after dinner sneeze

a lot of g says, t says

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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t says:  Ah, yes.  Valentine’s Day.  g and I love celebrating it, but we just hate eating out at restaurants during it.  Determined to stay at home for yet another Valentine’s Day, this year we enlisted the help of a and v to make it a truly special day …

… but first: we have to play some catch-up.


what the hell is this?  “rice crunchins?”  this is what they now serve instead of Rice Krispies at my workplace.  wwhhaatt?  but it’s just like Rice Krispies, right? …


… WRONG.  The shapes are these square-ish things that, when exposed to milk, have a crunch that is completely inferior to the original Rice Krispies.  Who thought this was a good idea?  I don’t even like Rice Krispies that much to begin with, and even I can tell that this is horrible!


February 2015, Thursday Lunch, Party of 2.  I had a chance to catch up with k at Barbuzzo and let’s just say that it continues to rock my world, even after all these years.  Yes, the budino is wonderful.  Yes the pizza was delish.  But come on: this frickin’ burrata gets me every time.  That creaminess, and that baslsamic, and that oil, and that perfect bread.  It just doesn’t get better than that!  If I could do this at home, I’d eat it every day for breakfast.


February 2015, Friday Diner, Party of 3.  Ok.  Buried within today’s post will be this one picture.  This will be our little secret.  Hidden in West Philly, there is a restaurant called Szechuan Chili.  I was directed there by a coworker, and his one recommendation has changed my life forever.  This restaurant serves “Americanized” Chinese food as well as their more traditional dishes … where are exactly like Han Dynasty’s.  What you see above you is the aftermath of some Dan Dan noodles that were just as good as Han’s (less pork, better spice, less gummy noodle), a huge pot of pickled vegetable fish soup (better balance of sour and spice, more fish, and noodles!), and their Chinese broccoli (perfectly cooked!).  We also sampled a chicken dish and their cumin lamb, both of which were awesome.  AND it’s BYO.  AND it’s staffed by real Asians.  AND they’re really nice.  AND there are no undergrads, d-bags, or main-liners.  While it’d be foolish of me to say that “I’d never go to Han again”, I guess what I will say is, “I’ll go to Han … but I’ll know deep down inside that Szechuan Chili is just as tasty, $1 per entree cheaper, with larger portions, and lets me feel like I’m truly supporting a family business” (whether or not that last bit is true is completely unknown to me).  Next time you’re in West Philly, check it out.  Just make sure you bring your wine from home, because the local PLCB (50th and Baltimore) absolutely blows. (They do have Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling in the refrigerated case, tho – a good standby for spicy foods).


Which brings us back to V-Day.  The four of us cooked (cheese, charcuterie, salad, pork belly, pork chop, risotto, Fednuts, chocolates), drank (see below), talked, and laughed.  While an at-home double-date is unconventional for a “Valentine’s Day” date, it’s everything we could have wanted on a made-up holiday like this …


Even though it’s a Hallmark holiday, we took it very seriously in the wine department.  Our grape graveyard of the night featured a 2013 Illumination (personally flown back from CA by yours truly, as it’s hard to find on the east coast), a 2010 M. Etain (sold out in 48 hours to its mailing list customers upon offering in 2012 and now only available at a handful of retailers for a ridiculous up-charge), NV Pol Roger (wine of the Royal Wedding), and a NV Perrier Jouet (i.e. why-drink-Moet-if-you-drink-Jouet).  While I know that none of these will make a master sommelier swoon, for non-bawlers like us, they were an excellent reminder that although we love our usual “weekday-warriors” and “cellar-defenders”, sometimes it’s nice to “treat yo’-self”.

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