Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Owner of Geno's Steaks in Philadlphia dies at age 71

71 year old Joey Vento, owner of Philadelphia's legendary Geno's Steaks passed away this Tuesday after suffering a heart attack. Since 1966 Geno's has become a Philadelphia landmark, known for their version of Philadelphia's signature street eats- the Cheese Steak.

The Cheese Steak was actually invented at Pat's King of Steaks, whih is, incidentally , across the street from Geno's. Geno's, however, has claimed to have perfected the Cheese Steak, sparking off a bitter rivalry between the two neighboring eateries for over 40 years. Whatever you think on the subject, there's no denying that Joey, and Geno's have played a huge role in shaping the food culture of the city.

Joey Vento himself gained his share of media attention over the past few years after being featured on the Travel Channel several times, and for his controversial posting of a sign instructing patrons to place orders in English only. Whatever you think of his ideology, it will be that classic combination of bread, steak, onions and cheese (or cheese wizz) that he'll be remembered for.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Penne with Beef Neck

I've noticed recently that I've been seeing more of the less popular cuts of meat at the local grocery stores, and that people have actually been buying them more frequently (someone beat me out to a big package of cheap pork trimmings on my last shopping trip!). The reality of the economic times we live in seems to be bringing back some of the tricks our parent's and grandparent's generations used to stretch their grocery dollar, and make the most out of the more readily available cheap cuts of meat rather than the massive luxury cuts that most people consider the norm today. With that in mind, I though of all the odd bits of unusual meats that would randomly turn up in mom's Sunday gravy from when I was a kid, so I grabbed a nice big package of beef neck bones, and started getting ideas on how to use it, and apply a few new tricks with a tried and true pasta dish.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Berkeley Sweet Shop, Seaside Heights, NJ

Imagine a carnival that never closes, and never picks up and moves on to a new town. Now imagine that carnival  stretched out along a beach in one of the most populated areas of the country. The place you'll see in your imagination should resemble many of the popular small vacation towns that dot the New Jersey Shore. The Boardwalks of these Shore towns are the centerpiece- huge pedestrian malls that are part main street, part carnival, and part tourist destination. It's hard to imagine visiting such a place without bringing home a few treats...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A $24 Plate of Spaghetti...

My try at making the famous $24 Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil from Scarpetta in NYC.
Most people first knew Chef Scott Conant as the "judge who hates raw onions" on the food network's hit competitive cooking show "Chopped" - where he gained attention after scolding a chef-contestant for repeatedly serving him raw onions despite being told that it was a bad idea. A few other Food Network appearances made it clear that Chef Conant was much more than an onion-hating ogre- apparently his restaurant in New York City, served a simple dish of Spaghetti with tomato and basil with a $24 price tag- a price that people pay happily and come back for more.

Chef Conant is not secretive about his simple, but wonderful recipe, and there are enough videos and descriptions out on the internet to reconstruct it. So, armed with the first batch of tomatoes from my garden, and a few nearly overgrown basil plants in need of a trim, I set out to try my hand at it...