DidjaEat Ep. 14 Samantha Russell & Brian Craig


Hey Everyone!
I sat down with Samantha Russell and Brian Craig to talk entertaining, theme parties and all things food! Plus cat toy humping, the wig sphere and much, much more! Thanks to Sam and Brian for chatting and also for all the delicious snacks!

You can also check it out on iTunes!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-didjaeat-podcast

Also, please feel free to visit our sponsor Audible.com!
Get your free audio book at http://audiblepodcast.com/didjaeat

DidjaEat Podcast 13 – Drew Lazor


Food Writer and Baltimore Native (but Philly Resident for almost 15 years) Drew Lazor sits down with Nicole Yates at American Sardine Bar to chat about food writing, what’s native to Baltimore, how he got into food writing and what’s good. Drew definitely knows what’s good.

http://drewlazor.com

http://www.twitter.com/drewlazor

http://didjaeat.com

http://www.instagram.com/didja_eat

http://www.twitter.com/didja_eat

http://yatesycomedy.com

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Check out this episode with Blake Wexler!

De Lorenzo’s Is The Best Pizza In The Universe


I like pizza. I mean I really like it. A lot. I guess I can be kind of a snob, but knowing what you like isn’t really snobbery, it’s just knowing what you like. I don’t like that Dominos (and Food Service) puffy crust. I also don’t like super dense crust. Oddly. I do like cheap, shitty $1 pizza as well as carnival type pizza (frozen shells). So, as a pizza fan, I am always on the lookout for new and exciting places. I am also always talking to pizza fan and comedian Joe Moore about places we could swap, especially because I am always traveling around doing standup comedy shows.

Slicing up a pepperoni pie

Slicing up a pepperoni pie

One day I was chatting with Joe about comedy, not pizza, when someone came over and asked him what his absolute favorite pizza was. He responded without even thinking “Easy. DeLorenzos.”. He went on to tell me that the place used to be in Trenton and it moved to a small town right outside. He could not stress it more: it was perfect. Now, I don’t usually get that far up in Jersey to Trenton, or if I do, I go way past it, up to Princeton or further. But one day I booked a show in Robbinsville. The name of the town looked familiar to me so I ran it by Joe and he verified it, it was the home of De Lorenzo’s.

After my show I literally ran to my car and drove over to De Lorenzo’s. The town of Robbinsville is cute, and everything is mostly new because it all used to be farmland that was just recently developed in the last 10-15 years. De Lorenzo’s sits in a shopping development with lofts over it and central parking in the back (someone actually thought about planning, that’s a nice change).

The Old Ovens

The Old Ovens

Inside there are some lovely red booths and white twinkly lights. But I was more interested in the ovens! The ovens, while I do not know if they are original, I believe did come from the old place in the Chambersburg section of Trenton, on Hudson street, where the original place stood for over 60 years. Now in thier 8th year in Robbinsville, the quality still stands.

But enough talk about the past. Let’s talk about the present. I walked into the restaurant and ordered a large pepperoni and homemade meatball pie and a medium pepper and onion pie. And then I had to drive an hour home with those pies in the car. I wanted to die! I wanted to dive right in on the highway and start stuff that amazingly smelling pepperoni, meatball, onion, pepper and garlicy pizza right into my mouth. But I didn’t! Why? For journalism! I hope you all appreciate it! Also, scroll to the end for a Photo Gallery!

Pepperoni and Homemade Meatball

Pepperoni and Homemade Meatball

First up: The pepperoni and homemade meatball pie. I have never had meatball on a pie and I had seen the pepperoni they use: not the sliced super thin stuff that comes 6 pounds to a bag (altho that does have a time and place), they use the quality stuff and aren’t stingy with it. The meatball made me almost burst into tears when I saw it: big slices spread all over the one side of the pie and smelled amazing. It was a little peppery but meaty. It was a perfect meatball. I would have loved to just have a bowl of those meatballs. Mental note: ask about that next time. The sauce was slightly sweet and slightly chunky. The cheese wasn’t 6 feet thick, it was just the right amount to not overpower anything else.

Amazing crust

Amazing crust

The crust is thin, in that it’s…thin and not a cracker. Some pieces were well done and some were exactly done. As Americans, we are spoiled in that we believe everything should be done exactly the same way all the way around, because we are used to machine and factory made things. We have lost touch with the idea of “homemade”. It’s the tiny little imperfections that make things unique and in the case of this pizza, absolutely amazing.

Sweet Pepper and Onion

Sweet Pepper and Onion

The pepper and onion pizza, well, I didn’t know if I would like that as much until I took a bite of it. Why? Because it’s sweet peppers! I love sweet peppers and always get them on hoagies! I never had them on pizza, and man was I missing out! The crust on this guy was a little more evenly cooked around the edges but I could care less. It was also fantastic.

Something else I loved is that there is a whiff of garlic to this pizza, but it’s not overpowering. I guess after 68 years, they know what they are doing, so don’t ask questions, just eat!

What I found interesting about this pizza is that they didn’t cut it into wedges. The only other time I have ever seen a circular pizza not cut into wedges was years ago when I was in suburban Chicago. I was at a house and they flipped open the pizza box and I was completely puzzled. The pie was cut into many squares. “WHY!” I thought. “WHY, GOD, WHY!”. This pizza was cut more into rectangles and frankly, I was totally ok with it because you had a shot at crust in every piece. It was probably easier to eat that way as well, because the point would probably break off between the thin-ness and the weight of the toppings. Or not, this is totally conjecture. Anywho, it was fantastic.

Many food websites as well as Zagat have rated De Lorenzo’s the absolute best pizza in the Country. I agree. When I got home and started texting Joe Moore about how I ate it, he asked me what I thought, because he was afraid he might have been overselling it. Spoiler alert: he didn’t. I wanted to build a speedway so I could go to Robbinsville each week and eat this pizza. I wanted to rub it all over me and build a pizza monument to it. I wanted to call the owners and ask them what I did in life to deserve to eat pizza that was so fucking amazing. I wanted to hug them and thank them. I cannot stress this highly enough GO TO THIS PLACE.

De Lorenzo’s

2350 US Highway 33

Robbinsville, New Jersey 08691

609-341-8680

Lunch: Tue.-Fri., 11-2 • Dinner: Tue.-Sun., 4-10 • Closed Mondays

http://www.delorenzostomatopies.com/

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Podcast Ep. 12- Brendan Kennedy


Nicole Yates sits down with standup comic/sketch guy/improver Brendan Kennedy. Brendan is originally from right outside Philly and now resides in Los Angeles where he appears in sketch videos and is generally hilarious. He also has a podcast with Luke Giordano called Hurtful Things, which is amazingly funny.

Podcast Eps 10 and 11!


Hey Everyone!,

Due to a glitch in WordPress and Libsyn, I didn’t realize episode 10 did not post!

Episode 10 is with Blake Wexler, a friend of mine from comedy in Philly. He now lives in LA and works on the show Review and also is hilarious! Oh, and he can eat like he has 2 hollow legs. He was in town opening for Todd Glass at Helium Comedy Club. We had a small surprise pop in. Can you guess who it was?

Have a listen!

Episode 11 is with Chef Wes Lieberher. Wes is a displaced Philly guy living in LA. He is the head chef at Beer Belly and also at Whiz. Check out his restaurants and lsiten to this great interview. A very chill dude, indeed. Special shout out to JP Boudwin for turning me onto Beer Belly and helping me get ahold of Wes too!

Have a listen!

You can also subscribe on iTunes!
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-didjaeat-podcast/id829963884?mt=2

Steakin’ up with Tony Luke Jr


I sat down with Philly Cheesesteak King Tony Luke Jr and had a great chat! We covered everything from cheesesteaks in Bahrain to Pizza in Dallas to high school in the 70’s. He was a great interview and a super nice guy to boot!

Check it out here!

or on itunes!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-didjaeat-podcast/id829963884

DidjaEat? Podcast 6: Chatting with Rachel Klein


Hey Everyone!,

I sat down with Rachel Klein, vegan chef and owner of Miss Rachel’s Pantry, to talk about veganism, running a restaurant without losing one’s mind, and delicious food!

It was a great chat and she is delightful. You should check it out!

Hear it here!

Listen on our Libsyn site

Listen on iTunes

Listen on Stitcher

 

Didjaeat? at the Philly Podcast Fest


We have a podcast here at DidjaEat?, hosted by me, Nicole Yates, and the very funny Vicki Long and we have been chosen to do a show during the Philly Podcast Fest! We are super excited and have many things planned!

So please come down to Tattooed Mom’s on Saturday, August 23rd at 3PM for some fun talk about food and some exciting other stuff. Also, we yell at each other a lot!

We also have a new episode of the podcast up! Feel free to hit it up at iTunes, Stitcher or hit it up at http://didjaeat.libsyn.com

Loving The Hand Tossed Hut


I live in a city where you can’t walk 5 feet without having some good pizza to eat. Wether you like big sloppy pieces that you could use as a car cover, thick Sicilian pizza, pizza with sauce on the top, the bottom or no sauce at all, crispy wood fire grill type, gas oven type or even little pieces of perfection made in a little South Philly bakery, and anywhere else in between, we got you covered. That’s why I am not a fan of chain pizza. Domino’s and Papa John’s are complete garbage: spongey, overdone crust with salt soaked everything else. Gross.

I do have a small spot in my heart for Pizza Hut. When I was a very little kid, my parents and I would drive allllll the way up to the Northeast to eat at a Pizza Hut on the occasional Friday as a special occasion kind of thing. At the time, it was the closest one to our house and I always looked forward to it. Maybe it was because I was allowed to make my own salad at the salad bar (hello, salad mountain!) or maybe because thier buttery crust pizza was just so damn good. It was different from what the local places sold, and that was ok with me, because it was great.

Over the years I have scaled back my intake of Pizza Hut, mostly because the grease would tie me up in knots. Also, like I said above, local places were so good, and I always feel good supporting the local guys.

A little while back, I signed up for thier email list, mostly because I love the name of it: Hut Lover’s. It makes me giggle, mostly because I am a huge Star Wars Fan. I also do a bit about that in my standup set. But anyway, they were advertising thier new pizza “Hand Tossed” pizza and I felt like maybe this one wouldn’t tie me up in knots. And I was pleasantly surprised!

I thought about calling to order and then I remembered they have an iphone app. I opened the app, chose delivery, pay in cash and then not only was I given the choice of the regular pies and packages they offer, they also list, in detail, all thier daily specials. That was pretty awesome! I picked a hand tossed pizza and in the Super Supreme style. It was $11 and $14.58 with tax and delivery charge ($2.50 but the delivery lady was super nice, so I’m not complaining).

Pizza Hut Thin Crust Super Supreme

Pizza Hut Thin Crust Super Supreme

The Super Supreme pizza includes: pepperoni, ham, beef, pork sausage, Italian sausage, red onions, mushrooms, green peppers and black olives. This pizza was LOADED. It only took them a half hour to make it and get it to my door, so it was piping hot, which was nice. Nothing worse then a lukewarm pizza showing up, half congealed. They also were not skimpy on the toppings. Literally in every bite I had at least 4 toppings and the pieces were pretty big. A thing that also used to bug me when eating at Pizza Hut was that I felt like I ate 7,000 tons of salt. But the toppings weren’t salty and neither was the sauce.

Closeup of the Super Supreme Hand Tossed Pizza Hut Pie

Closeup of the Super Supreme Hand Tossed Pizza Hut Pie

 

Closeup of Pizza Hut Crust

Closeup of Pizza Hut Crust

Over the years, Pizza Hut has tried to examine every section of the pizza, to try and jam more cheese into it. Let’s face it, when your business is pizza, there’s only so much you can do. With this hand tossed pizza, they decided to cover the outside crust with a garlic parmesan shaker coating. Honestly, it’s delicious. It helps with the seasoning of the whole pie and, well, keeps you licking your fingers. A nice touch, I thought, was that when ordering online, they give you the option of skipping the coating if you so chooses. A nice touch for people who might not dig garlic. It shows the gang at Pizza Hut are paying attention.

 

But let’s talk about the crust. This thing is supposedly “hand tossed”. I sincerely doubt that the kids working at The Hut are tossing pizzas into the air, but whatever they are doing, they are doing it right. They are shooting for the local pizza parlor look and style and they have hit it, with a flair all thier own.

Closeup of the Crust of Pizza Hut's Hand Tossed Pizza

Closeup of the Crust of Pizza Hut’s Hand Tossed Pizza

The outside crust is denser then the pan and chewy, without the patented Pizza Hut grease. I mean seriously, this pie is not greasy *at all* beyond the usual pizza grease you’d get because…it’s a pizza.

The inside crust is thin and still chewy, but not too thin so that when you pick it up it collapses. You wanna fold it? Go for it (altho the slices are still smaller then a regular pizza place). It is as close to a pizza place then Pizza Hut is going to get. They do it with thier own flair and I have to say, they hit the mark.

I feel weird reviewing things without finding something to not like. This might be the first time I like every single thing. The crust is good, the seasoning is good, the toppings were good and even the delivery was prompt and got here right when they said it would. I am sure you mileage may vary depending on where you live, but for a shade under $15 bucks, I was really impressed with this pizza.

Hat’s off to Pizza Hut for a really great job.

 

 

 

A Chat With The Big Cheese of the Vendy Awards


Unless you have been living under a very large rock, you may have noticed that Food Trucks have exploded in popularity in the past few years. This Saturday at Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown, the 4th Annual Vendy Awards are back with a vengence to crown the best in Food Truck-ery in Philly! Tickets are still available and all proceeds go to The Food Trust (the gang that runs Night Market), a worthy organization that makes sure there is healthy food out there for everyone.

We had a little chat with Zeina Muna, the Managing Director of the Vendy Awards, to get some delicious facts on this fun event benefitting a worthwhile cause.

How did the Vendy Awards come about?
The Vendy Awards’ modest beginnings took place in 2005 in an East Village (NYC) garage with only a handful of vendors. The Street Vendor Project was a young organization and wanted an occasion to celebrate NYC’s street food and an opportunity to showcase the vendors we represented. Today, we have expanded across the country to include events in Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Philadelphia!

How did you end up as Managing Director of the delicious Vendy Awards?
I have personally attended the Vendy Awards in NYC for the past 7 years. In 2011 I was lucky enough to be selected as a Citizen Judge to join the judge’s table to help pick the eventual winner of the 2011 NYC Vendy Cup! Needless to say it has been a thrill to be part of the organization and watch it grow – so when the opportunity came I put my name in the hat and the rest is history!

How did the SVP come to be as a part of the Urban Justice Center?
The Street Vendor Project joined the Urban Justice Center upon its founding in 2001. The Urban Justice Center has since operated as a collective of ten small projects that share common overhead costs and a common social justice mission.

Has there been an increased awareness to the plight of the vendor over the past few years with food trucks being so overwhelmingly popular?
Being a street vendor is a very difficult job – something that eaters of street food often do not know. Vendors are small business people struggling to make ends meet by working long hours, multiple jobs, and often in stressful conditions. Set up costs and maintenance are incredibly expensive and time consuming. To top that, there are often laws in place that are confusing or inconsistently monitored which can limit the availability of permits, where a food vendor can operate, and the health codes to follow.. In some ways, the rapid growth of street food has given people the impression that its easy to set up as a newbie – but the fact is its incredibly easy to have to shut down as well!

Are there plans to start new chapters of the Street Vendor project in the other cities in which the Vendy Awards happen, or are there
similar organizations out there?
There are no plans, at this time, but perhaps eventually! For now the goal is for these events to act as a fundraiser for local organizations in each city that have similar values to us.

Has there been a large growth in interest in the Vendy’s over the years?
Absolutely! Our audiences have grown and we are constantly getting requests to open in new cities. We have also seen a lot of our winners from prior years go on to grow – opening multiple trucks and even restaurants in some cases.

Finally, what is your favorite kind of food cart food, and what city do you think does it best?
I’d never kiss & tell! But in all honesty that is almost impossible to answer…. the quality, range, and quantity of food carts is so immense. Each chef has his or her own personal twist and each city has its own vibe and specialties. One of the best part of the Vendys is being able to try food from each truck, so that you are able to try a vendor you may not come across on your regular route, or give a shot to a type of food you wouldn’t ordinarily try. And every time I come to an event like this I am blown away by how exciting street food can be. They are all my favorites!
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