October 2, 2016

Giveaway: Your Chance to See Anthony Bourdain Live

Still need a ticket to see Anthony Bourdain's live show on Oct. 26th in Philly? You might be in luck. We have two free tickets to give a lucky winner who enters our contest (it's easy, see below).

First a quick reminder. Bourdain is in Philadelphia as part of The Hunger, an 11-city North American tour. The tour coincides with the release of his new book, Appetites: A Cookbook. For more details on the tour and what Anthony Bourdain talks about on stage, read our previous post, Pass Me More of Those #@%$! Puppy Heads. Anthony Bourdain Returns to Philly. We saw him back in 2011 and can't wait to do it again.

How to Enter:

1) Like our Facebook page and share our post about the contest:
2) Follow us on Instagram, like our image AND tag a friend:
3) Follow us on Instagram and repost our image with hashtag #22ndandphilly:

If you do all these things, you're entered 3 times. We'll put all the names in a hat and pick a winner on October 12.

Event Details: 
Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 7:30 pm
The Academy of Music
Contest Deadline: October 12

Only rule is you must be free on October 26 to attend and say hi to us while you're there.

August 8, 2016

Pass Me More of Those #@%$! Puppy Heads. Anthony Bourdain Returns to Philly

More than five years ago, we attended an entertaining Anthony Bourdain show at the Keswick Theater. His comment about what it would it take for him to eat a puppy head became the headline for our post outlining his travel tips and approach to experiencing food-related traditions around the world.

While Bourdain was popular when we first saw him, his cultural significance has
increased exponentially since, and like him or not, his opinions influence food culture and conversation greatly.

His no holds barred monologue show is coming back to the Philadelphia area on October 26 as a stop on The Hunger, an 11-city North American tour. The tour coincides with the release of his new book, Appetites: A Cookbook.

The Hunger is a live show featuring an unyielding, brutally honest monologue reflecting on diverse culture, street cuisine and his travels to lesser-known locations around the world, followed by an open Q&A session. You can trust Bourdain to provide a show consisting of laughs, serious discussions and random thoughts of irreverence.

Tickets are on sale here: www.anthonybourdainontour.com. Stay tuned for a future post where we will giveaway tickets to the show.

June 20, 2016

A Sandwich Quest to Cleavers Cheesesteaks in Center City

On a recent Sandwich Quest we visited Cleavers, a new cheesesteak shop a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square. According to Philly Insider, the four partners come from families who run a meat manufacturing company and have been in the restaurant business for years. Sounds like the fearsome foursome of cheesesteak creators!

Cleavers is a classic, made-to-order cheesesteak shop that uses prime USDA ribeye (most use a lower grade beef) that is neither sliced nor chopped to bits, but a sort of combo of the two. You'll be hard pressed to find a cheesesteak with more meat, except maybe Ray's in Lansdale. It's truly a monster that deserves kudos considering far too many shops skimp on the meat.

Overall, it's a high-quality cheesesteak, but still has room to improve as the meat was a bit stiff and the fried onions did not add enough of a sweet, caramelized flavor.  While it's nice to have an above average cheesesteak option in Center City, we'll continue to suggest John's Roast Pork and Spot Burger as our two favorite cheesesteaks.

As an aside, the Parmesan waffle fries were a hit, served in a hefty portion for only $4. The rest of Cleavers' menu includes a variety of more creative cheesesteaks, chicken sandwiches and veggie options, a variety of fries and other fried sides.

*Kid friendly? Yes fine for kids, ours ran around and made a mess!

March 27, 2016

Hoagie Quest: Matt & Marie's Italian Stallion

Since opening in 2014 near Logan Square, Matt & Marie's has quietly built a solid reputation with their modern Italian take on sandwiches. Co-owners Nicole "Marie" Capp and Justin "Matt" Sapolsky are also expanding the concept to Rittenhouse Square and Washington Square. Apparently, the business plan they wrote at Wharton said to open locations near squares!

I finally visited the original location to find out if I missed Matt & Marie's glory days before the challenges of expansion hit home. The sandwich shop is set up similar to a Subway where you order at one end and the hoagie is passed along the queue. It's quick and efficient, but leaves you wondering if the pre-sliced meat is fresh and high quality.

No need to worry. After the first bite of their Italian Stallion, you know Matt & Marie's brings it with the meat. Their combination of Molinari fennel salami, Genoa salami and sweet coppa hits your tastebuds like a cured-meat Starburst. Unlike bland provolone used by so many other shops, Matt & Marie's uses Claudio's, which is actually sharp. Clearly, the foundation of the Italian Stallion has all the makings of a great hoagie. Unfortunately, a house needs more than a foundation and that's trouble with this place.

The bread lacked freshness and had a Wawa-like quality. Not, bad, but certainly not good enough match Hoagie Quest's best. My two biggest issues, though, were with the hoagie's construction and the pepperoncini aioli.

Good flavor but poorly spread 
As the pictures show, neither the cheese nor the pickled peppers, which were very good, were spread throughout the hoagie. That's a basic hoagie building block and a miscue that should never occur. The menu also says onions are included, but I only noticed a stray slice.

While the pepperoncici aioli tasted quite good, to a traditionalist like myself it's a sneaky trick to get around the no-mayo-on-an-Italian rule. The flavor also overpowers the quality meat and cheese. I would prefer to have a pepperoncini oil instead.

In the end, Matt & Marie's makes a good hoagie and I'd definitely go back to try others, but I'm leery of the expansion since the execution was already lacking at the original location. Also, be mindful of the "modern Italian" tagline and as you will want to hunt somewhere else for a traditional hoagie.

February 11, 2016

Federal Donuts vs Shake Shack: Fried Chicken Sandwich Throwdown

Forget the burger wars. It's time for a chicken fight between Federal Donuts and Shake Shack with both juggernauts releasing their own version of a fried chicken sandwich.

The chicken gods from FedNuts serve a double-fried boneless breast with buttermilk ranch seasoning, spicy sauce, American cheese and pickles on a Martin's potato roll. Shake Shack's boneless, spicy breaded Chick'n Shack comes with herb mayo and dill pickles on a potato roll.

Shake Shack took the crown by a hair with a slightly crispier and spicier breading that delivers a better overall flavor profile. The buttermilk ranch coating at FedNuts was lost in the mix so we'd like to see a version using the unique seasoning of their popular Za'atar fried chicken. That tweak could enable FedNuts to steal the crown away. 

Both are worthy editions to your sandwich hunting list. What are you waiting for? Go get one. Or both!