Archive for November, 2007

The $20 Project: South Philly Sunday

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I live on a budget, so when assigned the $20 project, I had no worries. I decided to wait for the prime opportunity to spend it: supplying myself with at least part of a meal for a week, along with some entertainment. I knew the perfect place to obtain these goodies: my neighborhoods in South Philly, including the Italian Market, South Street, and Queen Village.

Though the Italian Market (official name is “9th St. Curb Market”) is open Tuesday through Sunday, I usually don’t have a chance to get there on a weekday. So, I set out on this beautiful, crisp, blue-skied day to fetch me some veggies for a pot ‘o soup. Luckily, I had the kitchen staples for this soup, so I didn’t have to buy everything. I strolled south on 9th St., comparing prices at the various produce stands. This is what I got for $3.25: 4 tomatoes, 2 garlic bulbs, 3 large yams, 2 red bell peppers, 1 onion. I hit the Spice Corner (904 S. 9th St.) for allspice ($1.49). Where else can you get these deals?

On my return north on 9th, I spotted a craft fair. To be exact, it was the Art Extravaganza on the Piazza (pictured above, at 9th and Montrose, by the mural). Here I found handmade goods, such as knitted neckwarmers and earrings made of electrical wiring. Cute! As I browsed, I enjoyed my caramel latte from Gleaners Cafe Gallery, bought across the street ($3.25). The most adorable surprise of my day was the Hershey’s Kiss on top of my lid, with a flag that read “Let’s go out.” So anxious to drink the hot stuff, I burned the roof of my mouth!

Loaded down with my produce, I thought I’d check out this little junk shop (antiques?) a half block north of Christian on 9th (sorry, I didn’t get the name!). On the sidewalk, they had all types of stuff: jewelry, buttons, appliances, movies on VHS. I thought I could find a movie I liked there. Requested The Money Pit, and they actually had it! ($2).

I headed to South Street in search of vegetable bouillon cubes, comparing at Essene Market (719 S. 4th St.) and Chef’s Market. I picked them up for $2.09 at Chef’s Market. Then I was hungry, so headed across the street to Maoz (248 South Street), where I got falafel with hummus in a whole wheat pita for $3.86. For more entertainment, I found a table outside of a store with $1 items. I got a platic dinosaur! This left me with approximately $3 to spend. I remembered that I needed votives and headed over to my local CVS (421 S. Second St.), where I got them for for $1.99.

This left me with a dollar, and I really wanted to go home and make my soup of the week: Roasted Yam and Garlic. So, I saved it for later! It took me the rest of the evening to roast all those veggies, anyway.

Philafoodie reviews Cochon

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Last Saturday night, I had the opportunity to eat at Cochon, the relatively new French BYO at the corner of Passyunk and Catharine in Queen Village. Scott and I went along with Philafoodie so that he could have one last taste of the food and take pictures for the review he posted today. David’s review is really wonderful and complete, but here are my two cents anyway.

The food at Cochon is deeply pleasurable. There were moments when I would take a bite and need to stop and close my eyes. The crispy chicken livers were so good, sweet and crispy on the outside but still retaining deep pockets of melting softness on the inside. I wanted that bowl to last forever. If you are like me, always looking for food experiences that make you stop, focus and enjoy (and you eat meat) I definitely recommend that you find the time to have a meal down there.

Photo <a href=”Philafoodie_s%20Cochon%20picture.jpg“>link

Bar Ferdinand

This past Saturday we celebrated not one but two friends birthdays with Northern Liberties as the chosen location. The liberties walk is somewhat odd to me, great little places surrounded by depressing vacant lots. Fortunately, the great little place we went to, Bar Ferdinand, was so good the vacant lots were quickly forgotten.

My one and only complaint about this place is they refused to seat us without our whole party. The bar was packed, and if they had given us a table they would have made some nice cash from our drink orders. tuna tuna tuna

The food though! The tapas selection is overwhelming, and our sweet waitress couldn’t help much as she listed at least four favorites from each section. We shared two pitchers of sangria, not quite in season but tasty nonetheless, and two people ordered a speciality drink called “Grenada” which also received very good reviews.

We each ordered at least two dishes and shared, although I kept my baked goat cheese (cabra) to myself. The fried calamari was deemed “the best I’ve ever tasted” due to the unique sesame not-quite breading. My tuna and duck were both perfectly rare and delicious while the birthday girls raved about their empanadas.

Bar Ferdinand offers a perfect setting for social eating. I wouldn’t recommend it for a romantic date as it gets a bit crowded, and the more people you have, the more dishes you try!

Veteran’s Day

Remember those who have fought for us, Monday November 12.
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Photo taken by myself, Friday, November 9.
Independence Visitor’s Center, 6th and Market St.

Hoots & Hellmouth

Friday night local raucous rockers Hoots & Hellmouth will be performing at Johnny Brenda’s. Last time I saw them, I was moved. I mean, you just want to move around. You just want to let loose and dance. It’s contagious! They have this soulful sound, like a Southern revival, stirring up maybe-less-than-religious feelings. Raise your hands and have fun!

I’m also excited to see their opener, Frog Holler , for the first time. I learned about this band over three years ago from a friend, yet have never once heard them, live or otherwise. Bluegrass, anyone? They’ve got a great rep, and also hail from my home county of Berks. Their myspace page says they’re from Virginville. I lived there, folks. That town sure needed the music! I’m looking forward to hearing from their album “Adams Hotel Road,” because I know the location of that road, and not many people can say that.

Third band of the evening is Bitter Bitter Weeks, who are described as indie rock or pop.” Either way, I’m willing to give it a try. See you!

Photo of the Day 2

— from Keith Morrison(?)

Keith Morrison’s photo perfectly captures the somber mood at the ceremony for slain Police Officer Cassidy.

This is my second “photo of the day”, but I didn’t want to miss posting this one.

Not-Philadelphia Premium Outlets

I received an e-mail from J Crew today announcing their factory outlet in Philadelphia. I was immediately very excited, they’re one of few places that makes clothes that actually fit me properly and generally disgustingly overpriced. A factory outlet nearby would be perfect!

Then I read more closely. The Philadelphia Premium Outlets are actually in Limerick, PA. Not only is the name terribly misleading, they go on to say they’re approximately 35 minutes from downtown. That’s quite the approximation, the only way one could get there in 35 minutes is if it were 3:00 AM. The way 76 jams up the realistic travel time is much closer to an hour and a half. At that point it may make more sense to go the extra 20 miles to the Jackson Premium Outlets near Six Flags instead.

My excitement is now squished.

Photo of the Day

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Cottage: Chanticleer Garden, PA, originally uploaded by jmgphoto.

Well, OK, Chanticleer is in Wayne, and not Philadelphia, but it is a magical place, as this fairy-tale cottage shows. A nice image to keep in mind as winter approaches.

Phillies acquire closer Brad Lidge

Hmmm…

That was my exact thought this morning when I woke up and checked the news to see what was happening on this chilly Thursday.

The Phillies traded for Astros’ closer, Brad Lidge.

Hmmm….

In return, the Fightin’ Phils gave up resident speedster Michael Bourn and junk reliever Geoff Geary.

Lidge had been dominant a few years ago until Cardinals’ slugger Albert Pujols hit a game-winning homer off Lidge in Game 7 of the 2004 NLCS. Since then Lidge has been a borderline mess, being bounced around between closer and set up roles for the Astros.

So now he’s on the Phillies.

This means a few things:

1.) Brett Myers can move back to the starting rotation. Myers was at times and at best, mildly reliable last year as the Phils’ closer after being bounced from the rotation at the beginning of last season. So Myers is back. Is he the prodigy he once was or the dud pitcher who went from Opening Day starter to middle reliever in two weeks?

2.) With Aaron Rowand most likely leaving for free agency and now Bourn gone, the Phils have two serious holes to fill in the outfield. Rumors have them looking into Boston’s Coco Crisp, but do they have enough to get him? Probably not. While acquiring Lidge filled one of GM Pat Gillick’s off season holes, it created another one. Anyone know any outfielders looking for work?

3.) What are we going to do with all of those left over Geary t-shirts?

I guess we’ll see.

Stay warm Philadelphia…

Lindros to Announce Retirement

Former Philadelphia Flyer, Eric Lindros has plans to announce his retirement from professional hockey tomorrow. For Philly fans, the opinion on Lindros is basically split between those that loved him and those that hate him. A player of such hype and magnitude has that effect on people, just look at Sidney Crosby in Pittsburgh, however no one can deny the fact that during his time here he was one of the best, if not the best, hockey player in the world.

In 1994 he tied for the most points in the league with Jaromir Jagr and won the Hart Trophy as the league MVP. Playing with Mikael Renberg and John LeClair on the fabled Legion of Doom line, they dominated other teams. He helped lead the Flyers to the 1996-97 Stanley Cup finals, the last time the team has been to the big dance. In 2000 New Jersey Devils defenseman Scott Stevens laid a hit on Lindros that resulted in his sixth concussion. Lindros’ relationship with the team turned ugly and a battle between Lindros and Bob Clarke resulted in Lindros ultimately leaving the team.
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