Archive: March, 2010
|Better than peanut butter and jelly.|
This evening is positively bubbly with beer potential, with tastings and deals at three distinctly different South Philadelphia venues. Plan accordingly and you could even hit all three.
Rogue at Di Bruno Bros. (930 S. Ninth St.) 5-8 p.m., free tasting. Miss Chocolate Stout herself, Sebbie Buhler, is in the house with John, Hunter and Zeke, doing what they do best: pairing beer with food. Buy the three featured cheeses as a set for $25; everything else is 10 percent off during the event.
- Chocolate Stout with Colston Bassett Stilton
- Chipotle Ale with Rogue River Smokey Blue
- Dirtoir with Pestun di Castagne
Bell's Brewing at South Philly Tap Room (1509 Mifflin St.) 4 p.m.-2 a.m., pay-as-you-go for $4 pints of Hopslam, Oberon, Two Hearted, Java, Brown and Pale Ale. One of the Great Lakes' premier brewers.
Stone's at Hawthornes (738 S. 11th St.) 6-8 p.m., free tasting of every Stone's beer Hawthornes carries: Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Pale, IPA, Ruination IPA, Old Guardian and more.
|Photo | Big Rye on Flickr
Don't ask us how we procured it, but Meal Ticket recently got its hands on an unopened bottle of Jeppson's MalÃ¶rt. If you're not familiar with MalÃ¶rt, here is the deal: It's a Scandinavian style of schnapps derived from wormwood. It's available only in Chicago and its surrounding area. And it is really gross. Characterized in an April 2009 Chicago Reader article as "a tool of cruel pranksters or a test of one's appetite for punishment," MalÃ¶rt, to us at least, tastes like some combination of rotten grapefruit, fermented earwax and a jab to the solarplexis. It is so bitter that it makes bitters taste like rock candy.
The go-to spirit for Chitown natives who enjoy screwing with friends visiting from out of town, MalÃ¶rt is so notoriously not fun to drink that there's an entire Flickr group dedicated to compiling photos of the terrible faces people make after tipping back a shot. (personal faves: 1 2 3)
It is for all these reasons that Meal Ticket would like to issue a challenge to Philadelphia's bartenders: Make us a MalÃ¶rt-based cocktail that tastes good that doesn't make us want to die! We don't have a prize to speak of at the moment, but you will surely earn the people's ovation and fame forever. And we'll buy you a bunch of non-MalÃ¶rt drinks maybe?
That same Chicago Reader article cited above is about this very subject. In the Chi, bartenders dropped everything from Drambuie and Amaro Montenegro to triple sec and Tabasco into their MalÃ¶rt cocktails. So, Philly drink slingers: Do you have a Malort drink in your repertoire? Or do you have a good idea for one? E-mail drew.lazor[at]citypaper.net and we'll bring the pain to you personally.
Fermented earwax. It tastes like fermented earwax.
The friendly folks who run New York City's Serafina locations shared a few preliminary details on their first Philly location, tentatively slated for a fall 2010 opening in the 10 Rittenhouse building (18th and Sansom). Was not able to get the number of leggy blonde at right, sorry.
The Northern Italian restaurant, which'll be the sixth in the Serafina fleet, is set to take over the first and second floors of the 33-story 10 Rittenhouse luxury condo complex. Serafina will be situated on 18th and Sansom, with street views from the 100-seat dining room (outdoor seating, too). A bar area will overlook the space, and there'll be an elevated pizza kitchen to provide a bit of dough-stretching theatrics for diners. The first floor will also feature a bakery and coffee bar; the second floor has been earmarked for private dining and events.
We're told the kitchen will take a local approach to sourcing its ingredients for the menu, which'll likely be large and feature all manner of antipasti, pastas, risottos and pizza (they're serious about the latter, using 00 Italian flour, filtered water and Sicilian sea salt for their doughs). Apps will range rom $7 to $15, entrÃ©es will run $17 to $28 and desserts will be $8. A rep says that opening this summer would be tremendous but fall is a more realistic projection.
Last week, Meal Ticket popped into Oyster House (1516 Sansom St.) to take a look at their brand-new spring cocktail menu. This is Oyster House's first swing at a truly extensive cocktail menu, with bartenders Andy DeGiulio and Katie Loeb at the helm. âWe wanted to keep it simple and fun, yet sophisticated," said DeGiulio. "A lot of the drinks are new spins on classics."
I admitted to the ' keeps that I wasn't too keen on whiskey or gin (which would have eliminated more than half the drinks on the menu), but Loeb assured me that none of the flavor they worked with were too overpowering. âWe don't want to hit people over the head with anything, ever,â she explained. She couldn't have said it better balance is a key here. The prices won't knock you around, either drinks run $8 to $11.
DeGiulio and Loeb have mixed up 12 new cocktails for the season. We've got the goods after the jump.
Sansom St. Sour: gin, hibiscus syrup, lemon, egg white, whiskey bitters, served in a coupe glass
Juliet & Romeo: gin, cucumber, mint, rose water, lime
Morningstar: Hendrick's gin, Lillet, orange bitters, flamed orange oil
Gin & Jersey: gin, cognac, orange liqueur, orange marmalade
Bloody Caesar: vodka, oyster house bloody mix, clam juic
Martini Au Poire: pear vodka, St. Germain, Lillet blanc
Cocktail a la Louisiane: rye, B &B, Italian vermouth, absinthe rinse, peychaud bitters, served in a rocks glass
Saloon Keeper's Daughter: rye, Luxardo Maraschino, housemade grenadine, lemon
The Truth About Us: bourbon, Green Chartreuse, Campari, bitters, orange peel, served in a coupe glass
False Alibi: Reposado tequila, L'Alibi liqueur, agave nectar, scotch rinse, lime, served in a martini glass
Say Goodnight Gracie: light rum, crÃ¨me de violette, rhubarb bitters, lime
French Fox: sparkling wine, velvet falernum, gin, lemon, Campari
Oyster House Punch: spiced tea, gin, fresh grapefruit, sparkling wine
Oyster House Aquavit: house infused vodka with caraway seed, citrus and spices, served in a sherry glass
SNACK TIME: seeking shoyu, speakeasy school, Amis' industry nights return, Vic goes suburban, $asha + $tephen
|Ramen rummaging, Vol. 2|
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
- Collin Flatt finds soul in a bowl with Chifa's smoky pork-belly ramen on Phoodie.info, his second dispatch in a series seeking serious noodles around town.
- School district administrators and elected officials are not feeling the West Philly charter school/after hours bar the Inquirer outed this week, notes Grub Street Philly. Seems like a weird loophole in our archaic liquor code is responsible for an old after-hours club license being transferred to the Harambee Charter School.
- Foobooz is keen on Amis' new monthly industry nights beginning May 3. Who wouldn't want to get in line for a spread of free Marc Vetri food? Mr. Foobooz is gonna have to pick up a bussing shift somewhere if he wants in, though.
- Qi-Yang "Vic" Shi has sold his Sansom St. Vic Sushi to employees to open a closer-to-home location in Spring House, writes The Insider. Having eaten there Monday night, we can tell you nothing has changed at the urban spot.
- NYC's Milk & Honey mastermixer Sasha Petraske will consult on the concept, but not the cocktail list, of Stephen Starr's speakeasy annex to upcoming Mexico City-themed El Rey, writes The Illadelph. Are the blocks between 18th and 20th/Chestnut and Sansom destined to become Philly's style-bar corridor?
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
Can't recall a vegetable more hyped by the global media than the bhut jolokia, the spiciest pepper on the planet. You've probably heard about the Indian military's plans to weaponize them as non-lethal dispersion grenades the bhut will be so used due to their insanely high Scoville count, which is the scientific unit used to measure a pepper's capsaicin levels. (The spiciest jalapenos have 8,000ish Scoville units. Bhuts have A MILLION.)
While bhut jolokia are often informally referred to as the "ghost pepper" due to their rarity, they've been showing up in the States with increased frequency in recent months. One connoisseur who's gotten his hands on a connect is Bobby Bolders (above), who owns and operates WMD Hot Sauce at 1212 South Street. Bolders had Meal Ticket in on Friday to sample a handful of ghost pepper sauces he's making by hand.
Bolders, who gets his bhut in dried from a source he declines to name (you're not going to find fresh ones Stateside unless you are a badass smuggler), thinks the pepper has captured the attention of so many people due to its extreme nature people want to try the scariest, spiciest stuff and pin their survival to their vests as a merit badge of sorts. This mode of thought, however, detracts from the fact that, spice notwithstanding, they're pretty flavorful little buggers. Bhut jolokia have a smoky, woodsy quality that's similar, but not identical, to what you find in chipotle peppers. They've also got a round but aggressive heat that creeps into your cheeks and jaw, kicks its fiery feet up and stays for a spell.
At WMD, Bolders cuts the eye-dropper-full-of-lava punch of bhut with vegetable and fruit bases. Currently, the only housemade bhut sauce he's selling retail boasts a sneakily sweet carrot canvas. He does it on four increasingly scary spice levels one and two will succeed in coaxing pleased giggles out of spicy fans, while 3 and 4 are pretty damn serious. (Last night we shook some 3-level onto a breakfast sandwich that already had sriracha on it and spent the better part of an hour going "Oooooooh CHILD!" and fanning ourselves with an old US Weekly.) Soon enough, WMD will begin offering bhut sauces with pineapple, tomato, mango and mango/Indian curry bases. Bottles range in price from $6.99 to $8.99.
|Photo courtesy Cooler Fun LLC|
|Such a seductive pose|
Stadium beers are horrifyingly expensive, and baseball games are long, dry endeavors. Cooler Fun LLC feels your pain, and offers up their solution: The Beerbelly. Composed of a polyurethane bladder that fits inside a neoprene sling, the Beerbelly is designed to be filled with up to 80 oz. of your hot or cold beverage of choice and worn under clothing. Protruding from the whole thing is a hose (with valve flow control) that dispenses the illicit liquid.
At $34.95 for the basic model, we can see this paying for itself in just one overpriced-beer event!
For ladies who can't embrace the drunk-while-preggers look, there's also The Wine Rack, a sports bra that holds an entire bottle of vino. We'll let you click over to see the photos of that special invention.
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
|Photo l Rosey Lakos|
|Chocolate-orange and Meyer lemon manjars|
Former mistress of the kitchen at Capogiro Gelato Artisans on 20th St., Janina Larenas has returned to her native Santa Cruz, California to wrangle books. Fortunately for her sad, left-behind friends, she's still sharing her magical recipes via Paul Davis' Web magazine IsGreaterThan.
This month Larenas partners up with photographer Rosey Lakos to present an informative how-to slideshow on making the South American milk-caramel treat manjar. Similar to dulce de leche but less sweet, with a hint of bitterness, these manjars are based on sweetened condensed milk and flavored with either Meyer lemons or chocolate and orange.
Visit the article on IsGreaterThan to learn the simple method for this treat; you'll have to figure out your own excuses to eat it on everything.
|This ain't tea in 1933.|
McGillin's Old Ale House (1310 Drury St.) has been celebrating their sesquicentennial anniversary all year long. On Wed., April 7, they will recreate the 1933 spring day when saloons were again allowed to sell low-alcohol beer, marking the first step in the process of repealing the 18th Amendment of 1919 and Prohibition.
Beginning at 6 p.m., free fireplace-roasted potatoes will be handed out to all patrons, the better to absorb historically-priced drinks -- $1.50
mugs of Victory Throwback Lager and
McGillin's 1860 IPA by Stoudt's, plus Bluecoat
Prohibition martinis served in a teacup.
The $18.60 dinner for two delivers two salads, two entrÃ©es and two mugs of 1860 IPA along with nostalgia. Those less intent on the speakeasy vibe can partake of the pub's regular Wednesday night specials, including 2 tacos for $1, $6.50 pitchers of Bud Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon, and karaoke at 9 p.m.
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