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Last of the South Philly Kings

17 Sep

“Putting the cunt back into country” is pressed into large blue and red tin boards fashioning a bent over Bettie Boop.  This tiny corner luncheonette has been operational for over 20 years, surviving a destructive blaze only to be brought back by the love and hard work of its South Philly neighborhood.

Carmen’s Country Kitchen serves up some quirkiest combinations of tasty food that you never even knew.  Just last week, I plowed through homegrown tomato and buttermilk pancakes with a side of apple smoked bacon.  *die*

Not to mention the chocolate french toast with carmel ice cream and pecans, over flowing with a side of home fried potatoes.

But beyond the roll-over-in-a-fit-of-delight-and-comatose-joy feeling, was on that day, Carmen opened her shop up on a Monday.  Untraditional hours for the kitchen.  But we called to see if she would cook and she happy agreed to spend part of her Monday morning whipping up the food our mothers would have never even conceived of.

For Eric, it may be his first and last time at the Country Kitchen.  The lease holder has decided this tiny 15 seat luncheonette would be better off as another pizza joint. As much as I can down a cheesy pie, it won’t have the same kitchy feel as the Country Kitchen.  No nipple mugs, penis fertility sculptures, Mason jars full of chilled water, or  windows adorned with thriving plants.

I doubt there will ever be a line of hungry and patient patrons waiting for pizza as they did for the sweet taste of Carmen’s cooking.  Simply for now, thank you Carmen for finding the cunt in me.

Fish to Face. NOM NOM!

27 Feb

I stood in the dressing room mirror at New York and Company and wiggled around.  This motion is called “giggly puff”.  And the sad true fact was, after doing to initial research into my diet, I was eating 60 % carbs and 25% fats with so little exercise.  Umm, any pie chart reading idiot could see this was already way out of hand.

So, I’m rocking a high protein, low carb diet. (Lets be real, I’ve always been a dough girl, don’t take my bread!) I start craving some chicken with tasty flavors and  I stressed over the recently closed Roost. Says closed for the holidays, what a lie.

Deep into my chicken craving I remember Le Bercail on Balitmore.  Roost did fried chicken, which is not diet appropriate.  However, Le Bercial, offers grilled chicken, fish, and fresh vegetables.  The sauces section may be all you need.  But I ordered the half chicken and plantains.  What I had forgotten about was how well spiced the chicken was.  And from there, I forgot all about Roost and fell head over heels with Le Bercail.

Such good food, so close to Clark Park and open late!

Farm Frenzy, Raise the Roof!

23 Jun

West Philly has gardens, garden communities, and mini-farms popping up all over!  Farm 51, the guerilla space “Plotland” and cute little lot garden on Kingessing behind the recreation center.  What you don’t know, is that the West Side is about to RAISE THE ROOF!  (And I mean literally plant and raise a farm on the roof!)

Rania Campbell-Cobb, landscaper and farm coordinator for Guild House West Community Garden, and Clare Hyre, education coordinator for Saul W.B. Agricultural School, teamed up to bring you Cloud 9.  (You can read more details on their website)  Whats really cool is the idea of building your own farm on top of your apartment complex, or what local corner markets could provide in their own store… “top-o-the-market tomatoes!”

Fair Food Double Dollars

31 Jan

I never thought PA’s ACCESS (or SNAP) card would look so good (a.k.a. Food Stamps).  I’ve had my run with food stamps before in North Carolina and what a life saver.  Most students don’t know that they are eligible for food stamps because of how little they make and how little they have in the bank.  (Exceptions are:  If you’re still a dependent on your parents).

But for those of us who are working hard to eat well, great news!  Fair Food Double Dollars is a cash-match program designed to increase access to fresh and healthy foods.  For every $5 you spend at the Fair Food Farmstand they will give you $5 more for groceries , up to $20 a week.

Spend $20, get $20 and use $40 of awesome healthy local food.  Between the best yogurt I’ve ever eaten and local honey that helps my immune system fight pollen, I can always find apples, meat, cheese to use.  Plus Holly (my super cute friend) works there and shes uber helpful.

Fair Food Farmstand is located inside the Reading Terminal Market and 51 North 12th St on the 12th st. side.  They are open year-round and on the daily Mon-Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 9am-5pm.  Give them a call 215-386-5211 or e-mail

More info about the Double Dollars program? or 215-386-5211 ext.108

City Special

13 Jan

The City of Brotherly Love has something special.  So special that a friend had to have it within the first 24 hours of arriving in our lovely snow swept city.  What is it?

If you live here you may know it already.  Perhaps too well.  The City Special,  a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer (union made!)  and a shot of house whiskey.  Although not widely provided by every establishment (or even every dive bar) the city special still rings gloriously through Philadelphia.  In some other places in the U.S. its called the Summer Special, only available for the season.  Here in Philadelphia the City Special aims to keep you warm and hoppin’ year round.

The Special isn’t for the cocktail apple-tini drinker or a local whiskey connoisseur.  Come with expectations or an attitude will leave the custom a sore loser.  The Special serves one purpose: intoxication for cheap.  As my friend drank 2 City Specials and than “shared” my shot of whiskey, she soon found herself in a warm, drunk, and argumentative state (often a result of intoxication).  We loudly laughed, argued over music, danced, and made our way home in the winter night….warm as cat by a fire place.  Lets just say her apologies the next morning weren’t needed, we already knew the strength of the City Special and what great love it brings to the table.

Eating Well Paycheck to Paycheck

22 Dec

I have a wonderful job with pretty decent pay.  What may not be obvious is the student loan debt that is eating half of my monthly paycheck and leaving me with less to live on than when I went to school.  So, for me, the same rules still apply.  I live for 2nd hand clothing and furniture. (My little sisters ask how I got all this fly shit, and I tell them it’s all one-of-a-kind.)

Last week I was down to my last five bucks and some change before I got my next paycheck.  I had paid my taxes and rent and scored some free dog food from my Grandma (she’s my hero).  I had covered all my bases, but I was way low in the food department.  I hit up Iovine Brothers Produce in the Reading Terminal Market.

If you can bypass the spectators and get down to grub shopping the Iovine Brothers have a special deal.  In the back of their stand there are good sized bags of veggies.  Anything from really ripe tomatoes, potatoes, wax beans, peppers, oranges, grapefruit, kiwis, and sometimes avocado.  The best news?  The bags are a dollar each.  I grabbed a few (total $3) and headed out.

As I was passing out the door, I realized I could whip up a soup with some help of a slow cooker (crock pot!?) or rig up the rice cooker to make a thick potato stew.  And soup needs bread.  I popped back into the Terminal Market and stopped at Metropolitan Bakery (there are a few in the city).  I grab a quarter of their organic country misch, a huge chunk for a whopping $2.30 and made my way home.

After a little chopping, peeling, and stewing I had created a massive hearty meal with some thick bread to boot. I momentarily channel Jesus as I fed 5 people on almost nothing.  The soup lasted 3 more days and provided a solid lunch until the arrival of my next paycheck. (Note: I did have chicken broth already.  Advice: keep some chicken, beef, or vegetable stock available in your house).

Don’t think you can’t eat for a weekend on 5 bucks thirty. You ain’t above it.