Archive: February, 2009
It looks like a majority of commenters on yesterday's call for Top Chef season finale predictions pick (or at least want) Carla to win. So I figure it's as good as time as any to share this masterful Photoshop piece I have spent several minutes days working on.
After conducting several heavy, heady rounds of scientific research involving DNA alleles and many more of the things they talk about on CSI: Miami, I can definitively conclude that character actor Tony Todd and Didi Pickles (Tommy's mom from Rugrats) are the frontrunner's parents.
I still stand by my Stefan pick even though his dad is not Candyman.
The Season 5 finale airs on Bravo tonight at 10 p.m.
SNACK TIME: SEAR in action, food for the Seoul, Mario spectaculary offends HRH Sofia of Spain, For Pete's Sake shines in shadow of I-95, high tea at the Hotel Du Pont
|Jim Burke doing the plating dance at James|
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
- Foobooz blogs photographer Andy Benson's upcoming show SEAR: Philadelphia Chefs in Motion, which debuts next Friday, March 6 at Foster's Homeware. Benson's elegant composite shots of Jim Burke (James), David Ansill (Ansill) and Gene Giuffi (Cochon), among others, provide a window into the fire and finesse of chefs in their element — their own restaurant kitchens.
- Meal Ticket's juiciest blog crush is Five Spice Duck. We flipped out over this post on Five Spice's recent trip to Korea, complete with dazzling photos of street food (strawberry iced corn dogs! carp-shaped red bean cakes! female divers and live octopus snacks!) and unpretentious recipes and stories. Bookmark now.
- MenuPages shares a dispatch from their South Florida bureau, whose writers have been traipsing around the South Beach Wine & Food Festival all week. Local entrant Rouge didn't take home any tchotckes in the Burger Bash competition, but at least they behaved themselves. The biggest news of the fest was a "crocked" Mario Batali dropping F-bombs in front of the Queen of Spain. You can take the cook out of the kitchen ...
- Philly Food Guys give two thumbs up to South Philly's For Pete's Sake, enjoying its tasteful décor and mushrooms and toast appetizer. Pete's also has one of the most solid and underrated beer lists in town — you can check it out here.
- Taylor of Mac & Cheese straightens her Sunday hat and goes for tea at the oh-so-propah Hotel Du Pont in Wilmington. Teeny sandwiches sans crusts, pots of loose leaves and a tiered dessert stand recall the gilded era when the name Du Pont conjured up images of robber baron patriarchs with side whiskers and gold-tipped walking sticks, instead of paranoid schizophrenic hermits who murdered their on-site Olympic wrestler.
Still in its early going, the blog's nailed a nice cross-section of our area's between-bread best thus far, including Grace Tavern's oyster po'boy, Table 31's short rib burger and one of Felicia D.'s faves, the veggie hoagie from Chickie's.
We bugged Kessler for a sec to get more info on the project.
Meal Ticket: You seem to be pretty well-versed in all sorts of dishes and delicacies. What specifically about sandwiches merited this blog's creation?
Ben Kessler: There are a lot of food blogs out there right now that cover everything: restaurant dishes, new openings, recipes and more. Jeff Vogel and I co-founded Unbreaded because we figured that the way to start a new food blog was to pick a niche and focus on it. We also both are huge fans of all kinds of sandwiches. Being Philly natives, we both realize the ever-growing sandwich culture here, and figured why not type up our thoughts for the world to see? Plus, in economic times like these, the sandwich is really the ultimate recession meal.
MT: What types of different columns/features should we expect to see on Unbreaded?
BK: We've started Unbreaded primarily with reviews of Philadelphia places
because we want to expose the greatness of Philadelphia sandwiches and
build it out from there. Eventually, we'd like to expand Unbreaded to
the point where people around the country and around the world are
sending us photos and mini-reviews of amazing sandwiches they've
encountered. I also could see us getting into doing video in the future.
MT: Quick — top three favorite sandwiches in Philly!
BK: It's hard to pick just three and it's always changing, but off the top of my head: Cheesesteak from John's Roast Pork, Tuscan Tony from Paesano's and the Windsor burger at Pub & Kitchen.
|Comparison shopping is critical in tough times.|
|Photos l Chris Strzalka|
Gloucester County, New Jersey — The humble Whitman Diner has recently been transformed into The Whitman, a martini lounge for those up-and-comers who would otherwise cross the bridge for their chilled cups.
If the "Pearmiscuous" or "Sexploitation" cocktails doesn't tempt, why not advertise your uniquely flush state with The Whitman's $100 martini? Owner George Poulianas assures the suspicious that though the blend of ingredients is top-secret, customers splurging on the C-Note martini will surely get their money's worth.
The colossal cocktail serves four, which partially explains the gimmick, and is sided with a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries. The real value test comes in the form of a diner pairing: Just how well does this drink complement a tuna melt or turkey club?
The Whitman, 4990 Rt. 42, Turnersville, N.J., 08012, 484-228-4449, thewhitmandiner.com
I've had a blast writing about Top Chef New York here on Meal Ticket. It's a little sad, but also exciting, to think that it'll all be over come tomorrow night. (At least until Season 6 starts ... Vegas is the rumor.)
The Season 5 recaps have garnered some great response from Top Chef fans, so why stop now? Tell me who's going to take it, Meal Ticketers — Grouchy Finnish arm-crosser Stefan? Lovable hippie-dip caterer Carla? Seafood-searing novelty T-shirt mannequin Hosea?
I've already put my prediction out there. Share yours — and any salacious spoiler-riffic rumors you might've heard — in the comments.
Seasons 52, a wine bar with locations in Florida and Georgia, will open to the public March 23 as part of the "Bistro Row" complex of Cherry Hill Mall. (An installment of the Maggiano's chain is also opening here on March 2.) 52 is selling itself as a fresh-first dining concept with seasonally shifting menus.
Opening dinner menu and wine list after the jump.
Rosemary & Parmesan Cheese Crispbread 3.50
Ripe Plum Tomato Flatbread with fresh basil, roasted garlic essence and melted Parmesan cheese 7.50
Spicy Chipotle Shrimp Flatbread with grilled pineapple, Feta cheese and roasted poblano peppers 9.95
Garlic Chicken Flatbread with balsamic red onions, roasted red peppers and Mozzarella cheese 8.50
Grilled Steak & Cremini Mushroom Flatbread with fresh spinach and Wisconsin blue cheese 8.95
Farmer’s Market Vegetable Soup or Chef’s Soup of the Day Bowl 5.25 Cup 4.75
Edamame whole soybeans steamed and served hot with Japanese green tea salt 4.50
Gulf Shrimp Cocktail with fresh lemon , French dressing and cocktail sauce 9.95
Housemade Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with roasted garlic and sweet basil in a light tomato broth 7.50
Premium Sushi Grade Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with avocado and cumin crisps 11.50*
Grilled Sesame Chicken Skewers with teriyaki glaze, roasted Hawaiian pineapple and tropical fruit salsa 7.95
Caramelized Crab & Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms with roasted garlic and Parmesan cheese 8.95
Spicy Chicken Chile Relleno with goat cheese and spinach on pico de gallo 8.95
Toasted Almond Tabbouleh with fresh mint, lemon, cucumbers, tomatoes and sundried cranberries 4.75
Mixed Greens Salad with toasted sunflower seeds, grape tomatoes, cucumbers and white balsamic vinaigrette 4.95
Kalymnos Greek Salad with Feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, slivered red onions and kalamata olives 7.25
Baby Spinach Salad with fresh raspberries, crumbled blue cheese and toasted pine nuts 6.50
Spring Market Vegetable Plate with rustic roasted vegetables, grilled tofu and toasted almond tabbouleh 12.95
BBQ Grilled Chicken Salad with romaine lettuce, spinach, corn, roasted peppers and crumbled blue cheese 11.50
Mediterranean Shrimp Salad with roasted peppers, chick peas, cucumber, tomato and Feta cheese 11.75
Grilled Lemongrass Salmon Salad with gourmet greens, grilled pineapple, wasabi peas and sesame dressing 14.95
Grilled Beef Tenderloin Salad with roasted peppers, smoked cremini mushrooms and zesty Caesar dressing 14.50
Fish & Seafood
Tiger Shrimp Penne Pasta and market vegetables sautéed in a lemon-basil sauce with Parmesan cheese 16.95
Caramelized Sea Scallops grilled and served with roasted asparagus and sundried tomato pearl pasta 18.95
Roasted Crab-Stuffed Shrimp with a medley of fresh vegetables in a light garlic sauce 21.95
Cedar Plank Atlantic Salmon with fresh asparagus, sweet carrots and roasted red bliss potatoes 17.95
Grilled Boneless Rainbow Trout with parsley new potatoes, fresh roasted vegetables and broiled lemon 15.95
Poultry & Meat
Oak-Grilled Chicken Citron with pearl pasta, a trio of green vegetables and lemon thyme-shallot reduction 15.25
Oak-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with soft corn polenta, fresh leaf spinach, cremini mushrooms and sherry glaze 16.95
Grilled Rack of New Zealand Lamb with red bliss potatoes, asparagus, balsamic red onions and Dijon sauce 26.95
Char Crust Filet Mignon with garlic mashed potatoes, fresh vegetables and tamarind BBQ sauce 25.50
Mini Indulgences … individual servings of classic desserts 2.50 ea
Key Lime Pie
Old-Fashioned Carrot Cake
Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse
Market Fresh Fruit
Fresh Fruit Cheesecake
Caramel Banana Pie
Indaba, West Cape ’08 6 24
Geyser Peak, Alexander ’07 7 28
Greg Norman Estates, Eden ’07 7.5 30
Carmel Road, Monterey ’07 9 36
Markham, Napa ’07 10.5 42
Radford Dale, Stellenbosch ’07 11 44
ZD, California ’07 12.5 50
Mer Soleil, Central Coast ’06 15 60
Cakebread, Napa ’07 80
Domaine Gagey, Beaune Greve 1st Cru Le Clos Blanc, Burgundy ‘06 90
Far Niente, Napa ’07 90
Pinot Grigio / Pinot Gris
Santa Julia, Mendoza ‘08 6.5 26
King Estate, Willamette ’07 10 40
Masi Masianco, Veneto ’07 38
Conte Brandolini, Friuli-Venezia Giulia ’06/’07 11 44
Selbach-Oster, Mosel ’06 11 44
Brampton, West Cape ’08 7 28
Honig, Napa ’07 9 36
Mulderbosch, Stellenbosch ’07 11.5 46
TENZ, Marlborough ’07 50
Selbach-Oster Kabinett, Mosel ’07 8 32
Selbach Spatlese, Mosel ‘07 9.5 36
Sokol Blosser Evolution, American MV 40
Eroica, Columbia ’07 11 44
Brampton, Coastal ‘06 7.5 30
Fabulous Unoaked Whites
Paso a Paso Verdejo, La Mancha ’07/’08 7 28
Raats Family Original Chenin Blanc,
Coastal ’08 7.5 30
Martin & Weyrich Moscato Allegro
Moscato, California ’07 8.5 34
Pacific Rim Gewürztraminer, Yakima ’07 7 28
Salomon Hochterrassen Grüner Veltliner,
Kamptal ‘08 38
Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi, California ’07 6 24
Marques de Gelida Brut, Cava ’04 7.5 30
Schramsberg Mirabelle, North Coast MV 35
Domaine Carneros, Carneros ’05 55
Chartogne – Taillet Cuvee Sainte Anne,
Champagne MV 14 70
Gimonnet Cuvee Gastronome,
Champagne ’04 85
Vilmart Grande Cellier Brut Premier Cru,
Champagne MV 100
Dessert Wines 3-oz POUR
Selback-Oster Bernkasteler Badstube
Riesling Auslese, Mosel ’06 8
Royal Tokaji Wine Company Aszu 5 Puttonyos
Tokaji, Hungary ’03 13
Ports 3-oz POUR
Fonseca Late Bottle Vingate Port ‘03 9
Warre’s Otima 10-Year Aged Tawny Port 11
Honoro Vera, Jumilla ‘07 6 24
Ray’s Station, Alexander ’04 8.5 34
Chateau Ste Michelle Indian Wells,
Columbia ’06 10.5 42
St. Francis, Sonoma ’05 12 48
Robert Mondavi, Napa ’05 50
Gargiulo Money Road Ranch, Oakville ’05 15 60
Chappellet, Napa ’05 62
Mirassou, California ’07 6 24
Cartlidge & Browne, California ’07 7.5 30
Sebastiani, Sonoma Coast ’07 9.5 38
Kim Crawford, Marlborough ’07 11 44
Schug, Sonoma Coast ’07 13.5 54
Chehalem 3 Vineyard, Willamette ’07 66
Sinskey, Carneros ’06 68
Jadot Beaune 1st Cru, Burgundy ‘06 75
Etude, Carneros ’06 80
Freeman, Russian River ’06 90
De Fuego Old Vines, Calatayud ‘07 7 28
Woop Woop, South Eastern Australia ‘08 8.5 34
St. Hallett Gamekeeper’s Reserve,
Barossa ’05 9.5 38
Winner’s Tank, Langhorne Creek ’07 12 48
Torbreck Woodcutter’s, Barossa ’07 55
Sequillo, Swartland ’05 60
Elderton, Barossa ‘05 60
Escape, Stellenbosch ‘08 7 28
Markham, Napa ’03 13.5 54
Ravenswood, Napa ’05 10 40
Seghesio, Sonoma ’07 42
Ravenswood Teldeschi, Dry Creek ’06 65
Sierra Cantabria Crianza, Rioja ’05 9.5 38
Muga Prado Enea Gran Reserva,
Rioja ’00 85
Santa Cristina, Tuscany ’07 6.5 26
Retromarcia, Chianti Classico ’06 9.5 38
Antinori Pèppoli, Chianti Classico ‘06 58
Tignanello Sangiovese/Cabernet, Tuscany ’05 120
Cabernets & Bordeaux Varietals
Concha y Toro Xplorador, Central ‘08 6 24
Casillero del Diablo Carmenere,
Central ‘07 7 28
Gascon Malbec, Mendoza ‘08 8 32
Chateau de Parenchére, Bordeaux ’05 9 36
Lake Sonoma Cabernet, Alexander ’05 11 44
Mulderbosch Faithful Hound,
Stellenbosch ’05 12.5 50
De Toren Fusion V, Stellenbosch ’06 15 60
Tom Eddy Elodian, Napa ’05 64
Radford Dale Gravity, Stellenbosch ’06 66
Chappellet Signature, Napa ’06 75
Altamura, Napa ’05 95
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet/Shiraz,
South Australia ’06 68
Joseph Phelps, Napa ’05/’06 90
Silver Oak, Alexander ’04 110
Frog’s Leap Rutherford, Rutherford ’05 110
Caymus, Napa ’06 125
Caymus Special Selection, Napa ’06 225
Silver Oak, Napa ’04 200
Tom Eddy, Napa ’02 150
Opus One, Napa ’05 250
Sassicaia, Bolgheri ’05 300
Joseph Phelps Insignia, Napa ’05 275
Today, from the Philadelphia Inquirer:
HARRISBURG - Beer sales at restaurants run by the Wegmans supermarket chain got Commonwealth Court approval yesterday in a ruling that expands where Pennsylvania consumers can buy take-out alcohol.
The court unanimously rejected arguments by the Pennsylvania Malt Beverage Distributors Association that Wegmans Food Markets Inc. had created a "legal fiction" by routing beer sales through cafes attached by an interior passageway to their grocery stores.
The association will appeal to the state Supreme Court, attorney Robert Hoffman said.
Wegmans attorney R.J. O'Hara said a limit of two six-packs on take-out purchases would ensure that grocery-linked restaurants would not devastate business at beer distributors.
"We're still not like a lot of other states where you can buy unlimited quantities of beer in a grocery store," O'Hara said.
Hoffman said the grant of licenses to Wegmans would prompt other types of businesses to look for ways to add take-out beer sales to their bottom line.
"It really has the potential to transform how Pennsylvania consumers buy beer in bulk for home consumption," he said.
This just goes to show that Wegman's is indeed the savior from upstate New York. No matter how much the monopoly-fat distributors whine, cry and appeal to the state supreme court, one day in the near future you will be able to walk out of the supermarket with the makings of pork loin roasted with fennel and pears, and a nice sixer of Anchor Steam to drink with it.
|Who got da baby?|
King Cakes, traditionally served only between Twelfth Night (January 6) and Mardi Gras day (the "fat tuesday" before Ash Wednesday) date back to the pre-Christian religions of Central Europe. From GumboPages.com:
It was customary to choose a man to be the "sacred king" of the tribe for a year. That man would be treated like a king for the year, then he would be sacrificed, and his blood returned to the soil to ensure that the harvest would be successful. The method of choosing who would have the honor of being the sacred king was the King's Cake. A coin or bean would be placed in the cake before baking, and whoever got the slice that had the coin was the chosen one.
Bloody awesome, right? Like many pagan traditions, Christian leaders realized they could not root out such practices, choosing instead to co-opt them with new, Jesus-approved meanings. GumboPages again provides enlightenment: "Catholic priests were not predisposed to human sacrifice, so the King's Cake was converted into a celebration of the Magi, the three Kings who came to visit the Christ Child."
The first French settlers to the New Orleans brought the tradition of the King Cake with them, consuming the pastry during Carnival — indulging in the sugar and fat that would be verboten during the austere Lenten season. Since then, King Cakes have become a common sight in Louisiana offices and classrooms every Friday during Carnival. Since the 1950s, a small plastic baby has become the most common trinket baked into the cake, rather than the original bean or coin. Whoever finds the baby in their slice of cake brings the cake for next week — not nearly as onerous as being the blood sacrifice for next year's successful harvest.
The modern King Cake is a coffee-cake type dough, sometimes filled or iced, rolled out into a long rope, shaped into an oval, and then twisted into a ring. The purple, green and gold colors of Carnival are applied to the cake in colored sprinkles or sugar.
GumboPages provides a link to Emeril Lagasse's King Cake recipe, as well as stern warning that you MAY NOT eat King Cake before January 6 or after Mardi Gras day. If you've got a craving for a piece of pastry that could have a tiny plastic baby in it, better get baking ... all of the ghosts of pagan sacrificed kings come to rattle their chains at those who flout the sacred rules of Carnival.
This year's fast-approaching Philly Beer Week features somewhere in the neighborhood of 650 to 700 individual events, many of which will be covered here on Meal Ticket as well as in CP print. But let's give some daps to smaller events sneaking in there before the day planner-ravaging maelstrom.
Tomorrow, Feb. 24, Cantina Dos Segundos (931 N. Second St., 215-629-0500, cantinadossegundos.com) will have two beers from San Diego's Ballast Point on tap — Victory at Sea and Big Eye IPA. Victory, which we've never had the pleasure of trying, is a "big California strong porter with a coffee and slight caramel taste," says Dos co-owner Stephen Simons. Meal Ticket fave Big Eye, which was on tap at Royal Tavern for awhile (we also recently grabbed a pint at Time) is something of a classic American IPA, with bright, piney hops cut by a little citrus. Very fun and easy to drink.
This is a great opportunity to check out both of these West Coast beers on draught in Philly. Have at it.
Philadelphia Magazine's annual Philly Cooks! event kicks off tonight, Feb. 23, and runs through Feb. 27. The chef-centric event features two ways to dine: chef's tasting menus for two, $75; or chef's table dinners for groups that benefit the Ronald McDonald House charities. Full details are available at Philly Mag's Philly Cooks! site.
While tasting menus and charities are nice, better still is judging chefs based solely on the fun Featured Faces of Philly Cooks index. You can click through the headshots of local chefs, accompanied by their answers to four thrilling questions. Based on this trivial amount of information, Meal Ticket awarded some yearbook-style rankings to the comeliest, coolest and most comical chefs in town. All photos are from Philly Mag's site. So KIT, 'cuz UR2Nice2B4gotten. Remember the grease fire in Home Ec? xoxo
More of our totally superficial yearbook picks after the jump.
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