I Demand Me Crab Pretzel all to Me-Self!

So, we’re taking a trip outside the city again. This time to my favorite restaurant in Collingswood, NJ. I usually order a fancy grilled cheese at this retro diner/soda fountain, but this time I decided to stray from the norm and get this crab pretzel. Boy, was I pleased with myself. This is a jumbo soft pretzel, sliced down the middle, and topped with mountains of yummy crab dip, cheddar and jack cheeses, and sprinkled with old bay. Mmmm… I think I would probably eat anything plopped on a soft pretzel. A.K.A. the bread of gods. Such a solid, tasty, doughy foundation. And then you get that crispness on the outside. And if it’s going to be topped with anything, one of my first choices would be an A+ crab dip and gooey melted cheese. Believe me, this is exactly as delicious as you hope it will be. After all, they do aim to cheese.

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Psst! Click back to Monday’s post to see if you knew the answer…

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Me Buccaneers Love these Beer Battered Green Beans!

I’ve been kind of obsessed with these green beans ever since I first had them a few weeks ago. I followed up my initial brunch visit to this 13th Street bar, with a dinner visit the following week. I insisted on getting them again, even though there were so many other delicious-sounding items. And if I went today, I’d insist on getting them again. I think it’s the surprise freshness of the green beans that make them so wonderful. I expected that they would be kind of soggy or mushy, but they weren’t. They snap in your mouth like a fresh green bean should. And the batter is super light. Crispy, and not overly greasy at all- like a really good french fry. The roasted garlic aioli is the perfect accompaniment. They come out piping hot, so you appreciate the cool dipping sauce, and the creaminess is so good with the crunch. And who doesn’t want roasted garlic on everything? (Always want.) If I’m being honest, these remind me of a dish I had, and loved, at T.G.I. Friday’s years ago. (I’m a sucker for nostalgia.) But I probably won’t see the inside of a Friday’s anytime soon, and I much prefer the rest of this upscale bar food menu.

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Me Thinks This Grilled Cheese be Good Enough for a GUEST POST!

Yarrr! Time for another guest post! My Blogger Bestie- Vinny, from Zen and Potatoes, is seeing if the second time is indeed a charm. In exchange for this prestigious honor, I only request this grilled cheese… once a week, every week, for the next year. Take it away, Vinny!

In the ever changing and increasingly tumultuous Philadelphia restaurant scene, some places start out with a flash, burn brightly for a short time and then go dim, never to be seen again.  Other places can maintain their f(l)ame and continue to go year after year.  A great strategy for this is to continue to have a rockin’ specials list while at the same time maintaining a tried and true set menu.  This Bella Vista establishment wrote the book on keeping people happy with their creative approach to dishes.  This grilled cheese features smoked gouda, provolone and goat cheese on thickly sliced, grilled buttered bread.  Where on earth did I find this wonderfully revamped comfort dish for the ages?

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Me Thinks This Vegan Frozen Yogurt be Good Enough for a BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY!

In celebration of my 25th birthday tomorrow, and the bountiful loot I am sure to receive, I wanted to share some of the wealth with my loyal readers. This frozen yogurt is out of this world. I am by no means vegan, (see: foie gras burger) but I am absolutely obsessed with this fro-yo. My love affair with this vegan treat started a few months ago. One of me besties and I were strolling down 21st street, after a trip from Tampopo, when we saw a woman emerge from one of the restos with the most delicious looking frozen yogurt we had ever seen. So obviously, we went in to see how we could get some of our own. We talked to this incredibly sweet woman, who after multiple trips back I now know is the owner. She gave us the whole run-down of their fro-yo system. Basically, they have a pretty frequently changing rotation of seasonal flavors. Everything is homemade using fresh, natural ingredients. Most are vegan, but some are made with regular organic yogurt. Including the pistachio, which is pictured, and was incredible, I’ve also had flavors such as pumpkin, vanilla bean, and chocolate coconut. (Tasted just like a mounds bar!) They make the vegan varieties with almond and cashew milk or brown rice milk, and they’re sweetened with maple syrup. They’re creamy, flavorful and decadent. Every single flavor I’ve had has been wonderful. You absolutely do not miss the dairy. AND, for something that tastes so incredible, a large portion comes in at a surprising 168 calories. And if you happen to be lactose intolerant, you’re gonna be extra pumped. I just can’t get enough of it.

Think you know where this booty? …..Well leave a guess in the comments, any comment will do. On Monday morning, I will randomly select someone to win a $10 gift card, graciously donated by the owner. That’s enough for two of these beauties!

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Throw Down Jacob’s Ladder and Lead Me to the Papri Chaat!

Sh*t just got real. I don’t know what I’ve been doing all these years without chaat in my life, but what barren, cheerless years they were. Like I’ve said many times previously, most of my favorite kinds of foods have lots of different flavors and textures and allow me to get a little of everything in each bite. Well, insert chaat. For those of you not in the know, chaat is basically a traditional Indian food-truck snack. It can take many, many different forms, and usually involves some sort of little crunchies. I happened to be walking around West Philly this weekend with one of me besties, when she spied a new restaurant. We both squealed with joy when we realized this was the chaat shop we had heard so much about. Me bestie, being Indian and all, was well versed in the language of chaat and recommended that I get the papri chaat. The owner was beyond friendly, and artfully prepared my chaat with a whole lot of TLC. It started with a base of black and white chickpeas and boiled potatoes. Then that was topped with three or more layers (I lost count!) of things like chunks of fresh mango, fried crisps, onion, cilantro,  radish, and dried cranberries, with yogurt, mint sauce, tamarind sauce, raspberry sauce, blueberry sauce, and lots of spices drizzled in between each layer. It was then finished with what I can only describe as spicy trail mix. Cashews, almonds, dried banana chips and crunchies, all with a kick of heat. I know it sounds like a weird mix of flavors, but believe me, it’s amazing.

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Mitts off Me Steak, Salami, Fried Onion, Extra Cheese ‘n Special Sauce Sandwich!

Yes, this sandwich also has tomato on it, but it doesn’t deserve a headlining spot because it’s completely superfluous. So.. I had to trek out to the ‘burbs to get this Philadelphian delicacy. Yeah, maybe I could get one at ballpark, but I needed an original- made by the masters. And let me tell you, the adventure was worth it. This sandwich is a borderline monstrosity. It’s a cheesesteak on steroids, but so incredibly delicious. I can still taste it’s lingering grease from last night, but otherwise, I’m not even sure if this picture would be appetizing. You need to taste it for yourself to believe. Lets break down the sandwich. It starts with a super-soft, fresh kaiser roll that’s been grilled on the inside. The roll is then layered with a slice of American cheese, thinly sliced grilled steak (cheesesteak goodness), smoky fried onions, the aforementioned unnecessary tomatoes, another slice of American cheese, wonderful thick-cut grilled salami (The salami gets crispy and sweet, kind of like pork roll), a healthy dose of their special sauce (very similar to Thousand Island, just like every other special sauce), and yet ANOTHER slice of cheese. Finish that off with the rest of the bun, and you’re good to go. Perfection. If you want to make the journey, I would recommend getting 1.75 sandwiches. After all, “It’s the perfect amount.”

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Yarr! Me Topman Spies a Huevos Racheros in the Distance!

Man, oh man, do I love these huevos rancheros. They are my number one, go-to hangover brunch. It’s delicious and hearty. (And surprisingly vegetarian.) Just greasy enough to keep the feelings of death at bay, but not greasy enough to make you feel like you need to lie down afterwards. This No-Libs bar being but a dubloon’s throw from me first mate’s apartment doesn’t hurt either. I think the secret to the incredible-ness of these huevos is the hidden corn cake. It’s the foundation of this Mexican delight, and I could eat about a dozen of them. It’s basically just corn bread, but topped with stewed pinto beans, two sunny-side up eggs, fresh pico de gallo, mountains of melted cheddar cheese, sour cream and avocado, it really seems like something special. And to further promote this special dish, if the chef is in a good mood, he’ll even give you an avocado smiley face. It’s like the grown up version of the Friendly’s clown sundae. With a good portion of crispy potatoes on the side, this could probably be used as the cure-all for anything, hangover or not. Earache anyone??

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