You know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that? --Ratatouille (Pixar, 2007)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Local Favorite! Brick & Brew--Havertown, PA

Sometimes I feel like our neighborhood lacks a real American restaurant.

While we do have the occasional underperforming pub (See, The West Gate Pub) and, on the other hand, the failed high class American dine (See, The Saint James), our area has lacked a mid-priced and delicious American restaurant. This all changes with the new Brick & Brew restaurant and bar in Havertown, PA.

Brick & Brew occupies the small storefront of 2138 Darby Road. Walk inside and you're greeted by a brand new look. Creating a classy, gastropub feel unrivaled by any other local restaurant, Brick & Brew has chalkboards with the new cocktails and ever-shifting beer list, tables supported by makeshift antique iron pipes, tables crafted out of wine crates, and well decorated walls. Though the restaurant may seem cramped at happy hour, the small atmosphere is helped by its warmth and excitement. It's not claustrophobic, it's exciting.

But of course, what we really care about here at TeenwithTaste is the food. Though the menu is a little bit limited, nearly every dish is done well. After two visits I've tasted the large part of the menu. The menu is split into starters, salads, sandwiches, and, their specialty: pizza.

The starters can be a weak spot--I've had the chicken chowder special (below) that came out only lukewarm but was crafted with good pieces of meat and just could've been better. I've also had the smoked (hot) chicken wings--a very nice set of wings, better than most in the neighborhood. Finally, I've tasted the soft pretzel special, a cute idea that was definitely good but certainly a novelty.

The salads go either way--the plating is generally superb and the presentation is usually fabulous. Some salads, like the Cobb salad below, truly look great.

The sandwiches are an underrated favorite. The first time I went I tasted the short rib sandwich, a deliciously pungent sandwich packed with tender, juicy meat. The sandwich list could use a little bit of extension, though. Only 6-8 sandwiches are ever offered at one time. Sandwiches are an easy place for any small restaurant to take on some more work--I'd like to see Brick & Brew offer a few more special sandwiches on a daily basis in addition to expanding their menu as well.

The final stop on the menu is the winner--the pizzas. Brick & Brew has a wood burning oven, outset into the restaurant with a pizza bar where the diners can watch the pizza master chef sculpt and fire his pizzas. The pizza list is filled with imaginative options like the Sausage, Potato, and Egg pizza pictured below. Additionally, the Margherita and the Summer Vegetable pizzas are pictured. The pizzas were well done, if a little burned in places, but truly delicious. Nothing beats the freshness of being prepared in an oven right next to you, and you can definitely taste just that.

Try Brick & Brew soon! It's definitely a new
go-to restaurant for all of us who crave good-old American food.

To find more information on the
website, click here

Monday, November 25, 2013

Where HAVE I been?

Bogged down in high school, that's where.  :(

Plagued with lots of homework, college applications, and the usual load of clubs and activities, I just haven't found time to fill you guys in on the restaurants I've eaten in and dishes I've cooked lately. As you know, no matter how busy I get, I never stop eating.

SO: This short blog post is dedicated to short blurbs about notable things I've cooked/eaten lately. I'll try to keep everything short!


Barbacoa, 64 Rittenhouse Place, Ardmore PA

Barbacoa is one of my new go-to takeout restaurants. It's essentially an American barbecue restaurant that presents itself as something a little more ethnic and a little classier. Though the food definitely holds up to a higher standard, the restaurant is my takeout standard because the ambiance on the premises is subpar. The highlights of the menu are:
   -The extremeeeely moist and flavorful rotisserie chickens, served by the half or the whole (below).
   -The thinly cut angus beef brisket (below): would be great if it had more sauce, but still a good choice normally.
   -Cornbread pudding: A dense, delicious, lump of moist cornbread. It's not pudding...but it's not cornbread. What is it? Delicious.

Tietra, 1425 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA

Boy, this place stunk. My parents and I went here before going to the orchestra at the Kimmel center a few blocks away. We frequent the hip bar across the street (The Good Dog, 224 s. 15th St) but went here when it was too crowded there.
My mother and I got pasta dishes, mine with sausage and hers with seafood. My pasta was far too oily and the poorly chopped mini cubes of sausage were the only strong points. My mother's pasta was better but her scallops were overcooked. My dad got eggplant parmesan and called it (paraphrased) "The most average eggplant parmesan he'd ever eaten."
All the while, we were stuck upstairs in the auxiliary seating--away from the fun of the restaurant and out of the way of our haphazard server's already poor range of service. Needless to say, everything took a while. Our food didn't look horrible (below) but I just can't recommend this place.


Espresso Fudge Cupcakes from

This website is full of pictures of decadent looking cupcakes and accompanying recipes. Recently, I tried "Cupcake #1," the espresso fudge cupcake. I declined the recipe for frosting and topped them with my own chocolate ganache (found on the previous post from last year about peanut butter chocolate cake).
The cupcakes were delicious the first night. I had one fresh out of the oven and almost died. I tasted the chocolate, I tasted the espresso flavor--I just loved them. I brought them into my Spanish class the next day for a project and they were awful. They were as dry as cupcakes come, I just didn't understand what happened.
If anyone can find out how to make them and keep them, let me know. They were delicious at first but now I feel like I can't trust the recipe.

Meatball Madness!

I had a weird affection for meatballs at the end of the summer. It took me a while to realize how quick and easy it is to make meatballs.
All I did was...
Buy two pounds of ground beef. Combine that ground beef with an egg, garlic, and ample (sorry I didn't measure!) breadcrumbs. Then, I filled my meatballs. Some with pesto, some with hot sauce and red pepper flakes, all sealed up tightly so nothing spilled out.
After baking in the oven at 350 degrees for ~12 minutes, I was astounded. Time after time I had moist and delicious baked meatballs to go with my meals.

I'll try to post again soon! I miss my blog and wish I had more time to post.

Not to turn this already infrequently visited blog into an advertisement but...not matter how busy I get, I generally keep up with my food by instagramming everything interesting I eat on the Instagram account @teenwithtaste. Feel free to follow!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Chowing Down on a College Trip--Ann Arbor, Michigan

"Where are you looking at?"

As a rising Senior in high school, I'm stuck hearing that question on the daily. As the year rolls around, most rising seniors are becoming more and more preoccupied with the idea of finding a  few universities that fit us best and then doing our best to make sure we get into those places.

Last week I went to the University of Michigan, and, besides just finding a nice new university, I found a lot of delicious new food. So--here's the spots I would recommend if you find yourself on a visit to the cute mini-city of Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Our breakfasts were probably the most disappointing meals in Ann Arbor. We went to two different places but neither was particularly outstanding. Both were slightly pricey for what they were and neither had a truly perfect menu--just a couple decent items. 

The one I'd most recommend is Afternoon Delight (251 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, The strong points were the fresh baked multi-flavor bran muffins and the super strong and super hot coffee. We opted for blueberry over peanut butter chocolate but the muffin was perfectly moist and fluffy. The weak points (sadly) were the actual breakfast items--I got cinnamon french toast which was awfully dry and overcooked. I also tasted the egg sandwich which wasn't anything special. Here's my disappointing french toast, the egg sandwich, and the top of the funny looking but scrumptious muffin. 


For lunch we felt morally obligated to go to one of the most famous places in all of Michigan. Zingerman's Delicatessen (422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor,, is widely known all over Michigan as somewhat of the Zabar's of the Midwest. However, Zabar's blows Zingerman's out of the water. Zabar's, my favorite New York City Delicatessen and gourmet food market, will always be tops on my list. Though Zingerman's was delicious, it had simply comparable food to Zabar's at a surprisingly higher price. Zabar's competes with extortionate New York rates and Zingerman's was still more expensive. We found ourselves shying away from the bagels and cakes below because they were simply unreasonably priced for their quality. 

The one upside to Zingerman's is that it has a well-oiled machine of a restaurant in back. Zingerman's offers a humongous selection of sandwiches and sides like home baked kinishes. The only caveat is that my sandwich and the other below were both predictably expensive. I ordered the most famous Binn's Reuben sandwich and the other sandwich is a turkey/chopped liver combo. Below, the sandwiches were really delicious but I'm not sure mine was 100% deserving of the $14 price tag. 


Dinner in Ann Arbor is absolutely the best. Whether you're a college student on a budget or a local that can afford to dine in style, Ann Arbor has a restaurant for you. I sampled a restaurant at each end of the spectrum.

(216 S. State Street, Ann Arbor,
Sava's features both an extensive list of delicious and fairly priced sandwiches and a list of more lavish entrees and a variety of sides. I had the Cuban and a side of mac and cheese (on the waiter's suggestion) and my mom had the Kalifa Panini with sweet potato fries. My sandwich was juicy and delicious and my mom's was also pretty yummy. The Cuban was filled to the brim and, as the local UMichigan student waiter said, "great after a long, hard day." The only forgettable piece was the mac and cheese I ordered on recommendation.
Also, it doesn't hurt that Sava's has a well decorated interior with an upper level of seating as well. The restaurant (below), is pretty aesthetically pleasing.

They also make kick-ass mixed drinks out of their full bar. The "poolboy" (pictured here) was heavenly.

(Corner of Packard and S. Division St. in Ann Arbor,
I heard about this place on Guy Fieri's infamous Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Though I'll agree with the haters, Fieri is obnoxious and annoying, the restaurants he visits tend to be worth visiting. Krazy Jim's did not disappoint.
To order, you stand in a snaking line and put together your burger as you go through. First, you have to order your fried goods. DON'T SKIMP! Jim's deep fries a selection of delicious fresh vegetables in addition to the classic onion rings and french fries right before your eyes. As you can see below I got myself a hefty basket of fried mushrooms.
Next you order your burger. Their ordering system is a little particular but they have directions on the wall to guide you. The frycooks will only give you a cute heckle if you get it twisted up. You can order from 2-5 (or more on special order) patties. Their patties are thin, so don't hesitate to go for three or more. Also pick from one of their six different cheeses, one of their four unique buns, and many grilled veggies and bacon/salami to top your burger.
My burger and Krazy Jim's experience was the foodie highlight of my trip to Michigan. This pre-football-favorite is a MUST-SEE during any Michigan visit.

At any rate, the University of Michigan was in a delicious foodie town. Maybe I'll be back in Ann Arbor soon...only time will tell!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The First Taste of Turkey--Recipe for Turkish Ezme

     I recently got back from got back from a trip to Turkey and have been desperately trying to figure out how to blog and share how much I enjoyed the food I had there. Over the time I was there I sampled way too many new and interesting foods from way too many restaurants and markets to simply explain them all or review each restaurant individually.
     So, instead of responsibly finding a good way to blog all my thoughts, I gave up. I gave into my impulses and went into the kitchen to try to recreate just one of the dishes that I missed most from Turkey. Turkish "Ezme" is sort of the ketchup, salsa, or soy sauce of Turkey. A chunky tomato dish that vaguely resembles salsa--but doesn't really taste like it--Ezme makes for a spicy and delicious start to most meals. And, just as most meals at an Italian restaurant would start with Bread and olive oil, a typical Turkish meal always starts with Bread and a dish of Ezme. 
     Naturally, after a few meals at home, I began to miss Ezme. My meals felt boring. So, I decided to try to recreate my favorite dish. I found a few recipes online but they looked kind of weird. Each one had its own twist that led me to believe it wouldn't hold up to the Ezme I knew. So, I decided I would make my own recipe and just revise it as needed. It ended up really pretty spicy. Probably just a little too spicy for the normal person. However, as it sits in my fridge for a week, it has gotten more deliciously dull as the days pass. At this point I think the Ezme is right where I want it to be. It's really spicy--but not inedibly so. A good Ezme is deliciously spicy--but shouldn't require you to gulp down your whole drink after each bite. My recipe is as follows:

One Scotch Bonnet Pepper
1 Long Green Hot
1/2 White Onion
1/2 Red Bell Pepper
6 Small Tomatoes
1/2 Cup chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
2 Tbsp Tomato Thickening Powder or Tomato Paste to thicken
1 Tsp Sumac
2 Tablespoons strange Turkish Spice
Salt/Pepper to taste

Some of these ingredients might sound weird or unattainable but I'll try to make a few substitutions where possible. 

So the recipe starts by sweating the onions in a large saucepan with a small amount of olive oil for a few minutes. Don't fry them--if they begin to wilt and fry, turn down the pan and realize you're using far too much oil. After the onions warm in the pan for about 3 minutes add in the Parsley. Parsley will never really overcook and should be a part of the cooking process in order to add their flavor to the whole dish as ingredients are incorporated. 
     After about a minute add in both the chopped Scotch Bonnet Pepper and the Long Green Hot. To be honest (and you've probably realized it) Long Green Hot probably isn't the real name of the pepper. However, when looking for something I thought would taste good in Ezme, I went to Giant to find hot peppers. I knew already how Scotch Bonnets work and was excited to buy those. However, I had never seen what was labeled as "Long Green Hots" in the market. If you don't go to my local Giant, substitute any spicy green pepper--maybe something like a serrano or even a jalepeno or two. Dice both peppers up and throw them in with the onion and parsley. Then chop up the bell pepper and toss that in as well. Finally, coarsely chop the tomatoes and throw them in as well. 
     After you let the ingredients meld in the pan for about 5 minutes, add the thickener (the powder or the tomato paste). My mom came home that day with a strange powder she got from our favorite spice/nut store in Havertown (THE HEAD NUT! that she claimed acts like a thickening agent as tomato paste does. I used about 2 tablespoons and it thickened my mixture really nicely. Then I added the sumac. Sumac is a sometimes poisonous plant that has berries that are crushed to make a lemony and delicious spice. The spice is uncommon and you may have to go to a spice store (like mine above) to find it. The final weird spice is something I truly know you can't find. I bought it in the Turkish Spice Market and it most closely resembles red pepper flakes. You can either use some red pepper flakes or simply omit this step. It might help make the spiciness of the dish more manageable to omit it.
     Next, turn off the heat and let the mixture sit for 2 minutes. Pour the contents of the pan in a blender or food processor. BE CAREFUL HERE: if you over blend, the mixture will turn into tomato soup. All you want to do is pulse it carefully until it combines and the largest chunks have been cut down. 
     Hopefully when you're done it should look something like mine did!
If yours comes out too spicy for your liking, try leaving it in the fridge for a few days. This stuff will keep (refrigerated) for quite awhile and it has been proven that spices dull when they're let sit.

Thanks so much for reading! I'm going to attempt to revise this recipe soon. Look for a different version soon!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I kind of look like Cookie Monster--Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies!

Everybody likes a good cookie with a glass of milk. But, sometimes cookies just feel like a pain to make. The batter generally has many components and then you're often stuck spooning out rows upon rows of cookies onto sheet upon sheet of parchement, trying to get rid of a bottomless bowl of cookie dough. I know what you're thinking--shape them into bars! Well no, that's not my solution. Bar cookies just don't yield the same satisfaction that single cookies do.

My solution is that the cookie you're making just needs to be so good that it gets you through the lengthy process it takes to make them. You have to be looking forward to the end result so much--that you'll do whatever it takes to get them. THAT...and do yourself a favor and make big cookies to use up dough quickly.

Today's recipe stems from my cookie craving the other day. I reached into the cabinet to make this favorite cookie and realized I did not have sufficient brown sugar. However--I know alllllll the best tricks. Watch and learn!

3/4 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Stick (1/2 cup) of Crisco Shortening. (stick with me here: Some people really hate Crisco or think it's gross and old fashioned. I personally think that Crisco gives a cookie a good crunch that it wouldn't otherwise have. Also it's probably a little better for you than full fat butter.)
1 and a 1/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar. (as you'll see in the picture below,  I didn't have enough. Thus, I substituted 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 cup plain white sugar with about tablespoons of molasses. Essentially--we're making our own shoddy brown sugar)
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 and 3/4 cup AP flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch
Chocolate Chips to your liking, Macadamia nuts to your liking.


Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the peanut butter, Crisco, and sugar (molasses too if using white sugar). Then add the milk, vanilla, and egg. Beat just until fully combined. Overbeating will kind of kill the consistency of the cookie. Next add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Once again--just beat until combined. Finally, add in as many chocolate chips and macadamia nuts as you see fit. I added chocolate chips to macadamia nuts in a slight 2:1 ratio because I just don't like my cookies too nutty.
Next, drop batter in mounds on baking sheets with space for the cookies to spread  slightly. Honestly--don't be a baby. Everyone knows big cookies are better. Just make your cookies large!

Finally, bake them for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Then let them cool for at least 5 minutes.

Hope your cookies turn out as good as mine!

A thanks to the "Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookie" recipe from Crisco that I, no offense Crisco, have made a lot better.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Simply The Best--The Chicken or The Egg--LBI, NJ

We all indulge. We can't help it! Whether it's our extra slice of pizza or the late night chocolaty snack, the best of us get cravings which require some sense of indulgence. I myself have one craving that seems to trump all others. In the dead of winter and the heat of summer alike I can't help but succumb to the craving for WINGS. As I said in my last post after eating poor wings from Buffalo, NY (where they originated) my favorite spot to give in to a wing craving is The Chicken or The Egg (the "Chegg," to locals) in Long Beach Island, NJ. Despite the fact that LBI was nowhere near the first place to make wings, the Chegg is definitely my favorite place to eat them that I've been thus far.

My necessary proviso for this post is that my family is huge LBI-heads. My mother has been going to LBI since she was a baby and was notably sailing her sunfish sailboat when it capsized as she was pregnant with me. My siblings and I have been raised in the summer, immersed in the quiet hum of Beach Haven, LBI, and we've certainly had our fair share of quality dinners on the island as well.

If any dinners stick out most, it's those that we've shared at The Chicken or The Egg. The Chegg is a beloved tourist spot but the locals and old-hands like us can't help but keep coming back. The busiest night at the Chegg is called "Wing Night." On Wing Nights every Wednesday, a plate of 5 hefty Chegg wings goes for only $3. Thankfully, my last trip fell on a Wing Night. After waiting out the 60-75 minute wing night wait (try to get your name on the list early) we got ourselves a table. I didn't really need to look at the menu--I knew what I wanted.

You want wings. The Chicken or The Egg has SIXTEEN different sauces for you to bathe your wings in. To date, I've tasted nine of them. The "Ludicrous" sauce was featured as a Man vs. Food Challenge on the Travel Channel. However, I myself am too much of a baby to try what's been said to be a devilishly spicy sauce. This trip, I tried two of my old favorites and two new sauces. The picture below shows the "Santos" sauce on the wings on the left and the "Swamp" sauce on the wings to the right.

In the picture at right, the orange wings closer to the right are my standby of "Jamaican Jerk," and to their left are the slightly milder Beesting wings. All I can say is that I wasn't disappointed. My standby favorites are always good and the new sauces didn't let me down either. Though I highly preferred the Swamp wings to the Santos, I would've been pleased to be served any of them. The wings at the Chegg are simply second to none.They're meatier than any wing I've ever tasted and their breading gives each bite a hearty crunch. An added bonus were the ginormous, fresh onion rings in the picture above. When you bite into one the onion practically falls into your mouth--the way a true onion ring should be. Also, as you can see, the burgers are first rate as well. Though I'm not one to order anything other than wings, the Chegg does have a multi-page menu of other delightful entrees.

Basically, I owe some of my favorite culinary journeys to the Chegg. It's kind of cool when I'm eating and I realize--this is why I have a food blog. Not only do I have it to share some enjoyable recipes, but I have it to share the places I eat that simply NEED to be praised. I share places like the Chegg because I want you, the reader, to GO THERE.

Overall rating: duh, a 5/5

For more information visit or just contact me--I could talk about the Chegg for hours.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Buffalo Wing Blunder--Duff's Wings, Buffalo, NY.

Hi Everyone!
Sorry it's been a little long since my last post, I've been pretty busy because of the whole "Junior Year" deal. Don't worry--I haven't stopped cooking or eating! Now that schools ending I'll get to blogging all the interesting spots I've been to and dishes I've tasted recently.

A few weeks ago I was on a family trip to Niagara Falls for my cousin's wedding. Our itinerary had us flying into Buffalo and then driving across the border into Canada. Before entering the land of maple syrup, I had one thing on my mind: BUFFALO WINGS! Though my favorite wings have always been those of "The Chicken or the Egg" in LBI, NJ (website is, check the CHEGG out!), I was open to suggestion.

In a bit of a frenzy, I googled "BUFFALO WINGS/BUFFALO/NY." Looking back, I should've been a little bit more careful. I came across message boards that all seemed to yield similar lists. The originator of the wing (Anchor Bar) was in the center of Buffalo and my parents said that was just too far out of the way. A runner-up on the list was a place called "Duff's" with numerous locations, one of which was nearby.

When we arrived at Duff's the appearance had me worried. Sure, a good wing joint doesn't need to be pretty. However, I had a bad feeling that the dinky little bar's wings would taste as boring as the bar looked.

For my meal I had wings and a side of fried pickles. Heeding their sign above (that they displayed in multiple areas of the restaurant) I simply had medium and not hot. I like wings--but I'm not crazy.

The wings I ordered are on the right. At first I just thought they looked like normal wings. When I tasted them...I wasn't surprised. They were just normal wings, maybe even sub-par. They had little meat on each bone and they were a tad bit over fried. The only redeeming factor was probably the big, exciting bucket they gave me to put my bones in. I might as well have just thrown the whole plate in the bucket because there was that little meat per wing anyway.

My mom ordered another Buffalo-area specialty, Beef on a Weck, hoping it would be an exciting new culinary try. However, just as the wings were, the beef was also disappointing. The Weck roll had too much kosher salt and it killed the sandwich. The roast beef also seemed to be of low quality, rendering it stringy.

If you're a regular reader of my blog you know I'm not usually this harsh or snobby. I don't know what to say--this was just an exception. As we got in our rental car after eating I looked at my mom and said "that kind of sucked."
"Yeah, it did," she said.

Duff's get's an overall star ranking of 1/5.
   The sauce and fried pickles were eh, otherwise Duff's would've received a 0.

Monday, April 15, 2013

It All WORK'd Out!--Kraftwork Bar, Fishtown

Last weekend I decided to ditch the excitement and busyness of being a highschooler on a Saturday night go out to eat dinner with my parents in Philadelphia. Because my dad has an affection for pretending he's a bigger beer drinker than he is (16 oz and he conks out), we tried out a new "brewpub" that's been all over the local food blogs and message boards.

Occupying a small corner lot at 541 E. Girard Ave, "Kraftwork" does almost as much aesthetically as it can with the space it was given. The middle of the restaurant boasts a rectangular bar, gallantly displaying the 24 taps the restaurant prides itself in keeping moving at all times. Though not ideal for parties of more than a single person, sitting at the bar is certainly an option when the restaurant becomes even just a little bit crowded. Outfitted around modular pieces of art including a big hacksaw above the bar, Kraftwork's outer ring of tables are sadly a bit small and require groups to be squeezed in, nearly shoulder-to-shoulder. It's clear that the restaurant's self proclaimed "neighborhood" image was taken a little bit too far when someone envisioned having to eat directly with his or her neighbor.

Assuming you're not sitting next to a nutcase, the rest of your dinner at Kraftwork should turn out spectacularly! Because of its craft-brewy nature, a meal at Kraftwork starts with a look over the beer menu. As if it was made on an elaborate excel spreadsheet, the menu has nicely laid out columns explaining where each beer is from and what kind of beer it defines itself as. As my dad picked out the only one he knew, my mom and I picked out the ones with the best names. Not a beer savant myself, I can't advocate for whether or not Kraftwork holds its own with the best of brewpubs in the actual "brew."

Natty Light is (fortunately) missing from the menu.

The food, mostly classic American dishes, is well presented and honest. When I first saw dishes headed around the dining room I was stuck wondering whether or not they could truly taste as good as they looked. Little did I know that an hour later I would be slapping myself across the face for ever second-guessing Kraftwork. For dinner I got a burger (because I cheated and saw one of these huge, delicious burgers floating over to another table before ordering), my mom got the French Onion Short Rib sandwich, and my dad got the Wild Mushroom Baguette.

The Burger was absolutely spot on. From the gargantuan and juicy patty all the way to the toppings (there's a list of 4 cheeses and 5 toppings to choose from), I could not have been disappointed. Below is my burger: 
The Short Rib Sandwich was absolutely delicious as well. Crackly stiff but soft bread shielded the delicate and tender short rib on the inside of the sandwich.
Finally, I did not sample my father's wild mushroom baguette. A lone wolf in our culinary family, my father is a wimpy ol' vegetarian. What I can speculate on, however, is that large pile of fries you see on each and every plate. A statement against any joint that dignifies their fries with different sizes or the proverbial "side of fries" title, Kraftwork doesn't let any sandwich leave the kitchen without being half full of their delicious garlic and herb fries.
At the end of the day I left Kraftwork stuffed to the brim with food and smiling ear to ear. I saw others eating some of the dessert options, but couldn't hold myself to ordering and finishing anything after such a large meal.

At any rate, try to make a trip out to Fishtown. A solid choice for anyone who likes classic American food, Kraftwork is definitely one of the best I've been to recently.

Overall Star Ranking: 4.5/5

Also, it didn't hurt that the background music in the restaurant nearly matched up entirely with one of my Spotify playlists. :P

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"Almost Too Real" Thai--Olieng Thai in New York City, NY

Bloggers and foodies alike often talk about the spots that are "authentic" or "the real thing." Nowadays, with millions of brilliant fine dining spots to find on the daily, some just want to chow down on a simple plate of "real" food. People search for these spots in spite of wanting to pay a big price for an overwhelming plate full of multiple proteins, sauces, side dishes and garnishes. As interesting as the titles sound, not every meal needs to be eaten at a "gastro-pub" or a "trendy tapas bar."The search for genuinely cultural spots has expanded and become popularized.

Late last week I was on an overnight trip to New York City with my school newspaper staff. Set loose in Midtown for dinner, we gazed up at all the signs and storefronts, wondering which to pick. Many wanted Thai food--so we of course all pulled out our iPhones simultaneously and Googled the obvious, "Thai Food+ Midtown+ NYC." We sifted through a few Yelp reviews until we found a favorable restaurant, Olieng (at 46th and 10th), one that coincidentally fit my prior descriptions in the form of seeming as authentic as possible.

First, let me establish that Olieng is small. Not like a Chipotle small or a Saladworks small...I'm talking REALLY Small.  Olieng is so small it's as if any more than you and a few other people are in it--it might just overheat. Nevertheless, a menu filled with variety, a quick and handy waitstaff, and a small but cutesy New York atmosphere was plenty to get our meal going. If I had one complaint about the atmosphere it would have to have been that the right wall is half mirror covered in messages written by customers. If you look at it it's kind of unpleasant and dizzying, but it didn't get in the way of a nice meal.

Finally--the food. To start, one of us ordered their vegetarian Thai spring rolls. The rolls were nice and crispy, if a little "veggie" for me. As you can see in the picture to the bottom/right, half the roll was loaded with some spinach. Nevertheless, with a hefty dip in the thick, satay-like sauce, the rolls were a nice clean start to the meal. Thai food is kind of the anti-Chinese food when it comes to the density and heaviness of their appetizers. We entered the full meal feeling fresh, light, and held over until our food came.

After our appetizers, our entrees came. While one of us ordered an interesting dish entitled, "Red Curry Chicken," others (including myself) felt that it would be a waste not to try their most traditional dish--pad thai. I got beef and one of my friends, a vegetarian, got tofu. As you can see in the pictures, the dishes looked just as the restaurant itself looked--homely and authentic.

I felt as though I was eating food that people from legitimate Thai backgrounds might actually eat... unlike the fancy, over-presented Thai food available in other places in the city.
-After asking my friend if "medium spicy" was okay for her Red Curry, it was delivered packing quite the punch. Noticeably spicy yet well made and cooked, the Red Curry was a nice looking traditional Thai dish.
-The Pad Thai was above average and well made. Cooked correctly and spiced handily, the Pad Thai got the job done as I thought it would.

So, next time you're in New York City and want something less intense and over-the-top, a traditional Thai meal at Olieng might just hit the spot for you like it did for us.

ALSO: Big thanks to one of my fellow editors of the school newspaper: All these photos are courtesy of the fabulous photographer Efi Narliotis. Her magical work with a camera makes every bite look more and more delicious. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Andy Makes Ming's w/ a Twist!

Hey Everyone!

Besides normal food blogs, the world has become overflowing with a trend we know as "food porn." Websites that primarily show delicious pictures of delectable dishes, food porn is generally better looked at than cooked. "" has become a fan favorite due to the fact that it definitely stays true to its slogan, "click, drool, repeat."

One food blog showing its own version of food porn is The site's cook, a secret person named Ming, doesn't post stories like me. Rather, Ming just posts delicious pictures of cupcakes he makes that have short and sweet recipes. I, dying over his amazing looking cupcakes, decided to try one of his succinct recipes.

I was drawn in by the "Sour Cream Fig" cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. I loved the idea because I knew that sour cream often makes cupcakes deliciously moist. However--one twist. I had a delicious jar of date preserves. Thus, I swapped the fig jelly for date jelly. (Don't worry it turned out delicious, not too different.) The recipe is as follows:

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 sticks butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sour cream
fig jam or preserves (but I used date)

Light oven to 350 degrees.
 In a mixer, cream butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and add vanilla and egg. Stir in sour cream. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add flour mixture to wet mixture.  

The process for filling the cupcakes looks like the following:
Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full.  Place a spoonful of fig jam in the center.  Cover with batter.  

Bake at for 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

8 oz. room temp. cream cheese
1 stick room temp. butter
1 lb confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla

My frosting ended up kind of soupy because I was using cream cheese pulled outta the freezer and microwaved--but--this recipe is kind of weird, so I'm going to give you my classic cream cheese frosting recipe. Use whichever you want, but the one below is slightly more foolproof. 

1 pound cream cheese, softened
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Anyway, happy cooking. Hope yours turn out as nicely as mine!