Restaurant Rewind: The Very Best…

…Wiener Shop, that is! I grew up spinning on the counter stools at this Pottstown institution. While Sunshine & I love our shopping adventures at Zern’s in search of insanely cheap produce, Lebanon bologna & $1 vintage jewelry, it’s not necessarily a place we stay to eat. On our way out of town, we decided instead to stop for a bite at The Very Best, a downtown deli known for its chili dogs for almost 90 years. I LOVE their perfectly textured tangy chili atop a flat-top seared dog with raw onions & cheese (add mustard for an “everything dog”). With a side of macaroni salad, a fountain coke, & the debate over a slice of their homemade cakes, you can’t ask for a better greasy spoon lunch. It is still is one of the “very best” places to grab a bite in Pottstown…

The Very Best Counter Companion

The Very Best Chili Cheese Dog

The Very Best Aftermath

The Very Best Weiner Shop | Since 1921
252 East High St. | Pottstown, PA 19464 | 610-323-5224
http://www.theverybesthotdogs.com/

Weekend Update: Italian Market Festival

After our Spring Patio Brunch, Kerry came to scoop Tom, Dre, & me to join her at the Italian Market Festival. 9th Street was alive with South Philadelphians, music, arts, &, of course, amazing food! We settled our brunch over a few beers and perused our snack options. Dessert was up first! The Italian Market has always had a battle of the cannoli between Isgro Pasticceria on 10th & Christian and Termini Bros. on 7th & Dickinson. This day, Termini Bros. wins with their fresh “filled to order” cannoli! The cream was a cool, decadent on a hot South Philly day.

Termini Bros. Cannoli - Filled to order with a smile!

Termini Bros. Cannoli

Making our way back down 9th street, we relocated the impressive Trompo of marinated pork for some tasty Tacos al Pastor. Again, “to order” service with a smile!

Trompo of Al Pastor on the Italian Market

The spiced pork was moist & tender and brimmed with flavor & depth. What I was truly impressed by, however, were the tortillas. Each order didn’t just call for hand-shaved pork, but also hand-pressed & fresh grilled corn tortillas. To top them off, literally, were fresh cilantro, mango, and salsas. Taqueria Los Taquitos de Puebla (9th b/t Ellsworth & Federal Sts.) “officially” wins best tacos in Philly!

Tacos al Pastor

UPDATE: Special thanks to Drew Lazor, of CityPaper’s Mealticket food blog fame, for the shout-out! Without you, dude, we wouldn’t be able to do what we all do so well.

Italian Market + Food Love = Al Pastor Lust

Family-Style: Jack Frost Ski Patrol Chili Cookoff

I can’t believe in less than a week I went from chillaxin on the beaches of Hawai’i to snowboarding in the Poconos! This past weekend, we had a long-overdue reunion of the Lamberts. My parents, sister, & I met up with my Uncle Jay, Aunt Coleen, and cousins, Parker & Mason, for a day on the slopes of Jack Frost mountain. They’re on the ski patrol, we planned to end the  day at the patrol’s lodge for their annual Mexican Fiesta & Chili Cook-off. We all know I love to cook and have a killer chili recipe, so I certainly couldn’t resist entering the competition!

The Contenders - Front, Right, Stainless Steel = MINE!

In total, there were about 12 different chilis ranging from BBQ to all bean to chicken. My dad contributed a Sweet & Smokey Turkey Chili while I plugged in a crock-pot of my Chipotle Turkey Chili. I was pretty impressed with the perfect balance of flavor & late spice with its added texture from hunks of spicy smoked turkey sausage. It was fun to overhear people’s comments on it (too spicy, not spicy enough, Mmmmm!) as the challenge was somewhat anonymous, but I knew I had a fighting chance when I noticed quite a few people going back for seconds!

The Chili Aftermath

After endless taco dips, margaritas, & Negro Modelos, it was time to announce the winner. And I WON!! The prize was (2) tickets to the Ski Patrol’s end of year dinner, so I, of course, passed that token on to my aunt & uncle. Sunday, I woke up well-rested, beaming with chili pride, and surrounded by the love of family, the delicious smell of bacon & pancakes, & a winter wonderland. I truly couldn’t have asked for more…

Ice Princess

P.S. Beyond feeling accomplished by my chili WIN, I managed to not fall after a 2 year hiatus from snowboarding (sans ugly dismounts from the ski lift just about every time) AND I ice skated on the beautiful glassy lake in front of the house without falling either. Yay for unexpected balance!

To Taste: Chipotle Turkey Chili

The weather is getting cold and it couldn’t be a better time for my bi-annual batch of Turkey Chili. Each time, it’s delicious in its own way, but this round may be my best to date! It was smoky & spicy with a hearty texture from the mix of Ground Turkey & Turkey Kielbasa. I topped it with shredded Cheddar and Sour Cream and paired it with Egg Noodles for leftovers.

Chipotle Turkey Chili w/ Cheddar & Sour Cream

Chipotle Turkey Chili

  • Turkey Kielbasa - (1) package cut into half moons
  • 85/15 Ground Turkey – (2)lbs, browned & drained
  • Chili Mix – 1/2 packet of Hot, Medium, 0r Mild
  • Sriracha – a few squirts
  • White Onion – (2) medium, chopped
  • Garlic - (2) T, minced
  • Crushed Tomatoes – (1) large can
  • Chicken Stock – (1) can, low-sodium
  • Black Beans – (1) small can
  • Chipotles in Adobo Sauce – (2) peppers from can, chopped
  • Worcestershire Sauce – (4) heavy dashes
  • Dried Parsley – (1) T
  1. Brown the Ground Turkey in an oiled pan and transfer to Crock-Pot or Dutch Oven.
  2. Saute Onion & Garlic in same pan with a tablespoon of butter until aromatic & translucent.
  3. Combine Onions, Garlic, & remaining ingredients in Crock-Pot or Dutch Oven.
  4. Cook on HIGH 3-5hours or LOW 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally until you can’t resist a bowl!