27 October 2010

Five Internet Time Killers

We’ve all been there – sitting at the computer, twiddling our thumbs, looking for something to entertain us. More often than not, boredom will lead us to Youtube or Facebook. However, if you’re the kind of person who would like something a little more fun to occupy some internet free time, check out some of these sites.

Hone your (fake) billiard skills by shooting on this virtual table. I’ve seen a few different versions of this online, and this has the best graphics of the lot. Playing 9-Ball will also familiarize you with a billiard game that not enough people know how to play.

The 50 Greatest Comedy Sketches
Recently Saturday Night Live has seen a resurgence of sorts thanks to viral media, especially with its Digital Shorts. This list compiles fifty of the funniest sketches not just from SNL, but from a variety of sketch comedy shows ranging from The Chappelle Show to Upright Citizens Brigade. The best part of this list is that they include a video of each sketch, providing you with a hefty amount of hilarity.

Fifa Soccer
If you don’t like foosball there is something seriously wrong you and you should seek psychiatric assistance immediately. For those of us who love foosball and don’t live in a frat house or bar, this site provides a way for us to get our fix. The game is simple, requiring you only to use the up and down arrows on your keyboard. There are three levels of difficulty and a two-player option to spice things up a bit as well.

Samuel L. Jackson Soundboard
I feel that I should mention just how easily entertained I am. I’m very easily entertained. There, mentioned. That being said, I have literally spent the better part of an hour with this soundboard, using it for conversations with friends or just marveling at how Jackson owns the word motherfucker. Give this site a try, you’ll be surprised at how much fun it is.

25 Great Calvin & Hobbes Strips
If you don’t already have an appreciation for Calvin & Hobbes, you will after checking out this list. While the panels selected for this are all pretty amazing, there are so many more that could be considered among the best. Bill Waterson was truly the master of his craft, and reading Calvin & Hobbes always brightens my day.

20 October 2010

French Bread Margherita Pizza

As always, the What is dedicated to presenting you with colorful ideas for everyday life. Many of our ideas are food-related, because we love food. Learning how to cook for yourself now that you no longer have your mom or your meal plan to provide your meals can seem like a daunting task. We at the What are here to show you that cooking can be fun, easy, and rewarding by offering up recipes like this from our personal cookbooks. As is the case with most of our recipe-based ideas, this one is simple and delicious, just like us.

French Bread Margherita Pizza
There are few things I enjoy more in life than getting together some fresh ingredients and spending a lot of time in the kitchen whipping them up into something delicious. But sometimes I just want to eat. Luckily, I was able to combine all of these things into a simple, quick, and tasty meal. You'll be amazed at how easy and yummy it is! So, in honor of National Pizza Month, here is the recipe for French Bread Margherita Pizza.

1 loaf of crusty french bread
1 tomato for slicing
Garlic power
Mozzarella Cheese (Part Skim)
TODAY'S SECRET INGREDIENT IS: 3 leaves fresh basil


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. NOTE: I have also used the broiler, just keep an eye on the pizza so you don't burn it.
2. Cut the bread into four slices.
3. Thinly slice the tomato.
4. Drizzle the bread with the EVOO (Use 1 tbsp for accurate calorie count).
5. Place tomato slices on the bread.
6. Season with Oregano and Garlic Powder.
7. Sprinkle mozz on top of everything (1/4 cup for accurate calorie count).
8. Tear the basil leaves and toss a few onto each slice of bread.
9. Pop into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Calories: 630 per slice (This could vary depending on your bread. 1/4 of the loaf I use is 300 calories.)

Pizza in the City of Brotherly Love

“Pizza is a lot like sex. When it's good, it's really good. When it's bad, it's still pretty good.” Whomever it was that said this was on the right track. Yet even though bad pizza can still be pretty good, it is still helpful to know where to go for the best pizza. Being that October is National Pizza Month, I felt that now would be a good time to highlight some of my favorite pizza joints in (and around) Philadelphia.
With that in mind, allow me to qualify what I am considering good pizza. To me, a decent pizza has a thin, somewhat crispy brown crust, a sweet sauce, and the perfect portion of mozzarella cheese. There are, of course, variations to this designation as pizza is quite the versatile food and can be served in a variety of ways. I will do my best to cover as much as possible, and I certainly welcome feedback as to which establishments you believe serve up the best pies.
Simply The Best Pizza
When asked what is my favorite pizza joint in Philly, I always immediately respond with Germantown Pizza, located where Germantown Ave. crosses 4th and Jefferson streets in Old Kensington. Their crust meets the Goldilocks standard: just right. It’s crispy throughout with a nice, doughy edge. The guys at Germantown have found the perfect balance between mozzarella and their tasty sauce. It’s quite delicious. I’ve known several New Yorkers who, while usually snubbing Philly pizza, find the pies at Germantown to be just the way they like it. Aside from fantastic pizza, the staff is super nice and can boast a menu that has never let me down whether I’m ordering pizza, steaks, or anything else. Consider yourself lucky if you live in Germantown’s delivery radius, which stretches to Fishtown, NoLibs, and several other surrounding neighborhoods. If you’re not nearby, make the trip like I did when I lived in South Philly, it’ll be worth it.
Alternative Pizza
Family gatherings are always pleasant for many reasons, but one of the main reasons I look forward to having a bunch of relatives over is due to Marchiano’s Bakery. Marchiano’s is located at 4653 Umbria St. in Manayunk, which just so happens to be around the corner from my grandparents’ house. Nine times out of ten, when they come by, they’re bringing a tomato pie and some specialty breads. There’s just something about the sauce at Marchiano’s that makes it widely regarded as the best in Philly at preparing tomato pie. Furthermore, the talented bakers at Marchiano’s make some amazing breads stuffed with a variety of delicious things like pepperoni, cheese, cheesesteak, and so much more. There are few things more satisfying then scraping up the leftover sauce from your tomato pie with one of these breads. Be sure to swing by Marchiano’s before your next party, your guests will instantly fall in love with the amazing food you provided for them!
Me and Pizza Down by the Schoolyard
Enjoying Eddie's Pizza
When you combine a deep love for pizza with a fair amount of time spent on college campuses, you end up becoming something of an expert on which school has the best pizza. Call me biased, but no other school can lay claim to Eddie’s Pizza, found on the campus of my alma mater, Temple University. Situated in the outdoor food court next to the Tech Center, Eddie’s is the equivalent of heaven on earth for college students. Five bucks and five minutes gets you two slices and a drink for a quick bite between classes. Furthermore, the selection of pies rivals most larger pizza places in the city. I recommend a slice each of their chicken parm and BBQ chicken. In fact, Eddie’s is one of the few places that does chicken parm pizza the right way, with breaded chicken. While Temple may have a ton of potential places to stop for a bite, look no further than Eddie’s.
So Far Away – Pizza on the Edge of Town
With the holiday season fast approaching (don’t act like you haven’t seen the Christmas cards in Target), you may find yourself craving a slice far from Philadelphia and its fantastic pizza scene. Fear not, dear readers, for I have got you covered! For those of you who will make the trip to the Cherry Hill Mall, you’re only minutes from a pizza experience you’ve probably heard about on television but never experienced yourself. At 818 Haddonfield Rd, just around the corner from the mall, is Cici’s Pizza Buffet. For about seven bucks you have yourself unlimited pizza, pasta, breadsticks, salad, desert, and drinks. I first discovered Cici’s while living in Orlando and was beyond thrilled when one finally opened up in the Philly region. Should you decide to do some outlet shopping out in Lancaster county, you’re in luck. Not only are you near another Cici’s (2405 Covered Bridge Dr.), but also not too far from one of the best pizza places I’ve ever been to. In the world. Riviera Pizza is right off of exit 286 of the PA Turnpike on PA Route 272. Everything I said about Germantown Pizza is also true here, but Riv’s has the added bonus of seating. Speaking of added bonuses, if you do stop by and eat in the restaurant, you’ll get complimentary garlic knots with your pizza. To give you an idea of how much I like this pizza, I have ordered pies to go from Riv’s and driven them back to my apartment. In South Carolina. Now that’s some good pizza!
The Wind Cries Pizza
So, yes, bad pizza can still be pretty good, but no one should settle for anything less than the best. Certainly there are many more quality pizza establishments in the Philadelphia area, and you now have my opinion on where to find the best. I welcome any pizza joints you suggest so that I might try them out myself. Even if I didn’t mention your favorite place, give one of these pizza parlors a shot and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Take Me To The Pizza
Germantown Pizza – 215.232.0100 – 1517 N. 4th St. Phila, PA 19122
Marchiano’s Bakery – 215.483.8585 – 4653 Umbira St. Phila, PA 19127
Eddie’s Pizza – 215.763.8028 – 1835 N. 12th St. Phila, PA 19122 
Cici’s Pizza – 856.910.2424 – 818 Haddonfield Rd. Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Cici’s Pizza – 717.392.2740 – 2405 Covered Bridge Dr. Lancaster, PA 17602
Riviera Pizza & Restaurant – 717.336.3879 – 1405 N. Reading Rd. Reamstown, PA 17567

18 October 2010

PRIMER - Fall Beer Review

Click the image above to be taken to the full article on Primer Magazine's website. Read on for a few notes and quotes that I cut from the final article.

Magic Hat Hex
  • "What is fall about this?" Ashley
  • "The burp tastes better." Adam
  • "Tastes like water." Buddy
  • "Bland, unremarkable." Candy
Magic Hat Oktoberfest
  • "Tastes better when held in mouth longer." Mary
  • Ashley and Patrick noted a fruity, apple aroma.
Abita Pecan Harvest
  • "Tastes like disgusting." Debra
  • "Not good." Buddy
  • "Smells like poop. Pecan taste is failure. Tastes like dirty nuts." Mary
Flying Dog Dogtoberfest Marzen

  • "Spunky beer but with a solid taste." Debra
PBC Joe Coffee Porter
  • "Smells like Juan Valdez's dirty diaper. Tastes like bad coffee." Debra
  • "DON'T LIKE IT!" Charlie
Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale
  • "Smells like hop and barley sex." Patrick
  • "Smells terrific when first opened, taste reveals over-spicing." Debra
  • "Smells great, doesn't follow through on taste - needs more spice." Mary
  • "Great smell, good pumpkin flavor and after taste. One of the few beers to use pumpkin well." Charlie
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale
  • Alyssa noted hints of cinnamon while Debra and Charlie noted that it goes down nice and smooth.
  • "This smells happy." Patrick
  • Mary suggests that this beer is better when left to warm up a bit.
Paulaner Oktoberfest Marzen
  • "(It tastes) like someone butt-raped a hop." Andy
  • "If you are a hipster vampire, you will love this taste of iron blood beer." Alyssa
  • "I'd rather drink my own blood." Alyssa
  • "Disgusting after taste." Charlie
  • "Tastes like blood. I feel a growing aversion to garlic." Debra
  • "Tastes like a blood-flavored corn tortilla." Ashley
Blue Moon Harvest Moon
  • "I wish this beer was a snack so I could eat it." Patrick
  • "Good, but not fall enough." Adam
  • "It goes down easy and smooth but lacks motivation to continue with another bottle." Debra
  • "Rich and hearty with a full-bodied taste." Charlie
  • "(I) prefer Blue Moon, Harvest Moon is a fail." Alyssa
Magic Hat Odd Notion Fall 2010
  • "Great bouquet, watered-down flavor." Charlie
  • "Smells fruity but tastes watered-down. The smell is better than the taste." Patrick
  • "Apple jolly rancher smell, apple jolly rancher and plastic taste." Adam

05 October 2010

Mixtape Madness #2: The Dinner Party Mix

According to the novel High Fidelity the making of a good mix tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. Furthermore, a good mix is never finished. You never know when you will come across a song that changes the dynamic of the mix you just completed. There is a litany of intricacies to crafting the ideal mix no matter what the mix’s intended purpose should be. This feature is merely a guide on the cosmic highway of mix making, and while experienced, the writer does not claim to be an expert.

The Dinner Party Mix
There are few things more enjoyable in life than good company, a delicious meal, and the right selection of music to accompany it. While almost any Steely Dan album or the soundtrack from An Education usually fit the bill just fine, sometimes it's nice to liven things up with a little variety. In this particular mix, we try to mix together some of the classics with a few more modern tunes to deliver a classy and eclectic mix to accompany your dinner party.
1- “Scenic World" by Beirut
"Scenic World" opens with such a deep, rich sound it immediately strikes the listener as unique while still conveying a certain feeling of comfort and relaxation. This is one of the more modern songs on the mix, but it still manages to hold its own with some of the standards we'll hear later on.
2- “Red Rabbits" by the Shins
After the Shins exploded with the release of the Garden State soundtrack, I really enjoyed listening to them. For whatever reason, I did not come across this song until a couple of years later. The depth and vibrancy of "Red Rabbits" picks up right where "Scenic World" left off, and should fit in well as you and your guests finish off your appetizers.
3- “Sweet Nothins" by Brenda Lee
Just as your clearing the appetizers and making way for the main course, this fun little song pops up. I rediscovered this song after seeing An Education, and it fits well with the rest of the mix. It's a bit more upbeat than the first two songs, and it will certainly lighten the mood and pep  up the conversation at the dinner table.
4- “The Only Living Boy In New York" by Simon & Garfunkel
Although we just brought the tempo up on the last song, we tone it back down a notch with this mellow tune from Simon & Garfunkel. This will help lower the noise level as you serve the main course while providing a little background music as you and your guests put the conversation on hold to sample the meal.
5- “Coming Home" by Mel Tormé
Listen to this song and try and tell me there is a hipper, more swinging tune than this one. This song brings the tempo up without really raising the volume, and will most likely be a hit amongst your friends who are jumping into the 1960's craze caused by Mad Men.
6- “Volare" by Dean Martin
It would not be a dinner party without Dean Martin, and this is Dean Martin at his best. Your guests will be tapping their toes to this crooner's smooth melodies as they chomp down on the meal you prepared. This is especially good if you cooked an Italian meal.
7- “Backyard" by Guster
After a couple of classics, we're going to bring it back to a more modern feel with this song from Guster. Again, we bring the tempo up a bit, this time with a slight increase in volume. This song will flow nicely with the progression of the meal, the conversation, and the party as a whole.
8- “For Once In My Life" by Harry Connick, Jr.
"For Once In My Life" is such a happy, fun, and lovely little tune. It has that classic big band and crooner sound, yet is still technically modern as it was released in 2004. Fun Fact: Harry is halfway to his EGOT with three Grammy awards and one Emmy.
9- “I've Got You Under My Skin" by Frank Sinatra & Bono
Here's another song that bridges the gap between today's music and the classics. Bono's voice compliments the Chairman's surprisingly well, and this song is probably one of the best from Sinatra's many duets.
10- “Fall To Pieces" by Patsy Cline
Out of everything on this mix, this is one of maybe two songs that doesn't quite fit with the rest. I felt the need to include it because Patsy Cline has a fantastic voice, and this particular song provides a good example. It's also closer to a ballad, having a little less twang than a lot of her other songs, making it a good fit for your dinner party and adding to the eclectic nature of your music selection.
11- “Both Hands" by Ani DiFranco
This mix truly has a little bit of everything on it. "Both Hands" is a simple, yet amazingly beautiful, song that should come up right as dinner is ending. As you retire to the living room or bring out dessert, your guests will be sure to ask you about this acoustic performance so they can download it as soon as they get home.
12- “Everlong" by the Foo Fighters (Skin & Bones acoustic version)
"Everlong" is one of the greatest songs ever written. If you don't agree, it doesn't matter. Bob Dylan does. Dylan asked Dave Grohl to show him how to play "Everlong" so that Dylan could play it on tour. All of that aside, it truly is a beautiful song, and this acoustic version will fit right in with the rest of the tunes on your Dinner Party mix.
13- “C'est Si Bon" by Eartha Kitt
What better to accompany dessert than the sultry purr of Eartha Kitt (in French no less)? Well, I couldn't think of anything either, and hence this fun little classic makes its way onto the mix. Fun Fact: Eartha Kitt provided the voice for the villain Yzma in one of the best Disney movies, The Emperor's New Groove.
14- “Beyond the Sea" by Bobby Darin
Whether they know it or not, everyone loves this song. It serves as the perfect bridge between the last and next songs, creating the ideal atmosphere for coffee and conversation after dinner.
15- “The Bare Necessities" by Harry Connick, Jr.
Many of the Disney movies of the 1960's and 70's had a jazzy feel to them and were crying out for a big band cover. Leave it to Mr. Connick to give us just that. This is how "The Bare Necessities" was meant to be performed.
16- “Feeling Good" by Nina Simone
How will your guests feel after a marvelous meal and delicious dessert? They'll be feeling good. So when Nina Simone belts out these awesome lyrics, you're guests will know exactly how she feels.
17- “Wouldn't It Be Nice" by the Beach Boys
Like "Fall To Pieces," this doesn't exactly sound like the rest of the music on this mix, but like "Beyond the Sea," everyone likes this song whether they realize it or not. Everyone can empathize with this song on some level, and it's sure to leave smiles on your guests' faces.
18- “Sunday Kind of Love" by Etta James
With so many amazing singers represented, it would be remiss to forget Etta James. As much as I love "At Last," I feel like "Sunday Kind Of Love" fits the bill much better here while still displaying Etta's impressive pipes.
19- “Volare" by Ximena Sariñana
This song is optional, but let me explain while I include it. First of all, "Volare" is a fantastic song when sung well, as it is here. Secondly, almost everyone who has listened to it with me instantly imitates Ximena's voice, leading to a comedic note to end the mix on.
Once this mix ends, if the party continues, pop in some Benny Goodman or Glen Miller. You could also opt for one of the albums mentioned at the beginning of the article. Either way, enjoy your meal and enjoy the Dinner Party mix!

Check out our other Mixtape Madness mixes here!