Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Ringing out 2018 with Pizza, Beer and THE THIN MAN (1934)

We rang out 2018 with pizza and beer at Joe Squared before trekking through the rain (discussing the rolls and dubious health benefits of McDonald's Filet-O-Fish) to The Charles Theater to see a 35mm print of 1934's excellent THE THIN MAN starring William Powell and Myrna Loy.

The first in the popular series finds retired detective Nick Charles interrupting his wife's Manhattan vacation to solve the case of a missing inventor friend suspected of murder. Lots of screwball antics, snappy banter, copious on-screen libations and great chemistry between the leads make this a standout of the genre. The flicks pop up regularly on Turner Classic Movies so be sure to "have a cocktail!" and tune in.

Today it's getting ready to go back to work after taking over a week "off" (I'm self-employed so I'm never really "off"), helping my daughter with her science project for school, watching the Winter Classic and the Flyers/Predators game, eating leftovers, diving into some homemade chili and enjoying a beer or two from the generous holiday contributions from friends and family.

Here's hoping your 2018 ended on a high note and 2019 is off to a rousing start. Remember, it is National Hangover Day and National Bloody Mary Day so if you need to cure the former before enjoying the latter be sure to visit our popular hangover cures post from a few years ago.

Thanks to all our friends and readers and we look forward to sharing more food, drink, travel and fun in the new year. Cheers! – Dan Taylor

Friday, November 30, 2018

Steve's Prince of Steaks (16th Street, Philadelphia)

Several years ago, before my wife and I welcomed our darling eating machine daughter into the world, we would meet up with friends for food-related excursions.

Sometimes it was a huge group from the old Roadfood forum gathering at G&M in Maryland for all things crab, like their softball-sized crab cakes.

Other times we'd get the bright idea to drive around Philly on the hottest, stickiest day of the year and tour varied cheesesteak joints. Like, five or six of them.

And on that day, as the sun beat down and the humid, subway air belched its way from the ground beneath us (or maybe that was just me), we ended our trek at Steve's Prince of Steaks on Bustleton Ave. There, some participants threw in the towel and couldn't eat another bite while the brave among us soldiered on, eating one... more... sandwich... a river of wiz and slightly less-processed cheese products cascading down our throats, grease dripping on our sun-baked arms, convincing ourselves that we'd eat salads all week to make up for this gluttony. (By the way, you can still read all about the High Steaks Showdown at The Hungover Gourmet website or in printed copies of that award-winning issue.)

When all the votes were tallied, Steve's ended up a close second to Dallasendro's (another personal fave) with points taken off by several voters for what come considered a sketchy bathroom.

These days, most of my trips to Philly feature scarfing down Wawa while enjoying film festivals at International House, or our annual Christmas excursion complete with the vintage light show at Macy's and a trip to Reading Terminal Market for a roast pork sandwich from DiNic's. In other words, I have to find my cheesesteak fixes where I can get 'em, even if that means the Korean bulgogi and beer cheese sandwich at The Point in Towson, MD or a no frills but tasty cheesesteak from The Gateway on LBI after a day of surf fishing.

So when some friends mentioned trekking up to Philly the Saturday after Thanksgiving in order to see legendary drive-in film critic Joe Bob Briggs give a talk about 'How Rednecks Saved Hollywood' I was definitely intrigued. When they suggested we could head up early and make a stop at Steve's for dinner, I was hooked.

While crummy weather and roads packed with holiday travelers and shoppers did their best to keep us from our cheesesteak rendezvous, we were undeterred. Though I always prefer to hit the original location whenever possible, the Steve's on 16th Street was near covered parking and much closer to our North Philly destination, so that became our stop of choice on this day.

And while $9 for a half hour park job sounded steep, the jump to $19 at 31 minutes made it sound like a bargain. And a challenge.

As the clock ticked we dodged the raindrops and hustled through the doors into Steve's brightly lit but no frills eatery (silver tables, light as air chairs and no restrooms). After re-familiarizing myself with the menu and the ordering "rules", I stepped up and asked for a Cheesesteak (American) With (Fried Onions) and 'Shrooms. Though intrigued by such menu items as the Shrimp Roll ($2), this trip was all about speed eating a cheesesteak. There will always be a next time.

With our orders placed we grabbed a recently unoccupied table and thanked the heavens we arrived when we did, as a couple large groups streamed through the doors just after we sat down. Our sandwiches arrived within minutes, with freshly grilled meat (a big Steve's selling point!) and ooozing cheese barely contained by the long, flat rolls.

Unencumbered by shrimp rolls we dug in and I was briefly transported back to that time when I could still wolf down (parts of) five or six cheesesteaks in an afternoon. Those days are long gone but it's nice to know that while times have changed and some things will never be the same, you can still count on Steve's Prince of Steaks to deliver a timeless Philly favorite. – Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor is the editor of The Hungover Gourmet and a lifelong cheesesteak aficionado. He's still searching for a good Baltimore cheesesteak joint.

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Hungover Gourmet Flashback Friday: Let's Eat Outdoors!

It's another Flashback Friday with The Hungover Gourmet! Today we bring you "Let's Eat Outdoors" featuring 28 pages of recipes and ideas for outdoor eating. I've selected just some of my favorite recipes and graphics from one of the incredible cookbooks in our collection.

Friday, June 08, 2018

Anthony Bourdain, Rest in Peace

Less than 12 hours ago I was sitting in this same spot when the news flashed across my screen that author, television personality and chef Anthony Bourdain was dead at the age of 61.

I believe “whoa” was my first reaction and I suppose I still feel that way.

Anthony Bourdain was a huge influence on my life and writing, no matter if either of us knew it. He loved writing about food and drink, working in the kitchen, traveling to exotic locations and trying the foods he found there.

It would take me time to embrace those same concepts, but after reading his books and watching his shows I found myself more willing to embrace travel and try exotic cuisines while simply writing about the stuff I loved. Or hated.

But more importantly, Bourdain wasn’t afraid to celebrate the mundane, the everyday things we took for granted, whether it was a down and dirty seafood joint or a greasy burger stand. He knew how to celebrate life and live every day as if it may be your last. Which makes the news of his death all the more tragic.

Coincidentally, Bourdain and I both have daughters about the same age. He’d mention his daughter at times and it made me feel like we had a connection. In fact, one of my all time favorite pieces he wrote wasn’t about food. It was about the horrific kids shows he watched with his daughter. In the prose, which made me laugh out loud, I could see myself and it drew me closer to the guy that I’d never get to know.

While I mourn the loss of a true original, I weep for his ex-wife and daughter and friends like Eric Ripert. They’ll never get to spend more time with him or know him better and for that I’m truly sorry.

I can only hope that Tony has found the peace he sought and that he knew how many chefs, writers and more he inspired. – Dan Taylor

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Bill's Bar and Burger (Rockefeller Center NYC)

After meeting up with friends and taking a long post-HAMILTON walk we decided to duck into Bill’s Bar and Burger for a drink, a bite and shelter from the surprise appearance of some rainstorms.

We were burgered our after Iron Bar for lunch but the menu offered chicken and fish sandwiches for the gals and a spicy Buffalo chicken burger for me. (I thought in my haze that it was a Buffalo chicken sandwich but was pleased with the end result, packed with spicy sauce and blue cheese.)

Shared fries were of the classic fry variety and they had an excellent draft and bottled/canned beer selection including Bell’s Two Hearted Ale.

We were all pretty tired and hungry so this napkin was all I ended up snapping to record our visit. Good place, bustling atmosphere, kid friendly and comfy booths that offered ample relief to my bony butt after two days walking all over the Big Apple. Signs said they're opening an outlet in DC. Will definitely add it to our list.

A solid 4 pints. – Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor is the editor/publisher of The Hungover Gourmet. He really needs to hit the gym tomorrow.

Iron Bar NYC (713 8th Ave and 45th Street, Times Square)

I'm posting reviews and pics from our weekend trip to New York City a little out of order. Not that anybody cares...

On Saturday afternoon we had a hard out for a 2 PM show of HAMILTON at the Richard Rodgers Theater in order to fulfill a Christmas wish for our daughter. (Little did I know how much I would love the show!)

After doing a walking tour of Colonial Manhattan that involved the Stock Exchange, Federal Hall, 9/11 Memorial, Trinity Church and more we made a reservation at Heartland Brewery and Chophouse while we headed back to Times Square. Wondering if we'd have enough time to have a sit down lunch and make it to the show in plenty of time we decided to cancel and head to someplace closer to the theater for lunch before the show.

Unfortunately, Union Square Burger didn't open till 1 PM and the other place we scoped out didn't do much for the group so we headed down the street to Shake Shack, figuring if we didn't see anything appealing on the way we'd be happy with this old standby.

It wasn't long till we crossed in front of Iron Bar and decided we'd give it a try.

"We can be out within an hour, right?," we asked as we met the hostess. "We need to leave for the theater by 1:30..."

"Sure!," she replied with confidence.

I have to admit, we loved the look and vibe of the place. A dark but not impenetrable atmosphere, cool high tops with tables made of pipe and tabletops that looked aged from use, an endless line of taps featuring some of my favorite beers including Dale's Pale Ale.

Alas, the place was sorta hit or miss for our group. My burger – a midwest-inspired Juicy Lucy – was dynamite and tasted like the burgers my Mom cooked when I was a kid. The rest of our group didn’t fare quite as well as medium rare burgers were all super rare in the center and it took a good half hour  (!) to get our food while others who were seated well after us all got their lunches.

Great beer selection,  awesome Juicy Lucy and a cool vibe definitely help offset the crummy service and inconsistent cook on the burgers. Unfortunately, it all adds up to a three pint rating despite an excellent lunch for The Hungover Gourmet. – Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor is the editor/publisher of The Hungover Gourmet and he loves him a burger and some Dale's Pale Ale.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Crockpot Wednesday: SkinnyTaste Slow Cooker Turkey Breast with Gravy

Photo: SkinnyTaste.com
It's Crockpot Wednesday here at THG HQ and last week's recipe was a rousing success.

I love Thanksgiving but must admit that all the shopping, prepping, cooking, browning of wings (and necks and gizzards) for gravy, etc. makes it a meal I don't want to deal with on a regular basis.

Cue SkinnyTaste.com and their recipe for a pretty effortless and delicious Turkey Breast with Gravy.

The hardest part with this recipe was finding a frozen turkey breast in February but the effort paid off. I probably cooked this one a little longer than I needed to (my crockpot tends to run hot and my digital thermometer was on the fritz) so it may have been a touch on the dry side but that was negated by the rich, savory gravy that the breast produced during the cooking process.

On top of that, the long slow cooking process made the whole house smell like Thanksgiving, if only for a day.

Uh Oh... Trump Boycott Just Hit Home for Some Folks

Let's face it. Asking people to boycott Nordstrom's until they drop Trump-related merchandise probably isn't that big of a request. How many of us are shopping at Nordstrom's on a regular basis?

But shit got real for some people now that the National Organization for Women has asked consumers to boycott cult-like grocery retailer Wegmans until they pull Trump wines from their shelves.

According to an article in the Washington Post, Wegmans' VP of Media Relations said "individual shoppers who feel strongly about an issue can demonstrate their convictions by refusing to buy a product. When enough people do the same, and sales of a product drop precipitously, we stop selling that product in favor of one that’s in greater demand."

FYI, the picture used for illustration is of a chocolate and wine bundle from the Trump Winery website called "Taste of Trump". Ew.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Sister Publication EXPLOITATION RETROSPECT Launches 30th Anniversary Mega-Issue!

The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media returns with a super-sized 30th anniversary issue clocking in at 130 pages! 

As some of you may know, The Hungover Gourmet got its start in a little drive-in movie and pop culture zine called Exploitation Retrospect. After that publication went on hiatus THG became its own publication and website and blog. Roles have reversed a bit in recent years with THG taking a break from printing while ER has returned with a handful of issues, including the recently published 30th anniversary issue #53.

This time out the ER Crew looks at the world of horror anthology films with a special review section featuring SLAUGHTER TALES (2012), TORTURE GARDEN (1967), THE UNCANNY (1977), TOMB OF TERROR (2004), HOLIDAYS (2016), GRIM PRAIRIE TALES (1990), ASYLUM (1972), THE BURNING MOON (1992), CRADLE OF FEAR (2007), SCREAMS OF A WINTER NIGHT (1979) and many more. Plus, we look inside the world of 21st century anthology flicks with filmmaker Scarlet Fry.

We remember THE DESTROYER co-creator Warren Murphy with an interview by The Paperback Fanatic and examine the legacy of Don Pendleton's Mack Bolan (THE EXECUTIONER) and other men's action heroes via reviews, articles and an interview with author Mike Newton.

Obscure horror gets its due thanks to an interview with Gary Wallace (star of video store oddity THE JAR) while Evan Romero waxes nostalgic about Joe D'Amato's PORNO HOLOCAUST and breaks down the films of Jorg Buttgereit.

Longing for the sights, sounds and smells of old movie theaters? Take a trip through Kris Gilpin's theatrical scrapbook while Chris Poggiali examines the history of hot pants cinema.

And what would an issue of Exploitation Retrospect be without a bulging review section? Join Douglas Waltz, Mitch Lovell, John Grace, Devin Kelly, David Zuzelo, Jim Ivers, Evan Romero, Eric Miller, Neil Vokes, Robert Segedy, Mike Hauss and yours truly as they dive deep into a video vortex of horror, action, exploitation and sleaze.

The new issue is currently available from CreateSpace as well as Amazon.

If you prefer to order direct from the publisher, please visit the ER website.