Dynasty Cafeteria

What did we do last week? Not much, we just built a restaurant. You know, then we drank some beer and thought a little harder about what would be cool to eat while we were drinking it. Typically, salty stuff, carby stuff, baked stuff, cheap stuff, deep fried stuff, fresh fruit. You know what sucks? Paying a lot of money for food that tastes like crap. You know what rules? Getting really good food that tastes like nothing you’ve ever had for not that much money.

We just opened up a micro-restaurant inside 285 Kent Ave, home of a new music venue, art space, Babycastles arcade, and also, it’s in the old “Paris London West Nile” space. We pretty much serve the best snacks. It’s dirt cheap, why even bother eating at home, you can eat here everyday, and probably save money, you know what I mean?

Here’s a taste of what our menu looks like:

Grape Kool-Aid Fritters $3

Waffle Grilled Cheese $3

Pizza Waffle Sandwich $4 or $5 w/pepperoni

Black Bean and Queso Muffins $2

BBQ Tofu Summer Rolls $2 or 3/$5

Spicy Boiled Peanuts $3

Lime Coconut Bars $2

Fat Watermelon Slice $1

Fruit Flavored Ice Pops 2/$1

We add new stuff almost everyday, so no one gets bored.

AND we open DAILY 8PM-1AM!!!!!! Who knows how long we can keep this up for!

RICE KRISPIE PORTRAIT BUST

Yesterday was our dear friend’s Shawn Lovejoy’s birthday! Lauren Gregory and I were hanging out together that day anyway (she was painting my portrait!), so we wanted to do something special for our special friend. We decided to make him an edible platform for which he can blow out all his 69 candles.

I know that Shawn doesn’t particularly enjoy eating sweet things, but we wanted to make something for Shawn that highlighted one of his greatest assets: his handsomeness.

Rice Krispie treats seemed like a good way to go, because even the most savory tongue cannot resist this texture-overloaded marshmallow snack. Plus, in a bar setting, this sort of dessert is conducive to catering to a tipsy crowd, with no patience for plates and forks, and can act as a willing carb sponge for the liquid spirits swimming in our stomachs.

Rice Krispie treats proved to be a great sculpting material! When the marshmallow and cereal mixture is JUUUSST mixed together and the marshmallow glue is still warm, THIS is when it is the MOST MALLEABLE! Lauren was all over this. She grabbed the stick of butter like it was some chapstick, and smeared it all over her hands. This creates a resist, so that the goopy marshmallow rice cereal mix doesn’t stick to your hands as you’re sculpting it. I did the same, and we smooshed it around for a while until it looked like a handsome guy. The handsome guy shape we made kept slumping to look like a handsome FAT guy.

We used marshmallow/chocolate cereal mix for the hair. Also, confession, we did not use anything brand name. Real brand name Rice Krispies at the store was like $8.00?!?!? We found a great generic equivalent for $1.99. Also, we used generic marshmallows as well. We found some great strawberry-flavored marshmallows shaped like hearts for $0.99/bag! Mixed with the beige rice cereal, the pink strawberry marshmallows made quite a nice realistic flesh tone!

The eye cavity area was a little tricky to sculpt. He was not quite “handsome.” Finally we put some real fashion sunglasses on him, and he looked like the baddest motherfucker.

We brought it to the party and everyone ate it and looked happy.

 

Antonio Velotta at 14 years old

This is Antonio Velotta, and he is so funny and amazing.  He is a very talented hair artist who cuts my hair and the hair of many many others.

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He recently celebrated his 30th birthday at the McDonald’s at Time Square.

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When he was 14 years old back in the nineties, he made these really wild videos with his little sister Cristina. Recently, I offered to edit them down for him for youtube. Here are a few:::

This last one is Antonio pretending to be Lorena Bobbitt. NSFW!! Play at your own risk!!

Iron Cupcake:Chicago, Week 4- candy

This week Shawn the BF and I went to support my pal Melissa from Pastries Not Potatoes in the 4ourth installment of Iron Cupcake: Chicago!

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sugar sculptures

first a bit of history: Iron cupcake is a fun time. It is headed up by Colleen of Beautiful Cakes who put the whole thing together. But there is a whole bunch of bakers and chefs who have been doing the “cupcake as a genre” thing for a while. The contest was actually started in Milwaukee by the Milwaukee Cupcake Queen and her pal when they decided to challenge each other to a bakers duel. The gauntlet was thrown by the pal then known as the Unknown Baker; as is covered here on the blog prehumously named No One Puts Cupcake In a Corner. Things started when said baker presented the Queen with a Marlboro Cowboy Coffee Cream Cupcake With Starbucks liquor chaser. So rowdy!  This dude steeped tobacco and then made a batter with it. So then the heat was on, and iron Cupcake Milwaukee was born, then Iron Cupcake: Earth, then spin offs including Iron Cupcake :Chicago.

The challenges so far:

Iron cupcake Chicago has been ramping up. The first challenges were pretty tame, including citrus and something else. But the last two themes were actually interesting because of the open-end-ed-ness of them. Savory, which provided the obligatory bacon cupcakes. and most recently candy. This is the one i attended.

Ok!  Let me start by saying all of the cupcakes were very tasty, but some were better than others, AND only two of the contestants were actual chefs, most of these ladies were just badass moms and grandmoms looking for kicks and bragging rights.

Entries included, M&M’s (which were sort of boring),

Mounds (which were definitely boring)

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Candy corn which was good, but had a strange aftertaste not unlike eating actual candy corn.

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there were two snickers entries… and like highlander their can be only one, and it was true!

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actually the lady with the superior snickers called them SINkers, and they involved a hollow cupcake, filled with snickers filling, and topped with a ring of caramel creme. these ROCKED US.

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One of Melissa’s entries was cany dots cupcakes, which were flat pieces of fondant topped with piped candy dots. I really enjoyed this. However, similar to the actual candy dots of yore, this was fun to eat, but not terribly tasty to eat. Mostly because of the fondant,because fondant tastes gross.

In the end, Melissa and the SINkers tied for best presentation, and the SINkers rightly won for best taste. It was really no contest on that front.

here is melissa right before the crowning.

mel and mom

mel and mom

BYE until next time!!

Philadelphia!

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Did you know there is an enormous, cosmopolitan city, with a rich heritage, dynamic culture, and distinctive character, two hours south of New York? That this city was actually more important than New York and the epicenter of culture in this country once upon a time? And that, as with any proud city, it has it’s own share of unique culinary wonders as well? Well I speak the truth! It’s Philadelphia folks!

I ventured down through the “Garden State” to the “City of Brotherly Love” this weekend to visit Ms. Lauren Gutierrez, who has taken residence there. I was joined by some other CIA chums as well, and we had a grand ole’ time. We saw the sights, spent some time in the woods at a swimming hole, drank copious amounts of alcohol and most importantly, ATE FOOD.

Philadelphia, like many cities, has it’s share of delights and delicacies that hold a special place in the hearts of it’s citizens. Kansas City has barbeque, Chicago has it’s hot dogs and deep dish, and Baltimore has it’s crab cakes, but this city never seemed to let up on new and exciting local fare. So let me share with you some of the more revered items.

First we will start with the Wawa. Wawa is Philadelphia’s “go to” establishment for something quick and something cheap. It is a convenience store, sandwich shop, sometimes gas station, and always a place to find things a Philadelphian would like. Wawa specializes in the “hoagie” sandwich. Some may call this a “sub” or a “grinder”, but in southeastern Pennsylvania you call it a hoagie damnit. When one orders a hoagie at a Wawa there is no need to rattle off your choice of meats, toppings, and bread to a trained “sandwich artist”. They are busy. So they have provided a computer for you to plug in the specifics for yourself. You have plenty of time and the options are there right in front of you, so you can make sure to make the right choices. Do you want a “shorti” or a “classic”? “Lotta mayo” or just “light on the mayo” Take your time.

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We were fortunate to be at a Wawa during a special time of year, the great summer solstice celebration called “Hoagiefest“.

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Once you have ordered your hoagie of choice, it’s time to compliment your main course. Perhaps you would like a Tastykake for dessert? Or maybe just some Peanut Chews?

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Both are local and quite good. Tastykakes come in a variety of flavors and types. I bought a variety, including peach, blueberry, lemon, strawberry, and their famous Butterscoth Krimpets. When we came home drunk and dove into the cakes at 2am, people seemed to like each and every one of them. Great job Tastykake!!

As for the Peanut Chews, it’s peanuts in a chewy dark chocolate and molasses mix. They are quite good.

Need a beverage? Go with the Yuengling.

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I should note that this meal would make your stomach ache, so maybe save the candy for later and just eat an apple or some chips on the side. 😉

So, is Wawa the only place to get local Philly fare? Christ no people! There are plenty of other places!! Ever heard of the Reading Terminal Market?

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This market is an enormous public market on the street level of the old Reading Terminal rail station in Center City Philadelphia. The terminal itself has quite an imposing edifice and ginormous train shed that is now part of the Philly’s convention center. But on the ground floor it is all about food! Hoagies, steaks, fish, meats, cheese, confections, produce, breads – you name it. And plenty of lunch counters and take-out shops for the downtown lunch crowd. Lauren directed me to this ice cream counter called Bassetts for a delicious cone of peach ice cream. She chose the raspberry truffle, and they were both quite good. Bassetts has been around since 1861 apparently, which gives it the distinction of being America’s OLDEST ice cream company! COOL!  Philadelphia’s other famous, slighty younger ice cream mainstay is of course Breyer’s ice cream. But that shit is made by Unilever now, and they are a soap company. So fuck Breyer’s. Bassetts!!

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On our way out we spotted a woman making chocolate covered strawberries and stopped to watch. We then noticed a variety of other chocolate items. Like chocolate noses and chocolate rats!

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And of course, chocolate cheesesteaks!!

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When we were at last all together and everyone had convened at Lauren’s home, Mr. Chris Duffy began to mix together a number of spirits and fruit juices to make a beverage befitting the history and honor of Philadelphia. He had done his research and found a recipe for a punch named Fish House Punch. I will let this equally poorly written wikipedia entry handle this one:

This most venerable of American flowing bowls is held to have been first concocted in 1732 at Philadelphia’s fishing club, the Schuylkill Fishing Company also known as the “Fish House”. The Fish House was an august gentleman’s society devoted to escaping domestic tribulation, but also to cigars, whiskey and the occasional fishing foray upon the Chesapeake or the Restigouche River in Nove Scotia. Another version states that it was created in 1848 by Shippen Willing of Philadelphia, to celebrate the momentous occasion of women being allowed into the premises of the “Fish House” for the first time in order to enliven the annual Christmas Party . It was supposed to be just something to please the ladies’ palate but get them livelier than is their usual wont.

This punch — containing rum, cognac, and peach brandy— is potent, so to bring it down it is normally diluted with cold black tea, a common mixer for this particular punch, or with seltzer water, for a bit of fizz. Some punch bowls may not be big enough to accommodate the large size ice block called for, and though the block is a classic part of this recipe, it can, of course, be simply served in a pitcher over ice cubes.

There is even a verse!

There’s a little place just out of town,
Where, if you go to lunch,
They’ll make you forget your mother-in-law
With a drink called Fish-House Punch.

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The punch was quite tasty with a very tart lemon aftertaste. He put about 15 lemons in it. We all got quite drunk from it. Philadelphia! Will it ever end!?

By now it had become late, and it was time to dine out for dinner. We went to a really great place in Chinatown called “Vietnam“. Yes, like the country. They had quite an extensive food menu and a great cocktail menu as well. We all had our own exotic tropical drinks. I had the Navy Grog.

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I had always seen it on the menu of a Chinese restaurant I went to as a kid and figured “what the hell”. Their Navy Grog was a blend of Rum, Campari, Crème De Cassis, Myers’s Rum, Sour Mix and Fruit Juice.  Actual “Grog” has quite a history apprently, and you can read about it here! It’s not just a music venue folks!

The Navy Grog was quite good.

Some folks had Mai Tai’s and Erika had a beer which she put a cherry into for some reason, but Chris and Jocelyn shared the FLAMING VOLCANO. This restaurant billed the drink as a “Fantastic Drink for Passion Lovers.” and it contained Rum, Vodka, Gin, Brandy, Grenadine, Bacardi 151 and Fruit Juice. And live flames.

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The food was very good as well. I had the crispy duck, and there were a variety of soups and rice dishes eaten. Everyone had a pleasant time.

The next morning we all had to eat again! (ACTUAL fact: In order to sustain life, one must consume food.) Lauren made some delicious scrambled eggs and potatoes. We had a “Box O’ Joe” from Dunkin Donuts, and I fried up another Philly classic: Scrapple.

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Scrapple is “traditionally a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and flour, often buckwheat flour and spices” It is fried in slices in a pan, and served with breakfast in place of sausage or bacon. It is distinctive to the southeast PA region and Maryland, and parts of Virginia. I hail from Cincinnati, and we have a local dish that is similar in composition to Scrapple called Goetta. I think Goetta is quite tasty, but I cannot say the same for Scrapple. I had some at a diner the day before with Lauren and was not really taken with it. It was too mushy, and pasty, and the flavor was lacking on many fronts. I figured, maybe they just didn’t do it right! They cooked it too little! The slice was too thick! I can improve on this! So when we stopped at the ACME grocery store I picked up a package to make myself. I made sure to cut thinner slices this time, and cook it up homemade. Ryan, Lauren and I tried it all over again, and….it still sucked! Scrapple: not that good!

We spent the day at the swimming hole in the woods jumping from high ledges into freezing cold water. Ryan and some teenage boys oversaw the construction of a dam that was meant to plug the constant jet of water flowing down the creek. The project was a mixed success.

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When we got home we were all hungry again. Can you fucking believe that shit? Honestly. We needed something hot, delicious, quick, and PURE PHILADELPHIA. What oh what could we eat?

CHEESESTEAK

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Now, cheesesteaks are famous around the world as a Philadelphia specialty. Most tourists who visit Philly in order to sample this dish head straight down past the Italian Market (which is America’s oldest outdoor market) in South Philly to either Pat’s King of Steaks or Geno’s Steaks. Here they can get a steak slathered with the infamous “whiz“. Like the ubiquitous chili parlor in Cincinnati, or hot dog joint in Chicago, so Philadelphia goes with the steak joints. The town has plenty of lesser known, but locally revered steak places where the tourists and the blazing neon are not there to distract and diminish. Lauren lived just down the street from one such place, and it is called Dalessandros. The first thing you learn in ordering is that they are just called “steaks” by Philadelphians, no need to say “cheese”. Why? Because there are plenty of ways to eat one! Maybe you don’t want cheese! In fact, the idea that the only way to eat a steak is with cheez whiz is total bullshit. It’s just sick sick propaganda from the Pat’s and Geno’s people, whose “rivalry” I liken to a mutual agreement that it’s great business for both parties. Just UNbelievable.

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I had my steak with provolone because it’s actually cheese and it’s better. I had onions, mayo and steak, with hot peppers on the side. Erika had mushrooms. I think Lauren had banana peppers? And nobody had American cheese or “whiz”. They were deliciouso!

Everyone seemed to have a really nice weekend in Philadelphia, and Lauren was a wonderful host. Thanks Lauren! As for local food, there are a few other local specialties I will have to try upon visiting Philadelphia the next time. Frank’s Soda, and Water Ice are two. But fear not Philly, we will meet again.

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CHIPMEAL and Prison Eggs

What is “chipmeal” you might ask yourself? It is something very special. Lately, my boyfriend and I have been very into eating at a little Mexican place in Greenpoint called PAPACITO’S! I love their anjito pork chimichanga burrito and their chorizo tostadas and Danny B only orders one thing at this place : NACHOS. The great thing about the nachos at this place is, along with being topped with a wide array of fresh vegitalia and a good homemade salsa, the cheese on it is NACHO cheese, (the kind the comes from a can and stays a perfect velvety liquid forever), and a good amount of it as well. This cheese normally comes in cans like this:

There are various reasons why making nachos with this sort of cheese is superior to using fresh shredded jack/cheddar/whatever cheese. One main reason why shredded cheese SUX is that it tends to “glue” the chips together after the nachos are not warm anymore creating one big clumpy mess. How annoying. The AWESOME thing about nacho cheese sauce is, after awhile, the chips get soggy in a very beautiful and amazing way.  Letover nachos start to become more and more analogous and homogenized, as some sort of chemical reaction occurs with the cheese sauce and the tortilla chips, creating a whole new food that I like to call “CHIPMEAL”. It’s like oatmeal, except nacho flavored.

Which leads me to “Prison Eggs,” one of the few dishes that Danny B actually cooks. It’s called “prison eggs” because it looks like caricatured version of what prison food might looks like. A more pretentious name for it might be “Aged Mexican and Egg Risotto, with Nacho Béchamel.” Looks and sounds very appetizing right?

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Basically, it is leftover Mexican food medley, (in this case it is a combo of Danny B’s leftover nachos and my leftover soyrizo rice and beans), fried with eggs. Once the eggs enter your frying pan, you are to STIR almost the entire time until the eggs are cooked. Danny B really likes to stir the shit out of things “to make sure it gets cooked all the way.” The eggs get super mushy in the rice creating a lovely sludge texture. Here I am enjoying my meal. It was really great actually! Thank you!

Love, Thu

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