Saturday, June 1, 2013

Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia

This is Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.  As you can see, the place sure is creepy, in fact, that it was featured on Ghost Hunters.  

I totally thought this was a dentist chair.  Luckily it was a barber chair.  Still incredibly fucking eerie.  The goddamn walls fell apart, but the chair's still there??

This is the remains of the surgical center.  Really, the entire place looks like something out of a nightmare.  Also, you (okay, fine, I) occasionally get extremely nervous while walking the halls.

The reason this all looks so crazy is that the place deteriorated for over 20 years as it sat abandoned.  Fortunately, the historical society has taken on structural stabilization.  They aren't renovating, but instead keeping it in the state it is currently in and avoiding further deterioration.

This is "The Hole."  A tall man could not stand up in there, and there were no toilets or sinks.  People were sometimes sentenced there for 30 days.

This wing is not structurally sound, so no one is allowed in there, but it looks like the sort of place that a serial killer would bring his victims.  If you're ever in Philly, this tour is totally worth the money.  Oh, and the audio tour features Steve Buscemi, which is even more awesome.

Friday, March 29, 2013

End of March Update

I haven't posted in nearly two weeks, because I have been pretty damn sick.  I went a really long time without being sick, and then, BAM!  So, anyway, now I'm back.  As I've been sick and boring, there isn't much to really blog about.

I did get to eat these fine pancakes.  That was awesome.  Also, I've been doing a lot of (not) exciting schoolwork.  

Billy has been driving everyone in this house crazy.  He chases the dogs' tails (even when they are in their crates).  He jumps into the bunny cage and plays with the bundiks' hay.  He randomly tackles the other cats.  He's really been making us pay for taking his balls.

I pulled back a blanket recently and caught Mr. Biff and his arch-nemesis, The Captain, cuddling while holding hands.  Mr. Biff is not pleased.  However, all the furless dogs are super happy that the weather is finally warming up.  Furlesses hate being cold.

Lastly, Eddie is still evil/cooler than everyone.  

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dac Hoa Review

Dac Hoa is a Vietnamese restaurant on Monroe Avenue.  They have been around for a long time, and have a pretty good following.  One of the things they're known for is their daily fresh made BBQ.  We ordered the BBQ pork appetizer, which was tender and incredibly tasty.

My dad was really excited about the Pho.  It's a big bowl of broth with meat, bean sprouts, rice noodles, and spices.  He ordered the chicken, and tossed the rest of the BBQ pork on top for extra flavor.

This is what came on the side of the Pho.  He tossed this stuff in the broth and seemed extremely happy with the meal.

I really should have written down the name of my dish.  I have no idea what it's called, but it's from the Vietnamese portion of the menu.  It's rice noodles with beef and a fried spring roll topped with nuts.  

Mine was served with this fish sauce.  The fried spring roll was awesome dipped in this.  The entire dish was very good, and under the surface I found a salad!  It had bean sprouts, cucumbers, and lettuce.  Odd.

My dad's friend had the roast duck Pho.  Roast duck is actually the other thing Dac Hoa is known for.  This is clearly a family owned restaurant, and I have no complaints.  If you dig Vietnamese food, check out Dac Hoa: 4 stars.

Dac Hoa on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 8, 2013

Sophia's Buffalo, NY

If you google "best breakfast in Buffalo, NY," you are likely to find Sophia's as a top result.  We did, so Fancy and I headed over there to see what all the buzz is about.  We were not disappointed.

I went for the Giambotta, their signature skillet breakfast.  It came with homemade Italian sausage, peppers, onions, garlic, home fries, and eggs (I upgraded with some cheddar).  The waitress recommended I get a half portion unless Fancy and I were splitting, so I did that.  Seriously, pictured above is the half portion.

Fancy got the create your own skillet with bacon, feta, eggs, mushrooms, peppers, home fries, and onions.  Again, she went with the HALF portion.  Awesome.

These skillets were AMAZING.  The food was extremely flavorful, and it was clear that the ingredients were fresh.  Every forkful had a new flavor combination, and everything was cooked perfectly: the bacon and potatoes were crisp, but the veggies weren't over cooked.  The portions size was incredible, especially for the price - around six bucks.  Neither of us could finish, and okapis have huge appetites.

Did I mention that the skillets come with homemade bread?  No?  Well, it does, and that bread is delicious.  Turns out this place was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.  One of the things they show is the bread making process.  It is easily the tastiest white bread I've ever eaten.

We love breakfast dessert, so when we go out we usually grab a short stack of french toast.  This was unsurprisingly delicious.  It was crispy on the crust with a soft, sweet center.  I especially liked how they didn't put the butter right on top.  The place was slammed, but the staff was extremely helpful, fast, and courteous   Five stars - if you find yourself in, around, or heading through Buffalo, stop at Sophia's.  You won't regret it.

Sophia's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 22, 2013

Vizzy's Buffalo Review

Vizzy's is famous for their beef on weck.  That's saying something in a city that's famous for beef on weck.  That puppy up there is as big as it looks.  It literally had enough beef for two sandwiches.

Just as important as the beef is the roll.  This roll was delicious with lots of caraway seeds and salt. Also, it was tough enough to stand up to all that beef without getting too soggy.  This sandwich is $9.95 with loads of chips and a pickle spear.  

They're also known for their MONSTER burger.  It's a half-pounder, and it comes with fries for $7.95.  The price is awesome, and it is good.  Oh, and those fries are delightful.  They're the ever so popular skin-on variety that are wonderful with vinegar.

The servings are awesome and so are the prices.  The atmosphere is typical dive bar, which is one of the best.  You can tell how good a place is by how busy it is, and damn, they were busy.  If you're ever in Buffalo looking for great beef, go to Vizzy's.  5 stars.

Vizzi's on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 15, 2013

New Fong Kitchen

As many who read the blog know, I believe there are three levels of Chinese food: 1) authentic, 2) take out/sit down, and 3) buffet.  This is my favorite "Level 2" Chinese food.  Level 2 is American style Chinese food, which is at a substantially higher quality than buffet food.  

The lunch special General Tso's is pictured above.  We get it extra spicy/extra crispy, and they do not disappoint.  It has the perfect balance of tangy/sweet to be delicious.  We chose the white rice accompaniment.  Next up is the crab rangoon/cheese wonton.  These are AWESOME.  If you enjoy sweet cream cheese to be at a higher ratio than crab, these are some of the best rangoons around.

This is lunch special sweet and sour chicken (sauce not pictured) with fried rice.  The chicken was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle without being too bready.  Actually, the chicken in general is delicious here.  I've had some American style Chinese food where the chicken tastes less than fresh, but this tastes like fresh, white meat chicken.  

The lunch specials come with the option of egg roll or wonton soup.  We picked the wonton soup, and it was very good.  there was plenty of flavorful broth and a good noodle to broth ratio.  Also, the serving size was quite generous.

The soup came with those little fried wonton cracker things, but you're probably wondering why they're pictured here.  It's because they were really good.  This is rare.  I seem to run into a lot of stale ones, so when I get a good batch I like to brag.

We ordered an egg roll separately, because why not?  It was hot fresh, and delicious.  A big benefit of this place is consistency.  I've never had a bad meal at New Fong.  They get everything cooked perfectly, and it's always actually ready in 10 minutes.  Also, we got all of this food for under $18.  Awesome.  4.5 stars.  So, if you're ever in Greece thinking about Chinese, check out New Fong!

New Fong Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Do Something You've Always Wanted To Do

As you may have read on the main page, I wrote a novel some time ago.  Recently I've decided to run some final edits on it and put it on Amazon as an e-book.  It should be live there within a month or two.  Also, I have begun work on a sequel to that novel.

You may wonder why I'm writing here about writing there.  The answer is that I write because I enjoy it, and I hope you are all doing something for the very same reason.  I was speaking to a friend today and she told me about someone who is around my age and wants to pursue a degree that would take six years to complete.

He was advised to try something that takes less time.  He was told that he is in his thirties, and he should get his life together - quickly.  I'm not sure I agree.  If he knows what he wants to do with his life and it would only take him six years to get there, that's nothing.  Even if he fails it will have been worth it, because he tried.

What does this have to do with writing you may ask.  Well, it's because by most accounts I've failed as a blogger.  I have blogged for two solid years, yet I have no following.  Most blogs only last a few months, but here I am still chugging along.  Sometimes you have to do something just because you want to do it.  I'm quite confident that I shall fail as a novelist too, but I will still write.  

If the worst that can happen is you will not be successful in something you want to do, that is not actually the worst that can happen.  You could never try.