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Battle for Missouri circa 2016

Battle for Mexico circa 3 days ago

Since neither of these work any longer lets stick with a classic:

Are you ready for some football! A Monday night Party!

We got Joe and Jason and Booger? Meh at least it should be a great football game.

Chiefs vrs Rams

After a week hiatus because of horrible games, the Tiz is back with the Game of the Week. A couple of years ago this game would have been a battle of bbq’s in Missouri and a finger licking good time. But since the Rams picked up and left lonely St. Louis footballess again, my plan was to make it a Mexican Monday since the game was being played in Mexico City.

Unfortunately it looks like Trump’s caravan have appeared running around on the field for the last week in the pouring rain in hopes to score points with Trump in his feud with the NFL. Thus, the game has  been moved to LA. The current home of the deadliest wildfire in California history. Almost seems like Mother Nature does not want this game played.  Well it is being played and that is why it’s the GAME OF THE WEEK!

Two of the best football teams in the NFL will meet Monday night and the two feature match-ups are Small Hands Goff and Squeaky Voice MaHomes and two of the NFL’s public enemies Tyreke Hill and Todd Gurley (Gurley a little less severe, all he did was side with the books and against the common people a couple weekends ago no strangulation). Since I am big fan of the quote “do not let the facts get in the way of a good story” I decided to stick with Mexican Monday for this menu. And since the field looks like a big mud pit I picked a tasty earthy meal, that will warm your insides Monday night.

Mexican Monday Night Football Menu

Pollo en Mole Negro (Chicken in Black Mole)  with Arroz A La Mexicana (Mexican Style Red Rice)

There are a number of varieties of moles and stories of how it was created and origins of the name. You could have red, yellow, green moles, it was either created by nuns or monks, could mean mix or sauce but for this game to match the field I am going with the classic Mole Negro. This dish has been called the National dish of Mexico and is one of the first dishes created in the Americas that is truly inter-continental with ingredients from North America, Europe and Africa. It is a tasty treat and with the traditional red rice dish will keep you wanting for more. To wash this down buy some of your favorite Jarritos soda and a bottle of Mezcal to match the smoky LA scene and enjoy the game.

GAME OF THE WEEK PREDICTION

The Rams practiced in high altitude all week to get ready for the Mexico City game, since the game was moved to LA they no longer have to worry about the altitude. But both teams will have to worry about air quality and since LA has increased its lung capacity this week and because professional athletes usually show up and perform after disasters like the wildfire I am picking the Rams to win in a high scoring affair 48-35. Currently 2-1 in my predictions this is to stay above 500 for the year. #TheStandardistheStandard #EATDRINKSPORTS #SIZZLEBYTIZZLE

Down on the Bayou: Can the Bayou Bengals survive the Rolling Tide?

Geaux Tigers!! vs Roll Tide!!

Mike the Tiger vs Big Al

Red Stick  vs Red Mud

Cajun Country vs the Heart of Dixie

Ed Orgeron vs Nick Saban
The Battle for the South

The South, where only food, family and church reign supreme over college football and hunting. To outsiders, the South is a mystery but to stereotype the South as one entity is a crime to humanity and culture altogether. While the South has had it problems like every other place on earth, the diverse cultures throughout the region make the South a beautiful bastion of the American melting pot.

This game and tailgate is going to be amazing and I wish I had the funds to be there but since I do not below are some recipes (for this version of my blog I am just going to hyperlink to my favorite recipes to use) for you to cook up and get ready for this battle for the SEC West. Thank you to my friend Kat for help on these menus, she grew up in Louisiana and attended Alabama, so as she says in her southern cheesy charm “I grew up purple and gold, but now I bleed Crimson”  you may say she is an expert on this gameBecause the South is already a fusion of tastes from France, Spain, Africa, Creole, etc. already, there will be no third menu this time. Anyway this is not the time to have no dog in the fight so pick a side and be ready to either chant “Hey LSU, Hey LSU, Hey LSU, We just beat the Hell out of you! Rammer Jammer, Yellowhammer, give’em hell, Alabama! or “OhhhOhhhOhhhOhhh, Suck that Tiger Dick Bitch!.”

LSU Menu 

Boudin Balls and Jambayla. Start with Boudin Balls, the cajun version of Arancini, something fried tasty and poppable. With the main dish being a Jambayala. Jambalaya is the perfect example of the diverse tastes of Louisianan cooking with its French and Spanish origin, there is no “right” way to make Jambalaya, its the cajun version of bolognese or goulash. As long as you start with the Holy Trinity of cajun cooking consisting of onion, celery, and green pepper it should work out. Since I will be pheasant hunting in South Dakota this weekend I hope to insert some pheasant and buffalo in my recipe.  Cook these up and wash them down with some Louisiana Abita beer. To pre-game mix up a batch of this spiked blueberry-lemonade.

Alabama Menu

Grilled BBQ Chicken with Alabama White BBQ Sauce and a side of Collard Greens.  The Alabama White Sauce which is now almost as synonymous with Alabama as the old ball coach Bear Bryant, was created by Big Bob Gibson who was 6’4, 300 lbs. Designed in his back yard before he thought of even opening a restaurant, most think the sauce was created to keep the chickens moist as he cooked them in his backyard pit for 3 hours at a time. Collard Greens originated in the eastern mediterranean and were brought to Jamestown, Virginia through African slaves in the 1600’s are a tasty way to make sure everybody has their share of vegetables for the day. If you can find Revelry Brewing Company’s Gullah Cream Ale pick that up, if not any tasty cream ale should pair well with the Alabama White Sauce. To pregame trying cooking up a batch of this Yellowhammer Slammer cocktail.

#GAMETIME

This  is a game featuring a college football coach that some say may be the greatest college football coach of all-time vs a college football coach who you are dying to have a beer with. The Tide come in huge favorites at -14 but the Tiz is looking at the upset. I predict a 38-31 win for the Tigers but just like last year do not count at the Tide from the National Championship picture after this game. Geeeeaaaauuuuuuxxxxxxx Tigers!!!

Bonus Blog: Battle in Britain with Breakfast

Philly vs Jacksonville

Prince Harry vs The Bloke

Loser goes home.

Cherio! My bloody Americans it’s time to cross the poooonnnd to watch a match of American football. Or if you are like me turn on the telly early with some of the following recipes and drinks, sit back and see who can come out with the result.

I am Philly through and through so beware this blog may be a little biased. Philly is a gritty historical city with my favorite food scene for the buck in the country. The scene was built in spite of government incompetence allowing for young chef’s to open BYOB’s and new restaurants with cheap rent. If you are a little too hungover to cook on Sunday I would suggest ordering a Sicilian style pizza from Sarcones or a sandwich from Paesano’s.

Jacksonville, I have never been to, I know most Philadelphians that went to the Super Bowl there thought it was a dump. But I have heard since that time it has started to make a comeback and is an underrated place to visit or live with some restaurants like Black Sheep (Philly has a great Pub with this name as well), Orsay and Town Hall that rival the best in Miami. Plus when a city is only 20 minutes from the ocean it can not be that bad in my eyes.

London is an amazing city with a multi-cultural food scene. It’s an expensive town, but worth the visit, plus with Brexit the exchange rate is better right now. Unfortunately my only visit was a layover back from Italy where I spent most of my time in a cab exploring the sites, Chinatown which was basically the only place I could go to eat past 10 lugging 2 huge bags around and sleeping on the ground at Heathrow.

Anyway onto the recipes. I will not be giving you a fusion recipe this go around, but a London breakfast recipe for you people with no dog in the fight.

Breakfast Philly Style

This is my go to order whenever I go to a diner in Philadelphia. It is just simple, tasty authentic Philadelphian. Two eggs any style I go with the sunny-side up with rye bread and sides of scrapple and fried potatoes.  Most of this is familiar to everybody but scrapple is a Philadelphia food, coming from the Pennsylvania Dutch/German immigrants who settled in the Chester County region in the 17th and 18th century with a food called panhas. To explain this food I simply refer to my father’s description to me growing up “They make sausage, everything that falls off the machine during that they make hot dogs, then everything left from that gives you scrapple.” Also commonly referred to “everything but the oink.” And it’s delicious, do not read the ingredients just fry and enjoy!

  • Two eggs sunny side up or scrambled
  • rye bread toasted with butter
  • scrapple (Habbersett is most common) sliced about a 1/3 inch thick and fried in a pan
  • fried potatoes with peppers and onions, slice potatoes peppers and onions small, saute these in a pan until soft with oil

Eat this with a Bloody Mary or Screwdriver made with Stateside vodka or some Kenzingers or Ploughman ciders and enjoy your Sunday and if the Eagles win continue it with an all out Sunday Funday!

Jacksonville Breakfast

While there are many Souther Style breakfast meals I enjoy, my favorite is Chicken and Waffles. This salty and sweet meal will have your taste buds dancing early in the morning. Fried Chicken which dates back to the French food fricassee but mastered in kitchens run by Africa-American slaves during the early 1800’s and became nationally famous thanks to Colonel Sanders trademarked KFC recipe. While waffles were originally created in the 13th century when bakery’s were trying to get in the business of creating wafers for the church’s eucharist, they easily switched this recipe to a sweet street food for the common man.

Fried Chicken

  • Cut a whole chicken into 2 breasts, 2 things, 2 legs and 2 wings
  • Preheat a large pot of vegetable oil
  • In a large bowl combine 3 cups flour, 2.5 tbs salt, 2 tbs black pepper, 1/2 tbs onion powder, 1 tbs garlic powder, 1 tbs cayenne pepper
  • pour 1 cup buttermilk into another bowl
  • Dredge each piece of chicken from largest to small in the buttermilk, then thoroughly coat the chicken in the flour mixture then into the fryer
  • After the final wing is in the oil set a timer for 15 minutes and all the chicken should be done after those 15 minutes.

Waffle

  • Preheat waffle iron
  • In a large bowl  whisk together 1/2 cup flour, 1 tbs baking powder, 3 tbs sugar, 1/2 tspn sugar
  • beat two egg whites in a different bowl
  • In another bowl beat two egg yolks 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 cups milk. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Mix together yolk mixture with dry mixture, then add egg whites, pour onto waffle iron and cook.
  • Serve with fried chicken and maple syrup

Grab a Bold City brewery beer or a mimosa and enjoy your breakfast.

Full English Breakfast

The full english breakfast goes back to the 13th century when English households wanted to fill their visitors with a hearty breakfast.

For a traditional English breakfast fry some:

  • bacon
  • eggs
  • tomatoes
  • mushrooms
  • sausages aka bangers
  • black pudding aka blood sausage
  • baked beans
  • some toast with butter

Finish this down with a Hot toddy made from english breakfast tea, whiskey and honey and enjoy!

Gametime

I see Prince Harry aka Carson Wentz getting better every game and Bloke “I mean Blake” Bortles getting worse. Expect a dominant performance from the Super Bowl champions as they go onto win 28 – 10 and Jacksonville goes home looking for a miracle to make the playoffs. #EATDRINKSPORTS #LifeofTizzle #SizzlebyTizzle

Nothing

Eating, Drinking, Winning the World Series

Boston VS LA

East VS West

Blue Collar VS Hollywood Glam

Fenway Frank VS Dodger Dog

This post will solve none of those battles, but will fill you with gluttoness enjoyment while watching America’s favorite pastime

Boston Menu                       LA Menu             Fusion Menu

New England Clam Chowda                French Dip Bao Buns            Chorizo and Clams

Lobster Roll                                           Korean Short Rib Tacos        Lobster Kimchi Fried Rice

Boston and LA are two cities that have had the pleasure of being taken by Tizzle. Both cities I thoroughly enjoyed eating, drinking and rampaging through. Two totally different awesome American enclaves. And that’s what will make this series great to watch even though I have no dog in the fight.

I hate Boston fans because they are arrogant and to be honest because I used to root for the Red Sox to break the streak and now they had to overdo it and won’t stop winning. I hate LA fans because, well its LA they leave early or don’t come at all. Luckily as a Philadelphian I have two great recent triumphs over these cities that I can comfort myself with while enjoying the games, 41-33 and Matt Stairs destroying Jonathon Broxton foreverrrrrrrrr.

IMG_1041

#TizzletakesBoston

On to the point, how to eat like a Bostonian, an Angeleno and a hybrid of the two I will call Banglian. These are both cities with great food cultures. Throughout my writings I will try not to write about sterotypical food ideas and focus on unique tastes and cultures.  For example, I could write this whole blog on burgers between these two cities, In and Out animal Style and Father’s Office or Craigie on Main and Alden & Harlow? But I won’t.

Sizzle by Tizzle menus are designed based off the food you should grab to brag on Instagram about where you’ve been.  Most of the time based off real menu items and once in a while an intracity fusion that I concoct myself. I will also design a fusion menu for the man with no dog in the fight and in this case that city’s residents will be referred to as Banglians.

IMG_1294

#TizzletakesLA

Boston Menu

When I asked my friend Andy from New England for advice on this topic he responded in the Kennedyesq tone I have come so used to hearing from  New Englanders, I describe it as faux elitists acting like faux working class, he responded “Hmmm, in classic LA vs Boston where it’s Hollywood vs working mans town, nothing epitomizes that more than the New England bean “suppah.” Not fancy, but cost-effective and full of sustenance and almost more importantly a communal affair.” Well you can make beans if you like, but I’m going to go with the classics, I know it may sound lame but Clam Chowda and a Lobster Roll sounds perfect to me. When I’m in New England I can’t help myself I have to try every clam chowda and lobster roll I see on a menu, same as crab cakes in Baltimore.

New England Clam Chowda

Boston not only dominated New York in the divisional series but they dominate them when it comes to clam chowder as well. Chowda has been around since we were still paying taxes to the throne, it’s an American classic. The warm briny thick chowder is perfect for a brisk Autmn night.

  • 8 thick cut bacon strips or salt pork till crisp remove from pan
  • 2 ribs celery 1 onion 3 garlic cloves saute in bacon fat
  • stir in 3 tablespoons flour
  • add two cups chicken stock, 2 10 ounce cans of clam juice (reserve clams, if using fresh clams buy topneck and clam juice), 1 cup heavy cream and 3 Idaho potatoes and 4 sprigs thyme
  • Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low and stir until potatoes are tender
  • Add clams salt and pepper and cook about another two minutes.

Lobster Roll

Nothing says New England like a food cart selling lobster. One of the most prestigious foods in the world and in New England they are just selling it on the side of the road like its corn on the cob! I wish my corn on the cob tasted as delicious as these succulent morsels of delight. Originated in the 1920’s in Connecticut but really did not hit its stride to the 1970’s, these treats are a must have while in New England. Also, it’s served on a hot dog bun so what is better to eat if you want to over-indulge while watching a baseball game.

  • Boil 3 lobsters
  • Remove meat, chop and chill
  • Whisk 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 4 tablespoons melted butter, the juice of a lemon and chilled lobster
  • grill or toast hot dog buns (center top sliced if possible)
  • Plate and drizzle butter

Wash this down with a Harpoon (I would drink the Flannel Friday) or a Nargannsett and be a Bostonian for a night or at least eat and drink like one.

Los Angeles Menu

While sticking to one genre of food for Boston was easy, the city of Angels is a whole nother story. What makes the food scene in LA great is the variety and the fusion of tastes. Los Angeles is a literal melting pot of flavor. Old classics and new immigrants come together to make for one of the better food scenes I experienced, from Korean to Chinese to Mexican you can find enough great restaurants in LA to think you are actually living in that country. As an ode to this fusion I created the first dish by myself a French Dip Buns and for the entree I stole from the master of fusion Roy Choi, Short rib tacos.

French Dip Bao Buns with Blue Cheese

The French Dip was invented in LA over 100 years ago at Phillip the Original. Lore has it that it was invented so you could use day old bread.  I have seen Bao buns used in fusion such as Pastrami and Swiss but never french dip so I thought why not use the opportunity to blend an old LA classic with the ancient Chinese masterpiece that was created around the 3rd century by Chinese military strategist Zhuge Liang.

French Dip

  • Saute 2 onions in butter and transfer to a slow cooker
  • Salt and Pepper 3 to 4 pound rump roast cut in half and place over onions
  • Combine 1 cup soy sauce 5 cups water and an envelope of onion soup mix and pour over roast and slow cook until tender

Bao Buns (Or go to your local Asian Grocery store and save some time)

  • Mix  together 4 1/4 cups flour 1 1/2 tbsp sugar and 1/2tsp salt
  • Dissolve 1 tsp fast action dried yeast and a pinch of sugar in 1tbsp warm water
  • Add it to dough with 1/4 cup milk, 1 tbsp sunflower oil, 1 tbsp rice vinegar and 1 cup water and mix
  • knead until smooth then place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rise for 2 hours
  • flatten dough, sprinkle 1 tsp baking powder and knead for 5 mins
  • Roll out dough to look like a long sausage, cut into pieces a little more than an inch
  • roll out each piece into an oval 3-4mm thick
  • rub surface of each oval with a little oil, oil a chopstick, place oiled chopstick in middle of each oval and fold the dough over the chopstick and then pull chopstick out
  • Put each on baking parchment cover with lightly oiled cling film and let sit until double in size (about an hour and a half)
  • Steam each bun over medium high heat for 8 mins

After this crumble some blue cheese over top and enjoy!

Short Rib Tacos

Roy Choi grew up in a Korean household in Southern California and is known for as Anthony Bourdain said “elevating the food-truck concept from roach coach to highly sought after, ultra hot yet democratic rolling restaurant.” Growing up eating authentic Korean in the home but other varieties of food in restaurants he was able to use this experience and create a Korean-Mexican fusion that has blown away the millions of taste buds that have tried his food. This is his recipe for Short Rib Tacos

  • 3 1/2 Korean Cut short ribs
  • Make marinade and sauce using 1 cup soy sauce, 1/2 cup mirin, 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar, 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, 2 tsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp garlic, 2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Pour half over short ribs and marinate overnight
  • Pour other half in small saucepan with 1 tbsp, more if you like hot, siracha and heat over medium high heat, once boiling lower heat and simmer until it thickens, remove from heat aside to cool
  • Chop 1 1/2 cups cabbage, 1/2 cup red cabbage, 1/2 carrot (grated), 1/2 cup cilantro, 3 scallions mix with 1 lime juiced, 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1 tbsp mirin, 1 tbsp olive oil and refrigerate
  • Grill short ribs 3 minutes each side on high

Assemble Tacos, and drink them down with a Modelo Especiale or a Hite or if you want to live in LA Luxury make yourself some Dirty Martini’s and pretend to be Frank Sinatra for a night.

Banglios Menu

I don’t exactly know what this mythical city would be like, but it would most likely be a little like the food on this menu loud, in your face and full of flavor. For the app, I went with Chorizo and Clams a Spanish classic with a Mexican twist and for the entree I could not resist the Lobster Kimchi fried rice.

Chorizo and Clams

You can find this dish on almost any Spanish restaurant menu, but to Californize it a little I decided to use Mexican chorizo instead of Spanish chorizo. You also throw some tequila in it and let me tell you one thing I advocate is drinking while cooking!

  • In a pot break up and brown a 1/2 pound mexico chorizo and set aside
  • Add 2 tbsp unsalted butter and onions over medium high heat saute until soft add garlic for a minute
  • Add 1 cup tequila 3/4 cup clam juice and boil, add 2 lbs littleneck clams reduce heat to medium and cover for 10 minutes until clams are wide open
  • Return chorizo to pot and stir
  • Serve with crusty bread

Lobster Kimchi Fried Rice

This will be truly a flavorful meal and if you want to splurge on a meal for a lobster tail I would suggest this one be it.

  • Cook 2 cups jasmine rice set aside
  • Saute 4 slices bacon in a wok for 3 minutes
  • Add 1 cup kimchi for another 3 minutes
  • Boil a pot of water add  2 lobster tails lower heat to a simmer and cook 1 minute for each ounce
  • Add rice to kimchi and bacon and stir fry 2 minutes until rice is coated evenly
  • If you like spicy add chopped up dried chili peppers

Top kimchi fried rice with lobster tails and Volia!

If you are a wine fan I would suggest to drink this tasty meal down with a Sauvigion Blanc or a Merlot, they both go great with spicy food.

Gametime!

Red Sox in 6 is my prediction. This is a matchup of the most clutch team in baseball against the least clutch team in baseball. The manalytics are all on the Red Sox side and I do not see how the Dodgers can overcome that fact. Enjoy the food, drinks and games and let me know if you have any suggestions for future posts or games of the week. Sharing these posts are encouraged! Eat, Drink and Watch Sports! #LifeofTizzle #SizzlebyTizzle

Amis (The Feast of the Seven Fishes)

The feast of the seven fishes is an Catholic Italian-American tradition that goes back generations. Although as a Catholic Italian-American growing up my family never partook  in this tradition, but I knew of many families that did. This may have been because growing up we spent Christmas Eve on my Dad’s side of the family and celebrated Wigilia (I will have to do a Wigilia post in the future), which let me tell you fitting 60 polish people in a row house in Chester is a hell of loud and crazy time and Christmas Day with my Mom’s side, the Italian side. For a deep dive into the seven fishes celebration in Philly you will find a great piece by Danya Henninger of Billy Penn here.

This year I decided to check out the feast of seven fishes for the first time, I could only go on the 23rd though since I had family parties on Christmas Eve, so I headed down to my favorite Roman style restaurant Amis.  I ended up getting a seat at the Chef’s table which is always my favorite spot in the restaurant, you get to witness how much it actually takes to pull off an event like this, it reminds me of a better Chip Kelly offense when it worked as controlled chaos or of my Polish Christmas Eve’s were my Grandmom and all of her sisters would be yelling at each other in the kitchen. 

  

I ordered the seven fishes meal with the wine pairing. By the way, this meal is best attended with family and friends, it was a fun time for me by myself chatting with the staff but I’m weird so if you want to do it right make sure your bring company.

  
The chef started the night with a complimentary shrimp cocktail, fresh and juicy as you would expect. 

  
Then out came the first course starting with the baked baccala bruschetta, the baccala’s  texture was spot on, firm but flaky and to my surprise it was a savory dish, so salty, juicy, heartwarming it reminded me of a lighter version of a mash pie. 

  
Up next came the stuffed clams with lemon or what I called them the classy clams casino. This dish worked together perfectly as you got hit with smoky flavor off the bat then salty and finally a nice spritz of lemon to finish each clam. It was definitely the best clams casino I ever had. 

  
At this point I realized I would need two glasses of wine for each of the three courses so I informed my waiter of my wish and he was great about it. After getting another glass, I started to eat the smoked eel salad with pomelo and buffalo mozzarella. This was a terrific salad, the grapefruit like taste of the pomelo matched exquisitely with the fresh juicy mozzarella, my only wish was that more of the smoked eel was on the plate to compliment the flavors even more. 

  
The final dish of this course was the sautéed “Calamar” in some caramelized onions and greens dressed in a fresh olive oil.

  
It was time for the second courses, as the chef put the spaghetti and mussels in front of me he said “I’ll be impressed if you finish that” to that I chuckled and said don’t worry I ate 40 courses a couple weeks ago and to that he was just flabbergasted. This was a fabulous dish, it reminded me of my childhood except much better pasta and fresher mussels. The meaty mussels tasted like they were right from the sea and brought great flavor to the sauce that gave my tastebuds a very enjoyable experience.

  
 Up next came the seafood timbano with spicy tuna and swordfish. This decadent pasta had the perfect crunchy texture to go with the sweet and spicy flavors of the swordfish and tuna.

  
The third course consisted of a monkfish Marsala with escarole, beans and polenta. The monkfish which tastes almost exactly like lobster was cooked flawlessly and the rich, earthy taste of the Marsala sauce gave the dish tremendous flavor.  

  
I wanted to save room for dessert so I only had a few bites of the spicy, garlicky escarole and beans and the polenta that tasted exactly like grits flavored with corn bread but they were both delicious.

  
  
I ordered an espresso to go with the desserts. Out they came and of course there was one more than expected. I decided to take the cookies home with me and started with Amaretto semifreddo with hot chocolate, this godsend in a small glass was out of my mind good. The sweet almond flavor of the amaretto semifreddo went together like a horse and carriage with the hot chocolate, with out a doubt one of my favorite desserts of 2015. The other dessert was not far behind, it consisted of a rice pudding, Italian style maraschino cherries, no not the candied ones you get at DQ and pistachios. By this point I was so full. I decided  I had to finish the night. I picked up the glass of pear infused brandy that sat in front of me and took a few nips that were perfect for settling my stomach.

  
This was a great time, if you are looking for a Catholic Italian-American experience with great food before Christmas next year I would absolutely suggest you hit this up. This was a 4 Tizzle experience.

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!!!

Happy New Year!

La Panarda Feast at Le Virtu

I have never ran a marathon and I never plan on running a marathon, I just don’t get how running is fun. To tell you the truth I look at people that run marathons the same way they look at me, crazy. But after La Panarda, I do understand the strategy that has to be used to finish a marathon. 40 courses, almost half served family style and 9 variety of wines that conservatively I will say I had about 2 glasses of each. This marathon is unlike any other though, if you can imagine with me for a second running 16 miles on a flat surface and then the rest of the way dealing with an uphill climb to finish, that is how the pasta and meat courses at the end of this awesome extravaganza feel. So I don’t bore you I will describe only the dishes that were can’t miss in my opinion and that is still too many and the others were right behind.

It was a beautiful fall day for a festival, the room was full of around 30 other guests, some that have been there before, some, like myself, who would be experiencing this unique feast for the first time. La Panarda is an Abruzzo tradition originally held in honor of St. Anthony whom legend has it was prayed to by a woman whose child was held in a mouth of a wolf and  of course the wolf dropped the child and the woman cooked a feast for this miracle. I must say thank you St. Anthony because I am now a beneficiary of that miracle.The owners kicked things off with a sheep bell from Abruzzo and a shout out to the beautiful Abruzzo region. You can tell this was going to be a good day just from the passion shown by the owners and the Chef .

Just like any other marathon we had to get hydrated before we started so the staff came around and served us some glasses of Cococciola Spumante Brut as an aperitif, this citrus flavored sparkling wine was very pleasant on the palate and a great way to start the day. After a few of those the apertivos started coming out, the apertivo was one of the best courses of the meal which only made it harder to pace yourself. The Jewish artichoke came out first and exploded with flavor as soon as you bit into the perfectly fried crust. These were better than any I had in my recent visit to Rome.

Up next came the fritters filled with egg, pecorino and baccala, the combination of these flavors was perfect, the salty taste of the baccala was the first flavor to hit your mouth, then the freshness of the egg and finally the buttery taste of the pecorino. I ate about 6 of these fritters but could have done 20 if I did not remind myself of the 38 courses to follow. Then came one of my favorite dishes of the day, fried olives stuffed with Italian pulled pork. I could eat these decadent treats all day, the burst of sour vinegary tang from the olive that rolled right into the delicious salty flavors of the pork was almost heaven. It reminded me of the Pringles commercial one you pop, you can’t stop. After I ate a good number of these I had to reiterate to myself “marathon not a sprint.” But whoa were those good.

Next came what the Italians call the first opening service, as all Italians know, the stuff you eat before doesn’t really count;). This service was all seafood dishes. It was paired with a fresh unique wine named Cococciola Costa del mulino. Out of the kitchen came the bay scallops on top of a cauliflower purée with black truffle on top. This was the ultimate sea and earth dish, with the sweet, fresh flavor of the bay scallop transitioning directly into the earthiness of the black truffle, it was quite the technique.

Then came the conserva di neonate di sardelle with crostini, this was fermented eels in a chili sauce and it was out of this world, I could defintely use that recipe. The salty delicious pungent flavor of the the eels along with the spiciness of the sauce made the dish addictive and had me wishing for more crostini, but it was most likely better for me that there was none, I even contemplated eating it with a spoon but I don’t think my tablemates would have looked at me the same after that :).

The last of my favorites from this course was the mussels, clams, scampi and piennolo tomatoes. While the clams and mussels were delicious, the freshness of the scampi was decadent, after I got done scooping each bit out it had me wanting just another one or two or three. With 12 courses done it was time to move on to the 2nd serving.

This was when I decided to start smoking the pack of cigarettes I bought especially for this day. I feel like any 10 hour long Italian feast needs to be accompanied by cigarette breaks. I went out onto the beautiful patio of Le Virtu on this gorgeous fall day, many of the other attendees decided to follow and take their first rest of the day and enjoy a nice conversation with people they would be meeting for the first time. When I went back in they were serving us the Pecorino Costa del Mulino, aka the orange wine, and no it does not have a splash of Fanta in it, it is a white wine made like a red which leaves an orange tint to this delicious glass. As the lamb sausage with polenta and calabrese chili was served to me, my mouth smiled wide, as one of my favorite combinations is sweet, earthy and spicy and that is exactly what this dish brought to my taste buds.

Then came the Farrotto n’ndocca n’ndocca, translated on the menu as Farro and pork risotto, but as soon as I took a bite into this delicious earthy plate, I knew this was not the normal parts of the pig, this was the tripe, tongue, snout, etc. aka the nasty bits, when I told the gentleman sitting across from me I could tell by his facial expression that if I told him before he tried it he would have never tried it but since he did not know he had already ate it and liked it.

As the wines continued to come each one was refilled they were all paired perfectly but around this point is when I don’t really remember the specifics of the wine anymore, all I know is that they were all delicious and paired extraordinarily well. Up next came the light courses of salad and cheeses to get us to the half way point highlighted by the kale salad with apples, walnuts and a pecorino dressing.

Half way through, time for one of many more cigarettes as I tried to keep my mind off the amount of food and wine I had already consumed. Time for the house cured salumi, no doubt what was my favorite here the crostini with nduja, a spicy spreadable pork sausage, that has the perfect mix of tang and spice, o’ so good.

After a quick break I could see the wall in front of me, Iad to climb it and keep on going it came in the form of 7 types of pasta, this was no longer amateur hour. The first leg was the Timballo, a baked pasta dish made for 30, that when whole looks almost like a miniature super dome that tastes like a bake ziti belly bomb (in a good way).

Out of the kitchen came the tuminia busiate, pesto alla trapanese (corkscrew pasta with pesto), this pesto has almonds in it which really lends the dish a great touch of nutty flavoring.

Next came my favorite pasta of the night the cecamariti com ragu all’amatriciana (ragu made with guanciale (cured pigs cheek)) the saltiness and juiciness of this ragu made for a wonderful dish that unfortnately I could only have so much of knowing the meats were up next. So many gut punches but I kept on going.

You know its been a long day when you get the meat sweats before the meat portion of the meal is served, but that  was the predicament I found myself in. But it was such a tasty predicament to be in.

Again outside for another cigarette and some more conversations to open up a large enough pocket to finish the meal. As I go back in, I eat the palate cleansing sorbet before the meat courses start rolling in. The meats were all out of this world the porchetta was perfectly cooked with a nice crispy outside and juicy inside with the perfect amount of seasonings. The rabbit, porchetta style was simply special.

The sliced steak, I went for the inside pieces where it was cooked medium rare to my overwhelming enjoyment and finally the last meat before dessert the divine rack of lamb.


What a day, what an experience. After I fought through the meats with enjoyment I ordered a limoncello and espresso to help me finish the cheeses and Italian cookies for dessert. I had done it and would gladly do it again.


After the meal many people had left, I saw the owners, the Chef and a few more people sitting in the corner, I went over to them and expressed my gratitude and told them how great the food, the atmosphere and how wonderful the all around event they were able to put on was. They then offered me a digestive named genziana, as they poured me a glass, one individual says “not the whole glass”, as I later find out it is 140 proof, but that is fine with me. It looks almost like ecto cooler, as I take some nips to end the night of this pesto flavored grappa like drink I realize why this works so good after a meal, it just burns through the food. I finish and it is time for me to leave, I say my thank youse again and end up getting a ride home from a couple of people who came down from New York for La Panarda.


This is an event unlike any other, it is undoubtedly a 10 +1 sizzle experience, that I would recommend to anyone I know.

Until next time,

Eat, Drink and be Merry!!!

Scratch Biscuits

Scratch Biscuits is not the place you go to impress a date about the great brunch options in Philadelphia. I am not writing this to diminish the restaurant because the food is really good, I just want to inform you that the service and interior is basically like a Chipolte, so if you are looking for a quick bite to eat on a weekday or even a weekend looking to get over a hangover and complete the schedule you have planned for the rest of the day this is a good place to go.

I ordered a large coffee, which they get from Rival Brothers and I got the build your own biscuit option which I built with eggs, homemade scrapple, garlicky kale and pimento cheese. I also wanted to get the decimated yam fries that are smothered in pimento cheese, crispy bacon and chow chow but unfortunately their fryer was down. The coffee was good but limited in choices and you have to serve it yourself.  The biscuit was delicious, flaky and buttery tasting, unfortunately it is almost impossible to eat it like a sandwich because of the flakiness of the biscuit, so I ended up just mashing all the ingredients together. The Homemade scrapple was surprisingly really good, tasted exactly like Philly scrapple which I was not expecting from a place that reminded me of the South. The garlicky kale was tasty as well while the pimento cheese was delicious but I just wish it was a little warmer and spicier. While the ingrients were all really tasty it was unfortunate you really could not eat it as a sandwich. 
Scratch Biscuits was a 2 Tizzle experience, I would go back for a quick bite to eat or for a hangover cure but I would not put it on my regular stops list. 

  
Eat, Drink and Be Merry!!!