Summer in Philadelphia is quickly becoming my favorite season. Last year, I was unable to fully partake with periodic traveling, two classes, working at Planned Parenthood, and panicking about my Capstone. But I’ve been able to take things a little slower this summer. I went ahead and got a bike (more on that soon, I’m sure), I’ve been photographed in multiple beer gardens (I’m trying to spend as much time enjoying craft beer outside as possible) and limiting my weekends at the shore to explore my city a little more. As much as summer is about getting outside and drinking excellent summer ales…. It’s also about hot dogs.
South Street Headhouse knows this fact quite well, and has commemorated this with an Annual Dog Days of Summer SHOWDOWN. 20 chefs from 20 different establishments whipping up their take on the American classic. There were spicy sausages, pork-ified puppies, beef brats, and every topping you could imagine. Creativity out the wazoo, and I gotta say, the chefs pulled out all the stops. My stomach reached its limit at 9 half-dogs…. but goodness, what a 9 they were.
I started the day off with the hometown hero Hot Diggity’s Corn Salsa Dog. My first dog was presented beautifully but, truly, all that stood out to me was the corn and bacon salsa. The hot dog, to me, was a little lost in the fray. Luckily, the fray was delicious. So good, in fact, that it earned 3rd Place!
A Korean Fried Hot Dog, eh? Ok, Taproom on 19th, I see where you’re going with this. Jalapeno mayo was the star of the show, in my humblest opinion, but, in a similar vein as Hot Diggity, the dog itself was relatively silent amidst the fresh flavors of the pickled relish and watermelon. There’s something to be said for creative toppings, but as this was a hot dog cook-off…. well I couldn’t hand my “People’s Choice” ticket over to this one.
Chef Adan from Sancho Pistola’s could be heard shouting about his bacon jam throughout Headhouse Square. This was a GREAT dog. A blend of bacon jam, jalapeno ketchup, and some solid crema mixed together with a crisp dog and an appropriately sized bun led to 4 wonderful bites. An early contender, my tastebuds were starting to get real excited….
Chicken Fried Chicken!? Color me drooling with anticipation. This was the first meat-mix-up as far as the content of the sausage went, and I couldn’t wait. There was consistently a line of folks waiting for these bad boys, and I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately… I think I might’ve gotten one from a bad batch. Or, more specifically, a burnt batch. While the meat inside was pretty tasty, the “fried” aspect was almost prohibitively crunchy. That said, I saw almost everyone else cheerily chowing down, so please…. don’t take my word.
Serrano’s Wild Board Hot Dog suffered a similar fate, simply didn’t stand up well to the format. The meat in this sausage was delicious, but my dog was borderline cold. The micro celery, however, was intriguing and I’d like to see it in more dishes in my life. Stat.
Bridget Foy’s served up, quite literally, the hot dog of my dreams. The night previous, I’d been having beautiful, vivid dreams of fountains full of pickled vegetables and what does she go and do? Serves them up on a weenie! Complete with pork belly. I was fairly full of bread at this point, but every topping and ingredient that was NOT bread in this was done perfectly. Bravo!
The People’s Choice went to this little looker: Bistro Romano‘s Scala Duck Ragu. Talk about having everything!! Beef wrapped in pancetta wrapped in romaine, topped with duck and Parmigiano Reggiano? Be still my heart. Were it not for the fact that this was my very last dog (and the fact that the next two won my heart), I would’ve contemplated stealing a number of these to stockpile for later. Consider yourself lucky, BR.
Twisted Tail: You did me dirty. You rifled around in my journal, checked out my fridge, asked friends and family…. and somehow managed to put all the things I love into one miniature, compact delight of a dog. Allegedly The World’s Best Chili Dog, I’m inclined to agree. Everything on this dog came together like a well-written symphony, with the brioche bun crunching in time with the brisket and short rib chili, which was not overpowered by the cheddar. All of this allowed the pork dog to sing like a canary… in my mouth.
Unfortunately, there was another competitor. And she was not to be outdone.
Ladies and gentleman: my vote went to Cherry Bomb Bus’ Broad Street Bulldog.
Imagine, if you will, a world where hot dogs are not standalone. No, they are…. within. This example, particular, held a snappy-cased beef frank within a blend of ground beef on a seeded roll. It was like…. a hot dog…. within a burger…. surrounded by some of the best roast pork toppings imaginable (read: provolone, long hots, and gravy!) It was like Inception…. only with hot dogs.
I had a single ticket left, but I couldn’t bare to look at another rod of meat (not even a euphemism, y’all.) Luckily, there was one last treat waiting for me…
All that heartburn really needed some cooling off. Luckily, mompops was there to send in reinforcements in the form of a strawberry-lemonade popsicle.
I promptly waddled home and fell into a 2 hour food coma.
Thanks a lot, Hot Diggity and the crew….
(no. really. that was amazing. Can’t wait until next year!)
I’ve got a bone to pick with whoever wrote that song about flying through the air with the greatest of ease. Maybe it’s just envy of the man on the flying trapeze…
I have no issues with heights. I thrive on adrenaline and love a new adventurous way of breaking a sweat. So when I was given a chance to try out Mary Kelly Rayel’s Fly School Circus Arts in Northern Liberties, Philadelphia, I figured I’d grab life by the…well, the bar.
If you’re yearning for a way to kiss the sky WITHOUT jumping out of a plane, have a spare $60 bucks, and wanna test out that arm strength, look no further. Two hours may seem like barely any time, but after hardly any time “learning the ropes” if you will, it’s time to ascend.
I’ll be honest: my first attempt, I BLEW IT. I lost my grip on the bar and fell into the net, basically shaving my face against the rough ropes. It wasn’t pretty. It was scary, and unexpected, and jarring.
But, as they always say, life’s too short to let a net-burn slow you down. I climbed back up. I repeated to myself “Just hold on. Just HOLD on.”
And I did.
Wow, what a rush. Your body feels weightless for a moment at the top of your swing, and you can almost forget you’re ground-bound.
Your next “trick” is scooping your leg’s up so that you can hang by your knees. Easier said than done, but I somehow managed. And, unlike Carrie Bradshaw in Season 5 (you like that reference? Flashback Friday), I was able to let go. And just let it all hang out….
Anyway, after 5-6 passes, I attempted one catch. That said, my hands were so shredded and blistered that, just as I did on my first attempt, I hit the net running (ok, flying). This time involved a lot less face-grating (though a lot more hand-shredding) and I knew I needed to call it a night.
Despite the sore hands and arms, and the almost-laughable videos of these attempts (no, you won’t be seeing THOSE failures), I intend to head back to FlySchool for another attempts. Maybe with a few more callouses, and after a few more pull-ups…. but that said, you don’t have to be an Olympic weight lifter to have a great time. I managed 3-4 insane passes, including my very favorite, a backflip! A little harder to photograph, but here’s a shot on the descent (I felt like a dizzy egg baby afterwards…)
You leave high on heights, and SURPRISINGLY ravenous. An excellent full body workout without knowing it…. Now I know why all the ladies flocked to that man on the flying trapeze. I bet he had excellent abs…
Thanks so much to Mary Kelly and her funky bunch for hosting us! Can’t wait to see y’all again!
Oh, and those sexy chalk marks all over my pants?
Just another perk of the process.
It’s important to write posts of substance. To inform folks of the awesome things going on in Philly. To share my thoughts on the newest group fitness class, or that sweet tapas place that just opened up… you know, or gush about beer.
But it’s also essential that, when life hands you a squishy faced, floppy eared baby blue Great Dane as the newest member of your family, you share it with the world.
Folks, meet Cornwallis “Wally” Price, the newest member of my already-large family!!
Wally is 11 weeks old, and already 25 lbs of stumbling, bumbling cuteness. Hailing from distant lands, he’s living, breathing proof that everything really IS bigger in Texas. His paws are huge, and indicate he’s gonna be a big boy. But for now, he’s ALL puppy.
He sits like an awkward frog, and nibbles on everything. And I am absolutely in love with him.
Shortly after this photo was taken, he managed to get trapped behind one of those bushes and I nailed my head into the brick wall when I went to get him and he panicked, not knowing how to get out of the bushes and the dark.
A labor of love, right?
I promise, I won’t become one of those manic puppy moms, but mostly because he’s living out in the burbs with my mom, dad, and sister… That said, I won’t pretend that this weekend, when he dons a patriotic bandana, I won’t blow up your Instagram feed just a LITTLE bit.
It’s my duty, as an American.
I don’t get out to Northern Liberties nearly enough. There was a time, deep in my LivingSocial heyday, when I was out once or twice a week, helping with Beer Fest or setting up a BBQ in Liberty Lands Park or hanging out with my friends’ puppies. But then that ended (a moment of silence for the loss of the best part-time job of all time…) and all of the sudden I found myself a No-NoLibs-er. Well, that’s all about to change.
My baby brother Somers, self-proclaimed Philly Sports Fanatic who’s been suffering in DC for the past several years (who is actually like…6’4” and towers over me now) is moving to Philly! Specifically, Northern Liberties. If this isn’t cause for celebration, I don’t know what is. And, lucky for me, the folks at Crabby’s Café and Sports Bar felt the same, inviting a handful of us Philly folks out for some crawfish sucking, claw-cracking, mollusk munching fun in The Piazza last week.
Unfortunately, I had volleyball game that evening, so cocktails and craft beers were not in the cards (though it did appear that they had a nice selection of beers on draft, and were pouring these “Happy Crab” cocktails that looked like neon KoolAid and apparently was a boozy treat.) But volleyball couldn’t stop me from chowing on the eats presented to us in the best fashion possible: In themed waves, with giant sheets of paper covering the tables and an endless supply of paper towels. I love a spot that not only tolerates messy eating, but encourages it.
We were given trays upon trays of crabby fries, sweet potato crisps dusted with powdered sugar (why don’t more restaurants do this?!), and my favorite, Crabby Wings!
They wouldn’t reveal what made these wings so crabby, but they had a distinct taste that separated them from your typical buffalo wing (which they do offer). My guess is fish sauce, but the jury’s still out. Well, I do appreciate some mystery in my meals… There was no mystery in these mussels, though.
I feel sorry for the folks who didn’t spend a LOT of time getting up close and personal with these bad boys. Marinara mussels, served with crusty garlic bread (and, unfortunately, plastic forks… kind of cheapened the experience for me) were perhaps my favorite course of the meal. But we can’t forget the coup de grace: The Seafood Boil.
LOBSTAH! Crawfish! Clams! Corn! Sausage! Everything but the kitchen sink. Except that it sort of looks like it is served in a kitchen sink, so I guess that doesn’t hold.
**Everything IN the kitchen sink.
I opted to sit at the “spicy” table, but honestly, wasn’t too burned out by the spice factor. I think that, even despite the Vietnamese influence on many of the dishes, they try to make it palatable for folks. Those lobster claws were elusive on the meat front, and we managed to break not just one but two claw-crackers during our meal. Luckily, they made for great photo props.
I had to dine-and-dash a little early to skitter off to volleyball, but was excited to see Crabby’s is doing a handful of big events this summer, including a Luau Party July 19th (pig roast!), a Crawfish Boil August 9th, and a Clam Bake September 13th. If you’re starving for some seafood and sports and suds in a relaxed setting…. Well, I think you couldn’t pick a better spot than Crabby’s.
I’ve learned a lot over my nearly 27 years on this earth.
- Always have faith that Law and Order: SVU will be on at LEAST one channel.
- Well-made doughnuts are a perfect food item.
- Netflix binges are human nature.
- Arya Stark is a certified badass.
- If the opportunity to abandon the city you love for a night of romping about in Atlantic City to sample the nightlife… You do it.
Apparently, the fine folks running the #DoAC nightlife campaign wanted to invite a handful of Philly folks for a night on the town (banking on, of course, a guerrilla social media blast the likes of which has never been seen [this week, at least.])
First thing was first, hair-care.
A quick trip to AMS Salon (so quick I didn’t have time to finish my complimentary glass of vino!) and their legendary “Braid Bar” (because in humid, rainy weather… who can really maintain a blowout?) Tasha, my braid-babe extraordinaire, whipped up a sexy messy fishtail that left me answering one question all night.
Has anyone ever told you that you look like Ke$ha?
And me answering, “All the damn time.”
After a hurried check-in and some light mingling with fellow social media maniacs, we strolled over to a bus. Sure, it looked like a pretty solid bus from the outside.
But then, we walked inside.
Oh my god.
Yup. It’s an entire miniature nightclub on wheels. Lasers. Fog machine. Bartender. Champagne. DJ. Plush seats. Oh, and OUTLETS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE! Perfect for the Tweeter-on-the-go.
Our first stop: Harrah’s Eden Lounge. Because what’s a night on the town without a little pre-party fuel?
Those sliders, though.
It was like White Castle was magically transported inside of Harrah’s Resort. Only, instead of sodas, there were well-crafted margaritas.
(Note to White Castle: think about offering margaritas in the future. Just a thought…)
And then, after we stuffed our faces with cheese, sauce. meat, and bread, we were ready…. for the bus again.
A quick ride around the block was just enough time for a selfie. Before we knew it, we had arrived at the promised land. A haven in the night. Or rather…. a Haven.
Haven Nightclub in the Golden Nugget was… packed. I thought it was too early for dancing at the disco. Apparently, I don’t know AC, where the party never stops.
Apparently, when you’ve got bottle service at your fingertips, the party is whenever the hell you want it to be.
We danced. We mingled. We flashed glowsticks. And, obviously, we popped bottles.
It was a night to remember. An affair to remember. And one of the most important things to remember, they remembered.
A kit full of aspirin, Pepto Bismol, multivitamins, and mints. Just what the doctor ordered.
Don’t worry, Atlantic City. I’ll be back soon. It might not be with a giant bus-sized posse…. but I’ll be back.
It might seem, if you’ve been reading semi-lately, that all I do is eat and drink beer. I promise, that’s not true.
SOMETIMES…. I run and drink beer. Well, not really all that often, but there’s definitely those times where I exercise. It’s been less, but now that I went and graduated, I can’t wait to get back into a routine. But, just to make sure that I ease into the transition…. I figured this might help.
Tap n’ Run is a ridiculous “race”, a 4k (I’m sure all my running friends are scoffing at me…) with four “chug stations” along the way. I pretty much can’t stand running. I’m not terribly good at it.
Know what I’m great at, though?
Drinking cheap beer.
Especially with the help of three girlfriends, four feather boas, and a lot of suspenders.
After a delicious brunch of huevos rancheros made by yours truly at the home of my buddy Susan, complete with mimosas and margaritas, we were fueled up and ready for action. Team Crops n’ Hops!
After a few warm-up beers at Xfinity Live, hosts of Philly’s Tap n’ Run, and a celebratory “start” chug, we were off (those were the beer-lerinas in front of us. so much pink….)
Unfortunately for the sake of my fellow runners, they did NOT use the facilities before we hit the road, and within less than half a mile, had to hit the porta-potties. Sure, we got a little behind, but it ACTUALLY didn’t matter, because before we knew it, we were at the second chug station.
Chug-a-LUG and time for another lap around the stadium. I don’t really know, I’m not an expert at that little stadium area. Best part of this whole “chug” thing was the fact that the beer we were chugging was NOT the Heady Toppers and Russian Rivers that I had been drinking for the previous week.
Coors Light! Blue Moon! They even have some gluten free stuff, if you’re into that kinda thing….
TASTES LIKE WATER!
And then, before I knew it, it was time to push through the finish line to the dulcet tones of Gangam Style.
Oh yeah, we also got medals.
They’re bottle openers.
Like a boss.
I would NOT say that Tap n’ Run is a race for people trying to boost their PRs. It’s not an experience that is going to leave you drenched in sweat thinking “wow, running gives you endorphins! LET’S DO A MARATHON!” It IS an experience that leaves you so happy to have friends with extra hot pink duct tape and value your years of all those years of college. And who couldn’t use a nice 4k in the summer complete with some chug stations and a lot of feather boas along the way?
In a rare moment of freedom during Philly Beer Week, I figure that, since I don’t have an actual beer in my hand (an odd feeling during this most holy of beer weeks) I should write a post about…. all those other beers I drank.
Lemme rewinds a bit: Upon realizing I would, in fact, graduate and have gainful employment, my first thought was I SHOULD TAKE A HUGE ENORMOUS TRIP TO CELEBRATE!! Then, I remembered I gave all my money to Penn for that fancy degree, so perhaps the better move would be a smaller, equally exciting trip that might not break the bank. Enter: Denver!
What better place to visit than the first spot I vacationed DURING my grad school career? You might recall I headed out to Denver in October 2012 for Great American Beer Festival, arguably the coolest beer event I’ve ever been a part of since falling in love with suds… But this weekend, I wanted a little bit more relaxation. A little bit less scheduled events. And probably the same amount of delicious beer.
No surprise: Denver delivered.
Great Divide Brewing Company: Located in the heart of Denver, this was one of those spots you enter and you immediately feel at home. The speakers were blasting “We Built This City“, the bartenders were singing and dancing along with it, and the taproom was full of all types of folks. Bachelor parties, gal groups, older couples, there were even a few little ones scampering around (don’t worry, they were carded and forbidden to booze.) Friday afternoon was an excellent opportunity for a little brewery tour and happy hour of our own, so Melissa and I enjoyed a tasting flight of 6 beers before entering the touring area.
Spoiler alert: if you’re wearing flip flops, and don’t have glasses on, you’re in for a treat.
That’s right. Jordan Maura Price rocking…. Crocs. *Shudders* Hopefully, never again. But, I get it…. safety first. Style: last.
The tour itself was pretty basic, very little new knowledge to the seasoned brewery tour vet like myself…. but the beer at the end (and at the beginning): woo, baby! Their Rumble IPA toed the line between hoppy, sweet, and complex. An IPA aged in oak? I can get behind this stylistic trend. Up next…
Crooked Stave - An artisanal brewery/taproom located at The Source, this space was gorgeous. The pickins, unfortunately, were a little slim for us, but their sour ale/kombucha blends were refreshing and interesting and, when it came to a more classic sour style, tartness was brought by Between the Staves, a wild ale aged in cognac barrels. A nice boozy bite, I, clearly, was a fan.
I shared SOME with Melissa…. but honestly, I get selfish around sours. SORRY NOT THAT SORRY!
Oh yeah, we also ate some stuff.
Just an INSANE banh mi from D’Deli, Golden, CO’s premiere deli sandwichery, is a hop/skip/jump away from the Coors Brewing Factory. Which really didn’t mean a lot to me, since we didn’t go there, but it’s ALSO right around Mount Falcon and Red Rocks, where we enjoyed a casual 6 mile hike featuring a run-in with a rattlesnake and playing “dodge the mountain biker”. It involved drenching myself in sweat and caking my body in dirt. LOVE NATURE (I’m only 80% sarcastic right now.)
After all that hiking, we really felt as though we earned those sammies. And as sloppy delicious as they were…. they really paled in comparison to the true (non-alcoholic) treat of the trip.
OMG OMG OMG VOODOO DOUGHNUTS! Clockwise from the top right: Old Dirty Bastard (Raised yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, Oreo’s™ and peanut butter!), blueberry cake doughnut (blueberry dough with a glaze), and the coup de grace, the Memphis Mafia (Fried dough with banana chunks and cinnamon covered in a glaze with chocolate frosting, peanut butter, peanuts and chocolate chips on top!)
Me, for scale. That bad boy was about the size of my head…. and tasted far better than I imagine my head would taste.
I got back to Philly around 1 a.m. Sunday night (err… Monday morning technically?) and crashed the hardest. But not too hard… See, there’s this little Philly Beer Week thing with like, a thousand events, and I couldn’t very well miss that.
Cheers, Denver. You were good to the last drop/bite. I can’t wait to head back!