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I thought I may have mentioned this place before, but it appears as though I haven’t.  Johnny’s Hots is a little sausage stand on Columbus Blvd across from Penn Treaty Park.  Lately, I’ve been stopping by for lunch on the way to pick Madeline up from school in Fishtown.

For $3.50, you get a perfectly lunch sized sausage sandwich, and the quickest service you could possibly imagine.  Seriously, your food will come out before you’ve even finished paying.  It’s somewhere between a hot dog and a hoagie in size, which is a perfect lunch size.  You won’t be stuffed, but you won’t be hungry.  I’m a sucker for sausage, and anything hot*, so there is really no way I couldn’t love this place.  But their hot sausage is really great, and so are the rolls.

And this morning I discovered their breakfast sandwich(s).  Give me a couple more before I close the book, but after just one, I’m ready to declare it the best breakfast sandwich in the city.  Fried egg, American cheese, and a hot sausage.  Its mind-blowing.  Honestly.

*That’s what she said


Yesterday Two days ago, I found myself in Delaware county around lunchtime.  Recalling a respected friend’s recommendation of Charlie’s in Folsom, I decided to give it a try.  Click the link.  I should have.  I won’t repeat what Scott already said, but I definitely should have done some homework before I went.  Because while the burger was delicious, “the ratio of burger to cheese to bun,” as Scott put it, for a single cheeseburger is way too unbalanced.  The tiny burger was overwhelmed by the cheese, bun, not to mention, ketchup, tomato and pickles.  I’m going to try it again, but get a double burger the next time.  And maybe a milkshake.

Since my burger needs weren’t really met at lunch, I did a double burger meal day, and dragged the ladies out to check out P.Y.T in the Piazza.  With all the hype and Twitter trash talking, I had been wanting to check this place out.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The P.Y.T. burger was actually quite perfect, despite being cooked a bit beyond the medium that I asked for.  But with the extras, bacon, special sauce, etc, and the Martins potato bun, the burger was spot on.  It wasn’t quite a pub burger slab of meat, though definitely in that direction., as opposed to the thin sheet of beef at Charlies.

I also had a (non-adult) shake and fries.  The shake was great.  Rainbow jimmies were a perfect little addition.  The fries however were pretty boring.  They have been much lauded by the owners tweet taunts over the past few weeks, but they just weren’t anything special.  If they weren’t so talked up, I wouldn’t even mention them.  They were just… there.  Thin, average, a forgettable side dish.

I have many more places and animals to try in my Meat Quest.  Burgers have now become an important sub-quest.  Bring on the beef.

I got back Monday night from Puerto Rico.  My sister Laurie got married there on Saturday.  I can’t say that I specifically wanted to visit there before, but I was excited to go.  Being that Penelope’s due date was 2 weeks prior to the wedding, we had planned on just me going down months ago.  I was certainly sad that I have to leave all 4 of my girls at home, but was excited to explore the place alone.  Unfortunately, a Friday to Monday trip with a full day of wedding activities didn’t leave much time to explore.  I was able to get out a bit though.
View from the roof deck

I really wanted to experience as much of the food as I could, so that’s the first thing I did.  My first meal on the island was a total score, a heaping plate of Arroz con Pollo, with a full chicken breast, rice and beans, and fried plantains.  My english-speaking-only and culinarily conservative family gawked.  The Americanized offerings were very very dull in comparison.
Calle de San Justo

I also spent some time eating mallorcas.  Something between a doughnut and brioche, heated in a sandwich press, and served sprinkled with powdered sugar.  They are great on their own.  But served with fillings is when they really shine.  Jamon, queso y huevo.  Yes that’s right, ham, egg, and cheese.  On a doughnut.  Uh-mazing.  I know that El Cafeito at 3rd and Cecil B has mallorcas (which are great and the place is great, it will have its own post someday), but I’m going to try to convince them to emulate this sandwich.  Breakfast bliss.
Pico and me
I spent 2 nights in Old San Juan, and 1 in Isla Verde.  Which means that I really didn’t get to see much of the island at all.  This was made doubly infuriating as the rest of my family hopped on a bus to head out to the rainforest, El Yunque, while I got a cab to the airport.  But this small taste of Puerto Rico has just wet my appetite.  I want to head back with the entire family in tow, see the rest of the island, eat Mofongo, speak mas espanol.  I’ll keep it on the list.
Isla Verde

I’ve been in the process of discovering all the animal based food that I’ve missed in the past 12 years.  As summer approaches, I’ve been particularly excited about having outdoor grilled meats.  I order to satiate this growing desire, Lois and I recently bit the bullet and got a gas fired grill (I know, I know, gas is lame.  Help me figure out the best way to get some charcoal smokey flavors in there then.  Smoke box?).  So much of this meat thing is still new to me though.

Proper way to cook a burger?  I either way over cook them, or eat raw meat with a brown coating.  How long should you actually cook kielbasa?  Grilled steak?  I mean, Carina you’re great, but I think there might be better steaks out there than the ones we had.

And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  I had a Five Brothers burger the other day and was in love.  Shall we track down the best burger in town?  The best sausage?  Roast pork?  Cheese*gasp*steak?

So I hereby declare my Meat Quest.  I’m going to eat everything that I’ve missed out on in the past 12 years.  And I’m going to find the best examples of it if I can.  Help me.


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