The Philadelphia Diet

Illustrator Hawk Krall Freezes His Beans and Drinks Mind-Blowingly Good Beers From Wisconsin

Hawk Krall
Hawk Krall Photo: Courtesy Hawk Krall

Illustrator Hawk Krall says he can’t even come up with a ballpark estimate of how many hot dogs he’s consumed since he started doing his “Hot Dog of the Week” for Serious Eats two years ago. “It could be hundreds,” is his best guess. Though his illustrations most often depict hot dogs and other junk food staples, Krall’s palate is much more sophisticated. His years working on the line at Georges Perrier and Stephen Starr restaurants built upon the foundation his mother, a former food stylist, nurtured when he was growing up by bringing him along to photo shoots. While working in restaurants he moonlighted as a freelance illustrator, coming up with humorous drawings for alt-weeklies and magazines. Then one day he got a call to do some food illustration. “I remember thinking this could be a way to make a career out of it,” Krall told Grub Street. “And eventually it worked.” He says it’s now “pretty much [his] number one thing.” Check out how many hot dogs he put away and everything else he ate this week in today’s edition of the Philadelphia Diet.

Thursday, June 23
Thursday is usually the day I have to catch up on a week’s worth of procrastination which means whatever’s fast and convenient.

For breakfast I walked over to Artisan Boulanger for coffee and one of their sausage egg and cheese croissants. I love that they use neon orange cheap-o American cheese, so it sort of tastes like a Dunkin Donuts sandwich but on the most delicious fresh baked croissant ever.

Also there was an awesome old French guy talking to the owner, and in walks this older tracksuit South Philly guy who tries to talk to them in Spanish, and they start arguing “no espagnole!” I love this place.

Lunch (around 3:00) was homemade horseradish chicken salad on Artisan Boulanger Baguette and some Di Bruno’s half-sour pickles.

Dinner was white rice, beans, collards and kale from my CSA (Lancaster Farm Fresh - great so far, so many greens, good thing I like greens) vinegar slaw, and two glasses of Old Overholt Rye.

Friday, June 24
For breakfast I had iced coffee, scrambled eggs with red potatoes and collard greens (from the CSA again).

For lunch I ate a Gilbert’s Craft Sausage Hot Dog, cooked in iron skillet with onions, and topped with cream cheese and pickles.

Gilbert’s is an awesome new hot dog and sausage company in Wisconsin that sent me a huge shipment of hot dogs to experiment with. I’m doing some recipes and artwork for their website. This was not an official recipe; just lunch!

Dinner was take out from Pie Wei: lettuce wraps, dan dan noodles (tastes more like lo mein) and various spring rolls and fried things. Maybe a notch better than corner store chinese food.

I washed it down with lots of Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. Even though it has nothing to do with “real” Shandy, it’s definitely my new favorite beer. It’s also from Wisconsin, which seems to be blowing up. Every other new microbrew or mind-blowingly authentic regional hamburger I read about is from Wisconsin.

Saturday, June 25
I had a late hangover breakfast from El Jarocho (13th & Ellsworth). I always get the “Jarocho Style Eggs” with a massive pool of refried beans over cheese wrapped crispy tortillas; a big pile of sauteed onions and hot peppers, over easy eggs; side of chorizo; side of tortillas; and that crazy pink hot sauce they serve with everything. Definitely my favorite spot for Mexican breakfast that I’ve found in Philadelphia so far.

On Saturday night our friend Caroline Russock (who also writes for Serious Eats) cooked up a bunch of stuff from The Japanese Grill (cookbook by Tadashi Ono & Harris Salat) for her “Cook The Book” column. Everything was awesome — Japanese Burgers with Wasabi Ketchup, Grilled togarashi chicken wings, red miso skirt steak, and Korean “Kalbi-style” short ribs.

Sunday, June 26
For breakfast I had eggs and leftover skirt steak

And for dinner I had a salad with romaine lettuce, herbs from the garden and more CSA vegetables — white cucumber, roasted beets, etc. Oh and the rest of that horseradish chicken salad.

Monday, June 27
For breakfast, I ate a granola bar, and had some coffee.

I biked down to Home Depot on Oregon Ave. at lunchtime, and checked out Amato’s Deli at 16th and Pollock (deep south Philly, right by the highway). It’s a nice neighborhood spot, with a Classic Italian Hoagie on the seeded bread. It’s good stuff! I will definitely be back; they have a crazy menu with items like “The Ugly Bitch” (chicken cutlet, mozz, onions,spinach, bacon)!

That night for dinner I made quinoa, steamed collard greens, braised beans (I cook dried beans and keep them in the freezer for such occasions) with a few scraps of leftover skirt steak.

Illustrator Hawk Krall Freezes His Beans and Drinks Mind-Blowingly Good Beers