Blogroll: Texas Weiners at SeriousEats, a History and Interactive Map

August 8, 2009

texasweinersI completely missed this gem of a post on SeriousEats back in July, all about “Texas Weiners”. Texas Weiners are a genre of hot dog found not in Texas, but in New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania, and it was created by Greek immigrants.

We’ve covered Texas Weiners on our posts about Goffle Grill and Johnny and Hanges. I’ve also created my own recipe for hot dog chili similar to Texas Weiner sauce called “Cleveland Indians Chili”, with a smoked chili bite.

Be sure to visit the SeriousEats site where they’ve been doing an entire series on regionally specialized hot dogs, including The Philly Combo, Tijuana Dogs, and the Flo’s Dog from Maine the Puka dog from Hawaii and the Slaw Dog from the Southern US.


PA Dining: Michael’s Jewish Deli

December 17, 2006

Michael’s
30 Town Center Rd, King of Prussia, PA

(610) 265-3265
http://www.michaelsdeli.com/

When I’m travelling alone by myself on business, I frequently gravitate towards eating comfort foods to keep me from getting too homesick. One of those comfort foods for me is Jewish Deli cuisine.

My co-worker and fellow tribe member, Sam, recently let me know about Michael’s Deli, which is conveniently located in the Town Center shopping plaza in King of Prussia PA. I had to go there anyway because we needed to buy some last minute computer parts at CompUSA for an important customer, and well, I needed an excuse to go eat a pastrami sandwich and a knish.

While Michael’s is not a legendary-status type deli like Katz’s or the Carnegie in NYC (or Schwartz’s in Montreal) it is certainly deserving of significant respect for those that worship the fatty foods of Ashkenazic Jewish culture — however, for those that care about such things, and like many modern “Jewish” delis, it is not Kosher certified. There are things like Reuben sandwiches on the menu which are a definite no-no if you are observant. Since I’m not Kosher observant, that lack of certfication doesn’t make much of a difference to me. However, the hanging of Christmas decorations in a place that should be a sanctum sanctorum refuge from Christmas Trees, Wreaths, Pointsettias and other goyishe trappings was a bit unnerving. Oy. At least there wasn’t any carolling and they played Golden Oldies in the background.

Michael’s has a pickle bar where you can eat unlimited quantites of Kosher Dills. Outstanding.

I went for one of the benchmark dishes, the Hot Pastrami on Rye. Nice and juicy, good fat content, tasty, nicely seasoned. However, it’s machine sliced, so that gets some points off. Given the fact that so few Jewish Delis hand slice their Pastrami nowadays, I’ll not criticise Michael’s too much — and let’s face it, I’ll definitely be going back here when I have a Pastrami urge on future trips to the KOP area.

Pastrami Sandwich side view.

I’d like to call this photo Deli Still Life. Matzo Ball Soup (balls are the springy kind, which I like) with Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda. Despite my previous paranoid rant, it appears that Cel-Ray is not doomed to extinction, although according to Michael’s staff there was a “very scary” shortage of it during the early and middle parts of this year, a shortage that Canada Dry is now in the process of rectifying.

Kasha Knish, another Jewish Deli benchmark. Kasha (made with Buckwheat groats mixed with potato) was cooked in stock (very important) and the pastry crust was flaky and crusty, not too dough-y. A nice Knish indeed.


PA Dining: Pudge’s

October 26, 2006

Pudge’s
1530 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA
(610) 277-1717

In New York, short of discussing sports or politics, perhaps the easiest way to start a spirited if not a heated argument is to posit which pizza place has the best pies. In the Philly metro area, its all about the cheesesteaks.

This week I was down in the King of Prussia/Valley Forge area and I really, really wanted to get down to South Philly after hours and head over to some of the more legendary places, like Pat’s and Geno’s, and have my first real cheesesteak experience. But the reality of working in the burbs is that driving into Philly after work can be brutal, and I didn’t feel like braving two hours of traffic or going into Philly late at night during the work week. I still wanted my cheesesteak though, and it had to be a good one. What to do?

Well, I knew one site which would definitely tell me where to go, and that would be HollyEats.com. If anyone could be considered the font of cheesesteak knowledge, it’s Holly Moore. On his site I found a review of Pudge’s, a old-school cheesesteak place in Blue Bell, only about a half an hour away from where I was working. It’s been at its current location for over 30 years, and the Carbone family has been doing cheesesteaks for well over 50 years, starting out originally in Germantown. That puts it well within striking territory of the more well-known establishments.

Pudge’s is located in a small shopping center on Dekalb Ave. The main sign itself isn’t lighted, although the place has a brightly lit Coca Cola ad. Unless you were in the know, you probably would just pass this place by.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for some serious cheesesteak porn.

Read the rest of this entry »


Cheeburger Cheeburger

May 17, 2006

Despite the name of this blog, I’m not normally one to go for burger chains (with the big exception of my White Castle obsession) but the Florida-based Cheeburger Cheeburger seems to be a cut above most fast food franchises.

For starters, Cheeburger is more of a franchise sit-down casual eating franchise than fast food — your order takes around 15 minutes to prepare, so those looking for drive-thru gratification should look elsewhere. Thus it’s more similar to a Johnny Rockets or a Fuddruckers or Fatburger in that respect.

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There are about 50 Cheeburger Cheeburger locations nationwide, I happened to have checked out their Malvern / King of Prussia location. As I understand it they all look relatively the same inside, using a 50’s diner theme (like Johnny Rockets). Where Cheeburger Cheeburger differs from Johnny Rockets in terms of its market positioning is the sheer size of their hamburgers.

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As you can see, Cheeburger Cheeburger offers hamburgers in sizes that should seriously disturb dietary experts and obesity special interest groups. Their flagship burger, the one pounder, is actually 20 ounces of beef which when fully cooked, yeilds a hamburger just over 17 ounces. This when combined with toppings makes a very formidable burger indeed.

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The wall of infamy. Apparently, this only represents a few months of Pounder eaters at this location, which has been open for about two years. Every few months they have to clear out this board and put the photos into thick albums. “Ogre”, a Linebacker at the local high school, is credited with being the only one who ate THREE pounder burgers back to back. There is also a similar board for children under 10 who have achieved Half Pounder burger status. If you manage to finish one of these massive things they send you home with a big stuffed hamburger toy.

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Root Beer, served in a Ball mason Jar. I thought this was cute. Free refills.

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A HALF order of “Frings”, onion rings and fries combo. Both very good examples, and I liked the dipping sauce a lot, which is a horseradish-laced ketchup/mayonnaise combination. The cheese whiz and the gravy was just OK.

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A closeup of the dipping sauces.

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The main event. Much to the relief of my wife I am sure, I did not order the Pounder. Instead, I wimped out and ordered the “Serious”, the half pounder, medium (cooked perfectly, although I wish Medium Rare was an option) with bleu cheese and bacon (nice and crispy). Overall I would say this is an excellent burger, especially for a chain operation.

The “Delirious” sized burger (pre-cooked weight 14oz) which I got on a future visit a few months later. It was so huge I had to cut it in half and take the rest home and eat it for breakfast the next day.

Cheeburger is also known for its shakes, which use either Edy’s Vanilla or Chocolate ice cream. These are then modified with various flavor mix-ins using Monin syrups (the kind that Starbucks and various coffee joints use) and mix-ins like Oreos and gummies. I took my shake to go, a Vanilla with Green Mint flavoring with Oreos. I thought it was a very good shake given the fact it wasn’t specialty / superpremium ice cream.

All in all I’d definitely say if you’ve got a Cheeburger Cheeburger near you (there are new locations opening up all over) I’d definitely give it a whirl. I’d certainly be very happy if one of these opened up in the Northern New Jersey / Bergen County area.