Archive: December, 2009
|Photo | Drew Lazor
Back in October, we clued you in on the opening of Philly Cupcake, in the former Blue in Green space at 12th and Chestnut. Today Michael Lewis, a PR vet who's running the biz with Johnny Columbo (he also owns Old City's Forbidden Planett boutique), checked in to let us know that their store, about three years in the making, will be opening next Thursday at 10 a.m.
Lewis and Columbo, who are amped to be opening a business within Philly's gay community, are both avid home bakers, but they've put together a team of pro pastry chefs to run Philly Cupcake's kitchen. They'll offer 10 cupcake varieties daily, an bunch of old-fashioned "chocolate-covered confections" and a selection of boutique gift items. Right now they plan on being open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, closed Monday, with possible extended hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
Yesterday, 10 Arts by Eric Ripert announced they'd be holding two big viewing events for the last two episodes of this season of Top Chef Las Vegas ï¿½ from 7 to 11 tonight, guests can partake in final-four cheftestant Jennifer Carroll's $35 three-course prix-fixe, with the episode unfolding on flat-screen TVs in both the restaurant and bar/lounge areas. (They're also selling "Bet on Jen" buttons, with proceeds benefitting Philabundance.) Next Wednesday, Dec. 9, when it's whittled down to the final three, 10 Arts will do a $65 dinner deal that includes an autographed menu from Carroll as well as a champagne toast.
So is this is two-part celebration a giant tell of Carroll's victory on the show's sixth season, a la the big-ass party Jose Garces threw at Distrito when he became an Iron Chef? It's tempting to say yes ï¿½ but first we gotta check on the other three cheftestants to see what their plans are. Meal Ticket just put in calls to the restaurants of fellow Top Chef finalists Kevin Gillespie, Michael Voltaggio and Bryan Voltaggio to see if they had any comparable events planned.
Woodfire Grill, Gillespie's restaurant in Atlanta, informed us, in an almost regrettable tone, that there was nothing Top Chef-related scheduled for this week or next. Pasadena, California's The Dining Room, where Michael Voltaggio is chef de cuisine, will be playing the show at their bar, but there are no official parties on the books for tonight or next Wednesday. Tonight's a normal night at Volt, Bryan Voltaggio's restaurant in Frederick, Maryland ï¿½ but next week, the city of Frederick is hosting an invitation-only bash at the restaurant for the final episode.
Last year, eventual winner Hosea Rosenberg held a viewing party at a bar in Boulder, Carla Hall held a viewing party in D.C. and Stefan Richter, who didn't have a restaurant at the time, watched from home. (Check out our recap our last season's finale.)
So there y'all have it. Draw your own conclusions, Top Chef fans!
Formerly known as the Aspen, Lucky 7 (747 N. 25th St.) opened just a few weeks ago under the same ownership, but with a new menu.ï¿½ "We're a neighborhood tavern," said executive chef Sean Pashley, who's returning to his roots behind the line after a stint overseeing the roll-out of eight Qdoba fast-Mex restaurants in the area. A variety of sandwiches and a few Mexican items anchor theï¿½ menu, including the Aspen's beloved TED (Thanksgiving Every Day) and the slightly terrifying Lucky 7 Burger (pictured), which stacks Taylor pork roll, scrapple, provolone, cheddar and a fried egg on top of your patty. House-made french fries get the truffle treatment, or are loaded with brown gravy and cheese for a poutine.
Owner Jud Bertolf's collection of signed photographs of famous athletes (including a sweet shot of Muhammad Ali hugging Pelï¿½, and a Phillies jersey signed by the entire WFC 2008 team, pictured) are on display throughout the joint. The memorabilia, which could be purchased, if you're so inclined, and a bevy of flat-screen TVs add a sporty touch to the original early 20th-century bar and pressed tin ceiling. The retrofitted original ice box serves as the bar's beer fridge, housing a small but focused bottled beer selection. Bottles run the gamut from classics (Aventinus Weizenbock, Westmalle Triple) to standards (Yuengling Lager), with six taps offering local (Kenzinger) and special craft choices (Boulder Single Track). A full bar and wine list are available.
A giant poster of Rocky is a nod to the name Lucky 7, which was the name of the bar in the film.ï¿½ The bar opens at 5 p.m. daily and serves the full menu until 1 a.m.; cash only (ATM on-site).
Chef/owner Mike Stollenwerk of fish (1708 Lombard St., 215-545-9600) dropped us a copy of the New Year's Eve menu he'll be serving at his Lombard Street seafooderie.ï¿½ The theme is black and white truffles, and Stollenwerk will be working it into basically every course of this feast, including white truffle ice cream (!) for dessert. There'll be two seatings, one at 6 and one at 9:30 p.m.; it's $110 a head, or $150 with wine pairings. Full menu after the jump.
BLUE POINT OYSTER
Potato bisque, black truffle
Pea leaf-white truffle salad, poached egg vinaigrette
Truffled spaetzle, parmesan broth, melted leeks
Celery leaf, black truffle
Truffled celeriac, royal trumpet, bordelaise sauce
CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE TORTE
White truffle ice cream
|Photo courtesy Gershman Y|
|Restaurateur Steve Cook (representing Zahav) gets ready to serve|
History comes edibly alive this Sunday, Dec. 13, when the Gershman Y (401 S. Broad St.) holds its seventh annual Hannukah latke fry-up, Latkepalooza.
More than 3,000 potato pancakes are served to more than 500 adults and children every year. This year will feature variations by the likes of Marigold Kitchen, Snackbar, Zahav, Estia, Jones, Max and David's, Penne, Sabrina's Cafï¿½, Singapore Chinese Kitchen and Whole Foods, among others.ï¿½ï¿½The latke, which is always fried in oil, is a traditional Hannukah food celebrating the miracle of a small amount of consecrated olive oil that 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.
If that's too much of a mouthful for you, just enjoy your latkes and the balloon-sculpting clown, live music, childrens' arts and crafts and vendors.
Latkepalooza at the Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad St., Sun., Dec. 13, 2-4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance at gershmanY.org or by phone at 215-545-4400;ï¿½ adults are $15 in advance or $18 at the door, children $10 advance or $13 at the door.
Meal Ticket recently got a chance to check out some of the stuff chef Dustin Robinson has been putting out for dinner and brunch at El Camino Real (Liberties Walk, 1040 N. Second St.) as of late. French Culinary Institute alum Robinson, a Brit who's cooked for Gordon Ramsay at that chef's Maze and Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's as well as at New York's Waverly Inn, has no plans to drastically overhaul the straddling-the-Texas-border thrust of Owen Kamihira's restaurant, where he came on in October ï¿½ his tweaks are mainly nuts-and-bolts in nature (he let us take a peek at his sous vide setup, which he's using to prep meats for the kitchen's twin smokers), and he's fond of doing pretty much everything in-house. All told, he's introduced close to 20 new items to the fold, but the personality of ECR's barbecue/burrito bar is steadfast.
You can check out ECR's full dinner and brunch menus after the jump. (Food's served daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., and brunch is offered Saturdays and Sundays from 9 to 3:30.) Pictured above, a sampling of the stuff we dug into:
- Brussels sprouts with house-cured bacon
- Jalapeno grits with poached egg
- House-cured/smoked bacon
- Burritos: steak, housemade chorizo, shrimp
- Smoked pastrami sandwich
- Chicken and waffles (fave!)
- Barbecue: Pork spare ribs, beef short rib, hot links
|Dinner menu ï¿½ click to enlarge|
|Brunch menu ï¿½ click to enlarge|
Booming bruncherie Cafï¿½ Estelle (444 N. 4th St.) normally closes its doors just before sunset this time of year, but this Thursday, Dec. 3,ï¿½ chef/owner Marshall Green's hand-crafted grub will be paired with Stoudt's classic lineup of brews for a special beer dinner.
Things get started with a bacon, cheddar and Stoudt's Gold soup, then local farmers are highlighted with a salad of local lettuces, hazelnuts and confit chicken.ï¿½ Green is also braising boar shanks in Scarlet Lady, a mildly hopped, caramelized red ale that serves as that course's beer pairing.
The party starts at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $40 plus tax & tip. Call 215-925-5080 for reservations. Check out the complete menu and beer pairings after the jump.
Cheddar, bacon and Stoudt's Gold soup; with Stoudt's Gold
Salad of lettuces, hazelnuts and confit chicken; with Stoudt's Pils
Tuna with squash and nicoise olive risotto; with Stoudt's APA
Scarlet Lady-braised boar shank; with Stoudt's Scarlet Lady
"Chocolatey" dessert; with Stoudt's Brown Dog
The Drexel Hill-based Fresh Grocer, which opened a Northwest Philly location near La Salle's campus back in August, is debuting its second location in that region of the city next Friday, Dec. 11. Located in Progress Plaza (close to Temple), which is undergoing a a multi-million-dollar facelift, this new 46,000-square-foot store will fill a fresh-food void in the neighborhood that's been looming since the Plaza's last market closed in the late '90s. There'll be a ribbon cutting this Friday at 9 a.m. featuring remarks from Mayor Michael Nutter, state rep Dwight Evans and others.
NOTE: This post has been corrected to reflect the correct grand opening date of Dec. 11.
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