Posts tagged: Food

History and Beyond: Our Favorite Ways to Experience Philadelphia

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By , August 13, 2015 8:07 am

Philadelphia is known as a place for history buffs, and there are lots of relics and museums to remind us about how democracy was born in America. However, there is much more to this Pennsylvania city and many ways to get to know what it’s all about. These are some of our favorite Philadelphia experiences to try for yourself!

Flavors of Philly Food Tour

Other than history and art, Philadelphia is well-known for its delicious food. Taste what all the hype is about on a Flavors of Philly Food Tour that will show you how to eat like a local.  Over the course of about two-and-a-half hours, the tour will make six stops to sample cheese-steaks, hoagies, soft pretzels, tomato pie, cheese fries, and locally-made cookies. Your guide will fill you in with entertaining stories about these foods and the restaurants that made them so popular in the city. This tour runs between March and November from 1:30 pm to 4 pm.

Photo credit: Wally Gobetz via Flickr

Photo credit: Wally Gobetz via Flickr

9th Street Italian Market

This is one neighborhood that’s definitely worth checking out when you’re in Philly. Here you’ll find eclectic shops, local coffee shops, parks, murals, traditional delis and bakeries, and of course the 9th Street Market. This is the oldest and largest open-air market in America, with lots of Italian food stalls and produce stalls for really reasonable prices. This is a multi-ethnic neighborhood too, so you’ll be able to explore local Mexican and Asian shops in the area too. Tours of the market depart daily and last about two hours.

Basic Keelboat Sailing

Philadelphia is also a great place for sailing, so consider taking a basic keelboat sailing course while you’re in town. This class is designed for true beginners and is mostly taught on the water to help you learn the basics of boat handling. On a small boat in protected waters, you’ll learn points of sail, reading the wind, safety, heavy weather sailing, tacking, jibing, person overboard, and federal requirements. This two-day course operates all throughout the year during good weather conditions. 

Amish Country Tour

Pennsylvania is also known for its Amish community, so if you have a few days in the area, why not experience it for yourself? Amish country tours depart from Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania with Dutchland Tours, Inc., the only certified guide company that has been providing Lancaster Country tours for over 50 years. This operator aims to help tourists see the Amish as friendly neighbors and real people, not an attraction or a curiosity. Local businesses you can visit include Amish quit shops, bake shops, and roadside stands, where you can interact with community members. These tours last about two hours and run between March and October.

Photo credit: Bob Jagendorf via Flickr

Photo credit: Bob Jagendorf via Flickr

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Another great way to experience the Pennsylvania countryside is by taking a hot air balloon ride from Quakertown. An ideal city break for couples, groups of friends, and families, you’ll see the natural beauty of the state and even get to help the crew if you like. Rides are offered year-around in good weather and last about two or three hours.

Blondie and Brownie on Exposing New York’s Food Scene

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By , March 18, 2012 9:29 am

Blondie and Brownie on a Mission to Educate

With Restaurant Week currently in full swing, Funsherpa is now gathering intel on the vibrant New York food scene. We start our series, by chatting with New York’s quintessential food bloggers, Blondie and Brownie, whose online posts reveal their adventures in the New York food scene. In this feature, we discover their favorite eats, chefs, and neighborhoods!

F: What inspired you to start a food blog? And how’d you gals come up with the name?
B&B: We worked together and bonded over food. We decided to start the blog because everyone would ask us where and what to eat so we decided to put it up on the Internet. Blondie & Brownie has a few meanings for us, but the main one is a simple play on our hair.

F: What neighborhoods do you guys live in?
B&B: We both live in Brooklyn, Blondie in Greenpoint and Brownie in the greater Park Slope area. Blondie’s favorite places are Paulie Gee’s Pizza, Papacitos, Peter Pan Bakery, and in Williamsburg, Egg. Brownie loves Terrace Bagel, Song, Almondine, Grab Specialty Foods, and Cafe Grumpy.

F: If you were to choose a neighborhood in NY to live based solely on food alone, where would it be?
Blondie: Probably the East Village, there’s some really great food at decent prices and a nice variety of restaurants.
Brownie: Ditto. I lived in the Eat(s) Village in college and it was awesome to have access to such a great variety of food and because of the big NYU student population there are a lot of budget friendly options. In the close to 7 years since I left the village, the terrific dining options have only increased.

F: What’s your typical day like?
B&B: We live pretty normal lives, both of us have day jobs in Midtown. Our lunches are usually used doing recon for Midtown Lunch. When an evening doesn’t involve an event, it’s going out to dinner or doing the mundane tasks of life. Brownie recently had a baby, so her life’s pretty full with being a mom. But we both almost always end up online at some point, to put up a post, download pictures, or answer emails.

F: What are the highlights of the food you had growing up?
Blondie: My mom actually worked and went to school while I was growing up, so she wasn’t in the kitchen a whole lot, but when she would bake, it was always a treat. As any good mom does, she would always let me help out and lick the spatula and spoons afterward. It was usually traditional American-pies, cakes, cookies, but every now and then she’d make a traditional Czech dessert and those were always amazing.

Brownie: My great grandparents were Italian immigrants who settled in New Haven, CT. I grew up eating a lot of Southern Italian food and New Haven pizza (Sally’s or Modern, please!). I make a mean red sauce and clams oreganata. The other side of my family has been in New England for close to four hundred years, and I’m a New Englander through and through. I have much love for lobster, clam chowder, boiled dinner, baked bean suppers and hasty pudding.

F: What’s is your favorite restaurant in the city?
Blondie: Blondie’s favorite restaurant is probably now Shopsin’s. Everything I have there is great, I don’t mind any of their orneriness, and one of the few places I think about on a frequent basis.

Brownie: Ditto, again. I swear, we’re not the same person.

F: What’s your favorite summer al fresco restaurant in the city?
Blondie: Blondie’s favorite is Back Forty. I absolutely love their back porch, it has good lightening, good food, and you can forget you’re in the middle of NYC.

Brownie: Brownie’s favorite is the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. There’s nothing like pulling up a table in the park on a warm summer afternoon or evening and tucking into a burger or custard from the Shake Shack.

F: Who is your favorite NYC celebrity chef?
Blondie: My favorite ‘celebrity’ chef is Danny Meyer. From the restaurants he oversees to how he treats his employees, he seems like a pretty great guy. And of course, he created Shake Shack. I’m torn on the up and coming chefs because there are so many, but if I had to choose it’s be Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar. She’s willing to take chances and do something different.

Brownie: I’ll reveal my sweet tooth by saying Jacques Torres. As someone who loves to bake and appreciates the pastry arts, Mr. Torres is a legend. He’s also really nice and charming and unlike a lot of other “celebrity” chefs, I’ve actually seen him in his stores. Last summer we spied him up on a ladder stringing lights and setting up his ice cream cart in his Tribeca shop. Corwin Kave of Fatty Crab and Fatty ‘Cue is a really talented up and coming chef. I’d never pass up a meal if he is cooking.

F: It’s that time for NYC summer restaurant week again. what are your quintessential restaurant suggestions for lunch, and for dinner? Any suggestions/tips for restaurant week?
Blondie & Brownie: The best lunch I’ve had so far was at Convivio. I’m still hoping to get back there one day for a proper meal. The dinner at 10 Downing was pretty nice too. My main tip is to look at the menu if it’s been posted, treat the meal as more of a sample of a restaurant, and if your server isn’t treating you well because you’ve picked the RW menu, never patronize that place again.

Del Posto for lunch was a fantastic experience. I didn’t for one minute feel that they were treating us as lesser customers because we were there for the RW menu rather than a more expensive lunch. They brought us little cocktail samples to try at the beginning of our meal and sent us home with chocolates. One restaurant week suggestion that I always make is to check out the menu and what’s being offered, some of the restaurants offer similar pre-fixe lunch deals on a regular basis that you can try anytime, so try to choose a place where you’re really getting a special twice a year kind of offer. Delmonico’s Steak House is a quintessential and historic New York restaurant–it was one of the first restaurants in the nation and they have a terrific menu for lunch and dinner.

Injecting gusto into life with Vicki’s fresh produce

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By , October 19, 2009 9:47 am
Sharing Organic Produce

Sharing Organic Produce

Vicki Westerhoff demonstrates the importance of a good diet to funsherpa.  Curing herself through a diet based on organically farmed food, Vicki Westerhoff, the community farmer behind Genesis Growers, talks to us about the benefits of fresh farmed food and her life in the world of agriculture.

F: Reading a writeup of you, I discovered that a personal sickness drove you to start organic farming.  Can you walk us through how you felt before you started eating ‘fresh’ and what major transformations occurred after you got involved with organic farming?

V: I was to the point where I slept 16-18 hours daily and when I was awake I never felt good at all.  Three months after I began my new routine I began to feel the first signs of improvement.  It took 6 months to know I was truly better and a year to make it the whole way.  Now I often work 16 – 18 hour days and am full of vigor.  What a switch around.

F: You started this a long time ago before organic farming, Whole Foods, and local sourcing became hip.  Are you surprised how large the movement has become or did you have a clear picture of where this was heading back when you started?

V: I am not sure really.  I suppose I felt there was an enduring aspect to organics – perhaps with roots going back into the 60’s and 70’s – doing things differently.  I was absolutely sold on organics as the way to go and assumed the world would come to agree.

F: Are big industrial farmers afraid of you?  Should they be?

V: No, they are not.  Rather, they have begun to infiltrate and attempt to take over organic agriculture.  Now the movement is not only organic, but has moved into the local movement.  I am sure agribusiness will do their best to move into that arena as well.

F: Seems like we still have a long way to go to change the direction of our fast food nation.  If you were President, what 3 things would you do to improve the food we eat?

V:

a)      Put real food back into the school systems of the nation

b)      Require all food stamp and WIC purchases be used for real food

c)      Oh well, I have two

F: Chicago seems to have a lot of great environmental programs and people who care about the environment.  Can you share with our readers some things they can do to experience and learn more about environmentalism?

V: First, learn to appreciate nature.  Go to nature centers, wildlife areas, looking for specifics to a given area.  If in Florida, check out the Everglades.  In Colorado, check out the Forest lands, etc.   See what environmental groups are in an area.  Join a river clean up, sponsor a road clean up, etc.  Just get out there and see what is in one’s area.

F: What types of fresh fruits and vegetables are popular with local Chicagoans these days?  Why is that?

V: All fresh foods, pretty much.  They like the staples, like tomatoes and so forth, but are very open to the new and unusual.  Almost any crop we might grow folks are willing to try.  Chicagoans are very food oriented and gourmet cuisine tempts their pallets, so we have a great marketplace.

F: You seem to be one of the pioneers in the field of local and organic farming – who are your mentors or who do you learn from?

V: I research many sources, but my best mentors are the older folks in the farming community who say I grow the old fashioned way.  These are fellows who knew how to grow food before chemicals were the main stay of farming.  Much of my learning comes from perusing University web sites on organics and from trial and error. 

F: Can you share with us some of the feedback you get from your customers who decide to switch over from traditional industrially farmed food to your locally grown produce?

V: Hands down it is the taste that wins them over and keeps them coming back for more.  One CSA member told me her Iguana sold her.  She did an experiment with store bought kale and our kale.  The iguana always went for our kale and left the store bought to rot. 

F: You can’t be farming 24/7 – can you shed some light into your life outside of farming?  What else do you enjoy doing?

V: I do farm 24-7 during the season.  It is my life.  Hopefully some day in the future I may get more free time, and it would be spent enjoying nature.  When I do get away, I always head for the great outdoors.

F: Do you have any words of wisdom for people out there who are contemplating on pursuing their passions/interests?

V: Do it with clear thinking, carefully evaluating the costs and investment necessary.  Then, go for it with gusto.

Adobo over Rice in the SF Street Food Scene

By , October 5, 2009 8:48 am

With the rise in popularity of the Street Food Carts in San Francisco, funsherpa decided to track down the infamous Adobo Hobo for our next feature. The Adobo Hobo hangs out around the Mission area or around Dolores park, pushing his cart and serving up some lip smacking Adobo. His healthier take on a traditional Filipino dish proves that healthier does not mean less tasty. After meeting him in the Eat.Real.Fest last Aug 30 in Oakland, the Adobo Hobo shares with us his story, experiences, but unfortunately not his secret ingredient…

F: Adobo is a popular Filipino dish – who taught you how to cook it?

AH: My mother taught me how to cook adobo years ago.  Before I left for college at Fresno State, I made sure I learned to make a number of Filipino dishes so I was able to have home cooking away from home.  As my mother being the best cook amongst her siblings, I am fortunate enough to learn from the best.  My brother’s a pretty damn good cook too.

F: What is Adobo to you?

AH: Adobo to me is a dish that is a great go to meal if I’m limited with time and ingredients.  It’s easy to prepare and always seems to be readily available on the stove top of one of my Filipino friend’s home.  Just can’t seem to go wrong with adobo.  Plus it’s made a bunch of different ways, so there’s always an element of surprise at every household.

F: Kindly narrate the night the Adobo Hobo idea was born.

AH: It actually happened really fast.  I was at home cooking when Ed and Amy, members of the Adobohobo Camp, walks in after visiting the creme brulee man and suggests we do a cart and give it a try.  As the primary cook of the household, they really wanted me to be a huge part of the project and I thought it would be great and fun idea to try it out.  We brainstormed on all kinds of dishes to put out and one of the roomates, Tina, suggested I make adobo.  It made so much sense due to its ability to keep well and the ability to make large quantities of adobo, we had to roll with it.  One week later on August 1st, we were out on the street selling at Dolores Park on Movie night.

F: Why did you choose to go for “healthier adobo”?

AH: I chose to go a little bit healthier because I have high cholesterol and I’ve been looking for ways to eat healthier.  I’ve also noticed a lot of my Filipino friends have parents or aunts and uncles developing health issues related to their diet, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol amongst other things, so I wanted to show everyone it’s possible to alter the recipe and still have a delicious meal. I use a combination of full bodied soy sauce and low sodium soy sauce to cut the sodium content and remove the skin the chicken legs prior to cooking.  To finish off the “healthier” adobo, I skim the fat off the top of the finished produce.  I’ve been talking to Mandy, of @Wholesomebakery another cart with vegan delights, and she mentioned a few other options I can use to have a healthier diet.  Thanks Mandy.

F: What’s your secret ingredient?

AH: Sorry folks…  Gotta keep that one to myself.

F: If the Adobo Hobo is Superman, who is the Clark Kent behind the AdoboHobo? i.e. What is your day job

AH: During the day, I’m a realtor at United Brokers Real Estate in San Leandro.  They’re very supportive of The Adobohobo and even had me cater the last office meeting we had and boy did they love it.  The realtors there are some of the best people I’ve ever worked with and for.

As a realtor, I have the flexibility of creating my own schedule and it allows me to do the things I need to do to make the Adobo Hobo happen like shopping, prepping, and cooking.  Being in the street and selling is the easy glamorous part of the whole thing.  There is a lot of hard work involved in making this happen, but the positive feedback and reactions to my cooking makes it worth it.

F: As the Adobo Hobo, I’m sure you’ve had some interesting or strange experiences. Can you share some anecdote/s of your interesting experiences as the AdoboHobo?

Adobo Hobo team at the Eat.Real.Fest in Oakland

AH: I guess the attention and press is pretty strange and new to me.  One day, GMA a Filipino network, was at the house filming me prepare and cook the adobo when I get a call from John from SF Foodie to do a quick phone interview.  That was pretty weird.  I also used to get a little nervous the first few times when I’d hear sirens near by because I’d think they were there to shut me down.  Turns out, they were only fire trucks and ambulances doing their jobs.  I remember after being used to the sirens, I played a little joke on some of the other carts that were out with us one Sunday.  I heard sirens and yelled out, “Pack it up folks!!!  They’re shuttin us down!!!”  Everyone looked bummed out and I started busting out laughing.  I thought it was pretty funny…

I’m glad everyone did too.

F: If there were one person who you’d say served as the biggest inspiration for the Adobo Hobo who would it be?

AH: The one person I’d say is the biggest inspiration for Jason, rather than the Adobo Hobo, is my pops.  He came to this country with 2 pairs of jeans and 7 bucks…  Actually he got on the plane with 14, but met someone who needed 7 bucks to get on a train to Delano so he hooked it up.  Since then he’s had to endure so much to get to where he is today.  He now owns several properties in 2 states and 2 countries and still maintains a very simple, humble lifestyle.  Pops always has something to say, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, but he always gives me the freedom to make my own decision.  I remember over 10 years ago, he used to tell me some old man from Minnesota once told him, “If you plan to do your own business, only go with shelter, food, and clothing.”  Pops still tells me that from time to time.  Two out of three ain’t that bad huh?  He always taught me to not be afraid of failing.  Just learn from it and get back up.  I’m still trying to figure things out for myself, but I guess we all are.

F: How long have you been based in the Bay Area?

AH: I was born and raised in the Bay Area.  I’ve lived in Oakland, Alameda, mostly in San Lorenzo, and now in Hayward.  So I guess you can say I’ve lived in a good portion of the East Bay.  I did live in Fresno for five and a half years for college, but I had to come back home.

F: Do you have a specific plan for your AdoboHobo locations or do you just find a spot you like that day?

AH: It really depends.  Most of the time, there is a spot planned out and we won’t announce it until the day of, and sometimes the location is discovered the day of.  Lately we’ve been teaming up with other carts and the location is always planned when we do team up.

F: What are your thoughts on the sudden rise of popularity of the FoodCart scene in San Francisco? Do you think it’s a fad that will wear off, or will it be here to stay for good?

AH: Well nothing lasts forever, and I don’t think this is just a fad.  I’d like to see what happens during and after the winter season and see if we can still operate and be as successful as we all have these past few months.  I love the popularity of the FoodCart scene here and I really hope it does stay for good, but that’s just my wishful thinking.  I’m a big fan and very happy to be a part of the scene.  I’ve been able to meet a lot of really cool, down to earth people who share the same passion for food as I.  Folks like Roger of @soulcocina, really inspire me to keep on doing what I’m doing and learning different cuisines.  He’s a cool dude.

F: If you weren’t limited by time, experience, or money, what type of food cart would you create?

AH: I’m actually very pleased with the operation we’re running right now, but if I weren’t limited by those factors, I’d probably have a catering truck.  Part of the fun of this whole thing is being in front of the customers and the ability to interact and receive feedback, positive or negative, is what keeps me going.  I do have ideas of where all this may go in the future, but I have to keep that under wraps for now.

F: When you aren’t pushing the AdoboHobo cart, where does the Adobo Hobo hang out in the Bay area to have fun?

AH:  It really depends on my mood.  I’m a pretty chill dude that likes to be outdoors.

Adobo Hobo cooking in his element

I really enjoy outdoor recreation like hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, camping, snowboarding, and I really want to get into kayaking.  I’m a big fan of music and I’m always blasting it in the morning while getting ready.  Sorry roommates…  I also like to go out at night and have a or two at a bar or lounge.  Not so much into the club scene anymore, but I’ll still go if it’s for a special occasion.  I really enjoy being around my nephew, Joel, and niece, Carmen.  Kids are fun and seem to take away day to day stress and worries.  Other than that, I just like to keep things simple.

F: Any favorite Restaurants you could share with us?

AH: I have a bunch, but let me throw out a few…  Brazil Cafe in Berkeley, CA has some tasty Brazilian food.  Bakesale Bettys in Oakland has awesome fried chicken sandwiches.  There’s this Indian restaurant in Hayward called “My Favorite Indian Restaurant” is probably my favorite Indian restaurant.  Taqueria Guadalajara on E. 14th in San Leandro, CA has some great Mexican food.  The meat there is what makes the place special.  I have so much more, but I’ll end it with Pho Hoa Ty.  One location in Hayward and one in Oakland.  Oh man, does this hit the spot when I’m craving some of that pho.  One thing all these restaurants have in common is they’re all small, cheap, and local establishments that I frequent, and you should too if you’re in the area.

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