Some Beers are Worth the Wait

Normally when I’m thinking about booze, filling cups and consuming it as fast as humanly possible seems about right to me.

So when I heard about the Bottoms Up system — a beer dispenser that fills beers up from the BOTTOM, and takes only seconds —  I figured it was worth a shot, if I ever encountered it. No beer line? No wait? Sounds good to me.

As it turns out, at the Phillies game a few weeks ago, the bottoms up Bud Light stand was the closest one to my section. Let it be known I never drink Bud Light by choice, but…sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. So…Bottoms Up: God’s gift to sports fans? Not quite…

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ES Local: Booze for Good

From Philadelphia…

It’s all the rage for “celebrity” chefs and restauranteurs to do good things. Marc Vetri just launched his program to save school lunches, and remember when Jamie Oliver had that TV show? Yeah. Next up: Stephen Starr. No, really.

Philly’s Starr restaurant organization isn’t exactly known for its philanthropy or even being nice to its employees. However, this year, some employees have joined together to do the Broad Street Run…because of course, if something is going to sell out in five hours, Starr has to be a part of it. But instead of just running down Broad Street like assholes, they’re using the race to support Teens4Good, a program that transforms vacant lots into urban farms to improve access to healthy food for communities, while creating jobs for at-risk youth and empowering them to become healthy, responsible adults. My favorite part of this is that they’re raising money for the program through my one true love: booze.

If you’re interested in giving back without actually doing anything, need an excuse to get to Route 6 for the oyster crackers, or just want to meet a celebrity (me), head up to Route 6 on Wednesday night after work. Rumor has it the beers are $3 and there may be a specialty cocktail thrown into the mix.

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All Oyster Crackers Are Not Created Equal

A few weekends ago I found myself ordering clam chowder and two beers at 10pm. I was pretty hungry, having not eaten lunch, so I tore into the packet of oyster crackers and ate one as my chowder cooled. I turned to my friend and asked, “are these supposed to taste like this?”

She replied, “chalk? Yeah. That”s normal.”

I didn”t give it much thought past that. I used to eat oyster crackers for a snack as a kid and I loved them. I think it was just because my dad would bring them home as leftovers from lunch and tell me he “brought me a present.” Many years later, it seemed my friend was right: oyster crackers all taste like chalk.

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America’s Best New Sandwiches — 2012

You want sandwiches? We got sandwiches. Last year, Endless Simmer’s post on America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches was our most-read story of 2011, and even helped turn The New Luther into a bit of a sell-out phenomenon. But America’s sandwich artisans haven’t stopped innovating, and we haven’t stopped salivating. So here we go, for your drooling-at-work pleasure, this year’s list of America’s top 10 craziest, loveliest, cheesiest, most creative new sandwiches.

10. The Noble Pig —  Noble Pig Sandwiches, Austin

Texas may be best known for its beef, but perhaps not for long, if chefs John Bates and Brandon Martinez have anything to say about it. Their year-and-a-half-old Noble Pig serves up a namesake sandwich that somehow combines everything that is beautiful about pork products on one truly outstanding sandwich. Tender pulled pork, spicy slivers of ham, and crispy bits of bacon are all mixed together, topped with provolone cheese, and served on toasted, house-baked bread, for a porky trifecta that hits all of the spots. (Photo: Marshall Wright)

9. Pane et Panelle — Bar Stuzzichini, New York

Chickpeas may get typecast as functioning only in falafel form, but it turns out balls aren’t all they can do. Panelle is actually an old Sicilian street food snack—chickpeas and flour formed into light, airy strips and fried in olive oil. Stuzzichini‘s sandwich revives that classic and perfects it, layering crispy strips of panelle on a sesame-studded bun, in between levels of soft ricotta and caciocavallo cheeses. The result is a light-but-addictive sandwich that will make you curse every overly dense falafel wrap that has crossed your lips.

8. Chicharrones Banh Mi — Ink Sack, Los Angeles

There are a million banh mis in American nowadays, but we were most swept away by this version from Top Chef champ Michael Voltaggio. At his new Ink Sack sandwich shop, tender slices of pork belly and pork butt are topped with pickled vegetables, plus the kicker — crispy chicharróne fried pork rinds, creating one incredible multi-culti pork bomb.

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Thanks for Stealing My Idea, Federal Donuts.

I love the local Philly donut shop, Federal Donuts. I really do.

On another note, if you follow the @EndlessSimmer twitter, you know last week I was at the Krispy Kreme factory (details to come, stay tuned!) During our product development session, I made this creation:

Vanilla glaze (only because I wasn’t offered marshmallow), graham cracker crumbs, chocolate drizzle.

(Pic: Krispy Kreme)

And then five days later, Federal Donuts unveiled this on their facebook page:

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How to Enjoy (and Survive) a Cocktail Class

My talent is eating and drinking. Not cooking. Not baking. And absolutely not cocktail mixing. If you know me even a little, you know my idea of a good cocktail is vodka that costs more than $15 a bottle and cranberry juice, mixed in various ratios depending on what time it is and where I’m headed.

So I was pretty excited when The Wine School of Philadelphia invited me in for a Pre-Prohibition Cocktail Class last month led by Jason Wilson. I was a little afraid though. What do I know about cocktails?

Nothing.  I knew nothing.

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