Month: September 2008
Due to my new full time job, I will be taking a brief hiatus from Philly Grub. I’m actually getting to paid to blog for the library website, which amazingly exciting and fun. Don’t worry, I will be back soon; plus, Marilyn has lots of cool things to post about to keep you reading!
I have a lot of writing to do – I want to post my Moroccan Stew recipe and also review Ly Michael’s, but I have been a bit distracted with other stuff. Sorry folks! Kate started her new job, so I don’t think she’ll be posting for a little while.
So I wanted to throw something out there to our dear readers. Times are tough obviously. I’m actually having a hard time finding a full-time day job in my chosen field (Interactive Marketing). So I was actually thinking that I should maybe become a bartender. I could probably be flexible with a schedule, allowing me to maybe take some classes during the day, and would make good tips. Any bartenders out there willing to train me? Any clubs/bars willing to hire me and train me on the job?
A fellow Philly Grubber had invited me out to dinner to welcome me back to Philadelphia. She suggested Azul Cantina on the corner of 10th & Spruce (across from Kanella’s), on the eastern edge of the Gayborhood.
Mexican is not on my list of favorite foods because it often contains dairy products which are a no-no for me. When I think Mexican, I think swimming-in-cheese enchiladas or burritos. However, after peering at the menu online, I was pleased to see there was a good selection of dishes that even the lactose-challenged could enjoy.
On my way there, my stomach began to feel upset. I took some pills and hoped for the best. I certainly didn’t want my stomach woes to get in the way of some good grub! When I got there, Infytur, seated outside with her sweet pooch Boaz, had already ordered a margarita since the early Happy Hour was in effect. I knew for a fact an alcoholic beverage was out of the question for me. So I explained to the waitress that I had a bit of upset stomach, she promptly recommended ginger ale and bitters. I don’t know if it was the pills I took or the ginger ale and bitters, but by the time the entrees had arrived my stomach was feeling just fine.
For starters, we ordered the traditional guacamole and grilled pineapple salsa. Both came with chips. The guacamole was tasty, but pretty standard in my opinion. To its credit, though, it was not overpowered by garlic. In fact, I don’t think it had any in it at all. The menu doesn’t list it as an ingredient either. That’s a good thing because of my mild garlic allergy. The grilled pineapple salsa was wonderful. You could really taste the cilantro, which I love! All in all, I felt we were off to a decent start.
For the main course, we ordered and shared Mescal Brined Pork, Black Bean & Goat Cheese Enchiladas, and Sweet Potato Enchiladas.
The Mescal Brined Pork presentation wasn’t very appetizing. It sat on a black bean puree that was rather grey. Though the pork had nice grill marks on it, it was slightly overcooked. It was dry and chewy. I could certainly taste the brine, though. I meant to ask what they used for the brine, but I forgot. I figured it was a typical salt-water-sugar brine. It came with bacon-wrapped fried plantains which were absolutely scrumptious! Then again how could anything fried and wrapped in bacon be bad? LOL
The Black Bean & Goat Cheese Enchiladas were very yummy, they were smothered with a spicy red sauce. The black beans were in tact and not mushy. The goat cheese (which I can have!) was a perfect pairing with the beans and helped “cool” down the spiciness of the sauce. I’m not a huge fan of spicy-hot foods, but this was just too tasty to not thoroughly enjoy.
I took a big chance with the Sweet Potato Enchilidas – they were covered in a cabrales crema. In other words, a cheesy sauce. It looked too good not to sample! Delicate, light, and topped with mole-cured bacon and scallions, it was really, really good. Infytur suggested adding some of the spicy red sauce, which certainly added more flavor and dimension to it.
We pretty much finished everything, except for a few bites of the spicy black bean enchildas. I was not going home right away, so I did not get a doggie bag for it. We perused the dessert menu, but everything pretty much had dairy in it. So we decided to stroll down to Capogiro for dessert. I’ll save that for another post, another time, though.
In any case, if you’re seeking casual, adequate Mexican fare, then go right ahead and try Azul Cantina. I have been told other places are better and cost less. So I don’t think I will be rushing back real soon.
3.5 out of 5 Noms.
941 Spruce Street
If you’re looking for an essential, easy kitchen appliance that can help turn ordinary meals into extraordinary meals, you simply must invest in a crock pot or slow cooker if you will. Crock pots make delicious, easy, and complete meals without any of the hard labor!
Kate and I went shopping at Trader Joe’s the other day. It was the most packed either of us have ever seen! I suppose it being the day after Labor Day, people needed to re-stock after their end of summer picnics, etc. At any rate, we decided to brave the crowds.
Kate decided to grab some simple chicken breasts. She and I are very similar in the fact that we just grab the essentials without any thought of what we’re going to make. We buy stuff then figure out what we’ll make with it later.
Obviously chicken breast (and chicken in general) is a very versatile meat. There are so many options and ways to prepare it. Kate asked me yesterday “What do you think about pulled chicken?” To which I responded “I think I like that idea!” I’m a huge fan of pulled pork! In fact, I usually make that at least twice a year. As for pulled chicken, I believe I made that once in the past, though it was done on the stove and served with a sweet cola barbeque sauce. Kate noted she was going to throw the chicken breasts in the crock pot and let it cook all day. I was certainly down with that idea!
So, in the crock pot went the following items:
2 chicken breasts
vegetable stock (it was what we had on hand)
Frank’s Red Hot sauce
salt and pepper
That’s it! It cooked on low for about 6 hours. So when it was dinner time, the chicken was perfectly cooked and marinated in the sweet heat sauce. She simply took the breasts out of the pot, pulled them with 2 forks, and then dropped the pulled chicken back into the sauce.
I served mine on whole wheat bread with some soy cheddar cheese slices. Delicious, filling, and so very satisfying. Next time you don’t know what to do with your chicken, drop it in the slow cooker, with a few choice items and you’re good to go!
Note: No pictures were taken because we were too hungry and wanted to eat right away!