Archive: October, 2011
Kevin Sbraga, a longtime member of the Philly chef scene who made a splash when he won the seventh season of Bravo's Top Chef, opens his eponymous eatery in the Symphony House at Broad at Pine this Saturday, Oct. 15. The 65-seat restaurant, which we first detailed in June, will work off a $45, four-course prix-fixe setup, with a la carte at the bar; there will also be an option for an eight- to 10-course chef's tasting. A few dish teasers (desserts are by Sbraga's pastry chef wife, Jesmary):
- Eggplant Terrine with black garlic and jalapeno
- Frisée with creamy gorgonzola and pomegranate
- Foie Gras Soup with a rose petal relish
- Black Cod served with bok choy and kim chee
- Fish and Chips with an Indian remoulade
- Clams with orecchiette and fennel
- Arctic Char with a béarnaise sauce and celery root
- Meatloaf with royal trumpet mushrooms, mashed potatoes and a bacon marmalade
- Chicken with sautéed Brussels sprouts and candied sweet potatoes
- Lamb with broccoli and sesame granola
- Mascarpone Mousse with coffee granita
- Apples with caramel and mille-feuille
Sbraga's dinner hours will run Monday to Thursday from 5 to 10 and Friday and Saturday till 11. We'll have more on the space, rendered almost exclusively from repurposed design materials, soon. For now, ring 215-735-1913 to try for opening-weekend ressies (buena suerte).
Photo: Jason Varney
We were really enjoying this fall weather, all crisp air and pleasant breezes, but that was before the Indian summer intruded on our autumn weekend. Now that the chill's coming back, put on a big pot of this velvety butternut squash-apple soup. It makes use of two of fall's favorite crops and hums with fragrant, warming spices like smoked paprika, curry powder and five spice.
Adriane Appleby, who launched the pastry programs at Amada (217-219 Chestnut St.) and Tinto (114 S. 20th St.), has created a series of local, accessible, hands-on instructional baking courses dubbed Oh, You Bake.
Appleby, who hosts her classes in the kitchen at Green Line Café (4239 Baltimore Ave.), says the idea to share her knowledge in an intimate setting came to her when she was working at Betty's Speakeasy (2241 Grays Ferry Ave.) after leaving Jose Garces' orbit to do her own thing. "On a daily basis, I was having conversations with people asking how we make everything," says Appleby, currently baking at NoLibs' 1 Shot Coffee (217 W. George St.). "All our customers were really interested in what we were doing in the kitchen."
The Oh, You Bake schedule offers both an eight-week workshop that meets on consecutive Mondays ($400) and one-off classes that take place on Tuesdays ($50), with each three-hour session focused on a different topic. While the workshop builds on baking basics, covering pastries, cookies, quickbreads and cakes with an emphasis on progressing one's overall skills, the Tuesday classes are more thematic — Oct. 25, for example, will see Appleby whipping up Halloween cookies, with the weeks after tackling cupcakes (Nov. 1), jams and preserves (Nov. 8) and pies (Nov. 15). "The classes are super hands-on, and they deal a lot with the actual science of baking, the chemistry going on in each recipe," says Appleby. Ingredients are included in the cost of the class, and of course you get to take everything you make home with you.
Appleby's next eight-week workshop kicks off on Oct. 24 and space is limited. Her website, addysmaes.com, launches Oct. 17, but in the meantime you can get more info by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the past few months, residents of and passers-through East Passyunk have seen the slow transformation of Doggy Style's old daycare quarters into Birra (12th and Morris). Well, the wait is over, as owner Gordon Dinerman says he'll unveil the craft beer bar and wood-oven pizzeria the end of this month. Meal Ticket has the full opening menus in PDF form here and here. Expect family-style "plates" of salumi, cheeses and crudo, plus panini, salads, whole roasted branzino and baked meatballs in "our gravy." (Nice nod to the hood, G.) For the 12-inch, thin-crust pizzas, Birra offers 14 styles, as well as build-your-own option that starts at $6. Taleggio and "gabagool," here we come.
Munish Narula's very new Tashan (777 S. Broad St.), which just opened in September, has some nice post-work dealage in place already — in honor of its triplenumeric address, they're running a "777" happy hour. That translates to $7 cocktails, $7 specialty wines, $7 22-ounce craft beers and select dishes for $23.50. Kidding, those are $7, too. (Here's more on their food, and here's the dinner menu.) The happy hour goes down weekdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Photo: Drew Lazor
I feel like Hot Diggity! (630 South St.) just like gets me, man. First they put out all these delicious hot dogs with lovely stuff stacked on top of them then they announce their intentions to eventually introduce craft beer in bottles, and now they've revealed that they're launching a series of bad movie nights. (Have you seen the movies I review for CP?) On Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 9:30 p.m., the Diggity crew will host a BYOB viewing of Troll 2, the cult classic widely considered to be one of the shittiest flicks of all time. (It was the subject of the recent documentary Best Worst Movie.) Available at the shop, $20 tickets include admission, hot dogs, access to a build-your-own toppings bar, fries with dipping sauces, milkshakes and spicy kettle corn popcorn. OH MY GODDDDDDDDDDDD! Co-owner Keith Garabedian says they hope to host these screenings biweekly; seminal titles such as Samurai Cop, The Wicker Man, The Room and Plan 9 From Outer Space are on the short list.
UPDATE [5 p.m.]: Unfortunate for us, Garabedian checks in with bummer news that Hot Diggity! will not be introducing beer in the future after all. That's OK, though — you can always BYO, and they're rolling out a selection of craft sodas this weekend. Expect options like Bruce Cost Ginger Ale, Fentimans Dandelion, Maine Root Blueberry, the infamous Moxie and Philly-fave Levis Champ Cherry.
City Paper/Meal Ticket contributor Felicia D'Ambrosio swung by CP HQ yesterday brandishing boxes of amazing donuts, so we knew this announcement wasn't far off — Federal Donuts (Second and Federal), the long-awaited shop she's been working on in partnership with Steve Cook and Mike Solomonov (Zahav, Percy Street) and Bobby Logue and Tom Henneman (Bodhi Coffee), will open to the public this coming Monday, Oct. 17, at 7 a.m. In addition the rotating filled varieties you see above — our faves were the pomegranate/sesame seed with Nutella-tahini filling (top row, middle) and the sweet coconut/pineapple (top row, left) — FedDo will be offering fried-to-order sugared donuts with your choice of custom dusting (chili-lime, vanilla-lavender) and a custom house coffee blend made by Kansas' PT's Coffee Roasting Co. And let's not forget the chicken, Solo's wheelhouse — half and whole birds will be in the mix here, available either glazed (traditional Korean style, chili-garlic, honey-ginger) or crispy and sprinkled with seasoned salts.
Photo: Neal Santos
For anyone who loves coffee as much as we do at Meal Ticket, check out the collab between Pumpkin (1713 South St.) and Philly Fair Trade Roasters this week. For three days, Oct. 11 to 13, chef Christopher Kearse will serve a $35 coffee-inspired tasting designed along with Joseph Cesa of Philly Fair Trade. Start the night with an infused amuse of Granny Smith apple custard with the flavors of a Nicaraguan medium roast blend, followed by three joltin' courses — long neck butternut squash cooked in coffee oil with coffee-cured foie; Berkshire pork shoulder brined in coffee; and chocolate cake and fig pate de fruit served with a Ugandan Vienna roast. Full menu details after the jump; for reservations, call 215-545-4448. Don’t forget Pumpkin is BYOB and cash-only.
Notes from the Weekend is a Monday feature that sees the members of Team Meal Ticket compiling all the food/drink highlights uncovered during prime eatin' time, Friday to Sunday. Consider this a place for good deals, great dishes, wicked cocktails, recipe triumphs (and tragedies), bizarro conversations and more. We're eager to share our notes, but especially excited to read yours.We encourage you to leave notes from YOUR weekend in the comments. Have at it! (View past NFTW installments at citypaper.net/notes.)
The Monday-night dinner series at Cafe Estelle (444 N. Fourth St.) welcomes the fall with a $55 six-course on Oct. 17. Think cauliflower soup (with marinated mackerel and fried salami), butternut ravs (dusted with crushed amaretti cookies), apple turnovers (with caramel apple ice cream) and more from chef/owner Marshall Green. Optional wine pairings from Moore Brothers, too. Call 215-925-5080 for reservations after checking out the full menu after the jump.
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