Archive: October, 2009
|Photos l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Photos of former President Clinton are taped to the cashier's desk.|
|Crispy scapple is achieved by tossing the thing in the fryer.|
|Photo | Drew Lazor
Meal Ticket popped in to David Gilberg and Carla Goncalves' Koo Zee Doo (615 N. Second St.) just now to catch a peek at the Portuguese-inspired BYO, which'll officially open to the public Friday at 5.
Walk in to the 50-seater (formerly Copper Bistro) and you're greeted by an open kitchen with bar seating, the main dining room and a raised platform with seats looking out onto Second. Elements of Portugal pop up all over the space, from the cork tabletops (the country's primary export) and potted lavender plants (the national plant) to the copper utensils and pots scattered throughout (traditional tschotkes you'd find in a Portuguese household). The blue and white hand-painted tile murals on the walls are called azulejos.
Almost all of the food will be served family-style in traditional clay dishes. (Here's the proposed menu.) Gilberg says that starting in November, he'll begin developing supplemental tasting menus based around regional Portuguese cuisines, and then eventually the cooking traditions of former Portuguese colonies ï¿½ Brazil, Macau, Goa, East Timor, Mozambique, etc.
SNACK TIME: eating art, Jose can't stop, won't stop, the FTC adds a word from our sponsors, no-cream ice creams, Penn Dining goes local
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
-- Karina of Kitchenplay previews food-centric events scheduled for the upcoming First Person Arts Festival -- choose from a buffet of traditional American eats, a burger tour, a film screening catered by Ekta or dinner at Supper with Ruth Reichl, editor ofï¿½ just-shuttered Gourmet magazine.
-- The Insider mines two tasty conceptual nuggets out of Craig LaBan's online chat with Jose Garces, then confirms that Garces is in lease negotiations for the Cira Center space that formerly housed Daniel Stern's Rae.ï¿½ Can our superstar chef make this tough space work?
-- Professional Yelp-hater/canele baker Gaetano of Philly Market Cafï¿½ notes the Federal Trade Commission's new full-disclosure guidelines for bloggers and advertisers.ï¿½ Read the AP storyï¿½ on NYTimes.com for the big picture.
-- Kelly White at Living On The Vedge tests vegan soy and coconut milk ice creams, deeming that "once you get into the coconut, you realize that soy is for the freshmen." Bonus ruminations on seasonal Clif bars - Iced Gingerbread energy, anyone?
-- Penn's campus dining, now under new management, aims to be 33 percent locally-sourced by the end of 2010, reports The Illadelph.
We're hearing that Chew Man Chu, the name of Marty Grims' rejiggered Du Jour Symphony House (Broad and Pine), will open to the public on Wednesday, Oct. 28. The dumpling and noodle bar concept, headed up by seasoned chef Tyson Wong Ophaso (he's worked under icons like Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boulud), will feature a menu based around Asian home cooking, and it'll be affordable, with starters ranging from $4.50 to $7 and entrï¿½es from $8 to $19. (They'll also do takeout and delivery.) The focal point of the dining room, we're told, will be an open wok kitchen that features a counter for chef' tastings.
Du Jour, which Grims opened in Symphony House in August of 2008, will relocate to Commerce Square at 20th and Market in the coming months. (His original plan was to open a second Philly Du Jour location there, alongside a higher-end pan-Asian concept; details are still scarce on the latter project.)
After the jump, check out a few highlights from Ophaso's menu, as well as a few signature cocktails they'll be pouring at the bar.
- Chicken chow mein in a crisp eggroll skin cup
- Banh mi
- Steamed pork buns and homemade dumplings
- Wonton soup with Chinese wine
- Crispy Chinese salad with red ginger and plum dressing
- Green, red and jung curries
- Ginger Margarita: Sauza Hornitos Reposado, fresh ginger, lime juice, ginger salt
- Blood Orange Mojito: Cruzan Light Rum, fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, mint
Meal Ticket just touched base with Bloktoberfest co-organizer Josh Dubin to get a few details on this new, free-admission neighborhood food/beer/concert event, scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 24, on the 2000 block of Christian Street. A more music-focused rendition of last year's SWCC Rock 'n' Run, Bloktoberfest will bring together acts like The Love Language and Adam Arcuragi with national craft breweries and local eats.
Food-wise, Dubin says they're in the process of getting a number of Philly food trucks involved in the hopes they'll set up shop for the event. And co-organizer Adam Ritter, co-owner of The Sidecar, has worked to confirm participation from seven breweries so far: Bell's, Flying Dog, Lancaster, Left Hand, New Holland, Sly Fox and Stoudt's. Each will bring two beers, one Oktoberfest/fall-style and one flagship and/or wildcard, meaning we'll have a minimum of 14 brews to choose from.
The organizers have struck up a partnership with Shiloh Baptist Church (2040 Christian St.) to spearhead the festivities ï¿½ in exchange for the church signing off on a one-day liquor license to bring all the beer in for the day, liquor sale proceeds will go toward a structural revitalization fund for the church. Dubin hopes the event will raise overall awareness of the stunning space, which was designed by Frank Furness.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
|Photo l Michael Persico|
|Homemade gnocchi with pesto, spinach and Parmigiano|
Eating a bowl of fluffy gnocchi, simply sauced with pesto or sage in brown butter,ï¿½ is the equivalent of falling into a soft feather bed.ï¿½ Easy to do and easy to enjoy, but to actually make that feather bed you've got to kill a whole lot of geese and get pretty messy.ï¿½ The analogous pitfalls and time requirements of hand-making pasta has kept me from attempting those feathery pillows until now, when I went on the hunt for the Ultimate Gnocchi Recipe.ï¿½ Prescriptions for perfect pasta abound on the Web; the Food Network came up high offering versions from Emeril Lagasse (who starts with mashed potatoes) and Mario Batali (who has you par-cook the things and hold them in oil until service). ï¿½ï¿½ Further research turned up dozens of other, slightly less corporate sources.
The first method that stood out came from Anna Maria Volpi, a native of Italy who provides step-by-step instructions (with photos) for classic Gnocchi Patate.ï¿½ Her version is as traditional as it gets, boiling the potatoes in their skins and incorporating only flour and salt into the dough (the egg is optional) to create a super-light and incidentally vegan dumpling.
Executing Volpi's recipe resulted in puffed, airy dumplings that came at the expense of a difficut-to-work, crumbly dough.ï¿½ These boiled potato, egg-free vegan gnocchi worked best when cut intoï¿½ 1" pieces from a 3/4" rolled dowel of dough.
The second recipe worth using originates at The Italian Dish, a blog devoted to simple recipe/photo guides to classic Italian preparations.ï¿½ The Italian Dish bakes their Russet potatoes instead of boiling, mixing drier riced potatoes with eggs and flour. This egg-enriched dough held together better and was easier to work with.ï¿½ The gnocchi were also stiffer and took to their sautï¿½ without tearing, without sacrificing the fluff and bite of a quality gnoccho (singluar of gnocchi).
Gnocchi made in a large batch can be frozen and used later, by placing freshly cut gnocchi on a floured cloth on a baking sheet and freezing for 20 minutes.ï¿½ Partially frozen gnocchi can then be transferred to a freezer bag and stored for up to one month.ï¿½ To serve, add gnocchi straight from the freezer to vigorously boiling water until they float.ï¿½ Add gnocchi to sautï¿½ pan containing warmed sauce of your choice; toss to combine sauce with gnocchi.ï¿½ Serve hot, immediately.
To make successful vegan, traditional gnocchi, follow Anna Maria Volpi's technique, which can be modified by using baked potatoes instead of boiled.ï¿½ Bake the 2 lbs. of Russet potatoes for 65 minutes in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven, then proceed with the recipe as usual, omitting eggs.
To make successful egg and potato gnocchi, follow The Italian Dish's recipe.ï¿½ Bake 1.5 lbs. of Russet potatoes in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 65 minutes, until tender to the fork.ï¿½ Be cautious peeling potatoes of their skin; steam released from under the skin can burn you badly.
|Photo | Drew Lazor
MidAtlantic, Daniel Stern's "modern taproom" on the ground level of The Science Center at 3711 Market Street, opens to the public today at 4 p.m. Details and a look at the interior after the jump.
Stern's culinary inspiration here is traditional cooking from this very region of the States, meaning there are quite a few items that natives will recognize, the most talked-about being the four varieties of scrapple ï¿½ crab, chicken, vegetarian and a traditional pork version. Available by the half or whole pound, the "pig wings" are pork necks marinated in buttermilk and doused in a Pennsylvania Dutch-inspired wing sauce that features ingredients like molasses and rosewater. Roasted half chickens with lima bean polenta and pork chops with savory apple fritters and sauerkraut round out a few more of the menu's regional highlights. (We posted the full menu last week.) Much of the meat, produce and cheese is being sourced locally from purveyors like Country Time Farm, Birchrun Hills Farm and Shellbark Hollow, says Stern.
The regional theme is further reflected in the clean, industrial interior, which is done up with metallic surfaces and plenty of beautiful mushroom wood salvaged from Lancaster. The bar side of the space features high-top seating, and is separated from the more proper dining area by a huge communal table, crafted from a single piece of pine and held up with repurposed machine legs. Adjacent to the bar is an open line, with stools, where they're keeping their rotisserie. (They're doing chickens in there right now, but Stern says he hopes to eventually roast suckling pigs and other meats with it.) Elsewhere, you've got an outdoor patio that seats about 60 and a portion of the dining room that can be cordoned off from the rest of the restaurant via a pair of large metal-plated sliding doors.
MidAtlantic plans on running a happy hour weekdays from 4:30 to 6:30, but for the upcoming Phillies playoff series against the Rockies they're going to be opening at 2 p.m., offering $3 bar snacks and beers and $5 wines and cocktails. Lunch service will begin in November, says Stern's partner Suzette Mahoney.
|Steve Poses is on a mission.|
In 1973, when Steve Poses opened Frog at 16th and Spruce (in the space now known as Monk's Cafï¿½), Philadelphia's culinary landscape was a virtual wasteland.ï¿½ Poses, along with Georges Perrier, whom he worked with at La Panetiï¿½re (in the space now known as Vetri), gently introduced French cuisine to the city and ignited the Restaurant Renaissance in Philadelphia.ï¿½ Frog Commissary Catering was launched in 1976 and is still hosting events today, bringing Poses' grand total to fifteen million guests served and over 15,000 events catered.
Now the restaurateur and cookbook author (The Frog Commissary Cookbook, Camino Books) is on a mission: to increase home entertaining by 10 percent.ï¿½ He's dead serious.ï¿½ In pursuit of this goal, he has published a new guide to home entertaining for all skill levels, complete with a companion Web site full of tips, recipes and organizational strategies set to turn the most dedicated reservation-maker into a veritable Martha Stewart.
At Home by Steve Poses: A Caterer's Guide to Cooking and Entertaining is now available exclusively on Poses' Web site in hardcover ($39.95) and paperback ($29.95) editions, both of which include access to the companion Web site. The book is packed with over 400 recipes, organized by course, as well as the methods that have made Poses such a successful caterer.
Pick up a signed first edition when Poses visits the Free Library (1901 Vine St.) on Thursday, October 15 at 7:30 p.m. for a free talk featuring his new book.
The Fightins' kick off the post season tomorrow, in a dismally scheduled 2:37 p.m. game against the Rockies.ï¿½ Pub & Kitchen (1946 Lombard St.) is celebrating their imminent success with free hot dogs and Cracker Jack for fans, beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Best arrive early 'cause supplies, like these golden October days, are limited.
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