Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I took the bait, I bought the premise, and, well, I got a free coupon in the mail for a free KFC Double Down, the much-hyped and pre-maligned chicken sandwich without the bun that melts two slices of Monterrey Jack cheese (one plain, one pepper-jack), two strips of bacon and some "Colonel's Sauce" between two boneless chicken breasts. And then wraps it up in flimsy french fry bag because, you know, it's just what we've been asking for!!!

WHO exactly asked for this chicken Hindenburg? What twisted focus group designed this "specialty sandwich"?

I couldn't get anyone at Yum Brands to answer that question. They're the parent company for KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Long John Silver's. And nowhere on their corporate website could I find any practical explanation for the Double Down.

SO what the hell, we just took a bite (first I blessed myself three times, just to be on the safe side). The slippery mess did smell like a bucket of KFC chicken, which is not a bad thing, and the twin fried breasts did look as good as a fried chicken breast can look. And the chicken itself was fine, in fact, quite good. But when you reach that melted mess in the middle, well, it just ruined it for me. Pepper jack, garlicy mayonaise and barely bacony bacon did nothing to advance this past some sorry stoner's idea of food: grilled cheese meets fried chicken meets bacon cheeseburger with a little touch of jalapenos.

I just couldn't get past three bites when the cheese and bacon and mayo hit my mouth. They just ruined what were once nicely fried boneless chicken. Yech. I can't imagine that the "grilled" version of this bad boy would taste any better. And no, I'm not going to try one to find out.

Thank God I did this for you. Really. Just thank God.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Hop Angel


Really cool and good news for a change: as reported first by Jack Curtin on his Liquid Diet website, and the website for The Beer Yard, our buddy Mike "Scoats" Scotese is at last taking that momentous step at expanding the Grey Lodge empire with the purchase of the old Blue Ox Bistro in the Fox Chase section of Northeast Philly (7980 Oxford Ave) and renaming it the Hop Angel Brauhaus. Opening is scheduled for late summer.

His immediate plans are to keep many aspects of the German history and flavor of the place, which has been serving German food and drink for over a century (the building dates back to 1683), but you know it will soon be enlivened with that Scoats brand of irreverence and general mischief, two of the many reasons his Grey Lodge Pub has become one of the most popular and well know beer destinations in the city (and one of Esquire's "50 Best Bars in America" just a couple of years back). I am imagining some kind of Fox Chase Festivus, and surely one uber-Oktoberfest.
And so, the empire begins.....

Thursday, April 1, 2010


It's true. Trust me. And I couldn't be happier. Finally, a writing gig I can stay interested in for more than a few months. Inquirer Food Editor Maureen Fitzgerald broke the news to me yesterday for release today.
My original idea for the column's name was "Pizza, Pizza!", but Fitzgerald informed me that the title would have to change. "Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!" will be the name, and it will help us avoid any confusion and trademark infringement with the Little Caesar's chain of pizza parlors headquartered in Detroit, MI (remember when they were all around Philly? God, I miss those little squares of yumminess...).
BTW, the photo above is a slice of sausage pie from SLICE at 18th & Sansom, Good stuff. No foolin'.
So wish me luck. It will be a tough task seeking out the best and brightest pizzas in Philly. But somebody's gotta do it. And it's gonna be me! I'm so happy I could scream! Or burst. Or something.