Archive: October, 2008
|From Trey Popp's April 17 review of Pearl|
|Photo | Michael T. Regan|
Word has it from sources exceedingly close to the ham bone and/or lamb shank that Pearl’s owners — the family Stein — and its executive chef, Ari Weiswasser, have parted ways. The Asian fusion king Weiswasser resigned Wednesday, with his last day coming next week. And all was supposedly quite amicable between the parties. The coolest part of that sweet, sad Pearl parting may come when Pearl's owners turn their hunt for a new master cooker into a search for an unknown. Apparently, they'll be looking for a breakout star regional chef we've never heard about. Sounds fun. Break out the chowhounds.
|Privé's stuffed peppers|
|Photo | Shirley Nicole Fonner|
- Privé eyes, they're watching you: Trey Popp drops by the new Mediterranean restaurant/lounge in Old City and finds it mostly to his liking. "There's admirable variety and ingenuity in Privé's small plates," he writes.
- In Feeding Frenzy, I've got teh deetz on Lucky 13, the Café Clave redux, Blue Bananas and Capogiro's plans to open a hot food restaurant.
- Welcome to the daily show — David Snyder checks out Du Jour in the Symphony House on Avenue of the Arts. He's digging on the concept — "bordering-on-upscale fare in a hyper-casual setting" — even if some of the dishes he tries are too sweet for his teeth.
- James Saul comes up with a gourdgeous list of pumpkin beers, including offerings from local heroes Dogfish Head and Weyerbacher.
- In What's Cooking, Nikki Volpicelli tells you all about an upcoming tequila dinner at Azul, a mezze-slingin' presentation out in Cherry Hill, a love-for-the-Belgians beer dinner at the Devil's Den and more.
|Click to enlarge|
Click the thumbnail at right to check out the official menu for Coconut Grove, the new South Street tropical small plates restaurant from chef Ben Byruch (formerly of Sonam). The spot, which we first told you about yesterday, is located above Copabanana at 344 South. (It's got its own entrance on Fourth.)
Byruch, who has a liquor license to work with, is doing "tapas" for $7 (smoked trout mousse with Cajun crostini; shrimp tempura with a papaya ponzu sauce), "small plates" for $8 (poached oysters; blackened lamb with plantain flan) and sliders for $9. Dinner is served Mon.-Thu. from 5:30 to 10 and Fri.-Sat. from 5:30 to 11. They'll introduce weekend brunch soon, as well.
Blake Joffe, executive chef of Spanish tapas spot Bar Ferdinand, is putting away his knife for a few months and embarking on a Latin American adventure. While Joffe and his girlfriend, Amy Remsen, eat their way from Panama City to Mexico City, executive sous chef Michael Thomas will be taking over the kitchen of the popular Liberties Walk restaurant, which celebrated its second anniversary this summer.
Earlier this week, Thomas launched the new fall menu he and Joffe designed together. Menu highlights include squid stuffed with shrimp and leeks seared a la plancha and a baked oyster plate sauced with a rich paprika béchamel.
Thomas and his sous chef, Dave Gilbert, are planning a complete menu revamp that'll debut in January 2009. They'll continue to utilize local produce from farms great and small, from Teens 4 Good at Ninth and Poplar streets to Lancaster County's Green Meadow.
So bon voyage, chef Blake — enjoy tasting and learning on your grand tour. And welcome, chef Michael — we're all eager to see what happens next.
|Click to enlarge|
"The concept was that that motherfucker challenged me to a barbecue-off," says Adam Ritter, co-owner of The Sidecar (2201 Christian St., 215-732-3429), when asked about the origins of tonight's grand smoke-off against Legacy Brewing Co. brewer Scott Baver. "He likes to get his barbecue on and I like to get my barbecue on."
Starting at 5 p.m. tonight, the boys will settle their meaty score, cranking out pulled pork and brisket in smokers they're setting up right on the sidewalk on the corner of 22nd and Christian. The winner will be determined by a distinguished panel of judges: Suzanne "Beer Lass" Woods, Foobooz's Kirsten Henri and yours truly. There'll be plenty of food for attendees, too.
Ritter will be piping blues through the bar to set the low 'n' slow mood, and Baver's brought in eight Legacy/Reading beers to pour on tap:
- Reading Premium
- Reading Oktoberfest
- Cask-conditioned Hedonism Ale (on a hand-pump)
- Dear Abbey Dubbel
- Brown Aled Girl
- Euphoria Ale
- Hoptimus Prime ("The last sixtel as we know it," says Ritter — Legacy has since changed the recipe)
- Midnight Wit
Ritter, a diehard Phils fan if we ever met one, promises that the hardcore competition portion of the evening will wrap up prior to the first pitch of Game 2. There will be drink specials for the game.
See you there!
|Key Lime Pie = tastes like triumph|
Mayors can always be counted on to make corny wagers over sports, promoting both their championship-seeking team and local specialties in one fell press release.
Earlier this week, a trio of Tampa Bay-area mayors proffered the traditional World Series food bet to our man Mike Nutter. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard and Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio are throwing into the ring a tempting Florida menu of coconut shrimp, stone crab claws, Cuban sandwiches, commemorative cigars and key lime pie.
Nutter has countered with a list of classic Philadelphia junk food: cheesesteaks, Tastykakes, soft pretzels, Delilah's mac-n-cheese and, just for fun, a Rocky statue. Meal Ticket, recognizing that the bronzed champ is totally indigestible, humbly suggests substituting it for a Rocky statue made out of cheesesteaks, Tastykakes, soft pretzels and Delilah's mac-n-cheese.
City Hall has wisely not endorsed any one steakerie. We won't even consider the possibility that Philly will have to make good on this bet and actually choose one.
"The Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays are two great teams sure to have an exciting series," Nutter said in a statement. "That said, I’m looking forward to a nice dinner of Florida seafood next week." Three more.
SNACK TIME: Adam Erace wishes he were French, Metropolitan is all growed up, Philly Mag Wine Week woes, Japanese banana shortage unaffected by Russian meat paintings
|Bistrot La Minette|
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Every Wednesday, we poke around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
- Adam at Blogalicious makes a bid to get Peter Woolsey's French in-laws to adopt him, proving his love at Bistrot La Minette's family-style prix-fixe dinner. Four-course menu options range from $45-$65, with increases based on the inclusion of luxe ingredients like foie gras or a fromage plate. Consider yourself at home, Adam.
- Foodaphilia wishes happy birthday to Metropolitan Bakery, which turns the big 1-5 this year. Elizabeth also highlights Metropolitan's new 15-month calendar full of recipes, customer comments and pretty pretty bread pictures. All proceeds from the calendar will be donated to Project H.O.M.E., aiding them in their mission to end homelessness in Philadelphia.
- Collin Flatt of phoodie.info lays out his picks for Philly Mag's Wine Week dinners. La Famiglia and Le Castagne both make the thumbs-up list, while Davio's Italian Steakhouse is scathingly dissed for their spendy snoozer of a Wine Week menu.
- Serious Eats reports on banana shortages in Japan that have mono-fruit dieters in a tizzy, Russian reproductions of famous paintings rendered in charcuterie, and AQ Kafé, a new Swedish coffee and sandwich shop in NYC owned by Marcus Samuelsson (who lasted less than one summer as chef of Stephen Starr's doomed eatery Washington Square).
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Rod Millwood, head of the ownership conglomerate behind South Street's Laff House, will officially open the doors of Blue Bananas Café (223 South St., 215-351-0113) tonight at 5 p.m. Taking over for Sonam, the 43-seat restaurant — right next door to the Laff House — is in many ways a full realization of the Caribbean items on the comedy club's small show menu. Millwood says he wants the spot to be a before-and-after go-to for Laff customers in addition to a draw for foot traffic. "I would send [Laff House guests] all over South Street to different restaurants," says Millwood, who'll do much of the cooking himself. "Then I thought, 'Why should I do that?' If I have my own place, they can go right there."
Check out the menu here. (We here are curry goat fanatics, so looking forward to hitting that up.) Oh yeah, and the space has a liquor license — Millwood's putting together an affordable wine list. Hours are Wed.-Thu., 5-11 p.m.; Fri., 5 p.m.-mid; Sat., 3 p.m.-mid; and Sun., 3-9 p.m.
Pretty much all of greater Center City's traditional Caribbean pitstops are now in an easy-access line — Jamaican Jerk Hut (1436 South St.), Caribbean Delight (1124 South St.) and now Bananas.
Coincidentally enough, here's some news from Ben Byruch, who ran Sonam in the Blue Bananas space. He just dropped us some info on his brand-new island-inflected project — and it's on South Street, believe it or not. The chef is now running Coconut Grove, a renovated 45-seat space on the floor above the original Copabanana (344 South St.). The menu is tropical-inspired small plates. It also has a bar; they're in the process of developing a specialty cocktail menu centered around high-end tequilas and rums. (Sonam was a BYO.) More details on this soon.
|Photo | Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Clark Newman, who's bartended at Grape Street, Le Bus and Drinker's, hopes to hold the grand opening of his Lucky 13 Pub (1820 S. 13th St., 215-336-8467) sometime in the next week. For right now, the bar's serving, but they're still finalizing work on the kitchen and the interior of the former Vincenzo's. There will be six beers on tap at a time, with lots of locals — PBC, Dogfish Head, Yards, Sly Fox — in addition to crafty stuff like Magic Hat and Stone. Lucky's got two flatscreens for your Iggles needs as well as a sweet non-touchscreen jukebox Newman bought and brought in.
The spot is so named due to its 13th and Passyunk location, but it's also a nod to the owner's numeric superstitions — 13 freaks some people out, but Newman's a fan. (Speaking of lucky/unlucky numbers, his birthday is on July 7.)
Chef Ben Johnson, formerly of Plough and the Stars, has put together a concise menu of starters, sandwiches, salads and entrées for the 55-seat space. What sounds good to us: the "Off the Hook" Bluefish (crusted with toasted spices, topped with jalapenos and lime supremes and served with brown rice and cucumber salad); the crabcake app (binded with cream, served with a bloody mary cocktail sauce); and the "Desconstructed Meatball" sandwich (cheesy mozz bread alongside a bowl of balls in a tomato ragout). Newman says they'll eventually introduce weekend brunch, too.
You can check out the whole menu by clicking on the thumbnails below.
- barstool scientist
- Brew Revue
- Chef Salad
- Dirty Dishes
- Don't Front
- Eat This Immediately
- Field Trip
- Food and Art
- Food and Holidays
- Food and Movies
- Food and Music
- Food and Politics
- Food and Sports
- Food and Web
- Food Blogs
- Food Books
- Food Events
- Food News
- Food TV
- Happy Hour Hopper
- In Print
- Meal Ticket
- Menu Time
- Not So Quickfire
- Notes from the Weekend
- On Wheels
- Patio Drinking
- Philly Beer Week 2010
- Private Chef POV
- Product Placement
- Snack Time
- Stiff Drank
- Ticket Stubs
- Top Chef
- Weekly Candy
- Weird Regional Foods
- We're Here to Help
- Where'd We Eat?
- Drew Lazor's Ill-Advised Rant Factory
- Ill-Advised Ranting
- The Week Without Meat
- Philly Beer Week 2009
- Real Big
- Where'd I Eat Last Night?
- Top Chef Masters
- The Good Word
- Next Iron Chef
- Arterial Terrorism
- Food and Radio