Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Water Ice for Days

One day after work my friends Steve and Bunny took me out for water ice at Italiano's. Steve told me he grew up around the corner and would see the old italian men squeeze lemons into buckets for the lemon water ice.
It's still made that way today and its magical. It looks exactly the way you want a water ice place to look with the all the signs and and a little window. I love that they have the italian gelati which is coffee ice cream in hazelnut water ice, AMAZING, fit to be a high end restaurant "ironic" comfort dessert. Bunny got watermelon, which was amazing and actually tasted like watermelon rather than bubblegum, Steve got pina colada which had a pineapple on the bottom, and my favorite was vanilla.
You know how you always want vanilla extract to taste how it smells? Well Italiano's vanilla water ice taste the way vanilla extract smells, awesome!
Italiano's Water Ice
12th and Shunk St.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Over the top comfort food from the former chef of Lacroix. The kind of things cooks dream and joke about making but they can't because all their customers are 80 year old ladies from the main line.

The already infamous foie gras poutine was decent but seemed a little bit too refined for such a guilty pleasure. But the KFC sweetbreads were delicious. Breading that really tasted like fast food but fancied up with light pea risotto. Smoked buttermilk pierogies so good we ordered a 2nd plate.

Fried oysters, tater tots with with green goddess dressing, bone marrow... all really good, and the vinegar chicaharonnes were insane, crispy on the outside and an explosion of filthy hot squirting fat on the inside. We were drunk and ordered a side of carmel sauce to dip them in. Delicious. Great desserts too. Ricotta Doughnuts and some sort of apple crumb cake served in a skillet. Super homey but still kinda modern like everything else on the menu.

The only thing we didn't like about this place was the awful house music they were pumping in. I can't understand why a place with food this good has to go for the douchey old city dance party vibe.

Oh and the 14 dollar fancy cocktails were actually really good. Not usually my thing but the grapefruit / poppy seed drink is perfect for this 100 degree weather (and not as sweet as I expected). And for a restaurant only open a few days (we went the 1st weekend) It ran like a place that had been there for 2 years. Also awesome that the kitchen is open 'til 1am.

5th & Bainbridge

Rock n Rob

I checked out Texas Weiner on Snyder for the first time in a while.
The "Rock n Rob" sausage and broccoli rabe with melted provolone was awesome. Seems like what they were going for with the South Philly Dog at Citizens Bank Park but this is done right.

Also got a regular TW with the greek sauce and cheese wiz.
Love how they split the dogs and smash the rolls into oblivion and everything oozes together. Hopefully they will be around for another 90 years. Get a "blackjack" for your next party- 21 dogs and I think it comes with a free tote bag.

Texas Weiners
1426 Snyder

Monday, July 26, 2010

P & S Hoagies

Add another to the list of awesome South Philly Hoagies. P&S Ravioli has freezer cases full of homemade meatballs, ravioli and "gavadeels" but the people were all lined up for sandwiches like the Godfather, jam-packed with sopressata and dry capicola on Liscio's seeded bread, with roasted longhots added for 50 cents.

We tried 2 other specialty hoagies, all some combination of prosciutto, various kinds of capicola, mortadella, etc - the meats here all top notch and thinly sliced to order. Also tried a Turkey hoagie which was fine but looked weak next to the jam packed italian specialty hoagies.

They also do hot sandwiches, chicken cutlets and all that but not on Sunday. Don't know if it has something to do with zoning laws or church or maybe the cook's day off. I was dying to try the homemade meatball parm but having to settle for a cold sandwich wasn't so bad since it was 109 degrees. Also every deli side under the sun from pepper shooters and broccoli rabe to macaroni and potato salad.

They have two other shops in the city, plus locations in Havertown and Jersey but not sure if they all do sandwiches. Counter ladies were super nice especially considering our sweaty, hung over state on a Sunday morning. Actually it's pretty surprising they are open at all because most everything else down that way was closed Sundays.

P & S Ravioli and Deli
1722 Oregon Ave

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Torta Cubana

Awesome "Cuban" Torta from Los Gallos. (10th & Wolf)
Breaded beef, shredded pork, ham, refried beans, mayonnaise, avocado, pickled peppers, mexican cheese, etc.
This thing is HUGE.. enough to feed about 2 or 3 people.

Since writing about them a few weeks ago I order from this place at least once a week. Always fantastic plus they deliver.

Los Gallos
10th & Wolf
215 551 1245

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

La Croix at the Rittenhouse Hotel

For my 30th Birthday Nicki called me up and told me she made reservations for Birthday Brunch at La Croix. Nicki is the kind of girl who always told me if she could live in a hotel, she would. She's that fabulous. She works hard and leisures hard. So who am I to turn down this fabulous gift. I admit I had no idea what kind of food was in store for me at La Croix. I had just assumed because it was the Rittenhouse hotel ( yech carpeting...) that it would be fabulous old lady food. I'm a fool, and it was delicious, and clever.

There was a raw bar, a dessert bar, and into the kitchen lies the goods, a charcuterie spread, and HOMEMADE PORK ROLL with smoked ketchup. Smoked ketchup might be what dreams are made out of, and having it all served by dreamboat kitchen dudes, made the birthday brunch. I would have eaten more but French Champagne got in the way......

Everything was amazing, I could barely get through it all, it's a good thing the portions were small. But here are the highlights:

avacado tart ( a darling mousse-y thing)
some sort of bacon coleslaw situation ( 2 servings please )
deep fried french toast with (gasp) salted toffee syrup
a savory bread pudding ( I missed it but Nicki loved it )
Spicy Bloody Mary Bar
Some kind of baby crunchy croissant
duck pate and that white chocolate mustard
Homemade Pork Roll with Smoked Ketchup ( HOME RUN)
Foie Gras Frosted Banana Bread

Thanks Nicki, it was lovely.

La Croix
The Rittenhouse Hotel
210 West Rittenhouse Square
(215) 546-9000

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Artist Series : Martha Rich

Hot Damn, Martha Rich. I love this ladies work, subject matter, and hanging out with her. Martha's paintings of food make me hide in my house with a bag of Mcdonald's or make me want to eat frosting out of the can, the really really pink kind. Plus her drawings of ladies hit a special soft spot of mine when it comes to the lady subject matter of vintage underwear. So basically Drawing For Food might be Martha Rich's biggest fan.

DFF:Whats your favorite deadline snack?
MR:When I am on deadline I forget to eat.

DFF: Whats your favorite food to paint?
MR: cakes, lobsters, weeners

DFF: Whats your favorite meal in Philadelphia?
MR: Special #8 at Cafe Nhuy. I am still exploring. Being in grad school often means eating from trucks. I like the Magic Carpet Truck and the Buttercream truck. Philly needs more awesome food trucks!

DFF:Pudding Pop or Pudding cup?

DFF:Whats your " I'm gonna impress" Dish?
MR: Either Scrumptious Spanish Chickpea and Chorizo Soup or Roasted Chicken Breast wrapped in Pancetta with Leeks and Thyme (both from Jamie Oliver whose cookbooks I LOVE!)

DFF: HOT DAMN Martha Rich

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


At 3rd & Wolf, right down the street from Michael's Deli - home of the double philly surf & turf hot dog hoagie - is a small corner bakery with no name. Inside are your standard South Philly Italian bakery cookies but also trays and trays of homemade donuts in sizes and shapes I have never seen before. Smallish, square cream filled things that look like a cross between eclairs and donuts. Then these super thin ring donuts, pretzel shaped black & white cookie-ish donuts as well as more standard donuts.

Convinced I had discovered some wild South Philly regional donut variation with an exotic Italian sounding name I nervously asked- "what are these square things over here?" to which the counter woman replied -"donuts."

"And how about these ring pastries over here?"

"Donuts. They're all donuts. 6 bucks a dozen."

Anyway these were some decent freshly made donuts, with my favorites being the black & white pretzel and the light & airy cream filled small square ones - about 2 or 3 bites each and not too hard to eat 3 or 4 with a cup of coffee.

3rd & Wolf

Hot Dog Of The Week Update

Just in case you thought Drawing For Food was getting quiet in the Hot Dog department... here's a roundup of Hot Dog Of The Week articles from the last few weeks.

Michigans • Plattsburgh, NY

"Michigans" aka "Texas Red Hots" are a distinct regional style of hot dog specific to the northeastern corner of New York State and also spilling into Vermont and Montreal - although in Montreal the sauce is quite different.

A Michigan Hot Dog is a bright red natural casing frank, on a unique quasi new-england roll, with chopped onions, yellow mustard and a healthy dollop of "Michigan sauce" - related to Detroit Coney sauce but evolved over 90 years into a unique local tradition.

Clare & Carl's, Mcsweeney's, and Gus's Red Hots are the big three but there are stands all over the area, many of which claim to use some version of the super-secret original Michigan Sauce recipe of Mrs. Eula Otis, who moved to Plattsburgh NY from Detroit in the 1920's and opened a Hot Dog stand with her husband, but apparently also worked at competitor Clare & Carl's where she left behind a different version of the recipe.

A fascinating legend possibly involving some sort of hot-dog love triangle, complete and utter nonsense, or some combination of the two which is usually the case with regional food folklore.

I was up there this winter and unfortunately Clare & Carl's was closed as Plattsburgh is basically a frozen ghost town until May. We did stop at Gus's where the sauce is super thick & definitely unique.. the further north you get the "greek hot dog sauce" seems to taste less and less like chili, with more of an allspice/ cinnamon / clove taste to it.

Also can't forget to mention that Gus's has some amazing gravy fries and a delicious fried perch sandwich - fish pulled right outta Lake Champlain a few hundred feet away.

Serious Eats: Hot Dog Of The Week - Plattsburgh Michigans

Michigan Hot Dog facebook page
A great place for recommendations on out of the way spots.

Clare & Carl's
open 11am - 9pm, roughly May through September
4729 NY-9,
Plattsburgh, NY

Gus's Red Hots
3 Cumberland Head Rd
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
(518) 561-3711


Bark • Brooklyn

Finally made it to Bark, Brooklyn's artisinal hot dog boutique which lays it on a bit thick with the shabby-chic environmentally friendly retro diner-vibe, but wins with some of the most amazing looking hot dogs I've ever seen.

Maybe the biodegradable plastic cups and reclaimed amish barn furniture have the park slope eco-yuppies feeling less guilty about devouring 3 or 4 lard-basted Hartmann's franks covered in bacon and maple syrup braised baked beans. But when you're done pondering the cognitive dissonance, you're left with classic american hot dogs executed at a level that's hard to find anywhere else. Also, great onion rings, washed down with local Brooklyn beer and/or 24 oz cans of Bud Light.

Serious Eats: Hot Dog Of The Week - Bark

Bark Hot Dogs
474 Bergen Street
Brooklyn NY 11217


Johnny's Hots • Philadelphia

The hot dogs are fine, but the thing to get at this stand on the side of the road along the northern edge of Delaware Ave in Philly are the Hot Sausages on a fresh Liscio roll, with some longhots or covered in sweet pepper hash. Also available is the infamous Philly Combo on either hot dog or sausage.

Johnny's Hots is open from 4:30am til 3pm every day but Sunday. Standing room only.. and apparently also a great spot for cheesesteaks.

Serious Eats: Hot Dog Of The Week - Johnny's Hots

Johnny's Hots
1234 N Delaware Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19125
(215) 423-2280