Columnist Caitlin Weigel is back with her guide to recreating restaurant dishes in the comfort of your own home.
Before we go any further in this column, there are a few things you should know about me right off the bat.
No. 1: While the old adage says diamonds are a girl’s best friend, I would say a fork is more likely this girl’s best friend. I am a straight up food fiend. While most girls can wax on about their outfit for tomorrow’s party, I can go on for hours about what I had for lunch.
I skip over the fashion blogs and spend the majority of my time salivating on my keyboard as I peruse online food-porn websites. Diamonds may be forever sure, but in my case, my appetite is the only thing that seems eternal.
No. 2: I’m insanely cheap. I think we all fall into that category – college students aren’t known to be big spenders. But I’m a little more extreme than most.
I scoff at price tags in Target and will only shop at the Salvation Army on half-off Wednesdays. It breaks my heart to part with dead presidents, and I am constantly on the prowl for deals.
It’s the intersection of these two areas of obsession in my life that have provided the inspiration for this column.
Philadelphia has a ridiculous amount to offer in the food realm. There’s no shortage of places to grab grub. And while I am much more likely to drop $20 on a decent meal than a new skirt, I still wouldn’t mind saving a few bucks.
You know what’s cheaper than schlepping down to Center City and having some strangers make your chow for you? Staying at home and cooking for yourself.
You know what’s a good way to potentially burn down your house or, at the very least, end up eating a charred version of your favorite recipe? Staying at home and cooking for yourself.
It’s a tough call, but it’s one I’m going to help you make.
Each week, I’ll highlight a favorite eatery in the city, telling you what’s on the menu and if it was any good; then I’ll talk about my experience attempting to recreate the dish at home.
Please let it be known I am no Julia Child. The only thing the Barefoot Contessa and I have in common is our disdain for footwear.
I have a set of mix-matched thrift store pots and a Google search history that includes “how to boil eggs” and “banana peels + edible.” I’m going to be completely honest when detailing my cooking (mis)adventures. And rest assured, if I can do it, anyone can.
The eats I review will range from breakfast joints to Thai to tapas, all within a college price range. The cheats will chronicle my attempt to cook the same meal at home.
At the end, I’ll let you know if it’s worth going out or staying in, based on the price and availability of ingredients, ease of recipe and likelihood of making your whole apartment smell like something you may have found baking in a dumpster behind a nursing home.
So pull on your lobster bibs and plop one of those goofy white chef hats atop your noggin. We’re eating our way through Philly this semester, all the while making friends with our frying pans. Fingers crossed for minimal visits from the fire department.
Caitlin Weigel can be reached at email@example.com.