Monday, May 30, 2011

Eating Out(side)

Our move is finished. For the first time in nearly 12 years I am not living in a city. But this place has something that not one of my city apartments had - outdoor space. It's only a tiny little balcony overlooking a lawn and some trees, but on a beautiful night like last night, I couldn't have asked for anything more. Except for maybe more crab cakes. Two each of something that delicious just didn't seem like enough.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Fond Philly Farewell

Eight years ago I packed up my tiny Beacon Hill apartment and moved to Philadelphia so that Ryan could go to graduate school. The plan: return to Boston after he finished. In a feat worthy of the Bermuda Triangle, Philadelphia sucked us in and held us (at times against our will) for eight long years. We are moving on, finally. Sadly, not back to Boston, instead to suburban hell ahem a soulless apartment complex a location where we both have manageable commutes and access to services! How's that for damning with faint praise. Here's a little guide to my Philly Favorites, should you ever find yourself down that way.



This is the kind of place where when you are a regular, you feel like a regular. One of us is usually in here daily. They've got tons packed into the tiny shop, like fresh avocados, gluten free treats, nuts, yogurt, and a some prepared salads too! You'll actually feel good about giving them your business.


Also, when you walk home from Maxx's, you can pass the angry cheetah left tied outside a store. I'd tell you which store but it's changed hands I think four or five times since I've lived there. The only constant is the cheetah. I will definitely miss the angry cheetah. Leopard? Maybe it's a leopard? I know nothing about big cats and even less about big cat sculpture.

I'm no Freddy Eynsford-Hill, but when I walk the beautiful streets in my neighborhood I often find myself humming... "I have often walked down this street before...".
Musical Side Note: Bonus points to anyone who can explain to my satisfaction why the hell anyone would take Henry Higgins over Freddy.


Reading Terminal Market may be a tourist mecca, but many of the shops there are actually meant for use by locals. Anyone who is totally broke must check out the dollar bags of veggies at OK Lee. I can't tell you how often I've been grateful for a bag of dollar cauliflower. Martin's is an absolute godsend for my non-pork eating husband. Although they have tons of pork products they have an incredible selection of poultry sausage as well. Sadly, Ochs' butcher stand has closed after 105 years. It's very sad that second rate cheesesteak hawkers and souvenir shops are pushing out legitimate businesses used by actual Philly residents. Do your protein and veggie shopping there if you've got the patience and sharp elbows. You'll need them to shove through the hoards that come to a dead stop in the middle of an aisle to ogle the Pennsylvania Dutch.


Ron's Ribs
is closed. Possibly for renovations. Possibly because chef/owner Kevin has moved on. I won't be there to find out for sure, but if you're in town, you should. Kevin did amazing things with barbecue (or Bar-B-Q). The menu was very small, but oh tasty. If you want a half chicken though, go early or call Kevin to set one aside. Those suckers go fast. It seems to be slated to reopen Summer of 2011, but only time will tell.


Capogiro Gelato Artisans
My waistline will not stand frequent visits here, but oh how I will miss the creamy goodness. They do have mail order, but for me, the joy is selecting the perfect combination (you have to pick two flavors). With 4 city locations there's really no excuse for not stopping by if you're in town. Unless you're a weird person who doesn't like ice cream like my husband.


Leila Cafe -
I feel kind of sorry for this guy. So many restaurants look beautiful but can't execute on food at all. Poor Leila's has the opposite problem. He just moved to a new location (on South Street). The place isn't all that great inside and the waitstaff is a tad neglectful, but the food is really tasty. Last time we went as I was walking home whimpering because I was so full, Ryan suggested we turn around and go back for more. Check them out on GrubHub for a delivery order. Otherwise, pray someone comes to his rescue.


Sang Kee Peking Duck House may even be my choice for our last supper tonight. When I'm there, the orders on the other diners tables always look delicious but I cannot get myself to move past the Peking Duck Dinner for 2. Although the fried rice is seriously not special, the two duck dishes are absolutely heavenly. Mmmm.


I'm sure we'll go back to Philadelphia, but it will never inspire homesickness as Boston still does. It's really a good little city (she says condescendingly about the fifth biggest city in the country). I managed to live there for eight years without falling in love with Water Ice, engaging in a single Pat's vs. Geno's argument, or affecting an Italian accent when ordering prosciutto. All in all, I think it turned out rather well.

Next stop, the burbs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Away Game

For the next few weeks I'll mostly be away. Yes I'll be "cooking" - I feel the need to use the quotes because it's unclear if what I'm doing with food would actually count as cooking - but for the most part I won't be in my own kitchen.

I really have no right to complain, because the kitchen I'm using is my mother's. In the house I grew up in. That's right. I spent 18 years, plus some assorted summers living in this house, helping to cook in this kitchen, but despite that, I'm constantly running into reminders that it is not mine.

1. Took me a solid 5 minutes to locate a cheese grater.
2. My mother does not seem to own salad dressing.
3. She does, however, own 2 different sizes of pizza stone. Just in case.
4. Her own does not run hot like mine. An interesting lesson I should remember for when I'm no longer living in my current apartment. Things take longer to cook when your oven is not automatically set to scorch.
5. In a Through The Looking Glass turn of events, I am no longer without food. Instead I have a list of 800 million things that all must be eaten immediately if not sooner or they'll go bad. If anyone has a use for bacon, kielbasa, a roast chicken and leftover korean food please come forward. Keep in mind that my husband will eat neither the bacon nor the kielbasa.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

'Tis the Season...For Deviled Eggs

We are currently at a crossroads - smack in between Easter and Mother's Day. Whether you have some left over hard boileds that you're dreading facing or are organizing your brunch menu for next Sunday, it is critical that you be able to devil. Besides shower season is upon us and whether they be bridal showers or baby showers, deviled eggs are always a hit. Even when your tray of them has slid off the seat during a particularly violent braking at a stoplight.* Trust me, a bit of paprika, some cosmetic work with a spoon and paper towel, no one will be the wiser.

*Amazingly enough, while I was involved with the repair work, I was not responsible for the egg accident. I will never reveal the name of Melanie the person who was.


6 hard-boiled eggs
4 T plus 1 t mayonnaise (Hellman's is GF)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dijon mustard (Maille is GF)
black pepper to taste

Carefully peel the eggs. Slice each egg in half and with a spoon coax out the yolk into a small bowl. When you've gathered all the yolks add the mayonnaise and mustard and mix well. I usually break up the mixture with the tines of a fork, but people who like it smoother may prefer to something else. Sprinkle in the salt and add the pepper to taste. You can pipe the filling in with a piping bag or by filling a plastic ziploc with eggy goodness, chopping off a corner of the ziploc and squeezing it through. I am usually too lazy for these and instead use a spoon to heap the mixture back into the holes. Sprinkle the tops with paprika.


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