Archive: April, 2009
|Ansill Food & Wine|
Spring fever must be going to David Ansill's head, because he is waiving corkage fees for dining room guests who bring their own bottles Tuesday through Friday nights.
Try a bright, lemony cremant d'Alsace (Champagne's less-spendy cousin) to accompany oysters on the half shell with mignonette, or Ansill's signature steak tartare with quail egg and purple mustard.
Pick up one of Ansill's Stimulus Plan Coupons while you're there to receive 50 percent off your second entrï¿½e the next time you dine.
Before our fleeting spring turns into summer sweat and chef comes to his senses.
Ansill Food & Wine, 627 S. Third St., 215-627-2485, ansillfoodandwine.com
|Photo | Neal Santos|
- Trey Popp examines the cultural implications of Jose Garces' Chifa. "If Garces sees himself in part as a kind of cultural curator," Popp writes of the restaurant, which carries a hyper-specific focus on Chinese immigrant influence over the food of Peru, " ... he balances his preservationist impulse with a disciplined creativity."
- It's a temple of bloom at Sakura, a new restaurant in Chinatown. David Snyder finds that while the Japanese side of the menu is lackluster, there's plenty of good eats on the traditional Chinese end.
- What's Cooking? Sooooo much. Lauren Fleming has everything you need to fill out your food calendar for the next week, from this Saturday's Fishtown Shad Fest (more in Agenda) and next week's Dining Out for Life to a Shakespearean food tour and info on how to zap a hangover ï¿½ with cocktails!
- Feeding Frenzy's got more deets on Honest Tom's Taco Shop, Mango Bush and more.
We touched on this in the latest Feeding Frenzy ï¿½ Joe Coffee Bar, a member of Philly's Independents Coffee Cooperative and a vocal advocate for fair trade products in the city, is closing its cafï¿½ location at 1100 Walnut Street toward the end of May. Owner Joseph Cesa (above) announced as much in a recent e-mail statement:
Together with my customers, joe supported over 200 fair trade coffee producing families (collectively) by selling their fairly-produced coffee, tea, chocolate, nuts, spices, fruit (sometimes), mugs and other accessories-anything we could sell.ï¿½ And we did it while we recycled everything imaginable-and got a good laugh reading how the corporates said you can't cut your waste-stream by half or more.
We made a difference with you. Just by buying a cup of coffee, organic locally-grown and milled wheat flour in your banana bread, or organic fruit in granola, a mug changed peoples' lives. The students I met who said they were encouraged to volunteer, do social work or seek employment in alternative industry to make more change possible convinced me we made progress.ï¿½ How do you top that?
Thank you all for being there. We're gonna miss you in June. Ciao.
Customers and fans shouldn't fret too much, though ï¿½ Joe's organic and fair trade beans will still be available for purchase at the Headhouse Square Farmers Market (launching this year on Sunday, May 3) as well as online at joecoffeebar.com. Cafï¿½/restaurants locations that'll carry the same coffee include Kaffa Crossing (4417 Chestnut St.) and the three Pumpkin locations (the BYO, the cafï¿½ and the market) on South Street west of Broad.
|Photo l Mike Persico|
One thing NYC has on Philly food (other than pizza and decent bagels) is cheap and delicious noodle soup. Ramen bars like David Chang's Momofuku fire up creative interpretations of the homey dish as well as traditional versions, but the trend has not yet crept this far down the East Coast megalopolis.
My dear boyfriend is a disgruntled noodle-soup lover ï¿½ he doesn't know where to get his fix around here, so he has to cook it up himself. As a hater of both reconstituted dried mushrooms and slippery soba noodles, I can't share his love of the following recipe, but he makes this for himself constantly.
The fiend got into my stash of freshly dug West Virginia ramps yesterday and cooked up a Noodle Soup with Shittakes, Ramps and a Poached Egg. Try it out, and if any Meal Ticketers have the skinny on the good ramen in Philly, let us know in the comments.
Noodle Soup with Shittakes, Ramps and a Poached Egg
Go Get This:
1 bundle soba noodles (about 3 oz)
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small red onion, minced
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. pickled hot peppers
1 tsp. sriracha
One cup water to add to broth
Two cups of very hot water to reconstitute mushrooms
1/3 c dried shittake mushrooms
Four fresh ramps, rinsed and root end cut off
One poached egg
Now Do This:
Prepare noodles per package directions; drain and rinse with warm water. Set aside.
Reconstitute dried shittakes:
Add dried mushrooms to 2 cups very hot water. Allow to sit 20 minutes.
For the Broth:
Soften onions with 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, add hot peppers, soften 1-2 minutes.ï¿½ Pour in mushroom-reconstituting water (not mushrooms) and bring to a boil.
Add ginger, 1 cup water, black pepper and soy sauce. Boil 2 minutes, reduce to simmer. Let cook 5 minutes, until reduced by 1/3.
Add mushrooms and cook 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
While broth is simmering, poach your egg:
Prepare poaching water in small saucepan: boil 3-4 cups of water and add 2 Tbsp. white vinegar. When water reaches a very low boil, spin the water into a whirlpool and carefully drop in egg. Poach for 3-5 minutes, until firm but not solid. Remove egg with slotted spoon, dry with paper towel.
Arrange noodles in bottom of a large bowl. Add whole ramps. Pour soup over, add poached egg. Garnish with sriracha. Eat by yourself, since Momofuku is 90 miles away.
SNACK TIME: the greenest kitchen in town, spring ramp pesto, get your flip-flops out of my Swann Lounge, South Broad style, a secret cheesesteak
|via The Illadelph|
|Pretty, and composts plenty.|
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
- Take a wild guess who the biggest composter is in Philadelphia. The Illadelph has the big reveal on which biz composted more than 360,000 pounds of food waste since 2007, which they also buy back to use as fertilizer on their grounds.
- Spring has sprung and ramps are popping up everywhere, including Blogalicious. Adam shows that the critic can cook, spinning the sprightly spring onion into a basil-and-mint pesto that shuns pine nuts for an unconventional almond.
- Art Etchells and Kirsten Henri of Foobooz debate the last crusty dinosaur of fine dining: the dress code Their He Said, She Said attempts to draw the fine line between slovenly and just casual.ï¿½ Defend or condemn flip-flops in the comments.
- Yuppie Eats Philly gets down with a table of 11 at Pesto on South Broad. The Italian-American eatery is rich in cavatelli, chicken parm and rigatoni primavera; plus you get to park in the middle of Broad St. like the locals. Bring your own Chianti, hon.
- Drawing for Food visits a "secret" cheesesteak spot at 22nd and Passyunk. Hints: the fries have so much whiz you have to use a fork, it's open 24 hours and fish cakes are on the menu.
|Click to enlarge|
Chef Peter McAndrews of Modo Mio and Paesano's was featured in the May issue of Esquire for his red bliss potato salad ï¿½ it was part of a larger feature collecting barbecue side dish recipes from chefs around the country. Click on the thumbnail to see a scan of the feature or follow the jump to read a transcription of the recipe.
RELATED: Small Wonder: Paesano's [22jan09]
Here's what you get from an Irish guy who owns an Italian restaurant. Quarter 2 1/2 lbs small red bliss potatoes. Season a pot of water with enough salt that it tastes like seawater and bring it to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and transfer to mixing bowl. Stir in the following: 2 tbsp rinsed capers, 1/2 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers, a few cloves chopped garlic, 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, and 6 minced oil-packed anchovies. Use these even if you think you hate anchovies. They add a salty backbone, and any fishiness disappears into the dish. Stir and cool to room temperature. Then add 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint, then coarse salt and ground pepper. Taste as you go ï¿½ seasoning is personal. Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese and a few morn torn mint leaves on top. Serve at room temperature. Gets better after a day or two.
|via White Beer Travels|
|Jean Van Roy serving Cantillon|
Lambic fans who stood in the rain for a ticket to last night's Cantillon dinner at Monk's Cafï¿½ were well-rewarded for their soaking by the effusive presence of fourth-generation Cantillon brewer Jean Van Roy, whose mavericky brews are the point of obsession for drinkers of the obscure lambic style.
"Jean-Pierre Van Roy told me in 1987 he had 200 accounts in Brussels," Monk's owner Tom Peters told me. "By 1997, he had 20. America is the reason they survived. We get a full third of Belgium's lambic production, and we'd take more if they would give it to us."
Meal Ticket crashed the dinner to chat with Jean Van Roy about what makes lambic special, and what it's like to feel the love in Philadelphia on his first visit to the United States. (Learn the history and qualities of lambic beer here.)
Meal Ticket: When did you begin brewing at Cantillon?
Jean Van Roy: Well, do you mean when did I begin brewing alone, without my teacher? Seven years ago, but I have been working at the brewery since I was very very young. It is the brewery of my great-grandfather, and I began brewing with my father in 1989.
MT: Is lambic beer popular in Belgium?
JVR: No. It is not popular. Lambic is too special ï¿½ it is the last beer to be made with spontaneous fermentation. It is a product totally apart ï¿½ made from the natural yeasts of the air, aged in casks like wine ... it is something very special. Ninety-nine percent of beer in the market that is labeled "framboise" or "lambic" is not traditional. We are making something else.
MT: Why isn't lambic more popular?
JVR: Lambic is really for beer specialists. It is popular with beer lovers, who search for these things.ï¿½ For classic beer drinkers, no. In Belgium or outside of Belgium. It is a taste totally apart. When you begin to learn this beer and you like it ... it becomes difficult to drink a beer with a sweet taste. We have customers who come to the brewery who say they don't like beer, but they love Cantillon. We have very good contacts with the wine world.
MT: That's very true. Don't tell Tom [Peters], but lambic has pretty much ruined me for beer. Many people who only drink wine are easy to convert to lambics. Where do you get the barrels that you age your beer in?
JVR: All our barrels are from France. They have been used, generally, two to five times for wine before they come to us. When we get them, we clean them very thoroughly, but a bit of liquid remains in the wood from the wine or cognac ... so the first time you use that barrel it produces a very special lambic, a very good one.
MT: Are there any beers here tonight that are especially interesting to you?
JVR: Ah, there is the Cuvee Monk's Gueuze. Tom came to Brussels in September and we chose together the lambics for this special blend, including a lambic with Amarillo hops. [Ed: This is the very hoppy lambic brewed by The Brett Pack during a visit to Cantillon. More on that here.]
MT: Yes, I heard your father did not approve of that very hoppy lambic.
JVR: We thought that the balance between hop and lambic was not perfect. But as a blend with classic lambic, such a blend made a beer with excellent balance.
MT: Cantillon has a huge following in Philadelphia. People here love your beers.
JVR:ï¿½ It is incredible ... I cannot express the feeling here. There is nothing like it, even in Brussels.
MT: What do you think of Philadelphia?
JVR: It is a big city, yes? One million people?
MT: About that, yes.
JVR: It's very quiet here, even though it is a big city. I get a feeling here, that I also get in Brussels, which is of a village in a city.
MT: Are you visiting any other places on your trip?
JVR: Tomorrow we go to New York. People here have been telling me it will be something else.
|Photo courtesy Cantina Dos Segundos|
If John Bolaris isn't lying, the sun should emerge on Thursday, just in time for some outdoor revelry at Cantina Dos Segundos' Fiesta Herradura.
Attend the event if you're feeling like a little reposado or blanco will lively up your blood for what is supposed to be a warm and sunny weekend.ï¿½ The Northern Liberties hipster hot spot will be serving up Herradura cocktails, shots of tequila in hollowed-out cucumbers and Mexican "carnival" food, including chorizo corn dogs.
Pictured above is both Cantinas' signature, a shot of tequila alternately sipped with a shot of sangrita.ï¿½ The spicy, citrusy tomato juice cleanses the booze from your palate and can be so hot as to ensure you need another sip of tequila pronto.ï¿½ Check out our recipe for homemade sangrita here.
Fiesta kicks off at 6 p.m.; food available until 1 a.m, Thu., April 23.
Cantina Dos Segundos, 931 N. Second St., 215-629-0500, cantinadossegundos.com
|Click to enlarge|
There's no point in being a beer pong champion when all you have to show for it is a hungover morning after. It's time to win something with all that skill. The Fieldhouse (1150 Filbert St., 215-629-1520, fieldhousephilly.com) is hosting its first-ever Field Day on Sunday, May 3, when 32 five-person teams will compete in battles of pong, flip cup, tricycle races and Rock Paper Scissors. There also will be beer tasting challenges, boot chugs and good ol' games of Baggo. The winners of the daylong tourney will receive a five-game Phillies ticket package.
If you think you and your team can hang with the big dogs, contact Tim Adams at email@example.com by this Friday, April 24.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Through the service window|
It's hard to believe that the overachieving Memphis Taproom, that salt-of-the-Earth Port Fishington pub, is only one year old.
Tomorrow at 5 p.m., partners in business and marriage Leigh Maida and Brendan "Spanky" Hartranft will throw open their doors to the rabble who have flocked to the taproom in the last year.ï¿½ Complimentary bites will be passed around (the kitchen isn't open for the regular menu) and some seriously fly kegs will be tapped -- check out the party list:
- St. Pieter's Taras Boulba (a house favorite)
- Schlenkerla Fastenbier
- Cantillon Vigneronne (a tart lambic with muscat grapes)
- De Dolle Dulle Teveï¿½ (rare on tap; sure to make the beer geeks damp)
- Bear Republic Racer X (a contender for Best IPA Of The Moment)
- North Coast Brother Thenlonious
- PBC Fleur De Lehigh
- Fuller's ESB
- Uerige Doppelsticke
- Sly Fox Instigator
- Stone Russian Imperial Stout
In order to make room for all these goodies, Memphis is offering deep discounts on draft beer tonight ater 7 p.m. -- so do your part and help them kick the kegs!ï¿½ Check out your mission-beers on their Web site.
Wednesday, April 22, 5 p.m., Memphis Taproom, 2331 E. Cumberland St., 215-425-4460, memphistaproom.com
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