Birthday Bloody Marias!

Birthdays are a time for friends and phenomenal food, dancing and dresses, and, of course, tiaras and tequila.

Well, I guess some of those are optional, but when available, one should always jump on the opportunity to enjoy a boozy brunch with some of your favorite people (and ingredients). When the folks from Williams-Sonoma reached out to ask how I put my own spin on a traditional Bloody Mary, I had a quick flashback to the last only time I’ve ever enjoyed tried the classic brunch beverage. It involved a premade, super salty mix that tasted like tomato soup and disguised any and all hint of alcohol. In other words: silent, spicy, and deadly.

It was time for a change. Time to make sure that, as I celebrated another year passing, I let my brunch drink grow up with me.

Enter: Juicers!! My hostess for the weekend and her partner are the proud owners of a Breville Juice Fountain Compact that we used each day of my visit. This power-house packs a punch, and our juicing was efficient and yielded excellent, juicy results. I also couldn’t help but notice that it was small enough that it COULD fit into even MY itty bitty apartment…. maybe I’ll treat myself for my NEXT birthday!!

We'll just call this the small wonder.

We’ll just call this the small wonder.

Although we couldn’t find any Jamaican Jerk Paste, we used one of my favorite show’s Jamaican-Style Bloody Mary recipes, and subbed tequila for vodka (we were enjoying jalapeno cream cheese, seemed only fitting).

The ingredients were fresh, fun, and (most importantly) GREEN! It’s my favorite color. I like to stick with themes.

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Love those tomatillos!

The pepperoncini replaced poached shrimp as a garnish and we rimmed our glasses with my new FAVORITE spicy spice, Saint Lucifer Habanero Blend. This Bloody Maria is NOT for the faint of heart (or tastebuds).

I got to juicing. And, JUST LIKE THAT, it was juiced!

WHIR WHAM BAM!

WHIR WHAM BAM!

Faster than a speeding bullet, and FAR fresher than any pre-packaged blend of tomato juice, this Bloody Maria was spicy, savory (thanks again, Worcestershire Sauce!), and super-sippable.

And not at all soupy.

unnamed-4I don’t think I’ve become a full on Bloody convert, I tend to prefer my brunch bevvies to be bubbly…. but throw some huevos rancheros on a plate, hit me with some chilaquiles, and I’d make this Bloody Maria part of any and all future brunches!

Bottoms Up!

Bottoms Up!

 

 

*Full Disclosure: A member of Williams-Sonoma’s social team reached out to ask if I could write a post featuring some juicers, which worked out really well since we’d already planned a boozy birthday brunch! That said, I received no compensation from them for this post.*

 

 

Which Philly Beer Garden Should You Visit?

I don’t know if you’re aware of this but, when it comes to Philadelphia Beer Gardens… I’m kind of a local celebrity.

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No big, that’s just me, Jordan Price, 26, relaxing in the PHS Pop-Up Beer Garden…. featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Apparently, I lounge so well that photographers just wanna snap shots. I get it.

If you’ve spent any time with me this summer, you’ll know that I suggest a beer garden pretty much every single night. Because when the sun (or moon) is shining, the temperatures are as comfortable as they’ve been, and Philly’s BGA (Beer Garden Abundance) Scale is off the charts, why WOULDN’T you want to bring a bunch of friends and nosh/sip in the great outdoors?

But you might be wondering: Which of the new Philly beer gardens is the right fit for me?

Wonder no longer. I got you girl (and guy. And puppy. And whatever.)

1. First up, the annual delight that is The PHS Pop-Up Garden

1438 South Street
Dog Friendly
Alcoholic drinks range from $6-7
Used to accept credit cards… now I think cash only!
Food: Jerk Chicken and rotating food trucks

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Last year’s PHS Pop-Up Garden gave off this very rustic, autumnal vibe. You wanted to spend an entire Indian Summer there. This year, the vibe is much more Ikea wishes you a “Bienvenido a Miami” (Smith, 1997). Located between Broad and 15th on South Street, I’ve visited this spot a handful of times and each experience has been… mostly pleasant. They bring in tasty food trucks and are right next to the jerk chicken hut if you’re feeling peckish.

My only complaint would be the size, which lends itself to a major issue: the dreaded PPP (porta-potty-proximity). When the wind shifts, and it’s a little later in the evening, the area closest to the porta potties begins to smell more than a little ripe.

This Beer Garden is perfect for:
-Outdoor Dates (even if it’s just you and your puppy) or small groups
-A little hammock relaxation (mind you there are only a handful, so get em while they’re hot!)
-YOU! Especially if you’ve always been known by your friends as “that guy” or “that girl”. The one rocking the fedora year-round, who yearns to take their talents to South Beach. And if you dig something other than beer, while you can’t swim up to this bar, you can definitely nab a refreshing dark n’ stormy or vodka basil lemonade (which is…. so good) to beat the heat.

2. Independence Beer Garden

100 S. Independence Mall West (AKA Directly across 6th Street from the Liberty Bell)
NOT Dog friendly
Alcoholic drinks $6-7/18-21 (beer/pitchers); $7-9/24-31 (cocktails/pitchers)
Accepts credit cards!
Food: IT’S AMAZING! Every bite I’ve had has been great, and features everything from cheese curds, wings, and fries (FRIED EVERYTHING!) to salads, steak frites, and DIY S’mores.

Photo courtesy of PhillySocial (click for link to twitter!)

Photo courtesy of PhillySocial (click for link to twitter!)

So the Independence Beer Garden (or “IBG” as it’s affectionately known) is not (I repeat NOT) a pop-up. They REALLY want you to know this, and will immediately respond to any tweets with silly hashtags like #WeAreNotAPopUp, #WeAreSimplySeasonal, and #FullLiquorLicense. (If you’re unsure of why they’re so serious about this designation, check out the article on the Liquor Control Loophole that pop-ups utilize, and some of the comments/responses). That said, though, it’s true. On first glance, this may seem like a pop-up. Then you realize: they have a full wait-staff. Two bars running draft lines, making cocktails on the fly, and whipping out wine when requested. Also, their kitchen is pumping out some of Philly’s finest al fresco foods you can find.

We get it, @PHLBeerGarden. You’re not a pop-up. You’re so much more.

They’ve got ping pong, bocce courts, giant jenga, and tons of seating. The bathrooms are basic, but definitely not porta potties, and the space is kept immaculately clean. Needless to say, I love that this spot isn’t a pop-up because there’s the potential for continued presence. Time will tell….

This Beer Garden is perfect for:
-The beer lover! With ten draft lines and the option of getting beer by the pitcher, gone are the days of waiting in line every time you want a single beer. Just stock up on a pitcher and park it by the ping pong table.
-Large groups. Enormous picnic tables that can house 10-14 people (we get pretty cozy, my friends and I), a relatively open bar area, and a very communal vibe, swing by IBG when you’re rolling deep.
-Lunch AND dinner. Serving food from 11am-10pm, you could enjoy a wedge salad for lunch, an afternoon snack of pretzel bites, and end the night with a grilled mahi mahi sandwich (which is FANTASTIC, by the way.)
-Gamers. But maybe not like WoW/Halo… I’m talking people who wanna get competitive, throwing bocce balls and pinging some pong.

3. Spruce Street Harbor Park (SSHP or “The Harbor” for short)

Spruce and S Christopher Columbus Blvd
Open until August 31st
Dog friendly
Alcoholic drinks $6-9 (beer)
Food: The Blue Anchor AND assorted “carnival” goodies like cotton candy and funnel cake. I’ve only tried the shoestring fries. And had to stop because they’re wonderful and my blood pressure asked me to.

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This spot is easily my favorite place to be in Philly during the summer. And, to be honest, maybe just my favorite place in Philly. SSHP has literally everything I could ask for in a little garden oasis paradise:

  • It’s puppy and child friendly, so I get to watch joyful small creatures scamper about.
  • It’s on the water, and occasionally hosts events like SUP Yoga and little duck paddle boats, as well as a river breeze that refreshes the soul.
  • SAND! It’s like we’re at the beach! On the sand, you’ll find picnic tables, mini circular tables, and adirondack chairs (some with their own pillows. SUCH LUXURY!)
  • Hammocks, far as the eye can see. Like… over 55 hammocks.
  • Oh yes… and at night…. magical fairy twinkle lights.

photo 2I’m not one to speak in hyperbole [yes, I am] but this place is THE BEST!! Whether going to read a book in the dwindling remnants of sunshine or enjoy a cold brewski on the scenic (kinda) Delaware River…. I am trying to spend all my time here.

This Beer Garden is perfect for:
Literally any sized group. Singles, families, date night, giant posses. There is a spot for you.
-BABIES! More appropriately: The whole family! There are toys, occasionally live music, video game mini-arcades, giant chairs on which to take photos. It’s ideal.
-Instagrammers. I can’t tell you how picturesque it is, so just like…. search Instagram. Hammock foot photos (totally guilty), lit-up floating gardens (also guilty), adirondack selfies, that enormous chair I just mentioned, twinkle fairy paradise.
-Gamers AGAIN!: Giant Chess! Giant Jenga! I think I saw large Lego blocks. Definitely shuffleboard. And ALSO: those video games that TRUE gamers dig.
-Honestly? ANYONE! I can’t imagine the person who wouldn’t like this place. And if you’re that person…. well, I guess I’ll see you in the autumn. Because I’m Harbor Park-ing until the bitter end (August 31st).

 

The Dog Days of Summer 2k14

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.

unnamed-1 8.18.24 AMI 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!

unnamed-2 8.18.24 AMA 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.

unnamed-4 8.18.24 AMChef 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….

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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.

unnamed-8 8.18.24 AMSerrano’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.

unnamed-7 8.18.24 AMBridget 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!

unnamed-9 8.18.24 AMThe 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.

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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.

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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.

Hot Dog-ception.

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…

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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!)

 

 

 

And They Called It Puppy Loooooove

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.

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Folks, meet Cornwallis “Wally” Price, the newest member of my already-large family!!

photo 2Wally 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.

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He sits like an awkward frog, and nibbles on everything. And I am absolutely in love with him.

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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?

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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.

 

Don’t mind if I #DoACNightlife

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.

unnamedA 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.

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But then, we walked inside.

Oh my god.

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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?

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Those sliders, though.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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It was a night to remember. An affair to remember. And one of the most important things to remember, they remembered.

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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.

Eat. Drink. Denver.

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!

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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.

Highlights included:

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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.

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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…

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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.

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I shared SOME with Melissa…. but honestly, I get selfish around sours. SORRY NOT THAT SORRY!

Oh yeah, we also ate some stuff.

ImageJust 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.)

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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.

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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!)

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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!

 

Guess who’s almost a graduate?

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Whipped up this little number for my culminating presentation. Admittedly, the contents are ACTUAL results of a qualitative analysis I worked on tirelessly (well… maybe tire-fully. or tired-fully. Which is to say: I’m very tired.) BUT this Tuesday, it all comes to a head. And in case y’all are interested in coming to hear a talk on factors influencing condom use on Tuesday morning, you let me know. 

If not, well…. don’t be surprised if you see one rowdy gal at the Phillies game Tuesday night.

(Here’s a confession: Can’t wait to return to blogging. I just want to write about things like new delicious restaurants and Philly beer week and my upcoming trip back to Denver and the fact that I’m gainfully employed and the summer that shines promising in the distance. Soon folks. Graduation is just around the corner.)

Flavors of the Avenue (East Passyunk Avenue, to be exact).

If you’re wondering where I’ve been, I have no excuse. Except one:

So, this one time, grad school happened.

Hopefully that’s enough for y’all.

But last night, something incredible happened. Something so delicious, so inspiring, so exciting…. I just had to come out of temporary retirement to share with the gang. I was invited to be part of a lucky group of bloggers, journalists, Twitter-heads, Instagrammers, and general men-and-women-about-town to get a little taste of one of the most delicious spots in Philadelphia. East Passyunk Avenue! Named a Top 10 Foodie Street in America by Food & Wine Magazine and the Top Food Neighborhood in Philly by Zagat, East Passyunk is a bit out of the way of my standard Center City fare, so I haven’t been out terribly often. MY MISTAKE! 

We started at POPE (aka the Pub on Passyunk East). Admittedly, I’d only been here for beers before, so I wasn’t sure what was in store, edibly. Luckily, they eased me in with a familiar friend.

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Ah, beer. Opened with a genuine East Passyunk Avenue bottle opener of my own! Lagunitas IPA, to be exact, a personal favorite. 

On the menu: Thai spiced wings, habanero mole, and a chipotle tomato soup with a parmesan tuile. This ain’t your mama’s pub fare.

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The thai wings rocked my mouth with heat (I blame the IPA, probably my bad… I couldn’t resist). The mole wings were much more chocolatey than expected, making me wonder if I should rethink my feelings about cooking dishes with chocolate…. But my favorite was probably the soup. Maybe because I’m a firm believer that adding the word (and ingredient) “Chipotle” to anything immediately improves it at least threefold.

Up next, Ippolito’s Seafood Market.

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At first glance, one might wonder “Wait… this isn’t on East Passyunk… why was it included?” I’ll respond to that by saying DON’T QUESTION WHEN SOMEONE OFFERS TO FEED YOU SEAFOOD and also, apparently they provide a lot of the seafood to the businesses that are on the Avenue, so there’s a healthy relationship. Speaking of healthy relationships, I made a very healthy one with this very photogenic tuna tostada (though it sort of looked more like a taco to me…) with spicy mayo and a squirt o’ lime.

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And, since we’re ballers, a few oysters (Cape May Salts) on the halfshell. Some folks were wary… but they came around.

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(And there you have JP’s first homemade GIF in a post!)

Next stop, to keep things fancy, was Fond, contemporary American cuisine and one of the cutest spots I’ve seen. Starting today, they’ll start offering outdoor seating, too, so go forth and develop your own fond feelings for Fond. Oh, and try the chicken liver mousse with pickled red onions.

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If you could also do yourself a solid and grab a glass of prosecco, ideally consumed after a happy toast with Tory Keomanivong, the dining manager…. well, consider yourself blessed. We also had a few folks that were wary of chicken liver, but I was less aggressive in my urging of them to dig into the crostinis. Selfishly, of course. TWO FOR ME! And none for Gretchen Wieners.

One word. Four syllables. Get ready to wanna say this all the time: Bitterballen. Literal translation: fried pork meatballs made with nutmeg, served with mustard. Pronounced “bYitter-ballen”. Best served al fresco from the arms of Chef Joncarl Lachman of Noord. My first foray into Scandinavian/Dutch cuisine, I couldn’t have asked for a better guide.

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And the inside of the restaurant…. stunning space. Take me back.

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You might be thinking, that’s a solid four restos. You probably had enough, right JP? 

This isn’t amateur hour, we’ve only just begun.

Chiarella’s Ristorante, a cozy old-school Italian spot, has tables great for large parties, recently was featured on Kitchen Nightmares and, according to Philadelphia magazine, survived and has benefited from Gordon Ramsay’s criticism. If their eggplant rollatini is any indication…. they’re not just surviving, but thriving.

ImageConfession: before last night, I’d never tried anything rollatini.

What was I thinking?

Breaded eggplant stuffed with goodness? Get your head in the game, Jordan.

Izumi was our next stop, featuring trays of pork gyoza with Pickled Cucumber (which, IMHO, made this dish).

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Pardon the crummy photo, gyoza gobbling happened so fast I hardly had time to snatch my camera out!

At this point, I was stuffed so full of food, complimentary wine, and Instagramming that I’ll be honest, strolled over to Marra’s in a bit of a daze. I’m pretty SURE it was Marra’s. However, I struggled to fit more foods into my body. But I mean… just look at it.

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Please, gnocch-me that gnocchi. I couldn’t resist a few small bites….

The after party was at a not-so-secret soon-to-be Townsend, featuring some cupcakes I sadly had to pass up (40 days of no sweets has turned into quite the test of my will)… But hopefully y’all are sated enough by the mounds of food pr0n I’ve offered up that you won’t hold it against me. And if this hasn’t made your salivary glands (and the rest of you) yearn for the goods on East Passyunk, I’m clearly rusty.

Big ups to the folks at Aversa PR, especially the media mogul Kory himself, for the invite. You’ve brought me out of blog-hibernation in the most delicious way possible….

 

 

Monday’s Miseducation

So, I learned a lot of things this weekend.

My frenemy, Mary.

Bloody Marys and I don’t get along.  Or, more accurately, we maybe get along too well. I’d never tried one before this weekend, and apparently, they do an exceedingly good job of masking the taste of alcohol.  Dangerous for this girl.  Belated apologies to everyone that had to deal with me after the effect kicked in, I think that’s the last time I’ll be enjoying (?) that particular soupy cocktail.

Vacations are a lot less relaxing when you spend most of the time traveling, even after the initial traveling to get to your destination.

If this article is true, I’m going to live FOREVER.

Wahoo!!!! (Wa-Foo?)

The Foo Fighters put on one hell of a live show.

If DJ Pauly D is performing IN NEW JERSEY, you really should get in line quite early.  Or else you won’t see him.  Luckily, there were plenty of other fist pumping moments to deal with over the weekend.

Who YOU calling ugli, fruit?

Ugli Fruit are real things.  This is not a joke.   And, despite their mottled and lumpy exterior, their insides are juicy citrusy fruits that taste a lot like grapefruit.  So if you’re into that kinda thing, be my guest.

Still warm…

Oui oui

New Jersey’s got the breakfast situation on LOCK. Plump, warm everything bagels, thick slices of Taylor pork roll, enough butter to swim in…. Mama likes it.

Oh, and something I learned today?

If this creature is allowed to exist on the planet, the end is probably nigh.

SPAWN OF SATAN!

I hope y’all are at peace with your makers.  Or really good with bugs….

Any bits of juicy knowledge you learned this weekend? (They don’t ALL have to be related to Jersey.)