Here at CityEats, we wanted to get up close and personal with some of our favorite restaurant people. Going beyond what’s cooking in their kitchens, we want to know what’s going on at home – and what could be more intimate than scoping out someone’s refrigerator? So, in this series, we’ll take a look into the most sacred of spaces of some of the most talked about food people in the city.
This week, we caught up with one of the most beloved food writers in the city, Drew Lazor. Until just two weeks ago, Drew was at the City Paper covering Philly’s food scene (for the last seven years!). And his readers followed his word like gospel. Now that he’s moving on, and the days of Meal Ticket are behind him, we wanted to find out what’s in this food guru’s fridge and what’s on the horizon.
You’re the first food writer we’ve interviewed here on Fridge Raid. One thing that stands out to me is the organization of your fridge. Milk and hot-sauce get the same treatment?
Hot sauce is very important in our household. My favorite Southern-style hot sauce is Crystal. And then there’s the Sriracha. We usually have Cholula, too. The other one is some sort of habanero sauce, that’s really friggin’ spicy.
Your affinity for Asian store finds is well documented, and it seems to have taken over that whole second shelf. What do you have there?
A bunch of Asian ingredients: mirin, a chili dipping sauce that’s kind of like a duck sauce situation. And various fermented bean pastes. One’s funky and fermented, and the bean paste is on the sweeter side. I use it to make this pork soy sauce noodle dish. It’s like a Chinese bolognaise sauce with a mixture of bean sauce. The bean paste stuff never expires.
Now, I see some Café Estelle Bacon. I thought it was Chef Marshall Green’s scrapple they’re know for?
I loved his scrapple for a really long time. More recently I’ve been buying his bacon. I had some for breakfast this morning. It’s really good. Its got a great smoke.
I like that he’s not doing it because he’s showing off. He just does it because that’s his approach. Which is why it makes a place like Café Estelle so cool.
Do you buy it direct?
I got it at Green Aisle Grocery on East Passyunk. I can buy it in household portions.
Speaking of households, you and your girlfriend Michelle have a new addition, am I correct?
Toro. He’s a pit bull. A baby boy, a little over four months old. He’s still learning the basics.
And then there’s your cat…
We have two cats, Cleo and Riley. Cleo loves cat treats. Riley loves people food. He hates cat food. His favorites are Doritos and beef jerky. If I’m eating jerky and he’s upstairs he’ll run downstairs and claw at me until I give him some.
Foodie owner, foodie cat. Nice. Now, I’m seeing some beers in there. Did you get out much during Beer Week?
I stopped by a couple places. It’s a bit overwhelming for me, to be honest.
Beer is a staple of the fridge. A lot of the beer collection here is from friends stopping by: those are the wounded soldiers.
One of my buddies came over and brought over this banana bread beer. And every time people come over we try and get them to drink it. It’s been there for like a year. There’s a Christmas ale in there too.
But the Big Eye IPA is one of my favorite everyday drinking beers.
What else do you have going on in there?
That Buzz cola was a flag prop from the Simpsons movie. And every apartment we’ve lived in, Michelle has tried to throw it out. I don’t plan on ever opening it. I don’t even know what’s really in there.
So what else is good? Do you have any fun items stashed away in the crisper?
The eggs: I always get my eggs from Farm 51. They own their own farm stand on 51st Chester in Southwest Philly, where they sell their eggs and vegetables on Thursdays. It’s Neal Santos and Andrew Olsen, who’s a horticulturalist. He’s got a lot of experience with raising animals.
I read about urban chickens! But I hadn’t actually come across any. There was an article about salmonella and handling live chickens like raw chicken.
Yeah, I read that article. That’s alarmist. They know what they’re doing.
I hope that‘s not the last of the knowledge you’re going to bestow on us all. What are you working on now?!
I have a lot of different opportunities that I’m pursuing, both locally and nationally. In the meantime I’m freelancing, doing some work on Cook’s blog – recaps and cool photos. And I’ll have a piece in the Inquirer next week. I’m going up with Katz and them tomorrow to the James Beard House. There’s no shortage of different things to try.
Very cool. Keep an eye out for his Inky piece next week. And I’m certain that we won’t be seeing the last of him anytime soon; nothing but good things to come!
Thanks to Drew for letting CityEats raid your fridge.