The Schmitter

31 05 2009

Matt and I finally tried The Schmitter, a sandwich created by McNally’s Tavern in Chestnut Hill **which is not named after Mike Schmidt!** (Thanks, Joe, for the correction–I can’t believe I didn’t catch this.) When Citizens Bank Park opened, the sandwich got its own stand at section 139.


Long lines are obviously always expected.  On a stormy evening, though, there was no wait after the game started.


The sandwich is a bit pricey–I don’t think I would pay for a whole one again although I might consider sharing one with some fries on the side.


The concept is genius and the diagram very handy.


Anticipation!  Why do yummy foods that cause heart attacks always come wrapped in foil?  It drives Matt crazy to wait for me to take my photos but it is usually worth it.


This sandwich is cut in half.  Thumbs up!


Matt lifted up the top so I could get an inside shot.  It was so unappetizing no matter what angle you looked at it.


The bun was soggy and the meat a little slippery.  I’m pretty sure that the “special sauce” is Thousand Island and the onions were more sauteed, not fried.  We were hoping for ring-style deep-friend onions–that would give it more texture and some fun crunch.


The cheese was melty.  Matt liked the salami and I liked the steak, mainly because of how they were cooked.  The salami was a bit underdone for me and the steak a bit over done for Matt (the edges were a little brown and crunchy, just the way I like it).


The general consensus: The Schmitter is greasy, cheesy, and tasty, but we agreed that it wouldn’t taste as good with no beer in your blood stream and would probably be like Filet mignon after too many beers.  The price is high although only a $1.25 markup in the ballpark from the Tavern’s price.  If we get this again, it will be in the 7th inning (after a couple more beers) and not the 3rd and we will share it.  I am very interested to taste one directly from the Tavern because I have a feeling it tastes much better out from underneath the heat lamps.


Check out these reviews of The Schmitter:

Eat Charm City


The 700 Level


Breakfast Sandwich: Richie’s Deli & Pizza

28 05 2009

My quest for the perfect breakfast sandwich continues here in North Philly. Because I’d really like all of my summer clothes to fit, I am limiting my samplings to one sandwich per week. Today’s pick: Richie’s Deli & Pizza on North 12th St. by the Anderson and Gladfelter buildings. Richie’s is lively in the morning with lots of regulars and banter and Richie is always up front, schmoozing with the customers.  Richie's

I ordered a “toasted English Muffin with egg, cheese, and bacon and salt pepper ketchup.” My first impression, even before I unwrapped the sandwich, was not great. Ketchup on the side? DIY? It just doesn’t taste as good when you have to lift the top of the sandwich and squeeze out the ketchup yourself. It just doesn’t.

Again, like Tommy’s, it wasn’t cut, although I do understand this practice more for an English Muffin because it is not as hard to manage as a bagel.

After I cut it I realized that the English Muffin was not toasted–it just felt warmed in the microwave.

No brown crusty goodness, and it was soggy.

The bacon was whole, which made it harder to eat and easier to pull from the sandwich in one bite, but the fillings portions were generous and evenly distributed from center to edges.

The two eggs were Mmm Mmm good. Cooked with care, fluffy, and almost perfectly tucked around the outside edges of the muffin. I like my eggs tucked.

I rate Richie’s sandwich higher than Tommy’s (maybe I should come up with a rubric) but I know my quest must continue to find the perfect breakfast sandwich in North Philadelphia. I hope my pants and waistline forgive me.

International Wish List Summer 2009

26 05 2009

Behold: Part 3 of my Summer 2009 Wish Lists. I will either need to have two International lists because it was way too hard to choose 10 destinations only or elaborate and create a full itinerary for each of the ten destinations.  I may do both–stay tuned!

1. South Africa: My interest began in 7th grade when I researched Apartheid and journalist Steve Biko for a school project. Since then I have been intrigued with the country and how it has been portrayed in Hollywood and music. I want to see for myself. I would concentrate my time in Soweto, Pretoria, and Johannesburg.

2. Canada: Fly to Vancouver and take a luxury train across the continent to Prince Edward Island.

Route: Vancouver–>Edmonton–>Saskatoon (Shelly Tambo!)–>Winnipeg–>Toronto.

This trips takes about 3 1/2 days!  More if I get off to explore.  Spend a day or two in Toronto to stretch my legs.

Then hop back on the train from Toronto–>Montreal–>Moncton.

This trip takes one day but I’ll probably make at least a one-night stop in Montreal.  The last leg from Moncton to Charlottetown is about three hours.  The return trip would be a ferry to Caribou, Nova Scotia, drive to Halifax and fly back to Philadelphia.  I’d need at least 3 weeks for this trip.  Thanks.

3. Spain and France: Fly to Madrid, take a train to Barcelona and through the Alps to southern France.  Stops in Perpignon, Toulouse, Carcassonne, and Bordeaux.  Eat and drink.  A lot.

4. Japan: Tokyo, of course, but go for the main purpose of attending the Earth Celebration with Kodo on Sado Island.

5. Ireland: Spend more time in Donegal, climb Croagh Patrick again, spend another week on Inishmore, and a few days in Galway and Doolin.

6. Ecotour of Ecuador and Galapogos Island: I am not a fan of organized tours but my serious lack of Spanish skills may force me to join a group for this trip.  I am also very curious about this new “ecotour” fad and if it is indeed just a fad.  Technically the trip would fall during the winter holidays, because the tour only runs a couple of times a year, but planning now is key.  (I’m talking like I am actually going.  Ha!)

7. Iceland: It’s not as cold as it sounds and what better way to cool off in summer?  With 24-hour daylight, you can see the sights in the middle of the night, if you so choose.  On the itinerary: glacier exploration, Westfjords, and rotten shark meat.  Mmmm.

8. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: I will readily admit that my love of Pirates of the Caribbean affected this choice.  Laugh, kid, even make fun, I don’t care.  I love me some real-life movie settings.

9. China: Dragon Boat Races in June.  I’m participating in the Philadelphia races in October so how neat would it be to see the original tradition in action?  Races are throughout China, but could I still catch the May 28th race in Guangzhou?  Maybe if I leave tonight.

10. Benelux region: Belgium (Ghent–to escape the tourists), Netherlands (Amsterdam–just to see what the fuss is about), and Luxembourg.

Got the travel bug yet?  Itching to book a plane flight somewhere?  Anywhere?  This list of mine is just the tip of an iceberg in Iceland.  My lust for the perfect detailed itinerary now has ten chances to be satiated.  Please take the poll below to help me choose which trip to expand on next:

OPA! Greek Festival

24 05 2009

Every year on Memorial Day weekend, the local Greek church hosts the OPA festival with food, dancing, and beer. It’s perfect for getting out in the community and people watching. The food’s pretty good, too. I forgot my camera (bad blogger, bad!) so these are iPhone photos.

The venue:



The dancers:


The tent:




The bar:


The beer:


The food:


The lamb:


The lamb souvlaki:


The chicken souvlaki:


The baklava:

baklava and coffee

The fun! It was there but not recorded photographically!

Breakfast Sandwich: Tommy’s Food Truck

22 05 2009

I decided that this summer I will taste a breakfast sandwich from every food truck on campus (Temple University in North Philadelphia). Breakfast sandwiches hold a special place in my heart. I have a fondness for one-pot-meals and casseroles, so combining all elements of breakfast food into one neat little package makes me very happy.

My first breakfast sandwich comes from Tommy’s right outside of my building on Norris St. between Broad and 13th.   


The anticipation was killing me as I walked to my office from the truck.

Right off the bat I noticed that the bagel was not cut in half. Points lost.

Only plain bagels are available. More points lost. And the bagel itself is dry and a bit too sweet.

I did not enjoy the egg. It was overdone and parts of it hung out the sides. “Who cares?” you might ask. Well, not all breakfast sandwiches are created equal, and it is possible to contain all of the egg in the bagel. You’ll see.

There was a nice amount of ketchup, but you do have to ask for it. The standard, “Salt Pepper Ketchup?” does not exist at Tommy’s.  The bacon was crisp and cut into little bits so that whole pieces don’t come out in one bite.

The center was great:

But the edges lacking:

A great breakfast sandwich is equal from center to edge. And for $2.75, I know I can find something better. Stay tuned.

Summer Wish List 2009: Beyond Philadelphia

21 05 2009

Because my Philadelphia Wish List was so much fun to compile, I decided to make it the first in a 3-part series.  Below is my 2009 National Summer Wish List.  The last and final list will be internationally-themed.  Enjoy!

 1. Tour the south. Start in Tennessee for the bonnaroo music festival.  Fly from Nashville to Birmingham, Alabama and, over the course of a few days, drive to Jackson, Mississippi in time for the Jubilee! JAM. Along the way visit the Rosa Parks and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald Museums, antebellum homes, and make a quick detour over to Philadelphia, Mississippi for obvious reasons.  Fly home to Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) from Jackson.  All flights–Philadelphia to Nashville, Nashville to Birmingham, and Jackson to Philadelphia–are available through Southwest. 

2. Madison, Wisconsin.  The Lonely Planet description makes me want to visit.  And it’s the birthplace of The Onion!

3. Finger Lakes Riesling Festival.  My love for the Finger Lakes extends way back before I started drinking wine so I will jump at any excuse to visit.  My favorite Riesling comes from Dr. Konstantin Frank and a brand new Riesling Beer will be introduced by Three Brothers at the festival. 

4. Mystic, CT for one of these festivals: 1) Outdoor Art Festival , 2) Wine & Food Festival, or 3) Fish & Ships Seafood Festival. I would also probably insist on my picture being taken in front of every local pizza shop. Matt would love it if we could drive there and go camping along the way, so I could oblige him that. I would need top of the line equipment, of course. This tent has three rooms!

5. Self-guided tour (by train) of Alaska. Fly into and out of Anchorage.  Train stops in Talkeetna, Denali, and Fairbanks. 

6. Find some celebrities in L.A.

7. Big Island and Lanai, Hawaii: volcanoes, rainforests, beaches, Hilo, Garden of the Gods, paradise.

8. Disney World!  (yes, Disney World.)  I’m a kid at heart.  Most of our time would be spent in the Hollywood Studio park (is this the new MGM?  It’s been a while).  I love the Stunt Show and Indiana Jones.  And there’s a new Narnia attraction!  Sweet!  I do enjoy some rides in the Magic Kingdom but it would only take half a day to do that. 

9. Taste of Charlotte. Purchase coins and try lots of food!

10. Sonoma Wine Country Weekend.  Love Sonoma.  Love Wine.  The End.

I might be able to actually report back on one of these.  The other nine will have to wait.

Philadelphia Summer Wish List

19 05 2009

While day dreaming, I decided to create a Philadelphia Summer 2009 Non-Recession-Friendly Wish List.  Enjoy!

1. Eat at Matyson once a week.  Try every tasting menu ($45/person) This week: “Outrageous Onions!”

2. See Jason Mraz and G. Love at the Festival Pier ($45/ticket) on Aug. 9th 

3. Get baseline seats to a Phillies game.  Any Phillies game.  ($60/ticket)

4. Eat at Susanna Foo before it closes (dumpling sampler+crispy duck+short ribs+fried rice+bok choy+dessert+”Sparkling Susanna”+Lychee Martini+tax+tip=$135)

5. Grease at the Kimmel Center!  ($25-$100/ticket)

6. Attend the Culinary Herb Party at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College ($45/person)

7. Sunday Supper at Supper ($35/person)

8. Spend a weekend in New Hope at The Mansion Inn or Porches (~$200/night) and eat dinner at Marsha Brown.

9. Go shopping at Terrain at Styers (maybe pick up a terrarium) and go to the Cafe for a monthly Chef’s Dinner ($45/person).

10. Eat at Vetri (grand tasting=$135/person). 

I’ll be sure to report on anything I might check off of my wish list this summer!