I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

George's Sandwich Shop- Philly

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Calendars of bikini clad girls is a good sign for food

As much as I am interested in eating cheesesteaks in Philly, there are so many places that demand my attention and one of them is George’s Sandwich Shop. Located in the vicinity of the tourist trap Pat’s and Geno’s George’s Sandwich Shop is in the Italian Market. It can easily be missed and brushed off but that would be a mistake on your part. There are stools outside and a small counter inside. There are hotel pans filled with questionable meats, sausages and meatballs but breathe in deep and the aromas beckon you to get a sandwich here.

The classic meatball sub is a must here and simply adorns a crusty roll with a good amount of sauce. The meatballs are tender, light and addictive and the roll is crusty and soft. The sandwich is the complete opposite of dry, flooded is a better word to describe these sandwiches in which napkins are a requirement.

For those that enjoy offal, they have what I first had and then got another to go was their tripe sandwich. The tripe is stewed for god knows how long until it is tender but still posses the unmistakable taste of tripe, giving off that barnyard taste. Get this with onions, long hot peppers for a nice kick. This sandwich does not have much in structural integrity but it makes up in awesome flavor. The sauce/broth that is cooked in is smooth and almost creamy and with the tender tripe, this sandwich goes does easy and quickly.
If you are expecting Crapplebee’s like service, where everyone is chirpy, smiling, rainbows leaking out of their pores and cute animals are making a sandwich (health code violation no doubt) there is a Hard Rock CafĂ© in the Historic District you might enjoy. Like most sandwich places/deli/selling things on a roll, they are frank and to the point. By no means are they unprofessional or not providing adequate service but do not expect to them ask about your day or your hopes and dreams. Personally, I like these kinds of places which is probably why I loves places like Shopsins and such.

George's Sandwich Shop
900 S 9th St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Forcella: Montanara Pie

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: I was told that I was able to have a topping on the side when ordering the Montanara. Only in NY.

We like to scoff at these Midwest fairs that basically fry the hell out of everything and people pretend to be shocked and say things like, “oh my gosh, how can you really eat a fried stick of butter” but they really mean, “oh my gosh, why am I not eating one?” However, ever since Forcella introduced the Montanara pie, New York is one step closer to achieving fried nirvana, or a prescription to lipator. 

I tried it at their newest location on Bowery and the basic run down of the Montanara is that the pie dough is fried in olive oil (hey, olive oil is healthier than butter!) and then gets the Margarita treatment (tomatoes, mozzarella, basil) and finished off in the oven. The pie is a tad smaller than your average Neapolitan pizza but for the price tag of just a 10 spot, how can you complain? The pie, despite taking a bath in oil, is a lot less greasy than you would expect. The fryer treatment turns the pie into a different animal resulting in a little extra chewy and accentuates the flavors of the dough. Only criticism on this pie is that the bottle lacks any char what so ever, something that a good Neapolitan pie should have. At least it had some decent char action on the top of the pie that gave it a hint of smokiness. This is a pie that should eat quickly though, the last couple of bites where the pie started to get cold the greasiness of the pie started to set in. The Montanara pie is now springing up everywhere from PizzArte in Mid-town and at Don Antonino in Hells Kitchen. The Montanara pie is worth trying at least once and it is not as “unhealthy” as you would suspect it to be and should not result in you getting a firsthand replay of that incident at the Heart Attack Grill.

334 Bowery St
Manhattan, NY 10012


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Donut Quest: Federal Donuts

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Hot coffee, even crappy tasting coffee always goes well with donuts

I took a side trip to Philly or the 6th Borough as I heard it referred to once before and I am now going to call it that for now on. In true hipster fashion, I heard about like, Federal Donuts before it was cool. And by that I randomly heard about it before Pete Wells wrote about it in the NY Times (side note, given his current star ratings, I am pretty sure that he would have given this place a 3 star, or maybe a four!~I kid).

Basic rundown, Michael Solomonov of his Israeli cuisine place Zahav in Philly, went and created a casual basically takeout place that serves donuts, fried chicken and coffee. He somehow created a place of all things I like. I gave this place a pretty good once over and went for the chicken and the donuts but for now, the skinny on the donuts.
The donuts are split into two categories, fancy donuts and hot donuts. The fancy donuts are made the day before and they start selling them at 7am and once they are done, they are done. The hot donuts are made to order and take some time but they are quite worth it. Like a true fatty, I sampled all of their doughnut offerings.

First the hot donuts. The hot donuts are straight, no shit sugar donuts. Depending on how busy it gets, and mind you, it gets busy it takes maybe at most 5 minutes before you get your fresh made donuts. They offer 3 kinds of hot donuts, appolonia (sugary cocoa and orange blossom flavored), Indian Cinnamon, and Vanilla Lavender. The donuts are visually, indistinguishable and they only way to tell them apart really is by smell or by eating them. the Appolonia which by far sounds like an exotic sex sugar is subtle on the cocoa and wisps of orange blossom. the vanilla lavender, the lavender is really only detectable by smell alone in my opinion. I think the Indian cinnamon was by far my favorite one, that had a turmeric/cardamon sugar concoction to it. They are sizable, tender and light. I do not know how they fare if you eat them say, 4-5 hours later for I pretty much ate them within 5 minutes after receiving them but if you can wait that long, hooray for your will power.

The girl had a hell of a smirk going on when she realized, i just ordered the entire doughnut menu, I would like to think it is because she was thoroughly impressed (I mean impressing girls is something I am used too) by the sheer manliness and bravery of consuming so many donuts or in reality...she was smirking at my gluttony and food geeking out. I did not eat all of them, though I did try all of them. Anyways, the fancy donuts are made the day before and they have six different kinds that can change up on a daily. The donuts that day were: Pinapple Coconut, Grapefruit Brown-Sugar, S-mores, Banana Walnut, "Razzberry and Halva Pistachio. The fancy donuts are quite dense and not as tender and dabble on the side of being dry. None of them are filled and get a healthy armor-like glaze. All of them taste as advertised and the ones that stood out to me was the Razzberry which was just bold and nice tartness, the Halva Pistachio which had some subtle tahini flavors and a good crunch from the pistachios.

You are waiting for me to make the New York Philly comparison, say maybe Doughnut Plant, but that is not happening. Federal Donuts is not comparable to Doughnut Plant in which they are creating two different style of doughnuts. It is worth a visit if you have never been, the atmosphere in there is communal and welcoming. If you are able to snag one of the 6 stools, it is one of those places where it is natural to strike up a conversation with the people around you and just proves a working theory that fried dough brings all together.

Federal Donuts
1219 S 2nd St
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Osteria Philly

Om Nomz Hero note to self: Everyone should eat more chicken livers

I am a notorious Philly/6th Borough hater and Yankee fan; here were the only good things that came out of Philly:

1.       Sandwiches/hoagies
2.       Rocky
3.       It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
4.       The Constitution

However, with all kidding aside, I started going to Philly a bit more and realized that it was not as bad as I made it out to be and that it has a growing food scene that rivals some of the places in New York. While I still will continue to hate the Philadelphia Phillies as much as I hate the Red Soxs, I am now coming around to the Philadelphia dining scene especially with my visit to Osteria.
Osteria is co-owned by Mark Vetri, one of the biggest chefs in Philadelphia and most knowledgeable American chefs on Italian cuisine. The restaurant under the helm of the very capable hands of Jeff Michaud. Osteria is considered one of Philly’s top restaurant and easily one of the best meals I had in a while. 

Salumi slicer is always a good thing
Osteria is located in North Philly in the non-Killadelphia part of town. The restaurant is spacious and if you can, request a seat on the side terrace that if is a beautiful greenhouse like space that is perfect view of the church next door and soaks up all natural light. Service was great and friendly though the host did that annoying thing where even though I said reservation for one, and confirmed on the phone a day or two before did the, “Oh, just you?” Yes. Just me, after doing some quick math and counting with my fingers, I can affirmatively say, yes I am dining alone\sarcasm.
Bread and olive oil

Cursed with only one stomach, I wanted to eat everything on the menu but I decided to go a bit easy which was hard because the semolina bread, grissini, sea salted foccacia in their bread basket made it hard to resist. I started off light with the porchetta tonnato. This is a variation of the classic vitello tonnato but instead of veal, they use porchetta, which they make with the belly and cure it. It is topped with Italian tuna, not something that is considered to be in the same class as Bumblebee, arugula, celery and parmigiano. To the uninitiated that have not had a vitello tonnato, the combination of pork and tuna sounds like a car crash in your head but once you taste it, it makes sense. The porchetta is slightly rich and nicely salted and the briny fishiness of the tuna works well together. The addition of the bitterness of greens rounds everything out. More Food After the Jump!