The Line Between Simple and Stupid…


…is crossed when you spend money on this product.

I found the item above on the clearance table at the Williams-Sonoma store in Princeton, New Jersey. That, boys and girls, is a bottle of simple syrup that you can purchase for the low, low price of $3.99 — a deal, mind you, because it’s marked down from $6.99. Sure, Williams-Sonoma is fun for some window shopping and general inspiration whenever you don’t feel foodie enough. It’s always a blast to poke around the gadgets, drool over the Le Creuset that you can’t afford and marvel over the fact that someone is actually willing to drop fifty bucks on a popsicle machine.  (Isn’t that what your freezer is for?)  But this is going too far.

In these tough economic times, let me save you some of your hard-earned money:

One part table sugar.  One part water.  Boil until dissolved.  Cool.  Use. That’ll be seven dollars.

Poor Man’s Parmesan


I eat pasta more than any normal person should.  I have to limit myself to one time per week as a main course, though I do make exceptions that allow for a second Asian-style noodle dish, either made at home or out at a restaurant.  It’s just about the perfect food – except for the fact that it’s not crunchy.

While flavor is most important, of course, texture runs a reasonably close second when it comes to the eating experience for me.  And – hooo doggie – when I can get something that’s delicious and gives a nice crunch, I’m pretty much in heaven.  Hence my addiction to pretty much anything deep-fried.

So then why can’t pasta be crunchy, too?  Sure you could just undercook it, but that’s not what we’re going for here.  We need something that is going to elevate the dish.  We need something that will remind us about the best part of the one crunchy noodle dish already out there, mac & cheese.

We need breadcrumbs.

Not just any breadcrumbs, mind you.  Breadcrumbs pan-fried in olive oil, with some sliced garlic thrown in for added flavor.

Now, I’ll be upfront and say that this is no modern invention.  Breadcrumbs have been used as a pasta-topper for quite a while, sometimes known as a “poor man’s” alternative to topping your dish with grated cheese.  But we all know that just because something is an inexpensive option doesn’t mean it’s not delicious.

So, what does this simple topping require?  Chances are, you probably already have everything you need…

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Morimoto is a Pimp!

The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Masaharu Morimoto needed surgery after he slipped in the hot tub.  Badass.  I choose to believe he slipped because he had to climb over three or four sweet honeys.

– Tom Colicchio testified before Congress about childhood nutrition, not about corruption in the Teamsters, as I initially thought.  I should know not to assume that simply because he’s a bad-ass looking Italian man in a suit.

After the jump…sage advice for new parents, drinking for a good cause (as if you even need an excuse) and “is that a hair in my sandwich?”

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Matilda Cuomo…My New Hero!

andrew cuomo sandra lee

The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Presented without comment, a quote from Matilda Cuomo on the fact that her son’s girlfriend, Sandra Lee, makes lasagna with cottage cheese and canned tomato soup:  “I don’t know that that’s true. You know, maybe she puts cottage cheese because he doesn’t want to put on weight. He’s watching his diet. But that’s not the way you make lasagna.”

– Rachael Ray is the latest celeb on the “our kids are too fat” bandwagon.  I don’t know what they’re talking about.  Mom packed me a lard sandwich every day and I turned out just fine.  (He said, as he reached for his home defibrillator.)

After the jump…wall-to-wall Top Chef.

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The Crawl: Philly Beer Week

independence hall

A successful pub crawl is a work of art. It’s something that you can only plan out so much. There needs to be “feel” involved. You need to know when to stick around and when to beat it for greener pastures. But when you decide to put together a do-it-yourself crawl during the thick of the drinking festival that is Philly Beer Week, your chances of success go up quite a bit.

Of course, this sort of thing is never fun to do it alone, so I recruited Dad to tag along. Though not as big a beer nerd as me, he was up for the challenge. Plus, having someone else with you means you get to taste their beer, too, so good for me. FYI…times are provided courtesy of my Foursquare check-ins. It all kinda got blurry towards the end, so this is the best evidence I have of my travels.

1:40 Monk’s Cafe had to be the first stop of the day. World-renowned for its amazing collection of Belgian beer on tap, I was happy to find plenty of room at the bar, which isn’t usually the case. I decided to kick things off in style with a Petrus Aged Pale Ale. It was pleasantly sour (aged in oak barrels), aggressive and — at over $9 for a small tulip glass — pricey. I’m glad I had it early when I could still enjoy it.

2:55 – Soccer time, and it was on to McGillin’s! I’ve mentioned them before and I love the place because it’s fun and familiar. While they don’t have the exotic selection of beers like other bars in Philly, they do focus on having something from all of the local breweries. Eat locally, drink locally! I got to taste Victory’s new Summer Love, a special variety marketed in conjunction with Philly’s visitor bureau (yeah, we’re serious about beer in this town), which matched perfectly with some buffalo wings and onion rings. Also fun: Getting to watch the English goalie become a pariah in his home country.

After the jump, plenty more beer, I make a new friend and score some food from an Iron Chef!

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: A Taste of the Exotic East?


The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Wait…there’s an Indian food show on television?  On American television?  Really?

– Easy Joke Alert:  People were angry when they couldn’t get in to a taping of Emeril’s show.  Even more angry?  The people who did get in.

After the jump…a Philly chef gets southern and stays local and Cat Cora gets herself some of that Oprah money.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Philly Beer Week – Fun for the Whole Family

The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.


– It’s Beer Week here in Philadelphia — a celebration of the wonderfully vibrant beer culture of the city.  Unfortunately, our toddlers have shitty taste.  Seriously, kid…Miller Lite?

Paula Deen gets a little handsey with The Situation.  Also getting handsey?  Paula’s maid, who helped herself to $10K worth of the food personality’s jewelry.

After the jump…a lesson in marketing.

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