Condolences to the family and friends of Sam Mickey from Morning Glory, the sunshiny diner on S. 10th Street. Mickey passed quietly after a long bout with cancer. Very quietly. So quietly that many of us in the same neighborhood as Morning Glory didn’t know about this until Fergus Carey (another neighbor of Morning Glory) said as much. When Glamorosi and I first moved into the Italian Market, Morning Glory was our kitchen away from home. Carey mentioned that there is a good chance that the folk from the Glory will put on a benefit in Mickey’s name hosted by manager Jenny Greer on June 8 with its monies going to the Wellness Center. Stay tuned.
Tonight tonight, just like the song from West Side Story goes, Friday May 25, is the evening that Hop Sing Laundromat, Chinatown’s nearly hidden gem, opens according to Eater this morning. Drinks will cost you ten bucks — cash (this weekend only).
Before they play Jay Z’s Made in America fest in Philly, localite Meek Mill and his boss Rick Ross drop “So Sophisticated” here.
You say you’re itching for another film festival? The always be-scarved Thom Cardwell informed me, while dining at La Veranda’s 25th anniversary dinner, event that QFest 2012 will run July 12-23. “We’re not ready to announce any details of films, celebrities, award recipients or guests, yet,” he said while fiddling with his scarfy pocket square, as you can see from my accompanying photo. Stay silken, T.
Lo these many months that Spruce Street Coffee/Espresso has been closed (it only moved a block away to a longer building with higher ceilings and re-named itself Odd Fellows Café), we kept waiting to see what would move into the old 11th Street spot. Ta da — it’ll become an as-yet-unnamed juice bar. Real juice, not weird euphemism juice. Hmm.
I’m not so sure this week’s liquor license announcement for the Pump House — I mean, the Live Arts/Fringe Center on Columbus Blvd with Nick Stuccio and Fergie as its heads — is news, as we announced this last August. But it’s fun.
The first Brewerytown Arts and Crafts Festival is May 12, noon-4 p.m. You can check out some of the artisans that organizers Priscilla Molina and Rob Hanlon gathered together here wgbabrewerytown.com or take my word for it and know that Andre Wright — a neighborhood guy running a youth athletics basketball mentoring program — is displaying, as is Kiki Hall of Diva Ears Arts and Bee Vintage.
Oh, meth. It makes a fool of us, especially those who deal it. This story tells a sad tale, especially when you consider that we know at least one of the ring’s high profile traffickers: Joseph “Phoenixx” Croxton — Ms. Phoenixx to ya’ll — whose mug shot is on DJ Shok’s site. I am hearing/seeing through the FB grapevine a whole lot of comments have been bitchily reveling in what may be considered a “gotcha” glad-yer-busted moment for Phoenixx, strong feelings for a guy who seemingly was happiest in heavy pancake make up. Remember though, drugs don’t need a dealer. They sell themselves. On a stranger note, I hear that Shok is trying to sell a bunch of techno-disco that he recorded with Phoenixx way long ago. Cute.
Daisy Dukes contests. Mechanical bulls. Yeehah, right? That’s Johnny Utah’s is all about. The big U is finally hunkering down on the 400 block of N. Third Street starting Thursday night. Giddy up.
Though there are a lot of couture foods and fooderies that I might find fault with (despite the glory that is Underdogs, I’m still uncomfortable about designer hot dogs), I’m tickled ice pink about Lil’ Pop Shop. The 44th and Spruce eatery is an artisinal frozen popsicle shop with flavors, so far, like Peanut Butter Curry, Cherry Lambic and Strawberry Rhubarb Lemonade. Yes, I approve — anything in a popsicle. Hell, meth in a popsicle is good.
ICEPACK ILLUSTRATED: BBQ clams casino with chorizo sausage, beef brisket with smoked oxtail, wicked pulled pork sliders with bacon bits, etc.
We need to play around with the top of Icepack Illustrated’s usual spring supper previews this week due to a special announcement. Eve, the one-time-Gilly’s Jeans-employee-turned-Ruff Ryder-rapper-turned-fashion-icon-turned-television-star hasn’t made a record in a minute or played many shows. Here I Am was supposed to be out in 2007 with production from Swizz Beatz and Pharrell Williams and songs featuring Eve’s singing rather than just her raps. But delays from her label interfered and everything was on hold, supposedly, until now with some of Here I Am’s tracks being readied for 2012 release (is the new album called Flirt?). Anyway, she’s playing Kung Fu Necktie on May 9 early (like 6 p.m.), sponsored by Reebok Classics. There’s an RSVP list floating around. Good luck.
Abington-based actor Daniel Spink, brother of film producer J.C. Spink (The Hangover) hasn’t just been busying himself filming From the Head with Matthew Lillard. Dan’s got his own song and music video up on YouTube and Yahoo — “The Carlton Dance” named for the geek on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air — and enlisted folk such as Ron Jeremy, Chris Evans (The Avengers), Rex Lee (Entourage), Stacy Keibler and David Hasselhoff (the star of Spink’s Don’t Hassel the Hoff) to show their faces. Check it.
Mike Cristaldi of Suzanne Roberts Theater fame and the GM of all that is Underground Arts and Underground Eats just told me that the liquor license is set in stone, the in-house restaurant is nearly ready to start firing, and that they’ve got a stand-up comedy Wednesday that’s sure to be ticklish. To test drive the kitchen, this Sun., May 6 at 2 p.m., UA is running The Philadelphia Sandwhich Experiment with Theo Peck and Nick Suarez as hosts/bosses and the professional likes of Tony Luke Jr., Michael Solomonov and Emilio Mignucci joining Philly’s sammich-making amateurs for a shot at a national cook-off title to be held at Brooklyn Brewery several months from now.
Get there and stay there at the UA until the night’s next event (but pay separate admissions, sneak) when the Peekaboo Revue host their “LAS VEGAS and BUSTed FUN-Raiser” at 6 p.m. This is the trip that they’ve been Kickstarting for awhile as Peekaboo needs the cash to pay for their bus trip to Vegas to compete for the heralded titled of “Best Troupe” at the Miss Exotic World/Burlesque Hall of Fame. Pay it in.
And before we leave the bun-and-meat world too far behind, remember that the Philadelphia Burger Brawl is May 6, 3 p.m., at everyone’s favorite sandwich emporium Fleisher Art Memorial, 719 Catharine St. Jen Carroll, Jason Cichonski and Matt Levin are amongst the artists who’ll be spreading ketchup and ground beef across the gallery’s walls. Click here.
ICEPACK ILLUSTRATED: Sbraga springs, Carroll pops, mrCharlie reunites with Randy Alexander and Rocky Horror returns to TLA
Since Icepack Illustrated’s top graph has become home to spring’s top restaurant tastings, what better place to start this week than Bravo network Top Chef victor Kevin Sbraga and the victorious spring tasting menu he previewed on Monday night at his namesake joint on Broad Street. Acting as host and exec chef, Sbraga introduced each item and its primary ingredients. Since Monday night was damp and freezing, it made sense that Sbraga started with his creamy peppery and honeyed (yes, honeyed) fois gras soup poured atop crushed rose petal relish. The deep fried green tomatoes with cumin crème fraiche, cherry tomatoes, dill and feta was paired with the most tenderly spongy sweetbreads I’ve ever eaten. The secret to that last dish was the buttermilk. The seared scallop with crispy pork belly, shaved jalapeno atop watermelon with tabouleh made with quinoa (rather than bulgar wheat which really made all the difference), mint and cilantro had the heat and the sweet. The thick rich meatloaf patty topped with marmalade came with several forms of asparagus (shaved raw, blanched, pureed) rather than the winter’s heavy potato usual, and the whole meaty affair was feathery, light and luscious. The dessert was Sbraga’s wife’s new special Orange Creamsicle dish with chilled yogurt mousse and several fresh layers of orange variations like granita. Despite this week’s winter chill, spring just got hotter.
That same Monday night, Top Chef alum and current star of Life After Top Chef for Bravo, Jen Carroll, held a pop-up event at David Katz’s Meme on Spruce Street in order to test drive possible menu items for her soon-to-debut Concrete Blonde eatery. Those of you paying attention will recall that two weeks ago I wrote that Carroll and her investors had honed in on the now-vacant Marathon space on 13th and Chestnut for C-Blonde, mere doors from her previous employ, 10 Arts at the Ritz Carlton. Word has it at present that the deal for the Marathon spot has fallen through (we called Carroll who hasn’t returned our message) but that Jen was getting anxious to try out her Blonde menu items, hence the pop-up. Carroll brought along Top Chef bud Spike Mendelsohn, her 10 Arts’ collaborators Monica Glass (on dessert duty) and Aaron Gottesman and fed local restaurant owners Rob Wasserman (Rouge), Tamar and Steve Olitsky (Table 31) and Jon Gosselin.
Speaking of pop ups, the Philly Art Alliance has had a busy week to speak of — Nic Elmi’s sweet-as-pie Rittenhouse Tavern opened inside the Alliance’s hallowed halls, Jared Miller’s second “Craft of” tasting hits the Alliance on April 29, and Harshita Designs’ wearable art for men and women starts its pop-up run April 27. The Harshita crew will be at PAA until May 3 and they’re selling tunics. Tunics, I tell you.
Mancation, that dopily romantic flick that N’Sync-er Joey Fatone and Wonder Years’ Danica McKellar shot in Philly last year (Frank Vain directed, Tommy Avallone and Derek Linderman amongst others produced) just got picked up by Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s Grindstone home entertainment division. Cheggout MancationMovie.com for info.
Last year, the good folks at Live Nation’s Theater of the Living Arts department began discussing the revival of its much-loved Midnight Movie schedule, a large factor in the original TLA’s success with a young projectionist named Ray Murray (from TLA Films/Entertainment and Artsploitation, neither of which has anything to do with TLA, the venue). In the early ’80s, Rock n’ Roll High School was a big screen fave. Hair too. Yet, nothing was as a smash success or had a more interactive toast-tossing audience and sell out showings as the legendary Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings at midnight. A little inquiry into whom might be the best aptly-dressed cast to play Frank N. Furter, Biff, Magenta and Rocky on stage while the film un-spooled behind them has yielded Philly’s own Transylvania Nipple Productions Co., a troupe that has done their Horror show at the William Way Center, Club HP and campus gatherings at Drexel and Tyler. Catch the Nipple on April 28 at 11:30 p.m.
Looks like Icepack Illustrated started a trend with the notion of spring menu tastings. Last week it was Davio’s and this week it’s Sansom Street’s hottest mod-Greek eatery Opa that unfurled bits of its new seasonal menu from exec chef Andy Brown and owners George and Vasiliki Tsiouris. The zesty oil and wine braised grilled artichoke with shaved bottarga offered one of Opa’s sole nods to old world Greek traditionalism with its use of ladolemono sauce. Plump mussels done in a tomato saffron citrus broth were heavenly and the date-n-raisin emulsion surrounding the duck confit was the perfect balance of sweet and savory. And the dessert, a strawberry foam and Greek yogurt cup with crumbled pistachio wasn’t even on the menu yet. Brown served it to my wife/photographer Glamorosi and me before he had even presented it to the Tsiouris fam. We were Brown’s test subjects for a dessert inspired by Opa’s Stacey Lyons who had given the chef a foam maker for his birthday. Here’s hoping that strawberry foam jawn made it onto Opa’s spring menu. It was perfect.
A night with Rover — Lee Jones’ floating Monday DJ jawn — at Liberties reminded me of what I had written ages ago: changes would come sooner than later to the 700 Club’s neighbor on N. Second Street.
As we mentioned several weeks back, Southwest Philadelphia gets its own piece of the Philly-filming pie starting next week when the USA Network’s Political Animals starring Sigourney Weaver, Carla Gugino and newly-announced costar Ellen Burstyn starts to roll. Gugino and Weaver were already spied supping together at Le Castagne the other night. The series has to shoot fast as it’s scheduled for a July start.
Davio’s on S. 17th Street had a spring menu tasting the other day that acted, in part, as a re-introduction to the Northern Italian steakhouse/ restaurant’s finery both in dining and décor. The trip through Davio’s was such a delight in every way it made you forget that the headache-inducing G Lounge was in the same building. While suave GM Ettore Ceraso spun us through Davio’s physical amenities like its skyline patio area overlooking the city and its fireplace-lined private dining spaces (these rooms were originally a Provident Bank’s offices) executive chef David Boyle concerned himself with our culinary needs. The braised lamb shank with white bean ragu and the sautéed branzino with white asparagus and mussel jus were both melt-in-yer-mouth tender. The grilled pork chop with Brussels sprouts and crispy pancetta were caveman-huge and tasty. And for anyone who dug the appetizer tray — stuff like the Philly Cheese Stheak Spring Rolls — they are now available as frozen food takeaways — no way. Plus Davio’s has a killer celeb chef/author dinner series that starts April 30 with Andy Husband’s talking and cooking from Wicked Good Barbecue (215-563-4810 to snag seats). Next up May 21 is John Mariani from Esquire mag who will chat, but hopefully not cook from How Italian Food Conquered the World.
Nearly as tasty, twice as sweet and certainly as complex is Philly’s psych-pop dramatists Cheers Elephant who have cobbled together their first ever video, “Doin’ It Right” which gets it debut courtesy The Owl magazine this week. See it here. Their debut disc, Like Wind Blows Fire, drops May 8 with two cool shows around it — a day-of-release gig at the Apple Store on Walnut Street (iTunes release show) and Kung Fu Necktie (with The Spinto Band) on May 29.
While the rumored chef Jen Carroll takeover of the recently-vacated Marathon at 13th and Chestnut for Concrete Blonde (see Icepack in print citypaper.net/agenda/2012-04-12-icepack.html) floats in mesquite-scented air, another rumor has found a very possible answer: the 344 South Street space that has been in its time several different clothing shops, is set to become an upscale whiskey, beer and wine spot — a swell addition to Copa Banana’s already block-long monopoly. Apparently ownership says that every weekend, the Copa gets requests for good whiskies, wines, scotches, bourbons and beers so they grabbed the vacated spot and are currently orange-tag awaiting its “extension in premises” license. Word is the space is called Redwood.
Mistress Kiki Berlin is a doyenne of the burlesque and strip scene, a goddess of the peel-n-giggles. She’s starting her new not-so-regular series with Drugbunny Booking, the Wet Panty Party, on April 18 at the home of burlesque, The Troc with a load of special guests. Get damp. Wear PJs. Also, it’s nice to hear that Drugbunny’s John Cecil Price’s other gig, The Baptist Preachers, will soon be collaborating (on record, for shows) with The Roots’ all-local mouthpiece rapper/rocker Dice Raw. They met up at that Whiskey Tango gig that Nikki Jean was to host two weekends back (then didn’t show for, leaving Raw to fill in) and hit it off nicely.
Is Hal Real, owner of the two World Café Lives in West Philly, PA and Wilmington, DE looking to build a third sooner than later? We’re hearing that the answer is yes and that the ink is slowly drying on a singular location.
The wired-weird and wooly Busses — Dave Brett, Jason Bachman, Nick Apice — didn’t just make their next two songs, “Metal” and “Shangri-La,” a single available for free download at their website. They streeeeetched the two tunes into an EP (for “extra peculiar”?) that they’ll give away at a Johnny Brenda's record-release bash this Friday, April 6, with Break It Up on the bill. Mwhahaha.
We don’t know what her connection is to the Philly-famous Rocky Balboa is but native New Yorker Rene Lopez, in honor of the boxing movie’s 35th anniversary, lensed a video for her new single “Shing-a-ling Is What I Bring” inspired by Rocky. Me. I’m lensing a video based on Mean Streets.
Matt Levin is testing his lunches at Square Peg, April 5, 11 a.m. Jewish wedding soup, a duck club (which I once belonged to) and his usual fried chicken with, wait for it, Kool-Aid pickled watermelon are on the big lunch board.
Tiger Strikes Asteroid gallery member Michael Macfeat with the curatorial aid of TSA’s Terri Saulin brings his new Bar Sinister exhibition of color bar prints and sculptures to the Tiger April 6. He’s a bibliophile, so expect some crowded frames.
Couple of weeks ago it was a shell — pictures of the Flyers on its walls, some brushed silver, lots of concrete. I wore a hard hat. Now, just in time, for the E Street Shuffle, XFINITY Live! Philadelphia is open with its main dining rooms (Broad Street Bullies Pub, Professional Bull Riders Bar & Grill, Philly MarketPlace, Victory Beer Hall) intact and overseen by executive chef Christopher Stevens who’ll focus on XL!P’s Spectrum Grill chophouse. Is it everybody’s cup of tea? Yes, quite literally when you consider it’s a mass-market joint geared for folk heading to ball-n-puck soirees and concerts. If you expected Mario Batali’s Eataly, you were wrong. The guy who helped put this together, Xfinity Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider is getting the President’s Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Maryland on April 14, a prize presented to U/M alums outstanding in their field. Snider graduated from College Park in 1955.
The Philly wall of noise that is Ugh God and Rasputin’s Secret Police take over Kung Fu Necktie on March 29. Bring your earmuffs. Not for the sonic boom. It really is still chill out you know.
Philly’s Christian Meoli just got cast in the Showtime network pilot Ray Donovan created by Ann “Southland” Biderman and starring Jon Voight, Elliot Gould and Liev Schreiber. Meoli, who made his film debut in 1993’s disaster flick Alive, will also be seen in Desperate Housewives before the ABC show runs its course and Should’ve Been Romeo co-starring Ed Asner, Michael Rappaport and Kelly Osbourne.
Philly-raised Tony Award-winning thespian and Harry Jay Katz pal Hugh Panaro will be the 2012 honoree at the Walnut Street Theater’s annual gala come May 11. Bravo.
Philly Roller Girls are looking for a 2012 season mascot and they’ll tapping WIP sports radio team help decide the winner. How can you become a derby mascot? You have to want it. Really want it. Then you have to film a minute’s worth of video on your desires and decoration, download it and ship it off to firstname.lastname@example.org by noon on April 10 and include info like your name and DoB, your mascot name and the reasons why you’d make an ideal mascot.
We don’t care why and we don’t care what happened. We just know that we are powerful mournful that Delilah Winder’s Reading Terminal Market soul food stand is officially closed due to bankruptcy. Sob.
Brian Nagele is pinpointing May 5 as the opening date of his newest purchase, the North Shore Beach Club/Havana Room pool and restaurant combo that once a long time ago was known as the Arrow Swim Club.
It’s a Gina Lynn type-of-month. The one-time hardcore porn star is gracing the cover of the April issue of Penthouse. She appears in the recently-premiered Philly-filmed Mancation and last weekend stopped by the Penthouse Club for some pole dancing exploits. Next up, she’ll be bottling her own vanity liquors under the Curvy Rabbit banner. Good on her. Hey, speaking of the Penthouse Club, there is a music recording/band rehearsal sound studio nearby where a wild speakeasy weekday party occurs after midnight featuring tattooed gals from the club and glam-rockers like Steve Haley. Find flaxen blond haired Haley and ask him about the down-n-dirty details.
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