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Groceries in the neighborhoods around UPenn

If you live in G-Ho or Fitler Square (as I did for about 16 years while in school at Penn and beyond), your two closest supermarkets are South Square Market and Rittenhouse Market. Neither is much to write home about, unfortunately, and quite expensive as well. There is a Pathmark in Grey's Ferry I used to take the bus to occasionally to stock up on necessities but that's about it.

But, as mentioned, there is a Whole Foods and a Trader Joes a good walk (with wheelable shopping cart) away. There are a number of nice produce markets around Rittenhouse Square, along with Metropolitan Bakery, and a nice (though pricey) DiBruno Brothers store. Reading Terminal Market is worth the occasional trip and there's a farmers market that pops up in Rittenhouse Square as well offering local produce and meat.

Oh! And one shouldn't forget about the Asian markets, either. There's an H-Mart near 69th Street station in Upper Darby and several in South Philadelphia. Definitely good for stocking up on produce, rice and other useful basics. Now that I live in South Jersey I go to the H-Mart in Cherry Hill on a regular basis and I love their selection, especially of seafood and produce.

1 day ago
sockii in Philadelphia

Masterchef returns with new judge

That wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. Although it adds some extra suspicion to folks who have absolutely no presence whatsoever.

May 22, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News

Masterchef returns with new judge

BTW, I did my usual snooping/research on this year's contestants, and for those I could look up you can find their Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/Website links here. (Scroll down a bit on the page, I hope the mods don't consider this a spam link. I just do a "fan page" for MC every year and this is one of the most popular features of it):

http://wizzley.com/masterchef-us-seas...

A few from this year seem to have no social media presence I can find, or very limited. Darah is the only one giving off clear wanna-be actress vibes as her Facebook is basically a modeling page with her acting CV. I was surprised (pleasantly) to see Tommy apparently has been on staff as a teacher at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago for 26 years, so he is not just an actor plant, that apparently IS him, love it or hate it.

Some of the other links are interesting too.

May 22, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News

Masterchef returns with new judge

Christina Tosi is the chef and co-owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, an organization that consists of a central bakery that produces baked goods daily for five retail outlets in New York City and a sixth location in Toronto, Canada. The central bakery also provide baked goods for other restaurants in the Momofuku group and to other individuals by shipping internationally. Tosi is also a cookbook author and teacher.

Not hard to look her up. I just wikipedia'd that for you (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christi...) She does have quite a few years of experience and her first jobs in the kitchens of New York were at Bouley and wd~50. So yes, she is quite a well-respected chef who has gotten a fair amount of press. And to be honest, I think it's a bit refreshing to see someone not part of the typical food tv network of "celebrity chefs" on the air even if she needs to work on her on screen personality a bit. I do know I saw her on at least one Chopped episode before as a judge. She obviously knows her stuff and I'm at least glad that we finally have a woman on the judging panel at last.

May 22, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News
1

Masterchef returns with new judge

I have to say despite a few seemingly obvious annoying plants (namely Tommy the fashion guy), this season's group seems a lot more interesting and potentially fun to watch than the last few. I'm already rooting for Derrick but that could be just because I love drummers ;)

Seems like there's a bit more ethnic diversity than we've seen before and not all the women are either stiletto-heeled wanna-be actresses or nasty fat girl stereotypes. (I wonder if they actually listened to the huge backlash online against last season with the ugly Courtney vs. Elizabeth "scripting" and the way they so obviously favored Courtney from the start.)

I liked the way these first eliminations were run as well because it at least gave us some time to see who most of the players would be, they don't seem like such a wash of interchangeable faces as they usually are at this point for me.

May 22, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News
1

Zagat's list of NJ's Top 50 Restaurants...

Zeppoli not on the list? I declare it invalid.

May 20, 2015
sockii in New Jersey

Zeppolis, Collingswood: The Whole Truth

Delucacheesemonger - Yes I did! And as a result (I think?) my leftover box had "VIP" marked on it. ;)

(Our waiter also told us an amusing story about a girl there recently for a pre-prom dinner...insisted on getting the squid ink pasta even while there in her prom dress. I hope she was going for the goth look because I had black teeth for the rest of the night!)

Zeppolis, Collingswood: The Whole Truth

Ended up getting:

- Antipasto plate to share. So much to share and so great, especially the grilled vegetables.

- Squid ink pasta. Just what I wanted for my birthday! And more subtle and delicate in flavor than I've had it in Venice. Even my sweetie loved it and he usually looks at me funny when I order it every chance I can in Italy, it's usually "too earthy" for him.

- Gnocchi. Because you just can't come here and not get them. Really the best I've had anywhere, period.

- Whole orata. As soon as our waitress said there was only one left my sweetie was all "I'm claiming it!" because a party of 12 had just come in after us, and he did not want to miss out on that insanely good whole fish again.

- The roast chicken with cippolini argodolce for me. I almost never order chicken in a restaurant, but while we were waiting for our table to be prepped for us (a party was lingering in it well past our reservation time) we had like 20 minutes to watch the kitchen in action. I got a whiff of the chicken hitting the pan on top of the herbs and lemon and my stomach decided that was what I was going to have for dinner. It was fab but so much food by that point I just finished off half of it for lunch right now.

- Panna cotta and affogato for dessert. Joey came over to check on us at this point and wanted to know how I knew about the squid pasta special ;) We ended up getting some housemade anisette digestivo after chatting for a bit.

Really love this place so much, the food is just so good. The noise level is, well, I guess the price to be paid for dining there unless you arrive really early or late. But I'm looking forward to getting back over the summer when we can eat outdoors.

How do you deal with the compulsive need for everyone to like your food?

It sounds more like over-perfectionism to me than being childish. You cannot control others' tastes. For instance, I love chocolate but my father-in-law simply doesn't care for it. If I make a chocolate dessert that everyone else raves about and he'd rather have vanilla ice cream, it's not a reflection on me and my baking. If I make a curry dish and one person at a party isn't keen on those spices, I'm not going to stop making that dish forever more. I may not make it for the person in question, but that's all.

I get more mad at myself when I'm cooking for a group/party and a dish doesn't come out as well as *I* thought it should.

Zeppolis, Collingswood: The Whole Truth

I'm going back tonight for my birthday dinner. Going to see about getting that squid ink pasta, it's one of my favorite things in the world when I can find it!

My Aldi experience!

So it's been about a month, I can say I really was happy with - and went back last week to restock - the following from my first purchases:

- The German chocolate. OMG so good. I love the little squares because they are perfect when I just want 1-2 small pieces for a chocolate/sweet "fix". Great quality for the price. I'm not a huge sweets eater but I enjoy having some of these on hand.

- The shredded wheat cereal and granola bars. Cereal was very good quality, sweetie liked the granola bars for his lunchtime/driving snack.

- Whole bean coffee, Donut Shop Blend. Admittedly it is not up to the level of the Peet's Major Dickason's Blend which is my coffee of choice at home. But for $3.99 a bag, I like to have some on standby if I run out of my regular, typically $9.99/bag bean. It's still way better than any pre-ground coffee I can get easily.

- Saltine crackers, rosemary/olive oil rip-off triscuit crackers. Actually all the snack crackers I bought were really tasty, at least as good if not better than name brand varieties.

- Canned salmon. Don't judge me, I bought it for my mom who likes to give it as an occasional treat to her cats from time to time. They apparently went nuts for the one can I bought for her to try previously and it's a lot cheaper than what she gets at ShopRite, and better quality (her and her cats' judgement, not mine.)

I was not so thrilled with and skipped the parmesan cheese wedge I bought last time (not good quality). Vegetables and fruit still didn't look appealling compared to what I can get elsewhere; oranges in discount bags were moldy. Can't say there was anything else I bought the first visit I was that disappointed with, more on the second visit there didn't seem to be as many interesting things out there to try/stock up on. So it's definitely a store that can be good or meh depending on what's in stock/on special at the moment.

May 17, 2015
sockii in Chains

Philly Hounds - what is a Long Hot?

I went to Seeds From Italy, where I get a lot of unique veggies and herbs to grow in my garden, and there are a few pepper varieties that look like the typical "Italian Long Hots" available, although the description says they are sweet not hot:

http://www.growitalian.com/pepper-lom...
http://www.growitalian.com/peperone-d...

Philly Hounds - what is a Long Hot?

"Frying", I think, are Cubanelles. I use them a lot in Caribbean/Cuban recipes and find them more delicate than a typical "green pepper".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cubanelle

Long hots are definitely as you describe. Longer, thinner, wrinkly. And hot. Over here in South Jersey they are pretty ubiquitous in summer farm markets and look like this. Often served in Italian-American restaurants cooked down in olive oil with garlic to enjoy with crusty bread.

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2141/35...

May 17, 2015
sockii in Philadelphia

Table Hogs and Coffee House Etiquette

So, you are asking for consideration of invisible disabilities - a very good point - while also using a pejorative word like "cripple".

Nice.

May 17, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Supermarket music

There's a reason why the Dancing In The Street video is one of the most meme'd of all memes these days. And why I have to remind myself every now and then that the 80s actually happened and weren't just a crazy dream...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9G4jn...

May 15, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Another Online Review Dsipute...Owner goes Ballistic.

Yep. He could have responded with a lot more tact about what his witnesses reported happening and take the high road here. Instead, he resorted to some incredibly vulgar and misogynistic insults which would deter me from ever stepping foot in his restaurant, even if Brooke was as awful a customer as described.

Neither side comes out looking a winner, here.

May 15, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News
1

Whole Foods and "donations"

What I really hate are the vague requests for donations at check out which really come across as guilt-inducing shaming if you say no.

"Would you like to help feed hungry children today with a donation?" (No, sorry, I'd rather they starve to death.)

"You you like to help fight breast cancer today with a dollar?" (By buying some stupid pink sh!t full of cancer-causing chemicals?)

or at the pet store,

"Would you like to help homeless animals today with a donation?"

Last time that happened to me at one pet store I demanded to know precisely which organization my money was going to support. That I at least got an answer to. I asked whether they were a kill or no kill shelter; the cashier couldn't tell me, and I declined because I am particular about where my charitable donations for animals go to. (For instance I support one local, independent feline rescue group in Philadelphia because I know exactly about the work they do. I've fostered/adopted cats from them and have a monthly donation set up via paypal.) And it's not just animal-related charities I'm fussy over; I will never give a dime to Susan G. Komen but will support other cancer-related charitable organizations happily.

May 15, 2015
sockii in Chains

You're not a foodie if you............

IMHO, you're not a "foodie" if you judge others based on their supposed foodie "credentials".

May 14, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News
2

Haven't returned to a former favorite restaurant because of bill issue.

I don't know that I'd assume fancier places would automatically comp. I can think of one example of a rather high end/once trendy place in Philly the SO and I went to for brunch one time. We both ordered fancy $12+ cocktails. Sweetie talks with his hands a lot and immediately knocked over his drink before taking one sip. Staff quickly cleaned up the mess and brought him a replacement, but he was charged for both drinks, as I would expect. It was his accident, his fault.

Now, if a server was bringing a drink to a table and spilled it, or bumped a table and caused a glass to spill, then I absolutely would expect a replacement to be provided without extra charge. Their mistake versus the customer's.

How do you eat chirashi sushi?

"ah.....chirashi"

Yep and yum. Chirashi is my favorite thing to order in a good sushi place. In fact it tends to be my standard "test" to order somewhere new (to me). I love it because I find the chirashi rice more interesting than plain sushi rice (at least at a good place that adds some pickled vegetables, roe and other seasonings.) A little fish, a little rice, it's mix and match as I want it.

May 12, 2015
sockii in General Topics

Holy and Hungry - a new Cooking Channel series

Weirdly the show is listed on the Cooking Channel website with MC Hammer as the host... http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/shows...

May 12, 2015
sockii in Food Media & News

Biggest Tip Ever?

Yeah, that brings back memories. In the summertime when I was a little kid, my grandfather used to take me out for movie matinees and giant sundaes at Friendly's - Jim Dandy for him, Reece's Pieces for me. That was lunch.

May 12, 2015
sockii in Not About Food

Need an Asian restaurant with gluten-free options for one night between airport and Princeton.

Perhaps this list will be of help? It covers Philly and nearby suburbs and you can filter for Asian restaurants that supposedly are GF-friendly or have GF menus.

http://www.glutenfreephilly.com/p/res...

May 10, 2015
sockii in Philadelphia

Anyone watching Chopped All-Stars?

Just came here after watching the BS that was episode 2. Of course Anne was going to get it being the Food Network darling that she apparently is. Sigh.

Working lunch in Center City?

Devon has long been a favorite of mine for working lunches...maybe not the cheapest but they do have some decent lunch/bar specials and the space is good for settling in for a working meal.

Did a lot of contract negotiation there in the past over some stiff martinis...

May 06, 2015
sockii in Philadelphia
1

What type(s) of cuisine are you just not interested in cooking?

I see you list "NY,NJ" in your profile location. I know both states, unless you live in a rural/remote area, have lots of Asian grocery stores and markets (I shop at least once a month at the H-Mart in Cherry Hill, and visit a few others in the area when I need more Vietnamese/Thai ingredients.) I also use Amazon to order certain Asian and Indian spices and dried ingredients I use a lot in bulk - God bless Amazon Prime and free delivery!

May 06, 2015
sockii in General Topics

What type(s) of cuisine are you just not interested in cooking?

It's also not just that I dislike raw garlic, but I have a medical intolerance for it. Not an allergy, but the reason I avoid most Greek/Middle Eastern restaurants is that I almost always end up having a bad intolerance attack that leaves me in severe pain for 1-2 days afterward, even if I think I've avoided any dish with raw garlic. Something always seems to be present in the dishes that makes me ill.

May 05, 2015
sockii in General Topics

What type(s) of cuisine are you just not interested in cooking?

I am actually trying to work up to liking Greek food, honestly, and I get that my exposure to the cuisine mostly via New Jersey diners isn't the best. I have one cookbook I've made some successful (to me) recipes from--Flavors of Greece by Rosemary Barron. But even there a lot of the recipes aren't ones I'd choose to cook based on my tastes; if I'm going to make Mediterranean food I'll cook Italian or Sicilian in general instead. If there's a good cookbook you'd recommend though, for Greek food as prepared in Greece, I'd happily look into adding it to my collection.

May 05, 2015
sockii in General Topics

What type(s) of cuisine are you just not interested in cooking?

Most of the Indian near me is crap. Or more precisely, I used to generally dislike Indian food until I started cooking it at home. Yes, it took some time building my spice cabinet (Amazon Prime to the rescue) and getting used to the prep. But once I got the handle on it I find it no more difficult/unusual to make at home than my typical Italian/European meals. I've had the same experience getting used to cooking Szechuan cuisine at home; the initial learning and prep curve is steep if it's not what you're used to, but then it starts to become second nature if you do it enough.

May 05, 2015
sockii in General Topics

Supermarket music

Nope, Matamoras PA.

May 05, 2015
sockii in Not About Food