Archive: November, 2009
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|This was only one table of the spread last year|
T-day is just around the corner, procrastinators. Whether you're hosting the big feed or trekking out to Grandma's, it is time to get your shop on. Acme and Whole Foods have already descended into Lord of the Flies-style madness; DiBruno Brothers is more Apocalypse Now.ï¿½ Still, arriving right at opening hour keeps you ahead of the worst of the fray, along with arming yourself with detailed lists of to-dos and things you need to beg, borrow or buy before Thursday (as well as a protective bubble of patience and/or well-developed appreciation for chaos).
Just in case you're still stumped on what to offer your loved ones this holiday, we've pulled our most holiday-appropriate SUPPER recipes and tricks from the archives.ï¿½ Check it out:
- Butternut (or Kabocha) squash soup gets spiked with garam masala and apple cider vinegar in a first-course recipe that's incidentally vegan
- Massaging a kale salad can help relieve turkey anxiety. A little salt and olive oil breaks down the superfood for raw eating; add seasonal treats like toasted pine nuts, sliced kumquats or pomegranate seeds to this healthy green side that takes up zero space on the stovetop (vegetarian)
- My great-grandmother invented aï¿½ stuffing that has traveled the word. Bacon, celery, onions, parsley, white bread and a clutch of eggs make this savory bread pudding the highlight of the meal and everyone's most-wanted take home item
- Don't forget about the bread, which you can make the day before and smash into the oven for ten minutes to warm when the guests arrive.ï¿½ Try classic, gruyere-rich gougeres to butter your family into good behavior, or a batch of savory muffins (we like rosemary-Parmigiano) that add a homey touch to the table.
Chris D'Ambro, the chef who parted ways with Old City resto-lounge Bocca in September, must have done something special to capture the tastebuds of many diners in the city. People keep asking us where he went, so we gave him a ring to get some new details.
The chef is in the planning phase of a menu for the Columbus Inn (2216 Pennsylvania Ave.), in Wilmington, DE, where he will serve as executive chef upon opening this winter.ï¿½ "The Columbus Inn is a very historic building that had operated as a restaurant for a hundred-plus years," he said. "Over the last three years it has been vacant... so the current owners have gutted the inside, hired a kitchen and interior designer, and are renovating and restoring the property. Whatever we can salvage will be saved."
D'Ambro is developing a full dining room and bar menu in a contemporary American style, "keeping the seasons in mind," he said.ï¿½ The restaurant will have a liquor license and full bar.ï¿½ If construction schedules play out as planned, D'Ambro expects to open in February or early March.ï¿½ We'll keep you up to date with more details as they develop.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Waldemar "Val" Stryjewski is a meat man.ï¿½ Since he arrived at Silk City (435 Spring Garden St.) as sous chef, he's been turning out house-made charcuterie like the tender pork sausage that graces the diner's overloaded brunch plates every Saturday and Sunday.ï¿½ That piggy blend is now a crucial ingredient in what Stryjewski posits is the only foie gras scrapple in existence.
"I did some research," he deadpans. "I couldn't find anything like it, anywhere."ï¿½ Stryjewski makes a straightforward smoked sausage out of mostly pork butt and belly, then blends it with diced foie to form the signature scrapple loaf.ï¿½ Slices are fried to create a crisp exterior, concealing the melting, delicate liver inside.
If anything called scrapple could qualify as light and ethereal, this is it.ï¿½ The sweetness of the foie unfolds on your tongue, with the pomegranate seeds scattered over an accompanying root vegetable hash and a tart cranberry compote providing contrast.ï¿½ The foie gras scrapple is available as a composed plate with that root veg hash and sunny-side up eggs for $11, or single ($5) or double ($10) slices available a la carte, every Saturday and Sunday at brunch, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Eat This Immediately.
Bain's Deli owner Jeff Jolles tells Meal Ticket that his next Bellevue Food Court venture, Burger Maestro (215-545-1770), will open to the public tomorrow. (They were originally shooting for last Monday but experienced a slight delay.)
Jolles, who's running the new eatery with son Michael, says the Bellevue approached him to ask if he wanted to institute a burger concept to replace the departed Flamers Grill. He was game, so now Maestro will be serving up 6- or 8-ounce house-ground prime beef burgers, topped with all manner of fixins. The burger menu keeps with the Maestro name, offering renditions like the Reggae (Caribbean jerk sauce, bell pepper), the Rhythm and Blues (blue cheese and bacon), and the Rap (any toppings you'd like, with lettuce replacing the Le Bus bun). Medium is the rarest they'll go for the patties, says Jolles.
Elsewhere, they're doing grilled Chicago hot dogs (not Chicago "style" ï¿½ the franks are literally brought in from the Windy City), including a Cordon Bleu dog (!), chicken breast sandwiches and fresh-cut sweet potato and regular potato fries. Prices are extemely reasonable, starting at $2.50 for dogs and $4.99 for burgers.
The Bellevue's Food Court hours at 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
In case you needed another Viet option on the east side of Washington, Pho Saigon opened up about two weeks back in the Riverview shopping center (1100 S. Columbus Blvd., 267-773-7305), right near that Halloween Masquerade store you always go to.
Grabbed a quickie bite Saturday night, ordering our usual tripe-laden bowl of pho. It tasted like ... tasty pho. Never really met a bowl of Philly pho we didn't like, to be honest. (Have you guys?) The full menu, which features various other soups, plus plenty of apps and vermicelli dishes, is after the jump. Pho Saigon is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
|Click to enlarge|
|Photo | HughE Dillon, phillychitchat.com|
For those of you who were fixated on Desperate Housewives and/or that chintzy Eagles W last night and missed the news, we're about to ruin it for you: Philly's Jose Garces is now an Iron Chef, joining the "veritable pantheon" of Bobby Flay, Masaharu Morimoto, Mario Batali, Cat Cora and Michael Symon atop those uber-dramatic raised platforms in Kitchen Stadium. Meal Ticket was in the place at Garces' Distrito last night for a viewing party that swept up the entire two-story restaurant in a tequila-fueled whirlwind of culinary revelry. Though we'd be lying if we said that the scale of the bash didn't serve as a giant tell of Garces' victory, there was still a hint of anticipation floating in the air as our dude's "ribs and racks"-centric battle against NYC pastry supervillain Jehangir Mehta began.
The chef and his family, joined by third-place contestant Seamus Mullen, watched the action unfold in Distrito's hidden karaoke room. As soon as the Iron Chef chairman dropped Garces' name, the place erupted, and it wasn't long before the champ materialized and began working his way through the crowd, high-fiving and hugging folks like he'd just won the World Cup on PKs. He eventually made his way upstairs, only to be pinned between the luchador wrestling mask wall and the bathrooms by a throng of photo snappers, hand shakers and shrieking well-wishers. Good on ya, Jose.
Food Network tells us that Garces' first battle on Iron Chef America will air on Jan. 17 ï¿½ it'll be Philly versus Seattle this time, as our dude will take on chef Rachel Yang of that city's Joule.
There's a spirited opinion thread popping off on our Nov. 16 post on the show. Now that Garces has sealed the deal, what do you think? Let us know in the comments.
Thanks to HughE Dillon of Philly Chit Chat for the nice shot of Garces above (see HughE's recap here). After the jump, a few non-pro shots of Garces getting mobbed, and the crowd in general. (You can check out live updates from last night by peeping our Twitter or searching the "#ironchefgarces" hash tag.)
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
|Photos | Mark Stehle|
If you picked up a copy of City Paper this week, you probably already peeped out our fall '09 Meal Ticket supplement, which features features, recipes and more. It's now online, so be sure to check out Felicia D's roundup of delicious fall dishes (featuring recipes from Fork and Sweetie's Pie Diner) plus her feature on the hot toddy, everyone's favorite chill-in-the-air beverage. Cheers!
|Photo | Mike Persico for Grub Street
You may not know this, but Meal Ticket's very own Felicia D is also a badass bartender/font of boozy knowledge at the Belgian Cafï¿½. Grub Street provides a cool profile of our girl via their recurring Bartender's Bible series. Choice excerpt:
What's your patented drunk-handling technique?: Enlist the drunkï¿½s friends as allies, stall and ï¿½forgetï¿½ to serve them another drink, serve fake all-soda drinks if necessary. Gently shaming them works, too, if they are not too far gone.
Not that she's done that to us or anything. Read the full piece here.
Han Chiang, whose Han Dynasty restaurants are hits in Exton and Royersford, tells Meal Ticket he's aiming at on or around Dec. 15 to open his third location at 108 Chestnut, in the former home of Joe's Peking Duck Original 1984.
"I've always wanted to open in Philly, so when I saw a good deal, I jumped on it," says Chiang, who won't change much of the interior of the ready-to-go space much, at least not right away. Though these plans aren't set in stone just yet, but the plan is to make this Han Dynasty more of a nightlife location, with weekly hot pot nights, karaoke nights and so forth. A liquor license should kick in a few months after he opens. The menu will be kept largely the same as Chiang's other locations, the caveat being that he wants to start getting away from Americanized Szechuan cuisine and focus on a more true-to-tradition thrust.
The Swift Half in the Piazza at Schmidts is launching weekend brunch tomorrow, and it'll run both days from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Exec chef Jessica O'Donnell says they're starting off with a small menu to test the waters. Check out what they'll be serving this weekend after the jump.
Pumpkin French toast with cranberry maple syrup
Biscuits and gravy (pork breakfast sausage gravy)
Two eggs, potato hash with piperade and toast (to this you may add scrapple, sausage patties, bacon or strip steak)
Soft scrambled eggs with shrimp, goat cheese and herbs served with sourdough toast points
Frittata of the day served with a side salad
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