Archive: March, 2010
Awhile back, we were boozing at the Khyber and randomly got into a drunken conversation with Harry Baker, a former schoolteacher and current bartender at the Shamrock Pub and Second and Reed. We learned that Baker was a huge admirer of seminal American scribe/very talented drunk Charles Bukowski, and that he wanted to found a holiday honoring the day of his death March 9 that involved people skipping work and hanging out in a bar getting shitfaced and reading poetry. We told him that this sounded like a good idea and went back to our Bulleit.
Turns out Baker is actually making it happen.
This coming Tuesday, March 9, Baker wants to encourage all of y'all to call out, start drinking and make you way to the Triangle Tavern at 10th and Reed, where he's in the process of piecing together a salon of sorts for Bukowski enthusiasts. The inaugural Bukowskifest, for which Baker has started a blog, will involve open readings of original work or Bukowski's writings, music and what we anticipate will be gratuitous alcohol consumption. More details via Baker's blog, which he's dubbed Zombie Bukowski because apparently undead face-rotted Chaz is going to show up next week:
He's been dead for 16 years now and his FLESHY REANIMATED REMAINS are mad as hell at the state of modern poetry. He will be sharing new poems and hosting a poetry open reading dance party on the anniversary of his death March 9, 2010.
At this Festival we will crown the "Bukowski-est" of the evening and he or she will win a HEALTHY CASH PRIZE. Tell your starving poet alcoholic buddies about this opportunity to turn their art into cash. Honored poets will then be invited to the philly regional BUKOWSKIFEST held in AUGUST for an even huger cash prize, intergalactic honor, and the glory of finally letting this demon spawn ZOMBIE BUKOWSKI die a natural death.
There's word of drink specials but no details just yet. Will keep Bukowskites posted.
|Courtesy of DIE Creative
Meal Ticket touched base with Jen Kremer, who, along with Cescaphe Ballroom owner Joe Volpe, plans on opening the cafÃ© and wine/whiskey bar Cooperage in the Curtis Center (601-45 Walnut St.) in about a month's time.
A native of North Carolina, Kremer was last the sommelier at Parc; she got involved with the Curtis Center through her work with Cescaphe, which handles catering for events in developer Joe Grasso's massive city-block complex. The space, a coffee shop by day and bar by night, will be situated at the corner of Seventh and Sansom, but for access guests will enter the Curtis on Seventh Street. Cooperage is the art of barrel-making, and the interior, designed by DIE Creative (they did all the Piazza's restaurants) will reflect as much, with lots of lovely wood. The bar will accommodate around 30, with an additional 50 at tables; come warmer weather, they'll have outdoor seating, too.
Kremer describes the beverage approach of Cooperage as "rustic cowboy meets chic wine drinker" they'll do 20 wines, all of them available by both the glass and the bottle. All local drafts. Full bar, with a few specialty cocktails, but the emphasis spirits-wise will most definitely be whiskies, many of them rare/boutique. "There are 2,000 people who work in the building, and 1,200 in the sister building [the Public Ledger at 600 Chestnut]," says Kremer. "We want to get everybody in there in the morning for the cafÃ©, grab and go, and hopefully they'll come back for a bourbon in the evening."
Chef Ralph Kane (Field House) will be running Cooperage's kitchen, with Cescaphe chef Justin Weathers overseeing. Check out a sample menu below. Some of the dishes were inspired by Kremer's Southern roots.
|Click to enlarge
Michael Spector's Delicatessen, in what was Kibitz in the City, has been in soft-open mode for about a week now. Meal Ticket popped by the spot (703 Chestnut St.) earlier this week for a quick nosh. The space, which had two floors in public operation at Kibitz, is now worked down to one, with various cosmetic tweaks, including a cool old-school bathing-beauty print. (The second floor will be available for events.) They're still working on filling up the deli cases with smoked fish, salads, meats and other treats; Spector says these selections will be a mixture of traditional deli-case fare and stuff off their more modern menu, which you can check out here.
Like any good Jewish deli, Spector's spot is doing most everything in house, but here that extends to micro-brewed sodas (tried some great, not-too-sweet cherry cola and orange soda) and pastrami brined in small batches to guarantee quality. We grabbed a pastrami special with a side of waffle fries, and also tried the matzo ball and split pea soups and the "Benny Rubinson," which is what happens when a Reuben sandwich and Eggs Benedict make sweet, sweet love.
Delicatessen is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily right now, with extended p.m. hours on the way.
As a business model, Starr Restaurant Organization (SRO) is as multi-armed as the Hindu warrior goddess Durga. One of those arms, Starr Restaurants Quick Service Catering, is dedicated to creating complete meals for groups -- from Nova and croissants for a.m. meetings to a "welcome spring" special of seared wild salmon with watercress salad and lemon-dill crÃ¨me fraÃ®che.
The entire new spring menu, which debuts March 15, is deliverable to your home or office door. Orders can also be picked up at Morris Cafe (30 S. 17th St.). Click here to download a .pdf of the expansive (25-page!) menu; Alison Vitolo is your woman when you are ready to order it up. Catch her at 215-979-7397 or alison.vitolo[at]starr-restaurant[dot]com.
SNACK TIME: many frozen beers, the presidential arteries, parting ways with Philly Mag, dosas and other South Indian bites, the aesthetics of sugar
|Michael Persico for Philadelphia Weekly|
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
-- PW throws down a Michelada Field Guide that has us longing for weather that justifies drinking that icy alchemy of beer, tomato juice and lime in the a.m. hours.
-- Obama doesn't actually carry arugula in his pocket to snack on, says Salon. The president's marginally high cholesterol is due to his completely American fondness for cheeseburgers and desserts. Via Grub Street Philly.
-- Brush up your resumes, wannabe critics. Joy Manning is stepping down as restaurant reviewer for Philly Mag and she's announced her new, totally cool job on her blog Oyster Evangelist.
-- Tiffin etc. will add a few South Indian dishes to their menu this Friday, notes The Insider. We'd like a medu vada for lunch - crispy lentil doughnuts with coconut chutney and sambar.
-- Design firm Jellio turns sweet childhood memories into furniture. Think candy-button benches, cupcake seats and a brand-new Candelier made from 5,000 hand-strung acrylic Gummi bears. Via Serious Eats.
We alluded to this a bit in our previous coverage of Marc Vetri's AmÃs, but now it's solid: This coming Monday, March 8, the chef will host an Industry Appreciation Night at his new Roman trattoria at 13th and Waverly. Vetri says he'll put out around six or seven dishes from the menu, plus desserts, on the kitchen counter; the food will be available buffet-style, for free, to anyone who can produce a pay stub from their gig at a bar or restaurant. Pay as you go for drinks. "I'll take care of the food, they take care of the booze," says Vetri. The deal, of course, is timed right for in-the-bizzers: it'll run from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
|Bus it up.|
The beer drinkers are coming, the beer drinkers are coming! But rather than staggering through the streets or worse, operating two wheels or four, they'll be carted around in buses to eight different bars. "People can take a train in from the suburbs and jump on one of our buses," says Johnny Brenda's and Standard Tap co-owner William Reed. "The not-driving aspect was on our minds," he adds. With buses scheduled to run every 30 minutes, the fun sport of hailing a cab is also removed from the equation. Now you can just relax and savor the hops and malt at each location.
Think of this as part of a makeshift beer weekend that came as a result of the move of Philly Beer Week from March to June. Many of the bars included in this bus ride to heaven were already planning a beer related event for this weekend: Devil's Den has a beer and cheese pairing in the works and Jose Pistola's will have an Ithaca Brewing brunch. "The bars aren't competing," says Kite and Key co-owner Jim Kirk. "We're all friends." And as such, the bar owners put their heads together and came up with an event that will send beer tasters pinballing around the city. Check out the details, including bar stops and events, and purchase tickets on Johnny Brenda's Web site.
Sat., Mar. 13, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m., $15, various locations, tickets available at johnnybrendas.com
In July '09, six chefs came together in one tiny kitchen at MÃ©mÃ© to create a snout-to-tail dining experience that had team Meal Ticket and their fellow diners drunk on pork. Now, four of those same six chefs, including Peter Woolsey (Bistrot La Minette), Mike Solomonov (Zahav, Percy Street Barbecue), Pierre Calmels (Bibou) and David Katz (MÃ©mÃ©) and collab-rookie John Taus (Snackbar) will re-form at Bistrot La Minette (623 S. Sixth St.) on Tue., April 6 for another gustatory adventure.
"This time the theme is not an ingredient, but a genre," explains Woolsey. "Each chef will present his modern take on classic French bistro fare." The dinner will comprise five courses for $55, or $75 with wine pairings, with two seatings, at 6 and 8:30 p.m. Guests can call Bistrot La Minette to make reservations, 215-925-8000; keep in mind each seating can only accommodate 45 people.
"It's a little early to know what dishes we are doing, but Mike Solomonov has promised to do dessert," adds Woolsey. To which Solomonov added, "I'm thinking a pineapple tatin." We hear Taus has his heart set on doing a lamb dish.
UPDATE [05mar10]: The official name for this little get-together? Chefs Gone Wild. Hee. Also, re: the lamb dish that Snackbar's Taus is doing, alluded to above? This is subject to change, of course, but we're told it'll be a lamb loin with creamy leeks, fava beans, pickled lamb's tongue and a thyme lamb jus.
We've been speculating plenty about Ro-Zu, the mysterious sushi spot at Seventh and Bainbridge. Owner Ralph Pecca just told us that he and chef Todd Dae Kulper plan on soft-opening their "distinctive" Japanese restaurant this weekend, with an official opening set for Monday, March 15. More details on the restaurant and Kulper's menu soon.
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