Archive: February, 2010
Following the launch of her Let's Move campaign to reverse the tide of childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama will visit Philadelphia this Friday, Feb. 19 for a day trip of activities highlighting a pillar of her program: access to healthy, affordable food in all neighborhoods.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will join Mrs. Obama in Philadelphia, making local stops to talk about the widespread problem of "food deserts" and highlighting the steps our city has taken to resolve this fundamental problem and get healthy, affordable food into every community.
President Obama's proposed Fiscal Year 2011 budget earmarks $400 million dollars a year "to provide innovative financing to bring grocery stores to underserved areas and help places such as convenience stores and bodegas carry healthier food options. Grants will also help bring farmers markets and fresh foods into underserved communities, boosting both family health and local economies. Through these initiatives and private sector engagement, the Administration will work to eliminate food deserts across the country within seven years."
Meal Ticket has requested press credentials for the First Lady's Philadelphia visit and will be posting further on local efforts in the Let's Move campaign.
Chef Ann Suk Miller's Korean tacos were a mighty draw for fatso foodies in the last days of Ansill; now they're back, at Miller's new gig alongside chef Anne Coll at Meritage (500 S. 20th St.). Available as a $3 dinner special now through Sat., Feb. 27, the tacos are a melange of marinated short rib, Korean BBQ sauce and kimchi on a crispy flour tortilla. Miller's former boss David Ansill has added the wrap as a special to the menu at Ladder 15 (1528 Sansom St.); the two restos are just a short walk apart, certainly justifying a Taco Taste-Off.
|Photo l Josh Middleton|
|Cupcakes as you like 'em|
Some might say the cupcake market around here is as saturated with vendors as icing is with sugar. Lily Fischer and Erin Bailey sought to set themselves apart by offering infinitely customizable treats with their business, A Cupcake Wonderland. Establishing headquarters from their kitchens in Fishtown, they say their niche is their artistic, boundless approach to baking an array of treats that clients can customize any way they like. So far business is booming. Since their first official day of business in May they haven't seen one day pass without a request for cupcakes in their inbox.
Fischer and Bailey spend their afternoons chasing children at a local preschool, but at night they find an outlet for their burgeoning creativity through cupcake design. They each took art courses at Sarah Lawrence College and The Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design, respectively. They pride themselves on being able to create any type of cupcake their customers can fathom. Some of their favorite concoctions have been dragons, an 18-hole golf course and black, red and white Twilight cupcakes decorated with fangs and apples. Another aspect of their business is baking cupcakes for clients who may have special dietary needs. âNo one wants to be that kid in class who can't have a cupcake because he's allergic to something,â says Lily. Just as easily as they bake regular recipes, they can turn out goodies that are vegan, gluten-free and void of other common allergens, including eggs, soy and nuts.
The ordering process begins by building your cupcake from the cookie sheet up. Choices can be made from a long list of cake options, frostings, fillings and toppings. Then you can either choose to have them plain or adorned with any type of design, which they refer to as a âFlight of Fancy.â When the order is complete they can deliver the neatly packaged goods personally, wearing a cupcake themed apron that resembles something Strawberry Shortcake would have worn in her heyday. Fischer and Bailey have hopes of expanding their self-started business in the future. They recently added kid-friendly, make-your-own cupcake parties to their services and hope to eventually open a retail space with a cupcake bar. Until then, however, they're focused on cranking out the best cupcakes possible from their own kitchens and they're having a ball doing it. âIf you're not making your cupcake with love and fun,â says Lily, âthen you're not making your cupcake.â
Check out A Cupcake Wonderland on the Web, or contact them at acupcakewonderland[at]gmail[dot]com.
|Photo l Michael Persico for KeystoneEdge.com|
|Joe Sixpack on the job|
Philly Beer Week co-founder and writer Don âJoe Sixpackâ Russell will host a Brooklyn Brewery beer dinner this Wed., Feb. 17 from 7-9 p.m., at Iron Abbey Gastro Pub (680 N. Easton Road, Horsham PA). Forty bucks gets you innovative fare paired with Brooklyn Brewery's finest pours. (It must be mentioned that dessert is a "beer float" of Black Chocolate Stout. Like, whoa.) âSixpackâ, who makes a living drinking beer and writing about it for the Philadelphia Daily News (as well as organizing beer events, authoring books and making public appearances) will also be giving guests the run-down of the brewery, its origin and those beers they are throwing back. Reservations required! Call 215-956-9600 so you can taste that float.
UPDATE: Thanks to commentor Pete LaVerghetta, who correctly noted that Joe Sixpack has more revenue streams than just the Daily News. This post has been corrected to reflect his many jobs.
Philadelphia superchef Jose Garces was on hand last night for a media preview of his latest project, the Garces Trading Co., located in the Western Union building at 1111 Locust St. The market-cafe-boutique wine shop, designed by Garces collaborator Jun Aizaki of New York's CrÃ¨me Design Collective, opened this morning at 7 a.m., as it will every weekday (8 a.m. on weekends), serving continental breakfast, seven distinct blends of custom-roasted coffee, full-service lunch beginning at 11 a.m. and dinner starting at 5 p.m. Check out the full menus here.
Owner Jose Garces summed up the multi-concept space succinctly: "It's a culinary center," he said, gesturing over the backlit cheese and charcuterie cases. "There's many experiences you can have here -- the perimeter is a retail shopping experience." Check out our previous coverage for the full rundown of cheese, single-estate olive oils and vinegars, housemade charcuterie, prepared foods, artisanal breads and pastry that will be sold here.
In the center of the white-subway tiled space, wooden cafe tables can accommodate up to 75 diners for lunch and dinner. Bottles of wine can be purchased to go from the on-site PLCB store, or opened for diners by their server and consumed with a meal. Plates range from European-inspired antipasti, vichyssoise, panini and housemade pastas to a classic American deep-dish pizza stacked with oven-roasted San Marzano tomato confit and fresh mozzarella, a nod to Garces' Chicago roots. "We worked on that pizza recipe for months," he said with a smile. "I want it to be just right."
|Click to enlarge|
Pizza pies (including deep-dish)! Antipasti! Charcuterie! Sammiches! Pastas! Paella! Bouillabaisse! Just a few of the things on the menu at Iron Chef Jose Garces' new multi-concept market (1111 Locust St.), opening tomorrow morning. We'll have more soon, but for now, peruse what's up above and check out our previous coverage.
|Photo | Felicia D'Ambrosio
Zavino, which has been cranking out some truly tasty fare at 112 S. 13th for about a month now, got its liquor license over the weekend. (They've been giving out gratis wine and beer to diners â 'twas fun while it lasted, kids!) In addition to a pretty beefy wine list, with bottles from $25 to $56 and glasses from $6 to $12 (check out the full rundown after the jump), they do four beers on tap, plus a tight bottle selection that includes local faves like Lancaster Milk Stout, Dogfish Head 60 Minute and Victory Golden Monkey. No plans for a happy hour as of right now, says chef/owner Steve Gonzalez.
Cielo Deor Prosecco Raboso Rose NV, Veneto $9.00
Delapierre Cava Brut, NV, Penedes $10.00
Col Vetoraz Proseco Brut, NV, Vento $12.00
Castelvero Cortese Gavi, 2008, Piedmont $8.00
Santelmo Torrontes, 2008, Mendoza $6.00
AleFurLan Pinot Grigio, 2007, Friuli $9.00
Domain Guillaman Blanc, 2008, Cascogne $7.00
Carmen Sauvignon Blanc, 2008, Curico Valley $6.00
Bigi Orvieto, 2007, Umbira $7.00
Canaletto Pinot Noir, 2008, Pavia $7.00
Santelmo Malbec, 2006, Mendoza $6.00
Dows Vale do Bom Fim Reserva Touriga/Rouiz, 2006, Duoro $9.00
Capestrano Sangivoese/Montepulciano, 2007, Abruzzi $8.00
Good Night Cabernet Sauvingon, 2006, Central Coast $10.00
Carpineto Dogajolo, 2006, Tuscany $9.00
Delapierre Cava Brut, NV, Penedes $38.00
Bone Dry, earthy, clean and refreshing
Cielo Deor Prosecco Raboso Rose , NV, Veneto $32.00
Light and fizzy off dry body, rose petals, strawberries with a touch of acidity
Col Vetoraz Prosecco Brut, NV, Veneto $46.00
Light bodied with Bright Acidity and balanced ftuits of white peaches and pear
Bigi Orvieto, 2007, Umbria $35.00
Light body, nutty palate, super clean
Castlevero Cortese âGaviâ, 2008, Piedmont $32.00
Nice alternative to Pinot Grigio with citrus aroma and flavor
Villa Calcinaia Comitale, 2006, Tuscany $32.00
Pale, floral, dry, and soft, an easy drinker
Carmen Sauvignon Blanc, 2008, Curico Valley $30.00
Beautifully balanced showing of this grape, light acidity, very clean grapefruit citrus
AleFurLan Pinot Grigio, 2007, Friuli $35.00
Medium body oily nuts and minerals with a clean finish, a unique Pinot Grigio
Santelmo Torrontes, 2009, Mendoza $25.00
Medium body with hints of oak, subtle melon fruits, and a balanced finish
Terre Dora Di Paolo Falanghina, 2007, Campania $45.00
Vivid and flavorful with fruit and honey and very food friendly
Chateau de la Vieille Tour Sauvingon Blanc, 2008, Bordeux $31.00
Wonderfully complex with fresh fruit and a soft round mouth feel, and a crisp finish
Colosi Bianco âInzolia/Cattaratoâ, 2008, Sicily $29.00
Very food friendly with an intense floral nose, topical notes, and a supple finish
Solecico Monastral/Verdejo/Sauvingon Blanc, 2008, Almansa $30.00
Lean yet weighty, simple yet esoteric, a must have with root vegetables and pizza
Bodegas Bonegas âClaraâ Chardonnay, 2008, Mendoza $30.00
Delicate tropical fruits, un-oaked, soft and balanced in the mouth
Domaine Guillaman Blanc, 2008, Cascogne $28.00
Crisp and vibrant with clean citrus, lemon, and passion fruit through a clean finish
Grayson Cellars Pinot Noir, 2007, Napa Valley $30.00
Super-light body with black cherries a spicy finish
Canaletto Pinot Noir, 2008, Pavia $28.00
Light bodied, clean minerals and spice, very easy drinking
Santelmo Malbec, 2006, Mendoza $25.00
Subtle earth tones with spice and berries on a medium body
Capestrano Sangiovese/Montepulciano, 2007, Abruzzi $29.00
Light-Med body with mild tannins, juicy red berries and hints of spice and fresh herbs
Carpineto Dogajolo, 2006, Tuscany $38.00
Black cherries, coffee, and spice and very friendly with food.
Valderiz Senioro de Valdehermoso Joven, 2006, Spain $30.00
Tidal wave of juicy black fruit with a hint of caramel
Good Night Cabernet Sauvingon, 2006, Central Coast $38.00
Cassis and currant dominate this full-bodied wine with a toasty vanilla oaked finish
Dows Vale do Bom Fim Reserva Touriga/Rouriz, 2006, Duoro $29.00
Beautiful wine, well balanced, smooth, smokey, and hearty in a medium body
Baronia del Monstant Englora, 2004, Monstant $56.00
Full body with serious depth of mineral, black cherry, vanilla, and a long finish
Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani, 2005, Piedmont $55.00
Rustic and sophisticated with dark berries and floral undertones
Bobolia Bobal, 2005, Utiel-Requena $45.00
Big boy with ballsâ¦
Digiovana Nerello Mascalese, 2007, Sicily $45.00
Super dry with blackberry, sage, mint, and spice with a long tannic finish
Damilano Nebbiolo, 2006, Piedmont $47.00
Declassified Barolo, earthy, dry, velvety and harmonious
Bodegas Langa Petit Verdot, 2006, Calatayud Spain $31.00
Full body, with black fruits, prunes, and smoke and spice
Fatty foods, masks, dancing and beads mark the beginning of Mardi Gras celebrations across the nation. If you can't make it down to the French Quarter, let the good times roll on over to Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch streets) on Tuesday, Feb. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for food and Dixieland music hosted by Beck's Cajun CafÃ©. Get on the party train early for your jambalya, muffalettas and other NOLA favorites, and warm up for a good cause by purchasing a cup of gumbo to benefit the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. Take an extended lunch break and stick around for a piece of King Cake â whoever finds the baby in their slice is crowned King for the day. Don't worry, it's just a figurine. People go nuts on Mardi Gras, but not that nuts.
So awhile back we noted the seemingly impending opening of Ro-Zu, a Japanese spot at 700 S. Seventh Street. A sign on the door when we swung by Saturday night noted that the restaurant opened on Feb. 5, but the place seemed to be closed and empty despite the fact that all the lights were on (?). Here's what we've gleaned since then, thanks to an info-packed (yet still slightly cryptic) message from owner Ralph Pecca.
Pecca, an alum of La Salle University and Cornell Business School, worked on the managerial side in the country club industry for more than 30 years, everywhere from Miami Beach to Roanoke, Virginia. Exec chef Todd Dae Kulper ran a noted sushi restaurant in Iowa City, and is still listed as the chef of a spot in Miami Beach called O Asian Grill. He also seems to have spent some time cooking in Hawaii, and at Nobu and French Laundry, from what we gather.
Ro-Zu is open daily for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. They do Sunday brunch.
So we've got lots of biographical/nuts-and-bolts-type information but no menu details just yet, if you don't count a line about how the food will highlight "the exotic delicacies of Japan in authentic tradition." We will share when we know more. WHO ARE YOU, RO-ZU?! AND WHAT KINDS OF SUSHI DO YOU HAVE? TELL US!
(Oh, and thanks again to the Meal Ticket tipster who sent us that photo of the restaurant's kabuki masks.)
Meal Ticket dropped by Katie Cavuto Boyle's Healthy Bites To-Go (2521 Christian St.) over the weekend for a peek at the nearly-there market and cafe, which'll debut this Friday, Feb. 19. (First made note of it in November.)
The cozy corner space, across Grays Ferry Avenue right in the heart of the sub-'hood the locals like to call Devil's Pocket, is multi-concept. As a cafe, Healthy Bites will feature soups, frittata and breakfast/lunch sandwiches to go (check out a sample menu), plus rotating pre-prepared specialties to take home for dinner. Everything will reflect the local chef/dietician's fresh/healthy/local approach.
Cavuto Boyle, who represented Philly on the last season of The Next Food Network Star, will also be a bit of a boutique green grocer, carrying produce, local dairy (cheese, raw milk, yogurt) and meats/seafood (chicken and pot pies from Griggstown Quail Farm; susstainable seafood from Otolith) in addition to specialty items like Zahav hummus, fresh pastas (not frozen) from Severino and ground-on-site coffee from Burlap and Bean. (Here's the full product list.)
ALSO, the local chef/dietician's hub will be a pick-up spot for Lancaster Farm Fresh's CSA, and the space will play host to eight- to 10-person cooking classes that'll let folks to jump behind the counter for hands-on instruction.
Hours: Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
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