Archive: February, 2012
In a bit of free advertising that couldn't be more up the outspoken Han Chiang's alley, local musician Brad Podray has penned a catchy-ass track chronicling his obsession with the popular local mini-chain of fiery Sichuan restaurants. Love the hook. You can stream and download the song right on Podray's site, as well as peep a full transcription of the lyrics (especially fond of the part labeling Chiang as "a Chinese Gandalf making spells out of chili oil"). Quick excerpt:
Han Dynasty is at the top of the food chain
its the wrong place for sesame chicken and lo mein
Get that shrimp dry pepper style flash fry
This is where weak taste buds go to die
I love the dan dan noodles and spicy cucumber
Spice level 10 is the magic number
Come here because you love the heat
Its like an explosion, but the kind you can eat.
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.)
Every day that goes by is another day closer to spring, and Revel, the gorgeous, curvaceous glass fortress housing a new hotel and casino at the tippy-top of Atlantic City's boardwalk, isn't wasting any time letting people know what to expect from its dining portfolio. Within the past couple months, they've announced three concepts from our very own Jose Garces (Amada, Village Whiskey, Distrito Cantina); a steakhouse by Michelin-starred New York chef Mark Forgione; Mussel Bar, an outpost of Robert Wiedmaiere's "Belgian roadhouse" in DC; and the French Riviera-inspired Azure by Allegretti from Alain Allegretti, who operates Les Promenade des Anglais in NYC. Eat your heart out, Nuck.
The casino has tapped Manhattan again for its seventh restaurant (of 14!), a branch of the bustling Midtown brasserie, Lugo Caffe. Chef Stefano Chiaruga will be making his own mozzarella and firing Neapolitan pizzas in a brick oven, cornerstones of menu at this grand, gilded, ocean-view space, the kind of place we could see Angela Darmody waiting tables back the in day, if she didn't get ... you know.
Revel will soft-open April 2, eight weeks before the casinotel's formal debut on Memorial Day weekend. Online reservations for the 1900 hotel rooms will open up March 5. Set your alarms.
Came across Iron Tower (56 N. Ninth St., 215-485-7399) yesterday afternoon on the walk back from the newly opened Ramen Boy. About two months old, it's a tiny sandwich shop and creperie owned by Mitchell Ho, a classically trained native of Vietnam who spent the better part of 30 years cooking in Paris, most notably at La Gauloise in the 15th Arrondissement. The trilingual Ho, who's been in Philly for about three years, initially ran Iron Tower as a proper French/Viet pastry shop, hawking cream puffs and pate de chocolat, but business was too slow; he's since rejiggered his offerings to focus on sweet crepes (strawberry, banana, Nutella, etc.) and the best-priced banh mi around. He's charging $3 flat for a straight-up Ba Le-rolled sandwich — BBQ pork, chicken, beef, ham or crispy tofu dressed with mayo or olive oil, lettuce, pickled shredded carrot and crazy-spicy bird chili (upon request). Ho says he might be able to accommodate requests for Gallic sweets, too, if you call ahead. Iron Tower is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Photo: Drew Lazor
SNACK TIME: The Gauntlet Challenge is a bad idea, DIY meat undergarments, Pizza Hut gets you engaged, pics of chocolate eaters, veggies as art, and dangerous animal eating
- This video is supposed to show a guy completing the "Gauntlet Challenge," which requires you to consume six habaneros, 15 Warheads, two packs of Mentos (while drinking Diet Coke), a tablespoon of cinnamon and a gallon of milk. This video, in actuality, shows a guy chewing real loud and puking everywhere. Fun stuff.
- Want to get your sweetie something real special for Valentine's Day but just don't have the money? We've got a solution for you: make underwear out of beef jerky! Great idea or greatest idea?
- If you're not into the briefs-made-from-jerky scene but still really want to show how much you care, why not purchase the Engagement Party Package from Pizza Hut? For $10,000, they're pulling out all the stops: a limo, a ring, flowers, fireworks, a photographer, a videographer ... and a Pizza Hut dinner box. If she doesn't say yes to THAT, tell her it's over, man.
- No meat undies and no Pizza Hut diamond for you? You're probably feeling a little blue. Why not eat some chocolate (it's said to boost your mood) while looking at a bunch of weird stock photos of people eating chocolate?
- Brock Davis, a photographer from Minneapolis, still plays with his food, but it's the sake of art. Here he's recreated three infamous explosions in world history using cauliflower.
It's hard for a restaurant to open quietly in Philly these days, especially when that spot specializes in something as universally lusted-after as Japanese noodle soup. Such is the case with the "soft-open" Ramen Boy (204 N. Ninth St.), filling brothy bowls for capacity houses since Friday night in C-Town.
"Ramen is so common and so popular in Japan," says owner Nelson Tam, who also has Yakitori Boy two blocks away. His popular karaoke joint does offer the stuff, but he "wanted to do a place and stand out only for ramen." He's got that here, with native-son chef Yuichi "Ben" Watanabe and his bandanna-rocking crew serving four varieties of soup — a traditional pork broth with chargrilled meat and naruto (pictured); a soy-and-miso with chicken; an spicy oxtail-based broth with sliced ribeye; and a vegan bowl featuring soy milk-based broth and a rotating lineup of 11 different vegetables. They're also doing gyoza (pork, chicken, shrimp and a cheesesteak-like beef/cheddar) fried on the flat-top, rice platters and a couple of sides. Full menu after the jump (click to enlarge).
Don't be discouraged if every seat's occupied when you swing by — people seem to come and go pretty quickly here, and your sidewalk-to-soup time can be considerably slashed if you grab a stool at the kitchen bar. Ramen Boy is open Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Met with Chris and Heather Fetfatzes of Hawthornes Café (738 S. 11th St.) late last week to get the early word on their slated-for-spring takeover of Tritone (1508 South St.). The South Street bar and venue will host its very last show on Feb. 24; on March 1, the Fetfatzes will officially get the keys to the long-standing space to begin work on what they're calling The Cambridge.
Monday, February 6
Tuesday, February 7
Wednesday, February 8
Thursday, February 9
Friday, February 10
Fancy dinners on Valentine's Day are cool and all, but why not do something a little different this year? We've compiled a quick list of unique things to do on/around Feb. 14, with ya boo or even stag.
- Golosa (806 S. Sixth St., 215-925-1003) is having a prix-fixe three-course ALL-DESSERT meal from 6 to 11 p.m. Bring a date and a toothbrush. Reservations are required, FYI!
- Whipped Bakeshop (636 Belgrade St., 215-598-5449) is holding a couples' cake-decorating class on Feb. 11 and 14. Don't worry, you don't have to eat the whole cake there. They'll let you take it home. It's also BYO and also requires a res.
- The Cherry Bomb Bus girls are throwing a "misery dinner," called Eat Your Broken Heart Out, at Teri's (1126 S. Ninth St.). Make sure to buy tickets in advance for the four-course dinner, with seatings at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.
- Give some love where it's needed on Feb. 11 at Marc Vetri's TweetHeart Social, a children's event benefiting CHOP. It takes place at Nest (1301 Locust St., 215-545-6378).
- On V-Day proper, Frankford Hall (1210 Frankford Ave.) will be showing Natural Born Killers, one of several inspired choices in their Valentine's Day movie series.
- Visit Philly has compiled a whole list of date ideas for you to make your own. They're also holding a contest to win a bunch of cool and expensive stuff.
Received a odd package in the mail at CP HQ today containing this baby-blue tee, featuring the following screen-printed message:
YOU MUST MAKE
AND VEGANS ARE
AGAINST IT RAISE
DEAD ON PLANET GELATIN
Anyone familiar with the Toynbee tile phenomenon, magnificently explored in the 2011 doc Resurrect Dead, will recognize the font and layout. But why such love for something as innocuous as gelatin? And why such disdain for vegans, so marked that they're lumped in with the "hellion fronts" discussed on many of the Toynbee tiles? Mystery of mysteries. Hmm, there's a South Philly return address on the envelope. Perhaps we'll go knock up this weekend.
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