Archive: December, 2012
So Jar Bar closed, and here's why I'm not surprised. The raw foods cafe and juice bar in Midtown Village also functioned as a retail outlet for the Catalyst Cleanse system, a program I tried to undertake a couple months ago in the pursuit of an amusing column and trimmer bod. The first time I hit up the clementine awning-ed storefront was nearly half an hour before its listed closing time, but the sole staffer inside had already locked the doors and was mopping the floor. I rapped on the window, and he stared at me with the vacant gaze of someone whose had nothing but wheatgrass for a week. I held up my phone to the glass, showing him the hours listed on the Yelp page. He shrugged. I left.
I came back the following morning, bright and early for opening. You see, trying to fit a three-day juice cleanse into a restaurant critic's schedule is like trying to fit in a yoga retreat into a bachelor party weekend in Las Vegas, so timing was critical. If I didn't begin the cleanse that day, I'd have to put it off another month. Two juicers were setting up their stations at the counter and seemed perplexed by my presence. (Did anyone ever go here??) I explained that I wanted to purchase the three-day Catalyst Cleanse. They looked at me with wheatgrass faces as if I'd just said I wanted to purchase a zebra. I explained again, slowly, to which one replied, "Oh, we don't sell that here."
Though it didn't explain it very well (or at all) on the website, apparently you had to pre-order the Cleanse, which would then be shipped to Jar Bar, where you would then pick it up. Which made little logistical sense. Do I sound cranky and bitter? I'm sorry. It's the ten extra pounds talking. Jar Bar robbed me of ridding them, and I've needed to go up a jeans size for the first time since 2001. Thanks a lot.
Calling lady chefs, bartendresses and waitresses! You are officially invited to the Village Belle (757 South Front St.) tomorrow night at 9 p.m. for a holiday party hosted chefs Christina Martin of Vedge and Village Belle and Jennifer Choplin of Watkins Drinkery and the blink and you'll miss it Butcher & Brewer. The bash, dubbed Belles at Belle is aiming to bring together female restaurant industry folks for cocktails and conversation. But don't worry, dudes are welcome tomorrow's festivities on the condition that they're in the biz as well.
Taco snacks with Christmas cheer, tonight's Jewish Christmas menu, and all-day holiday brunches, all on today's Afternoon Snacks!
Oh hey, perfect almost-Christmas snack: check out these festive pato en nogada tacos from Loco Pez (2401 E. Norris St.)! They're filled with braised duck picadillo, white walnut mole, pomegranate seeds, and requisite cilantro and onion to complete the visual holiday theme.
There will be no shortage of Champagne, caviar, foie gras and other luxury edibles on menus all over town this New Year's Eve but down at Noir (1909 East Passyunk Ave.) they're doing something a little different.
Canadian chef Marco DeCotiis is rolling out a $75 lobster prix fixe that includes the usual suspects i.e. lobster bisque, surf and turf and lobster ravioli. But the real intrigue here comes with the dessert course: a vanilla lobster (!) crème brûlée. Crazy. right? Well, food types love to talk about lobster's delicate sweetness so this might just be crazy enough to work. If any of you intrepid Meal Ticket readers make it to Noir and sample the crustasaen brûlée please be sure to report back.
If you know the South Philly Review's Phyllis Stein-Novack you probably know that she's not willing to dole out four tips of the toque (the paper's highest restaurant rating) to just anyone. But in this week's paper she's more than willing to award them to Josh Lawler's The Farm and Fisherman (1120 Pine St.)
With husband Edward in tow PSN settled into the Pine Street BYO with bottles of Muscadet and Bordeaux. She was immediately pleased with the not overly soft lighting allowed her to read the menu and admire the food on her plate.
The meal started off well with Parker House rolls and butter and continued on with a vibrant and satisfying mushroom app. Spanish mackerel and sweetbreads hit the mark and a plate of tagliatelle with pork belly and truffles allowed ingredients to sing in harmony without fuss.
A few days before dinner at The Farm and Fisherman PSN had a hankering for venison and Lawler's was a masterpiece of flavor and texture. A fennel pollen-dusted rack of pork, an apple tart, A plus service and a commitment to supporting local farms all lead to PSN awarding The Farm and Fisherman a whopping four tips of the toque.
Back on Tuesday we told you about the triple threat Industry Night happenings at Alla Spina (1410 Mt. Vernon St.) on Monday, January 7th the folks from the Publican in Chicago and Victory. Well, it looks like the Chicago contingent is sticking around for a beer dinner on Tuesday in honor of the release of collaboration brew Victory Hundred Horse Ale. Named for a massive chestnut tree located at the foot of Mt. Etna in Sicily, the beer is brewed with Oregon grown chestnuts and German Kolsch yeast.
The $50 prix fixe gets you four Victory paired courses from Alla Spina and the Publican and the menu looks pretty killer. Here's a look at what's on offer:
Reception beer: Victory Braumeister Pils
1st course: Victory Via Weisse
Alla Spina – Escarole "wedge salad" with blue cheese, pan fried pig's head, gnocchi fritti.
Publican – Fried clams with fennel pollen aioli, artichoke and pea tendrils
2nd course: Victory Hundred Horse
Alla Spina – “Pizzoccheri" stuffed shells with Taleggio, cabbage, and brown butter
Publican – Smoked lamb and pork belly sausage with chocolate persimmons roasted apples and Brussels sprouts
3rd course: Victory Novello
Alla Spina – Pork Loin stuffed with seafood fritto misto, served with chimichurri mayo
Publican – Guinea hen in hay with malted sunchoke purée and salsa verde
4th course: Victory Red Thunder
Caramelized banana split with castagnaccio brownies, amarena cherries and chocolate soft serve
Christmas is still a few days away but the burgermeisters over at PYT (1040 North Hancock St.) i.e. home of America's craaaziest burgers are getting the festivities started a little early with a Christmas Dinner Burger of the Week.
Burger purists might balk at this beefless burger but we're thinking it's looking pretty serious. The "burger" here is really a buttermilk-fried turkey leg patty topped off with trimmings like goat cheese and sage mashed sweet potatoes, spinach a crumbled sugar plum mix and red wine sauce.
Now the only question we have for PYT is whether or not their blending up spiked eggnog milkshakes for the occasion.
On today's Afternoon Snacks, a couple of really important items of chocolate news:
10 Arts (10 Avenue of the Arts) may have lost Eric Ripert, but they've gained a hot chocolate menu. We don't know if that's an even trade, but so what? Hot chocolate menu! Add housemade peanut butter marshmallows, Oreos, booze, or whatever. Go to town! No really, this is the Ritz-Carlton, so you're paying $8 for a virgin cocoa and $14 for a boozy one, so you might as well go for broke. We think it's worth it. The only drawback is that it's only available from 12 to 5 p.m. Not a bad way to spoil your dinner, though.
So, we missed this story, but apparently a UK McDonald's employee was fired for being too generous with the chocolate mix-ins when making a McFlurry a while back, so she took them to court. And now they've got to pay her £3000. Good for her!
To be honest, I’ll be spending this New Year’s Eve as I spend the last night of every year: at home, in my jammies, kissing my boyfriend and my dog (and not necessarily in that order) at midnight. When I used to go out more on NYE, my usual m.o. was to pick any bar that didn't have a special anything going on. But I’ve heard tell that some of you actually like making special reservations and going all out on NYE—so for you, in no particular order, a list of places I would go if I were you and not me:
2. Stateside (1536 E. Passyunk Ave.). Their NYE offering is fully customizable, so you can either hit them up for dinner before your party or make dinner your party with a late seating and champagne toast, and either way you know you’ll be closing out 2012 with some of the best food around. The specs: 5-course meal is $65 for early seatings, $75 for late seatings with champagne included; you can add wine pairings to your meal for $20 regardless of when you choose to eat. They’ve got a fully vegetarian menu available, too, if that’s what you’re into.
3. Kennett (848 S. 2nd St.). $65 for a four-course meal with Victory pairings (you can see the beers here). They haven’t even released their menu for the night, but who cares? I trust that the food and atmosphere will be worth it.
4. Fette Sau (1208 Frankford Ave.). What are they doing for New Year’s Eve? Just some live music, really. No cover, no tickets, barbecue and whiskey and beer as usual—because if it ain’t broke, why try to shoehorn an overpriced and generic holiday gala into it? (P.S., largely the same story next door at Frankford Hall, and if you slip over there at midnight you’ll score a free schnapps toast. Really.)
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