Monday, April 30, 2012

New Years Resolution

While I could resolve to find a job that would be a bit more creative, or resolve to move somewhere warm, or make it my mission to lose ten pounds, I chose only one resolution for 2012. And that was to try a lot of new restaurants, perhaps one a week - give or take. Below is that list. I also thought it might be fun if part of the resolution was to make new friends through dining. But I'm not sure how that would work because I don't really have a large enough Philly following for readers to suddenly chime in and say 'yes, I would like to hang out with you in real life and go to x place.' But I'm open to friends of friends and whatnot. Unless they're creepy or weird. Then I'm not open to it. This list is in no order whatsoever, and I expect I'll add a few more in the coming weeks or months.

  1. Hot Diggity
  2. Franklin Fountain
  3. Bibou
  4. Han Dynasty: check, with L., BC, BA and Mr. Ass; a little of everything, salt and pepper scallops particularly tasty
  5. Bistro La Minette
  6. Tashan
  7. Vedge
  8. Lemon Hill: check Jan 17. Just drinks, no food. check again Feb 9th crab dip and soup.
  9. Fond check March 29. W/ T. Five Course Tasting
  10. Maru Global
  11. Monsu
  12. Fish 1/2 DishCrawl sampler, need to go back for further review
  13. Mica
  14. A.Kitchen
  15. Marigold Kitche check early May with CP; crab mac n cheese, salmon with spring fixins, chocolate
  16. Federal Donuts: check 2/12 with L. and BC, coconut curry + Z'atar fried chicken and a dozen fancies and a few hots
  17. Route 6
  18. Talula's Table
  19. Sbraga
  20. Farm and the Fisherman
  21. Salt and Pepper
  22. Llama Tooth
  23. Honest Tom's
  24. POPE
  25. Jamaican Jerk Hut
  26. Southwark
  27. Sang Kee Noodle House
  28. Kyhber Pass: Check Feb 1 fried green tomato blt with collard greens.
  29. American Sardine Bar
  30. Pumpkin
  31. Hickory Lane: Check Jan 23,French Onion soup and tuna tartar with CP.
  32. Vietnam
  33. Isabel Check March, With BC, BA and AS. Guac, fried cheese, rellenos, margaritas.
  34. Sampan: Check 2/25 with M. seven course tasting menu
  35. 4th Street Diner
  36. Tampopo
  37. Han Chon Korean BBQ Restaurant
  38. Ela
  39. Amis
  40. Cheu Noodles
  41. Calaca Feliz: Check 2/22, Guacamole and Elote.
  42. Ramen Boy
  43. Sammy Chon's Chinatown Check, early March with J. Soon Du, Wings, Short ribs.
  44. Jamonera
  45. Nom Nom Ramen Check, April, before Punch Bros show
  46. Dandelion

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lazy Country Day

So a few weeks back I went up to Bucks County and spent the day with Pipo and Yma the Jack Russels. It was gorgeous. I spent the majority of my time either catching up with the new season of Game of Thrones, or walking around looking at the pretty, or lying down in the sun and napping.

Gazpacho and Cocktail c/o Twenty Manning Grill

A few Fridays back I wanted to finally check out Nom Nom Ramen, one of two new ramen joints in Philly, which after a few months of being open, had triumphed as far as positive reviews. Alas, at a little after six they had run out of noodles for the day and were closed. This left me in a bit of a quandary. I was in Center City. I was hungry. I imagined that I might meet up with LW in a few more hours for some darts and didn't want to go all the way back home just to venture back out again. So I began what ended up being a moderately epic amount of walking around trying to find some place to eat. My first idea was Oyster House, but when I went in it was so packed that I just turned right around a left. Then I tried Tria, which had a table open outside, except in order to claim it I had to jump around a construction area and by the time that happened, someone coming from a better direction had nabbed it. Sigh. Then I tried one other place, and it was a no-go. So somehow I ended up at the bar of Twenty Manning Grill. I ordered the gazpacho, which upon its arrival, I realized I had tried before when LB and I went there on one of the hottest nights of my life. This remained a good gazpacho, and the sweet/tartness of the sorbet was a nice counter point.
I also tried the Fancypants cocktail, a homemade earl grey infused Aviation Gin with lemon juice, rose water, and simple syrup. If you're a fan of earl grey, you'd probably be a fan of this drink. I felt my fancypants quotient rise significantly after my first few sips.
After I had eaten and enjoyed my cocktail, I met up with LW at the Black Sheep. Where we played darts against a dandily dressed man (full suit, with stripes) and his rather beautiful blonde girlfriend (also dressed quite well). Then the bar closed for a private party and we went on to O'Neals - with a fruitless pitstop at both the Bards and Buffalo Billiards - to play even more darts. I was wearing a new dress.
A lovely, if ultimately late, evening with so many different venues. Our night actually concluded, if you can believe it, at McCrossen's.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Breakfast c/o German Village Coffee Shop

On Monday we woke up on the early side then K. and I drove to German Village for breakfast. I think we went to German Village Coffee House. But I need to double check that with K. It's a nice spot that I can imagine gets quite busy/packed on weekends - K. and A. said that there is usually a considerable line on those days. Mondays, however, are fairly low key. We didn't have to wait and quickly got seated with cups of coffee soon in our hands. I chose to go with two eggs, sausage and hashbrowns. All good.
After breakfast we returned to K.'s house and I packed up my stuff and got on the road. On my way into town I had noticed signs for Dillon Dam and decided that on my way back I'd take some back roads and stop there to see what there was to see. Ohio is much hillier than you might think. Or maybe you wouldn't think that and know that it's hilly. In any case, the drive was lovely. A sunny day. Flowers and buds out on most all the trees. The dam itself was what it was. Made me want to go fishing a little.
I'm noticing that I don't keep the camera level when I take photos these days. It's kind of embarrassing. A seriously nice day.
A seriously wonky angle.
After this, I drove on back roads for a bit more before finally getting back on 70 and then 76. I tried to find somewhere interesting to eat lunch. Or a Taco Bell. But didn't find either. This was better for my health, but a little disappointing...road trips are the perfect excuse for fast food.

Easter Dinner Etc

Easter dinner included mashed potatoes (I forget what the specific name for this particular method of preparing them was), chicken breasts, ham, carrots and a fruit salad to boot.
Those potatoes. My god.

A lovely meal. Great folks. I was glad I chose to go the Ohio way for Easter in 2012.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Easter Morning Egg Hunt

Easter morning the relatives all went to church while I enjoyed a morning reading Carol Anshaw's new book. Different kinds of church. Then we headed over to my aunt and uncle's for the day. The kids enjoyed riding their bikes in the cul de sac. Don't tell anyone, but I rode a bike too. And I didn't fall over. I had a moment of thinking bikes weren't so suburbia. Still wouldn't find me riding a bike in the city. Not even with the cutest of bunny ears. I had left my car at my aunt and uncle's the night before due to the various configurations of driving we had done with the kids and the country. On Sunday morning E. came over after K. and A. had left for church. I guess he thought they were meeting up there. Once it was established that they were already gone he made a slight comment about how a good project for my afternoon might be making my car less of a disaster area. It's true, compared to all of their cars, my car was a righteous failure. I'm not one of those people who leaves food in my car to rot. But I am one of those people who leaves papers, empty plastic bottles, parking vouchers from two-year old camping trips, and who knows what else, in my car for pretty much all eternity. By the time we arrived at the house, E. had already cleaned my outside windows. It did seem like the thing to do, so I got a trash bag and dealt with a lot of the non-recyclable well as the bottles. Then E. started vacuuming. The end result? A car that hasn't been this clean since I bought it in 2008.
My big thing was the egg dyeing and then hiding the eggs for the kids. None of the other adults were half as excited about the possibilities of this opportunity. K. had insisted days before that if the kids weren't searching for eggs with candy inside of them, they wouldn't care. I accepted this as fact but...I think if I were to return to Ohio next year, I'd try to see how they would react if the prize of candy was rewarded as a result of who found the most eggs. Except, of course, that they would all get candy because I'm not trying to start a child revolt. The revolutions of children are powered mostly by tears and tantrums, two things I have no interest in supporting. Anyways. M.'s three oldest and two neighbor kids actually had two egg hunts. Ours was the second. The kids found all the eggs and enjoyed it. Success.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Grove City Tacos and Eggs

Once in Grove City we got down to the business of egg dyeing. This was my most successful egg. A mix of wax and rubber band placement helped it shine. Also, these photos are totally not 100% chronological.

A. and K. a duo not to be trifled with.
Baby R. the newest member of M. and S.'s family. The youngest of the cousins. Can we just talk about how precious that hat is? Good. I'm glad we did.
I. at one point in the evening came across her sister lying sedately on the floor and toddled her way over to her.

After this I. started patting her sister on the belly like one would a dog. A little too strenuous. I love how gentle is a word children generally learn early in life through their acquaintance or run-ins with kittens, puppies or real live actual babies. Oh look, K. and A. again. If these photographs were actually sequenced in the order they were taken that would mean that I was a very fast mover and photographer and that all the people in my life move at a quarter speed.
My uncle E. likes to tell the kids to come over to him because he has something for them. Then they do. And then he says I've got a hug for you and gives them a big warm embrace. He does this with a certain mischevious spirit mixed with pure good will and love.
At the end of the evening A., K., M. and I went to the World of Beer. This place had the potential for maybe a week night beer, but on a Saturday night it was definitely bustling. But seating wasn't actually a problem. We didn't have to wait and our seating was decent. The issue really was the combination of the ambient noise of so many people in a relatively cavernous space and the cover band playing on the next floor, but whose microphones and speakers were being transmitted to a series of larger speakers in what felt like every angle and direction. Basically we couldn't hear ourselves, let alone one another. It did have a lot of televisions for sports viewing. It didn't have a menu. Instead it had some sort of agreement with some of the other nearby restaurants for delivery. A representative from one of the different restaurants came to where we were seated and gave us a menu to peruse. Interesting business formula. I don't know if it was synergistic, opportunistic, parasitic orsome other word altogether. So, to conclude, World of Beer seemed like an interesting idea, but on weekend nights, or pretty much any time they have live music I would imagine, it's entirely impossible to talk to anyone not sitting directly next to your mouth.
For dinner L. and M. made taco fixings. There had been some talk of going out to eat. But sounder voices prevailed and what a lovely meal it was. I love me some tacos.

Day Out in the Country

A. grew up about 45 minutes or so outside of Columbus, maybe closer to an hour (we left from closer to Grove City). So on Saturday his family was coming together for a pre-Easter Easter celebration. A.'s sister, who was hosting the lot of us, has an alapaca business, so K. thought it might be nice to bring along a few nephews and nieces so they could get a little time in the wilds/give their parents M. and S. a little break. The last time I saw these kids they looked more like this. Now all three are looking even more grown up ... and they have a new baby sister to boot!

There was a great spread for lunch. I ate a little of everything and contributed a vat of my mac n' cheese, which seemed to go over pretty well.
K. and A.
K. practicing fielding a pop up (kind of).
A. and I walked over to the alpaca enclosure with a few carrots. I wanted to give a few different ones a chance at a great, but this lady was very grabby. There always is that one horse in a field that is all sweet with you but bullies the other horses so that it gets all the apple...this was that horse in alpaca form.

Basically from the moment K. saw W. it was wrestling time. Seriously. For hours. W. has the stamina and patience of a saint.
In this photograph K. is basically telling his younger sister I. that W. is his wrestling partner and playmate and that she would be wise to get off of him immediately. K. then insisted that W. and he had to 'start over.' Which means both of them had to stand up and charge each other before falling to the ground and wrestling.
W., again, was a really good sport. I enjoy wrestling and wrangling and spinning kids more than some, but even I would have cried uncle by this point in the afternoon.

It never ended. They're still on that lawn right now, wrestling away.

Thanks goes out to all of A.'s family for inviting me into their bustling day!