Monthly Archives: January 2012

3rd Annual Philly Chili Bowl: Registration Form


Are you ready to show off your chili recipe skills at BigBite’s 3rd Annual Philly Chili Bowl? We think you are! Join us March 3rd at Fleisher Art Memorial and show us what you got, while benefiting Project H.O.M.E.!

Judges will name a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners and the audience will decide on the People’s Choice winner!

Speaking of judges, here is the lineup:

-Joe Bernstein, People’s Republic Food Truck

-Drew Lazor, CityPapers MealTicket food blog

-Emilio Mignucci, cheese monger and third generation owner of DiBruno Brothers

-Lily Cope, Executive Director, Audrey Claire’s COOK, a collaborative kitchen-classroom

-Kevin Sbraga, Season 7 Top Chef winner and owner of the new Sbraga restaurant

The Philly Chili Bowl will cap it’s registrants at 20. Registration is $10. We will need your registration form and payment in order to be counted in as part of the 20. Registration forms and payment are due by Friday, March 2nd. Download the registration form here: PCB Registration Form2012 (and email it back to us via the “submit by email” tab on the top right hand corner. If you have trouble with the form, please email us at

Once you are registered, rules and guidelines will be emailed to you. If you have any questions contact us at or 215-669-9663.

We hope that you can be part of this awesome event. It is going down on March 3rd!

For more  detailed information on the event click here.

-Team BigBite

Say Hi to Your Neighbor!

Nah, I’m not talking about the crazy lady that hoards cats.  I’m talking about Narragansett, the type of neighbor you’ll never need to report to the authorities.  ‘Gansett as they like to be referred, is the big beer (16 oz) that hails from the smallest state, with the longest name (The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.)  And on March 3rd, your  neighbors will be providing the suds for BigBite’s 3rd Annual Philly Chili Bowl!

The only beer with 'Gansett Girls

‘Gansett may be new to some of you, but they’ve been imbibing New Englanders since the late 1800’s.  Founded during the prohibition days, the brewery used to produce ginger ale, but discovered selling beer for medicinal purposes pulls in more bread than soda pop.  It didn’t take long for ‘Gansett’s refreshing taste to become the region’s number one beer, and they even enjoyed a 32 year long relationship as Boston Red Sox’s TV and radio sponsor.  Besides being a favorite among drinkers, the brewery also seemed like the ideal workplace, as employees were encouraged to drink while on the clock!  Talk about a dream job!!

BigBite's Phil$ holding his own 'Gansett girl auditions

‘Gansett has three main brews, Lager, Light, and Cream as well as seasonal ones like the Porter which is sure to provide a little heat this winter with its 7% alcohol content.  If you haven’t had the opportunity to drink America’s highest rated classic regional lager, feel free to say, “Hi neighbor!” And have a ‘Gansett March 3rd at Philly Chili Bowl.


Wanna enter Chili Bowl but don’t have a recipe?  Your new neighbors were kind enough to lend you one.

Sweet Potato Chili With Gansett Porter

Beer, chili, football …these are a few of our favorite things. Not all chili needs meat. Sweet potatoes are deliciously in season right now and with the holidays and football Sundays upon us we thought we’d share an excellent recipe from the archives. This one calls for Gansett porter in it as well. Just in time to warm you up. Enjoy this one tonight. It only takes about an hour with prep and you’ll need just one pot.


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

2 poblano peppers, cored and chopped

2 jalapeño peppers, diced

2 medium sweet potatoes, diced

3 large garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)

2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder

1 to 2 teaspoons sea salt

1 to 2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 to 2 teaspoons dried cilantro

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 bay leaf

2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes

1 (16-ounce) cans Gansett porter

1 (8-ounce) cup of fresh or frozen corn off the cob

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Juice of 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)

Garnishes: chopped fresh cilantro, green onion slices


Heat oil in a heavy large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add onion. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 to 15 minutes or until tender. Add peppers, jalapeño, and sweet potato; cook, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, and cook about 1 minute. Add chili powder and next 9 ingredients; stir and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, beer and corn. Simmer, uncovered, about 30 minutes. Stir in beans, and continue to cook 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf, and stir in lime juice. Garnish, if desired. Serves abouy 6 people and feel free to include your favorite sourdough bread or corn chips for dipping.

A Date with Strada Pasta

I was recently invited to a special sit-in dinner hosted by the cook of one of Philly’s most anticipated food carts: Strada Pasta.

Let me start by saying, hats off t0 Strada Pasta’s chef and owner  Andrew Gerson for hooking it up for a New-Years Eve pop-up dinner at his Mt. Airy commissary.

On the menu:

Along-side various new faces and foodies alike, we enjoyed the following:

The grilled smoked mozzarella with sweet pickled onions was fantastic and a great way to start the meal. It’s amazing how a simple addition like pickled onions can enhance a dish and this was especially the case here.  I wish I had more.

 The home-made minted gnocci was outstanding and extremely fresh. The mint was tasty yet subtle enough to let the gnocci, which was cooked in brown butter, stand alone. Very delish.

Another home-made banger was the pappardelle noodles with an oxtail ragu. The pasta was nicely cooked and the tomato sauce was super rich and flavorful.

To complete the meal, we were served one of my favorite custard desserts – canele, which sat over a nice orange-champagne sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds. Yum.

After this fine meal, I am even more anxious for Strada Pasta to open their food cart.  I’m always ready to eat some perfectly cooked pasta with fresh ingredients and bold flavors. We are definitely looking forward to see what else Andrew has up his sleeve.

While we wait for their cart to open, we highly recommend that you check the pop-up dinners by Strada Pasta by contacting them at



3rd Annual Philly Chili Bowl

Here it is. All you need to know about:

BigBite’s 3rd Annual Philly Chili Bowl!! Woop, woop!

Saturday, March 3, 2012it’s going down.
Fleisher Art Memorial: 719 Catherine Street. Free parking will be available.
4:00 pm for contestants, 5:30 pm for spectators.
$10 to enter the competition and a chance to be named the 3rd Annual Philly Chili Bowl winner! $5 to enter, eat, drink and judge the People’s Choice round.
We are capping our entrees at 20 competitors! Free beer is provided by Narragansett Beer and food will be included for all who attend. Competitors will get to showcase their culinary skills in front of several Philly notable restaurants chefs, critics and beyond! Winners will be announced between 6:30 and 7 pm. BigBite will be donating excess food from the event and a portion of the proceeds to Project H.O.M.E, a nonprofit organization that provides housing and services to chronically homeless men and women in Philadelphia. Let’s have a great time folks!!
The winner will be granted bragging rights for the year
Two seats at any upcoming class at Audrey Claire’s COOK
BigBite legendary trophy
A panel of friggin awesome judges will decide the three winners.  Judges on the panel include (more judges to come. Stay on the look-out):
Drew Lazor:
Resident judge and CityPaper’s MealTicket editor and blogger
Emilio Mignucci:
Third Generation owner of DiBruno Bros. and Philly cheesemonger.
Joe Bernstein:
Resident judge and owner of People’s Republic Food Cart
Lily Cope:
Executive Director, COOK
Kevin Sbraga:
Season 7 Top Chef Winner and owner of Sbraga 

Entry Requirement:
1. Completed entry form and payment must be received by Feb., 29th, 2012.
2. Each individual/team will cook 6 quarts of chili.
3. Each individual/team will donate their chili to the event for consumption as well as to Project H.O.M.E.
4. All chili must be made from scratch, before the event.
5. More details for contestants and rules will be shared once one has entered.

Get your registration form here! Registration closes March 2nd so getcha-getcha-getcha-getcha-getcha food on!

 Are you ready to Bowl?

Travel Bites: Venice

Oh the dreamy, beautiful, romantic little town known as Venice or Venise, or Venezia, or Venetia. If I could stay for months, I would. Such an absolutely lovely, unique and charming little city on water. I’m falling in love with it all over again as I type these words.

I recently had the chance to spend two perfect nights there. Besides all of the fabulous art, churches and shops, I of course also had the chance to get some good eats as well.

The first rainy night in Venice, my travel companion and I found a quaint little hidden gem in the dark streets of Venice. As many restaurants in Western Europe offer, we went for the prix-fixe full course option.  Here are some things that were worth mentioning in our travel bites.

I am still kicking myself for not documenting the most amazing clams I’ve had in a really long time. They were long rectangular-shaped crustaceans of heavenly goodness! Probably the best part of all the courses.  I guess I was too busy enjoying them to bother taking any pics.  But, the homemade pasta with yet more clams? Subtle, but scrumptious.

The beautifully crafted stuffed calamari was also damn delish. The stuffing was quite flavorful, consisting of sausage and seafood and very rich and sweet red sauce.

I had heard of their unusual specialty dish before getting there, and decided I had to try this intimidating local trademark. Squid in Ink Sauce is a popular local dish and it’s also pretty damn good. Not the prettiest thing to look at, since it is literally black, like, um…ink. We decided to make it friendlier though. Check out this cute and happy polenta dude with squid ink hair. I’m not usually a fan of polenta, but this combo was doing it right!

Day 2, our only full day in Venice, we killed it with an early dinner. Here’s the scene: early afternoon, sun is up, outside seating on a quiet street by the water with taxis and gondolas casually riding by, cool breeze on my face, with a nice glass of red wine making my lips a bit purple. What else could you ask for??

That’s right! More ink! This particular squid ink in pasta was straight up bomb. I can’t wait to go back for this local specialty.

Now, if only I could find the notes where I wrote down the names and addresses of these places! My bad.


We Did It – Drunken Gummy Bear

Two weeks ago we posted about an amazing idea – the Drunken Gummy Bear. We said we would try the recipe and we damn sure did.

Apparently, when we decided to get these bears it happened to be National Gummy Bear Day, because we couldn’t find any!! So, we went with the next best thing: Gummy Lifesavers.

The recipe is simple. All thats needed is gummies (preferably bears) and a liquor of choice.

 Bring them both together in a glass bowl and pour the liquor in until the liquor is covering 75-80% of the gummies…

Refridgerate them for five days, occasionally stirring, and BOOM!!! Ya done.And…um…yes…they grow in size because they really soak the booze up.

Get the full recipe here.

Please eat your candy responsibly and designate a non-alcoholic candy eater if you are going to be driving.


Mofongo Night

So before I post this island goodness, you might as well play this while reading. It’ll just add to the essence of the meal.

BigBite loves to eat and compete…but we can also get down in the kitchen. Here’s a recap of one of our latest homemade dinners which we  call Mofongo Night.

Mofongo, the signature dish of Puerto Rico, is a unique mash-up of fried plantains, garlic, olive oil and pork rinds. You can eat it as is, but can enhance your experience by adding meat, seafood or vegetables, usually in a broth. Traditionally it is served in a pilón, or mortar and pestle. Since we had a few guests, we skipped the pilón and just made mofongo “balls”.

To accompany the mofongo we made a seafood stew, consisting of squid, shrimp, mussels, baby squid, tilapia, scallops, veggies, and Spanish seasonings and ingredients in a tomato-wine-stock broth. 

We also made pernil (slow roasted pork). Pernil is also a signature dish in Puerto Rico. It’s made for special events, holidays, birthdays…Wednesdays…Ok, its pretty common to the Rican diet. We love pork! It’s slow roasted in Spanish seasonings, until the skin is nice and crispy! 

As always in a Puerto Rican meal, there was rice & beans and sweet plantains to add to your plate. 

Just writing this makes me want to eat and make this dinner all over again.…and I will…

Recipes to come!