I’m going to be on Food Network?

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned Food Network in at least half of my posts, so it should come as no surprise I dropped everything last week when my friend, Jay, e-mailed me about a show taping at a local sandwich place: Jake’s Sandwich Board on 12th Street in Philadelphia.

I took the notification — “We will be filming all day on Thursday, but opening our doors to everyone during some of the filming around 3 p.m.” — to mean the crew would get some B-roll and be on its way, but what we walked into was a full-out filming of an “Outrageous Food” episode about the eatery’s Five-Pound Philly Challenge, and they let us sit in on the entire thing.

(had to be stealthy)

If you’ve never seen the show, it’s almost as if “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” procreated with “Man V. Food.” The host, Tom Pizzica, travels the country in search of ridiculous foods a la Guy Fieri, but often pits locals against restaurants’ ludicrous food challenges, like the 105-pound burger and the 72-inch burrito.

At Jake’s Sandwich Board, the challenge consists of an assortment of tasty Philly staples: a two-foot cheesesteak, four Philly soft pretzels, 12 TastyKake Krimpets, 24 Peanut Chews and one Champ Cherry soda to wash it all down. Oh, and you have to do it all in 45 minutes.

To date, only two individuals have successfully completed the challenge (and if you don’t finish in time, it’ll cost you $34.95), so to make the episode a little more interesting, “Outrageous Food” filmed two teams of three (boys v. girls) taking on the feat. I won’t spoil the outcome, but what remained of the losing team’s plate is pictured at the left.

My friend, Steve, and I were seated next to the challenge table, so we’re almost definitely going to be on screen when the episode airs next season, but we were both interviewed, so we might get some feature facetime, too. (I was really nervous, though, so I’m almost hoping they cut me on account of blushiness.)

Tom Pizzica was hilarious, and the entire production was so much fun. Oh, and did I mention how incredible the sandwich I ordered was? The Philly Wasabi — rib-eye steak, wasabi spread, American cheese and crunch onions. Yup. And based on the few bites I had of Steve’s Village Turkey sandwich and how drool-inducing the two-foot challenge cheesesteak was, I can’t imagine this place puts out anything short of amazing. I highly recommend you check it out.

Jake's "Philly Wasabi" sandwich

is The Oatmeal stalking me?

A few months ago, one of my friends posted a link on Facebook to a comic/etc. site called The Oatmeal, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I shared this little gem about Mac in my office, and the addiction spread. I can always tell when my co-worker, Stef, is taking an Oatmeal break because I hear a few chuckles and then fits of giggling coming from her cube.

Yesterday, The Oatmeal posted this comic: “Why I Don’t Cook at Home.” This is exactly what my kitchen adventures look like (except that whole being a giant white blob thing).


My apologies for the lack of posting lately, but I think touring the International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot and riding Tower of Terror seven times is a good enough excuse. I’ll get something good up soon, but I wanted to quickly share something peculiar I found at Miller’s Ale House in Orlando this weekend:


Um, what? It’s one [questionable] thing to have dolphin on the menu, but why would you advertise something that’s not dolphin as such? And who the hell orders this? Is there something I’m missing here?


I got the beat end of every piece of my heritage: I’m Irish — overly-freckled, burn in all natural lighting — but an 8-year-old could drink me under the table (not that I’m endorsing that). I’ve got the too-thick-for-its-own-good Italian hair and grease leaking from my pores, but missed out on that olive skin tone and — most tragically — the natural Italian prowess in the kitchen.

Fortunately, it didn’t come into play too much when I lived with my family and was met with satiating [and free] meals more often than not. But now that I’m living on my own [and poor], I’m just that — on my own. It didn’t take too long for cheese sandwiches and frozen chicken patties to get old, and if I have to eat another g’damn box of Kraft for dinner, I’m going to blow chunks. (Should probably refrain from colorful vomit euphemisms in a food blog, huh?) (Or from preceding “vomit” with “colorful.”)

If you haven’t yet figured it out from my inability to simply say, “I’m learning how to cook,” I write for a living, but I’m looking to parlay that into something more fulfilling than what I do at work. Here, I’ll detail my kitchen exploits, list recipes, post enticing food photos (who doesn’t love some sexy ‘food porn’?) and share other assorted culinary tidbits.

While you’re perusing, please remember I am not a chef nor a photographer; I do, however, have a fascination with both food and visual arts, so I’ll use a dash of trial and a dollop of error and pray it’s palatable.

Any feedback, comments and suggestions you’d like to leave — good or bad — are always welcome. Thanks for reading!