Category Archives: Entree

Paesano’s – Philadelphia, Pa

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Paesano's - Philadelphia, PA

Whenever I visit a new city for the first time, I often peruse through Yelp to get a sense of where to eat. I imagine that most people would have the same thought that we had – Philly Cheesesteak. The problem is that my girlfriend is a vegetarian and I am not. But she wanted to try a veggie version of the cheesesteak, so I decided to put it out there on the boards: Where is the best place to get both a vegetarian and meat philly cheesesteak? Well, it sparked a little debate, a whole lot of suggestions, and the comparison a comparison to DiFara’s Pizza in Brooklyn.

The best recommendation was from Brad “scold penguin every day” P.:

“Eric, please don’t get another cheesesteak on your way out. In fact, please forget cheesesteaks altogether. They hardly represent the vibrant, powerful Philadelphia food scene. If you want a great sandwich, go to Paesano’s.”

Unfortunately Philly cheesesteak, for better or worse, do represent Philly. whether they like it or not. I did not take his advice to skip the cheesesteak. We had one, it was good, but forgettable in the evening when we took Brads advice and went to Paesano’s. The bottom line is that Paesano’s could easily represent all that is unique and wonderful about Philly in one, single, savory bite. If you find yourself even remotely close to Philly, please make a beeline to this place, immediately! My girlfriend had the vegetarian Giardina – Roasted Eggplant, Roasted Fennel, Caramelized Peppers & Onions, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Pesto and I had The meaty Arista – Roasted Suckling Pig, Italian Long Hots, Broccoli Rabe & Sharp Provolone. Pictures below.

Paesano’s
152 W Girard Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19123
267-886-9556

Paesano's - Philadelphia, PA
Paesano’s offers a few small seats and an open kitchen so you can watch them create.

Paesano's - Philadelphia, PA
Ask for your sandwich toasted and heated!

Paesano's - Philadelphia, PA
Giardina – Roasted Eggplant, Roasted Fennel, Caramelized Peppers & Onions, Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Pesto

Paesano's - Philadelphia, PA
Arista – Roasted Suckling Pig, Italian Long Hots, Broccoli Rabe & Sharp Provolone.

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Federal Donuts – Philadelphia, PA

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Federal Donuts - Philadelphia, PA

A few weeks ago I started piecing together components for a stereo system for a record player. I really wanted to get an old Marantz receiver. You can find some vintage ones online that have been refurbed with LED lights but the problem with those old receivers is that they are incredibly expensive and if one component dies on it, you’ll end up with a $500 paperweight…although a Marantz receiver wouldn’t even make a very good paperweight. I bought a new, but decent one and found a couple of 1970′s floor speakers to go with a turntable that I found off of an old fashioned street ad. Turns out that the record player won’t play 45′s correctly, so i’ll be replacing that soon too. I paid $20, so I’m not too horribly broken up about it.

The problem was, that I didn’t have any records. Not one. But I remember playing my dad’s white album when I was a kid. Earlier in the summer there was a Brooklyn Flea record fair at Smorgasburg so I looked into it and it turned out that they weren’t doing another one in NYC this year. BUT they were doing one in Philly – Yes, the Brooklyn Flea – Philly exists. I figured, that alone might be worth the trip. But we’d also have to kind of eat our way through philly too. So we headed out early on a sunday morning with the hopes of finding some great albums. First we made a bee line to Federal Donuts who we heard makes an amazing fried chicken and donuts. We were not disappointed. And it turns out that Philly is a really awesome city! Check out some photos from our trip there. Amazing! We can’t wait for our next trip. I cannot believe that I’ve lived in NYC for 10 years and this is my first trip to Philly – it is only 2 hours away.

Federal Donuts
1219 S. 2nd street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Federal Donuts - Philadelphia, PA
Federal Donuts South Philly Storefront

Federal Donuts - Philadelphia, PA
Indian Cinnamon & Vanilla-Lavender donuts

Federal Donuts - Philadelphia, PA
Sticky Bun Fancy Donut

Federal Donuts - Philadelphia, PA
Banana Cream Pie Fancy Donut

Federal Donuts - Philadelphia, PA
Chili Garlic Fried Chicken Wings

Federal Donuts - Philadelphia, PA
Donut & Fried Chicken

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African Peanut Soup with Collard Greens & Crispy Tofu

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African Peanut Soup.jpg

So I’ve been tinkering with this recipe for a few days. I’ve had many African Peanut Soup and I love them all. Some of the recipes I’ve seen incorporate collard greens, others swiss chard. Some not any greens at all, which doesn’t sound fun. I made this really simple but love the slight bitterness of greens against the saltiness of the peanut which also provides just a touch of sweet. A lot of recipes call for brown sugar or sugar, but I think its perfectly balanced to omit it and just go straight for the real natural flavor. A little crispy tofu, chopped minutes and a finish with sea salt, makes it perfect. Hope you agree.

African Peanut Soup
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 quart vegetable broth
2 medium carrots, diced
1 bunch Collard Greens, chopped
1 cup peanut butter
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp finely chopped peanuts (for garnish)
sea salt
Sriracha

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, cook 5 minutes or until they begin to sweat. Add spices and stir. Add vegetable broth, carrots and collard greens. Cook for about 30 minutes until the carrots are fully cooked. Add peanut butter and coconut milk and pulse with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender (careful, HOT!) and blend until there are no more chunks. Pat dry some tofu and fry on medium heat on all sides until crispy, put tofu on top, finish with peanuts and sea salt and maybe a little Sriracha.

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Low Carb Asian Recipe – Vietnamese Salad with Pork & Shrimp

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Vietnamese Salad with pickled veggies, pork and shrimp (Bahn Mi Salad)

This has been the week of crazy cravings. My regular go to on cheat day is a Bahn Mi and a bubble tea. This last cheat day, I got drunk and forgot, stumbling home from the bar only to stop at some sub par pizza place to soak up the alcohol (Hey it’s cheat day, i can do what I want…don’t judge me!).

So I’ve been thinking about all the things that add up to make a bahn mi. Meat, butter, mayo, french bread, pickled vegetables, Sriracha… I knew I could do something similar in a salad – a low carb asian recipe that tastes similar to a vietnamese bahn mi.. Yes…I can, as it turns out. I used romaine lettuce. I don’t know if that is bad from a culinary perspective, but it worked for me. Perhaps you want to try boston lettuce, so that you aren’t the butt of every vietnamese chefs’ jokes. I then sauteed some garlic with pork and chopped shrimp. To pickle the veggies…well, I really couldn’t pickle them. Instead I just let them soak in a mixture of rice wine vinegar, water and salt, plus a little stevia to sweeten the deal and then finished cooking the meal. The pickling brine that I made ends up making a nice little dressing once you add a little soy sauce and sriracha. Check out the recipe below.

Vietnamese Salad with Pork & Shrimp

1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound shrimp, cleaned & chopped into small pieces
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 large carrot, julienned
1 seedless cucumber, juliened
1 bunch green onion, roughly chopped
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp stevia
2 cups bean sprout, drained and washed
1 head romaine, finely sliced
3 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
chopped unsalted peanuts for topping
sesame oil
soy sauce

Prepare the quick brine by mixing vinegar, water, salt, and stevia together. Add cucumber, onion, and carrot, cover with a paper towel and set aside while cooking. Heat a saute pan on medium high heat, add the ground pork and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently to break it up. Add the shrimp and stir for 4-5 more minutes. Add the soy sauce and mix until well incorporated. Remove from heat.

On a large salad plate, assemble a layer of lettuce, then a layer of the meat mixture, then a layer of the pickled vegetables. drizzle a little of the vinegar mixture over the top, followed by a little soy sauce and sesame oil. Then a little drizzle of sriracha, to your taste. Voila, salad complete!

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4 Amazing Brooklyn Doughnut Shops – Brooklyn, NY

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Amazing Brooklyn Doughnuts

Emily and I rarely eat doughnuts anymore, but since Sunday is our day to go wild, we decided it would be a good day to finally find our favorite doughnut in Brooklyn. We decided to settle it, here and now. Which, of course, is easier said than done. There are different varieties of doughnuts. You’ve got: Cake & yeast, creme filled, jelly filled, pudding filled, iced, sprinkled, glazed. To simplify the selection, we narrowed it down to our preferences. I prefer white-creme filled yeast donuts, like I grew up on (To be honest, Boston/Bavarian Creme is an abomination and putting it into a doughnut is a culinary sin.), then an old fashioned cake doughnut. Emily prefers chocolate yeast doughnuts, preferably not filled with anything. I actually expected different results than what we came up with.

4.) Dunwell Doughnuts – 222 Montrose Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206 – (347) 294-0871
This Vegan doughnut establishment, started almost two years ago in Bushwick may be our least favorite, but it got into the top four for a reason. Their flavors are creative and beautifully honed, the dough, moist and fresh. And to top it off, its the only vegan option in this entire list, if thats important to you. Really love the Spiced pear, and spiced pumpkin as well as their mini cider donuts, which really aren’t that mini.

Amazing Brooklyn Doughnuts

Amazing Brooklyn Doughnuts

3.) Dough – 448 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11205 – (347) 533-7544
Their wildly original flavors and super airy soft dough make them the place we make a bee-line for at smorgasburg in the summer. Their small Bed-Stuy gets cramped quickly, and we wish they would have packed our Chocolate Earl Grey more carefully so it could be included in this photograph, but at least it still tasted good. The Lemon Poppy Seed was tart and tangy, as lemons go.

Amazing Brooklyn Doughnuts

2.) 606 R & D – 606 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238 – (718) 230-0125
Amazing Brooklyn Doughnuts While not technically a doughnut shop, this small restaurant in Prospect Heights, is worth visiting for its doughnuts alone. Their small cake doughnuts remind me of the little diner doughnuts from back home. Its small-town homemade goodness from a very cute little brunch spot. The sugar coated cake doughnuts are moist and sweet and I could eat a dozen of them.
Amazing Brooklyn Doughnuts

1.) Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop – 727 Manhattan Ave, New York, NY 11222 – (718) 389-3676
Growing up, my hometown had this bakery called The City Bakery and they had the most amazing creme sticks ever. We didn’t do the weekend doughnuts often but when we did it was a treat. My father would usually wake up early and go pick up doughnuts and by the time we woke up in the morning, they were ready and waiting for us. I looked forward to those doughnuts whenever I went home to visit, until several years ago it closed down for good. I’ve no idea why they couldn’t make it work. They had a great variety of pastries and baked goods and everything was amazing. But, ah, to hell with my hometown, they are clueless. Since I couldn’t go home to it, I figured, “oh well, NYC has to have something like it or better”. It took a while but then I found it: Peter Pan Donut & Pastry shop in Greenpoint. Their creme sticks are just as good as what I remember as a kid. The place is a basic diner, no pretention and very nice eastern european girls who serve you doughnuts – what more could you ask for? This place gets our top pick because even Emily, who doesn’t care much for creme filled confections, says it was her favorite out of all of them.

Amazing Brooklyn Doughnuts

Peter Pan Donut & Pastry Shop - Greenpoint Brooklyn

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The Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

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The Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich

Everyone knows that the next best thing to Thanksgiving Dinner is the leftovers and nothing is more amazing than The Thanksgiving Leftover Sandwich. Sure you can reheat all the leftovers and eat them individually, but why not compile them all into a mind-blowing sandwich and all you need is a few slices of bread, which you may even have from the stuffing you made the night before. My sandwich uses potato bread, mashed potato, turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and green bean casserole. You can watch the video below to see how it stacks up.



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Staten Island Outposts for Hurricane Sandy Relief

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While working with OccupySandy on relief efforts, we’ve identified several outposts set up to aid local residents. I’ve embedded these outpost locations in a google map below. I’ve visited 5 of these in the New Dorp Beach area and I can tell you a little bit about them when trying to decide where to go.


View Staten Island Hurricane Sandy Outposts in a larger map

192 Ebbitts Street – Rosa Terrace Catering Hall
This catering hall has been converted into a makeshift place for receiving and dispersing donations to the residents of New Dorp Beach. Amazing work they are doing down there. They have a ton of clothes, don’t need more. They have so many that they are going to start throwing them in the trash if they can’t get them out of there. This is also very close to the water so there are a lot of homes in the area that need cleaned out and streets that need swept up. Cleaning supplies come in and immediately get picked up by residents. there is no keeping these things on site.

Cedar Grove Avenue & Ebbits St. – smaller outpost with canned goods and clothing. Cedar Grove Avenue was decimated. There are very few structures still standing, and I’m fairly certain that one fells during one of my walks back and forth while meeting with organizers.

Cedar Grove Avenue & Wavecrest – Large schoolyard filled with clothing that is in bags. If they can’t get rid of them soon, they will be in the garbage. Lots of odds and ends, canned foods, pet food. Cleaning supplies come in and immediately get picked up by residents. there is no keeping these things on site.

Cedar Grove Avenue & New Dorp Lane – Roadside outpost with various goods. It’s small, but mostly clothes and canned goods.

New Dorp High School – New Dorp & Mills – This is the main outpost and fairly far away from the worst damage. Fema is here signing people up. Lots of clothes, canned goods, and everything else. Can’t keep cleaning supplies stocked. These guys have a lot of help and probably not a great place to volunteer, but worth checking out. Check it out, if it seems like things are under control, move on to down the lane. For people dropping donations, it’s the easiest to get to considering that Everything beyond mills road is blocked off.

Every one of these places needs stuff listed here

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Rosemary in Italy – Val D’orcia, Italy

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One of my favorite things about staying in tuscany was the wafting smell of Rosemary when our chef was cooking the evening meal. That beautiful bouquet wafted through all three stories of the tuscan villa and even upon arrival, all you had to do was follow your nose to the kitchen.

On our last day in Italy, the chef made Pici – a hand-rolled pasta made of only flour and water which is native to the specific region of tuscany where we were staying. It was served with a garlic tomato based sauce. The pasta looks like a very thick spaghetti and is very soft with a little toughness in the center, but its not too tough.

It was very tough to leave Palazzolaccio after such an amazing and relaxing time there. Surprisingly relaxing considering we were there to work, but how can you not be relaxed in such a beautiful environment? From here we spent an evening in a not so great place that boasted an amazing meal that fell flat in our minds.


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Pici - Hand Rolled Pasta and marinara

Pici - Hand Rolled Pasta and marinara

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A Tuscan Lunch – Val D’Orcia in Tuscany, Italy

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Tuscan Landscape

A perfect tuscan lunch: Eggplant Parmigiana, Fennel & Oranges, Meatballs…

So as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve completely changed my diet but after traveling 9 hours on a plane eating nothing but nuts, an airplane salad that wouldn’t qualify as a salad on land, and drinking copious amounts of coffee, I found myself weak and in need of something. Our first stop on the road was a roadside gas station/market which is unlike any roadside place in America. The food is very fresh and there is a espresso bar with a crowd of people standing around sipping cappuccinos & espressos. My only option were more nuts and packaged meats, none of which sounded appealing. So I officially broke down, right there on the roadside, somewhere between Rome and Montepulciano and ate bread and cheese. I had a wonderful caprese sandwich and a water to wash away my sorrow. After that, I resigned myself to embracing the Carbohydrate Countryside from that moment on, and embrace it, I did. The following was the second lunch at Palazzolaccio – the second of three. I’ll post the last one in soon. For now, enjoy this lunch.


Lunch in Tuscany - Day 2
Fresh picked flowers

Lunch in Tuscany - Day 2
Fennel & oranges

Lunch in Tuscany - Day 2
Eggplant Parmigiana

Lunch in Tuscany - Day 2
Meatballs

Lunch in Tuscany - Day 2
Tomato’s with breadcrumbs

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