span class="tailnote">FD: Felicia D'Ambrosio MD: Marie DiFeliciantonio DL: Drew LazorFriday, tasted a bunch of hothothot hot sauces (more on that later) before dropping by Percy Street Barbecue (900 South St.) for double-downs (two meats, two sides, $17) and a few Caldera IPAs off the new canned beer list. (Have you had Erin O'Shea's new jalapeno/cheddar cornbread yet? Ridiculous.) Also learned that Four Roses bourbon distiller Al Young will be in the house tomorrow, March 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. Four Roses flights for $9 and mint juleps for $6. DL Saturday, continued on a smoked-meat quest with chef Gene Giuffi's insanely good pork ribs at Cochon (801 E. Passyunk Ave.). Served with crispy tempura-battered onion rings, Giuffi's ribs are house-smoked then cooked sous-vide at 138.6 degrees Fahrenheit for a full day. We benefit from G's patience, as the technique results in a perfect gnaw-off-bone texture and a smoky clarity that's hard to come by in this town. Eat 'em. DL Parading from the Crane Arts Building to the Piazza waving plywood weapons and wearing epic amounts of fur alongside Dennis McNett's print-covered Viking Ship on Friday sure worked up a thirst in our crew. It could've been the apprehension that cops would lump Wolfbat Studio's antics in with flash mobs, or perhaps the detonation of 20,000 Chinese firecrackers on the Piazza's spotless pavers that made us hungry, but once the vessel had been torn down, we decamped to the 700 Club (700 N. Second St.) for cocktails before mowing down 10 plates at Bar Ferdinand (1030 N. Second St.). FD Friday night, we attended Wine 201: The Next Step at the Wine School of Philadelphia (2006 Fairmount Ave.). We learned a few things about labeling, serving temps and glassware. Our instructor warned us about the terms "vinted by" (this has no real significance, and likely means the wine came from a large corp that outsources its graces) and "reserve" (it doesn't hold much merit in the U.S., but it'll run you a few more bucks), and bottles dressed with folklore-ish backstories in an effort to distract you from what's inside. MD Saturday morning began with coffee and a Miel ham-and-cheese croissant at Benna's (1236 S. Eighth St.) before hitting the Italian Market for a surgical-strike grocery trip (i.e. strategize ahead of time, get in, get out.). After picking up some specialty items (silken tofu, vegan cheese) at Whole Foods, we spent the day perfecting vegan marinara, vegan pesto and vegan Caesar salad dressing. All in all, the vegans were pleased with our dinner-party effort, declaring that they would "pay money" for the resultant pizza. FD Over some Old Fashioneds and neat Booker's pours at Supper (928 South St.), learned about chef/owner Mitch Prensky's sweet escape: Right now he's in Portland, Oregon, doing a Plate Magazine-sponsored cooking presentation for 50 chefs. What's he demo-ing? His housemade hot dogs. Cross-country all-expenses-paid trip to prep wieners? Whatta life. DL At the Royal Tavern (937 E. Passyunk Ave.) Saturday night, witnessed a bizarre and generally awesome interaction: Our boy, Royal regular Jesse (@jessecornell on Twitter), was a bit salty about getting "ousted" from the bar's Foursquare mayorship by Helene, aka @phillybeergirl. Helene came over to our table to say hello IRL, and though she could've been totally TD celebration dance about it, was very sweet and altogether cordial. Jesse is currently plotting his revenge. (Still don't understand the appeal of Foursquare.) DL Traditionally, to cure an Atlantic City hangover, my friends and I stop at the McDonald's by the Expressway entrance before we head home. Most visits are the same (large #3 with a Diet Coke), but this time we noticed something new: a posted sign that read, "No loitering. 30-minute time limit." Get your fast-food and feast fast, peoples. MD - Sunday, lunch/brunch at the never-not-amazing Cafe Lutecia (2301 Lombard St.). Americanos, Lutecia sandwich with ham and a bowl of lentil puree with saffron and Thai coconut milk made us forget the gross drizzle outside. DL - 1st Degree Burn Blazin' Jalapeno Doritos are pretty spicy by Doritos standards. Now we gotta try 2nd and 3rd Degree Burn just cuz. DL
Archive: March, 2010
Chef Eric Paraskevas of terra (243 S. Camac St.) will appear on an episode of Food Network's Chopped next Tuesday, April 6, the same night he'll host a Victory beer dinner at his restaurant. The episode will air at 10 p.m. and again at 1 a.m.; no word yet on the secret/ridiculous ingredients he'll have to cook with.
Three other Philly chefs recently appeared on an episode of the show back in the fall.
|Wishing Well on Facebook
We told you that boyhood pals Chris Martino and Carmen Cappello had taken Ninth and Catharine off Pat Bombino's hands back in November. We told you about the menu (including the egg-n-scrapple-soaked SHAME burger) and we dropped the official opening date (April 5). What's left to say about the Italian Market public house that is Wishing Well? After all this time, Martino and Cappello finally have their liquor license. "It's been a long time coming," says a relieved Martino. To go with the booze, Wishing Well is looking to do some good. For every "Well Shot" purchased by drinkers, the bar will donate a portion of the proceeds to charity. "We're still trying to figure out which ones the local-er, the better,â notes Martino. Salud.
Just got off the horn with ex-Lacroix chef Matt Levin, who is opening an academically-themed Continental bistro in the former Coquette space at Fifth and Bainbridge with backing from former Eagles offensive tackle and newly-minted Republican Congressional candidate Jon Runyan.
Named Adsum (Latin for "I am here"), the space will utilize colors and textures commonly found in university settings -- look for vintage chalkboard menus, Erlenmeyer flasks and sandstone lab tables sourced from an architectural salvage in New York state. Local designer Machele Nettles is overseeing the re-facing of the space, repainting Coquette's dark red walls in cream and green and tearing away the pressed tin that faced the bar to reveal white subway tile. Coquette's raw bar will become Adsum's open garde-manger station where Levin will work nightly.
Levin on his food approach:
This is how I would envision a neighborhood bistro, everything from fried chicken, a fantastic burger, a variety of vegetarian options, interesting salads and first-courses. You'll see farmers I've worked with before -- Elysian Fields lamb, D'Artagnan products, local produce. I drive past Queen Village/Southwark community garden on Christian St. three times a day; I'd like to approach them about buying some stuff.
This is a small, down-and-dirty neighborhood bistro. Before, I always cooked food that the press and Food Arts magazine wanted me to cook -- I wouldn't go out to eat the food that I was cooking before. I want good food that is delicious. I don't need 100 textures of gels. I know I can do it, but I want to make food that people can just eat, finger-lickin' good fried chicken. Just grub, eat.
Opening is predicted for May or June; Levin says "It's all based on Harrisburg. We're waiting for the transfer of the liquor license." Though Levin says he will not release a menu to the press before opening, he did mention that plates would run from $5-$22.
Baltimore brewer Brian âStillwaterâ Strumke will make the Philadelphia debut of his first commercial brew, Stateside Saison, at a keg tapping at Devil's Den (1148 S. 11th St.) this Tues., March 30 at 7 p.m.
Stillwater Artisanal Ales is the realization of Strumke's experiments with home brewing since 2004, some of which yielded medals in "the Sam Adams Longshot and Holiday Competitions, as well as the American Homebrewer's Association Nationals," writes BeerInBaltimore.com. Strumke described his Stateside Saison to beer writer Chuck Cook as an "American Farmhouse Ale." BeerInBaltimore elaborates:
It's a Belgian-inspired brew that uses a combination of European malts, hops from New New Zealand and the United States.. and a classic farmhouse yeast to achieve a fruity, yet spicy, melange of flavors and aroma.
Thirty barrels of Stateside Saison were brewed for the first batch; Stillwater's Twitter advises that batch #2, as well as a hush-hush summer seasonal, is now underway. Look for the saison on draft, in 750-ml. bottles and on cask in area taprooms after the debut on Tuesday.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Potstickers with pork, shiitake and ginger sauce|
On Thursday evening, sisters Effie Bouikidis-Schweich and Christina Jimenez introduced their new chef, Greg Ling, to the neighborhood with a free tasting of his spring menu for Paul (1120 Pine St.). Formerly employed as opening chef of Oyster House, Ling's offerings here are divided into appetizers, pastas (in half or full orders), entrÃ©es and sides; prices run from $6 for potstickers to $25 for a sirloin strip steak frites.
Tiny in size but filled with light, the Paul space aims to be a casual, go-to dinner spot for their Pine St. neighbors. The BYOB policy and affordable prices make this a likely condition. "It's upscale comfort food," said Bouikidis-Schweich, as she dished up wine and beet salads composed on spoons to guests. "When we opened, the chef talked us out of what we really wanted to do. This was our original plan," she added. Ling's menu imports influences from around the world, from Taiwanese-style fried "chicken nuggets" with hot mustard and sweet and sour sauce to a Vietnamese take on chicken noodle soup with pho gai, rice noodles, shredded chicken and sprouts.
Paul is open Tue.-Sun. for dinner. See Greg Ling's full spring menu after the jump.
Paul, late March menu
Beet Salad 8
raw/pickled/roasted beets/lemon oil/mint/spiced yogurt
pork/shiitake/charred scallion/ginger sauce
Grill Shrimp Tacos 10
mango pickle/lime crema/avocado
Chicken Nuggets 7
Taiwanese style fried chicken/hot mustard/sweet and sour
Romaine Salad 7
1000 Island/double smoked bacon/red onion/croutons
veal ragu/leeks parmesean
Mac and Cheese 10
Lancaster farmhouse cheddar/crumbled bacon/spicy tomato jam
shrimp chorizo/arugula/black garlic
Chicken Noodle Soup 9
pho gai/rice noodles/shredded chicken/Vietnamese herbs/sprouts
rainbow chard/cippolini/golden raisins/pine nuts
Seared Scallops 23
chanterelles/snap peas/fingerling potato/speck/brown butter
Cider Brined Pork Chop 22
mushroom bread pudding/apple mustard
Fish and Chips 21
day boat fluke/celery root apple slaw/tartar sauce/frites
Steak Frites 25
sirloin strip/herb butter/fries
Paul Burger 14
8 oz. dry aged prime beef/Lancaster cheddar/fried egg/melted onions/spicy tomato jam/buttermilk onion rings
Roasted Chicken Breast 17
herbed mashed potato/ lemon thyme jus
Market Vegetable 5 * Roasted Mushrooms 5 * Fries 5 * Mashed Potato 5 *
|Photo l Michael Persico|
Just hitting markets now are the very first signs of spring -- favas, fiddlehead ferns, rhubarb and lovely English peas. Encased in a fibrous inedible pod, the legume must be shucked by hand before preparation. Once you strip out the tough thread that edges the pod, six to ten perfect peas are revealed.
On sale this minute at Whole Foods Market (929 South St.) for $2.99/lb., English peas can be enjoyed a myriad of ways. Boil them for three minutes in salted water and lash with butter for the most traditional prep; or toss lightly cooked peas with parmigiano, prosciutto and a raw egg over fettuccine for a luscious carbonara variation. Though the pods are too stringy to eat, they make a nice addition to vegetable stock. Do buy in quantity -- a pound of peas in the shell yields only about a cup of the little green guys. Viva Spring!
Sake's beginnings can be traced back to ancient China, but you can thank the Japanese for the version we tend to slam at sushi spots. Pounding your fists on the table till a hot shot plummets to its beer-drowned sake-bomb fate may be the most fun way to drink it, but sake, with production methods mimicking beer brewing and nuanced flavors that rival the complexities of wine, is so much more than that.
On April 14 at the Loews Hotel (12oo Market St.), expand your sake palate at the sixth annual Sake Fest, which'll run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. This event is part of the March-to-April Cherry Blossom Festival, a celebration of Japanese culture and heritage in Philly. Tix can be purchased in advance for $59.50, or you can buy them at the door for $69.50. (Proceeds benefit the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia.)
Participating local restaurants (Morimoto, Haru) and food vendors (Cabot Creamery Cooperative, XoÃ§ai Chocolate) will prepare nosh complementing premium/rare sakes to showcase the versatility of the fermented rice-based drink. Guests will also be able to sample other traditional Japanese beverages, such as plum wine and the common distilled spirit shochu.
Marnie Old, event spokesperson and sommelier about town , tells Meal Ticket that the PLCB will set up shop on-site and guests will be able to purchase varieties not widely available in stores, like the junmai ginjo style "Midnight Moon" by Meibo. If you have any questions, ask for Old, as she'll be around handing out educational materials and sharing her sake knowledge.
Earlier this week, APO Bar + Lounge (102 S. 13th St.) introduced a brand-new cocktail menu for the warmer months. While known/loved house classics the Immunity Idol, Sage Wisdom, Booty Collins, etc. remain available, beverage manager Preston Eckman has rolled out a collection of six new sunny-weather sips, plus simplified whiskey, tequila and rum flight options. He was kind enough to take Meal Ticket on a tour of the new menu.
When it's summertime, "I want to have more than just one cocktail," says Eckman. So he's created tight list of new drinks, all of which are relatively low in alcohol content when compared to the burlier, bite-ier stuff he mixed up during fall and winter. Seasonal fruits, housemade juice blends/syrups, tea infusions and spirits with refreshing flavor profiles (think St. Germain, Combier and Lillet Blanc) all have a place on the new "House Specials" list, all good choices while sitting out on APO's roof deck:
Beneath the Bastion. Yamazaki single malt Japanese whiskey; blackberry syrup; honey and honeycomb sourced from Smyrna, Del.; lemon; grapefruit; a blend of Regan's Orange Bitters and Fee Brothers Orange bitters; egg white foam
Flame of Lust. Bluecoat Gin; ginger; Fino sherry (it's very dry); lemon; Combier orange liqueur; cracked black pepper; flamed lemon peel
Matcha Fizz. Gin; shochu (distilled Japanese liquor); lemon; local honey; matcha (very concentrated Japanese green tea); finished with egg white foam and sage
Avant Garden. Siembra Azul Blanco; Green Chartreuse; St. Germain elderflower liqueur; "Avant Juice" (a housemade blend using Granny Smith aples, cucumbers, limes, sugar and a bit of vodka); tonic (Eckman says the Avant Garden is perhaps "the booziest" of his new drinks)
Chamolback. Buffalo Trace bourbon; Lillet Blanc; house-infused chamomile curacao; lemon juice; Angostura bitters; Prosecco
Mandy Lynn. Blend of two Laird's apple brandies; pear; lemon; bitters; Prosecco
Of the new drinks, our favorites were the Beneath the Bastion, whose many sophisticated flavors unfolded in your mouth with each sip (you first get the smooth blackberry, then the honey, then a hit of that bitter citrus before the orange bitters finish out) and the Chamolback, which stands out thanks to Eckman's fascinating chamomile concoction and its interplay with well-rounded Kentucky bourbon.
APO has also simplified its liquor flights. Before, the bar offered numerous flights of more specialty-interest liquors, such as sweet vermouth, but found that most people ended up gravitating toward whiskey and tequila. They've decided to focus their energies on selecting solid liquors for three distinct flights (one-ounce pours for each spirit):
Whiskey ($15): George Dickel No. 12 (Tennessee Whiskey); Buffalo Trace (Bourbon); Wild Turkey (Kentucky Straight Rye)
Tequila ($16): Corralejo (Blanco); Cazadores (Reposado); Siembra Azul (Anejo)
Rum ($14): El Dorado 5-year (Demerera rum); Premiere Canne (Rhum Agricole); Scarlet Ibis (Trinidad Rum)
Good Food Market, which Jennifer Zoga opened in Chestnut Hill in November, will close on April 3, according to an e-mail blast just sent out by the owner. In her statement, Zoga cites "the stress of fighting a never-ending legal battle" as the primary reasoning behind the decision. The battle she's referring to is a zoning dispute over the Market's prepared-food case, and whether or not it violated L&I regulations.
Zoga's full statement is after the jump.
I want to apologize to all of you that have been my tireless supporters for the past 6 months. I feel like I have let you down. However, I have decided that the stress of fighting a never-ending legal battle will never allow me the time, money and attention I need to build the business I set out for.
I am closing because I don't want to lose sight of how wonderful Chestnut Hill is just because a handful of critics are trying to make me bitter and paranoid. It doesn't make sense for me to feel this way. So many of you have stopped by, written or called in support. I really feel overwhelmed by the kindness from all of you. I'm sorry that I was too far down this path to capitalize on that.
If I can ask for your help one last time, please stop in this week and take advantage of our steep discount to clear our shelves. Everything will be 30 - 50% off -- OR MORE!
Thank you very much!
Good Food Market
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