jake’s sandwich board – ghost pepper steak


Jake’s Sandwich Board in Center City serves up a sandwich called the Fire Steak. This sandwich consists of rib-eye steak, fire sauce, fried onions, mushrooms, provolone, and a fried long hot. For one more dollar, you can upgrade the Fire Steak to the Ghost Pepper Steak. The difference? They add 20 drops of a ghost pepper extract to the sandwich. Oh yeah, you also have to sign a waiver.

This visit to Jake’s came about when I convinced a coworker to try the Ghost Pepper Steak. It built up some decent hype in the office as 5 others joined us for lunch as well as a few friends who found out my coworker was trying it. Two others told my poor coworker that they’d be ordering the Ghost Pepper Steak as well. Once we got there, they flaked out and he was the sole victim…at that time. Most of the others, including myself, ordered the Fire Steak.

The Fire Steak was really good. Had a nice kick and was just damn tasty. Anyway, back to what this post is mainly about. We all stared at my coworker as he was prepping himself to take his first bite. Almost immediately after one bite was taken, his face started to turn red. After two or three, he was reaching for the paper towels to wipe the sweat off his forehead. There was constant nodding of his head and a softly spoken, “Oh my god, that is hot.” Unfortunately, he did not get past half of the sandwich. You could say he took down about a quarter.

Well, I finished my Fire Steak as did a couple others. We had our entertainment and decided we (some of us) oughta try some of this Ghost Pepper Steak. One coworker cut a 2-3 bite piece of it, ate it, and said, “Wow, that is hot.” and had a slight runny nose after. That’s it. I wasn’t convinced it was that hot after he had it.

Then came my turn. Keep in mind, my mouth was probably already prepped (in a bad way) because of the Fire Steak. I also cut a small 2-3 bite piece. After finishing…it started. Holy crap. It was burning. A waterfall of sweat started to pour down from my face/forehead. Call me a wimp if you must (Mikey, I’m looking at you.), but that thing hurt. I’ve eaten some spicy things in my life but never have I ever had urges to run over to the counter asking for milk! I was able to sit out until the pain subsided though.

One of my friend’s who joined us, Lou, ended up tweeting this embarrassing but funny picture of me suffering.

Collin Flatt of The Feast also has a video of Marcos (Fidel Gastro) attempting to finish the Ghost Pepper Steak.

I’m glad I tried it but whew that was painful. Marcos, I only had a couple bites and had a crazy stomach ache later. I can’t even imagine…props.

Jake’s Sandwich Board
122 South 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
215.922.0102

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khyber pass pub – khyber burger


You guys were all probably wondering when the hell I was going to get around to having my beloved Khyber Pass Pub’s burger. Well, I finally got around to having it last week, so there!

I ordered a Khyber Burger medium-rare with onion rings. The Khyber Burger is made up of angus beef, bacon, bbq onions, smoked cheddar, and creole mustard. It’s also served on a brioche bun.

khyber burger x-section

The Khyber Burger is one solid burger. It tasted great and you will not be disappointed, I wasn’t. As much as I love burgers though, I will give in to the po boys or fried green tomato BLT in the future because they’re just too awesome here.

Khyber Pass Pub
56 S 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215.238.5888

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northern spy food co.


I brunched with a couple friends not too long ago at Northern Spy Food Co. This East Village restaurant’s menu focuses on local and seasonal ingredients. The space isn’t the largest, but it sure was nice and cozy on that Sunday afternoon.


Coffees, waters, and a blueberry mimosa were the drinks ordered by the table. To start the meal, we all split an order of their buttermilk biscuits. These were delicious. They came to the table still warm and were some of the best biscuits I’ve ever had.

slow-whisked scrambled eggs


A friend ordered the slow whisked scrambled eggs which came with Heritage bacon and pan bread. Another ordered the sausage, egg & cheese sandwich which used gruyere and a fennel-sage sausage. I went with the chicken & egg sandwich which had a crispy chicken thigh, a poached egg, and chimichurri sauce.

chicken & egg sandwich


Definitely enjoyed everything I had for brunch. After having the biscuits on their own, I’ve gotta order their biscuits and gravy next time!

Northern Spy Food Co.
511 East 12th Street
New York, NY 10009
212.228.5100

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mcnally’s tavern


Last week, I was looking for a place to have a burger for lunch in the Mt. Airy/Germantown area. I received a couple burger recommendations but even more suggestions to go to McNally’s Tavern in Chestnut Hill and eat a Schmitter. Instantly, my mind was made and I made the way to McNally’s with a friend.

The Schmitter is a sandwich consisting of sliced beef, cheese, fried onions, tomato, grilled salami, and Schmitter sauce. It is also served on either a kaiser roll or long roll (double). My stomach got the best of me and I went with the long roll version. Either that, or I just would rather eat a sandwich on a long roll instead of a kaiser roll. Totally didn’t need the size of the long rolled version though.

schmitter on a long roll

This sandwich was damn delicious. After consumption, I kept thinking how THIS should be the sandwich of Philadelphia. Seriously. It’s that good.

I’m not really a Phils fan, but you can get Schmitters at Citizens Bank Park! This fact alone would help coax me into going to a game.

Have you ever had a Schmitter? How do you think it ranks compared to cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches?

McNally’s Tavern
8634 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118
215.247.9736

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cooking: salted caramel ice cream sandwiches


If you follow my tweets, you saw that I made quite a special dinner last Monday. While brainstorming for my dessert course, the idea of homemade ice cream came to mind. With a cookbook and the internet, I decided to make salted caramel ice cream sandwiches!

I’ve never made caramel or ice cream before. I waited about 18 minutes before I added the cream. The caramel never quite browned. I’ve been told that there’s a short window between caramel and burnt though, so I guess it was better taken off earlier than later? Also, as seen in the Twitpic’d menu above, the Maker’s Mark caramel drizzle unfortunately never made it to the plate. I just ran out of time. I also did not use a 10″ x 15″ baking sheet originally as seen in the photo below. A much larger sheet was used. I think a smaller one would help create a more even layer.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream Sandwiches
adapted from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home and Joyofbaking.com

Ice Cream:
-1 3/4 c granulated sugar
-1/2 c water
-2 c whole milk, warm
-2 c heavy cream, warm
-10 large egg yolks
-3/4 tsp kosher salt

Cake:
-non-stick cooking spray
-1/2 c unsalted butter, melted
-1/2 c granulated sugar
-1 egg
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/2 c ap flour
-1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/4 tsp salt

Mix 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of sugar and the water into a heavy casserole or deep pan so that it resembles wet sand. Over medium heat, bring to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until browned appropriately and sugar has melted. Do not stir before it browns. Immediately remove from the heat and slowly add the milk and cream. Stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk the remaining sugar (2 tbsp) and yolks until slightly thickened. Temper the egg mixture by adding the caramel mixture, little by little, starting with 1/2 cup and eventually adding the remainder.

Have another saucepan ready. Once the mixture has been completely tempered, pour the mixture through a fine strainer and into the new saucepan. Prepare a large ice bath with a medium bowl in it.

Heat the mixture in the saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until a custard forms which coats the back of a spoon. Strain once more, this time into the bowl which has been sitting in the ice bath. Add the salt and let cool, stirring every once in a while.

Once cool, refrigerate overnight.

mixing the chilled custard

Prepare ice cream using your method/machine of choice using the overnight chilled custard.

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350° F. Spray the bottom of a 10″ x 15″ baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and lay out parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugar, followed by the egg and vanilla. Lastly, add the flour, cocoa, and salt. Whisk until smooth.


Spread the batter out onto the parchment, making sure to form as even of a layer as possible. Place in oven for about 12 minutes, checking the surface of the cake if it’s dry to the touch. Once dry, remove from oven and cool on a rack.

Once cool, cut the cake in half. Place softened ice cream over one of the cake layers. Top the ice cream with the remaining cake and seal tightly with plastic wrap. Place the sandwich into the freezer until it sets.

When ready to serve, cut the large sandwich into more desirable serving sizes. Enjoy!

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