Archive: April, 2009
|Photos l Mike Persico|
|Seitan Cheesesteak||Veggie Napoleon|
Consulting chef Pete Miller has reformed the menu at East P'unk favorite the P.O.P.E., and so far, things are looking promising. Along with a new brunch selection, which we told you about in March, the casual tavern now has an expansive, all-day menu of classics like roast pork with pickled red onion, sharp provolone and horseradish mayo, platters of down-home meatloaf and specials of chicken-fried steak.
|Click to enlarge|
Vegetarians and vegans are accommodated with a stellar vegetarian napoleon, in which sautï¿½ed spinach, roasted red peppers, grilled red onions and eggplant are perched atop a generous serving of crispy polenta in tomato sauce. Mac with dairy or vegan cheese, a veggie burger, a seitan cheesesteak and a variety of salads round out the herbivore side.
Miller also worked a few crafty beers into the food offerings, like the tart raspberry lambic viniaigrette that dresses his spinach salad with grilled red onions, crumbled bacon and hard-cooked eggs.
Prices are super-reasonable, topping out around $11 for a special of grilled Cornish game hen. Chalkboard specials will change regularly, like the sixteen rotating taps.
Pub on Passyunk East, 1501 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-755-5125
Saw this on Philly.com today, who picked it up from the Associated Press:
HOBOKEN, N.J. - Police say a man posing as a waiter collected $186 in cash from diners at two restaurants in New Jersey and walked out with the money in his pocket.
Diners described the bogus waiter as a spikey-haired 20-something wearing a dark blue or black button-down shirt, yellow tie and khaki pants.
Police say he approached two women dining at Hobson's Choice in Hoboken, N.J. around 7:20 p.m. on Thursday. He asked if they needed anything else before paying. They said no and handed him $90 in cash.
About two hours later he approached three women dining at Margherita's Pizza and Cafe. He asked if they were ready to pay, took $96 and never returned with their change.
While this is an extreme example, it is a reminder that cash is tempting.ï¿½ Hand your check to your server when it is in cash, especially if you are seated at an outdoor table. A competent server will come back to the table to collect your check and return your change as soon as possible, if they're smart.
This fake waiter must be an industry vet -- he even got the uniform right.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
Open for a week, Mango Bush (524 S.ï¿½ Fourth St., 215-625-2410) is serving up irie island cuisine in the former A Peace of Sole off Fourth and South. Husband and wife Trevor and Patsy Rainford and Stratford Campbell cook up specialties from Jamaica ï¿½ gotta-have-it jerk and curry chickens, stewed oxtail, steamed red snapper, chicken foot soup and more. (Full menu below.) Their signature items so far seem to be the mango shrimp, sautï¿½ed up with slices of the fruit and Caribbean seasonings, and the ackee and saltfish, a breakfast staple that's the national dish of Jamaica. Platters come with sides like mixed vegetables, rice and beans, steamed cabbage and fried plantains. (The Rainfords previously ran a Caribbean restaurant in Olney.) They deliver in a small radius in the neighborhood.
Mango Bush is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
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Tomorrow marks the official launch of the South Jersey Green Restaurant Group (SJGRP), a new coalition of over-the-bridge restaurants focusing on enviro-friendly business practices. Inaugural members Andreotti's Viennese Cafï¿½ (Cherry Hill), Tortilla Press (Collingswood), Dante's Bar (Barrington), Blueplate (Mullica Hill) and Blackbird (Collingswood) aim to greenify restaurant operations from the bottom up ï¿½ they're doing everything from implementing aggressive recycling programs and relying on sustainable seafood/local produce to switching over to energy-efficient kitchen equipment.
The group will kick off its initiatives with an event atï¿½ SJGRP founder Joe Palombo's Mirabella Cafï¿½ (Barclay Farms Shopping Center, 210 E. Route 70, Cherry Hill) tomorrow, April 21, from 4 to 7. Guests can sample organic dishes, check out a sustainable seafood cooking demo from Palombo and more.
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Operating at 33rd and Arch since April Fool's Day, Honest Tom's Taco Shop has been earning some great word of mouth in its early days. Named for proprietor Tom McCusker, the cart tosses tortillas to the Drexel crowd Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. till whenever they run out of food (usually around 4), and travels to Clark Park in West Philly on Saturdays.
In the a.m., you can cop one of Tom's breakfast tacos for two and half bucks ï¿½ they're filled with potatoes, scrambled eggs and homemade guacamole and salsa. When the lunch bell rings, check out chicken and vegetarian taco options with ingredients sourced from the Italian Market. They also brew French press coffee from Stumptown, the famed roasters out of Portland, Oregon.
|Tip: Barefoot Grilling =
When you are traveling through the green suburbs of West Chester, Lancaster or North Wales and feel the need to feed, Iron Hill is always a good bet. The sprawling menu spans classic pub grub like beef and turkey burgers, as well as more elaborate preparations like the salmon of the day.
With seven locations in PA and DE and an eighth in the works in Maple Shade, NJ, Iron Hill is clearly doing something right with the brewpub formula. The brewers of Iron Hill racked up six medals at the Great American Beer Fest this year, taking their company GABF total to 27 ï¿½ which is one more than Stoutdt's, the original Pennsylvania craft microbrewery.
When Iron Hill Maple Shade opens in July, a notoriously pricey NJ liquor license will allow a full bar to accompany their signature brews and menu. Until you can take a speedy PATCO ride toward Vienna Lager and a Brewski Burger, executive chef Dan Bethard is sharing a few tips on grilling the perfect burger. May is National Hamburger Month, in case you need further justification.
Chef Dan Bethardï¿½s Burger Tips
* Ground chuck is the best type of beef for burgers
* Look for 80/20, rather than 90/10; otherwise, the meat will be too lean to create a perfect patty
* When forming patties, use cold beef and cold hands to avoid melting any of the flavorful fat away
* Be gentle; a firm, dense patty makes a rotten burger
* Heavily season the patty with kosher salt and black pepper just before grilling; any sooner, and it will dry out
* Sear the burger over the hot part of the grill, then flip and sear the other side
* Move the burger to a cooler part of the grill, and cook to desired temperature
* Only flip the burger once, and never, ever press the burger;ï¿½ it will lose its juiciness and flavor
Visit IronHillBrewery.com for locations and menus.
|Photo | Drew Lazor
Bistrot La Minette (623 S. Sixth St., 215-925-8000, bistrotlaminette.com) just switched its menu over for the spring season. Signature items, like chef/owner Peter Woolsey's salmon tartare with lentils and blood orange vinaigrette, remain, but we count a big influx of light and fresh plates, including spring garlic soup with pan-seared frog's legs, roast squab with watercress and foie gras sauce and a crudite trio.
Check out the new menu, as well as the dessert and wine lists, below.
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There's no better pick to regulate this ish for Philly ï¿½ the cheesesteak ambassador/sometime actor already bested Flay in an episode of Throwdown. Here's hoping he figures out some way to make Fieri stop wearing so many terrible bowling shirts.
|Photo | Felicia D'Ambrosio
|Homemade pizza with ricotta and white anchovies
Yesterday, the imperial New York Times Food section laid their blessing on a food item many people hesitate to attempt at home: pizza.
In an article wittily entitled Crust Fund, Sam Sifton peels away the mystique of pizza. All you need to make crackly, melty and aromatic pies at home is a baking stone and a peel, which can be had for less than $50 at any restaurant-supply store or online. (Try Fante's or Kitchen Kapers 'round these parts.)
With a stand mixer's hook attachment, dough is prepared in just seconds, left to rest, punched down once and ready for shaping in an hour. If you don't want to attack dough yet (and truly, it is very easy), buy it from one of Philly's best bakeries. Sarcone's and Faragalli's both sell one-pound dough balls for $1.50.
Mitch Mandell at Fabulous Foods has a dough recipe that works every time for me ï¿½ you can substitute sugar if you don't have honey on hand.
Now fire up your stone and get tossing.
Sarcone's Bakery, 758 S. 9th St., 215-922-0445, sarconesbakery.com
Faragalli's Bakery, 1400 S 13th St., 215-468-5197
|Photo l Michael Persico|
While local strawberries have not yet appeared, millions of California's little jewels are flooding markets right now.ï¿½ Pick up a few cheap quarts -- one to eat straight out of the carton, and one to macerate with a little booze for a fresh and sophisticated dessert.
Macerate means simply to soak, and usually refers to the soaking of fruits in liqueur.ï¿½ This treat can be made with port, as I used here; substitute what you like or have on hand.ï¿½ Excellent swaps would be dessert wine, champagne, amaretto or a liqueur like Grand Marnier.
Crï¿½me fraï¿½che adds a tangy element and richness to the freshness of strawberries that yogurt and whipped cream lack.ï¿½ Different brands of crï¿½me fraï¿½che offer different flavors -- some are very creamy or buttery, some are more cheesy.ï¿½ I used Vermont Butter & Cheese Company brand, $5 at both DiBruno Bros. locations, which has a soft nutty flavor and can be whipped into peaks for use in topping desserts.
After the jump, the technique for strawberries in port with crï¿½me fraï¿½che.
Strawberries in Port with Crï¿½me Fraï¿½che
(Serves 4 as a light dessert, or as a topping for pancakes or french toast)
Go Get This:
One quart strawberries
6 tbsp port (or champagne, amaretto, Grand Marnier or dessert wine)
1 and 1/2 tbsp sugar (any kind)
4 heaping tbsp crï¿½me fraï¿½che
Now Do This:
Wash and hull the strawberries (slice off the green tops).
Halve the strawberries lengthwise, quarter very large berries.
Place halved berries in a Tupperware container, add port and sugar.ï¿½ Stir well to combine. Cover tightly.
Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight, shaking container or stirring occasionally.
Spoon berries into 4 stemmed glasses, pour over some of the port liquid.
Top each portion with a heaping spoonful of crï¿½me fraï¿½che.
Serve with a small glass of port or champagne.
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