Archive: January, 2013
If you've ever torn through a sandwich at Ultimo, you know the glory of a Four Worlds Bakery baguette. The fine crust that busts into crispy chards... The dense interior that fights back... It's one of Philly's best pieces of bread, baked by Michael Dolich at his Woodland Ave. headquarters, but who knew the West Philly yeast whisperer also makes a really great pretzel? Not Meal Ticket, until we stopped in recently and snagged one of the chubby twists still warm from the oven. Properly salted but not caked with kosher stuff, the pretzel had the perfect texture; much like Dolich's baguette, its taut, snappy crust yielded to a soft center. So grab a bottle of spicy brown, and eat this immediately.
“After hosting an annual gala for a number of years, I thought it would be nice to shake things up a bit and make it fun and exciting,” says Rebbetzin Miriam Shemtov, the co-founder of Lubavitch Bucks County. Rather than hold an everyday fundraiser for his Philadelphia Friendship Circle-North and its special needs children’s charity as he’s done in the past, the rabbi decided to flip the game with Bubby’s Cook-Off, a culinary competition happening tomorrow night at Vie (923 North 2nd St.).
And the competition’s culinary angle is the most fascinating aspect of the night. The chefs have been given an extra challenge: make their meals Kosher.
The evening's lineup includes chefs Jean-Marie Lacroix from Brûlée Catering (who’ll prepare chicken matzo dumpling with black Perigord truffles, leek, gold leaf potato soup), Cuba Libre’s Guillermo Pernot (hummus kawarma with lemon sauce), Alla Spina’s Mike Deganis (whole roasted lamb shoulder, red onion jam and hot sauce), Cescaphe’s Jayson Grossberg (salmon with pickled beets, parsley and orange), Rat’s Shane Cash (red wine braised brisket, sweet potato puree, pickled pearl onion, tzimmes condiment and spiced tuile) and a ringer, Yehuda Sichel of Citron & Rose (beef goulash knish with lamb belly vinaigrette). And Sharon Pinkenson, Hope Cohen and Audrey Clair Taichman are one the judging panel.
“There are only so many sit down dinner fundraisers one person can attend and by having guests at Bubby’s Cook-Off meet and greet with chefs, taste the food, and do it all for a good cause – it’s the perfect combination of fun, food and philanthropy.”
The cook-off kicks off at 5:30 and the $175 tickets include cocktails, hors d’oeuvres as well as Israeli wine pairing. Head on over to Bubby's Cook-Off to reserve your spot.
We’re going to posit that – as a human with taste buds - you enjoy cheese. And we’re guessing that - every so often - you indulge in a bar of chocolate.
Which means that we’re obligated to tell you when cheese meets chocolate. Back in 2009, an encounter happened when self-proclaimed “curd nerd” Jamie Forrest introduced the pair on Valentine’s Day. Four years later, cheese and chocolate cross paths again, this time in the Parmesan Hot Chocolate, confectionery guru Don René Kobeitri’s latest spectacle.
Kobeitri mans the counter at his own zany, Godfather-inspired love den, RIM Café (1172 South 9th Street). Nestled in the heart of the Italian Market, this place has everything: nooks for cuddling, faux fires for toasting your frostbitten fingers, and a motorcycle, well, just because.
When the French guy tells you he will “make it happen” – and he will tell you so repeatedly and emphatically – he means that he will make you a hot chocolate unlike any you’ve encountered before. Picture a pillow of whipped cream, smothered in a stream of liquid lava, finished with flakes shaved from three (or more) kinds of homemade chocolate.
The beverages come in a variety of pricey-but-worth-it flavors. To top it off, your host will give you samples of what he’s got brewing. We hit the jackpot and got to taste a spicy caramel and an espresso molasses.
As for the Parmesan incarnation of hot cocoa, all we can say is that it’s more good than weird. And by good we mean decadence like this probably isn’t legal.
Valentine's Day is creeping in, and yesterday we started doling out our top picks for where to go if you're up to going out.
Next up: Bar Ferdinand's (1030 N.2nd St.) Día de San Valentín celebration sounds like the kind of fun and relaxed atmosphere you want to go with your Valentine's feast, but don't always get. The five-course prix fixe goes for $65 (add another $25 for wine pairings) and includes a cava cocktail and live flamenco performances throughout the night. Chef David Ansill is offering plenty of choices, from an oyster trio to a ridiculuxe beef carpaccio with truffles and foie gras to a mixed grill of lobster, scallops, and octopus.
Valentine-naysayers NB: they'll have a limited à la carte menu available at the bar on the 14th, and their special Valentine's Day cocktails are available from Feb. 14 through 17, in case you'd like to hold off until after the holiday rush.
Tip of the hat to Taylor Berman over at Gawker for alerting us to the fact that noted oenophile/donkey sauce slinger/dreamer Guy Fieri owns a vineyard now. Because how will people even know what a classy, monied dude you are if you don't own land and olive trees in Sonoma?
Fieri isn't making his own wine yet (though he has already sold some of the Ferry/Fieri family grapes to other operations), but don't panic: he's got plans to launch his own "Hunt and Ryde" label in the future. Presumably because Hunter and Ryder were such good names for humans that we might as well just plaster them all over everything else now, too.
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. We'd love to hear all about YOUR weekend eating adventures in the comments. Go for it! (View past NFTW installments at citypaper.net/notes.) And while we've got your attention please say hello to new MT intern/NFTWer Zoe Kirsch!
Adam Erace: AE
Caroline Russock: CR
Zoe Kirsch: ZK
On Friday afternoon I headed out on a Southeast Asian by way of South Philly eating tour with friend of MT Hawk Krall. Starting out at Hardena/Waroeng Surabaya we did some awesome ginger fried chicken and a rice plate with coconut milk-braised collards, lamb and goat stew and some holy moly amazing crispy potatoes and anchovies. Next Stop was Khmer Kitchen for sah-law ka-koe, a papaya and pumpkin stew, off the menu eggplant sauteed with ground pork and the totally bizarre and intriguing nyum sabdau, a salad made of bitter flower leaves tossed with tamarind, mint and basil. later on in the evening it was a couple of Builleit ryes at The North Star for The Soft Moon show.—CR
Streetside chowder for National Chowder Day, a new, early happy hour for U-City, and some help with your January detox plans, all on today's Afternoon Snacks!
Looks like this Wednesday, Jan. 23 is National New England Clam Chowder Day. That may not mean much to you, but it does mean that Oyster House (1516 Sansom St.) will be joining the street food trend and serving up chowder on the cheap, which is definitely noteworthy. They'll be outside the restaurant from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, selling to-go portions of creamy chowder (spoon and oyster crackers included) for just $5.
Ready or not, Valentine's Day is just three weeks away, and we're sure we don't need to tell you that if you're going to brave it and head out to eat that night, you'll want to square away your reservations now. Otherwise, you're likely to get stuck eating one of the aphrodisiac tasting menus that everyone else in the city took a pass on.
Of course, we know that you know that Valentine's Day menus are legion—so as always, we here at MT are just going to keep it simple and only share with you the select few that make us genuinely hungry. First up: Russet (1521 Spruce St.). They're offering a $55 four-course prix fixe that, despite its brevity, offers delicious choices for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Dishes like house-cured tesa with chili oil, marinated celery and soft-boiled egg and chestnut pappardelle with roasted maitakes, taleggio and thyme are making us rethink our usual "stay in and cook for each other" plans. If you go, see if you can't talk them into a minor dessert supplement, because after reading the three sweet choices you'll definitely want one of each. And of course, they're a BYOB, which can help manage your costs a little on a holiday that can quickly get out of hand. Keep reading for the full menu.
So, chances are that even if you haven't carved out the time to read it yourself, you've heard a thing or two by now about Corby Kummer's article in Vanity Fair, Tyranny—It's What for Dinner, which takes down the "tyranny" of tasting menus and "the shift the balance of power from diner to chef."
This week, Andrew Zimmern's Go Fork Yourself podcast came back from holiday hiatus to weigh in on the piece. And to be honest, we saw it and left that tab open in our browers for about two days, meaning to listen to it but putting it off because the original article didn't really resonate with us. But it's worth a listen, because Zimmern takes a predictably reasoned stance and says a lot of the things we were thinking when reading Kummer's piece.
His co-host, Molly Mogren, starts off saying that she "can't imagine a snobbier article ever written," and we wholeheartedly agreed. This seems like such a Food Writer Problem that we just couldn't fully engage, but Zimmern and Mogren do a great job of dissecting which parts of it to take to heart and which parts are sheer silliness. Zimmern also goodnaturedly ribs coming-soon-to-Philly chef Spike Mendelsohn and the legions of people who flock to his restaurants, and the food media in general. If you haven't caught it yet, we suggest you head over there when you've got a spare 45 minutes or so.
We're all still patiently waiting for the arrival of Serpico, of course, but if you're getting antsy than this joint dinner at Il Pittore (2025 Sansom St.) might help tide you over. Chefs Chris Painter and Peter Serpico are teaming up for one night (Tue., Feb. 19) to put up an extravagant Italian feast.
It's still too early for menu, but given the names involved you'll probably want to reserve first and ask questions later. The night promises eight courses of modern Italian cuisine with wine pairings, bearing a price tag of $150 per guest. We have to admit we think it might be worth it just to see what kind of stamp Serpico will put on Italian dishes.
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