Monday, May 31, 2010
Cheese farm -- September Cheese Farm in Honey Brook, PA, to be exact, where the staff is pleasant and the samples are many. Try the spring onion cheese (alas, sold out when we were there)! Try the bacon cheese spread on an almond cracker!
Cheese Curds -- These have been a favorite of mine since childhood. We bought plain (unflavored) and roasted garlic cheese curds. They should squeak when you chew them. That's how you know they're good. Also, my parents say if you leave them in the fridge a little too long and they start to lose savor, just zap them in the microwave for a few seconds.
Cute Cat with three paws who lives at the Cheese farm:
shoes by Marais
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Before leaving The Green Dragon, I considered buying an apple dumpling. I'd tried to get one at Reading Terminal Market on our last trip to Philadelphia, but the booth selling them had closed early that day. I didn't buy a Green Dragon dumpling, though (pictured above), because it looked so juicy I was worried it wouldn't travel well (and I wasn't hungry enough to eat it on the spot).
Later in the day, though, we visited the Farmer's Market in Bird-in-Hand, PA. It's quite a place, with plenty of good eats displayed wall to wall in the market's permanent building. There, I found a "drier-looking" dumpling and made it mine.
I ate my dumpling the next day, warmed in the microwave and topped with vanilla ice cream. I expected the dough to be a bit more delicate and/or flavorful, but the sweet, baked apple was very nice.
I'd like to find a good recipe and try making some apple dumplings myself at home.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
This yard sale in Pennsylvania had a table off to one side at which 3 Amish women (a mother and her daughters?) were selling baked goods.
I bought a large peanut butter cookie. It had a nice flavor but was slightly dry. I had to eat it in one sitting, as the chocolate on top was melting in the heat of the day. Not bad as fuel to get me to the next bargain-hunting spot.
Pickles. So many pickles. I bought pickled garlic, and was disappointed to find the brine was sweet.
Peanut brittle. This stuff was special.
Peanut-butter filled pretzels. Subtle in a swell way.
[What is The Green Dragon?]
Another new find for me on this trip to Pennsylvania was homemade root beer. We bought several bottles from an Amish Farmer at The Green Dragon. It tasted yeasty and sweet but wasn't at all fizzy. Was it supposed to be carbonated? I'm not sure.
I keep having positive root beer experiences in PA. This state does the stuff right.
p.s. The same farmer was also selling the best strawberries I can recall ever having tasted. We'd already bought strawberries at another booth (big mistake), but he offered us free samples. So sweet and soft and juicy -- and red to the core. Wow.
(photo by Dan)
[I'm sorry this continuation of my coverage of our recent trip to Egypt has been a long time coming. I've had some problems with photo formatting and laziness. Let's put that behind us and talk about day four's eats.]
1. Breakfast at the President Hotel, eaten on our balcony -- juice and fruit (not pictured).
Today's breakfast featured a Faux Cocoa Puffs disaster. On this day I finally decide to try the chocolate cereal (brand unknown) that has been on the hotel buffet each morning. But when I take my first spoonful out of the bowl, there is something that looks sort of like a dissolved straw wrapper (or worse) attached to the cereal. Ick. I eat fruit.
Later, Adam tells me that the imposter Cocoa Puffs sold in Cairo are gross even without slimy things in the milk. I'm glad I didn't put any into my mouth.
2. Andrea, near Saqqara - meatballs, grape leaves, fries with chicken hearts and livers, fresh pita bread, cheese phyllo triangles with mint (sambusas), stuffed mini eggplants, lemonade, melon.
We spent the afternoon of day four driving to, then climbing around, a temple and mastaba near Saqqara. I don't know the name of the complex we visited, but it was completely deserted, except for Dan, Adam, and me. There were also two men guarding the site, the older of whom gave us a tour. We were south of Cairo, near a sign that said "Villa Adam," not far from (in sight of) the famous step pyramid of Zoser, which is older than the Giza pyramids.
Our guide and his son showed us around, leading us over a pile of stones into one of the otherwise padlocked mastabas, or tombs. There, he showed us two sarcophagi, even insisting Dan get inside for a photo.
(photo by Adam Mourad)
After our VIP tour, we headed to Andrea for lunch. Adam and Omar (our hosts) had assured us that this was one of the best restaurants for grilled chicken in the Cairo area. Indeed, it was clear from entering the open air space that grilled chicken was the specialty of the house.
Near the massive grill, a group of women baked fresh bread. They invited me to take a photo (of course, I tipped them for the privilege), and ululated at me through the grill smoke as I did so.
All of the food at Andrea was amazing, especially the chicken -- which was grilled perfectly. I even threw caution to the winds and ate a chicken liver and heart. These were served with french fries! I have to say, the heart tasted much better. It was sort of fatty and meaty, as compared to the liver, which tasted strong and, well, liver-y.
Stuffed, tiny eggplants
Chicken liver and hearts with fries
Gibna beida cheese with mint in phyllo-like dough
Kefta - meatballs
Warq Enab - stuffed grape leaves
Cantaloupe for dessert
3. Stadium - water, fruit juice.
That night, we were honored to receive tickets to a soccer match between the two rival Cairo teams, El-Ahly and El Zamalek. Security was tight and riot police were in abundance. Apparently, this was a serious game.
We sat with the Zamalek fans. To say Zamalek is the "underdog" team is a bit of an understatement. There were two hours of pre-match cheering/taunts. After that warm up, in a nutshell - the game was exciting, "our" team almost won, I learned to chant for a blazing player called "Shika," and we immediately fled the stadium area at the end of the game (to escape riots and/or traffic jams) without experiencing (or witnessing) any violence.
During the game, I couldn't help but notice how much junk food was consumed around us (not pictured). Take my word for it -- Egyptians know how to snack.
It was an exciting end to a delicious day! I'll post the remaining 3 days of our trip soon...
p.s. I ATE A HEART!!!
Now, look. I live in New York City, but I'm a midwesterner by heritage (and a west-coaster by birth!). When it comes to my taste buds, I like to imagine I'm eating through life with an eye toward both down-to-earth sanity and aspirational luxury. I don't need everything I eat to be beautiful, trendy, or perfect. Still, I can appreciate good food, I have enough income to pay a fair-to-inflated price for dishes made by others every so often, and I know how much work it can be to create an amazing mouthful.
This established, I am horrified at the price of whole pies around here. Pie-men (I mean this as a genderless term) in NYC ask a lot for their creations, and I think it's gotten out of control. For example, I have a lot of affection for a Brooklyn establishment known as Pies 'n' Thighs. I treasure their "chicken box" dinner close to my heart. But their whole pies cost $30. Yeek, I say. Yeek! That's expensive.
I've bought, eaten, and made a lot of pie in my lifetime. I'm willing to pay a fair price for a good one, too, but frequently the $30 pies of the world (and I'm not talking about pies from Pies 'n' Thighs specifically because I can't afford them) do not measure up to the down-home simplicity and pleasing flavors of, say, an Amish creation retailing for $4.25 (as advertised in the photo at the top of this post).
I took the picture up top at The Green Dragon to remind all of us that a delicious pie need not break the bank. I mean, I'd pay more than $5 -- I don't want to rip off any pie-bakers -- but I doubt the Amish women selling these pies were doing so at a loss. I know people selling homemade pies will have to charge more than that per pie if they don't grow their own fruit, but there's a lot of room for fair pricing between $5 and $30.
I'm taking a daring, political stance: Accessible pie prices for every man, woman, child, and person who does not identify as male or female!
Breakfast this morning: pecan stickies bought at The Green Dragon. They needed no butter. Delightful.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Though I am not a coffee drinker, I am willing to test my limits. This Manhattan Special Pure Espresso Coffee Soda (which I bought at my beloved Meat Hook) is just beyond my limits. It's too bad I didn't like it, as I find it appealing that they're made in my neighborhood and have been around since 1895, but I'll be honest. I thought this beverage took the beauty of a classic cola and marred it with the ugliness of a bitter coffee, then sweetened the whole thing.
I recognize that espresso-lovers might not take my word for it. I'd expect those of you who really appreciate coffee and soda/pop would want to try it and draw your own conclusions. In recognition of my own limitations, I bought two, and gave one to an anonymous friend who likes the java. He/she said, "It was not as gross as I expected. It was kind of too sweet."
Vintage wrap-around sundress (eBay) and Predictions sandals (Payless).
I kind of think sesame sticks are the best part of snack mixes that include sesame sticks. They're also excellent in salads. These, of the "Happy Herbert's" brand variety, do make me pretty happy.
Paul says sesame butter is also excellent. I'd like to try some, please.
The other day, I had to say goodbye to Ms. Revelie, as well as to her mom and dad. They're moving on to greener pastures (literally greener than NYC). That they provided going-away goodies (mini chipwiches and fancied-up Two Bite brownies from Whole Foods) for our office before taking off didn't make their bittersweet farewell any more sweet than bitter. But, as is my habit, I managed to eat through the pain.
Take care and fare well, friends! Keep those baby pictures coming.
(photo taken by ?? on Rev's first visit to the office in November, 2008)
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Package Information: Blueberry, Strawberry, and Melon.
Impression: These were all soft and weird and crumbly on the inside. Soapy again! They tasted of powdered sugar with a hint of fruit. "Melon" had very little flavor at all.
This concludes the Asian Grab Bag! Thank you, mysterious benefactor.
[What's the Asian Grab Bag?]
Package Information: Kabaya Jersey Milk soft candy (Japan).
Impression: Resembled a sickly obese lemon drop. A lemon drop drained of flavor by a vampire who sucks lemon flavors out of things? Tasted like coconut. Soft, but not too soft. Sort of like those coconut macadamia balls Angela sent me.
[What's the Asian Grab Bag?]
Package Information: "Supreme Taste Since 1885"
Impression: Looked like a caramel; chewed like something softer and meltier. Vague flavors of coffee and soap. Why do all of these candies taste like soap?
[What's the Asian Grab Bag?]
Today, I found myself matching my beverage to my outfit.
Unfortunately, Mello Yello is not as good as I remembered. For example, it's no Squirt. So, let's just pretend this post was about my outfit.
Nail Polish on fingers - "Black Pearl" by Savina (Nordstrom Rack)
Bag - Poppie (DSW)
Shirt - BDG (Urban Outfitters)
Skirt - Floreat (Anthropologie)
Sandals - J. Crew (bought several years ago and absolutely trashed)
Nail Polish on toes - "Shock Me" by Savina (Nordstrom Rack)
Monday, May 24, 2010
(photographer unknown; dress by Anthropologie)
Here's another post that should have gone up weeks ago. Dan and I have some extra-clever friends at Workshop (check out Jessi's rainbow birthday) who have been hosting an annual Kentucky Derby party for years. It gets bigger and more spectacular every year, and even features a hat contest and commemorative julep cups.
There is also a wide variety of food at the party -- grits, benedictine, deviled eggs, fruit... Well, why don't you just take a gander?!