Archive: December, 2009
If you're like me, your childhood felt like one long, strange trip sans psychoactives.ï¿½ Recapture the googly-eyed wonder of youth with a Make-Your-Own Candy Kaleidoscope.ï¿½ Each activity kit comes with a cardboard kaleidoscope tube, four mini bags of colorful candy, instructions and information on how a kaleidoscope works.ï¿½ Pop the top, fill with your choice of junk, and let the mad sugary visuals commence.ï¿½ï¿½ Eating the candy becomes almost secondary, but once it's all consumed you can fill the chamber with anything that fits -- flower petals, marbles, even colored paperclips or seashells.
Cool for kids but maybe even better for the mystical types in your life; $9.95 at KidsStopInc.com
New on the corner of Fifth and Fairmount is Lafayette Bistro, a Mediterranean-style BYOB from owner Mondher Khayat and chef/co-owner Ramzi Boughamni.The 50-seat restaurant, built out from scratch in a former antiques store, in wrapped in huge picture windows that look out onto the bustling NoLibs intersection.
Lafayette is the name of a city in Tunisia, and it features a way-diverse population of Christians, Jews and Muslims ï¿½ hence the multi-discipline thrust of the food. Both owners hail from North Africa, so the menu (apps, seafood, housemade pasta, salads; large plates top out at $26) features several subtle touches from the region, including whole fish, a boiled salad with Mediterranean tuna and entrï¿½e-size Couscous Royal with veggies or chicken. Check out the menu in full after the jump. Lafayette's open daily for dinner from 4 to 10 p.m.
|Click to enlarge|
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Solo (50 N. 10th St., 215-238-0882), which opened recently on the same Chinatown block as Yummy Yummy and Pho Cali, kinda makes us want to sing "Food on Sticks" to the tune of Duran Duran's "Girls on Film." (Try it!) That's because they specialize in "Chinese kabobs" ï¿½ the super-narrow space features a bar, behind which a dude tosses all manner of skewered treats on a blazing-hot grill. They offer everything from lamb, beef and shrimp to fish balls, chicken gizzards and cattle kidneys. Prices top out at $2.50 (!). Team Meal Ticket and award-winning CP staff writer Isaiah Thompson, who's a serious connoisseur of Philly Chinatown eats, have plans to drop in and eat every single thing they offer later this week.
Check out the full menu after the jump.
|Click to enlarge|
|Daddy dragon is 1.5 Liters|
That Fishtown den of yeasty, bubbly iniquity known as The Memphis Taproom (2331 E. Cumberland St.) has just released a fresh bottled beer list that trumpets vintage, rare and large format bottles ideal for holiday merrymaking.
Favorites like bone-dry Taras Boulba (Brasserie de la Senne, Belgium) and tarted-up Petrus Oak Aged Pale Ale (Belgium) are joined by a list of cellared bottles to make the geeks weep.ï¿½ Gale's Prize Old Ale (Hampshire, UK) is the grandaddy in a $10, '96 vintage, but we're most excited about trying an '06 BBBourgondier, a hefty, chewy dark ale touched with spice from the inimitable De Regenboog in Belgium for $14 (read our review of the hard-to-find heavy, here).
If your aim is to impress the boys, why not order up a big bottle of Gulden Draak, the 10.5 percent ABV behemoth that should get even your Grinchiest office mate dancing on tables -- it's 1.5 liters and the opaque, white-painted bottle would make a spiffy lamp once you've drained it. Or you can go for the gold with a 6 liter bottle of St. Bernardus Christmas, one of the few Belgian dark, spiced holiday brews that does not recall a fruitcake, for $300.
Click over the Memphis Taproom Web site to see the complete, new-old bottle list.
In a little more than a month, the first CCD Restaurant Week of the new decade will pop off, featuring the $35 three-course dinners and $20 three-course lunches that fill our Google Calendars will massively overlapping caloric glee. Newcomers this year include Butcher & Singer, Restaurant M, Capital Grille, Miga, Pub & Kitchen, Q BBQ & Tequila, Square 1682 and terra (check out the full list of participants. and menus, here). Daniel Stern's R2L, which is not yet open to the public, will ease its way into business during Restaurant Week, as well. Oh, and to sweeten the deal, this time around they'll be raffling off a year's worth of $50 gift certificates to one lucky/hungry winner. (You can toss your name into the game online, too, at centercityphila.org.)
Edgar and Kim Alvarez will open Avenida (7402 Germantown Ave., 267-385-6857), their casual, affordably priced eatery in the space that was Creisheim Cottage Cafï¿½, this coming Thursday. The cheffing couple, who last ran Delaware Market House in Gladwyne, are focusing on Latin comfort food here; their liquor license is en route, and they plan on serving Mexican/Latin American beers, wine and cocktails. More soon; for now, check out their opening menu after the jump.
Soups and Salads
Black Bean soup with crema ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½6
El Biche (Ecuadorian bouillabaisse)ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½9
The Latin Wedge with fried green tomatoes, red onion, cotija lime vinaigrette ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ 7
Caesar Salad with masa chili croutons, fried capersï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½7
Queso fondido with black beans, chorizo, roasted poblanosï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½8
Mole glazed spare ribs with corn fritters, roasted pepper chipotle creamï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½9
Grilled octopus with tequila roasted tomatoes, garlic, hoja santï¿½, avocadoï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½9
Fried Calamari, onions, jalapenos with smoked tomato tomatillo sauceï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ 8
Ceviche of the dayï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½8
Crispy tortillas chips with guacamole and dos salsasï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½6
Flat iron steak with chimichurri, roasted potatoes, grilled scallionsï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ 17
Roasted Chicken Mishote with leeks, peas, green beans, carrotsï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ 16
Pepita and pistachio crusted tuna with chirmol, steamed riceï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ 19
Vegetarian tamale with eggplant, tomato olive recado, spinach pastelï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½14
Pork Pibil with green mole, zucchini cheese puddingï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½16
Ancho chili dusted duck breast with canela sweet potatoes, sautï¿½ed watercressï¿½ï¿½ 19
Seared Red Snapper with tomatillo salsa, sautï¿½ed vegetables, Spanish riceï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½18
Achiote grilled shrimp and scallops with fava beans, chayote, quinoaï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ 19
Coconut Tres Leches, lime sorbet, cilantro syrupï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½6
Ancho Brownie Sundae, chocolate ice cream, cajeta, chocolate sauce ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½6
Mango Upside Down Cake, caramel swirl ice creamï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ 6
Cinnamon Crepes, roasted bananas and rum syrupï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½6
Chocolate Dulce de Leche Tart, Nutella semifrioï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½6
Kahlua Natilla, Mexican wedding cookiesï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½6
Apple Canela Crisp, vanilla ice creamï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½6
Kidï¿½s Brownie Sundaeï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½5
Kidï¿½s Ice Creamï¿½ï¿½ ï¿½4
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
UPDATE: Tough one, eh? That could be because this place is pretty new. Think west, and think names we know/love.
UPDATE: Added a second photo. Whatcha got?
|No more rinsing plastic baggies!|
Packing your lunch is a great way to save money and eat healthier, and is more ecologically conscious than buying your midday meal -- think of all that non-recyclable plastic and styrofoam used to package take-out food.ï¿½ Green your lunch even more by eliminating disposable plastic bags with the Wrap-N-Mat, a re-usable food wrapper and placemat.
Wrap-N-Mats are manufactured in China and the United States and come in regular (sandwich) and grande (burrito, wrap, hoagie roll) sizes; the company has also introduced smaller snack pouches for dry foods like pretzels, chips or dried fruit that completely banish plastic bags from your lunchbox. The fabric wrapper, which comes in a huge array of colors and prints, is lined with LDPE plastic and meets the FDA's regulations for plastic that comes in contact with food. Once unfolded, the wrapper becomes a placemat and creates a clean space to place your entire lunch.ï¿½ Since the whole thing lays flat, it can be cleaned up with a quick wipe and rinse.
At just $7.50-$7.99 for a regular size or $8.50-$8.99 for a grande size, Wrap-N-Mats make a cool stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift for those eaters who love the Earth as much as saving cash.
Shop online at Wrap-N-Mat.com
By now local hopheads know The Coffee Bar (Radisson-Warwick Hotel, 1701 Locust St.) serves up an array of interesting craft brews in addition to the usual cappuccini and biscotti. With only ten shopping days left (eep!) until Christmas, youï¿½ might need a beer to help you decide between the Designer Snuggie or a super-sized box of Sham-Wow!s for your girl.ï¿½ Stop by to swill from the new 12 Beers of Christmas, which kicked off on Friday with Ace Pear Cider (a partridge in a...).
Today, Mon. Dec. 14 is "four calling birds", aka Eel River Raven Stout,ï¿½ an organic heavyweight (9.5 percent ABV) in the Russian Imperial style from California.ï¿½ Tomorrow, "five gold rings", is the burnished beauty Allagash Triple.ï¿½ If you are feeling poor after all that consumer activity, remember each featured brew is just $3.ï¿½ Coffee Bar manager Stephen Stetson adds that though they normally close at 8 p.m. Sun.-Thu. and 10 p.m. Fri.-Sat., he will be sticking around to accommodate those who wish to enjoy their beer a bit later.
See the full 12 Beers of Christmas lineup after the jump.
|11-Dec||FRIDAY||1||patridge in a pear tree||Ace Pear Cider|
|12-Dec||SATURDAY||2||turtle doves||Bruery Two Turtle Doves|
|13-Dec||SUNDAY||3||french hens||Slyfox Saison VOS|
|MONDAY||4||calling birds||Eel River Raven Stout|
|15-Dec||TUESDAY||5||golden rings||Allagash Tripel|
|16-Dec||WEDNESDAY||6||geese a laying||Wild Goose Snow Goose|
|17-Dec||THURSDAY||7||swans a swimming||Duck Rabbit Wee Heavy|
|18-Dec||FRIDAY||8||maids a milking||Lefthand Milk Stout|
|19-Dec||SATURDAY||9||ladies dancing||Stoudts Scarlet Lady|
|20-Dec||SUNDAY||10||lords a leaping||Unibroue Don de Dieu|
|21-Dec||MONDAY||11||pipers piping||Stone Smoked Porter|
|22-Dec||TUESDAY||12||drummers drumming||Victory V-12|
Thanks to a glut of work, some personal business and a pesky, nagging, nasty illness, Team Meal Ticket's brain currently boasts a consistency comparable to that of watery polenta. Gonna take the rest of the day off. Have a wonderful weekend and we'll see you all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Monday.
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