Food and Holidays
|A special seder plate|
Passover, the Jewish holiday commemorating the Jews' exodus from Egypt, begins this Tuesday, March 30 upon sunset this Monday, March 29. Jewish families celebrating the holiday hold Seder dinners the night before Passover so that they may reflect on the suffering and trials that the culture endured while in Egypt. Seder (which means "order") dinners must have ritualized items present (these items are usually placed on a Seder plate) that represent the hardships and renewals the holiday honors. On the plate you will find bitter herbs, horseradish, charoset, salt water, a shank bone and a hard-boiled egg.
It may be difficult to get family members to change things up on such a tradition-soaked holiday but we think these Passover menus will have even the sternest Jewish granny considering a night out. After the jump we have a list of places (and some menus) that invite you to their Passover table.
- This Friday, March 26, Molly's Bookstore (1010 S. Ninth St.) is holding a screening and snacking event at 7 p.m. Stop by to view Joe Van Blunk's documentary "Echoes of a Ghost Minyan," which recounts the arrival of Russian Jews to South Philly in 1882 via the S.S. Illinois and the story of the few remaining members of the once-large population. Afterward, enjoy Molly's homemade knishes, schneken and kugel cooked up from her own family's recipes. A $10 donation to aid possible future renovations of Molly's back gallery is requested.
- Chef Michael McNally of London Grill (2301 Fairmount Ave.) will host two prix-fixe dinners ($40 for adults, $20 for children) on March 29 and 30. Some of the featured menu items will also be available a la carte until April 5. To mark the end of the Passover holiday London Grill is serving up Meatball Monday three new ways: pickled salmon, veal, and lamb with mint for six bucks. And don't miss out on $9 Passover cocktails (Manischewitz martini, Sweet Miriam's Revenge, 11th Plague, etc.)
Menu: gefilte fish, matzah ball soup, vegetable stew, chicken with spring herbs and natural jus, braised brisket, poached wild sea bass, roasted veal breast, braised lamb shank.
- Fork (308 Market St.) offers Passover prix-fixe dinners from March 30-31. The cost of the three-course dinner is $45 and is set to include sautÃ©ed chicken livers, braised brisket, whole fish and braised lamb shank.
- On March 29 and 30, chef Mitch Prensky is preparing a Supper (926 South St.) of a Seder Passover Dinner.
Menu: Charoset, hard-boiled egg, and matzah for the table; Hors d'oeuvres: chicken liver mousse, pickled beets; Dinner: gefilte fish or chicken soup, roasted chicken or braised brisket with a variety of sides; dessert: flourless chocolate torte, apple-matzah kugel
- Chef Michael Solomonov's Passover renditions will be available at Zahav (247 St. James Place) from March 29-April 6. The seven-course prix-fixe runs $42 per person. (UPDATE: Check out our video segment featuring Solomonov preparing his leek fritters with charoset.)
Menu: handmade matzah, salatim and hummus; roasted matzah balls in black garlic broth; white tuna with beets and horseradish; asparagus with spring egg salad and walnuts; leek fritters with charoset; coffee-braised brisket; matzah brei with red wine-spiced ice cream
- One dish has been added to the menu at Il Portico (1519 Walnut St.) from March 29 until April 2 in observance of the holiday. "Matzagna," lasagna that has converted to Judaism, consists of pesto, bÃ©chamel and ricotta layered with matzah. (UPDATE: Check out a recipe for Matzagna.)
The Jewish community at University of Pennsylvania also has a bunch going on. Click here for more details on Seder and Passover dinners and activities.
After 10 hours of planes, trains and automobiles, the effort was clearly worth it when I had my first sip of on-Irish-soil Guinness this weekend, fresh from St. James Gate. While I'm pub-hopping in the UK this week, I've rounded up a list of St. Patty's Day events taking place right in town this Wednesday. No plane tickets necessary, though you may want to leave the car at home. Got any more? Leave a comment!
St Patty's at McGillin's Olde Ale House
Wed., March 17, 9 a.m.-2 a.m., pay as you go
Philly's oldest pub opens at at 9am for Sly Fox and O'Hara's stouts, McGillin's own 1860 IPA, plus Irish menu items like shepherd's pie and Guinness stew. Though there are no specific drink specials listed, you can be sure the place will be packed and wild. McGillin's Olde Ale House, 1310 Drury St., 215-735-5562, mcgillins.com.
Swarming and Partying at P.Y.T.
Wed., March 17, 6 p.m.-2 a.m., pay as you go
Obtain the coveted "Swarm" badge in Foursquare at P.Y.T. You can only get this rare and nerdy medal of honor when 50 or more Foursquare users are checked in to one place at the same time. Get a free draft beer just for checking in, then head to the back room for a no-cover Patty's Day party with music by DJ Dirty, Lady Prowl, Sammy Slice, Gun$ Garcia, and Brendan Bring 'Em. P.Y.T., 1050 N. Hancock Street, 215-268-7825, pytphilly.com.
Green Quizzo at New Wave
Wed., March 17, 7:30pm, $10
Remember the other meaning of the word "green" during this eco-themed quizzo night, testing your knowledge of both environmental and St. Patrick's Trivia. Vegan and vegetarian dinner specials will include braised veggie tacos, seitan fried rice and more. All proceeds will go to benefit the Humane League of Philadelphia. New Wave CafÃ©, 784 S. Third St., 215-922-8484, newwavecafe.com.
$3 Snack Menu at Swift Half Pub
Now through Sun., March 21, $3-$6
Enjoy mini tastes of Ireland with these small plates, for $3 each. All week Swift Half is offering traditional favorites like stuffed cabbage, Irish boxty (potato cakes), mini fish and chips, or ham- and potato-stuffed pierogies in Guinness brown-butter sauce. For an additional $3, add a half-pint to wash it all down; Sly Fox O'Reilly Stout and Irish Red Ale are both on tap. (Check out Felicia D's post from yesterday for photos and addidtional info.) Swift Half Pub, The Piazza at Schmidts, 1001 N. Second St., 215-923-4600, swifthalfpub.com.
Tomorrow, green-clad revelers will crowd neighborhood bars and corporate chains alike, toasting with Irish whiskey and sharing cheer over Guinness. They can credit their day of revelry to the Irish-Catholic tradition of celebrating the religious feast day and death anniversary of St. Patrick with an evening off from the privations of Lent. With the 40-day ban on flesh-eating and boozing temporarily lifted, our predecessors were free to consume bacon, cabbage and beer and generally carry on.
Swift Half in the Piazza at Schmidts (1001 N. Second St.) is prepared for the green tide of the Irish High Holiday with $3 Irish-inspired snacks and $3 draft half-pints beginning today and running through Sun., March 21.
The $3 menu by chef Jessica O'Donnell includes potato pancake "boxty," mini fish and chips, stuffed cabbage, ham and cheese potato pierogies in Guinness brown butter and bangers in a blanket, described by co-owner and Cork native David Garry as "just like the sausage rolls I had every morning in college back home." Among others, Sly Fox Seamus' Irish Red Ale and O'Reilly's Stout are on draft.
From now until this Wednesday, March 17, Bridget Foy's (200 South St.) will be running a special menu to honor St. Patrick. Shimmy on over for some O'Reilly's Stout/cheddar soup, or corned beef and cabbage, then finish up with Bassett's Irish coffee ice cream. Also on offer: $5 pints of Sly Fox's O'Reilly's Stout and Seamus Red Ale. SlÃ¡inte!
Full St. Paddy's menu after the jump.
O'Reilly's Stout and cheddar soup
Guinness beef stew
Corned beef and Ccbbage with parsley red bliss potatoes
Pan-seared salmon with colcannon, baby carrots and watercress
Herb-crusted lamb chops with Brussels sprouts and bacon, roasted potatoes and a Jameson mustard cream sauce
Bassett's Irish coffee ice cream
$5 Sly Fox O'Reilly Stout and Sly Fox Seamus Red Ale
Whiskey: Jameson, Michael Collins, Powers, Tullamore Dew, Bushmills, Feckin
The bronze boar pictured above is a genuine Celtic artifact, and certain proof that the pig was a fetish animal long before fat-crazed foodies discovered its belly in 2008.
Jim Burke, recently announced as a semifinalist for Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic in the James Beard Awards, will set an altar of a table on Sunday, March 7 for National Pig Day at James (824 S. Eighth St.). The four-course "Pig & Its Parts" menu will include trotters, housemade sausage and bacon brittle for $60. Reservations suggested; 215-629-4980.
Fatty foods, masks, dancing and beads mark the beginning of Mardi Gras celebrations across the nation. If you can't make it down to the French Quarter, let the good times roll on over to Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch streets) on Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for food and Dixieland music hosted by Beck's Cajun CafÃ©. Get on the party train early for your jambalya, muffalettas and other NOLA favorites, and warm up for a good cause by purchasing a cup of gumbo to benefit the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. Take an extended lunch break and stick around for a piece of King Cake â whoever finds the baby in their slice is crowned King for the day. Don't worry, it's just a figurine. People go nuts on Mardi Gras, but not that nuts.
During last year's crawdad season, which runs from Mardi Gras time till June-ish, Chris' Jazz CafÃ© (1421 Sansom St.) served 1,000 pounds of Louisiana crawdads to satisified crustacean-cracking customers. This year, Chris' owner Mark DiNinno plans on doubling that to 2,000 â yes, a ton of pinchy little critters for all y'all Fat Tuesday revelers.
Chef James Palmer, who'll be receiving live shipments of Red Swamp crawdads from a private Louisiana farm, cooks 'em up in a secret-recipe house boil (it includes potatoes and corn on the cob) and serves them by the 1.5- to 2-pound bucket for $10. They offer buckets of Coronitas to go along with the crawdads for the same price. Grab a bucket of your own weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and on Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Chef Palmer also has plans for dishes like crawdad mac 'n' cheese and crawdad mashed potatoes.
On Fat Tuesday this year (Feb. 16), Chris' will be doing a bottomless bucket deal for 20 bucks, as well as gumbo, Cajun beignets, King Cake and other NOLA specialties. Musical stylings by the Hoppin' John Orchestra, Philly's only "postmodern New Orleans-style brass band." Laissez les bon temps rouler, as they say.
Being original on Valentine's Day gets tougher each year, especially if you haven't managed to scratch that ten-year itch. I mean, if you have been madly in love with one person for ten glorious years! Moving on...
Here's a fun fact: Did you know that this year Chinese New Year (year of the Tiger, raaarrrrrr) kicks off on Valentine's Day? If I had to choose just one to celebrate, I'd choose a carton of dumplings over a box of chocolates. Share this sentiment? Mix things up and pour a little spoonful of America's melting pot into your V-Day. Send your love kitten personalized, sweet-talkin' fortune cookies. What better way to say, âI love you, Tigerâ?
And who doesn't love a caffeine fix? Why not hand-craft pouches of tea for your hyper honey? All you need are some loose tea leaves, unbleached cheese cloth and twine or string. Truly a gift that is fit to be tied!
Of course, if it were me, I'd be down for a dish of fried rice and an order of Triple Precious from Charles' Plaza (243 N. 10th St.) in Chinatown. Maybe a little Tsingtao to wash it down, too.
|This winter weather makes me want to drink like a wolf.|
Last night's polar vortex has canceled air travel, halted school and made getting to the office impossible (wheeee!). The only thing it hasn't dampened is our enthusiasm for snowy-day revelry. Check out which bars are making the best of it with emergency brunches, dead cheap booze and sledding supplies for lushes.
Pub & Kitchen (1946 Lombard St.) will open at noon today, with $3 bloody marys until 3 p.m.; happy hour from 4-6 p.m. features $3 Yards Brawler and Stoudts Pilsner, $5 glasses of wine and $2 bar snacks. A special menu, including a tempting potato hash with chicken confit and fried farmer's egg ($13) runs all day.
Johnny Brenda's (1201 Frankford Ave.) is running an Emergency Brunch today -- look for tasties from the weekend menu, like homemade tamales with salsa verde, capicolla fritatta and ham and cheese grits.
Every Wednesday all cans of beer are half-price at Good Dog (224 S. 15th St.), plus 25-oz. bottles of Sly Fox Christmas Ale are just $10; all proceeds from that brew will go to Doctors Without Borders' relief efforts in Haiti.
Watch the snow from the loveliest vantage point on the Square at Rouge (205 S. 18th St.), offering $10 Grey Goose martinis, $8 Makers Mark hot toddies and $5 Coronas (for the island-wishful).
P.Y.T. (The Piazza at Schmidts, 1001 N. Second St.) has that aprÃ©s-ski spirit with Ski Patrol: Part Deux! Half-priced draft beers and jukebox karaoke sing-a-longs all day.
Skip across the Piazza to The Swift Half (1001 N. Second St.), serving $2 classic cans and $3 Sly Fox cans all day.
The comically oversized Scorpion Bowl at Sampan (124 S. 13th St.) is a fishbowl of a drink -- literally. This mind-erasing blend of rum, gin, white wine and pomegranate juice drops from $24 to $12 tonight from 4 p.m. until close.
London Grill (2301 Fairmount Ave.) opens at noon today with egg, cheese and butcher bacon sammies; growlers and six-packs of pounders ($16) are available to-go for sledders.
Brauhaus Schmitz (718 South St.) has half-priced bottles all day.
Meme (2201 Spruce St.) will be serving homemade hot chocolate, hot ham and cheese sandwiches and bean soup, all for $15, tonight.
James (824 S. Eighth St.) opened at noon today, and will be serving snacks and $2 stouts at the bar, fireplace roarin' all the while.
Meal Ticket boozin' homebase The Khyber (56 S. Second St.) is open all day, and they're serving hot drinks (Russian hot chocolates, hot applejack) for four bucks.
Cantina Dos Segundos (931 N. Second St.) is pouring $3 Bloody Marys all day.
Today and tomorrow, Alfa (1709 Walnut St.) is doing $3-$4 drink specials, lots of snacks, $20 bottles of wine and more. They're also offering survival items like microwave popcorn, gummy bears and condoms. Gummy bears and condoms, yeah! Full rundown on Phoodie.
Sidecar (2201 Christian St.) opened at 10:30 a.m. and will offer their weekend brunch menu till 3 p.m. Business as usual after that.
Mention that snow sucks at Han Dynasty (108 Chestnut St.) and owner Han Chiang will give you 15 percent off your bill.
Noble (2025 Sansom St.) is offering a five-course tasting for $38, plus happy-hour pricing at the bar all night.
Eulogy (136 Chestnut St.) is doing $3.50 Stella, Hoegaarde and Leffe all night.
Tattooed Mom (530 South St.) is offering 50-cent pierogies, $1.50 PBRs and $4 drafts all night.
Though more than one St. Valentine was martyred before the fourteenth century fad for courtly love turned them into a lace-edged clichÃ©, it doesn't have to be all blood and roses now. The Dark Horse Pub (421 S. Second St.) will host Philly's first-ever Vegan Valentine's Dance and Drinks on Sat., Feb. 13, complete with DJ, $1 off all drinks and vegan appetizers making the rounds in two connected private party rooms.
One hundred percent of the $10 cover will benefit The Humane League of Philadelphia and aid them in their work advocating for animals. Doors open at 8 p.m.; vegetarians welcome.
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