Thanks Drew for your insight on Philadelphia! :)
1. How long have you worked for the CityPaper?
I started at CP in 2006, right after graduating from La Salle University. I did an internship as a college senior, which was when I began writing Feeding Frenzy, the print column about restaurant openings I still write today. I was an assistant when I started; nowadays, I oversee our food/drink coverage in print, our food blog Meal Ticket and various special publications, in addition to web/social media duties. I also review crappy movies (anything with ninjas, vampires, aliens, zombies or Jason Statham) for CP's movies section.
2. Was food/drink something you were always interested in or did it happen by chance?
My entire family is very passionate about food and cooking so it's always been something I've loved to learn about. My dad has an Irish and Slovakian background so we had a lot of awesome dishes to those ends growing up, while my mom's from the Philippines, where food is a bigbigbig deal. While I didn't set out to land a job in food writing (just writing in general), I'm very lucky and happy that it worked out this way.
3. How long has Meal Ticket been in production?
We launched Meal Ticket in October of 2008 because there were just way too much Philly food/drink stories out there to tackle in print alone.
4. Do you have a large part in Meal Ticket?
Very large...maybe too large, as I'm constantly obsessing over it! I'm the editor, so I work with our restaurant critic Adam Erace, plus our awesome interns Katie Linton and Alexandra Weiss. I also write stuff for it a bunch.
5. Do you see yourself reviewing food outside of City Paper? Have you?
One distinction about my current job is that I don't consider myself a food critic or reviewer — I cover food/drink as comprehensively as I can, but I'm not the guy who tells you whether or not XYZ restaurant's sweetbreads suck or not. That's Adam Erace! But I'm the guy who picks the restaurants that Adam goes to for his writeups. As far as food writing outside CP goes, I've contributed work to Saveur.com, Zagat and others.
6. In your opinion what is the best restaurant in Philadelphia?
I get this question all the time and I can't answer it! There's no such thing as the best anything. There are dozens of places that I love and I don't think there's any value in "ranking" places above or below one another. What's the point? How about I just name five places I personally love? In no particular order:
- Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House
- Vic Sushi
- Wah Gi Wah
7. What has been the weirdest food you've tried?
I love to try new things. Weirdest off the top of my head is probably the grasshopper tacos I ate a few years ago when chef Dionicio Jimenez was still at Xochitl. They were good!
8. Do you cook on your own or go out to eat?
I really love cooking but I'll admit I don't do it as often as I should — there's always a new spot to get to. Last couple things I've made...braised chard, pan-seared trout, dill scrambled eggs, roast chicken (and chicken noodle soup), nachos. Easy stuff.
9. Any restaurants your looking forward to in 2012?
Absolutely! I'm looking forward to the Italian beer bar Alla Spina, the izakaya coming to Queen Village, the BYO Russet, Ramen Boy in Chinatown, Pizza Brain in Fishtown and a bunch more.
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