Archive: February, 2013
I've been scoping out this newer hoagie spot (1300 Jackson St.) for a few weeks now - up there with Fabrizzio's How-U-Doin at 15th & Porter for "Best Sandwich Shop Name in South Philly" - and wondering if the food is any good. Its a neighborhood spot with a few groceries and hot coffee, and the usual South Philly deli decor of Eagles clippings and hand-written sandwich signs on the walls. The Italian "How Bout This Hoagie" special with mixed italian meats and sharp provolone on seeded bread was good but isn't knocking Cosmi's or Chickie's out of the top spots any time soon.
Where this place really excels are the chicken cutlets, hand-made and freshly cooked to order - a nice break from the disappointing lukewarm, dried out chicken-tender looking things that a lot of delis pass of as "cutlets". The Italiano comes with nicely sauteed, garlicky broccoli rabe, big chunks of sharp provolone, roasted longhots (that I swapped for the standard roasted red peppers) and a big pile of freshly sliced prosciutto. Definitely one of the better hoagie options in this area, within walking distance of Newbold and East Passyunk and super reasonable prices.
Fans of Pub and Kitchen, missers of Meme, likers of food in Philadelphia get excited, Fitler Dining Room (2201 Spruce St.), the latest venture from Ed Hackett and Dan Clark is opening tomorrow. We stopped by the 22nd and Spruce spot to check out the makeover and take a peek at Rob Marzinsky's menu and we've got to say that it's looking good.
The window flanked dining room is airy and elegant with cafe tables, banquette seating and lots of shiny subway tile and marble. There's also a pretty sweet peek-a-boo cheese fridge.
But the real draw here is Marzinsky's menu. As a veteran of Stateside, The Diving Horse and Pub and Kitchen, he's put together an opening menu that relies on carefully sourced ingredients and refined technique with nods to France (think potato gnocchi with Burgundy snails, butternut squash, hazelnuts and chartreuse butter and Ozark Mountain Berkshire pork with boudin blanc and coco beans en cocotte).
It's also worth a mention that Marzinsky has been doing a bang up job documenting Filter Dining Room's opening on Instagram, so if you're into that kind of thing, go ahead and give him a follow.
Legendary curmudgeon and Melrose Park native Alan Richman named his top 12 U.S. restaurants in this month's issue of GQ and we're more than pleased to see that our very own Vedge (1221 Locust St.) made the cut.
A skeptic from the get-go, Richman has dined in plenty of vegan restaurants "always for professional reasons and always in despair." But his experience at Vedge "traveled to a dimension in the culinary world where veganism has never been and where vegetables in general rarely go." That's some pretty high praise considering Richman's tendency to be well, a little harsh.
Not that we weren't already aware of Rich Landau's magical way with vegetables, but Richman kind of kills it with his review: "The customers looked, I have to say, like regular folks. None of the men were pale and languid. None of the women wore a belt made from a garden hose."
Head on over to GQ for the full list.
Are you familiar with oyster pan roast? The crazy decadent (and mysteriously named) dish is something you'd expect to see in one of New Orleans' classic dining establishments, and it's been sort of a hot topic in recent years in NYC. (You can get it at the iconic Grand Central Oyster Bar, and April Bloomfield's The John Dory serves a version that comes with a toast slathered in an almost obscene amount of uni butter.)
But we don't think the dish is particularly familiar around here*. It may be soon, though: the dish—which is actually more along the lines of a stew than the name would have you think—is new to the lineup at the Oyster House (1516 Sansom St.), and we can't wait to try it. Their version boasts tarragon, crème fraîche, and a side of toasts with a smear of shrimp butter. Plus, of course, a quartet of cream-poached oysters. The portion may sound small, but you'll probably end up feeling grateful for that, because this is a seriously rich dish. Hmm, if only we were in the midst of a total bullshit blustery cold snap right now!
Big news for our favorite chicken and donut shop today. First up Passyunk Post is reporting that Federal Donuts is opening up shop at Citzens Bank Park come springtime. No menu details have been revealed but we're thinking that some sort of Utley-inspired fancy wouldn't be a stretch.
In other Federal news, the March edition of Saveur magazine is rounding up the world's best donuts. Jane and Michael Stern of Road Food fame were given the task of assembling the United States of Donuts and they chose Federal as PA's numero uno donut spot. Here's what they have to say:
"The Donuts at this ambitious newcomer include the Appollonia, served hot and rolled in cocoa and orange blossom powder. The other specialty? Fried chicken."
Fishy ads, joyous news from everyone's favorite rotisserie chicken spot, and what to do with leftover pie if you're some kind of monster who has ever known "extra" pie.
Hold up—have we somehow not posted this American Sardine Bar commercial yet? The spot by First Capital Pictures has been airing for a week or so (you may have caught it on Food Network, Comedy Central, or some other channels), but if you've missed it, now you can watch it right here. And of course, if you like what you see, you can follow its star on Twitter: @MrBaitFish.
Editor's Note: Yesterday Adam Erace told us about Dishcrawl, the on foot eating adventure kicking off tonight on East Passyunk Avenue. According to the folks at the Weather Channel, the rain should clear up by then. A.D. Amorosi sat down with Dishcrawl ambassador Ali Waks-Adams to find out a little more about what's going down tonight.
“I wanted to do the first crawl on my home turf,” says Waks who lives in the Italian Market. “EPX is my backyard, and I've watched it flourish over the past few years, so I thought If I'm going to celebrate one neighborhood it should be the one I have the most invested in.”
Tickets are going for $45 per person and that gets you a taste of 10 to 12 different dishes, a chance to learn about what inspires each of the chefs and an opportunity to have an interactive dining experience.
For American chefs and restaurants, the James Beard Awards are like the Oscars. There are Armani tuxes and plunging necklines, stunning victories and tear-spalttered upsets. So understandably, Twitter was buzzing this morning when the Foundation released their 2013 list of semi-finalists for the 2013 Awards. Philly is well represented in the national categories. Some impressive examples:
-Artisan Boulanger Patissier, never on the list before, for Best Pastry Chef
-Joe Cicala of Le Virtu and Christopher Kearse of Will for Rising Star
-Franklin Mortgage for Best Bar Program
-Vernick for Best New Restaurant
Here's the local list for Best Chef Mid-Atlantic:
-Scott Anderson, Elements, Princeton
-Joey Baldino, Zeppoli, Collingswood
-Pierre Calmels, Bibou
-Konstantinos Pitsillides, Kanella
-Sylva Senat, Tashan
-Brad Spence, Amis
-Lee Styer, Fond
-Marcie Turney, Barbuzzo
You can check out the full list here.
Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for the winner of our StarChefs Rising Stars Gala contest, Mootis7! His thoughtful ode to Jose Garces, Marc Vetri and Peter McAndrews scored him and a guest tickets to Thursday's sure to be a great time gala at the Kimmel Center. Here's a peek at the prize winning poem:
"With Garces we ate Cochinillo,
Roasted to a crisp.
Yet the heart that once was in it has left on an ego trip,
Vetri served us gnocchi,
Delicate brown butter mi amore.
Despite a texture of perfection, few patrons can afford.
The true chef de Philadelphia, puts the city’s soul to plate
Paesano’s and Modo Mio, a combo none can hate.
So a cheer to Peter McAndrews, a nod to Philly’s working class style,
His rabe, provolone and brisket beat all others by a mile."
Nomad Pizza (611 S. 7th St.) is known for doing dinner and a movie the right way (i.e., all in one place, with beers and pizzas and casual lounginess), and every now and then they do themselves one better by handing the profits over to a good cause. Like next week, when they'll partner up with the Food Trust.
On Tue., Feb. 26, you can catch the documentary Fresh (full of big-name food activists like Michael Pollan and Joel Salatin) on Nomad's big screen, alongside a full 3-course meal. Tickets cost $50 and include the movie, salad, pizza, dessert, beer and wine, with proceeds going right into the pockets of the Food Trust. The night starts at 7 p.m. and if you want in, you should RSVP to email@example.com.
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