Archive: November, 2009
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Brew/Ultimo Coffee opened at 1900 S. 15th Street in Newbold in May 2009, serving amazing Counter Culture coffee from proprietor Aaron Ultimo. Back then, we believed it'd be less than a month until the second half of the operation ï¿½ a 500-bottle craft beer selection ï¿½ got off the ground. Unsurprisingly, they hit delays, so they began shooting for June.
Tomorrow is Dec. 1, and there's still no beer inside that vintage cooler system. Why?
According to Brew owner John Longacre, who also owns South Philly Taproom and numerous other properties in the Newbold neighborhood, "one single individual resident has held up this process for 10 months." The developer says that a single near neighbor has spoken out against Brew's liquor license, and that's been enough to delay its implementation with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board up until now.
"Six hundred eighty-three immediate residents have signed a petition for Brew," says Longacre, characterizing the other side of the argument. "They want it to happen. ... We have councilmanic support, civic association support, community support, CDC support and [state senator] Larry Farnese support."
According Section 4-402 (b) of the state liquor code, "the board shall permit residents residing within a radius of five hundred feet of the premises to testify at the hearing." Though Longacre says the dissenting individual lives on 16th Street,ï¿½ more than 600 feet from Brew, technically rendering the protest erroneous, he is still organizing a PLCB-sanctioned public hearing to allow the individual to voice concerns in an official context. The meeting is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 11 at 10 a.m., and will be held at the old Strawbridge's at 801 Market Street (entrance at Marshall's). The purpose of the meeting is to give the resident "the opportunity to show up and put out a rational explanation," explains Longacre.
The Brew team is seeking community support, particularly from Newbold residents, at the hearing. If you are interested in attending, you must submit your name to SPTR bar manager Kathryn Hague at 267-971-2698 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to sign up for the meeting is this coming Fri., Dec. 4.
UPDATE [01dec09]: After the publication of this post, Jim Resta, president of the Newbold Neighbors Association, contacted Meal Ticket to take issue with John Longacre's claim that he possessed "civic association support" for Brew's liquor license. While he stressed that a majority of the NNA's members are in favor of the project, he stated in an e-mail that the "Newbold Neighbors Association never weighed in on the liquor license application at Brew, so it's not accurate to say that Brew has civic association support."
Tapped for a response, Longacre produced a letter of support from Lynda O'Leary, president of the Newbold South Civic Association. Dated June 8, the letter clearly conveys the non-profit organization's support of Brew to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
Wanted to snag a pint or two before dinner at Sang Kee last night, so figured it was a great opportunity to pop into the brand-new Drinker's West (3900 Chestnut St., 215-397-4693), in the former O'Hara's Fish House. Open for a week, this cavernous 4 Corners space is probably the most beautiful out of all of the Philly boozy conglomerate's locations ï¿½ soaring ceilings, wide-open booth and stool seating, lots of dark wood, neat vintage-lookin' tiled floors, bars on both the ground level and the 100-head mezzanine.
The menu is big, featuring the finger foods served at the other Drinker's locations, an affordable sandwich/taco lineup (topping out at $8) and a small collection of 12- or 16-inch pizzas. You can build your own pie or order up one of four signatures (taco, buffalo, spicy pulled pork or cheeseburger). A dozen beers on tap, including Lion's Head ï¿½ haven't seen that on draft in a minute! After the jump, the full menu and a rundown of daily food and drink specials.
Drinker's West is open Tuesday to Friday from 5 to 2 and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 2.
NOTE: This post has been corrected ï¿½ though the working name the space was originally Tom Drinker's West, it is now officially known as Drinker's West.
Mon.-Fri., 7-9 p.m. and Sat., 8-10 p.m.: $1 Select Draft Beers, $4 Select Pitchers, $3 Three Olives Drinks
Every day: $2.50 Bud Light Drafts, $1 Rolling Rock Ponies, $1 Pabst Rip Cords, $3 Soco and Lime Shots, $6 Heineken Keg Cans, $3 Miller High Life and High Life Light bottles
Monday: 1/2 Priced Pizzas
Tuesday: $1 Tacos all Night
Wednesday: $.35 Wings All Night
Thursday: $1 Sliders All Night
Friday: 1/2 Price Nachos till 9pm
Saturday: 1/2 Priced Nachos till 9pm
Sunday: $10 All You Can Eat Tailgate Menu
$1 Tacos & $1 Hot Dogs during any Philadelphia sports game
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|Photo | Drew Lazor
Met up with a few CP staffers yesterday evening for drinks to celebrate the factory-fresh nuptials of news editor Jeffrey Billman. (Congrats!) So where'd we all hang?
Meal Ticket dropped by Sang Kee's brand-new location for a quick dinner last night. Located on the ground floor of the University City Sheraton (3549 Chestnut St., 215-387-8808), Michael Chow's third restaurant (he's got the venerable original at Ninth and Vine, as well as the more upscale bistro in Wynnewood) is designed with collegiate crowds in mind, with ample seating (place was slammed when we ate), warp-speed service and a sleek approach to the dï¿½cor. Pull up a swivel seat at the polished-granite noodle bar, facing a bustling open kitchen, and you can enjoy a little TV with your noodles and broth ï¿½ yeah, we watched a little AFV last night, so what?
The menu is huge, featuring noodle dishes, rice bowls, traditional entrï¿½es and a big selection of drinks, including bubble tea. (Check it out in full here.) Prices top out at $16. We rocked out with some classic can't-lose soups ï¿½ roasted duck with egg noodles and shrimp dumplings with egg noodles ï¿½ plus crispy coconut shrimp with a creamy mango dipping sauce.
Chow's further targeting the student crowd with lots of dealage, including a half-off coupon if you sign up for the restaurant's mailing list and a $8-$9 three- or four-item lunch deal.
Opening hours: Sun.-Thu., 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
IN PRINT: slow-cooked pasta, the vanishing food stamp stigma, a sustainable dining hall for a bigger movement, two bells toll for Fond
While the rest of us were stuffing face and then lying on the floor groaning about how Mom overfed us, hard-bitten food feature editors were still at it. Check out the highlights from the holiday weekend broadsheets:
Mark Bittman goes all Minimalist on an staple ingredient we thought couldn't get any simpler: pasta. His recipe for gemelli with chicken and mushrooms is slow-cooked by additions of stock, just like risotto, a process that liberates the pasta's starch to create a creamy, multi-dimensional sauce.
Elsewhere in th Times, The Safety Net continuing series takes a look at the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), neï¿½ food stamps, a program once labeled "failed welfare" that is now assisting more than 36 million people, including one in eight adults and one in four children.
The Inquirer investigates last week's locally sourced sustainable Thanksgiving dinner at Philadelphia University'sï¿½ Raven Hall, an example of the growing movement of agricultural awareness and interest in local colleges.
Fond is bestowed a friendly two-bell review by an unnervingly jolly Craig LaBan, who lovingly describes his highlight dishes (like the thrice-cooked pork belly) and picks a few nits over dessert and an overdone chicken. With the ownership staff's average age at 27, looks like plenty of room for this BYO to grow on the Avenue.
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Seem to have missed this one when it went down: Ted Manko, a Philly native who's been at Lacroix and more recently put in work in kitchens up in NYC (including a gig for Alain Ducasse), has been chef at Oyster House (1516 Sansom St.) since opening chef Greg Ling departed in October. The menu at the Mink family's hit seafooderie has stayed largely the same, save for a few tweaks.
(h/t Adam Erace)
|No batteries required.|
Here it comes, an entire month of trying to figure out what the people you love really want in a gift. Hint: They all want cash. Despite this good advice, I know you're going to hunt around for neato things under $50 to stuff in their stocking. First up: the Vinturi Wine Aerator.
Vinturi claims its device, which is meant to allow red wine to open up without using a bulky decanter, will "mix just the right amount of air with your wine at the precise moments ... results are a better bouquet, enhanced flavor, and a smoother finish. Perfect aeration in the time it takes to pour a glass."
I was introduced to this innovation on family vacation, when the parents purchased the thing on a sodden bus tour of California wine country. To my taste, it did soften any sharp edges apparent in young red wine straight out of the bottle ... but was it a $39.95 difference?
Keith Wallace, founder of The Wine School here in Philadelphia, lent his expert opinion in an e-mail.
"Well, I know the product, and people rave about it. It works, but no better than pouring the wine into a carafe and sloshing it about for a few minutes. Personally, I use a $4 glass Ikea pitcher. However, most folks into wine LOVE to spend money on gadgets. Their is a new one every three or four years. One year, it was a glass straw you drank from, another was a mini decanter you put on the top of the bottle, another year it was a magnet you placed under the bottle. This one has been out since '06, so I expect its about to jump the shark and a new one will captivate the wine drinking audience. Who knows? Maybe next year everyone will be hooking up jumper cables to their bottles of wine and supercharging the tannins ...ï¿½ Yes, I am a curmudgeon."
Delicious or Suspicious verdict: We already have a $4 Ikea pitcher, so we find the defendant Suspicious. Just spend $40 on a gift-able bottle of Bordeaux and tell your lucky giftee to pour it into a mixing bowl.
Last Monday we noted a job posting for a Latin chef for a forthcoming Stephen Starr project, and guessed that it had something to do with Starr snagging the old Midtown IV diner on Chestnut Street. SRO has just confirmed as much to us, but no further details at this time in terms of what specific style of cookery they'll be pursuing for the new restaurant. What, aside from frequent Meal Ticket haunt El Fuego, goes on Latin-wise in this general vicinity? You've gotï¿½Tinto, Mission Grill, frequent Meal Ticket haunt El Fuego, and you should probably also count Starr's Alma de Cuba andï¿½the nearbyï¿½Tequilas on Locust. Should we assume that this new spot will stand alone from the aforementioned sit-downs? Gotta wait and see. We'll keep you posted.
|Photo | Jessica Kourkounis|
- Trey Popp is impressed with the cooking at the revamped Meritage, where chef Anne Coll is putting out refined, Asian-inspired food at neighborhood-friendly prices.
- Felicia D breaks down Lucid Food, a new eco-conscious cookbook from New York caterer (and Philly native) Louisa Shafia. She also caught up with the author for an extended Q&A you can check out here.
- All sorts of tidbits in Feeding Frenzy this week, from pho and burgers to word on forthcoming Szechuan, beer bistro and Japanese concepts.
- Over in Opinion, Bruce Schimmel chats with Buddhist chef/author Edward Espe Brown, who shares tips on how to keep peace in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.
You might've already read Felicia D'Ambrosio's review of Louisa Shafia's new Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life in this week's food section. Here, she touches base with the Philadelphia native, who runs her own green catering business in New York, to talk about her new book, urban foraging, locavore elitism and the joy of the farmers market.
Why was now the time to write this book?
I went to cooking school in New York, and had to do an internship somewhere to graduate. I went off to San Francisco to a pretty well-known vegan restaurant, Millennium. As it happened, someone got fired as soon as I got there and they offered me a job right off the bat!
I ended up spending a year and a half there, and it really influenced the way I thought about food and cooking ï¿½ the process of producing food. This was a place where we composted everything ï¿½ it was no big deal to chuck things in the compost bin rather than the trash. All the food came from local farms, and we really tried to cook with seasonal ingredients.
When I came back to New York and the East Coast and eventually opened my own catering business, I brought those green principles to doing events. Like, no bottled water, no waste events, seasonal menus, composting everything ï¿½ it seemed like no one in New York had had access to that style of entertaining. It was happening in restaurants to some degree, but not going on in the world of fine entertaining.
People were so excited that they could have an event with elegant food and not create any waste. So I thought, Iï¿½ll write a cookbook, and touch on these low-waste entertaining concepts.
Is it possible to be an ecologically conscious consumer without being a true vegan or vegetarian?
This book isnï¿½t either of those things, though Iï¿½ve been both. I still donï¿½t eat a lot of animal products, but if something crosses my plate, especially when I am a guest in someoneï¿½s home, I will eat it.
Look, if we all cut meat out of our diet we would definitely release less carbon dioxide and pollutants into the world. But the truth is, it isnï¿½t realistic for a majority ï¿½ or even a minority ï¿½ of people. Iï¿½m thinking itï¿½s beside the point to suggest everyone become a vegetarian.
I do suggest, in the book, that you eat much less meat. Also, buying humanely and responsibly raised meats makes a huge difference. There are lots of things you can do short of being a vegetarian.
The locavore principles have filtered down from "seasonal" and "farm-to-table" restaurants and taken hold in the food-interested population. Do you think this kind of eco-conscious diet will ever have mass appeal in America?
It's happening, I think because of all the food poisoning scares getting more frequent across the country. They are mostly resulting from food that comes from a factory and is then distributed all over the country, which makes the outbreak hard to track. People are getting more curious about where their food came from, and seeking reliable sources. It's so much safer to eat local, because if something is tainted it is only going out amongst a small group of people, and is sooner detected and recalled.
Shopping at farmers markets and this sort of eating is often criticized for being elitist. Is this diet attainable for those of more modest means.
I donï¿½t know about Philadelphia, but farmers markets in New York accept food stamps. Though not as cheap as the average crappy supermarket, a farmers market is definitely cheaper than convenience markets. I feel like eating fresh, local food is pretty affordable ï¿½ the cheeses and meats are more expensive, but cutting down on those products in the quantity that you eat and buying higher quality solves it.
Also, I discuss in the introduction of the book how buying local keeps money within the local economy and provides local jobs. Itï¿½s important for the health of the local economy to buy local. Iitï¿½s a longer-thinking strategy.
In your book, you discuss foraging for food to supplement your diet. Is that something you can do in NYC or any other big city?
You know, itï¿½s not a totally normal thing to do! I mean, I mostly shop at farmers markets, but itï¿½s just a lark to go foraging. Iï¿½ve found quince, apples and all kinds of herbs in Central Park, and berries and wildflowers just outside the city. Itï¿½s a wonderful way to get in touch with nature. At the farmers market, they are selling a lot of wild-foraged things ï¿½ ramps, wild mushrooms and sorrel.
There are things like gingko nuts that there are a lot of in Philly. People are harvesting these in the fall. They are good, healthy nuts with a lot of fortifying qualities, besides being tasty.ï¿½ There are so many things that immigrants are so attuned to that Americans have lost touch with. We donï¿½t remember where our food came from. Itï¿½s like having a mulberry tree when you are a kid. People walk by these in full fruit every day and it would never occur to them to pick one and eat it. Itï¿½s about getting in touch with your food source.
What is the first step for someone who wants to eat more responsibly?
Go to the farmers market. The products are beautiful and if you are concerned with price, you will certainly find something in you price range. Thanksgiving is coming up ï¿½ look for the gorgeous sweet potatoes or cranberries. Seeing something beautiful and bringing it home to experiment with ï¿½ you will get inspired. The farmers market is a fun place to go! Itï¿½s got great energy and people are excited to be there.
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