Archive: November, 2009
This Saturday from 5 to 8, Greensgrow Farms will throw its second annual Whole Hog event at Philadelphia Brewing Co. (2423-39 Amber St.). Meal out on Cuban-style roast pork, grilled salmon, hot cider, and vegan/veg options, all washed down with plenty of PBC's brand-new Harvest from the Hood, a wet-hopped ale brewed using hops sourced right from Greensgrow.
Tix are available for a suggested donation of $50, and proceeds will go directly toward building a community kitchen at St. Michael's Lutheran Church at Trenton and Cumberland. The plan is to create a space that'll serve the community by bolstering small food businesses (a la Philly Kitchen Share) and providing a space for classes/workshops, as well as a home base for Greensgrow's forthcoming low-income CSA program.
After the jump, Erin Mae Szrankowski touches base with Food Network personality Guy Fieri to talk about his Guy Fieri Road Show appearance at the Merriam Theater this Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m.
So how did the idea for this traveling Road Tour originate?
As a chef, one of the greatest things to come out of my restaurant back in California was [doing] demonstrations. I would do these demonstrations and everyone would get a kick out of them, because I like to entertain, I like to laugh, all that. When I got on Food Network, I was there and doing my gig, again. But itï¿½s at such a higher level, with all the other Food Network stars doing TV promotions or big presentations and so forth. I really preferred the style of rock 'n' roll, music and so on.
I was South Beach and I was doing a big demo at the South Beach Food and Wine event ï¿½ everybody having a good time, everybody was getting wild. Bringing out the margarita machine, with everyone getting a little wilder. Rachael Ray comes on as I leave the stage. As Iï¿½m walking off, my agent from L.A. said, "What was that?" I thought I was in trouble, but she said, "Can you do that again?" I said, "Do that again? I could do that times 10." She said, "If you could do that again times 10, Iï¿½ll get you a national tour."
So the idea behind the show is everything food. Food and people, food and entertainment, food and laughter, food and music, food and Q&A, food and knowledge, food and tasting. Itï¿½s all done with the background of music going on, the rock 'n' roll being played from my big DJ. Thatï¿½s the energy of it ï¿½ letï¿½s rock 'n' roll. Letï¿½s have a good time.
There seems to be a huge music and cooking connection here. Are there certain genres of music, bands or songs that put you in the mood to cook or eat certain things?
Absolutely. One of my favorite songs is Motley Crue's ï¿½Kick Start My Heart.ï¿½ A lot of the time, I'll go into the kitchen, start getting ready, getting knives and cutting boards out. Then we'll fire the song up [surprisingly good guitar impression]. When Iï¿½m doing Southern food, itï¿½s things like Lynyrd Skynyrd. When Iï¿½m doing barbecue and I'm outdoors, it's Sammy Hagar. When I have a bunch of buddies over and weï¿½re rocking out, itï¿½s Metallica. Different food for different times ... it all depends on the energy level and depending on the punky level, how weï¿½re feeling. I got a big digital jukebox that has all of my songs ï¿½ 200,000 songs and a touch screen. And we just rock the noise.ï¿½ Itï¿½s awesome. Everyone comes over sits on the counter, watches whatï¿½s going on and hangs out.
What's up with the bartender at your show?
Yeah, we have a flair bartender named Woody who's coming all the way from Australia. Everything that I do is done at the next level. So when I found this Australian flair bartender that does this wild activity, I figured why not bring him on the tour? He has a knack of throwing cocktails way, way, way into the air and catching them, stacking martini glasses and all kinds of other wild behavior. The guy is so out of control. The only thing we have to watch out for is that he doesnï¿½t destroy the stage so I can come on there later.
How did you decide Philly was going to be a stop on your tour?
My stop in Philly is going to be gangster. One, I love Philly. Two, Philly is a great food spot. Three, people in Philly get food ï¿½ they really like and appreciate food. There are a lot of reasons why Philly was picked.
At every stop on your tour, you have a local chef prepare a dish for the audience.ï¿½ I heard that Tony Luke Jr. will be the special guest on Wednesday.
I picked Tony Luke to be the opener because I want to have a local guy who has a really good personality, really good energy. And you know Tony Luke Jr. ï¿½ come on, everyone in Philly knows Tony. So, heï¿½s gonna come and make a cheesesteak after me, called the Guy Fieri Philly Cheesesteak. Iï¿½m dying to eat it.
What kinds of stuff will you be addressing in the "lecture" part of the show?
Itï¿½s all incorporated ï¿½ [not like], "This is the lecture part and this is the cooking part." It all goes together and a lot of it has to do with how the audience gets involved. Everything from stories on the road to stories, people asking their own questions, you name it. There is no way to tell ... there will not be the same show twice.
Anything else you would like our readers to know?
I want them to tailgate before they come. I want them to bring the party to the party. Weï¿½re gonna bring out these gigantic 6-foot, 25-gallon margarita machines. We are going to have a party. Bring it, come have fun, enjoy it.
|Courtesy of Food Network|
Not to jinx our dude or anything, but if you caught last night's penultimate episode of The Next Iron Chef on Food Network, you'll agree with us that Jose Garces looks pretty good to win the title of Iron Chef over New York-based pastry supervillain chef Jehangir Mehta. (Sorry we haven't been following the series with the same vim as Top Chef ï¿½ there are only so many two of us!) We have to admit that Garces, ever the master of downplaying himself, spoke with the slight lilt of a champion when we talked to him back in September, and now we've learned that he's throwing a restaurant-wide viewing party at Distrito for the finale airing this Sunday. Interesting.
More on the Garces/Mehta matchup soon.
Last Tuesday, we told you about Gravy Wars author Lorraine Ranalli's plan to battle New York-based New Jersey-based writer/chef Johnny DeCarlo in an Italian Market gravy-off. (Y'all shared some choice words in the comments.) Now comes word that the tasting challenge did not have a clear winner. From Ranalli's blog:
Discerning taste buds enjoyed both pots of gravy and meatballs as evidenced by their quick disappearing act. In the end, itï¿½s fair to say that the ''war'' was a draw. Both Johnny DeCarlo and Lorraine Ranalli are entitled to declare victory.
We're still not used to this "New York and Philly being nice to each other" thing. Teach us how?
|Image courtesy Royal Tavern|
|Such a romantic setting for the burger, no?|
It seems like just yesterday we moved to South Philly, took the brakes off our bikes and careened, pell-mell, into the happening party scene of the SoWash neighborhood.ï¿½ Oh wait, that was seven years ago, you say?ï¿½ Hmm.ï¿½ The seventh anniversary of the Royal Tavern (937 East Passyunk Ave.) , marked by the first ever Burger Bash,ï¿½ seems to bear your assertion out.
From 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., burgers of "many shapes and sizes" and topped with every sort of thing, will dominate the specials chalkboard; drink specials will tempt those who have to work early Wednesday morning, while former Royal chef and current Rock Tits DJ "Nez" will spin from 9 p.m. on. Burger and beer rundown after the jump.
Starting the Thursday after the Burger Bash, the Royal kitchen will get down preparing favorite specials and menu items from years past, as voted by the drinking public. Check out what Team Meal Ticket, in an admittedly whiskey-toxic condition, voted for. See the complete list of winners after the jump.
Everyone who cast a ballot for their favorite items from the past will be entered into a raffle for T-shirts, bar tabs and gift certificates. Maybe star bartenders from the Royal's storied past will show up... remember Sunday brunch with Suzanne Woods and the night before Thanksgiving with Casey Parker?
- Rosemary Scented Lamb Sliders w/ truffle aioli, caramelized onions and asiago cheese
- Bluefin Tuna Burger w/ wakame seaweed, grilled red onion and wasabi mayo
- Chorizo Burger w/ smoked gouda, tomato, piquillo peppers, and creole mustard
- Sly Fox Saison Brune
- Stoudts Smooth Hoperator IPA
- Founderï¿½s Breakfast Stout
- Yardï¿½s Brawler English Style Ale
- Unibroue Ephemere Apple
- Sixpoint Brownstone
- Reading Pilsner- priced to sell @ $3/pint
- PBC Walt Wit (a constant fave!!!)
Special bottle offerings:
- Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock
- Russian River Damnation (availability TBD; De Dolle Arabier on deck as runner up)
- Duchess de Bourgogne Flemish Sour Ale
Thursday: Winner ï¿½ Fish & Chips
Runner up - Calamari with Pineapple
Most popular soup ï¿½ Pepperoni Pizza Soup
Friday: Winner - Bacon Wrapped Tots
Runner up - Fish Tacos
Saturday: Winner - Eggs Blackstone
Runner up - Salmon Ceviche
Sunday: Winner - Kobe Beef Corn Dog
Runner up - Pork Nachos
Monday: Winner - Duck Club (OVERALL TOP VOTE-GETTER)
Runner up - Sloppy Joeï¿½ (SECOND PLACE OVERALL)
This Craigslist listing from Friday seems to indicate that Stephen Starr's on the hunt for an exec chef to handle a "new Latin Cuisine Concept." We're curious to see if this has anything to do with the restaurateur's recent acquisition of the Midtown IV at 2013 Chestnut. Will poke around to see what's up.
Last Friday, we teased a few photos of Percy Street Barbecue (900 South St.), which will open to the public this coming Tuesday, Nov. 17. Today we've got a few more shots of the Elisabeth Knapp-designed interior, as well as the opening food, beer and cocktail menus after the jump. Much more on the spot next week; for more right now, peep filmmaker Chandler Kaufman's feature on the spot.
|Click to enlarge|
Here's your first look at Benny Lai's new Vietnam Cafï¿½ (816 S. 47th St.), which'll open to the public this coming Tuesday, Nov. 17. We dropped in as architect Jesse Gardner, the Vietnam owner and general contractor Drew Miller (fourth pic, L-R) were putting the finishing touches on the 180-seat space (formerly Abbraccio), a blown-out version of the humble 22-seat BYO Lai opened just down the block in early 2008. (There are no pressing plans for that space, at 814 S. 47th, just yet, says Lai.) Split up into multiple rooms (some are able to be sealed off for private events), the space is characterized by an abundance of natural light and a number of neat design touches from Lai's homeland, including a decorative mock-up of a bamboo rain-water collector near the bar as you enter.
The menu here will be comparable to the one at Lai's flagship location in Chinatown (221 N. 11th St.), but the major difference here is a spacious bar area, where they'll be serving Vietnam's signature cocktails as soon their liquor license kicks in in about a month's time. There are also plans to introduce a late-night bar menu that'll be available on weekend nights.
Lai tells Meal Ticket he'll be open out here from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily, with plans to extend hours in the coming weeks after they get their feet.
Tomorrow marks one year of ownership for Vanessa and Rob Mullen, who took over Chestnut Hill's Campbell's Place (8337 Germantown Ave.) from longtime owner Mary Campbell in 2008. They're celebrating all day Saturday with guest bartenders, drink specials, a free-food drawing and live music from local performer Roger Learnard. Rob, who's worked as a touring chef for a number of bands (most recently U2 on their summer 2009 tour) will be cooking up eats like arctic char with crab risotto lobster sauce, chicken pot pie, PEI mussels in Hoegaarden broth, applewood-smoked bacon and blue cheese.
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Stink Fisher, who owns Collingswood's The Pop Shop with wife Connie, is also an actor, and he's appeared in everything from The Sopranos and Tony Luke's The Nail to football flicks like Invincible and The Longest Yard. Sharp-eyed Jen A. Miller caught our dude last night on 30 Rock. He was one of the talking heads on Sports Shouting, an Around the Horn-style show that always beats TGS in ratings, much to Liz Lemon's chagrin. Check out extremely low-tech screenshot above (that's Stink on the top right).
If you mention 30 Rock at The Pop Shop today, you'll get a free soda or iced tea.
Connie tells Meal Ticket that her hubby has quite a few projects coming up, including an appearance on the new USA show White Collar and a part in Peter Jackson's locally shot The Lovely Bones.
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