February 26, 2010

Yikes. Sly Fox events for the next month...I'll see you - um, everywhere?

Calendar of upcoming Sly Fox events
Pins and Pinups
Varga Bar
Tuesday, March 2nd
Varga Bar is pitting the region’s breweries against each other. A li’l friendly competition March Madness style.  A sixtel from each brewery will compete week after week.  Sly Fox and Iron Hill go head to head on Tuesday the 2nd at 9 pm. The winner from that will compete against another brewery on Tuesday, March 16th.  The championship will be a pin vs. pin.
Wednesday, March 10th
The Abbaye
7 till 9pm. For $10- guests get unlimited pint glass refills on Sly Fox Beers.  It will be the debut of O’Reilly’s stout at the Abbaye.  Along with Seamus Irish Red, and the brewpub’s Abbey Extra.
Thursday March 11th
Good Dog Firkin Night
Join our Beer Lass at one of our favorite center city bars, the Good Dog.  We’ll be tapping a firkin of Suzanne’s favorite, Gang Aft Agley that night  7 pm.PAYG.
Saturday, March 13th
Philly’s Better Beer Bus
Ride along to 8 of Philly’s best beer bars on a bus with fellow beer lovers. $15 for all day bus pass (doesn’t include beers.) 11-7. Individual bars will have themed events.  Look for a few Sly Fox Stouts at Johnny Brenda’s stout brunch. Buses will be around every 30 minutes. More details here.
Sunday March 14th
The Brewer’s Plate
Sly Fox will team up with Dos Segundos for the 6th annual Brewer’s Plate at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archeology.  Local restaurants are paired up with local breweries to the benefit of Fair Food. More details here.
 Friday March 19th
Campbell’s Place
Sly Fox kicks off “Firkin Fridays” at Chestnut Hill’s charming Campbells Place.  Under new ownership after 30 years, Campbells looks to be the new craft beer spot in Chestnut Hill.  Look for events and beer dinners from the from now on. 6:30 pm. PAYG.
Saturday March 20th and Sunday March 21st
Atlantic City Beer Fest
Sly Fox is on the road at the Celebration of the Suds.  Two day long extravanganza. VIP tickets available.
More details here.
Sunday March 20th
Real Ale Invitational
YARDS Brewing Co. hosts the 3rd annual Real Ale Invitational.  Chester County Bitter will be poured amongst dozens of other local cask-conditioned ale in their new tasting room. 1 pm till 5:30 pm. More details here.
Thursday March 25th
For Pete’s Sake Promo Night
Join Local Beer Lass Suzanne Woods and members of her women’s beer club, In Pursuit of Ale at this cozy Queen Village Pub. Look forward to a few of Sly Fox’s Belgian styles, such as Abbey Dubbel and Abbey Extra. 6 pm.
Saturday March 27th
Barnsboro Inn
This one’s for you Garden Staters.  Suzanne Woods shares stories and beers with you over lunch at New Jersey’s historic Barnsboro Inn.  Menu to come.$30 2 -4 pm.
Tuesday March 30th
Hulmeville Inn Promo Night
Join Beer Lass and Hulmeville Homebrew club ALIENS at the Hulmeville Inn for a firkin of Gang Aft Agley and a couple other Sly Fox Brew pub beers.  6 pm. PAYG.
Saturday April 3rd
Split they Skull @ Sugar Mom’s
Having started in the last millennium- this is Philly’s longest running beer event- a day of Barleywine right before Easter Sunday. Sly Fox will be there with a one year old keg-conditioned Ichor- Abbot style Quad. 12-6. PAYG -flights available.
 Still working out dates for an upcoming event at Dawson St. to boot;)
I need a water sponsor? Anyone?

You want to get my new newsletter ?????????????

Hey Bar/Restaurant Owners and Distributors that do draft-=

Who doesn't like a good informative newsletter?
I started a weekly newsletter today. 
After today it will come out every Tuesday.
It'll be the cliche short and sweet- the idea is to let you know what Sly Fox is up to from the sales realm.
Give you the opportunity to learn more about the beers at the brewpub if you're already loving (pouring) our seasonals and year-rounds.  Of course- nothing makes us happier than throwing back a Pils or an O'Reilly's at our favorite bars.

If you'd like for me to add your email- please email me at Suzannew@slyfoxbeer.com



Hold the Pork Day 9

Ommegang's Megan Maguire had never been to Honey's Sit and Eat (4th and Brown). I thought that was sort of unacceptable. Granted- she just officially moved into the city last month- but still...  Their latkes and pear sauce our mandatory.  Their Jeb's biscuit sandwich is without a doubt a daymaker.

She loved it.  She sipped up the fresh squeezed orange juice and got the last 1/4 of her Jeb's biscuit sandwich to go-which I totally disagreed with- who gets eggs to go? Meg does.
She didn't for a second regret that we weren't in "an account." (Usually we try to support our peeps that support us- I rarely eat lunch in a place without a liquor license).

I opted for an omelet with veggie sausage (of course-ugh) prov, spinach, and tomatoes.  I was having some stomach issues (My pops calls it the Woods nervous stomach- the hypochondriac in me is on Web MD daily trying to diagnose)- so I didn't make it too far.  I ate more of my perfectly buttered swirled rye bread than anything else.They had my favorite re-occurring omelet on the menu the brisket one with the locally smoked cheddar and caramelized onions....oh the temptations!

That was breakfast. 
Dinner was at Earth bread+brewery.  Dogfish Head's Sam Calgione was in town- so Lance and I popped over to say hi.  A nice crew was there including one of my best buds- Wendy of DFH.  She was loving the Fort.  I had my Subaru so I was more concerned with flabreads. I stole some of Sam's  (sundried tomato and artichoke) then felt like I should get my own. Lance loves the seed- so we went that route.  It was great.  I had a bit of Raison D'Extra and some of Tom Baker's Irish Stout -which was just right for the night at 3% abv.

That should have done it for the day- but no- there was a gravitational pull around the graduate hospital area- and next thing I knew my car was semi-illegally parked at 22nd and Christian. I figured I should peak into the Ballast Point "three sheets" night -and see if anyone I knew was partaking at the Sidecar.

I met up with IPA pal Bronwen there- and that was the only familiar face besides- the recently named "Unpretentious beer geek of Philadelphia" Adam Ritter- and his ever- competent and witty staff.

Bronny and I shared a mushroom duxelle sandwich.  It was good- but I was full from flatbread- and now I'm just a gluttonous temporary vegetarian that tries to stuff as many non-meat items into my day as I can.
Highly attractive I know.
Thank God I don't own a scale.
Thank God I do have a gym membership- now if I would only use it.


February 25, 2010

Hold the Pork Day 8

The Abbaye
3rd and Fairmount

Crab Cake Sandwich (from the specials chalk board)

I usually prefer broiled crab cakes...this one was lightly fried but so thick and crab filled- I didn't mind the dip in boiling oil.  It was served simply with a bit of aoili, lettuce and tomato on that dreamy le bus bun. And it was deeeelicious.

I've decided its impossible to make a bad sandwich in this city as long as it served on a Le Bus bun.

7136 Germantown Avenue

that's all you need to know for thursday night.

unless you're in south philly
fun stuff at 22nd and christian.

February 24, 2010

Three Sheets to the Wind tomorrow night at the SIDECAR -=-

Tomorrow night-=  kicking off at 3 pm

Three Sheets with Ballast Point at The Sidecar Bar and Grille.

The Pours
Sextant (oatmeal stout)
 Three Sheets (Barleywine)
Sculpin (imperial IPA in FIRKIN)
Sea Monster (Imperial Stout)
Big Eye (IPA)
Calico Amber
Wahoot Wheat
Yellowtail Pale Ale (kolsch)

I am particularly excited about the promised sailor songs and "seafood delights"

Hold the Pork Days 6 and 7

We met early on Monday at Sly Fox- giving me plenty of time after the meeting to grab  something to eat. I headed to the Stone Rose on Fayette street in Conshohocken.

It's different than most of the bars in Conshy.  I suppose you could say its more polished.  There's a restaruant in the back. The guest of Stella Blu or the Gypsy Salooon should feel right at home. I wish it was there during my brief one year stint in Conshy in 2004.

I had a refreshing crab and avocado salad with red pepper coulis and tons of cracked pepper.  It was the perfect mid-afternoon bite.  I sipped on an O'Reilly's stout that was creamier than my homemade whoopie pie filling. 

Later that night was the Tomme Arthur meet and greet at Memphis.    A bevy of beer reps were there before 5:15. Mark Weinman of Great Lakes, Megan Maguire of Duvel Moortgat/Ommegang. Wendy Domurat of Dogfish, Michael from Weyerbacher, Lee Marren of Stone, Jordan Fetfatzes from Bella Vista and more... Tomme got there around 6:15. The place was packed as expected.  It didn't take long for that delicious Red Poppy ( A Flanders-style red ale made with sour cherries and aged in French Oak barrels for one year) to be kicked.  The Mongo imperial IPA was fantastic as well.

But all that beer required another  vegetarian meal.  We decided to keep it in the Hartranft family and headed to Ressurection.  I had the Pumpkin risotto with the essence of ameretti in it.  It was an interesting addition I wouldn't have thought of myself. I really like that Joey Chimko.

Tuesday would be the Bells night at the P.o.p.e.  I had the  Veggie burger.  I've tried it before.  Its a rather hardy burger.  I advise to get salad on the side instead of fries so you don't overdo it. 

Lance Romance and I also headed to Dibruno Brothers (9th st) for a private cheese tasting.  Lance told me a few months ago he wanted to learn more about cheese...I did a bit of research on line and came up with barely anything except the TRIA cheese classes that are usually booked with a quickness. We brought a bunch of beer and Hunter And Zeke came up with different pairings.  I brought the 5 year old Orval I won in the Memphis Taproom Mystery Beer Weekend.  Lance said it had more of a developed brett character than one that was fresh.  Hunter carefully picked out one sheep, one cow, and one goat cheese to pair with every beer.  Although I'm not the biggest cheesehead in the world, Lance is...and we had a lovely time.  And I loved at least 6 of them. You can arrange for private tastings by emailing Hunter at hfike@dibruno.com.  Mondays through Thursdays are best.  It would be like a 6 till 8 thing.
They'll keep the store open too so you can buy a cheese that you particularly liked.

At one point in the evening Hunter breaks out this extraordinary iberian ham, that comes from Spanish black pigs that feasted soley acorns.  I know where I'm going on April 5th- when my Lenten resolution is retired.

That's all for now.

February 23, 2010

Van Twee!!

Tonight at the P.o.p.e. - kegs of Van Twee ( de proef collaboration), Hop Slam and Oarsmen (their berliner weisse) will be poured.

I'm taking Lance Romance to cheese school. Then we'll be over around 8:30.

February 21, 2010

The Situation recapped with photos!

Yesterday was nothing short of crazy.

The Situation was released at
1 pm to a packed bar room at Iron Hill Maple Shade.

Lance's golden barleywine was hoppy with the perfect amount of bitterness.  It wasn't as golden as it was in year's past.  I actually preferred the "Sitations past" which was a 5 year old vintage oozing honey.

There was also the "Dark Situation" which was a blend of Russian Imperial Stout and the situation that was in a firkin.. I didn't get a chance to try that, but I heard good things.

There were only a few of us dressed like cast members from MTv's Jersey Shore reality tv show. 
Andrew Rutherford of YARDS really out did himself with a fancy new hair do.

His brother Paul and his lady friend, IDA got into it.

Our friends Ginny and Eric Brown dressed the part.

Lance himself and Casey Hughes of Flying Fish actually got spray tans on Friday night. 
Lance got his hairs cut for the first time since May 1 of 2008. 
It's so short - he can't even put it back in a ponytail!  The barber slicked it back for him.
He sported a brown Ed Hardy shirt.  And Actually didnt' look that bad- scarily enough.
Even scarier is that I started to resemble Snooki more than I ever thought I could.
The photos don't do the poof justice- but it was there.

Post snooki life is rough. I haven' had that much product in my hair since my sister's wedding in 2004.
The fake eyelashes luckily came off in the shower.  But it would have been funny if they didn't.
The snook over came with a heft price tag
$35 make up/bronzer
$15 fake eyelashes
$10 For Poof
$20 tip
$19.99 for Fuschia quasi members only jacket
$16.99 for Fuschia and Black tiger print dress.
$13 for tan in the can
$130   OUCH!
But it was worth it.  I now know I can make money as a snooki impersonator.
But I definitely gots to work on my accent in my spare time. 
Most of the photo credits go to Stephen Lyford.

Hold the Pork Days 3, 4 and 5

So far I haven't had any temptations. Im not feeling all that creative now...so here's just a play by play on my Lenten Resolution.

was mussels ala mexican at Mcgillins Old Ale House.  They were served with Mexican seasonings, chorizo and black beans.  I held the Chorizo-and they still had a kick.  Lots of flavor, and rather plump mussels actually.

Saturday -
I was all snookified at Iron Hill.  I was so busy snookin it up I never got to eat. Then we went to Varga -where I should have eaten still didn't eat.  Then I went to bad puppy (good dog) and I STILL didn't eat.  Jose Pistolas would save the day right around midnight when I shoved a Veggie burrito in my face.

I left the Brunch decision up to Lance romance today.  He chose the P.O.P.E. I actually hadn't been there for two weeks so I agreed.  And I knew they always had vegan/veggie lovers options.  I went with the smoked salmon platter with scrambled eggs.  I was a bit excited to try the blueberry/banana mimosas I read about from their twitter page- but alas they were a thing of the past by the time Lance and I arrrived.

Dinner was some homemade pasta I made when I stayed in on Friday.  I through some tarragon and basil right into the dough.  I drizzled walnut oil over it- and added some cracked black pepper.
It was goooooood.

February 20, 2010

Pig Roast at the Institute today-=-

From their website:

What happens when you have a chef who loves all things pork?  A pig roast of course! Saturday February 20th we're roasting a pig, doing all kinds of things with sweet taters, and serving up some great beer from our bud's at Yards! Among things, a firkin of GW Porter--done special just for us. 
Brawler, ESA, IPA,  and PPA on draft!  
$40 per person includes all of the
Whats that you say? You're a vegetarian?  
Chef Kyle has a treat for you too!  Get your PYP on minus the pork!
12th and Green

February 19, 2010

Bob Barrar crowned King of the Iron Hill

Last night Earth Bread + Brewery hosted the
Iron Hill crew.  Each location submitted what they thought was their best offering at that time.

The winner would be determined by the first beer to kick.

Bob Barrar done did it with a Bourbon Barrel Porter.

I'm proud to say Lance romance came in 2nd with his Caprice.

But only one Hiller gets to wear the bread crown....and that's Media's Barrar.                                 

Tom Baker made it out of dough....

Congrats to Bob and congrats to Tom on an extraordinary baking/molding effort.

Photo Credit: Lance Romance

Hold the Pork Day #2

Today was an especially hard one because I had lunch at Village Whiskey- the home of one of Philly's best burgers.

I do love me some oysters though.  So I went with 4 oysters, pickled tomatoes and Popcorn Shrimp.
A bit of a weird order- granted- but I got to try a bunch of different bites.

I always get the beets when I go to VW- but I heard great things about the tomatoes so I switched it up.
They were good- but a bit dangerous as a dozen or so seeds landed on my lap- giving my dining companions Carte Blanche to criticize.

The popcorn shrimp were tasty- the dipping sauce had a bit of a zip to it and I enjoyed the lil nuggets with a few sips of Sly Fox Saison Vos....

Time for bed.

February 18, 2010

Wardrobe Preview for the Situation's Release Party

I shamelessly present you with the newest addition to my closet.
This Saturday 
1 pm
The Situation release party
Iron Hill Maple Shade (off Kings Highway)
Come dressed as your favorite character from MTV's Jersey Shore and drink Lance Romance's Golden Barleywine.  It's gonna be a rollicker!

Just look at this thing!

TonighT-=- head to EARTH- King of the Iron Hill night!

Tonight- if you're in Chester County- we'll see you at the Drafting Room- where will be pouring some of the hop project beers, scwarzbier, odyssey and a firkin of odyssey.

If you're Not in Chester county- I would head to Earth Bread + Brewery in Mt. Airy and hobnob with all those Iron Hill Hunks.

From the Tom and Peggy:

We've invited all 8 Iron Hill brewpubs to send us some of their great beer. Knowing how competitive and outgoing the brew crew at IH are, we asked them each to send a keg of their best beer. You, dear drinkers will decide who is the KING OF IRON HILL. The first keg to drain is the champ. Come out and meet the brewers and find out how they manage to win so many medals for their beers. This will be fun.
(6pm-on, pay as you go).

My God, My Goodness, My Antonia

I rolled west last night.  It was High Gravity night at Sidecar.  I wasn't felling high abvs- however- they had a rare keg of My Antonia - a beer Sam Calgione brewed in Italy in collaboration with  Birra del Borgo.  It was an imperial pilsner...and it was one of the best beers I had all year.

When Lance and I ate at Vetri a few weeks back- we had an Italian pilsner there.  It drank like a rustic saison. This reminded me of that a bit.  I am not sure where the other kegs are landing (it's not even distributed by Origlio actually)...but you will want to try this beer named for the 1918 novel about a prairie family who tried to build a new life in Nebraska.

Hold the Pork-=- Day 1

I think I'll chronicle the next forty days of my crazy meat-free life.
Starting yesterday- I am not eating meat for forty days. 
I am even going to try and not cheat on Sundays- even though my pops told me you could.

I had some success with this last year.
A lot of people told me I should give up beer. I would save a lot of money and lose a lot of weight but it's not realistic.  I know because I tried a few years ago.  I gave up beer- then drank a lot of wine and whiskey;)

So meat it is.
I've been ordering a lot of veg in the last four months so it might not eevn be that much of a struggle.
We shall see.
DAY one-=  
I barely ate all day actually.
I went to a cheese tasting at Dibruno Brothers. I tried four different kinds- I can't tell you what they were though.
Next on the agenda- was Winter Olympics at Devil's Den.  I've been talking about wanting to try the new chef's food there for two weeks.  Last night was the night. or not.
I ran into friends, plus my sister and Megan Maguire  were both there.  And owners Scott and Erin.
I talk too much.  Never ate.

We end up at Sidecar- more on that later....

I had Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls with a tomato dipping sauce.

Not exactly the best food to eat at 11 pm...but they were pretty spectacular.

They looked pretty similar to this but the image is actually from Google images.  They are fried mac and cheese from the Cheesecake Factory.

Quick observation-= On a Dollar A Day

I was reading in the newspaper the other day about a couple's one month project-= eating on $1 a day.
They got a book deal and it hit shelves on February 9th.

Not sure if I am going to buy it yet or not...I barely have time to read. 

But it got me thinking about foods/ingredients I love that aren't that pricey. 
Like garlic. MMM- garlic.
You can saute up a whole lotta garlic for $1.50 from the Italian Market.

And you know what else-= I bet I save money in the next forty days while not eating meat.  Maybe Ill chronicle my daily bites.
You probably don't care, but maybe I will anyway.

Recap on the new R2L

Not going out on Tuesday actually translated into nearly four hours in the lounge of the recently opened R2L, Daniel Stern's newest restaurant at Liberty II.

From the website:
"With an eye to the future, Chef Daniel Stern takes traditional American flavors and brings them up-to-date with a modern twist — resulting in his unique interpretation of Creative American Cuisine."

My goal of the night was one more of beef than beer.
As I already noted, I gave up meat for Lent. But considering my small fortune dropped in B-more over the weekend, I wasn't going to splurge on a steak of any sort.  Or maybe I would- Mini cheese steaks off the snack menu would suit me just right for $12.  I was surprised by the presentation...but it was "fun" for lack of a better word and I can see how it would lend itself to a nice sharing experience during a happy hour with colleagues.  Not only was the "sushi-style" serving a switch up on the traditional- the meat at hand was Venison, not Beef.  There were oodles of caramelized onions.  Perfect for me, perhaps too much for others that might have an aversion. Each plate was presented with 6 miniature cheesesteak rolls.

Macaroni and Cheese was presented the same way with a modern twist on the classic at a very reasonable $6.  Healthy amounts of sharp cheese were encased in house made pasta.  My sometimes hard to please veggie pal was very happy.
(My apologies for the awful photo)

I also tried the Lobster Roll with lavender. I love lavender more than most things.  My companion mentioned that it was a curious combination.  Curious I was.  The bun was buttery and soft, the lobster salad had just a hint of my beloved herb.  It came out of the kitchen with a quickness and was consumed with the same.  A few house made potato chips sat on the side.

On to the beer.  I started off with wine- but switch up to a Brooklyn Local one. Our darling yet guileless server dropped the bottle en route to our table...but we weren't bothered in the slightest. When the bottle arrived it was as delicious as I remembered.  I drank a lot of this when it first debuted in 2007 but hadn't tried it in a while.  It provided a nice pairing with the Macaroni and cheese.

Other beers are Stoudts ESB, Hitachino Red Rice (my least favorite from this great brewery) Saison Dupont, Stella Artois, Amstel Light, and I know I am forgetting one or two others....

The view is AMAZING, especially from the three dining room tables that face Center City (you can see Nodding Head as a small dot.)  But if you go- I would keep it to the lounge with a few friends.  Make sure you dress appropriately-=-suits were a plenty.
It'll be a nice "closer" for the single folks out there.
Watch the city from the 38th floor, and watch your night disappear.

February 17, 2010

Tonight: Where I'll be, and Where you could be in South Philly

Dibruno Bros
 Tonight- as in every Wednesday- they will have Craft beer happy hour....brewers/reps come in and hang out with Hunter, Zeke and Co from 5 till 8.  You can enjoy complimetary pairings and a 10% off discount.  TONIGHT they'll host Philly Brewing Co.

On March 3rd, Gordo, Fave, and Curt Decker of Nodding Head will become part of the quesofiles.

11th and Fitzwater
Remember Every Wednesday thru Saturday from 5 pm till 9 pm they'll be serving more small plates

Just a few of the options offered

Butter Braised Cod with Pork Belly Hash
Yukon Gold potatoes, shallots, mushrooms, tomato, orange scented butter sauce.  (they'll hold the pork belly if you please)

Crab Cake on Brioche (absolutely no filler promised)

Sweet and Spicy Orange Braised Pork
served with a ginger lime dressed noodle salad

Green Curry Mussels
served with warm flatbread.

They're also a Philadelphia Weekly feature this week.  Adam Erace has nice things to say HERE.

IPA beer club member, Bronwen, and I headed there on the very snowy Wednesday night last week.
 I sipped on the Founders Imperial Stout by the fire, she opted for the Dark Horse Tres (blueberry stout).  We met the nicest couple Hutch and Patty.  Despite a few meals and beer stops- it was the first time I sat and hung out by the fire for a bit.  It was the perfect night.  I don't think you can sit on those couches and not chat up the people on the opposite side. 
I foresee a lot of new friendships sparked alongside the fire.

then A few Blocks South

Devil's Den

I will be here after 6:30 meeting up with Li'l woods and celebrating the Olympics- Devil's Den way with medal-winning Craft beers.  Tonight's feature will be Allagash Triple  (Gold 06, Silver 09).
Can't wait to try some Veggie/Seafood options off the menu (gave up meat for LENT).
11th and Ellsworth

Tomorrow-= please join team SLY FOX@ Drafting Room in Exton.
There will be a firkin of Odyssey as well as Amarillo Pale Ale, Argentinean Cascade, Columbus Pale Ale Schwarz Bier, Incubus Tripel, Odyssey Imperial IPA, Gang Aft Agley Scotch Ale, Keller Pils, and Dunkel Lager
  6 pm till?

If you still haven't had that VARGA bar cereal ice cream...

I've written about this frozen treat before, but I was reminded last Tuesday that it really is the churning of the Century.
Chef Evan Turney crushes the quinessential childhood carb down into a powder and emulisfies it into the ice cream.

It's one of my favorite things in Philadelphia. Below you have Apple Jacks, Peanut Butter Capin Crunch and Cinnamon Toast Crunch (my favorite of the 3 that day).  They actually switch them out every day.

Also not too shabby is Turney's roast pork.  The bun soft, the pork so succulent you need not dip it in the offered au jus. And just look at all that pulmonary artery clogging provolone...

During Varga lunch-= theyll get delicious grub to your table in under 20 minutes for under $10.
The lobster bisque/pork sammy combo below was just $9. 

Afterwards, we tried the new Maru Global on 10th st about 50 feet from Varga headed north.
The Chef Ryo Igarashi (formerly of Amada, hailing from Japan).  You can read more about the concept from Michael Klein here.

I only had two crepe-like balls of the takoyaki (traditional version with octopus)
Considering I just had lunch at Varga- it was a bit gluttonous of me.  I was so full from the tour de Turney-that I couldn't fully revel in the experience of Japanese fast food.
I promise to return with an empty stomach sooner than later. 

February 15, 2010

A Charmed Weekend: Bellied up with the Belgians

To Lance Romance and I - Valentines Day Weekend only means one thing...Max's Belgian Beer Fest.
Its a 72 hours festival at Fells Point's Beer Geek Nirvana.  Of course they close between the hours of 1:45 and 11 am...but the idea is that the fest runs for 3 days pouring hundreds of different Belgian beers by draft and bottle-some never before seen stateside.

This was our 3rd year strong.  One of the key elements to the festival's success is Cellarman Casey Hard.  I don't have a picture of him right now- but I will snag a photo from another blog, give due credit, and share his mug with y'all so you can see what greatness looks like.  I am not sure how long he's been manning the cellars at Max's on Broadway, but the owner is quite lucky he's there.

We situated ourselves in chairs behind a ledge at the front of the bar. Lance joked that we were like Statler and Waldrof from the Muppets balcony.  We never really heckled anyone...but we did make a bunch of friends.  We met Kim and Greg of Downingtown, Amy and Steve from Downingtown as well.
I met these great Sausage grinders, Chris and Mark from Baltimore.They work for a Sausage maker, Roma, down in Baltimore.  They're sending me some sausage too.  You can read all about that down the road.

We stayed there for about 6 hours each day.(When I have more time I will try to have a complete list of everything we tasted).
We wanted to make sure we said hi to the rest of our Charm City friends we have met throughout our last two years there.

We headed to Todd Connor's with new friends Greg and Kim.  Actually it was like we were on an impromptu double date with them all weekend.  Their crab cake Sandwich there is a must.  It's drizzled with a red pepper aioli. The bun is soft... the filler is non-existent. It's just a bunch of maryland crab lumped on the bun.

Then we introduced them to "One Eyed Mikes" our Grand Marnier bar you've probably read about here before.  It's important to not that OEM's is not close to being a "beer bar."  We go there for that French Orange Liquer we don't even like all that much.
It's the novelty of having the bottle down there...Lance just bought are 3rd bottle on Saturday.  I forget how many you have to buy before you get a free one.

We also hit up some awful (yet supposedly fancy) place called Mezze- more on that service when I talk about how amazing Osteria was in another post.  We also hit up the owl bar, the Mt Vernon stable (worst bar ever), and Dionysus (Very cool bar).  Unfortunately we couldn't get ressies at Brewer's Art on Sat- and they didn't open till 5 on Sunday...I did get to run into owner, Steve at Max's for a minute. 

I've gotta jet...but more later.

No Beer club this week in case you're wondering.

Upcoming events-=

This Thursday 
Drafting Room- 6 pm Sly Fox takes the Taps in Exton... Brian, Tim,  and myself will be there. Maybe Steve?

Next Monday 22nd
Tomme Arthur hits up FISHToWN. Memphis taproom-=- 6 till 8 to meet and greet.

Next Tuesday, 23rd
P.O.P.E. is having a mini-Bells night with a keg of that delicious VAN TWEE (Bells Deproef Collaboration), Hopslam, and the Oarsman (a Berliner Weisse) on tap.

Also keep in mind- Devil's Den is having their ongoing Winter Olympics featuring Medal winners from the Great American Beer Fest.  I'm hearing great thing about the kitchen these days too...

Thursday the 25th
Dogfish at EARTH bread +brewery.  I'd save my seat at 4 pm for this one.  It's gonna be a zooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

Saturday the 27th
SOLD out World CAfe Live Beer Fest.

And a VERY HAPPY Belated Birthday to LEW BRYSON!!!!!


This is what my car looked like situated outside Race St. Cafe when I left for Baltimore on Thursday.  Not good.

I received word from the raging panda on Friday that they weren't ticketing until Sunday.
Since I am not on the "boot list" I wasn't too concerned about being towed...just racking up $72 in tickets.  But things were in my favor for once-=I was ticket free and the car was shoveled out by Snow removal expert Lance Romance first thing Monday morning so I could get to my meeting in time.

I am sure many of you are off work in honor of our Presidents.
Enjoy the extended weekend.

February 12, 2010

Look out charm city-=here we come

I'm on amtrak about 20 minutes outside baltimore. lance romance is to m y left. hes working on his beer and food pairings for an upcoming iron hill beer dinner...i just finished reading us news and world report's issue on aging.

I gave him his first Valentine's treat which was a homemade red velvet heart shaped whoopie pie with almond accented fluff in the middle and cherry pistachio crumbs on the sides (chipwich style). I think it was a big hit but the treats so massive, I have no idea how he's actually going to consume it. He told me mine is being shipped and its not very romantic (shocker considering his name lance romance-not really). Apparently-its something I need and will be thankful for. Hmmm. Stay tuned.it probably has something to do with my car or kitchen.

Max's opens in an hr...if things go right we should be waiting outside for the doors to open...

February 11, 2010

Here comes the Bacon! One more reason to love Dibruno Brothers

After moving to every neighborhood in Philly, or dating in every neighborhood in philly, I am constantly reminded how lucky I am to have landed in the Land of "Gravy" and Suckling pig.

And it just gets better all the time as I develop relationships with the meatman and bodegas.

But my favorite stop will always be Dibruno Brothers.  I was having a conversation with pal Johnny Goodtimes over lunch the other day about them.  And we agreed- Dibrunos (both locations) have some of the best customer service in the city.

But this post is actually about bacon
Of course it is.
Dibrunos has procured at least five new types of bacon.

Bayou bacon (with new orleans spices), two different kinds of Double smoked bacon, Jalapeno bacon and others.  Below is my Snow day breakfast.  Scrambled Eggs, Bayou Bacon and Sourdough bread (wild flour bakery via Green Aisle Grocery on Passyunk)
Lastly, Keep in mind that Dibruno Brothers hosts Craft beer happy hours every Wednesday from 5 till 8.
Meet breweryies and get 10% off everything in the store.  Next week is Philly Brewing Co.

Winter Beer Olympics at Devil's Den. Opening ceremony tomorrow

From the Devil's Den
"Come celebrate the Winter Olympics starting tomorrow night (FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12th at 6P.M. through SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 28th) with award winning beers from the Great American Beer Festival.  From Opening Ceremony until the torch goes out, Devil’s Den will be tapping a different medal winning beer for all 17 days of the Winter Olympics.  The draft lineup is as follows"

Fri, Feb 12  - Troegs Troegenator  - Gold 09 & 07, Sliver 06
Sat, Feb 13  - Bear Republic Racer 5  - Gold 09, Sliver 06
Sun, Feb 14  -  Ommegang Hennipen  - Bronze 06
Mon, Feb 15  - Steamwork Kolsch  - Silver 07
Tues, Feb 16  - Great Divide Old Ruffian  - Gold 06, Bronze 09
Wed, Feb 17  - Allagash Triple  - Gold 06, Silver 09
Thurs, Feb 18  - Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown - Bronze 06
Fri, Feb 19  - Flying Fish Abbey Dubbel  - Silver 08
Sat, Feb 20  - Great Lakes Edmond Fitzgerald Porter—Silver 08
Sun, Feb 21 - Ithaca Cascazilla  - Silver 08
Mon, Feb 22  - Dogfish Head Midas Touch   - Silver 07, Bronze 09
Tues, Feb 23  - Blue Point Toasted Lager  - Silver 06 & 07
Wed, Feb 24  - Southampton Double White - Sliver 07, Bronze 06
Thurs, Feb 25 Dark Horse Scotty Karate  - Silver 07
Fri, Feb 26  - Stone Levitation  - Gold 07
Sat, Feb 27  - Sly Fox Pikeland Pils  - Gold 07
Sun, Feb 28  - Flying Dog In Heat Wheat  - Bronze 06
Flying Dog Raging Bitch  - Mid-Size Brewery on the Year 09

Other Medal Winning Beers available in bottles and draft as well


Our courtyard snowman standing at 9 feet tall

February 8, 2010

I made PASTA!

I don't have time to give all the details on my time spent kneading the dough but here are a few pics to prove I cranked out my own pasta yesterday;)

And with my homemade Tomato Florentine Sauce

February 7, 2010

Jose's Pork Jawn delight!

Behold the amazing sandwich I had on Friday afternoon during our Sly Fox lunch at
Jose Pistolas.
Owner Casey Parker told me not to eat before I got there because there was some pork jawn I had to try.
I am glad I held out....

What was this pork jawn all about?

A breaded pork tenderloin joined by some slaw and mexi aioli of some sort sandwiched on a Le Bus challah roll and served with tater tots for $12.
The tenderloin was downright succulent.
It was the best sandwich I had year to date.

February 5, 2010

Craft filled S u p e r b o w l-= Swifty's or the P.o.p.e

Still don't have superbowl plans?
And you might not even care...
But if you do- here goes

*SWiFt Half is donating all sales of Sly Fox cans to Doctors without Borders- Haiti Relief!!!
I will be there for a bit.

*P.o.p.e. is hosting their 2nd annual "Stupor Bowl."
Last year pitted Philadelphia Brewing Co vs. YaRDS.

This year it will be Sly Fox vs. Victory.

The P.o.P.e will have 3 of each brewery's beers...and viewers can decide which is their favorite.
the styles won't necessarily be the same from each brewery (they only have one nitro tap).

Management promises food and beer specials-=-

I will also be here-probably the second half.

I saw a couple of the National League play-off games here. It was the perfect place to watch a game without some of the meathead madness.

Green Eggs has Legs- Perhaps South Philly's Best Breakfast

In the popular Childrens' story, Green Eggs and Ham, Sam is trying to get a reluctant boy to try eggs like he's never had them before.  Green! and with Ham!  Regardless of Sam's suggestions...a variety of locations, transportation, and dining companions-nothing can sway him.

When Green Eggs Cafe first opened up by Clarion and Dickinson (13th), I thought I would be in there right away.  As with most new openings, it was "coming soon" for a while.  I don't know if it was a "boy who cried wolf" thing or not (oh- that place is still not open) but when they finally opened- I didn't rush in.

I waited about a month. Last Friday was the day.  Lance Romance had off from work so we were afforded the rare opportunity to meet for a weekday breakfast.  (Many of the places we like to get some good morning grub are just too crowded on Saturday and Sunday with weekend warriors.)

I saw a few pics of it early on via City Paper's Meal Ticket.

I had heard not a lick about the food.
Sometimes that is best.  Zip on the expectations.

I went savory- per  usual.  Lance went sweet.
I was tempted by the Philly Egg's Benedict, which subs Grilled Pork Loin for Canadian Bacon, but considering I actually don't care for the incorporated cream cheese, I went with the "Kitchen Sink."  I sank two eggs with cheese, their signature potato, choice of breakfast meat topped with homemade jumbo biscuit and sausage gravy into my stomach. It was cholesterol-up, hands-down the best breakfast I have had in months.  Rich though. When I thought my gluttony was coming to a close- I looked down at my cast-iron skillet and it looked like I barely touched it.  This was enough food to feed a South Philly family of four--and for only $8.50!

Lance got the Peanut Butter Crunch French Toast-=Brioche Texas toast stuffed with whipped crunchy peanut butter and Philadelphia cream cheese served with blackberry jam coulis.  I probably would never order that myself, so it's nice that we date so I can try one bite of something I never would have experienced otherwise.  (I mean there's other reasons too, he's nice, smart, funny and all-- but that's a list topper).  He's like, "this is the best peanut -butter I've ever had."  I had to agree. This too- only $8.50.

Then comes the bacon.  The heart-stopping, no- world-stopping- fatback of my dreams.  It was h e a v y.  Real heavy. It had a maple accent to it.  It was crunchy and chewy, and it was the best bacon we have ever had. Actually- there was that "bacon on the stick" at the Kennett Square Beer Fest I still think about from time to time.

But this was just as good, and something I can get again and again. ($2.50 for 2 slices)
It even prompted me to stop by the open kitchen next door on my way out and thank the chef.  I didn't meet the chef, but I met owner, Stephen Slaughter, whom told me they cut it the bacon in house.

My only grievance is that the food did take a while.  Which when you're doing breakfast on a Friday- as cliche as it sounds, you really don't have all day.  But- if anything was truly "worth the wait", that kitchen sink skillet, that crunchy peanut butter, and that slab o' bacon certainly were.

The decor isn't as glossy as I thought it might be.  Little plants sit on every table. The toast comes out in this funky metal basket.  The orange juice was delightful.  The service was the same.

My favorite part of the restaurant (there are three rooms) was a back room with a large table.
It screamed to me "Breakfast party with Champers and Sly Fox."  I think we might need to do just that as Green Eggs is a BYO. (But just open for breakfast, lunch and brunch).

Next time I return- which should be VERY soon-
with friends that are many,
perhaps I will get that Philly Eggs Bene.

If Seuss's homeboy can be swayed to the way of green eggs, I can hopefully handle a little dairy-=-

A m i s: Fresh Pasta, Bowie, and a rather nice Bar

I ate well last week. Really well. 
Tuesday was my first visit to Amis.  I was meeting a friend for dinner and he told me to pick the place.
I wasn't going to throw a Marc Vetri establishment at him- heck I would have been happy with a Royal Tavern Burger, but we decided on Vetri's new trattoria.  The Tagliata di Tonno (Tuna) remains as fresh in my mind as it was on the table.

Amis is actually meat heavy- perhaps a bit of a struggle for the vegetarian, but my host always looking on the sunny side- was more than fine with the Tonnarelli with pecorino and black pepper. Tonnarelli is sort of like spaghetti's square cuz.  It's about the same thickness but instead of being circular in the cross-section, it's well-square.

The service was excellent (I actually knew our server so I am biased).  Your server will guide you through the menu and make sure you don't over order or leave hungry.

We sat in the dining room for dinner, but upon running into my old pal Trevor- I moved to the bar following.  It was a well-thought out bottle list, and limited- yet welcome draft options.  All craft- the largest brewery being Sierra Nevada.  Yards Old Bart was on...but it wasn't an Old Bart night for me.  There was also Stoudts Pils which is always nice, and a Brooklyn Backbreaker, an English Strong Ale, which I haven't seen around too much, and didn't try that night.

Sitting at the beaut of a zinc (?) bar flanked by Chefs de cuisine from El Vez and Amada, I had a hunch that this is going to be a spot where the men/ladies head when they hang up their white coats for the night.

Vetri and Chef de Cuisine, Brad Spence, are currently serving the ENTIRE menu until 1 am.  They're testing it out to see how it goes-to see if the night owls will come.

Trevor Budny of El Vez is fist-pumping pumped.  He says this is unheard of in Philly.  Personally, I can think of some great food you can get up until 1am (once again- very lucky to be living right by Royal Tavern), but we're talking fresh made gnocchi with oxtail ragu after midnight??? Amazing!  Budny's hope is that enough industry people and late night diners show interest to keep it going.

The music was a nice surprise as well. A li'l David Bowie, some Stones and Beatles lent a more casual feel than perhaps Vetri's other restaurants.  The bartender, Brian, told me it was Vetri's Ipod.  But- I'm not certain.

I was fortunate enough to learn  a lot more about James Beard's 2005 Best -Chef in the Mid-Atlantic that night. I liked what I had heard. I like the way he runs his business. I like his philanthropic nature, but I really like how his sommelier, Steve Widley, can talk farmhouse ales in the type of restaurant that most people wouldn't expect to get past "Glass or bottle of Bardolino?"


Read more about Amis here and here.

I know my photo is awful. Sorry.

Next Up:
Vetri's Grand Tasting and Green Eggs Cafe