Rather than going with a generic diner staple, he opted to highlight Trolley Car’s selection of less traditional fare. And instead of testing my culinary skills by having me prepare the dish step by step alongside him, Dwight decided to test my gastrointestinal fortitude by feeding me plate after plate of food.
I showed up dressed like an official member of the El Rey wait staff in jeans and a flannel shirt—then stepped inside their kitchen, smelled all the seasoned meats and spicy sauces around me, and watched my hopes of blending in fly right out the window.
Being the generous Italian that he is, Chef Kristian Leuzzi, owner of both Kris and Stogie Joe’s in South Philly, most certainly wasn’t going to let me leave my personalized cooking lesson, or his restaurant, without a solid lunch in my stomach: a braised veal short-rib sandwich with a side of gnocchi.
This past summer, my editor and I decided that it might be interesting to review my family’s Thanksgiving dinner. My mother took it to heart. And as the weeks leading up to the feast ticked by, she put the word out—to my father, to my wife, probably to my 2-year-old daughter—that she was killing herself, literally breaking her back (her words, verbatim) preparing for the big meal.
This isn’t yet another pumpkin beer, though. Nope, no pumpkin to be found here. Instead, that cinnamon and nutmeg is balanced with malts that suggest caramel, figs and a hint of burnt brown sugar.
The crisp-skinned beauties luxuriated in a shimmering, salty-sweet-spicy glaze, and each bite was a study in the importance of balancing high-wire levels of sweetness, saltiness and heat.
Tacos play a far greater role now than they did before Lolita’s reconcepting. From the much-heralded trompo, I was easily won over by the pork shoulder ones, the meat lovingly rubbed with smoked morita chile, garlic, and piloncillo
Roasted hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, lacquered with honey and arriving a shimmering, burnished mahogany color, were a study in flavor-layering.