Chhaya Cafe’s Cheesesteak Waffle Is Only Acceptable Within The Confines Of The Delaware Valley

Cheesesteak WaffleIn one of Kurt Vonnegut’s later works, Bluebeard, Rabo Karebekian goes on and on about how the abstract expressionists were able to break all those rules because they had mastered them and in some cases, invented them in the first place. It’s been a while since we read that book but we think that’s how part of it went.

Well the Chhaya Cafe on East Passyunk Ave. is brunching it up good these days:

Chhaya Cafe heats up Philadelphia’s brunch scene with four must-try summer entrees and five thirst-quenching sips. Despite construction on their future home two doors down, Chhaya isn’t slowing down as the Chef Varnana “V” Beuria adds the Cheesesteak Waffle, Whole Wheat & Oat Pancakes, a Summer Salad and Breakfast Tacos to the summer menu. Chef V’s signature Homemade Sage and Mint Limeade, along with Matcha-Avocado Smoothies and Affogato, also join a full line-up of organic, fair trade coffees and herbal teas. All new dishes and drinks are available immediately through late summer. Chhaya Cafe’s new location, at 1817 East Passyunk, is expected to open in mid-to-late August, 2014.

So in just a month or so, V is moving her joint in to roomier digs, but that doesn’t mean she’s playing out the string this summer. The new menu items all look interesting but it’s the Cheeseteak Waffle that got us thinking. Around the country, the things labeled “Philly Cheesesteak” can range from the headily authentic to the head scratchingly confounding, and were we to see this cheesesteak waffle on a menu in Idaho or Texas or in Brusssels Wisconsin*, we would dismiss it as out-of-town fuckery and order a burger or whatever, but this offering from a local bruncharie whose waffles are already beyond reproach deserves the benefit of the doubt.

The cheesesteak rules and ingredients and dos and don’ts in this town are not set in cement, but they’re not exactly fluid or even freeform. Sure there are $100 publicity stunts, but that Clinton bait no longer works since the big dog went vegan, and yeah there are other mashups that are abominations as well. But there are rules. Just ask the Secretary of State who swiftboated himself that one time.

So we’re gonna give Chhaya Cafe the benefit of the doubt on this one, at least for now, but maybe we’re gonna have to get on out to some East Passyunk brunching and see if this is indeed a playful take on a local classic, or a miscalculated crime against nature, gastronomy, Pat Oliveri, Benjamin Franklin and representative democracy itself. Our money’s on the former.

Chhaya Cafe
1823 East Passyunk Avenue
Phila, PA

*See what we did there?

Prime Stache Pop-up Will Smoke Your Spice Or Vice-Versa

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Tomorrow night The You’ve Changed bar group is popping into Prime Stache to pop-up a pop-up. The event, “Smoke & Spice: Cocktails from the Devil’s Cookbook” will feature smoky and spice cocktail creations as well as food and music. Dig:

You’ve Changed is a pop-up bar concept that bartenders Brian Kruglak, Derek Moorer and Anna Henderer of The Ranstead Room devised as a means to provide the city of Philadelphia with sporadic, fun one-of-a-kind bar experiences. The Smoke & Spice event will be their second pop-up bar, following the successful Mad-Libs themed bar last April.

The event will feature a handcrafted cocktail menu of five smoky and five spiced libations. Guests will also be invited to “smoke” or “spice” their own cocktails or liquors with their choice of woods to burn or peppers to add to their drinks, keeping with you’ve changed’s idea that cocktails should be fun and involve both the bartender and guest in a collaboration.

The pop-up bar will be open from 6:00 pm to 2:00 am and all cocktails on the menu will be $11, with an additional $1 up-charge for any customized smoked or spiced drinks. Which really means all the drinks are $12, ’cause why would you schlep out to the Smoke and Spice pop-up and order an unsmoked or unsliced cocktail? You’re not that guy. Don’t be that guy. Beer and food from Prime Stache will be available, as well. Be the guy who eats and drinks the smoky delish. That’s the guy you wanna be. Be that guy.

Prime Stache
110 Chestnut st.
Philadelphia, PA

Lunch Break: Still Waters Edition

The only thing these people fear more than revenuers? The dentist.



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There Are No Rooms Available In Tuscany, But S’okay, Paradiso Brought The Wines Over Here

Wednesday, which is tonight, at 6:30, which is in a couple hours, Paradiso Wine Bar will be continuing it’s Drinking Italy tastings with the wines of Tuscany:

This Wednesday, July 9, our popular Drinking Italy series makes its next stop in the culinarily rich region of Tuscany with three wines complemented by house-cured savory meats and artisan cheeses chosen by Chef Lynn Rinaldi specifically for each pour. This event costs just $20 & starts at 6:30pm.

R. Michael Hodges from Vintage Imports will be on hand and go table to table to discuss specific nuances of each wine. Rinaldi will also visit tables to discuss the pairings and food.

Tonight the wines include:

  • Apollonia – a 2012 Vernaccia and Chardonnay blend from Baroncini Winery
  • Zingari – a 2010 “Super Tuscan blend” with 30% Syrah, 30% Sangiovese, 30% Merlot and 10% Petite Verdot, produced by Petra Estates
  • Basilica Caffaggio – a 2010 Chianti Classico by Villa Caffaggio

$20 grabs you a seat. You can get tickets by calling  215.271.2066 or clicking here.

 

 

Mac And Cheese, Breakfast And A Mercyfuck From The Past

Yesterday while exploring the fuzzy origins of Lord Baltimore’s signature confection, we were given a chance to reference our old touring pal, Mary Prankster. Seems a lifetime ago when as a young, violent sociopath, we would share stages and greenrooms and other, more sordid spoils of touring and our heart still pumps a little more enthusiastically when it’s lub-dubbing in time with Charm City’s purdiest cow punk.

Turns out, her out of print and tricky to acquire debut, Blue Skies Over Dundalk boasts not one, not two but three food themed tracks and we’ve put em right here for you to enjoy and share with your friends.

Mary retired the Prankster character almost a decade ago and fell in love and went to grad-school and came in second on Jeopardy just like the rest of us, but still on quiet nights while walking the streets of Fell’s Point, some people say, if you listen really close, you can almost hear gentle strumming underneath a plaintiff wail of a forever 25-year-old cowpunk singing Mercyfuck.

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Last Day For Half Price Tix To Old York Road Cellars Summerfest

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Today is the last day to get yerself some $5 tickets for What Exit Wines and Old York Road CellarsSummerfest 2014. This Saturday July 12th, from noon to 5pm, in Ringoes, NJ, there will be games giveaways and more, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Hometown Heros and Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund – just in time too, because Governor Christie is gonna need to raid that fund again for some political ads if he wants to be president. 

Along with the Jersey Trivia Wheel and custom wine labels with your picture on the bottle there will be live music and the Bluefish Grill’s Taco Truck and desserts by Enchanted Carousel and of course lots of the wine that made New Jersey famous.

For the rest of the day today you can get your $5 tickets. If you miss the window of frugality,  you can still attend, you’re just gonna have to shell out the full $10. Don’t pay retail like a shaygetz, click here now.

New Jersey Summerfest
Old York Road Cellars
80 Old York Road
Ringoes, NJ 08551

 

Lunch Break: Are You Fucking Kidding Us Edition.

At the risk of eating even more crow, our review of this ridiculous, $99 product will be a repurposing of the sentence we wrote when we first saw an iPod; “This purports to fill a need that doesn’t exist and will flop like a european basketball player” We couldn’t be that wrong twice, could we? If you disagree, you can preorder your Vessyl, here.

Do You Remember Letters? Doobies Do.

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Remember Letters? Every Tuesday in July, between 7-8:30pm, which includes tonight, you can stop by Doobies order up a cold glass of hoppy writer’s juice and scrawl some old school correspondence to your old roommate or that guy you slept with in Germany or even your mom.*

  • It’s FREE, and it’s simple: drink a craft beer / craft an old-style ink-on-paper / stick-in-a-stamped-envelope letter (or two) / walk it to a nearby mailbox.
  • Repeat–every Tuesday in July, at 7pm, at DOOBIES. (by my calculations 7/8, 7/15. 7/22, 7/29)
  • lovely stationery provided by Casa de Papel of Northern Liberties.
  • US Postage provided by Trophy Bikes • drink specials provided by DOOBIES — if you order in writing.
  • We’ll have addresses: the Pope, Benedict Cumberbatch and more; you may want to write to a soldier serving overseas–we can do that, too.
  • Come out and leave something that will last longer than a hard drive.
  • PUBLETTERS–first one is TUESDAY, July 8th, 7-8:30

Doobies
2201 Lombard St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(215) 546-0316

*If you are writing to your mom, bring your A-game as we have been writing to your mom every tuesday for some time now.

Free Beer At WokWorks Works For Us

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Leaving aside adages advising one gets that for which one has paid, every Wednesday this summer, WokWorks wants to treat you to a tall cold Kirin and some great deals on the grub.

Starting tomorrow July 9th, every wednesday between 17:00 and 22:00 (or till the keg is kicked) Wokworks specials include:

  • $2 slider buns
  • $3 dumplings
  • $2 slushies
  • $5 tropicalia (sweet& spicy) wings

They will have all of the important futball matches on the tele, and even when the World Cup is but a sweaty memory, the specials and beer will continue.

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WokWorks
1935 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia PA, 19103

Phoodie Recipe Corner: Lord Baltimore Cake, Shrugging Off The Yolk Of Oppression

johann-closterman-portrait-of-charles-calvert-3rd-lord-baltimore-1647-1715-governor-of-marylandSo, what exactly is Lord Baltimore Cake? We’re glad you asked because we just did like 10 minutes of research into this cake of which we’ve heard but never bothered to learn about. Here’s the folklore; and as you know, if some folklorist said it, then it’s pravda.

So Lord Baltimore was Governor of Maryland and like all good Colonial Governors he was frugal, or at least in this one instance. His wife loved this particular egg-white cake that came to be known as Lady Baltimore Cake. Trouble was, using all those whites left all those yolks which were going to waste. So Lord B gets all up in his lady’s business about wasting all the yolks. According to legend he gave her quite the tongue-lashing, then straightened his sartor and headed to the kitchen to find the chef. The Lord and his cook popped the cork on some sherry and racked their brains all night to concoct some sort of recipe that would utilize the yolks and not waste the half-pence or whatever the cost of some eggs used to be. There is no record of whether Lord B Tongue Lashed his cook as well or if that was just the kind of thing is did for Mrs. B and Mrs. B only, but when dawn broke they had created this weird yolk-laden cake with a frosting that you whip while in a double boiler like you would a custard. The filling had crushed macaroons and dried cherries and such in it and all in all provided a nice complement to the much lighter Lady Baltimore Cake. The Lord was happy as were the citizenry and Maryland with its capital, Baltimore is to this day a peaceful and content colony of Great Brittain.

Now all of that is just one origin story, there are other more mundane tales out there which may, in fact, have a higher probability of truth, but we chose this one because it had more panache.

Another little known fact; if The Wire had been renewed for season 6, The foci would’ve been on the scullery maids and kitchen staff that make up Baltimore manor…That and more Hampsterdam.

Anyways, here’s a pretty cool recipe for LBC from Better Homes and Gardens:

Lord Baltimore cake, 11-7-11 007 (Large)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 3/4cup margarine or butter
  • 3/4cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1/2teaspoon lemon extract
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/3cup water
  • 1/4teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2cup crumbled soft macaroons
  • 1/2cup chopped pecans
  • candied cherries, chopped (about 1/4 cup)

Directions:

  1. Grease and lightly flour two 9×1-1/2-inch round baking pans; set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add margarine or butter, milk, rum, and lemon extract. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Beat on high speed for 2 minutes. Add egg yolks and beat 1 minute more or until combined. Pour into prepared pans.
  2. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes on wire racks. Remove from pans; cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, for frosting in a medium saucepan combine brown sugar, water, and cream of tartar. Cook and stir until bubbly and sugar dissolves.
  4. In a large mixing bowl combine egg whites and vanilla. Add hot sugar mixture very slowly to egg white mixture, beating constantly with an electric mixer on high speed about 7 minutes or until stiff peaks form (tips stand up).
  5. For filling, combine 1 cup of the frosting mixture, soft macaroons, pecans, and candied cherries.
  6. Spread filling between cake layers. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Makes 12 servings.

[Image Via: Jenongen]


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