meme – fried chicken

It took a long time but I finally made it out a few weeks ago to have Meme’s fried chicken which is only available on Thursdays for lunch.

A friend and I met up to try this highly spoken of fried chicken. With the fried chicken, you get the option of adding a side and a choice of lemonade, iced tea, or a beer. Of course, I went with the beer. Everything I read up to this point mentioned receiving the Champagne of Beers, so I was pretty pumped. Unfortunately, I received an Amstel Light…maybe they ran out?

Beer aside, the chicken was pretty delicious. I was served a thigh and leg piece. Excellent choices since I’m all about the dark meat. It came with a tasty and moist corn muffin and a buffalo dipping sauce. I took some bites with and some without the sauce. Couldn’t quite tell whether I enjoyed it more with or without, but it was great nonetheless. The added side was corn on the cob which was quite good.

Meme’s fried chicken lunch was great. If I had gotten a High Life, things would have been fantastic. Unfortunately, I started my new gig already so it’s going to be a while until I get another opportunity to try this. If you have a free Thursday, definitely come and check it out!

2201 Spruce Street
Philadelphia, PA

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cuba libre – brunch without borders

Cuba Libre in Old City has a new menu for their 10th anniversary which has been inspired by Chef Guillermo Pernot’s recent trip to Cuba. One of the menu changes is their Brunch without Borders. Brunch without Borders is a $25, all-you-can-eat meal featuring several piqueos (small plates). Last Saturday, a friend and I certainly indulged until our stomachs reached their borders!

cafe cuba libre w/ shot of spiced rum

There were so many drinks to start the day off from coffees, tropical cocktails, and juices. I think I chose the best one though. My drink of choice was the Cafe Cuba Libre with an added shot of spiced rum. It’s Cuban coffee with steamed coconut milk and Cuba Libre spiced rum. This stuff was so ridiculously good. Could I have these everyday?

torta de cangrejo benedict

We certainly tried a ton of items, but the ones shown here were definitely our favorites. The Torta de Cangrejo Benedict was an interesting take on eggs benedict. It consisted of a jumbo lump crabmeat & potato cake topped with a poached egg and tomato Hollandaise served over an avocado mash.

cobbano salad

Another piqueo we ordered twice was the Cobbano Salad. Essentially a Cobb salad with Cuban flair, it had pulled pork, plaintains, hearts of palm, grape tomatoes, avocado, bacon, Cabrales cheese, hard boiled egg, scallions, watercress, and baby spinach tossed in a light mustard vinaigrette.

sopa levanta muerto

We may have also ordered the Sopa Levanta Muerto twice as well. Despite being fairly hot on Sunday, this was too good not to order twice. The translation means Raise the Dead Soup, which is named due to it’s consumption by those hungover to “raise spirits and body”…perfect for the Friday nights we both had. This soup had a delicious broth made up of some coconut milk and had crab meat, scallops, shrimp, and mussels.

To end our meal, we ordered the torreja (pictured above). It was a hazelnut and almond encrusted brioche French toast topped with strawberries, Frangelico-Mascarpone cheese, honey, and powdered sugar.

You can also order all these items a la carte should you not want to Brunch without Borders. Here is the rest of the brunch menu.

Cuba Libre
10 S. 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

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bouchon – las vegas

I was on a fairly tight budget in Vegas last weekend and this is definitely a big restraint, especially when you love food because there are a bunch of great restaurants with tasting menus all over the strip. A friend, however, did mention Bouchon to me. Initially I figured it was out of my budget, it is a Thomas Keller restaurant after all. But, I browsed the website and their brunch menu was totally affordable! So, that’s where I was on Saturday morning.

It took us a while to find the restaurant, which is located on the 10th floor of the Venezia Tower in The Venetian Hotel & Casino. Once we got there though, it was beautiful. The atmosphere was relaxing and the large windows let the morning/afternoon sun shine in as jazz played throughout the restaurant. The staff was friendly and service was great from the maitre d’ to the waiter. We were supposed to dine out on the porch outside in the courtyard, but there was a miscommunication amongst the staff and a party after us got seated before us. No biggie though..

We all started off with some coffee and they brought out a freshly baked baguette with butter and jam (pictured above). Honestly, the meal could have ended here and I would have had a smile on my face for the rest of the day. There’s just something so amazing about a simple, fresh baguette and butter. It was SO good. Also, on a random note, it was totally not in traditional baguette shape…

There was a pastry section on the menu, as well as a couple pastry specials on a chalkboard. We decided it was a must to order a pastry basket (choice of four different pastries). The pastries we ordered were (photo above, clockwise from left) concord grape beignets, pecan sticky bun, chocolate almond croissant, and cheese danish.

My words and photos really can’t describe this basket. Everything was amazing. Easily the best pastries I’ve ever had. Light, flaky, delicately sweet. I wish I could choose a favorite out of the bunch, but that’s too difficult.

Here are the dishes ordered around the table:

corned beef hash

croque madame

sourdough waffle

steak frites

My dish was the croque madame, ham & cheese sandwiched between toasted brioche, topped with an egg and mornay sauce, and served with pomme frites. My first French croque…loved it. The pomme frites were also delish, but there was no chance of me finishing all of them.

I also got to try the corned beef hash and the sourdough waffles. The corned beef hash was the most delicious and elegant corned beef hash I’ve ever had. The scrambled egg was cooked to perfection too. Where do I begin with the sourdough waffles… I had one bite and fell in love. It was “just right”. They were light and airy, accompanied perfectly with maple syrup, strawberries, and Tahitian vanilla infused butter. Oh em gee.

Everyone was full after this meal..and very, very content. If you’re ever in Vegas or in California, make sure you check this place out. I promise you won’t regret it.

Also, there’s Bouchon Bakery on the basement floor of The Venetian. I didn’t get a chance to check it out, but I would assume you could buy the pastries there.

The Venetian Hotel & Casino
Venezia Tower, 10th Floor
3355 Las Vegas Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV 89109

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blt burger

A friend and I had a burger craving on Labor Day and we decided to go to BLT Burger, Chef Laurent Tourondel’s global burger chain which is part of his BLT family of restaurants.

There were some burgers on the menu which almost had me, ex: lamb merguez – colorado lamb, cilantro yogurt sauce, cucumber, olives, red onion, and tomato; blt – angus beef, double smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, blt burger sauce. My eyes locked on to the Great Hills Blue (see image above), a burger with angus beef, Great Hills blue cheese, balsamic caramelized onions, and mushrooms. Since I’m a sucker for blue cheese on a burger, this decision was a no brainer. My friend decided to go the classic route with an angus burger with lettuce, tomato, and onion.

the classic

Both burgers were served on a tasty seeded bun with slaw and a pickle (friend opted to hold the pickle). The Great Hills Blue burger was pretty delicious. The meat was also cooked to a perfect medium. My friend also enjoyed her classic burger very much.

Leaving for Vegas soon and there’s a location there, but I’ll probably go to In-N-Out to satisfy my burger cravings!

BLT Burger
470 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10011

There are other locations in Las Vegas and Hong Kong!

ps. I want to order and enjoy the whole burger, shake, and fries meal (at any place) someday, but I can never seem to be that hungry… anyone else feel that way?

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cooking: gala apples and brie baguette sandwich

I made this today at work for lunch. I’ve read about brie and apples being paired for sandwiches all the time but never tried the combination. This was pretty simple to make and tasted damn good.

Here’s my quick recipe

Gala Apples and Brie Baguette Sandwich
Serves 1 hungry person nom nom nom nom nom!!!

-1/4 of a french baguette, sliced into 12 1/4″ – 1/2″ slices
-half of a gala apple, sliced into thin pieces (I attempted to, I had to use a butter knife)
-six thin to medium slices of brie

Preheated a toaster oven to 375°. Place baguette slices along foil wrapped oven tray then place brie slices over baguette slices. Melt the cheese/toast the baguette for about 5-7 minutes until brie is melty and bubbly. I kept checking every 2 minutes or so. Take out of oven, place apple slices on top, form the sandwich, and enjoy!

Mmmm, I’ve still got 3/4 of a brie wheel to go….

Oh, and happy new year everyone!

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