Archive: January, 2009
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The eggheads at Harvard University's School of Public Health have cooked up the latest iteration of the food pyramid, and it is based on exercise.
Not that dietary and medical researchers are suggesting you eat your gym shoes, but rather found your healthy diet on daily activity, burning calories to keep everything you do put in your face in balance. Unlike past food pyramids or food group structures, this is "based on the latest science, and unaffected by businesses and organizations with a stake in its messages ... the Healthy Eating Pyramid is a simple, trustworthy guide to choosing a healthy diet."
The new pyramid ignores grams and servings, instead painting, in broad strokes, what we're supposed to be eating. Plants, in the form of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil, and whole grains are the basis. Smaller amounts of nuts, seeds and tofu share equal footing with fish, poultry and eggs. Dairy does receive a serving suggestion of 1 to 3 servings a day, or calcium and Vitamin D supplements can be substituted. "American staples" like refined grains, red meat, butter, potatoes, salt and sweets end up in the point of this pyramid, branded with the dreaded "use sparingly" advisement.
Lingering in the pyramid's front yard is alcohol in moderation (for some), as well as multivitamins. Though vitamins have been getting Amy Winehouse-like bad press recently, Harvard's Dept. of Nutrition includes them as an insurance policy.
A plant-based diet seems to be the last word in nutrition. Though the Harvard certainly knows a thing or two about a thing or two, I'm still holding out for research that reveals the four vital food groups to be champagne, butter, bacon and chocolate.
FOOD NEWS: New big-name chef at Old City's Fork, Nuts to You opens in South Philly, Headhouse Kildare's becomes NFL burger-slingin' Get Happy Pub
|Terence Feury (left) with brother Patrick|
|"Maia Brother and Me" [03apr08]|
- Jan. 31 will be Thien Ngo's last day in the kitchen. The chef, who's helmed Old City's Fork for the last 7 years, is retiring to his native Vietnam. Taking over for him is Terence Feury, who recently left Villanova's Maia, his collab with cheffing sibling Patrick. (Check out A.D. Amorosi's April '08 feature on the fam.) Feury will surely uphold Fork's pioneering farm-to-table mentality, and will be adding an artisanal edge to the menu by introducing his own hand-crafted pasta, bread, charcuterie and smoked fish into the fray. Related reading: David Snyder's Sept. '07 feature on Fork's 10-year anniversary.
- The Bernstein clan's Nuts to You, which has my favorite selection of sour candies in the city, has opened their fifth location in Whitman Plaza (330 Oregon Ave., 215-271-1644). Selection's the same — popcorn, nuts, candies, chocolates, the aforementioned molar-rotting delights, etc. Size-wise, it's comparable to the store at 1328 Walnut. Hours for now: Mon.-Tue., Thu., 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Wed.-Fri., 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Paul Lauriello, a former partner of the Kildare's location in King of Prussia, has purchased Kildare's in Headhouse Square (Second and Lombard) along with his wife, Christine. They're unveiling it tonight as a new concept — Get Happy Pub. Interior is pretty much the same, and they have the same phone number: 215-574-2995. Paul says they're keeping the beer approach the same, too — 25 or so tap with all your Emerald Isle prereqs (Guinness, Smithwick's, Harp) and 40 beers by the bottle. Christine, a caterer, will be shopping for ingredients daily on Ninth Street for the menu; signature items will include Get Happy Wings (teriyaki, garlic, hot sauce) and what they're calling "NFL Burgers." What are those? Name your team and they'll work a bit of food coloring into the mayo so your food matches your favorite squad's uniforms. I am a Ravens fan so my burger's gonna be purple. Hours: Tue.-Fri., 5 p.m.-2 a.m.; Sat., 11 a.m.-2 a.m.; closed Sun.-Mon.
|Food Makes Me Happy|
A branch of Crêpe Maker, a national franchise with around 40 locations throughout the country, arrived at the food court at 30th Street Station last Monday (215-222-1353). The walk-up, which originated in South Florida in 1992, specializes in "hand-held," easy-to-tote renditions of the French staple. There are breakfast, entrée and dessert crêpes on the menu, along with kosher and vegetarian choices.
Options (check out the menu of a Coral Gables branch) include the Pesto Steak (marinated steak, peppers, spinach, romaine, tomato, pesto and melted cheese mix with seasonings); the "Queen of Hearts" (marinated artichoke hearts and hearts of palm, portabella mushrooms, cheese, spices); and the "To Die For" (cheesecake, bananas, strawberries, Nutella, whipped cream).
It’s open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Photo: Food Makes Me Happy
At just $14.99 in Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits stores, an ordinary bottle Jim Beam is sadly not a brilliant keystone of the liquor cabinet. Sweet, pale and bracingly boozy, the sour mash bourbon is strictly rail fare at the bar, fit only to mix with diet Coke or spash with ginger for cheap imbibing.
That's why I was so taken aback by Jim Beam Black, an 8-year aged straight bourbon that retails for $20.99 'round these parts. Bourbon is American whiskey, originally named for Bourbon County, Kentucky, which has been produced in the U.S. since the 18th century. The spirit must be distilled from at least 51 percent corn and aged for at least two years in new, charred oak barrels to be called bourbon. No place-name rules apply -- it can be produced in any part of the country, but 98 percent of bourbon is distilled in Kentucky.
Mr. Beam Black is a sour mash like the usual Jim; that is, the mixture of corn, rye and barley malt (called mash) from a previous distillation is added to the new batch to ensure an even pH across batches. Jim Beam uses 25 percent "set back" mash in each new batch. Corn is what gives bourbon its characteristic sweet flavor and lighter body -- much sweeter and softer than Irish whiskey or Scotch. For those new to the brown liquors, bourbon is a good first foray.
The Black is aged twice as long as regular Beam, and it shows. The 8 years in well-charred barrels impart a dark honey color and oaky tones to the spirit. An aroma of toffee and a bit of tobacco is the first impression; while on the tongue grains and toasty nut flavors emerge. A very warm finish is the hallmark of the 86 proof (43% ABV) booze.
Drink This Immediately.
Back in July, I mentioned a concept tentatively called "Bierista" in Feeding Frenzy:
South Philly Taproom's John Longacre and Joe Bedia are saying fall for Bierista — a 1,200-square-foot coffee shop and beer takeout that looks to become the boldest destination in Newbold. About 40 linear feet of cooler space will house hundreds upon hundreds of domestic and international bottles hand-selected by Bedia (Stoudt's, Yards, PBC).
Some updates on the project — it will now be called BREW (1900 S. 15th St.). The takeout, mix-a-six bottle shop concept still stands — they'll feature between 500 and 600 selections, and they're playing with the idea of retailing hops and "other beer geek toys." Here's some more on the java end: Coffee operations will be handled by Aaron Ultimo, the former Director of Coffee Quality for Washington, D.C.-based Murky Coffee. SPTR owner Longacre met Ultimo through local musician Denison Witmer*; he's organizing a school of sorts that'll feature regular cuppings, or coffee tastings. There'll be some simple eats available in-house, including pastries, fresh mozzarella and the like.
Longacre says that the buildout at 15th and Mifflin will be completed in less than a month. When they reach that point, he says, it is likely that they'll get the coffee arm of the operation up and running while waiting for their liquor license to land.
* Witmer has a local coffee connection of his own — his brother, Douglas, is the co-owner of West Philly's Green Line coffee shops.
|Troegs brewery manager Ed Yashinsky bags in the brewery gift shop. A few remaining |
bottles of Mad Elf are still available here. "Buy it when you see it!" he advises
Mad Elf enthusiasts.
|Photo | James Saul|
As those New Year's hangovers finally subside, we regret to inform you that the Tröegs Mad Elf is gone for 2008. Yes, that ho-ho hobgoblin has completed his annual mission of merriment, retreating to his secret cave on the banks of the Susquehanna River until next year. "Whatever's out there is what's left," says Troegs co-owner Chris Trogner. "We brew a little bit more each year, but the batches are very limited."
Fortunately, Tröegs Nugget Nectar will be shipping in about two weeks, so at least we'll have that deeeelicious imperial amber ale to carry us through till spring. If you're ever in the Harrisburg area, a visit to the brewery promises samples, growlers (BYO or buy one there) and the potential of a free tour on Saturdays.
Tröegs Brewing Company Tasting Room open Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat., noon-4 p.m.; brewery tours Saturdays at 1:30 p.m., 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. 800 Paxton St., Harrisburg, 717-232-1297, troegs.com
|Jason Fitterer pours a sampler tray in the Troegs tasting room. Six bucks gets you six|
samples of the brewery's latest offerings.
|Photo | James Saul|
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Stop by chef David Katz's Mémé this Thursday, Jan. 8 between 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. to be one of the first to sample his once-a-week lunch. There won't be a full menu — simply "whatever I'm cooking that day," Katz says. Two starter courses (think soup or salad) and two main courses (sandwiches, lunch-portioned pasta, grilled fish, etc.). Though choices will switch up every Thursday, there will be a few constant offerings, including a grilled flatbread of the day and kids' fare like peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese.
In other Mémé news, Katz says he expects to hear about his wine and beer license "any day now." Chop chop, bureaucrats.
|Baba ghanouj and pita|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
This first sentence of Michael Pollan's New York Times essay on nutritionism was written not quite two years ago. Simple as it seems, he goes on to describe what those seven words really mean. Eat whole food, not "edible foodlike substances." Consume mostly plants, especially leaves. Cook. Get out of the supermarket and get down with the farmer's market. Pollan also cites Thomas Jefferson's advice to treat meat more like a flavoring than a food.
The infant weeks of the new year are rife with unlikely resolutions. Lose weight, go to the gym, stop smoking/drinking/Internet porn-ing. Mine is simple: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
Middle Eastern and Mediterranean ways of eating make use of a little meat and lots of whole grains and vegetables, along with healthy fats like olive oil. One of my favorites is baba ghanouj, a simple roasted eggplant dip. A few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil add a bit of fruity brightness to the smoky eggplants, along with a handful of chopped parsley and a generous turn of black pepper. The dip can be scooped up with toasted whole wheat pita or raw vegetables for the truly virtuous, and makes a great pita sandwich or roll-up with a few leaves of romaine or arugula.
This recipe for baba ghanouj was kindly explained to me by Gloria Bitar, who was born in Lebanon and is looking good at 81.
Check out the Tete-approved method after the jump.
Tete's Baba Ghanouj
Go Get This:
2 medium eggplants
Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced tiny or smushed through a garlic press. Adjust to taste, if you like more garlic go for it.
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Juice of one lemon (if desired. Tete doesn't do this, but i snuck it in mine)
Two tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Now Do This:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Wait until it is truly preheated, at least 15 minutes.
Poke the two eggplants all over with a fork. Place them in a roasted pan or on a cookie sheet. Roast at 375 for one hour.
When eggplants are soft all over, remove from oven and peel. Use a fork and a knife to hold the flesh of the eggplant and pull away the skin. Rough chop eggplant flesh into cubes.
Place eggplant, crushed or diced garlic, lemon juice, salt, pepper and parsley to large mixing bowl. Mash everything with a potato masher or the back of a big fork.
Taste, adjust seasoning. Lightly mash in olive oil.
Serve room temp or cold from refrigerator with pita, lavash, and cut-up raw veggies.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Chef Joe Poon's Joe's Peking Duck Original 1984 is working on getting its liquor license. Though they don't yet have a target date for its arrival, the plan is to offer the whole shebang — wine, beer and mixed drinks — once it kicks in.
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