“Thirsty Thursday:” A Philadelphian Tradition

Occasion: Happy Hour!

First thing first, Happy Thanksgiving! Last Thursday we highlighted some delicious holiday foods and wines, so today I am taking it back a few notches to one wine with a delicious pairing.

Few weeks ago I attended a happy hour with my husband and his co-workers. Fortunately for us, a Chickie’s & Pete’s Crab House and Sports Bar has just opened up in our area (Audubon). I’m relatively new to the Philadelphia area, so I have never had the pleasure of dinning at such an established Philly institution. This being the case, I allowed our host to order my food for me.

Before the food arrived, we ordered a customary round of drinks. Their wine selection was slim, which is to be expected because it IS a sports bar, but I wasn’t hugely disappointed. I could choose from a Rex Goliath Chadonnay, a Folonari Pinot Grigio, a Vendange White Zinfandel, and a Rex Goliath Merlot. White Zin’s are usually my fall back when I don’t know what to order, but my husband encouraged me to try a glass of the Folonari Pinot Grigio (only $5.50 a pop).

As described on their website, this wine is “juicy, with bright acidity and spicy notes of white pepper.” It was also crisp with a taste of apples. It was a great wine to enjoy on it’s own or paired. According to the website it pairs really well with shellfish, salads, fish, and antipasto. I think it paired deliciously with our first course at Chickie’s and Pete’s.

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Chickie's & Pete's for Happy Hour! Enjoying it with a glass of Folonari's Pinot Grigio

We started with their World Famous Crabfries which comes with two sides of their famous white creamy cheese sauce. They claim the fries are covered in a secret blend of spices and crab flavoring. My co-happy-hourers and I decided this “secret blend” tasted mostly like Old Bay Seasoning (but don’t tell your waitress that!). All the pictures I could find online of these fries shows them as crinkle cut fries, though the ones we ate were shoestring fries. I think the crinkle cut fries would hold more seasoning and would clearly be a better vehicle for the cheese sauce. Oh, was this cheese sauce amazing. It had the consistency of yellow nacho cheese, but tasted much closer to provolone cheese. I’m not sure if it was the crabby flavoring to the fries, but the Folonari Pinot Grigio slid so smoothly down with these fries.

Our second course is what Philadelphia is known for; the Cheesesteak. At Chickie’s and Pete’s this is defined as “Pete’s Philly Famous Cheesesteak.” On the menu it goes into further clarified as “a REAL cheesesteak made by REAL Philadelphians.” I’m going to make this food description short with the first statement of, I was highly unimpressed. The bread was good, not great. The meat was dry and stringy. Really the only thing that made it super edible was the amazingly, wonderful, white, gooey, cheese sauce. They really didn’t put enough of the cheese sauce on. After I licked my fingers from the delicious fries, I used the left over cheese sauce from the fries to drench the sandwich.

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Leftovers from the meal. Notice how all the delicious fries are missing!
Next time I’m ordering a basket of fries for myself, and two (maybe three!) glasses of this delicious wine. What a pair!

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