Last Meal Followers

Monday, July 20, 2009


Someone once said, "Its never to late to be the inspiration you wish to be."-unknown"

LMJ is getting back on track and will be posting again.

Please send any of your ideas or if you want to write a piece, to

Coming up on LMJ: Last Meals Down the Shore, Summer LM Cocktails, and The Nurse might give details on her LM!

Monday, January 5, 2009

How About This Economy?!

Is today's economic downturn greater than the 'Great Depression'? Are we going to see bread lines and over filled soup kitchens? For the first time in several decades Japanese citizens were in bread lines on new years eve!

The idea of bread lines, soup kitchens, and the great depression got my thinking about what the President of the United States was eating while the average citizen suffered. I was lucky enough to find the menu to a meal between Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover - I guess they were not experiencing the full the stresses of the times. Maybe they couldn't figure out how to save America on an empty stomach or did they need to take a nap after such a meal?

Consomme curried celery
Rolled toast and salted almonds
Brook trout w/tartar sauce
White potato curls
Cucumber aspic
Chicken Supreme w/Spanish rice
Sweet potato croquettes
Grassed beans clarified apples
Hearts of lettuce & assorted cheeses
Toasted crackers
Vanilla ice cream in molds
Pink crystal pears
Pound cake candies fruits

What would you eat if you knew tomorrow the worlds economy would collapse, many would suffer insurmountable losses, businesses would fail, people would endure hardships they never previously encountered, and you were the President who had to turn things around?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Karate with Elvis!

The Hi-Tone Cafe in Memphis now fills the space where 'The King' took his Karate lessons from Master Kang Rhee. The air is now filled with a rock/blues mixture that is sure to impress any visitors ear and the LMJ was lucky enough to hear Alvin Youngblood Hart when we stopped in a few weeks ago

Now the LMJ can't say much about the food... we did converse with the locals who claim that the pizza there is pretty good, but any bar food would have went well with the music. We were pleasantly surprised that they carried Yuengling Lager so far south, so we do recommend several northern brews with the southern blues.

I guess if you were to have your last meal there, the LMJ would recommend that you call up a few of your friends, take a road trip, order a case of Yuengling, pizzas all night and sit back and revel in some of the South's best tunes.

More info on 'The King's' karate habit

Thursday, January 1, 2009


The LMJ needs to get back on track in 2009. There are too many topics that need to be covered and too many people that still haven't given me their last meal!

I will start off 2009 with a story from earlier this afternoon. We enjoyed a fantastic meal with friends and they served delicious dishes ranging from homemade lasagna to roast pork sandwiches and from homemade stromboli to home made lemonchello. As we sat around the table to do what Italians do - talk about food while we eat - I raised the LMJ question to everyone and as usual it is sparked their interest and a vast conversation. The answers ranged from nachos to chocolate mouse and as usual I had to remind everyone that this was not a morbid question but one that should park memories of meals, family, and experiences of the past. I described my last meal to everyone and explained that my crabs and spaghetti experience came from my grandmother and grandfather sitting at my side when I was 6 years old feeding me crab meat while my face was covered in sauce. My grandfather died on new years day several years ago, but with out him and the rest of my family and friends I would not as passionate about food as I am today.

As we enter 2009 I encourage everyone to make sure that they have memorable meals and experiences as often as possible and to put some passion into their meals and their relationships with family and friends. Try making your perfect last meal and inviting others over to enjoy or gather with family and recall the magical meals of the past.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2009 and remember you can not have your own Last Meal Journey if you don't have your first true memorable culinary experience.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Your Last Meal when you know your going to get fired

Your last meal before you know your going to get fired all depends on if you are being freed from your job or let go from your passion.

Lets start with the latter. No one has ever let me go from my passion except maybe by taking away a half full plate of delicious homemade food. But if I had to put myself in the shoes of someone who knows their passion will be taken away from them I would probably have the following meal: appetizer: None - I would be too nervous to stuff my face. Main course: I would have to think of some sort of comfort food - bowl of pasta, grilled cheese with bacon and tomatoes, or a couple slices of mom's pizza. Desert: I might as well have something good for desert since I will have more free time to hit the gym - chocolate fudge brownie explosion with chocolate or rocky road ice cream.

But what do you have if you are being freed from a prison of a job. Somewhere where you used to be happy but then every day turned in chore to complete the nothingness that you were relegated to complete. When everyone else is there crying because they just received the bad news and you kinda just sit there, look out the window or into the distance with this little smug smile on your face. Here is what I HAD before my last day in prison... I mean at my previous employer: appetizer: a glass of red wine.... not the good stuff but took the place of champagne. Main course: grilled marinated chicken and grilled sweet peppers with grated cheese on top. Desert: chocolate covered almonds - sweet and crunchy.... how sweet it was to throw my belongings in my trunk and drive away from a sinking ship.

What would you have if tomorrow was your last day at your current job? Put your answer in the comment section at the end of this post - please.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Where has the Last Meal Journey been?

It all started with rumors.

People talking about 'The Company' letting a lot of people go.

Saturday: Big Irish Uncle Joe died.

Wednesday: 'The Company' let 120 employees go - YES even the LMJ! The taste of freedom!

Thursday: A funeral.

Then the LMJ tried to get back to "normal."

We will have many posts over the next few days covering 'Your Last Meal when you know your going to get fired' 'Last Meal before the next day of the rest of your life' 'The taste of freedom' and 'Big Irish Uncle Joe's Last Meal.'

We apologize to all of our faithful readers and promise to have some interesting stuff over the next few days and weeks..... I'll have plenty of time right?


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

If you die this week....

What is Thanksgiving with out a Turkey?
What is Thanksgiving with a Deep Fried Turkey?

This Southern technique has raised many eyebrows and questions as to it's health hazards and ultimate taste. Will it be oily? Will be it be hard on my HDL and LDL? Will it even taste like turkey?

Questions answered: The frying process seals the outside of the turkey keeping all the juices inside. The meat inside is cooked to a juicy perfection (not oily), the skin is crispy and the combination is very mouthwatering. The turkey comes out just as good for you as a baked turkey, just stay away from the skin if you care about how long you live. But, if you have to die this week, try something new this Thanksgiving and be the one that everyone thanks for introducing them to the deep fried turkey.

If you want to try this at home for the holidays or maybe for a tailgate party, check out the link below. The site will instruct you on everything from oil temperature to safety precautions.

The ‘LM’ Panel Reviews Tria

Clean, sleek, trendy, aromatic, and busy on a Tuesday night – Tria prides itself on the celebration and combination of beer, wine and cheese ‘the tasty threesome of fermentation’. The LM Panel was pleasantly impressed with almost every aspect of our dining experience at Philadelphia Magazine’s 2008 choice for best wine bar in Philadelphia.

The first page of the menu consists of almost tapas like dishes so you can easily find yourself ordering 6 or 7 dishes and going back for more. The mixed marinated olives were highlighted by thin slices of fresh garlic and intermingled nicely with the sliced Italian meats and slender slices of baggett. Our two bruchetta choices, a goat’s cheese, roasted garlic with Pesto and truffled mushroom with fontina, were simple, crunchy and savory. The roasted butternut squash with apple goat cheese, pumpkin seed oil and maple walnuts looked intriguing on the menu but its dimensions fell short when the well done squash and goat’s cheese blended into a mushy muddle in your mouth.

Why is the cheese hidden on the 3rd page of the menu? The first page is full of delicious morsels and the second page is packed with a fantastic selection of wines – who ever reaches the 3rd page of a menu? The Panel enjoyed a fine selection of cheeses and surprising accompaniments – chocolate and cheese!

The full meal was accompanied by a ‘delightful expression’ of a pinot noir, a 2001 Allen McCorkindale from New Zealand – Don’t be afraid to let the knowledge staff make a recommendation from their extensive selection.

Also check out Tria’s Sunday School and Fermentation School if you are looking for a date idea or just want to become more educated about wine, beer, cheese and how they all can work together on the pallet.
The LM Panel gives Tria high ratings (ΩΩΩΩ) for their comfortable settings, appetizing menu, and erudite staff.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Marathon Last Meal

For every other day of the year 'carbs' are avoided in fear that they lead to those unwanted pounds. But before a marathon carbs are your best friend and the energy needed to reach the finish line. A good friend says that he has fish before each of his marathons because he wanted to be quick and agile like the beasts of the sea. The buffet sponsered by the Philadelphia Marathon supplied runners with pasta, meats, salads, veggies, and desserts - all good food before a run - but good enough? What should you last meal be before running 26.2 miles of asphalt, with over over 18,000 runners, in 24 degree temperatures? What if you were running for your life and you just might not make it in time... better make sure that last meal is good one right?

The LastMealFoodie has some home made pasta in a red red sauce/gravy with a salad and home made bread - where did that get me the next day???

In a couple of days go to and type in bib# 9218. Maybe it was the home made pasta that helped me save 15 minutes off my previous marathon time!

The 'LM' Panel Reviews Meritage

The view from the cozy bar was pleasant. The bartender your typical South Philly girl with an edge. You could tell the clientele was mostly regulars by the way the interacted with the staff and a few reservations for the back room intermittently graced our presence. The wine list was nice but not what you would expect from a place that considers itself a wine bar and restaurant. One member of the Panel has enjoyed many fines meals at Meritage so maybe we caught them on an off night.....

To start we ordered the pan seared scallops over a truffle risotto and micro greens. The medium sized scallops scallops were sweet and well seared but the risotto was at times tough and the truffle oil was average in taste.

The reviews of the main courses were mixed. The filet mignon with okinawa sweet potato puree, hericot vert and port veal jus was cooked to perfection and bold with flavor. On the other hand the braised beef short rib with smoked cheddar and truffle mac and cheese, roasted plum tomatoes and natural beef jus was an abomination - it wasn't even a short rib. Whatever graced the center of this main course was closer to a poorly cooked brisket or pot roast than a tender beef short rib. They even have it on the bar menu as a braised short rib sandwich - two items to stay away from!

Desert ended the meal nicely with a timely take on a seasonal favorite, a pumpkin pie with pumpkin seed brittle and dark beer sabayon. The pie was smooth, flavorful and the brittle added a change of texture and taste that separated this desert from the pumpkin pie you would get at the supermarket - good but we were not blown away.

I guess if you had to order your Last Meal at Meritage we would recommend the scallops to start, the filet mignon with a nice red wine accompianment, and maybe the sorbet for desert... better yet maybe a cup of coffee or an after dinner drink instead. The LM Panel gives Meritage an average rating at best (ΩΩ) with plenty of room for improvement.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Last Call

It's that kind of day. A day where you just get that feeling that nothing is going to go right and the weather outside can only get worse. The economy is in the shitter, fear of unemployment is slowly rising, frowns abound and everyone is looking for someone to lead us out of the abyss. Your impending doom in front of the firing squad doesn't look that bad considering everything that is going on in the world, but you still need to take the edge off. This week's Last Call comes from the blues inspired rock and roller George Thorogood and his notable song One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.

It's that kind of day, week, month, year where you find yourself telling the prison bartender that for your Last Call "One drink ain't enough Jack you better make it three."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

CEO Last Meal

This is the last meal that many would wish upon all of those fat and happy CEOs who destroyed the financial and auto industries. They got to enjoy million dollar vacation parties with lavish food and entertainment- now the get to 'enjoy' the Last Meal we have in store for them.

We could have served just bread and water but we needed to fit the appetizer, main course, desert mold. After some serious thought and one last look at the old 401K this is what we came up with:

Appetizer: Gruel (not the good kind)

Main Course: The pepper steak at Leavenworth (Pepper steak can actually be enjoyable

Desert: Sharing a 6x10 cell with a guy nicknamed Bubba

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Is losing your sense of taste the same thing as a death sentence for you ever again enjoying a great meal?

Is the sight and texture of a dish enough to keep you interested in what you put into your body? Is food anything more than fuel for the body if it has no taste?

With no sense of taste would you find yourself eating everything healthy and imagining that it was a tasty cheese burger? Or do you find yourself eating anything and everything, hoping that your tasteless life comes to an end sooner rather than later (ok maybe a bit much).

I found a very interesting article from 2007 about foodie who was to have oral surgery that might impact his/her total sense of taste. The foodie was able to plan out several last meals at his/her favorite NY restaurants, but wrote a request to have a ‘final meal’ at one of the few 4 star restaurants in the world, Le Bernardin. Chef Eric Ripert was happy to put together a “Doomsday Menu” that consisted of mostly seafood (Fluke, Lobster, Calamari, Salmon….) with a wine companion. And I’m sure that it was a fantastic meal but it begs the question, if you had to put your Last Meal in the hands of a specific chef or restaurant, who or where would you choose? (Use the comment feature – I would love to know your answer)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bitter Barbara

Every Thursday night I go to my customary watering hole with my usual group of friends. Every once in a while Bitter Barbara will grace us with her ice cold presence, uncomfortable posture, and lack luster conversation. The bar is small and usually crowded so there is no way to avoid her. She attempts to sit close to my friends because at one point in time we tried to warm her up with some friendly conversation – BAD IDEA. (The rest of the paragraph has been abridged).

Below find BB's last meal and some peanuts gallery comments on each dish:

Appetizer: From the Bittmore Hotel in Arizona – the Caesar Salad in a crispy Parmesan shell. Does the shell represent the shell she wears on a daily basis that doesn't allow a man with in 5 feet?

Main Course: Broiled Christian lobster tail. Plain, uninteresting, yet trying to be sophisticated.

Desert: Flourless chocolate ganache. An interesting and delightful dish for an uninteresting and austere young lady.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The 'LM' Panel Reviews Bluefin

One of the best sushi restaurants in the Philadelphia area is in a strip mall in Plymouth Meeting!? Bluefin Japanese Restaurant is well recognized, Zagat rated, and has a cult following that dines often and habitually sings its praises

The tables are crowded, plates filled with the wonders of the sea swirl around the room and the quaint space is buzzing with anticipation and hunger. The first thing to know about Bluefin (or any other top notch restaurant) is that reservations made well in advance are a necessity. The LM Panel called a week in advance and a follow up call from the restaurant the day before our meal was a pleasant reminder things to come. Bluefin's decor is minimal and bland but it should not allow you to think that the meal will turn out likewise - the chefs let their creations do the talking, not the walls.

Chef Yong Kim has something on the menu for every stage of the sushi palate from the beginners California roll to the Spicy Tuna Sundae. Served neatly in a martini glass, the sundae offers small pieces of tuna sashimi mixed avocado and spicy sauce to create a balanced explosion of taste and texture. The LM Panel also sampled the some of the chef's sashimi specials of the evening: the delectable and extremely fresh Hamachi (yellow tail), Hirame (Fluke) and scallop. To finish we enjoyed some of the traditional rolls: the Unagi Roll (eel with cucumber), Bluefin Roll (grilled eel on top of a California roll), Dragon Roll (avocado on top of an unagi roll), and the Marlee Roll (tuna on top of a crunchy spicy yellow tail roll with roe).

For your Last Meal at Bluefin you should order whatever the chef suggests and/or one of everything on the menu. Offer the chef a glass of wine or whatever you are having with your meal to make instant friends, bring out his contagious smile, and maybe a couple tasty complimentary snacks. Bring friends, bring a lot of wine or Sapporo, and most importantly bring your appetite because you will find yourself ordering more and more appetizing treats. (ΩΩΩΩΩ)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

If you die this week....

Everyone loves surprises. Opening that box on Christmas morning and finding what you desired all year. Well that is what the 'pot pie' can offer you under its light flaky crust - but only in the right hands.

The pot pie has come light years from that hard crusted, chunks of dry tired chicken and under cooked veggies picture you have in the back of your mind. Under the buttery crust can be found shrimp, beef, veal, turkey or whatever else you think goes well with the veggie medley that explodes with taste and steam when the lid is broken. Below I have found the highest rated recipe for traditional pot pie on, but I want you to experiment with your 'Last Meal Pot Pie'. Take some of the items or themes from your own Last Meal and throw them together in a crusty pot pie pocket of goodness.

3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
5 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 chicken bouillon cubes
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 cups medium-diced carrots, blanched for 2 minutes
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen small whole onions
1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
For the pastry:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 pound cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 to 2/3 cup ice water
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Flaked sea salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a baking sheet and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6 cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and heavy cream. Add the cubed chicken, carrots, peas, onions and parsley. Mix well.

For the pastry, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the shortening and butter and mix quickly with your fingers until each piece is coated with flour. Pulse 10 times, or until the fat is the size of peas. With the motor running, add the ice water; process only enough to moisten the dough and have it just come together. Dump the dough out onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Divide the filling equally among 4 ovenproof bowls. Divide the dough into quarters and roll each piece into an 8-inch circle. Brush the outside edges of each bowl with the egg wash, then place the dough on top. Trim the circle to 1/2-inch larger than the top of the bowl. Crimp the dough to fold over the side, pressing it to make it stick. Brush the dough with egg wash and make 3 slits in the top. Sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling hot.

We did not forget – We will never forget

The Last Meal Journey did not mean to ignore Veteran’s Day and would like to salute all of those who fought and still fight for our country. We thank them for their lives and their services to the greatest country - the U.S.A.

A last meal story that really makes you think about those breave enough to fight for everyone here at home:,0,6240947.story

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Jewish Italian Aruban ‘JIA’

Jewish by birth
Italian by association.
and Aruban because that is where she calls home.

There is no place like home…. there is no place like home…. THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME! Especially when you home is an island surrounded by clear blue water, beautiful beaches, and it’s always 82 degrees outside. 100,000 individuals are lucky enough to enjoy this 14 mile long by 6 mile wide paradise all year round – so who makes the crazy decision to leave – the ‘JIA’ does. What is also crazy and incomprehensible is how many people always say that they will take a trip back with her, for the full tour of the island and its entire splendor, and then never get around to taking her up on the offer – there in lies the basis of stupidity.

The cuisine of Aruba is a melting pot of Dutch, Latin American, and Caribbean dishes inspired by the wonders of what the surrounding sea can supply. Picture yourself under the tree pictured above enjoying JIA's last meal - light breeze, toes in the sand, no boss over your shoulder, no computer screens....

Appetizer: Escargot and grilled conch, straight out of the sea, in an olive oil and garlic sauce.

Main Course: Filet mignon (medium), potatoes au gratin, and grilled asparagus.

Desert : Quesillo - the Aruban version of creme brulee with out the hard sugar topping (recipe to follow shortly)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The 'LM' Panel Reviews Tacconelli's Pizzeria

In 1918 Giovanni Tacconelli came to Philadelphia from Italy and began the arduous task of baking bread. He found the baking to be too time consuming, so he took a recipe his mother taught him and began to make tomato pies in his 20x20 brick oven. Those same pies are still skillfully crafted by the same family, in the same brick oven, in the same neighborhood that they have fed for over 80 years (

The 'LM' Panel and a group of 16 close confidants, enjoyed a fabulous evening of 12 masterfully constructed pizzas, a case of Yuengling Beer (Another fine Pennsylvania Tradition and 12 bottles wine. We were seated at a long table with paper plates, plastic cups, a jukebox with Dean Martin playing in the background, and an at-home feeling that only enhansed the meal. After a few minutes of gut wrenching anticipation, each pizza comes to the table steaming hot, crispy not only at the crust but on the bottom each slice, and bursting with taste and history. You get the sense that nothing has changed in the recipe for 80 years and nothing will ever change to the best pizza Philadelphia has to offer.

Just like any fine food it takes time to truly craft even the simplest of meals. That time line starts that day before you even step foot in the restaurant. This establishment is so popular that you have to order you 'doughs' at least a day ahead of time and 'walk up' business can scarcely find an unclaimed pizza. It is recommended that no more than two toppings are added to the pie because the extra weight only causes the slice to droop instead of crunch. The sauce is tasty and not overpowering, the toppings are fresh and accompany the pie superbly, and the service isknowledgeable and friendly.

Tacconelli's has received the highest rating possible (ΩΩΩΩΩ) from The Panel and recommends this historic pizza place to anyone with a passion for pizza made to perfection. For your Last Meal at Tacconelli's Pizzeria you should order a Margarita Pizza with bloches of fresh mozzarella cheese spread out in a sea of tasty red sauce.

Friday, November 7, 2008

One cold way to enjoy your last meal… For a very very long time….

There is nothing like enjoying a fantastic dish and having the ability to relish that taste in your mouth for a few more minutes before the next course arrives. Well imagine enjoying that taste frozen in your mouth for the next 5,300 years! That is what happened to the Iceman found in the mountains north of Italy. His last meal consisted of unleavened bread made out of einkorn wheat, some plant like substance (a herb or green), and a small amount of meat. Definitely not a last meal to be envious of.

I wonder what the Iceman would have rather had if he knew the mountain hights he would reach in a few hours would be his final resting place. What final taste would you prefer frozen in your mouth for 5 thousand years?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Tuesday Night Dish

Even though I live 5 minutes away I was late, I’m always late. I arrived at Jake’s in Manayunk ( find my buddy had ordered a sausage and banana ring hot pepper pizza – big mistake. He thought he was ordering something that was actually tasty on the menu, the spicy meatball and ricotta pizza that we enjoyed a few weeks earlier. To his right Ms. Dish sat alone, nibbling on a salad, waiting for her friend. We all immediately start chatting about our meals, food, enjoyable local restaurants and our common Italian heritage.

Ms. Dish is back in town from Florida looking for a bartending job and will have her third interview with the biggest restaurateur in Philadelphia, Stephen Starr himself ( She is nervous because she was told in advance that he would ask questions she would never expect. What could he really ask that would be so unexpected: Which wine would you pair with sea urchins? Whose philosophy do you agree more with Plato or Aristotle? What’s your bra size?

Before Ms. Dish left for the night she had a cocktail napkin filled with recipe ideas and restaurant recommendations. Before I left, I obtained Ms. Dish’s last meal and how it reflected a mix of her Italian old school heritage mixed with her Southern roots.

Appetizer: Her Italian roots - Broccoli Rabe in a red sauce from Franco and Luigi’s Restaurant in South Philadelphia (A traditional Italian menu and opera singing to accompany your meal).

Main Course: Her Southern roots - Fried chicken, escarole (the Italian version of collard greens), mash potatoes with gravy, and corn bread.

Desert: The delectable chocolate mousse

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

If you die this week.... must have a bowl of the Classic Clam Chowder. For me it's a combination of the leaves falling, the crisp autumn air, and the light rain that just won't go away - that makes me want to take the day off, stay in bed, and snuggle up to some hearty soup. If you have a good bakery near your home I recommend you ask them for a crusty loaf of bread that can easily be hollowed out to be made into a bread bowl.

Clam Broth:

* 4 slices bacon, chopped
* Olive oil
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, smashed
* 6 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1 bay leaf
* 16 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
* 1/2 lemon, juiced
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 3 cups water
* 2 tablespoons butter
* Extra-virgin olive oil
* 4 slices bacon, chopped
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* Leaves from 4 sprigs fresh thyme
* 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
* 2 cups heavy cream
* 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 16 littleneck clams, scrubbed well
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Start by making the clam broth: Put a large pot over medium heat, add the bacon and saute until the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the cooked bacon pieces from the pot and reserve them for something else. Add a 1-count of olive oil, the onion, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the clams, lemon juice, white wine, and water and bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 10 or 15 minutes to steam open the clams. Remove the clams from the pot, discarding any that don't open. Strain the broth into a bowl. Pull the clams out of their shells, chop them, and set them aside separately; discard the shells. Set the broth aside.

Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the bacon, onion, garlic, and thyme and cook until the bacon renders its fat and the vegetables are good and soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Dust the vegetables with flour and stir to coat everything well. Pour in the clam broth and bring to a boil. Add the cream and the potatoes, bring to a boil and boil hard for about 7 minutes, until the potatoes break down (this will help to thicken the soup and give it a good texture). Add the chopped clams and season with salt and pepper.

Now add the 16 clams in their shells. Cover and simmer to open the clams, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and serve hot.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Titanic Decision

If you knew the boat was sinking, all the life boats were filled, there was no hope for surivial and all there was left to do was have a great meal while you sink into the cold icy water - what are you going to order as the Titanic sinks?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Mentor The Big Dog

The Mentor is the first person to introduce me to the higher end meals I didn’t get to previously experience. He always combines a fantastic meal, at a fine culinary institution, with words of advice on life, love, happiness, and work. Whenever we bet on the stock market or a sports team you can always guarantee that a first-class meal is on the line. I have come to know his culinary tastes so well that one look at a menu and I can guess what he is ordering for dinner.

On this celebration day (If you live under a rock the Phillies won the World Series!!!) the Mentor is always there with an invitation to a fine meal to celebrate what only comes along every 25 years or so. Now all we need is for the Big Dog and the Little Dog to come back together as a team – then everything would be back in its place.

I almost didn’t even have to ask him what he wanted for his last meal but I had him tell me anyway. Here is his last meal in his own words….

Drink to start: a very cold belvedere up with olives. I am talking about a 1950s kind of drink that they serve at the best steakhouses in a big martini glass, with big olives (i.e. a man’s drink).

First Course: ½ of a Maine lobster, served cold with cocktail sauce and green mayonnaise on the side. Served with the appetizer, a glass of a Trocken Riesling. The simple rich cold taste of the sea paired with a steely, bone dry, crisp white.

Dinner: Braised veal Cheeks with fresh spinach pasta, veal reduction sauce, and peas.
Served with dinner: Any fine old Bordeaux of Pinot Noir. An obscure, rich, earthy
dish with a fine old wine to match. I have never met anyone who tried cheeks and didn’t
think they were out of this world.

Dessert : Floating Islands with crème anglaise. Totally ethereal, like eating a cloud. Perfect after a rich meal.

Served after dessert: XO Cognac. Feel the mist roll in. Time to turn in for the night.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Ball Park Last Meal

In honor of the soon to be World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies I am putting together a Ball Park Last Meal.

Appetizer: What is a ball game with out the crunch of peanut shells under your feet? There is nothing like the over salted, makes you want to buy a $5.00 soda or $7.00 beer, ball park peanuts.

Main Course: Everyone probably thinks that I am going to choose that ball park staple, the all beef hot dog with everything on it or the Philadelphia favorite Cheesestake with provolone and onions, but they would be wrong. My Ball Park Last Meal main course comes from Planet Hoagie in Ashburn Alley: a chicken cutlet hoagie, with sharp provolone, and broccoli rabe on a Sarcone’s seeded roll ( If you ever get a chance to go to the bakery or one of their delis, you MUST try a sandwich or a loaf of their bread – the best bread I have ever tasted!

Desert: Cracker Jacks are sweet enough to be considered a desert, but I am going with vanilla chocolate swirl ice cream in the little baseball helmet.

Next season when you are the ball park, try my Ball Park Last Meal and tell me what you think. I am positive you will enjoy not only the future World Series Champs but the meal that I just put together for your gastro pleasure.