unPhilly cheesesteak

It’s a vexing thing being a New York fan in Philadelphia sports land. Every season seems to start with glorified nicknames and guaranteed titles, and then ends with excuses and a bandwagon mass exodus. To save myself from the hate mail — specifically the “your teams suck, too” retorts (lest I remind you my teams have won more championships and won championships more recently than yours) — I’ll quickly move on to my cheeky segue…

“The Dream Team” Eagles are finally out of playoff contention after weeks of hearing about “must-win games” and how talented the team really is. I wouldn’t elate in their failure so much if everyone had just curbed their expectations from the get-go, but — just like every Philly team and every new season — this was the year. In honor of the Eagles’ mockery of a season, I created a mockery of my own: the unPhilly cheesesteak. Continue reading unPhilly cheesesteak

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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

melting in the snow

It’s snowing here in Jersey. The last snow was the first major storm of the season (8-10 inches?), and I learned a valuable lesson: Your new car may not drive as well in the snow as your last car. Or even close to as well. Your new car may be less useful and/or safe on winter roads than the 10-speed Huffy you rocked in sixth grade.

With the snow still falling and no plans until at least the early evening, I’ve resigned myself to staying indoors until I absolutely must dust off my car and brave the unsteady — and undoubtedly congested — Jersey roads. Fortunate for my car, but unfortunate for my kitchen (and related appliances)…

Today’s lesson of the day: American cheese is really good at melting. Everywhere. Behold, the result of my homemade cheesesteak quesadilla (an “American, without” for all you Philly folk).