Philly Ramblings.

Philly Ramblings.

886806_10206960428462882_8574604948807352904_oIf you’ve been following my blog and podcast for any length of time you know I like to ramble. Whether I’m writing or just running my mouth often I end up down some obscure rabbit hole without knowing it until it’s much too late. I stop, look up, turn my head like a dog listening for its master, then think now how the fuck did I end up here?

Thankfully I’m self-aware. Usually. I curb the urge so it doesn’t happen as often as it could. But this week is definitely one of those rambling times. So Rambler-esque it’s like my old blue ’67 model with the steel frame and lack of power steering that gave me Hulk arms every time I tried to parallel park.

Sure sometimes you’ll receive your Monday blog post and it will be a fully-formed thought, a finished piece around a solid concept. Or at least as finished and fully-formed as this aging nutso brain can make it. This week, however, is not one of those times. I just got back from a weekend trip to Philly where I had tons of fun but also experienced one of the most surreal, soul-filling and spirit-feeding experiences of my life. And I’m still trying to process it. So mind-stirring it warrants a week of pondering, tinkering, editing, and tweaking into a proper piece of writing. So what you’ll get this week – because I DID promise a blog a week, is just random thoughts. I hope that’s okay. I hope it doesn’t cause you to hit “unsubscribe”. Because hey I’m human as we all are and some weeks you’re just not equipped to create something you might actually consider submitting to Food and Wine magazine.

First of all WELCOME to my new subscribers! The list is growing slowly and that makes me happy. I started this project with the intention of slow growth, of gathering together folks who love food and who love to talk about food in all its forms and fashions. So welcome. I hope I’m living up to expectations and as always if you have any comments, suggestions, beefs or compliments, I’ll take them. I’m not picky. Just so grateful every time I visit a store in town and someone says they listened, or they read, or they heard that I was doing a podcast but haven’t had a chance to check it out yet. It’s all good. It all makes me happy.

Haven’t subscribed yet? There’s a convenient signup form in red in the right sidebar of this page that took me hours to create because my mind is old and slow. And yes, every new subscriber gets a printout list of my Best Dishes of 2015. Go on and sign up. I triple dog dare you 🙂

I’ve got some great future podcast guests in the works! This Thursday I’ll be talking with Chef Ian Boden of The Shack in Staunton, Virginia. The Shack just celebrated its second anniversary and Chef Boden’s food and attitude are a big reason why. He takes humble ingredients and elevates them but not in such a way they become snooty or inaccessible. Just delicious. We definitely went down several rabbit holes in this talk, including a long discussion on what to do about the line cook shortage in this country. And how to teach young cooks that the most valuable route to success isn’t the celebrity path. How good, honest, work in the kitchen is ultimately the finest reward. I hope you’ll listen. It’s a great one.

It’s also turning into cheese month at Edacious! Talks with Gail Hobbs-Page of Caromont Farm and Nadjeeb Chouaf of Flora Artisanal Cheese are already scheduled. Look for them. Both folks are like cows – “Out Standing in the Field”. Sorry, couldn’t resist. I’m actually twelve. Also trying to work out a date with Leni Sorensen, a Charlottesville food historian and all around kickass broad. If you haven’t taken a food class with Leni, you’re missing out. Sign up for her Chocolate Making Class on February 20th! I promise, you won’t regret it. Great fun out on what I call “The Compound” because I swear if the Zombie Apocalypse happens, she’s set. The Hershel Greene of White Oak.

I’ll leave you with this. Like I said, The Hubby and I just returned from a weekend trip to Philly, a city I don’t know well having lived in Pittsburgh for 8 years. And yes, those cities have a friendly rivalry spanning centuries or at least the year some brilliant mind created cheesesteaks and Primanti’s.

In preparation I asked folks where we should eat and was inundated with suggestions. I think I counted 30. Only problem? We were there less than 48 hours. Now I could’ve taken the typical foodie route and tried to hit 15 in the time we had, but we of a certain age and a certain stomach constitution and energy level know that just wasn’t going to happen. So I let go of expectations. The first night we went to Monk’s Café. One place, just one, and it revolved around beer. Those of you who know me won’t be surprised in the least. We were the oldest folks there but who gives a shit? I drank three stellar Belgians, ate some fantastic mussels, and relived my high school days when they played Talk Talk and The Cure’s The Head on the Door album in its entirety. Fucking perfect.

The next day we hit Reading Terminal because everybody and their mother suggested a DiNic’s roast pork sandwich. But the line wrapped around the block and we were starving. Did we stand in line just so we could have our foodie card punched to say yeah we’ve had the famous DiNic’s? No. We found a great deli with immediate seating and I had a fantastic sweet Lebanon bologna sandwich with smoked cheddar. After downing a triple macchiato we wandered out to enjoy the sunshiny day while munching a cannoli. For all I know those folks in line are still waiting.

I’ve learned something as I get older. Instead of having a destination in mind it’s more fun to wander. Sure it’s great to have a bucket list but sometimes crossing an item out is best when the planets align and you find rock star parking. Call me crazy but I’d rather see what there is to see rather than stand in a massive line just so I can brag to someone later that I had “THE” sandwich. There’s tons of great food out there people. There really is. And it doesn’t always involve a long wait. Remember that. . .

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