Archive: October, 2012
Alla Spina's (1410 Mt. Vernon St.) genius beer list strikes again. This time the North Broad Street Italo-gastropub has made it into the October issue of GQ. Christian Debenedetti pegged Vetri's latest venture as on the the top five beer-pairing spots in the country alongside New York's newly Michelin-starred NoMad and Chicago's Publican.
Head on up to Alla Spina tonight to sample the GQ-approved chardonnay barrel aged Piccolo saison and guinea hen Bolognese poutine, plus late night happy hour and DJ Matt spinning from 11 p.m. until close.
The folks at Royal Tavern (937 East Passyunk) are pulling out all of the stops for their ten anniversary celebration. Instead of doing something dull like throwing a party they're dusting off recipe books from the past ten years and revisiting the menu items that made them the gastro-institution that they are today.
For ten days beginning on October 10th the Royal is going to be rounding up their menu's greatest hits beginning with a night of burgers topped with everything from crab cakes and bacon to SPAM. Longtime fans of the Royal can look forward to themed evenings with sandwiches, salads, apps, entrees and weekend brunch with Blueberry-Ricotta Pancakes and Pork Belly and Sweet Potato Hash.
Meal Ticket had a chance to check out Le Bec Fin's (1523 Walnut St.) newly introduced series of Thursday wine tastings last week and we've got to say we had a lot of fun sniffing and swirling with sommelier Philippe Sauriat.
Sitting around the basement bar at Chez Georges, Sauriat hosts an informal but wonderfully informative tasting every Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Each week he highlights a particular varietal, blind tasting new and old world varietals and engaging tasters in a lively roundtable discussion. Instead of the stale and stodgy, Sauriat, a Alain Ducasse alum, keeps things light and fun, encouraging participants to share their thoughts about the selection of wines.
Our visit was focused on pinot noir, a grape that thrives in climes everywhere from Burgundy and New Zealand to California and New Zealand. If you're looking to up your wine intel, sipping multiple bottles side by side is the way to go, especially when you have an extraordinary sommelier behind the bar to guide you.
Tomorrow night's class focuses on Chardonnay, another wonderfully diverse grape that's sure to make for a lively tasting session. Fingers crossed in hopes that there will be some Chassagne Montrachet action.
The hour and a half class runs $40 and includes a few elegant canapés and macarons as well as 4 to 6 pours of some very special wines. To reserve your spot around the bar at Chez Georges call 215-567-1000.
This Thursday, Oct. 5th, vegan staple Miss Rachel’s Pantry (1732 W. Passyunk Ave.) is playing host to the needlework of local artist Kate Heisler (that's one example above). Whether you’re deep into textile arts yourself or haven’t seen a cross-stitch sampler since Home Ec, Heisler’s fresh, personal, and witty needlepoint and embroidery is worth a look. While you admire the handiwork, you can snack on Rachel Klein’s “tiny plates” menu of $3 bites including mini tofu banh mi, hearts of palm “lobster” rolls, and pizza bites, in addition to a few more options. And, of course, there will be free wine—it’s an art opening, after all.
In hard-hitting, rare-for-Meal-Ticket election news: Looks like Michelle Obama’s recipe for Mama Kaye's White and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies eked out a win over Ann Romney’s M&M cookies in the Family Circle presidential cookie competition. Oddly, while we’ve rarely turned down a cookie of any stripe, we’ve just gotta say it: while they both look fine, neither cookie is inspiring any particular cookie lust over here at MT headquarters. But it was a close call, with only 287 votes separating winner from loser—the closest in FC cookie showdown history.
One thing that tends to happen as the weather turns cooler is our appetite for meat grows ever more ferocious. But this vegetarian harvest dinner menu from Saveur certainly helps quell the urge to fall back on the old reliable braised meat dishes. While it might be a bit much if you don’t have a dinner party planned, mixing-and-matching possibilities abound: farro risotto larded with butternut squash sounds like a pretty lovely fall meal, whether you pair it with a shaved brussels sprouts and kale salad or marinated beets with walnuts and blue cheese.
In case you’ve been holding back your acceptance for the exploding trend of high-end beer in cans, maybe this compendium of schmancy beer can design from Food Republic will help sway you. Affectation or not, we have been searching for something, anything to do with our old church key. Hmm…
Whether your thing is food, travel, or nostalgia for AMAZING 80s movies, the Geographical Society of Philadelphia has got you covered tonight. They’re hosting the first of this season’s GeoFeasts—a quirky series of travelogues that are also dinners—with a book talk and reception featuring Andrew McCarthy. Star of Pretty in Pink! Weekend at Bernie’s! Mannequin! And, yes, while he’s still acting, he’s also made himself into a travel writer of some repute.
McCarthy will be in conversation with Patrick Stoner at the Free Library (1901 Vine St.) about his memoir, The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down starting at 7:30 p.m. tonight, but you can also join them for a reception beforehand at Rose Tattoo Café (1847 Callowhill St.) at 5:45 p.m. The hors d’oeuvres menu includes coconut beer shrimp, shiitake veggie spring rolls, meatballs, and vegetarian flatbreads, and a glass of wine is also included in the price. ($30 if you’re a member of the GSP, WHYY, or the Library, $35 for everyone else.)
The GeoFeasts series runs on a roughly bi-weekly basis until May, and while the menu at the McCarthy reception is a bit vague, most of the meals to follow are themed to match the travel tale they accompany. So you can pair a screening of Karin Muller’s film Cuba with a meal at Cuba Libre, have “baked Antarcticas” with Digital Nomad Andrew Evans, or eat your way through a catered spread of Northern African and Asian foods to go along with Spencer Wells’ personal genealogical journey. There’s also a Chinatown tour and feast hosted by Joseph Poon.
Joe Beddia's long awaited pizza project has officially found a home at 115 E. Girard Avenue. Meal Ticket had a chance to talk to pizza geeky Beddia about his plans for the space, pie inspiration and the beauty of pizza simplicity.
Having spent time at Madison's Pizza Brutta and Zavino and Osteria here in Philly, Beddia's experience is of the wood-fired variety. At at Pizza by Joe the pies will be coming from a deck oven. He's focusing his efforts on putting out simple pizzas, 18 inchers that veer more towards New York-style rather than Neapolitan.
Simple is the key word in Beddia's pizza philosophy. He's going for mom-and-pop pizzeria pies made with top quality ingredients like organic artisan bread flour and locally sourced produce whenever possible. Beddia is entertaining the idea of making his own mozzarella and currently experimenting with curing pancetta. The key to Beddia's pizza will be attention to detail and not just cranking out pies.
When asked about favorite pizzerias Beddia responded with a more than solid list including Brooklyn's legendary DiFara, Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix, Anthony Mangieri's New York to San Fran transplant Una Pizza Napoletana and our very own La Rossa located at just south of Snyder on Broad.
If all goes as planned, Beddia is aiming for an early 2013 opening date.
In honor of back to school season our buddies over at Serious Eats are lining up the best campus eats around the country. Penn alum Lauren Sloss has a lot of love for the city where she spent her undergrad years. According to Sloss: "Philly is a special city. It's got serious character, for one—being oft treated like the marginalized younger brother of New York has given it a slight chip, and a whole lotta attitude. What's more, Philadelphia is the kind of city that you have to explore a bit to really appreciate. When you do, you feel like you're in on the secret."
Not sure about the attitude part, but there's plenty to explore in and around the campuses of Penn and Drexel and her picks are pretty solid. She's into the house brewed beers and pies at Dock Street, coffee and pastries at Metropolitan Bakery and the Ethiopian offerings and al fresco beer drinking at Dahlak. And we're loving the fact that Sloss gives a nod to Koch's the one of a kind sandwich spot that specializes in gargantuan Jewish deli inspired hoagies. Take a look at all of her picks right here.
If you have yet to make it up to Pizza Brain (2313 Frankford Ave.) today may very well be the day to take that pizza pilgrimage. From 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. this evening the pizza positive folks at The Brain are offering a pizza happy hour where you can get two slices of Jane (that's a crushed-tomato topped slice with mozzarella, provolone, grana padano and fresh basil leaves) for just $5.
So, if you're not into the crowds and limited menus of Restaurant Week, head on up to Pizza Brain where $35 dollars will get you plenty of happy hour slices and leave you with a few bucks leftover for some scoops Little Baby's Ice Cream, preferably pizza flavored.
Looks like national sandwich champion DiNic's in the Reading Terminal is making the switch from Carangi rolls to Sarcone's. The Insider weighs in saying that although the Scarone's roll is an inch longer, the spongy Carangi is better for sandwich transport.
Eater's got in the intel of Taqueria Del Sol, opening October 22 in Willow Grove. This franchise has been awarded Bon App's Top American Restaurant Award, not bad for strip mall dining.
Grub's got some burger bummer news: the beloved Churchill burger is officially off the menu at Pub and Kitchen. The replacement is Creekstone Farms dry aged beef on a challah bun with pickled red onions, Shropshire blue cheese and double cut bacon.
And finally we're hearing that Marc Vetri is talking to developer Eric Blumenfeld about opening up shop in the Divine Lorraine.
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