Call the Food Network, Port Richmond Podcaster Nicole Yates Is Onto Something!
In 2013, Nathan Roman Kuruna and his wife, Teagan, launched the first-ever Philadelphia Podcast Festival. The city’s podcast scene was small then, with 12 radio-savvy hosts laying down the internet groundwork for what would become a quick-growing community of indie digital-audio storytellers.
Now in its fourth year, Kuruna reports that 33 local podcasters have signed up to participate in the festival. For the annual event, podcasters take their shows out of the online oblivion and allow listeners a chance to put a face to their audio and catch them daringly unedited. The fest has even expanded to four venues — Tattooed Mom, Art Church, Moonshine and Amalgam Comics — and two back-to-back weekends (Aug. 19–21 and 27–28).
For the fest’s first weekend, we hit Frankford Ave.’s Amalgam Comics to catch the raw action. The comic book-flooded venue acting as the backdrop for seven live podcasts including Port Richmond’s own “DidjaEat?” hosted by stand-up comic and six-year food blogger, Nicole Yates. The 40-year neighborhood vet took to the stage with a select group of equally funny guests to talk food memories, Wawa vs. Sheetz and regional culinary stalwarts. The food-blabbing crew even underwent a live taste-test of gimmicky foods that are currently hitting grocery aisles.
Of Yates’ guest host posse, we became acquainted with Philly comedians Aubrie Williams and Samantha Russell and BenFM & WMMR DJ and Northern Liberties resident Kristen Herrmann. The female pack, each with seemingly unique food quirks and obsessions, barreled through an hour-long discussion that was cushioned with Yates’ questions that were targeted for the always-hungry. “What summer foods have you enjoyed this season” and “what one dish did/does a member of your family do best?” were floated out among the many.
Yates started the podcast two years ago as an offshoot of her food blog with the same name. “Food makes the world go round,” she said in response to sticking with a talking-food shtick for her podcast. “At first, the podcast was just about food,” she said. “Now, I talk to people I find interesting — but food is still always in there.”
The “DidjaEat?” podcast has hosted an impressive guest list through its short two years, including NYC’s Katz Delicatessen owner Jake Dell, the Grey Lodge Pub’s Mike “Scoats” Scotese, Miss Rachel’s Pantry’s Rachel Klein and Tony Luke Jr.
Food snobs, be warned: this podcast takes a lighter approach. “While I am extremely serious about a small number of things, I don’t take anything seriously — including myself,” said Yates. “While I love food, almost to a fault, I also like to find the fun in it and that’s just like in my stand-up, where I go with the silliness in everyday life. When I started the podcast, I figured I would just be me and the humor came along for the ride.”
During the live podcast, Yates and troupe busted out good-humored topical discussions like drawing the comparison of Wawa to Democrats and Sheetz… “well, that gets into Trump territory,” Yates remarked. We discovered that it is possible to eat 25 of Charlie’s Hamburgers, a Delaware County staple, in a weekend and that you could identify bread and butter pickles as the “General Tso’s chicken of the pickle world.” We even learned it is possible to have an embarrassing collection of Hi-C Ecto Cooler “like you’re saving it for a Ghostbuster apocalypse” and apple butter is just plain confusing. “It’s not a butter, it’s a jam,” they collectively said. Then, there was one of the sweeter moments of the podcast, about Yates’ grandmother having made one of the planet’s best German potato salads. “It had big chunks of bacon — that’s why she is dead,” she chuckled.
If you’ve spied Key Lime Pie Oreo cookies, maple bacon or Orange Crush Pop-Tarts or feta-flavored Wise Kettle Cooked Chips and were curious how they tasted, you’ll have to tune into The DidjaEat?’s episode for the cast’s pro review. You can also catch all Yates’ 21 episodes on iTunes (search “The DidjaEat? Podcast”) or visit didjaeat.com.
You can still catch the second weekend of the Philly Podcast Festival, unfolding Aug. 27–28. For the full schedule, visit www.phillypodfest.com. •