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07-24-16 Small Bites with Glenn Gross and Derek Timm of Bluejeanfood.com

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Live this Sunday, 07-24-16 Small Bites with Glenn Gross and Derek Timm of Bluejeanfood.com on Wildfire Radio we have in studio Chef Michael H. O’Halloran of Old City District’s Bistro 7 Philadelphia, also joining us is Chef Richard Himes of Plenti Grand Cafe & Catering in Horsham, Pennsylvania, then we have Chef Dmitry Rodov of Duet Restaurant in New York, New York’s Greenwich Village section. If that isn’t enough we also have segments from Chef Barbie Marshall who was voted Pennsylvania’s most influential chef by Cooking Light, Courier-Post nightlife correspondent and The New York Times recognized blogger John Howard-Fusco, and joke of the week from Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling. Be sure to TuneIn or catch us the next day on iTunes.

To stream or download CLICK HERE

Casa Vecchia – Sewell, NJ

Casa Vecchia – Sewell, NJ

With so many great Italian themed restaurants around the Philadelphia area, it must be tough to keep a loyal customer base. I have my favorites, but the curiosity of wondering what someplace else is like and thinking I will find another gem keeps me trying new places. So with that in mind Casa Vecchia (CV) would be one such place I gave a try. To start out the décor is very mismatched is could use a touch up, empty glasses were in the bathroom for some reason, then to top it off service was SLOW as it took over an hour to get my appetizer of calamari to me even though only two other couples were in the restaurant with me. Once I started to eat the calamari though, it made me feel a little better as it was delicious.

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Then the long wait began again. No refills of drinks, servers were missing in action and nowhere to be seen, hearing other diners complain, and finally over an hour after appetizer the main entrée arrived. I ordered the Pollo e Salsiccie which was supposed to be boneless chicken thighs and legs, veal sausage, sun dried tomatoes, shitake mushrooms, white wine, balsamic sauce in tri-colored pasta. Well it was served with overcooked, dry, and tough chicken breasts, the pasta was even tough and dry, and the dish overall was not worth the wait. After clocking in at over two and half hours for my meal, CV obviously has a lot of work to do to even be near the level of some of the other fantastic Italian dining destinations around. I just hope they recognize what needs to be done and work hard to correct themselves and hopefully one day be considered a must visit as well. Until then, it will be a while until CV will see me again.

 

07-17-16 Small Bites with Glenn Gross and Derek Timm of Bluejeanfood.com

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Small Bites with Glenn Gross and Derek Timm of Bluejeanfood.com on Wildfire Radio we will be talking all things BBQ as the Philly’s BBQ Fest is coming soon with Fat Jack’s BBQ doing cooking demos. Tom Bera of a highly respected The Kansas City Barbeque Society BBQ team Philly Blind Pig BBQ and he also does popups at Dawson Street Pub who was also in Studio with owner Dave Wilby as well as actor John DiRenzo who will talk about his recent visits to Chopped winner Chef Eric LeVine’s Paragon Tap and Table and Chef Luke Palladino Valley Forge Casino Resort LP Steak and Valley Beach. Still not enough? Well we also have Jim Plamondon the President of Roy Rogers Restaurants to talk about Roy Rogers expansion and their ‪#‎ROYalist‬ contest in search of their #1 fan. We also have segments from NBC News – NBC Latino recognized Chef Hugo Campos of PCK Philabundance, Cooking Light’s most influential female chef in Pennsylvania Chef Barbie Marshall, Courier-Post nightlife correspondent and The New York Times recognized blogger John Howard-Fusco, and joke of the week from Jackie “The Joke Man” Martling of The Howard Stern Show fame. Be sure to TuneIn or catch the following day on iTunes.

To listen CLICK HERE

Burger 21 – Voorhees, NJ

Burger 21 – Voorhees, NJ

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The burger crazed days of the past few years has seemed to die down as well as the herd starting to thin a few of the places closing down. In the Voorhees area I was craving some red meat, so Burger 21 (B21) was my destination to eat. B21 is a chain, but not that large of one. The interior is sleek and modern, the staff was very friendly and bubbly, and service was fast and efficient. I would go with the BBQ bacon burger with Applewood smoked bacon, with cheddar cheese, onion strings, and bbq sauce on a toasted brioche bun. I would also get an order of shoestring fries with their cheese and ale sauce accompanied by a bananas foster milkshake.

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As much as I try to avoid chain restaurants, I will admit some of them are not “too” horrible. Well, I am here to declare that B21 was not horrible at all, and instead was quite tasty and delicious. They are not as good as another higher head burger chain I enjoy, but B21’s prices are nearly fifty percent cheaper than said “other” place. Now B21 did have a few hiccups. The roll fell apart much too quickly and the cheese cup being a tad tiny. These were minor, and with that being said B21 is putting out a decent product, an enjoyable environment to eat at, and quality service all at an affordable price point. This was my first visit to B21, but it certainly will not be my last.

 

 

European Republic – South Street – Philadelphia, PA

European Republic – South Street – Philadelphia, PA

South Street Philadelphia has a little bit of something for everyone. Whether it is food, clothing, jewelry, or bars it should have a place that suits your fancy. Touting fresh cut French fries is European Republic (ER). The interior of ER is nothing special and the menu pretty basic. I would go with the double-cheeseburger and an order of fries.

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Well the fries did indeed shine and I gobbled them up quickly and was happy to have a nice selection of dipping sauces. The double-cheeseburger was actually a distraction. The patties were obviously frozen and not of the highest quality, and the bun was a bit stale. ER has a picture of fries on their logo and I can see why. Just be advised the fries are the sole reason I enjoyed my order at ER. They may have something else grandiose to offer to eat, but the burger is not one of them, so until then I will stick with just the fries.

 

6th Annual Philadelphia Burger Brawl

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(The following is a special series on Bluejeanfood.com written by guest contributing writer William Knowles. He highlights his passions of of trying something new whenever the opportunity presents itself, or possibly something old, but new again since it has been a while. I hope you enjoy his very special perspective that I am sure many of you can relate to. Follow him on his exciting journey “Around Town”)

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The 6th Annual Philadelphia Burger Brawl was held on Sunday, June 26th in the outdoor portion of Xfinity Live! in the shadows of the Sports Complex. It was an eagerly anticipated event by both myself and many burger loving natives, as the massive crowd that turned out would prove.

One of the top culinary competitions in town, local restaurants and pubs who specialize in burger crafting present their product in hopes of earning top prize as judged by both an official panel, as well as a people’s choice tally. This year also marks the first ever “taco takedown”; in total, over 40 burger spots and 10 taco offerings were there for consumption.

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Among the Philly area contenders for best burger were Amanda’s Bar None, Butcher and Singer, Fireside Smoke House, Hugo’s Frog Bar and Chop House, Pineville Tavern, Prime Stache, Village Whiskey, Rouge, Spot Burger and the Twisted Tail. I sampled many of these fine sandwiches, all with their own unique twist. My personal favorites of the lot however, were the offering from the A.Bar (located in Rittenhouse Square), and the wildly popular peanut butter and bacon burger, with jelly, from Lucky’s Last Chance of Manayunk. The crowd seems to have agreed with me on one, as Lucky’s took the people’s choice crown for the second time in recent years.

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Taco participants included Cafe Ynez, Heffe Tacos, Loco Pez, Revolution Taco (who we previously visited around town), Taqueria Feliz, and Wahoo’s Tacos, which recently opened a stand in Citizens Bank Park, in addition to their regular University City location. My top vote here was for the pork taco from 1100 Social, the new restaurant recently opened in Xfinity Live! itself. The people’s choice vote went to El Vez, Stephen Starr’s durable Mexican themed spot in Center City.

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Local celebrity judges included former Phillies star Garry Maddox, FOX29 tv hosts Mike Jerrick and Alex Holley, WMMR’s Steve Morrison and Matt Cord, and WIP host and noted burger lover Glen Macnow, among others. Their selection for best burger this year was Bucks County’s Pineville Tavern’s Million $ Bacon Burger. Top taco went to Lolita’s (in the Midtown Village section of the city).

A fun summer event that has become an annual tradition is also a worthwhile cause, that initially started as a fundraiser by founders Rob and Maggie Wasserman to fund their children’s school in South Philadelphia. The ensuing growth from the initial competition has allowed the school, William M. Meredith Elementary, to build a new computer lab and create additional technology initiatives that are in the works. This year’s event and all futures ones will continue to benefit the school and other charitable endeavors…

The Burger Brawl is a knockdown winner, and I look forward to be back covering next year’s battle. The summer fun will continue “around town”…

Jin Jin – Sewell, NJ

Jin Jin – Sewell, NJ

I am always fascinated with trying new dining destinations in strip malls around South Jersey. Sometimes you find the most amazing surprises. My surprise visit this time would be at Jin Jin (JJ). As soon as I entered JJ I could tell that their bread and butter is the take-out type Chinese food we have all come to know.

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My order would be wonton soup, which was surprisingly delicious and better than the average variety around with a really nice pork mixture inside the wonton and broth very flavorful. The entrée would be boneless spare ribs and pork fried rice. If you have ever had this entrée from any take-out Chinese establishment, you know what JJ served to me. No better and no worse than anyone else. The staff at JJ was friendly, the décor extremely bland, and reasonable prices. JJ is not for everyone, but I would say having them deliver to your house on a night you did not feel like cooking is probably the best way to experience JJ since there is no need to dine-in.

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