Archive: December, 2008
On Tue., Dec. 16 at 1 p.m., Philadelphia Magazine will commemorate their 100th year misinforming suburbanites about what goes on in the big bad city with a colossal Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet.
Tasty Baking Co. CEO Charles Pizzi will join Larry Platt and Herb and David Lipson of Philly Mag to cut the kake in the rotunda of the Liberty Place shops at 16th and Chestnut. The Krimpet will be 1,261 times larger than standard size, ensuring plenty of slices for those in attendance. Anyone who tries to get a piece off mascot Kirby the Krimpet does so at their own risk.
If you can't make it on Tuesday, the Internet abounds with Krimpet-copycat recipes, like this one from King Arthur flour. Paeans from far-flung Delaware Valleyites are in ample supply, as well, from professional journalists to a video installation artist who constructed her entire wedding cake out of of krimpets ordered by the case.
Transcendent local snack cake joins forces with dandy centurion publication ... I sense a bid for world dominance. Who knows what sort of secret labs and think-tanks will be brewing in Tasty Baking Co.'s planned Navy Yard facility? Not just greener and more efficient production of 4 million Tastykakes a day, certainly. That's got to be a smoke screen.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
Hint: This is outside Philly.
Where did y'all eat this weekend?
The American Heritage Dictionary defines a lollapalooza as "something outstanding of its kind." As far as Hanukkah events go, you can't get much more outstanding than Latkepalooza.
The spudly event is held every year at the Gershman Y on Broad Street, and celebrates Hanukkah by serving upwards of 3,000 potato pancakes (latkes) to more than 500 adults and children. Chefs from restaurants spanning the city join in the fun, preparing their own versions of the traditional holiday treat. This year, representatives from Zahav, Bar Ferdinand, Rae, Estia, Jones, Singapore Chinese Vegetarian, Sabrina's, Whole Foods, Cabot Cheese, Kildaire's, Las Bugambilias, Max & David's and more will be cooking.
In addition to a mountain of oil-fried pancakes, there will be entertainment by Neshirah, the Jewish Chorale of Greater Philadelphia, as well as face painting, arts and crafts, a clown and a magician.
Latkes and other foods fried in oil are the traditional foods of Hanukkah. They represent the small amount of consecrated olive oil that miraculously burned for eight days and nights while the Second Temple of Jerusalem was rededicated at the time of the Maccabean revolt in the second century BCE.
Latkepalooza, Sun., Dec. 14, 2-4 p.m., $10 for children 6-12 and $15 for adults, Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad St., 215-446-3012, gershmanY.org
Earlier today, Felicia D'Ambrosio, Grand Duchess of Meal Ticket, popped by Owen Kamihira's El Camino Real, right next to his Bar Ferdinand on Liberties Walk, to take a few shots of the interior. She's gonna check in with more details soon, but enjoy these snaps in the meantime. The restaurant opens next week.
MangoMoon, the tour of Asia-inspired small plates restaurant from Chabaa Thai chef/owner Moon Krapugthong, will soft-open on Fri., Dec. 19 at 4161 Main St. in Manayunk. The restaurant, located just three blocks from Chabaa (4371 Main St.), is an 80-seat bilevel, liquor-licensed affair, done up with an upstairs bar/lounge area, open kitchen, eye-popping fabrics and rich copper design elements.
Krapugthong ambitious menu is a little different from your average small-plater — there are "tiny" (tapas-size), "small" (app-ish size) and "medium" (entrée-size) choices, but you've also got "Warm Up" (complimentary mixed nuts or herbal drink to start your meal) and "Cool Down" and "Calm Down" (hot and cold desserts and dessert beverages). The "Big Dish" option gets a party of two a "Warm Up," a pair of "small" dishes to split, one main and two "Cool/Calm Down" dishes. Krapugthong uses fresh ingredients and herbs and little to no processed ingredients for her food, and many of the plates are designed to "enhance your appetite and aid your digestive system."
The beer and wine lists will be international, and they'll do scotch and bourbon flights, but we are most excited about house-infused liquors — they promise choices like mangosteen-infused vodka as well as the "swadee," mekhong (Thai rum), fresh-squeezed lemon, Thai basil and soda water.
Check out MangoMoon's "Small Dish," "Medium Dish" and "Tiny Dish" options after the jump.
Fruit Salad 5
Guava,mango, mixed roasted nuts, mixed seasonal fruit and ground sun-dried rock shrimp. Served with palm sugar and tamarind sauce.
Shrimp and Water Chestnut Dumpling 5
Steamed egg dumplings filled with shrimp,ground pork, water chestnut, mushrooms, cilantro root,sesameoil, black pepper, and oyster sauce
Taro, Tofu, and Lotus Root Combination 6
Crispy taro, tofu, and crunchy lotus root served with sweet chili dipping sauce and ground-roasted peanuts
Char-Grilled Pork 5
Grilled pork, marinated overnight, served with roasted chili and plum sugar for dipping
Grilled Pork Neck 7
Grilled, marinated pork neck filet served with fresh chili-lime sauce
Grilled Chicken Livers 6
Grilled chicken livers on bamboo skewers served with fresh chili-lime sauce
Shrimp Satay Skewers 6
Grilled shrimp seasoned with turmeric, cilantro root, and coconut milk. Served with cucumber salad and peanut sauce
Thai Beef Jerky with Sticky Rice 7
Beef marinated with peppercorns, fish sauce, and oyster sauce. Served with steamed sticky rice and sweet chili sauce on the side
Oysters with Thai Dipping Sauce 9
Five raw, blue-point oysters served with fresh Thai chili-lime sauce, diced garlic, and Vietnamese mint leaves
Sea Cucumber and Soft Tofu Soup 6
Sliced sea cucumber, soft tofu cubes, eggs, Chinese water lily flowers, Enoki mushrooms, cilantro, and scallions in chicken broth
Shrimp and Coconut Soup 7
Freshwater shrimp, young coconut meat, fresh mushrooms, galangal, lemongrass, roasted Thai chilies, fish sauce, and lime juice
Northern Thai Style Sausage 6
Sai Auh: Minced pork meat with skin combined with galangal, kaffir lime leaves, shallots, scallions, shrimp paste, and red curry.
Tofu Salad 7
Spring salad mix topped with crispy tofu cubes, mixed nuts, and peas. Topped with ginger sauce sauce dressing
Baby Octopus Salad 7
Steamed baby octopus, celery, garlic, sweet tomatoes, cilantro, basil, and lemongrass tossed with fresh chili-lime dressing
Salmon Salad 9
Crispy salmon belly, shallots, ginger, fresh mango slices, roasted peanuts, mint, and cilantro topped with fresh chili-lime dressing
Roasted Shredded Coconut and Shrimp in Herbal Wrap 8
Meang Khum: Pan-roasted coconut, minced fresh ginger, lime slices, finely-chopped kaffir leaves, shallots, sun-dried rock shrimp, and roasted peanuts topped with palm sugar sauce in Vietnamese mint leaf wraps
Steamed Rice in Lotus Leaf 9
Combination of Jasmine and sweet sticky rice, shrimp, Chinese sausage, Shitake mushrooms, green peas, eggs, carrots, and red onions. Wrapped and steamed in a lotus leaf
Grilled Game Bird with Massaman Sauce 15
Grilled game bird, topped with Massaman curry sauce served with pan-roasted pearl onions, potatoes, and jasmine rice
Beef and Shitake Mushrooms with Oyster Sauce 17
Tenderized beef sautéed with baby carrots, shitake mushrooms, and sesame seeds served over jasmine rice
MangoMoon Steak 25
Grilled filet mignon prepared with our signature rub of herbs and spices served with sautéed baby spinach and spicy, aged tofu sauce on the side
Cobia in Red Curry 22
Lightly-battered Cobia filet sautéed in red curry sauce, French string beans, and assorted-color bell peppers; seasoned with fish sauce and coconut milk; served with steamed jasmine rice
Steamed Sea bass with Mango Sauce 23
Steamed sea bass filet with Thai herbs wrapped in a banana leaf, topped with mango sauce; served with Thai jasmine rice
Tiny Dish 3
mixed nuts with herbs
steamed edamame beans
lotus root and asparagus spears in vinegar
black beans in sweet soy sauce
salty tiny fish
sweet fish filets
shrimp rice crackers
sweet sticky rice
steamed rice noodle
|Down south industro-lager|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
I'm risking my entire crediblity here, but what the hell. Modelo Especial is brewed by Grupo Modelo, Mexico's largest and top-selling brewery. The giant turns out the deplorable, lime-requiring lagers better known as Corona and Pacifico, as well as the respectable Negra Modelo, among other brands.
Modelo Especial is a fizzy pale lager that would be indistinguishable from Budweiser once poured into a glass. I tasted a 12-ounce can, freshly pulled from its six-pack ring. A very vigorous pour produced some white head, which had the characteristic industrial lager big-ass bubbles — the product of additions of carbonic acid to the beer.
The nose is so light as to be almost imperceptible. A little fresh-cut grass aroma is detected. The flavor, what there is of it, is meant for the beach-volleyball playing, keg-standing cup-flippers who have just outgrown Miller Lite. The beer is crisp and refreshing, meant to be served absolutely ice-cold. It isn't unpleasant or bad, just boring.
As a beer to drink in a bar with a selection that tops out at High Life, Modelo at least is clean and inoffensive. The can design is righteous cool looking and maybe some freshly minted 21-year old will think you look sophisticated swigging from an import .
Other than that, Modelo Especial is just like its north of the border brothers: fizzy yellow piss in a can.
Modelo Especial can be purchased at the Mexican deli on the corner of Ninth and Washington for $11 a six-pack.
At the end of last's week recap, I mentioned that Episode 5 would feature the chefs catering a bridal shower. I didn't realize it would be Gail Simmons' bridal shower. Amazing. I love all things Gail. Most all small-screen culinary personalities can be lumped into one of two groups: snooty, inaccessible pinky-up gourmands (Martha) or overly excitable foodies who don't seem like real people (Guy Fieri). I think Gail succeeds at striking a friendly balance between these two extremes. As an editor at Food & Wine, she's at the top of her field, but she still possesses a fun demeanor and the vim and vigor of someone's who's hungry most of the time. Tell me how to properly store my cheese, Gail! Parchment paper? You got it! Now talk to me about knife skills! You're so good at cutting!
This week's Quickfire featured a bracket-style, backwards Name That Tune tourney where the cheftestants tasted multi-ingredient sauces and challenged each other to rattle off lists of the components. ("I can five ingredients." "Well, I can name six." "Name those ingredients!") A new and welcome twist on the usual blindfolded taste test challenge. Carla, Hosea and Stefan made it to the finals, where they were given Mexican mole, the most ingredient-laden sauce of them all. Hosea edges out Stefan ("I outpalated him!"), snatching away immunity from the domineering Euro who doesn't get why lesbian Jamie doesn't want to bump uglies with him.
"I would rather be on Satan's team than Stefan's team," Radhika told the camera as the contestants drew knives and formed four themed teams — "Old," "New," "Borrowed" and "Blue" — to tackle the 40-gal shower luncheon. (Non-Gail guest of honor: Food & Wine EIC Dana Cowin, who loves Philly.) A bit dramatic, Rad. Give the man a break — he revealed to Tom Colicchio in this episode that he married the same woman twice, so nuptials could very well be a touchy subject for him. Or maybe not: Stef's "Old" team (working with Jeff and Hosea) impressed both Gail's girlies and the judges' panel with their trio of classic tomato-based dishes (a terrine, a carpaccio and a gazpacho shot). Rad, Jamie and Ariane, aka the "Borrowed" squad, also earned high marks for their gorgeous lamb served atop a vadouvan carrot purée. (They "borrowed" the Indian spices from Rad's Indian background.)
The other two teams dropped the wedding bell ball a bit. Team "New" — Gene, Danny and Carla — crafted some sort of mediocre DIY sushi plate that they didn't feel the need to explain to the perplexed ladies who lunch. Then Fabio's "Blue" team — easily the most difficult theme of the four to visually interpret — was met with shrugs and scowls for its blue corn-encrusted Chilean sea bass. ("Not the most politically correct choice, perhaps?" said Gail of the threatened species.)
Ariane took home the win for the second week in a row for perfectly cooking the lamb. Jamie whined and pouted about it a whole lot. "None of us expected anyone but me to win," she moaned after the fact. You made a purée, chick.
Alas, Danny was told to pack his knives and go for refusing (or not being able) to articulate just what was wrong with the lackluster "New" offerings. This counts as my favorite moment of the episode, if only for the fact that he used the phrase "a little splooge of this" to describe his team's approach to plating. That's going to haunt me for a minute. Good riddance.
|Giuffi's slow-roasted pork shoulder — now they're doing it with pork belly!|
|Photo | Michael T. Regan|
We just got a copy of Cochon chef/owner Gene Giuffi's new winter menu. Check out all your new options — tripe stew and 36-hour short ribs, mmm mmm — after the jump.
Onion Soup $8
Rabbit Ragoût over pappardelle $12
Chicken Liver Mousse with cornichons, whole grain mustard $9
Spinach Salad with pears, pine nuts, sun-dried cherries, Roquefort dressing $9
Blood Sausage with warm frisée salad, smoked bacon dressing $11
Pan-roasted quail stuffed with foie gras, truffle-butter herbed-dumpling $16
Escargots with pancetta, tomato concassé, parsley garlic-butter $11
Mussels with tomato-leek saffron broth, grilled baguette $10
Tripe Stew with grilled bread $10
Choucroute Garnie $22
Cassoulet with pork and duck confit $24
Slow Roasted Pork Belly with lentils DuPuy, Brussels sprouts, poached egg $22
36-Hour Short Ribs with gnocchi, mushroom and Roquefort gratin, glazed carrots $24
Chicken Stew with root vegetables, country mashed potatoes, rosemary jus $20
Butter-poached Monkfish with braised fennel, tomato-leek broth and mussels $25
Free-Range Duck Breast with winter squash, cauliflower, Madras curry sauce $26
Wild Boar Pot Pie $23
Procession of S. Domenico, 1913-1928
The story goes like this: In the little town of Cocullo, in the province of L'Aquila, Abruzzi, there dwell the serpari. These charmed descendants of Circe may handle the deadly biting vipers of Abruzzi with absolute impunity.
Catholic tradition is overlaid onto ancient pagan rites in the annual Procession of San Domenico in Cocullo, which simultaneously honors San Domenico and the powers of the serpari in a weird melding of magic and devotion.
The townspeople and serpari gather to drape the statue of San Domenico with live snakes, parading from the church down the main drag, imploring for protection from toothaches, snake bites and the bites of rabid dogs.
The first recorded procession in Cocullo took place in 1392, and has traditionally been accompanied by pizzelle, the crisp, wafer-like sugar cookie native to Abruzzi.
Though the procession of San Domenico takes place in the first week in May, Italian-Americans generally associate the cookies with Christmas and Easter.
Pizzelle are typically flavored with anise or fennel seeds, vanilla or citrus zest, and are baked in task-specific irons held over a stove top or newfangled electric models. The irons turn out two or three thin cookies at a time and require a fast hand and grandmother-like patience and timing.
For those without the iron or inclination to bake their own, quality pizzelle are turned out by a number of local bakeries. In descending order of notoriety:
Termini's Bakery (multiple locations, termini.com) sells stacks of 10 pizzelle for $8. Their classic version contains the tiny fennel seeds so delicious and irritating to those with closely-spaced teeth.
Follow your nose to Isgro Pastries (1009 Christian St., 215-923-3092, isgropastries.com) where stacks of anise flavored pizzelle are $6.50, as well as chocolate-drizzled individuals for 50 cents each.
BellaPizzelle (1-866-858-6384, bellapizzelle.com) of Morgantown is the only pizzelle maker who will ship their delicate sweet nationwide. A stack of 20 runs $24 and arrives packaged in a giftable, reusable gold round. The mother-and-daughter team also offers a wide array of flavors, including original anise, chocolate chip and ones spiked with Frangelico or whiskey.
Farther south and less famous, but just as desirable, are Cosmi's Pastries (1221 Oregon Ave., 215-218-2000) pizzelles. A stack of 26 wafers is just $5, your choice of classic anise or nouveau chocolate.
Snap your way through a few of these, and the idea of handling the vipers of Abruzzo seems a bit less scary. Grazie mille Abruzzese e serpari!
SNACK TIME: a snack for all seasons, Swallowgate burns on, if I don't make it out of this tasting menu, tell my wife I did my best, swim the Schuylkill for Ivy eats, and Carman likes vegetarians (but bring cash)
|Red-onion confit with golden raisins|
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
- Before disappearing into the ether of studying for finals, grad student and budding cook Neal of Burning Pasta sets us up with a condiment for all occasions: red onion confit. The sweet and crunchy topper takes a bath in red wine before a date with a harem of plump golden raisins. Scandalicious!
- The debate rages on over the new all-mac 'n' cheese menu at Liberties Walk bistro Swallow. E of Foodaphila visits and mixes up her own custom macs. Results, much like the voracious quantity of opinions on this subject, are split.
- Ten courses of airs, foams and savory cotton candies add up to a barely digestible cannonball by the third dessert of a fine-dining tasting menu. The MenuPages blog provides Your Guide to Getting Out of a Tasting Menu Alive for the fortunate few dining with serial killers Achatz, Keller, Trotter and Garces.
- Adam at Blogalicious gets nostalgic for his Ivy-covered years across the Schuylkill. A sweet potato burrito from the MexiPhilly truck at 36th and Spruce, followed by a dip in the sugar waterfall of Naked Chocolate Café fixes him right up. Proof positive that food writers eat better than everyone else, even while destitute in college.
-Intrepid Living on the Vedge-er Kelly White enjoys the "confidence radiating from the kitchen" at South Philly brunch spot Carman's Kitchen, along with just-right French toast and homey breakfast potatoes. Those $12 plates speak to every serious eater, and the owner/hostess/chef/pickup-truck drivin'/raconteur Carman is worth a visit all by herself.
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