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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

© 2011. July 25: My uncle's espresso at l laboratorio del gelato, on Houston Street, after our lunch at Katz's Delicatessen.

© 2011. July 25: My mom's bowl of ramen at Ramen Setagaya on St. Marks Place, for dinner.

© 2011. My dinner at Ramen Setagaya: A bowl of edamame.

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NYC (V): Red

New York can be very colorful.

© 2011. Doorway on E. 8th Street.

© 2011. The one and only Katz's Delicatessen.

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Go get a snow cone… courtesy of the sun.

© 2011 by The York Daily Record/Sunday News. Chilly Dilly's Sun Sno employee Jena Prats waits for customers on Saturday, July 2, 2011, in the Sun Sno stand in the Shurfine parking lot in York Township. Saturday was Prats' first day on the job. Chilly Dilly's frozen treats owner Dylan Bauer has opened two solar-powered snow cone stands, one in York Township and one in Spring Grove. The stands' cash registers, lights and ice shaver are powered entirely by solar panels that sit atop the roofs.

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It’s not just about the chocolate bunnies. (Or turkey hands, or Christmas trees, or a lot of other things.)

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. George Riddley of York City walks toward the drinks table after receiving his plate of Easter lunch at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist on Sunday, April 24, 2011. The lunch was open to any public safety workers, the homeless, those living in shelters or those living by themselves.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Tables start to fill up at the annual Easter lunch at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist on Sunday, April 24, 2011. Rev. David Lovelace said the church began the Easter lunch seven or eight years ago. "People were asking what we do for Easter. We do meals for Christmas and Thanksgiving, so why not Easter?" Lovelace said.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. The Easter lunch served at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist included ham, green beans, sweet potato casserole, tropical fruit salad, bread rolls and homemade Easter eggs.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. William Donald, who said he is homeless, sits by himself in the corner during Easter lunch at the Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist on Sunday, April 24, 2011.

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I love being in York, Pa., but I miss a good Chinatown. York is decidedly lacking in that area.

So when I was walking to the Flash Bus event from my parking spot yesterday morning, I was delighted to notice building signs and street signs in Chinese, as well as other indications that the Pennsylvania Convention Center is right next to Philadelphia Chinatown.

Walking around in Philadelphia Chinatown during the Flash Bus event's lunch break. This is heading south on 10th Street.

This meant that Charles and I did a fair bit of exploring (and eating) in Chinatown during the Flash Bus lunch break, as well as after the event concluded.

Where else but in Chinatown can you get delicious pastries (and pork buns! and coconut bread!) for less than a dollar? (Despite these price tags, the woman at the counter charged me 80 cents for a chocolate cake.)

The Chinatown Friendship Gate at 10th and Arch Streets. This gate is the first authentic Chinese gate built in America by Chinese artisans, according to Plan Philly.

It felt so good to be in a thriving, legit Chinatown again.

(Note: By my experience at least, Washington, D.C.’s Chinatown is not thriving nor legit. I like to call it “China-street.”)

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Finally, a beach post! But first things first: Food.

Jeff and I enjoyed a lot of great food at the beach. We took advantage of having a full kitchen, as well as having many wonderful eateries in the vicinity.

For example, Nourish. Nourish, located at the end of a small strip mall, is a cozy little market that offers everything from fresh cheeses to tubs of kitchen-made soup to Asian cooking sauces. It also has a small but delightful menu for those who enjoy artisan sandwiches and salads.

March 31. Lunch at Nourish: A balsamic grilled sandwich with a Greek salad (with quinoa) and curry chicken salad.

We also stopped by Dogfish Head. This was a completely indulgent, so-unnecessary-but-so-necessary stop, namely because a) we’d just eaten a (disappointing) meal at Grotto Pizza and b) we’d already been to Dogfish Head two years ago.

April 1. Beer sampler, crab dip and crab-and-corn chowder at Dogfish Head.

Being near the ocean, we also indulged in a lot of seafood. On our last night, we were (or, I was) determined to go to a raw bar. After a setback or two, we finally found a bar that was serving raw oysters.

April 2. Raw oysters on the half-shell at Lighthouse.

Other eateries we patronized:

  • Nage — A completely wonderful wine bar and bistro. The only reason I didn’t take photos was that the light was so poor.
  • Rusty Rudder — A restaurant and bar in Dewey Beach. We went for the restaurant and raw bar, but only the regular bar was open for the early season. So we sat at the bar, ordered some drinks and had buffalo wings before we found another place that was serving raw seafood.
  • Nick’s Philadelphia Cheesesteaks — Kind of a dive. The smell of frying oil lingers more than 50 feet outside the entrance, which is always a good sign. After eating our raw oysters, I started craving onion rings. Nick’s was on the way home, so we stopped by and ordered onion rings to go.

And as for home cookin’? No skimping there, either.

March 31. Littleneck clams steamed in beer and water.

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PB-no-J

Who else but a great friend will send you a (sliced!) loaf of homemade bread and a jar of natural peanut butter?

PB&B?

Thank you, Cat!

(And thanks also to my sister-in-law Emily, who regularly sends me Hawaiian candy and, in her latest package, an assortment of teas! And, finally, thanks also to my mom, who sent me a few canned/packaged Asian grocery items and other goodies. Care packages aren’t just for college students, after all.)

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I believe it was my good friend Esten, on the first day of our epic spring break trip, who told me that the Spanish word for “pancake” is “panqueque” — which, if you break it down, translates to “bread what what.”

Ever since, I’ve enjoyed referring to pancakes as “¡bread!¿what?¿what?”

On a slightly more somber note: This morning, I got up and photographed a pancake breakfast hosted by a local church to benefit the Japan relief effort. The breakfast is still going on until 11:30 a.m., so if you’re in the area and want to donate to the fund and have your pancakes too, go for it.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Diane Imler, of Springettsbury Township, places a few homemade cranes and other origami figures onto the welcome table at the pancake breakfast hosted by St. John Lutheran Church on Saturday, March 26, 2011. The church has been advertising the pancake breakfast, which will benefit the Japan relief effort, this week via signs. Church members said a Japanese woman who works at a local florist saw the signs and brought the origami pieces to the church to show her thanks.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Five pancakes are almost ready to be removed from the griddle during the pancake breakfast hosted on Saturday, March 26, 2011, by St. John Lutheran Church on Mt. Rose Avenue. The church is hosting a pancake breakfast 8-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 26, 2011, in the school gym, to benefit the Japan relief effort, and is accepting donations of any dollar amount, and all donations will go toward the Lutheran Church of the Missouri Synod World Relief and Human Care fund.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. Isabelle Peregoy, 6, and Madison, 1, both of McSherrystown, join their grandfather David Peregoy of Spring Garden Township and other St. John Lutheran Church members in prayer at a pancake breakfast hosted by the church on Saturday, March 26, 2011, to benefit the Japan relief effort.

  • ADDENDUM — March 26, 4:31 p.m. EST –

I just called up Diane Imler, who was at the breakfast and helping coordinate things. She said the breakfast raised $1,150 this morning.

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Rita’s is having its 19th annual First Day of Spring Free Ice Giveaway today, until 9 p.m.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. York College junior Blair Foster serves up a cup of strawberry-kiwi Italian ice at Rita's Italian ice on South Queen Street on Sunday, March 20, 2011. March 20 was Rita's 19th annual First Day of Spring Free Ice Giveaway.

These cups of Italian ice usually cost somewhere between $3 and $5, but today they’re free (plus $1 for the optional custard topping). And, according to the owner of the store on South Queen Street, people sometimes come from as far as Maryland, New Jersey and New York just to get free ice.

Which, if true, is incredible. I haven’t had Rita’s yet — when I have my Italian ice, I’ll pay for it — so maybe the ice really is just that good.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. People line up to get free ice at Rita's Italian Ice on South Queen Street on Sunday, March 20, 2011, for the company's 19th annual First Day of Spring Free Ice Giveaway. Store owner Rick Pickett said he has seen people come from Maryland, New Jersey and New York to get free ice, which normally costs about $3-5 per serving, and that he expects to see as many as 3,000 people come to the story today.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. (Left to right) Olivia Small, Katelyn Fissel, Dylan Small and Nate Geiger, all of Spring Garden Township, eat their free Italian ices outside of Rita's Italian Ice on South Queen Street on Sunday, March 20, 2011.

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Pickled beet eggs

Something I’ve noticed in grocery stores here that I’ve never seen anywhere else: plastic tubs of eggs soaked in bright red liquid.

I never knew what they were until my roommate — who was born and raised in the area — said they’re “beet eggs.” Pickled beet eggs. Apparently they’re a big thing among the Pennsylvania Dutch.

The basic recipe? Apple cider vinegar + sugar + water + beets + beet juice + hard-boiled eggs. Refrigerate overnight.

They tasted less “beet-y” than I’d anticipated. But my roommate suggested actually eating them with the beets, which I’ll try next time.

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The weekend before last, I drove to Philadelphia to spend 27 hours with a high school friend. I’m not sure when Emily and I last saw each other — maybe early January 2009? — but it was too long ago. We were overdue for another visit!

Knowing nothing about Philadelphia, I left everything in Emily’s hands. My only requests were that we have good food — particularly cheesesteaks.

So, upon my arrival on Friday the 4th, Emily whisked me to Jim’s Steaks

At Jim's Steaks on South Street and South Fourth Street in Philadelphia.

…where we ordered the same thing. It was delicious.

Cheesesteak with provolone and onions at Jim's Steaks.

We then had frozen yogurt (with fruit and other toppings), even though it was somewhere in the 30’s and pretty windy.

Later that night, we walked over to a small wine-cheese-beer bar called Biba. I’ve never been a cheese person, nor have I ever been able to tell a good wine.

This was a Riesling with which I chose to end the night. I started out the evening with a deep, earthy red wine from Cabardès.

But we struck lucky on the cheeses we chose, and I was thrilled with my wine selection. I’ve never really had a red wine I liked, so I was pleasantly surprised that I absolutely loved the Cabardès.

Oh, and the food was great, too. I’d go back in a heartbeat. Wine bars are no longer establishments for me to overlook.

A truffled egg (served with bread). This was after we'd already partaken of some of the egg, hence the mess.

More Philadelphia photos coming soon!

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For my first video at The York Dispatch, I followed a day in the life of the Bake Shoppe in downtown’s Central Market.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. School of Culinary Arts student Meredith Jensen places fresh cookies into the countertop display in the school's Bake Shoppe, located in Central Market, on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011. Jensen is one of three students working in the student-run bake shop, which is open to the public.

The shop is actually operated by York’s School of Culinary Arts and run by the school’s pastry students. (This concept of a real-world learning lab should be very familiar to members of the Mizzou Mafia.) It opened just about a month ago, and has fresh baked goods available for sale on market days.

Check out the video!

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. School of Culinary Arts student Meredith Jensen rolls out individual portions of cookie dough in the school's Bake Shoppe, located in Central Market, on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011. Jensen and two other students work in the student-run bake shop, which currently operates as an externship site but will soon become part of the school's curriculum.

© 2011 by The York Dispatch. As chef instructor Lisa Linton watches, School of Culinary Arts student Meredith Jensen rolls croissant dough in the school's Bake Shoppe, located in Central Market, on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011. Because the shop operates during Central Market's hours, students working in the shop must arrive at 5:30 a.m. to begin baking the day's goods and preparing dough for the next market day.

Side note: I’ve shot other videos that were published on-line before this, but this is the first one that I edited. As anyone who’s been following me on Twitter for the past few weeks can confirm, I’ve had some fun wrangling with the Adobe Premiere Elements software we installed on my laptop. (Hence, my editor has been the one putting my videos together while I edited this project and became used to Premiere Elements.)

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YORK, Pa. –

It’s the eve of my first day of my photo internship with The York Dispatch. I’ve spent the past two days getting set up in York, so here — belatedly — are some shots from New Year’s Eve with Jeff’s family in Maryland.

First, what’s New Year’s Eve without a mini-bonfire in the backyard?

Jeff's dad lit up the charcoal/wood grill to keep us warm. When the gas grill flaked out, he ended up toning down the fire and cooking our steaks on the wood grill.

Next: the NYE lobsters, which we began cooking/eating just before midnight.

Lobster: alive.

Lobsters: still alive.

Lobster: dead.

Lobsters: really dead.

Delicious!

And, happy New Year!

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A month ago, I took my first significant step toward domesticity by volunteering to take care of Thanksgiving dinner, sans the turkey. The soup, three side dishes and condiment were a rousing success, which led me to declare confidently that I had “totally killed Thanksgiving.”

My Martha Stewart-esque Thanksgiving success emboldened me to volunteer to take care of Christmas Eve dinner.

The full Christmas Eve line-up, sans the soup.

This decision was noteworthy because:

  • My brother and sister-in-law, whom we haven’t seen together since their wedding last November, would be returning to the 48 for the holidays. (The Navy has stationed my brother in Hawaii since the wedding.)
  • We have not had a home-cooked Christmas (Eve) dinner in years. For at least six years, we’ve joined my grandparents and uncles at some fancy restaurant whose food is always overcooked. While complaining with my parents about the formality and the bad food, I impulsively suggested that our nuclear family (plus my sister-in-law) have Christmas Eve dinner on our own — and at home. Pretty major.
  • I volunteered to take care of the whole thing, meaning, this would be my first time being in charge of a significant piece of meat. I left the Thanksgiving turkey up to my mother, but for Christmas Eve, I decided to go all-out. (Fortunately, my sister-in-law was on-hand to assist.)

So, the meat? I ordered a dry-aged rack of prime rib — four bones.

This 8.something pounds of meat cost $172. When I ordered it over the phone two weeks ago, I heard only the "$72" part of it. Talk about sticker shock at the Whole Foods meat market when I picked it up on the 23rd.

The price of this piece of meat directly correlated to my nervousness in prepping and cooking it right. Following many anxiously-taken temperature checks, the meat turned out to be a perfect medium rare. Unfortunately, the jus wasn’t that great, which is why I say I think I killed Christmas Eve dinner — in contrast to my confident declaration of victory over Thanksgiving.

Red meat off the bone!

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I’ve never made gingerbread, and I’ve never seen molasses before, and I’ve never used cocoa powder in a cookie recipe before.

Until today!

Today, with the help of my sister-in-law, I made chewy chocolate gingerbread cookies. They contain ginger, molasses and chocolate chips, and are dredged in sugar before going into the oven.

Dredge dredge dredge. We took our rings off our fingers for this part of the process.

Oddly, they don’t taste quite like gingerbread. My sister-in-law said she’d never before known of a recipe that called for so much molasses, so maybe that’s it. Also strangely, our cookies are much darker than the ones in the recipe‘s photo. Regardless, these are fantastic cookies, and I wish I’d gone ahead and made a double-batch as I’d planned to do but didn’t.

Cracked tops!

Delicious.

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My family has, for as long as I can remember, made only one kind of Christmas cookie each year: Spritz cookies. The concept is fun and simple, especially for young kids: The same basic butter cookie dough is pressed into different shapes that are conducive to different kinds of sprinkles and toppings.

This year, I’m trying to shake things up. We’re still doing the Spritz cookies — mostly because my brothers would probably mutiny if we didn’t — but I’m adding two other kinds of cookies to the bunch. I made the first one today, thanks to Cookin’ Canuck’s recipe and directions: peppermint bark.

Peppermint bark cookies: one big sheet of baked cookie, topped with chocolate, peppermint snow and white chocolate.

Tomorrow, my brother and sister-in-law arrive from Hawaii. I’m not sure when the second cookie will get baked, but it’ll happen soon!

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The fridge from outer space

It’s well past Thanksgiving, but boy do we ever have bountiful food and reasons for thanks.

Earlier this week, my mom bought a bunch of groceries from the Asian supermarket. My brother and I went grocerying later so I could make dinner in time for my parents to arrive from the hospital on a few separate occasions. Finally, one of my dad’s coworkers brought food yesterday while my brother and I were at the wedding.

I don’t normally post vertical photos at full width, but for this, I am. Here’s our fridge:

From outer space.

My dad’s coworker rounded up food from other coworkers and brought:

  • a lasagna big enough to feed 20 people
  • a mystery casserole that’s just as big and heavy as the lasagna (this casserole has since been transferred to the freezer)
  • a bucket of KFC
  • a big thing of salad from Olive Garden (that’s the alien-yellow whatsit in the top right corner — yellow because of the fridge light)
  • soups from Le Madeleine
  • breadsticks from Olive Garden (not pictured, because they’re on our kitchen table)

Not to mention leftovers from each of the dinners I’ve made this past week, some prepared foods my mom bought at the Asian supermarket and a whole slew of produce and other random foodstuffs.

And there must be room for the rack of dry-aged prime beef roast that I’m getting from the Whole Foods meat market on Thursday.

Believe me, I’m thankful for all this food. I just wish my older brother were here already to help us finish it all before the Christmas Eve feast.

  • ADDENDUM — Dec. 19, 6:10 p.m. CST –

One of my mom’s running partners also made haleem for us. This dish will not be going into the freezer alongside the mystery casserole.

Additionally, I forgot to mention that we have a full soup pot of homemade chicken stock, made from chicken thighs that had to be cooked soon or get tossed out.

  • ADDENDUM — Dec. 19, 7:45 p.m. CST –

With a little help, Jeff has identified most of the foodstuffs in the fridge and tagged notes on the photo in Flickr. Check it out — hover your cursor over the photo to see where the tags are and read the notes.

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I totally killed Thanksgiving

I can’t believe it’s December.

I also can’t believe that I volunteered to take over Thanksgiving (choosing the menu and cooking all but the turkey, that is).

My mom's reaction while chopping up cremini mushrooms for the stuffing: "Look! It's a Siamese!"

And, furthermore, I can’t believe that I’ve now volunteered to do the same for Christmas Eve dinner and the Christmas cookie-baking.

Anyway, I’m a bit behind in blogging, but here’re some goodies from Thanksgiving. I’ll backtrack from there and post some earlier photos — later.

I wrote the recipes out because inkjet printouts tend to smear if they get damp.

We — my grandparents, some of my immediate family and another family (10 people total) — began the meal with squash and corn chowder. This was one of the dishes we made when I visited some friends in Roanoke in July, and it was a resounding success.

I doubled the recipe for 10 people, and it was far too much. I also added a lot more seasoning and herbs, as it was otherwise a little bland.

One of the reasons why I volunteered to take over Thanksgiving was, I was a little tired of the usual dishes. Squash casserole? My older brother is the dish’s biggest fan, but he’s in Hawaii. I nixed that one and decided to introduce the soup course.

Then, with the turkey, we had three other dishes plus the usual Thanksgiving condiment.

Mushroom, onion and sourdough stuffing, a la Bobby Flay:

I forgot the egg and the parsley. It still came out fine and tasted great. Definitely the most labor-intensive and time-consuming dish to prepare, though.

I’ve never been a fan of stuffing — or dressing, whichever — but the week before, Jeff and I watched the “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” episode wherein Bobby and The Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) went head to head on a full Thanksgiving meal. This was Bobby’s stuffing, and both Jeff and I decided to give it a shot in our respective homes.

It was pretty good.

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COLUMBIA, Mo. –

A few evenings ago, Jeff and I hightailed it out of Columbia and drove south to Jefferson City, where Central Dairy awaited.

Trucks, in the back of the dairy lot.

Jeff only buys Central Dairy milk (when he’s in Missouri), but neither of us had been to the ice cream parlor before. There’s a Central Dairy building in downtown Columbia — it’s now an appliance store — but the parlor in Jefferson City has been around since at least the 1950s.

The storefront of the Central Dairy ice cream parlor.

We ordered the banana split to share.

Two scoops each of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate ice cream, topped with marshmallow sauce, chocolate sauce and nuts.

We almost finished it — but not quite. I’ll just say that that banana boat and wax paper were full of ice cream carnage, and leave the rest to your imagination.

But it was very, very good.

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¡Yo quiero…!

COLUMBIA, Mo. –

Yesterday, I read an informal look at how real fast food measures up to what’s shown in advertisements. The author compared the advertised-vs-the-reality at Taco Bell, Burger King and other major fast food chains.

It was pretty eye-opening, but not entirely surprising.

On a somewhat related note: Later, my friend Darren picked me up from campus and, on the way home, we swung by Taco Bell. Taco Bell is probably Darren’s greatest love, apart from Xbox.

Darren was excited to see that Taco Bell has resumed serving the Grilled Stuft Burrito.

Darren was not excited about the price.

Darren, at the drive-thru: "$9.52? What the ----?"

But Darren was excited enough to text our friend and his former roommate Jason since, apparently, this was one of their favorite menu items back in the day.

Unwrapped.

It’s the small things.

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