Archive: March, 2012
Sweden's traditional Waffle Day on March 25 originates with the celebration of the Virgin Mary's impregnation, not for any fun/twisted reason but because of a simple coincidence: Vårfrudagen, or "Lady Day," sounds a lot like Våffeldagen, or "Waffle Day." The tradition is more secular now, but the waffles are definitely still around. Unlike American renditions of the fluffy IHOP variety, Swedish waffles are thin, made with butter, cream and flour and are joined by strawberry jam and whipped cream rather than Aunt Jemima. For $10 you can welcome spring and toast the occasion this Sunday with coffee and lingonberry juice at the American Swedish Historical Museum (1900 Pattison Ave.) between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. For more info, check out americanswedish.org or call 215-389-1776.
Photo: Courtesy of the American Swedish Historical Museum
Come April, you've got a very new/very awesome reason to head down Strawberry Street in Old City, one that doesn't involve sprinting away in terror from the Drakkar Noir'd juicehead militias that swell out of Recess every 40 minutes! Yay. Inspired by National Empanada Day (April 8), Cuba Libre (10 S. Second St.) is setting up a temporary pop-up bodega behind the restaurant that'll operate on Fridays and Saturdays from midnight to 3 a.m. throughout the month. From here, chef Guillermo Pernot and crew will hawk a variety of fresh-fried empanadas — picadillo (ground beef, olives, raisins), camarones (shrimp, spinach, pine nuts) and alcachofa (grilled artichoke hearts, salt-cured tomatoes, feta) to name just three — for $3 a pop. Sales will benefit CORE, a non-prof that benefits the children of hospitality employees. The non-alley portion of Cuba Libre, meanwhile, will introduce eight new empanada varieties during lunch and dinner from April 8 to 15, what they're dubbing Empanada Week. Stay abreast of late-breaking empanada news by following @empalley on Twitter.
UPDATE [29mar12]: Felt like this was coming after we received some concerned emails from Strawberry Street residents — Cuba Libre's Barry Gutin just announced that they won't be running their late-night empanada operation in April after all. "We've decided not to open Empanada Alley at the back of our restaurant because of neighborhood concerns that it would bring more people and noise to Strawberry Street after hours," says Gutin in a statement. "We recently learned there are a few families living in the buildings surrounding our back door, including one with a set of 10-month-old twins, whose sleep we do not wish to disturb." The plan is for Empanada Alley to relaunch as a mobile operation in the near future; Cuba Libre will still donateprofits to CORE.
Photo: Courtesy of Cuba Libre
Spied some verdant new architecture on the corner of 20th and Sansom on our way to pick up lunch. We posted about an upcoming Shake Shack back in June, and it seems these flowery walls are suggesting a fast-approaching spring opening for the NYC-based concept. Until we can sit down in the restaurant, clutching at a burger in one hand and a shake in the other, said Shack is providing a "park" for us to look at instead of boring ol' plywood while they finish up construction. A few more shots after the jump.
APOLOGIES FOR THE ALL CAPS BUT YES THAT IS MOTHERFUCKING DAVID LYNCH DINING AL FRESCO AT LONDON GRILL (2301 FAIRMOUNT AVE.) AND GRACIOUSLY POSING FOR A PHOTO WITH LONDON OWNER TERRY BERCH MCNALLY WHO AWESOMELY TOLD HIM THAT SHE THREW UP WHILE WATCHING BLUE VELVET ALSO APPARENTLY LYNCH IS SUPER-NICE AND IS CURRENTLY ENJOYING QUICHE LORRAINE AND A LATTE AND THE LONDON STAFF IS FIGHTING OVER WHO GETS TO SERVE HIS TABLE AHHHHHH HE IS A BIG COFFEE DRINKER AS WE KNOW BUT WE'RE SURPRISED HE'S DRINKING ESPRESSO AND NOT TAKING IT BLACK AS MIDNIGHT ON A MOONLESS NIGHT WHATEVER THAT IS JUST A LINE FROM ONE OF THE GREATEST TV SHOWS OF ALL TIME AND PROBABLY NOT INDICATIVE OF HIS PROCLIVITIES IN REAL LIFE OMG DAVID FUCKING LYNCH WE LOVE YOU GOBS ALSO WE HEAR HE IS DISCUSSING FILMING SOMETHING PERHAPS A RETURN TO HIS ROOTS SINCE PHILLY INSPIRED HIS FUCKED-UP MAGNUM OPUS ERASERHEAD AND LED TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD NORTH OF CHINATOWN AND WEST OF NOLIBS TO BE INFORMALLY DUBBED THE ERASERHOOD HOLY SHIT THIS IS AMAZING FULLY PLAN ON GOING TO LONDON LATER AND SOAKING UP RESIDUAL LYNCHIAN GENIUS GERMS
PHOTO: LONDON GRILL ON TWITTER OMG
Here's hoping that Jeremy Lin reads Meal Ticket. Mike Naessens, owner of Eulogy (136 Chestnut St.) and the new Bierstube (206 Market St.), has his fingers crossed — nothing would please him more than for the upstart Knicks point guard, who's in town to take on our Sixers, to make an appearance at his German bierbar today, drumming up interest in his fundraiser for the Asian Arts Initiative. For $9 at the door, folks get a glass of Russian River's cultish Pliny the Younger between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m. today. All nine of those bucks will go to the AAI. If you're stuck at work, you can still try for some Pliny at Eulogy after 5 p.m. No door charge there, but all Pliny profits will benefit the Old City Civic Association.
Photo: Drew Lazor
On March 31, the Philly chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals is hosting its first-ever dumpling-eating contest to benefit the Prodigy Program, a mentoring initiative that matches members of NAAAP with local students in coalition with Big Brothers Big Sisters. Going down at Chinatown's Sang Kee (238 N. Ninth St.), the event will crown first-, second- and third-place eaters and will be followed by a dumpling tasting for non-stuffed attendees. We're telling you about it early because the deadline to RSVP (for the contest or just to watch) is this Friday. It'll cost you $30 to compete for dumpling-inhaling supremacy and $15 to spectate ($10 if you're a NAAAP member). Email firstname.lastname@example.org by March 23 to sign up. Wonder how many dumplings the victor will end up consuming ...
Photo: Drew Lazor
Mark down mid-April for the likely debut of Vernick Food & Drink (2031 Walnut St.), the straight-shootin' name of the restaurant from Greg Vernick, fresh to Philly after years working for Jean-Georges Vongerichten and more recently as chef at NYC's Tocqueville. The South Jersey native has long planned to relocate to the area with his wife Julie to be closer to family, arriving here last year and putting in work at Talula's Garden while his own space came into focus.
"Ultimately, the food is radically simple," says Vernick, a seasoned traveler who's opened Jean-Georges properties everywhere from Qatar to Tokyo, of his own imprint. He won't gravitate toward a particular discipline so much as reinterpret his international experiences for a local audience. "You have to separate yourself and your personal skills from the matter and focus on what people really want to eat." That translates to vegetable- and raw-driven selections, plates both small and large and a section of shareable mains (whole market fish, Amish chicken, bone-in strip loin) roasted off in a Woodstone oven and served with herb vinaigrette and charred lettuces.
Ryan Mulholland, a longtime friend of Vernick's from their Boston U. days, has relocated to Philly from Beantown's Eastern Standard to oversee front-of-house and beverage at VF&D. He's working on crafty beer and cocktail lists and a wine selection that'll span 40 bottles and 12 glasses. Peek below for some teases of dishes that might appear on Vernick's opening menu.
- Charred Spinach and Leek Toast
- Beef Tartare with gaufrettes
- Marinated Artichokes and Ramps
- Ocean Trout with crispy skin and chili
- Market Lettuces with seasonal vegetables, seeds and citrus vinaigrette
- House-made Mozzarella with rhubarb jam and sea salt
- Steamed Mussels with cherry tomatoes in a basil broth
- Potato Ravioli with lamb ragu and English peas
- Braised Beef Cheek with fava beans, celery and a herb salad
- Hand-Cut Buckwheat Pasta with broccoli rabe, spring garlic and lemon
- Pork Blade Steak with onion marmalade, cherries and mustard
Notes from the Weekend is a feature that sees the members of Team Meal Ticket compiling all the food/drink highlights uncovered during prime eatin' time, Friday to Sunday. Consider this a place for good deals, great dishes, wicked cocktails, recipe triumphs (and tragedies), bizarro conversations and more. We're eager to share our notes, but especially excited to read yours.We encourage you to leave notes from YOUR weekend in the comments. Have at it! (View past NFTW installments at citypaper.net/notes.)
Joining its three existing locations on the campuses of Temple, Drexel and UPenn, Insomnia Cookies opened its fourth Philly shop in Center City (108 S. 16th St.) today at 1 p.m. Over the next week, the late-night sweet spot and delivery service is giving away a free cookie to any customer who prints a coupon from Insomnia's Facebook page; you can also stop by the store for a coupon. The full menu is available for retail purchase, including cookie and brownie flavors like snickerdoodle, double chocolate chunk and sugar. Store hours: Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m-3 a.m.; Sat.-Sun., noon-3 a.m. Delivery is available from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. every night, and Insomnia also offers catering delivery from 11 to 5 on weekdays.
Photo: Insomnia Cookies on Facebook
Tomorrow, March 20, the Philadelphia Mobile Food Association will host a launch meeting for current members, potential new members and associates (those who are affiliated but not in the mobile game) to discuss the state of the association and its goals for the coming months. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Silverman 240A at UPenn Law School (3400 Chestnut St.), but several trucks will be parked in front of the venue starting at 4 p.m. to feed attendees. This is notable since one of the toughest hurdles trucks/carts face in Philly is lack of access to diverse vending spots; UPenn has agreed to allow the entrepreneurs to sell on their property in this two-hour window as a test run. An auspicious, if ephemeral, peek at something that could become more prominent as the PMFA builds its relationships with local businesses and the city itself. For more info, check out phillymfa.com or email email@example.com.
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