Birch, simply Root with birch beer on ice.

I love a few things about Root. 80 proof with birch bark, orange, spearmint, and ten other flavors, Root is sweet, smokey, herbal and delicious. It also encapsulates two things I adore about Philadelphia: our colonial history and the DIY spirit that runs through our city, the art scene in particular.

In addition to being a delicious liqueur, E and I were abuzz over the baking/cooking possibilities... a sauce for ice cream, pies, truffles... the idea of truffles intrigued one of the Art in the Agers behind Root. While nothing is for certain yet, there just may be limited edition Root truffles sold at Art in the Age produced by E and kitchenplay. Stay tuned...

Root hits state liquor stores and select bars this June. In the meantime, check out one of Mr. Jarrett's recipes below and start thinking about all the delicious things you'll try with Root.

Forbidden Root
by Nicholas Jarret for the Private Tasting of Root

3/4 oz. Root
3/4 oz. TRU vodka
1 oz. freshly squeezed white grapefruit juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/4 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 oz. Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
dash of Angostura

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass

Check out E's companion post on Root at

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Crab Happy

Growing up with a chef for a dad meant I ate pretty well as a kid. Sure, some dinners consisted of mac and cheese from the blue box, but I think I ate more steamed artichokes and filet Mignon than the average 8 year old.

One of my more resonant childhood food memories was the time dad brought home soft shell crabs. I don't remember how he prepared them, but they were delicious, with a back story that was sad and fascinating, their rarity making them even more appealing. They have lived in my imagination as a singular food experience.

It's the start of soft shell season and I decided to resurrect that childhood moment. Mike, ever the willing food adventurer, was also down for some crab action. I would bring the soft shells; he would pick up some king crab legs.

I picked up four soft shells from Ippolito's, a seafood place a few blocks from my house. I had them clean the crabs for me, which basically entails gutting them, something I wasn't quite ready to take on myself. Mike went to two of the Asian supermarkets on Washington Ave. and neither had king crab, so he got a bunch of shrimp.

I arrived at Mike's house with no clue as to what I was going to do with my crabs. I knew I wanted them to be simple, not breaded or overwhelmed by too many flavors. I referred to Mike's Joy of Cooking for some guidelines. Their recipe was perfection: grilled crabs brushed with melted butter, garlic, salt and pepper. I added some fresh lemon juice to the mix.

Mike has some stellar Asian recipes and used one for his shrimp: cooked with a caramel sauce, served with rice and stir-fried lettuce. And since the grill was still blazing from the crabs, we threw some mango on there for dessert.

The stars of the evening, the crabs, were amazing... perfectly buttery and lemony and garlicky, with crunchy claws and soft, sweet meat. Lacking the tough exterior means soft shells absorb flavors, including the charcoal smokiness from grilling, really well. We had extra lemon butter and figured it could be a dipping sauce, but it went untouched; the crabs didn't need anything more. I could have cooked them a touch longer, slow cooking them on the periphery of the flame, but the claws were getting scorched and I was getting impatient.

Make these now. Soft shell crab season lasts through the summer, but I wouldn't wait till August. I would get them now. And invite me over when you do...

Soft Shell Crabs
adapted from The Joy of Cooking

4 soft shell crabs, cleaned
3 tbls. melted butter
1 garlic clove, minced
About half a lemon's worth of juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Fire up grill. Mix together the last four ingredients. Brush on crabs. Grill crabs for about 6 minutes on each side, keeping them off direct flame, till they are red on the outside.

(I will post Mike's recipes ASAP.)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Gelato Coma

I started this post on Tuesday, after returning home from my first visit to the new Capogiro on E. Passyunk. Three words into the post, I shut down, my body overwhelmed by the copious amounts of gelato consumed within the previous hour. I can't blame it entirely on the gelato... there had been a tasting of a soon-to-be-released spirit and a sandwich from Cafe Ole earlier in the evening. But it was the gelato that did me in. Specifically, my brother's Turkish coffee and chocolate frappe.

The new Capogiro didn't disappoint on most fronts. It is beautiful, with a small courtyard in the back, sexy blue chairs, stained glass windows and a marble bar for enjoying your ice cream and/or coffee. Nestled in between Paradiso and the newly opened Michael's Cafe, it feels like you've stumbled onto a little set piece from La Dolce Vita.

But it was the gelato that, yet again, didn't do it for me. I went old school, with a small cup of chocolate and vanilla. They both tasted good, but the vanilla was more like marshmallow fluff in consistency than gelato. And it didn't taste much different. A sample of the Black Grape reminded me of soap. And the Turkish coffee, while tempered by the chocolate in the frappe, was strong in an unpleasant way, with irritating grounds getting stuck in my teeth.

But was this my last jaunt to Capogiro? Mmmmm... no. Capogiro is like that old boyfriend you keep going back to, the one you know is going to disappoint in the end, but he's so pretty and you have such high hopes for him that you want to believe it's going to be different this time. And sometimes it is different and other times... it's kind of a bust, but because he's so pretty and you have such high hopes for him... etc. etc. etc.

Capogiro, I just can't quit you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Plans!

What are your Memorial Day plans?

Mine include finishing up my garden, cooking up some soft shell crabs, possibly making ribs, playing backgammon at Brew and heading over to South Philly Tap Room for a special keg of Founder's Canadian Breakfast Stout.

Oh, and stopping by the opening of Silk City's Beer Garden on Monday.

AND writing about the Beer Garden for kitchenplay's first post on uwishunu!

Could it get any better?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A New Camera for kitchenplay

I've never been happy with my pictures on kitchenplay. And after trying to take the one millionth photo that was either too blurry or too yellow or didn't take at all because my batteries died, I decided to treat myself to an upgrade. And she arrived yesterday! Here she is...

...a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ4S. I'm actually planning on reading the manual for her too, so expect a definite improvement in kitchenplay media going forward!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Silk City Birthday

Ants pants is an Australian expression akin to the bee's knees, describing something as totally awesome. It's also a tiny brunch place in Philly. And it's an apt description for my birthday celebration this past weekend, which included a jaunt to Ants Pants Cafe.
The centerpiece of the weekend was Saturday night at Silk City. It was my first time there since they reopened under new management well over a year ago, with a more upscale menu and higher price point. To be honest, I was resistant to giving the new place a chance, missing the old days of 24-hour service and cheap-but-delicious chocolate bread pudding. But it's been getting great reviews (in just the past week it was featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and a NYT article on Philly), and Silk City is one-stop shopping when it comes to wanting a night of food and dancing.

So six of my besties and I went there for dinner. Half of Silk City is a traditional diner car set up with booths and a long counter. The other half is a dark lounge and bar, with a dining area that morphs into a dance floor around 10pm. Since our party was on the larger side, we were seated in the lounge. Sadly, no pictures are available since our best camera was Eleanor's camera phone which lacks a flash. So you just need to trust that the food was great.

I got steak frites with parmesean truffle fries and shallot red wine butter. I'm not always a skirt steak fan, but it was very flavorful and not overly tough. I also got it rare, which may have made a difference. Other plates included the braised short rib sandwich, the grilled portobello mushroom burger (really super tasty), a pizza off the specials menu, and the Asian spiced tuna burger. Across the table, the french fries, even the basic version, were a hit... crispy outside, soft inside, perfectly salted. Daniel got the smothered chorizo string beans which were basically the texture of a crispy green bean but with the flavor of chorizo sausage. And they didn't disappoint on the dessert front, bringing out a warm brownie topped with chocolate ice cream and strawberry sauce (and yes, a candle) for the birthday girl. The drink highlight of the evening was the Jaded Ruby... grapefruity and alcoholic in a sugar rimmed martini glass.

And then we danced. Nonstop from about 1o pm till 1 am, ringing in my 29th year with the sounds of DJ DeeJay... a man with both a strong knowledge of the oeuvres of Michael, Madonna and Prince and the ability to do a mean split on the dance floor.
After not getting quite enough sleep and grabbing a coffee at Brew/Ultimo, I met up again with Alice, Melanie and Eleanor for brunch at Ants Pants Cafe. The Australian-themed spot is adorable (think more vegemite and less Crocodile Dundee) with some great smells coming from their microscopic open kitchen. It's known as a place with a long wait and good food (like practically every good brunch spot in town). The wait for a table wasn't so much a problem as the wait for the food, which did seem to take excessively long considering what we ordered and when we got it in relation to the other patrons. But everything was delicious. I ordered the dill scrambled eggs with feta, adding salmon. Eleanor went the salad route, with a spinach salad. Alice opted for an egg and bacon sandwich, on a croissant with slices of avocado. Melanie chose the spinach, goat cheese and caramelized onion omelette.
Highlights? The delicious balsamic vinagrette from Eleanor's salad that managed to have a thick, creamy consistency but still maintain a vinegary tang. The perfectly red and round slices of Roma tomato accompanying my thick slice of white feta and just-wilted spinach leaves. Alice's sandwich was a perfect storm of crispy bacon, soft avocado and flaky croissant. And we ordered a bowl of sweet potato fries for the table, crispy curls of burnt orange, served with sides of sour cream and thai chili sauce. I don't always like sweet potato fries for being cut too thick to crisp up properly, but these had a nice ratio of soft to crisp.

Between the dancing and the food, it was a perfect birthday.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Crush of the Month: Mission to Marzipan

My relationship with marzipan is an international love affair. Our first tryst was in Budapest, having been introduced to each other by our mutual friend Lindsay. It was a weekend trip during my junior year semester abroad, a time for experimentation and breaking down boundaries. I was intrigued by this chocolate-coated bon bon, though slightly skeptical, having always been wary of it's fruit-molded incarnations. But Lindsay is a persistent matchmaker. I had a bite and I was smitten.

Years later I traveled to Lubeck, Germany- the birthplace of marzipan- primarily to visit my friend Elisa but also to get to know more about my almond-scented lover, meet the family, so to speak. It was an intense couple days, and almost signaled the end of our relationship. Sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, and following tastes of marzipan liqueur, yogurt, ice cream, sundry chocolate combinations, I was growing tired. I had no one to blame but myself, and I recognized that, but still took out some of my aggression on this poor, defenseless candy.

We survived that rough patch with our desire in tact, though not without needing to take some time apart. Often it is the red-wrapped Rittersport marzipan that reawakens my desire... though now I have a new object for my lust... Ben and Jerry's Mission to Marzipan ice cream.

It's sweet cream ice cream with swirls of marzipan and chunks of almond cookies. The marzipan is gooey, the almond cookies are soft, the ice cream is a little bit icey. It's a dangerously delicious combination. Alice brought some over to Daniel's place on Friday night and I just made a 9pm run to the Acme to pick up a pint for myself. Marzipan and I needed some alone time to work through some stuff.

And in case you were worried, we are doing juuuuuust fine.

Impromptu Dinner Parties

My friend Daniel and I hosted an impromptu dinner party before leaving Texas, the purpose of which was multi fold: we like cooking, we like cooking for others and we had a lot of food in our pantries that needed to be used before our departure. Daniel made his Gorgonzola pasta dish and baked shrimp, while I made-up an appetizer I dubbed Chickpea Mash. We collaborated on a salad of kale, beets and oranges. Friends brought wine, homemade pesto for dipping, desserts... I also got a bottle of Dripping Springs, which made for some smooth and sweet vodka tonics. For dessert we put out warm apple scones from Central Market, Central Market orange honey butter, fresh berries and black raspberry jam from Stonewall Kitchen. The good food plus some opera talk and a few naughty jokes translated into a successful dinner party overall.

Chickpea Mash
1 can chickpeas, some liquid reserved
olive oil
fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
red pepper flakes

Mix together all ingredients. Mash chickpeas with a fork. Serve with tortilla chips or pita bread.

Daniel's Gorgonzola Pasta
Saute broccoli crowns in olive oil (they will suck it up so you may need to add more). Add 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed, and 1 1/2 c grape tomatoes, halved. When tomatoes begin to soften, add Gorgonzola cheese...maybe....1 1/2 c? Stir until melted. Stir into prepared spiral tricolored pasta. Add freshly cracked pepper and salt. Fresh parsley is nice too.

Chili Lime Shrimp
Big ass awesome prawns. Unshelled. Brine for 10 minutes in solution of water, sugar and salt. Drain. Mix together olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper, crushed dried chilies, lime juice and lime zest. Toss well. Let sit 15 mins. Place on foil lined broiler pan, broil 2-3 mins each side until pink. Squirt with fresh lime juice, serve immediately.

Roasted Beet and Orange Salad
Beets, peeled and diced into quarters or eighths
Roasting onions, peeled and sliced
1 Navel orange
Olive oil
Sprigs of fresh mint, chopped
Salt and pepper

Roast beets and onions separately in foil. Let cool till just warm. Section half the orange and add slices to salad. Add kale, which should just wilt from the warm beets and onions. Dress salad to taste using juice from the other half of orange and olive oil. Add mint, salt and pepper to taste.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Is Gelato the New Water Ice?

The next store in the Capogiro gelato empire is due to open this week on the 1600 block of E. Passyunk in South Philly, competing with neighborhood favorites like John's Water Ice for the crown of Summer Treat of Choice. Now, this may be heresy to some, but it took me a while to take to Capogiro's ice cream. I've spent a fair amount of time throughout Italy and can safely say I understand gelato. I use one flavor in particular to test the authenticity of a new type of gelato: yogurt. If the yogurt is more sweet than tart, forget about it. It needs to taste like fresh plain yogurt, just cooler and creamier. Unfortunately, Capogiro's didn't make the cut when I first tried it years ago. And their dark chocolate, while delicious, has a consistency more akin to tar than gelato. Plus, I found their attempts at exoticism to go a bit overboard- Rosemary Goat Milk Cream Thai Basil Peppercorn etc etc etc.

I have had shouting matches with Italians and non-Italians alike over the authenticity and deliciousness of Capogiro.

That said, in the name of peace, love and understanding, I would still go there from time to time. And it was on such a random occasion that I tried their Tahini flavor and a fan was born. Calling it Tahini is just a fancy name for sesame. It was subtle and nutty and creamy and delicious, and I decided to start sampling their wares with a more open mind. I still stay away from the multiple flavored gelati. I prefer the fun of making up my own combinations... yogurt and dark chocolate, pistachio and burnt sugar, lavender and crema...

So I am actually very excited for the new Capogiro, just blocks from my house. And besides, I don't like John's Water Ice anyway. (I'll address that little nugget of blasphemy in a later post. Promise.)

Updates: Capogiro E. Passyunk is now open. The West Philly shop is slated to open this Friday, the 22nd (featuring a bar and a non-gelato Italian menu). And Bon Appetit named Capogiro one of the top 10 ice cream shops in America. (5/19)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Brew/Ultimo Open for Business

I'm writing you from the newest addition to the Newbold landscape, Brew/Ultimo. kitchenplay readers know that I have been eagerly anticipating this opening. To my left is a smooth and delicious cup of coffee from the microlot of Ariel Pajoy. Farmers like Ariel bring their beans to the La Golondrina coffee project in Cauca, Colombia. The coffee beans that meet a certain standard are separated from the others and sold as separate microlots. Ariel's beans met that standard. Brew/Ultimo offers four other coffees that are hand-brewed when you order them. Co-owner Aaron Ultimo puts on a little show for you when he systematically runs hot water through the grounds in a beautiful ceramic filter.

The beauty of Brew/Ultimo is that it offers two of my favorite beverages under one roof: coffee and beer. The liquor license should come through in about a month. Till then, the row of industrial refrigerators stands empty. But when the license does go through, we'll have a great selection of boutique beers-to-go from which to choose, curated by John Longacre from SPTR.

Food options include simple baguette sandwiches and pastries from Four Worlds Bakery, brownies from B.T. Baking and chocolates from R + D Chocolate, all local businesses. I’m eating a triple crème brie and sliced apple sandwich on a soft and delicious baguette.

Good food and beverage aside, I am so excited to have Brew/Ultimo in Newbold. This neighborhood has a lot to offer, but it was missing a place like this, a place where people can congregate at all hours of the day, spend as little or as much as they want, and enjoy the neighborhood. Plus, it is clear that Ultimo brings a great deal of respect and love for what he is doing, where he is doing it and for whom he is doing it. I’ve seen a wide variety of people come in over the past couple hours and it seems I'm not the only one feeling the love.

It's good to be home.

Friday, May 8, 2009

6 Degrees of Separation and Angelo's BBQ

It's a small world. I can say this because one of my colleagues at Fort Worth Opera, Andrew, is the future brother-in-law of a non-opera friend of mine in Philadelphia, a friend who lives a mere three blocks from me in Newbold with his fiancee. Yes, it is a small world indeed.

Upon hearing of this new connection, our mutual friend told Andrew both about kitchenplay and Angelo's, a spot for some good old fashioned BBQ. Andrew made it there first and could attest that it was indeed a good place for some 'que. I rounded up some of our opera cohorts and we ate there last night. Overall, the place gets a big thumbs up for decor. Is there such a thing as "too much" taxidermy? I don't think so.

Much of the food came out on Styrofoam trays, the environmental consequences of which were perhaps cancelled out by the fact that the sandwiches came wrapped only in wax paper. The hit across the table was the ribs. They were fall off the bone tender and deliciously smoked. The BBQ sauce wasn't too sweet and heavy on the tomato flavor. I like a thicker sauce in general, but it still did the trick. The baked chicken looked delicious, with a golden brown skin.

I was disappointed by my chopped beef sandwich. The meat tasted good but it was dry, an aspect that could have been easily remedied with more BBQ sauce. I sampled all the sides, which included cole slaw, potato salad and baked beans. The beans were really nice with a strong chili pepper flavor. The potato salad was old-fashioned and eggy, while the cole slaw was remarkably fresh tasting despite how much mayo was in it.

In short, come for the ribs, stay for the taxidermy.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

kitchenplay Event Tonight!

kitchenplay is hosting a night out at Angelo's BBQ in Fort Worth tonight. Angelo's is said to have some of the best BBQ in town, with a menu and decor that hasn't changed much since it's opening in 1958. And it looks like we'll have a good sized group, which means many tasting opportunities!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Fuzzy's Taco Shop and CJ Donut Palace

It's a place called Fuzzy's! Naturally I had to go there. Their Shredded Garlic Beef Burrito and Tempura Fish Burrito were super tasty, but the highlight had to be the hot sauce... more vinegary than spicy and a nice complement to the garlicky mayo sauce on the the fish burrito.

The ladies in the costume shop know a thing or two about eating. On multiple occasions someone brought in pastries from CJ Donut Palace, including a variation on pigs in a blanket (think bigger pig, bigger blanket, plus cheese). The donuts were of both the cake and yeast varieties and included a couple different delicious cinnamon roll-type things. The ladies also pointed me in the direction of Chef Point Cafe, a restaurant inside an old Texaco station. I don't know if I'll have the chance to eat there, but the combination of good food plus novel locale is very tempting.

My other favorite place for doughnuts around here is Shipley's. Their melt-in-your-mouth glazed doughnuts put Krispy Kremes to shame. I haven't had them this year, but they were a highlight of my birthday celebration last year.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

kitchenplay in The Metro

I'm putting together a longer piece on the subject, but I want to share this article on urban composting from last week's Metro. The author found out about kitchenplay's recent composting efforts and wanted a quote. It's a nice summary of urban composting methods by people in both Philly and NYC. Take a look...

Pancakes and Texas-Shaped Waffles

It's been a busy couple weeks down here in Ft. Worth, but I have made some time for eating out, like at the Ol' South Pancake House. There's a lot to like about Ol' South: the 24 hour service, the old men in trucker hats congregating over coffee and the sassy waitresses.

Sadly, the pancakes aren't one of those things, at least not the Spiced Apple German Pancake (pictured at right). What looked like an omelet was in fact a thick, eggy pancake, filled with average cinnamon spiced apples and overflowing with butter. At least they claimed it was real butter, but it tasted a lot like margarine. One of my friends ordered a short stack with fresh fruit (below, center) which looked much more appealing.

It also seems silly to stray far from my hotel's breakfast bar for my morning carb fix, especially when it offers something as fun as a Texas-shaped waffle.