Archive: October, 2008
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
On Wednesday, we promised you all the details on Prohibition Taproom (501 N. 13th St., 215-238-1818, theprohibitiontaproom.com), the new pub from Café Lift owners Michael Pasquarello and Jeniphur Whitleigh. And we never break a promise.
Photos and food/booze info after the jump. They open tomorrow, Nov. 1, at 4 p.m.
The only remaining remnant of the bar formerly known as Maker's Local (and then Canavan's Pub) is the bar itself, a beautiful cherry wood piece of craftsmanship with two arm-like portions that shoot off at 90-degree angles. Otherwise, Pasquarello and Whitleigh have overhauled the interior in conjunction with the nostalgic name — damask wallpaper (it's got a similar look to the pattern on Prohibition's Web site), studded high-back leather stools and hanging lightbulb fixtures Pasquarello describes as "Edison-like." Salvaged wooden joists from a friend's building project make up the tables lining the windows on the 13th Street side.
Here's the opening draught list (they've also got around 30 in bottles):
- Stoudt's Oktoberfest
- PBC Rowhouse Red
- Victory Braumeister Pilsner
- Yards Philly Pale
- Post Road Pumpkin Ale
- Hook & Ladder Backdraft Brown Ale
- Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout
- Allagash White
- Yards ESA (on hand pump)
We also got a peek at Pasquarello's opening menu, a portion of which will rotate regularly. Highlights:
- Steamed PEI mussels with ale, shallots and thyme
- Hoisin BBQ wings with daikon radish sticks
- Ranchero wings (spicy Mexican sauce, jicama sticks, green goddess dressing)
- House-made hummus with black olives, dolmas, grape leaves and pita
- Beer-battered green beans
- Butter lettuce salad with creamy Maytag blue cheese, bacon crumbles and roasted peppers
- Pulled pork sandwich with ale-infused BBQ sauce and cole slaw
- Daily burger, flat bread and grilled cheese specials
- Grilled marinated vegetable sandwich on sourdough with sun-dried tomato spread and basil aioli
- Roasted half chicken with herb-seasoned root vegetables and orange rosemary sauce
- Steak frites (flank steak, house-cut fries, mushroom madeira butter)
- Pan-seared crab and shrimp cakes with house-cut fries, bar slaw and jalapeno tartar sauce
- Golden macaroni and cheese with side salad
- Daily fresh fish/seafood special
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Full Name: Gordon Gregory Grubb III (lots of creativity in my family!)
Hometown: I live in Philly now, but I grew up in Fairview Village between Norristown and Collegeville.
How long have you been at Nodding Head: Since July 1, 2003.
Meal Ticket: So how fun is it to wear this fetching cargo-shorts-and-rubber-boots combo every day? I bet the girls love it.
Gordon Grubb: The rubber boots are shockingly popular, and by shockingly, I mean at all. I would say the rubber boot preference occurs in at least 2 percent of women.
MT: What are we brewing here today?
GG: We have a batch of Grog, which is a southern English-style brown ale. It's also our best-selling beer year-round. [Ed: Grog won City Paper's 2007 Beeramid competition. Incidentally, Gordon has to keep Nodding Head co-owner and publican-about-town Fergus "Fergie" Carey supplied with it or he becomes cranky.] Grog is brewed with Maris Otter malt, a base malt that is darker than pilsner malt; a bit of brown malt; a bit of torrefied wheat for head retention; and a little very dark chocolate malt. It has a single bittering addition of hops early in the boil.
MT: How did you learn to brew?
GG: Learn to brew? In reality, right here [at Nodding Head]. I did take the American Brewer's Course, which is six months online, and then an internship. They throw a lot of science at you. When I started on my first day as assistant brewer at Nodding Head and took a look at all of these valves, I realized I didn't know a fucking thing! Look at all these valves! Andrew Greenwood was the head brewer when I started, and he's a master. [Yards Brewing Co. owner Tom] Kehoe and I call him "Science Boy."
MT: What did you do before you learned to brew?
GG: I was restoring antiques, and that was cool. Met a lot of cool people, traveled to a lot of cool places, made good money. I was working on this huge dining set project ï¿½ table, chairs, sideboard ï¿½ stripping and staining everything with a friend helping. My friend's neighbor came walking in to this stink of stain, and he says, "I smell tumors!" And that was NOT FUNNY ï¿½ these are MY tumors! Meanwhile, I got a homebrew kit for Christmas, and was really enjoying the learning process as much as the beer. Since the American Brewer's Course is online and I could still work while I did it, I figured what the hell.
MT: Of your own beers, what are your favorites?
GG: I'm usually drinking what's new, or our Berlinerweisse or BPA (Bill Payer Ale). When I got here, Curt [Decker, co-owner of Nodding Head] said they were hoping to save the Berlinerweisse style. This year at the Great American Beer Fest (GABF), there were a lot of people doing Berliner. So, success.
MT: What are your favorite beers that you don't make?
GG: I've been drinking Sly Fox Pikeland Pils all summer for the ballgames, so it just tastes like baseball to me. Russian River Blind Pig IPA is great. A lot of the local guys are doing great stuff. It's no accident that I knew a lot of the guys walking across the stage in Denver [at the GABF]. Iron Hill, Troegs ï¿½ the beers that Troegs doesn't get as much attention for, like Rugged Trail Brown Ale, are rock solid and very tasty.
MT: What was it like to win a sliver medal for your saison at GABF?
GG: Well, it's cool, but you don't do it for medals. Of course the first thing I thought was, who beat me!? It was Chris LaPierre [from Iron Hill West Chester]. At least it was one of my friends.
MT: What advice do you have to someone who is considering brewing as a career?
GG: Find someone who needs free help to see if you like it. You're not going to get rich brewing.
Earlier this week, I received an e-mail from B.A. Nilsson, restaurant critic for the Metroland alt-weekly in Albany, New York:
[I] am making my first visit in many years to Philadelphia this weekend. Here's what I'm facing.
My eleven-year-old daughter is celebrating puberty's onset with obsessive worship of the group Panic at the Disco, who will be playing at the Wachovia Center on Saturday night. My wife, blinded by motherly love, will accompany the kid to the concert. I'll drop them off — and then I'd like to find a restaurant or two to sample, preferably smaller, more unusual venues. Albany has a dearth of ethnic variety; I can see from your City Paper listings that your city is hipper.
So I'm hoping you might be able to recommend a restaurant or two. Sunday I'll be touring historic sites and museums with the family, so I suspect I'll have less latitude in dining.
I took this same exact approach — tapping the local food types for suggestions — when I took a trip to Portland this August, with remarkable results. So I know I have to pay it forward this time around.
Culinary co-conspirator Felicia D'Ambrosio and I collab'd on a list of some of our favorite ethnic dining destinations in Philly — you can check it out after the jump. But what about YOU, Meal Ticketers? Is there somewhere we overlooked? A cuisine we totally glossed over? If so, let us have it in the comments. Let's all pitch in to make Nilsson's Philly trip one to remember.
Since the Panic show is all the way in deep South Philly, I didn't want
to send our friend to some far-flung corners of the city that'll require you
to drive forever. That's why our sort-of-short list consists of places that are in the
general South Philly/Center City vicinity.
- Kind of in the middle of nowhere South Philly is popular Indonesian hole-in-the-wall type place Hardena (1754 Hicks St., 215-271-9442). The aptly named Indonesia (1725 Snyder Ave., 215-829-1400) is a bit more centrally located for the same type of cuisine. Lots of satay skewers and good soups and whatnot.
- Dmitri's (795 S. Third St., 215-625-0556) is a Greek/Mediterranean institution in Queen Village. Very simple and affordable plates; they're famous for their grilled octopus, which we highly recommend. It's a BYOB so grab a bottle of wine if you can ... it's not very big, though, so it can get crowded sometimes.
- If you go to the corner of 11th Street and Washington Avenue in South Philly, there is a huge shopping center called Wing Phat Plaza that features multiple Vietnamese bakeries/restaurants and one relatively new Chinese restaurant called Wokano. A lot of the same options at these places, but we've found the quickest, easiest and most consistent for solid noodle soup is Pho Hoa (1111 S. 11th St., 215-755-4000). Directly next to this place is a really well regarded Thai/Laotian spot called Cafe de Laos (1117 S. 11th St., 215-467-1546). In fact, if you drive east on Washington Avenue (that's going down the numbers), you'll run into a million and one ethnic options, from dim sum and classic red sauce Italian places to some pretty good Mexican taquerias.
- Sang Kee (238 N. Ninth St., 215-925-7532) is another super-institution in Chinatown. Famous for their roast duck but they have a lot of atypical items for the more adventurous. If you want to go REALLY off the wall, try Potluck Cafe (220 N. 10th St., 215-627-5898). A gigantic menu of some of the weirdest stuff we've ever seen.
- Also in the general Chinatown-ish area is an African/Nigerian restaurant called Wazobia (616 N. 11th St., 215-769-3800). Definitely try the "stews," basically just very thick and spicy meaty sauces over rice.
- Philly has some really great Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurants, but a majority of them are in West Philly, kind of a haul from where you'll be. One place that is much closer (and in my opinion, just as good, if not better) is Almaz Cafe in the heart of Rittenhouse (140 S. 20th St., 215-557-0108). It looks like any other coffee shop from the outside, but if you pop in and flip over the menu, there are some great Ethiopian options. We really love the kitfo, the beef tartare dish.
- One of our new favorite Indian restaurants is Ekta (250 E. Girard Ave., 215-426-2277), where chef Raju Bhattari has built a big following despite only being open for a couple months. The only thing is it's not all that close and it's mainly a takeout place. A more centrally located Indian option is Minar Palace (1304 Walnut St., 215-546-9443). Favorite dishes: the goat and lamb vindaloos and the shrimp nirgisi.
- Finally: Capogiro Gelato for dessert. They have two locations: 20th and Sansom (117 S. 20th St, 215-636-9250) and 13th and Sansom (119 S. 13th St., 215-351-0900). They make all sorts of crazy flavors from scratch daily, and they're always changing.
|Victory makes you sooo hungry.|
|Ron Cortes | Inquirer|
O happy day and unifying jubilation! The Phils have won the big one, and will be revered all the way down Broad Street today in the first championship parade this city has seen in 25 years. The AP reported on fans who staked out their locations at 6 this morning in anticipation of viewing 3 minutes of passing players and dancing maidens strewing flower petals in their wake.
If you plan on joining in the chaos, you'll need to refuel along the way. The parade departs from 20th and Market streets at noon, and makes its way down Broad Street to culminate in a ticketed rally at Citizens Bank Park. Check out these classic Philly joints for food, beer and all the high fives and chest bumps you can handle.
Start off strong with a cheap falafel from Mama's Vegetarian at 20th and Chestnut. Don't worry, the line may be out the door but those dudes keep things rolling. The warm pita, fried chickpeas and crunchy pickles will provide a friendly base for all of the beer you are now going to pour in to your poor, defenseless body.
By the time you reach the City Hall turning point of the parade, your backpack will likely be empty of adult beverages. Pop into the Latimer Deli at 15th and Latimer (between Spruce and Locust) and pick up a crafty six-pack of local Sly Fox Pikeland Pils or Phoenix Pale Ale. They're packaged in cans, which will keep the cops off your back — no glass bottle bombs coming from you.
Deep into South Philly lies Cacia's (1526 Ritner St.). A traditional Italian-American bakery with some of the bitchin'-est bread around, they also turn out tasty square pizzas and tomato pie for uber-cheap. Pick up a few squares of Pizazz, a combination of hot and sweet pepper strips on an American cheese pie. If you've had enough of the mob, take a pepperoni or spinach stromboli to heat in the oven at home.
Yeah, it's a bit hackneyed and filled to the brim with South Philly Willies and Millies, but Chickie's and Pete's on Packer Ave. (between Broad and 15th) is a magnet for sports fans. There are 51,000 TVs, cute gum-snapping neighborhood girls serving in sweats, and it's guaranteed to be a love-fest of Phils fans. Order a tower of local lager and dig in to some crab fries and red-sauced mussels, reveling in the feeling of living in Championship Philly.
If the stadium scene gets to be too much, call Celebre's Pizza (in the same shopping center as Chickie's and Pete's, 215-467-3255) to pick up a whopping thick-crust pie to take home. Oh, and happy Halloween or whatever. THE PHILLIES WON THE WORLD SERIES!!! If Obama wins on Tuesday, I'll never ask for anything ever again. Not even a decent Neapolitan-style pizzeria close to my house.
|Minar Palace's brinjal bartha|
|Photo | Shirley Nicole Fonner|
- Minar, Minar, on the wall: David Snyder rocks an extended Michael Jordan metaphor to weigh the worth of Minar Palace, the highly regarded Indian restaurant that closed in 2006 only to reopen at 13th and Walnut. He even throws in a wine recommendation for the spot (it's BYO).
- This week's Feeding Frenzy touches on four new/notable openings — Stephen Starr's Butcher & Singer, brand-new Bella Vista Medi spot Mazag Café, Teri's Restaurant in the Italian Market and Coconut Grove above Copa on South.
- Trey Popp takes on Home Slice, the casual Liberties Walk pizza parlor/takeout from the owners of A Full Plate Café. Verdict? "They're serving better pizza with more variety than many places that charge a higher price. Discover it already."
- Dinner and a movie is one of the most time-tested date approaches in history, second only to cow tipping/rodeo clowning. (What? Where are you from?). This week's Top 5 list features Gary M. Kramer's top picks for dinemacinema DESTINATIONS — think local film screenings at N. 3rd, renting Bollywood flicks at Tiffin, etc.
- Wondering What's Cooking this week? Let Nikki V. help: wine dinner at Rum Bar, a MANNA Pie in the Sky happy hour, election night debauchery at Johnny Brenda's and more.
|Adorable Owl, Mount Fuji|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
One gigantic benefit to having no particular beer brewing tradition is the freedom to experiment and innovate in styles not native to your region. Case in point: Japan's Hitachino Nest label, from Kiuchi Brewery. Kiuchi is located in Naka, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan, and was established in 1823 as a sake brewery. In 1996 they began brewing beer under the Hitachino Nest label, and have since produced a range of well-regarded, tasty beers. Their White Ale, a wheat beer spiced with coriander and curacao orange peel in the Belgian syle, is the best known, and certainly on par with the best Belgian representatives of this classic style.
New this year is Hitachino's Commemorative Ale 2008, a "festive ale brewed with vanilla beans and spices (coriander, orange peel, nutmeg and cinnamon)". This spiced beer is a peer to the best Belgian and American "Christmas" or holiday ales, and neatly avoids the lugubrious malts and fruitcake spicing that can doom a brew of this type.
Poured from a squat 12 oz. bottle, the beer pours a hazy bronze color, topped with a huge, long-lasting rocky head. Coriander dominates the nose with orange peel right behind. Commemorative Ale 2008 is weighty on the tongue -- full-bodied, but bright and effervescent. It is a winter warmer for sure, but at 9% ABV doesn't taste hot or boozy, as many strong ales do. Spicy vanilla is the most forward flavor, and a slow swallow finishes dry.
Pair this festive ale with firm, not-so-funky cheeses like Prima Donna or Gouda; honey/date/pear desserts; and pork with fruit compote or applesauce. Pair the cute overload owl mascot on the label with your sense of buzzed whimsy. Cheers!
Available at The Foodery, 837 N. Second St., 215-238-6077; $6.50 for a 12 oz. bottle, or $5.95 with a mix-a-six discount.
Michael Pasquarello, who owns Café Lift with wife Jeniphur Whitleigh, just confirmed that Prohibition Taproom, their pub/kitchen in the space that was briefly Maker's Local and Canavan's (501 N. 13th St.), will open to the public this Sat., Nov. 1.
The 50-seater will feature 10 nine beers on tap and a chalkboard menu with a big emphasis on local ingredients. We'll have more details soon; in the meantime, check out our previous coverage here and here.
UPDATE [01nov08]: Click HERE to check out pics and menu details for Prohibition Taproom.
Oh, callow youth. A quartet of Temple University students have created a YouTube paean to Pat's King of Steaks for their Computer Information Science class. Watch them state their cheesesteak preferences — using the accepted Philly lingo of "a type of cheese and a preposition" — and even look charming manhandling one of Pat's ordinarily-grease-bomb sandwiches. Where's the drip?
Tori Ershler, Emily Hutz, Rachel Levin and Dina Maslennikova are adorably awkward in their three-minute video project and express appropriate disdain for the neon monstrosity that is Geno's. But I'll never concede that Pat's is anything but convenience grub acceptable only to inebriated Iggles fans and tourists. Girls, if you see this, I would like to take you to John's Roast Pork for a really transcendent cheesesteak experience. That said, well done! I never did anything half as interesting in my years at good ol' Temple. Nor did I take any Computer Science classes, come to think of it.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
Can't decide between embarking on a windswept culinary tour of the Mediterranean or sitting and watching old heads toss bocce in Bardascino Park? Well I'll be — now you can do both. Mazag Café (1001 S. 10th St.), which opened Oct. 11 in the 10th and Carpenter space that formerly housed the Bella Vista branch of Mount Airy's InFusion, is cozycute brainchild of Dahlia Osman, with help from her mother, Nemi Assaad.
Osman and Assaad, who are Egyptian (Mazag means "good mood" in their native tongue), cook up Medi choices from multiple countries. Drop in for stuffed grape leaves with yogurt sauce; goat cheese-, almond- and veggie-laden couscous; Italian bean salads and panini; and salad-type dishes from Lebanon, Syria, their homeland (a fried rice dish with tuna and green peppers is one Egyptian specialty) and more. Baklava, spinach pie and various other bread-y offerings are baked fresh daily; plenty of vegetarian and vegan options are on hand, as well. The menu will continue to grow as customers become better acquainted with some of the more authentic offerings, Assaad says.
They're also doing a full range of coffee and espresso drinks in addition to harder-to-find beverages like Turkish coffee, hibiscus tea, and sahlab, a hot drink that's extremely popular in the Middle East. Derived from orchid root, the thick treat is served with milk and nuts, which you're meant to spoon out and eat prior to your first sip.
Mazag, which is still waiting on their phone line hookup, is open Mon.-Fri. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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