Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A dedication to warm weather - Bridget Foy's

It was 60 degrees here in Philly today! What a tease. However, there was basically a monsoon with 40 mile per hour winds, so I didn't really get to enjoy the warm weather to its potential.

J and I are counting down to the days that we can enjoy good Philly food outside again once it warms up. I didn't have a chance to blog about Bridget Foy's restaurant, so I thought today would be a good day as I countdown to the return of the warmth.

Bridget Foy is located at 2nd and South Street. We were just venturing down South Street this summer (when we had endless amounts of time!) and happened upon it. They have classic American food that's a little more upscale and with a twist.

Duck tacos, hummus, hand cut fries, burgers with chipotle aioli and so much.

We've been back 1 other time since our first visit and the food is always fresh and flavorful. It's also reasonably priced with most entrees under $20. Since it's been awhile since the summer I don't remember specifically what we ordered, but you can see the pics below and I do remember it being delicious :)

The Famous Cheesesteak

If you come to Philly of course you have to try a cheese steak. I will begin with a disclaimer though - I don't eat red meat; therefore everything I share about the wonderful Philly cheese steak is only what I've heard, seen or read :)

First, there "rules" to ordering. The main thing I've learned is you need to say "with" or "without" which refers to whether or not you want the fried onions on your cheese steak. Then, you can pick your cheese. To get an authentic cheese steak you must order it with cheez whiz. Yep that's right, not provolone, not swiss, but cheez whiz! After that, depending on where you are they might have other things like peppers and mushrooms that you can add.

So where can you get a cheese steak?

So if you haven't heard, there's a huge debate between Pat's and Geno's Cheese steaks. They are rivals located in south Philly, at 9th and Passyunk Ave, that literally face each other. They are both open 24 hours a day and you can't really miss them with their bright lights and usual long lines.

However, I've heard they're basically tourist traps and you can find much better tasting cheese steaks elsewhere in the city. You'll see carts on the corner that often sell cheese steaks, among other things.



Another place to check out is Jim's Steaks. It's located at 4th and South street. This has become J's favorite place to get a cheese steak. We went here several times throughout the summer and J will go there ever so often when he's craving a cheese steak. Sometimes the line is wrapped around the corner, but J says it's worth it. Their cheese steaks seem to be more on the greasy side, instead of the dry side. That's one of the differences you'll experience when trying Philly cheese steaks.

Steaks on South isn't too far down the streak from Jim's steaks at 3rd and South Street. I took my mom here when she visited and she had a chicken cheese steak that she loved. Jim's, Pat's and Geno's don't have chicken as an option, but some places do.

If you're not really into meat, like I am, there are a few options. I have gotten a delicious cheese "steak" at Reading Terminal Market. It had onions, peppers, mushrooms, broccoli rabe and cheese. I'm tempted to get one every week when I go to the market for groceries. There are so many food choices around, but a Philly cheese steak is something that everyone needs to try!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Culinary adventure - Seafood and Sangria!

Instead of blogging about a wonderful meal that we had at a restaurant, I'll blog about a wonderful meal that I actually cooked :) J and I are seafood lovers, so I love finding new ways to prepare seafood. I usually cook fish once or twice a week, but scallops are saved for special occasions.

I receive the Martha Stewart magazine for free and was excited when there was a recipe for Creamy Rice with Roasted Shrimp. It was actually in a section of the magazine for quick weekday meals, which made me even more ready to try it. I'm not a fan of spending hours in the kitchen! So here is the recipe:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (I found plain Arborio rice at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound frozen, peeled, deveined shrimp
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 gloves garlic

Heat oven to 400. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan of medium heat. Cook the onion until soft for about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the rice and wine and cook. Stir until the wine is absorbed. Add 2 cups of water and 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, over low heat until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender, 18 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss the shrimp, tomatoes (I omitted the tomatoes because we aren't a fan of them), thyme, garlic, the remaining tablespoon of oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Roast until the shrimp are cooked through, about 15 minutes. Serve over rice.

The recipe is really simple and a lot less expensive than ordering the same thing at a restaurant.

For the scallops I just seasoned them with some salt and pepper and pan seared them about 2 minutes on each side.

I found a recipe for a reduction that I also made. It is also simple and uses most of the same ingredients that I already had on hand.

Here are the final results:

My other culinary adventure included making Sangria.
  • 1 bottle dry white wine (I use a sauvignon blanc with fruity notes)
  • 1 bottle red wine (preferably a beaujolais)
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • assorted fruits (I always use red grapes and strawberries)
  • 1-2 ounces of brandy (optional)
  1. In a large non-metal bowl, mix the wines together, along with the cup of sugar. Stir for a few minutes.
  2. Slice the orange and lemon into thin slices (1/8 - 1/4 of an inch). Add to the wine and stir.
  3. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. In the morning, add in your other fruits and the brandy. Stir again, pour into a pitcher and chill until it's time to party!
I used apples, pears and oranges for my fruit. Instead of brandy, I used triple sec because that's what we had on hand. It turned out so delicious!

The final product:
And yes it's being served in a Brita pitcher :)

Where does the time go???

Clearly I've been slacking on keeping the blog updated. I think it will be my New Years Resolution to make updating the blog a habit :) I actually enjoy writing and photography so it shouldn't be that hard, right? :)

So what has happened in the past 2 months?

I finished my 1st trimester of med school...and passed! We celebrated Josh's birthday...he's now closer to 30 than 20 :) We had a great Thanksgiving with family. We decorated for Christmas and got a real mini Christmas tree. And we continued to explore wonderful Philadelphia!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mural Arts Program

The Mural Arts Program is amazing! If you're ever in Philly I would highly recommend going on a tour. So I guess I should explain what it is -

I would see murals around our neighborhood every few blocks and when we would go different places in the city. I soon noticed that in the corner of the murals it said 'Mural Arts Program'. So I did a quick google search and found out about the program. There are almost 3000 murals that have been painted in the city of Philadelphia.

My mom came to visit this summer, so it was a perfect chance to take her on the tour. Obviously I'm a little late on posting about this adventure, but it works out because October is mural arts month as it's the programs 25th anniversary.

We learned a lot on the tour and I can't wait to go on another one. Since there are so many murals, they break up the tours by neighborhood throughout the month. We toured North Philadelphia. The murals are in the heart of the neighborhoods and the neighborhood we toured was predominately Hispanic, which can be seen through some of the murals. I didn't know that it was such an involved process to complete the murals. I learned that they interview people in the neighborhoods to get a feel for what is going on in the community and often ask for influential people in the neighborhood to include in the murals. After the interviews and information gathering, they plan the murals. Most murals are done by 1 artist, but some of them get help to actually paint the murals. I don't remember all the details, but there are a few techniques that the artist can employ to complete the murals. Once the mural is completed there is usually a revealing in the neighborhood in which they have gathering and dedication.

I was really impressed with all the murals. Some of them are even 3D with stones and sculptures in them. I had a hard time picking the murals for this post, but they were all beautiful. I found out a lot of information during the tour, but I can't wait to go on another tour in a different Philly neighborhood.