Archive: April, 2010
Bobby Flay will officially open his fifth Bobby's Burger Palace and his first in a truly urban area tomorrow at noon in the Radian (3925 Walnut St.) in West Philly. Meal Ticket dropped by the space earlier today to chat up the Iron Chef (pick up our upcoming issue for a full Q&A) and get a feel for the space.
The Palace, right next to Chipotle, looks less like a Palace than it does a really bright 'n' mod escape pod it's polished and modern, with room for about 70 along a curvaceous counter and elongated dining tables. (For what it's worth, the Rockwell Group, which designed Stephen Starr's space-age Pod, also handled this space.)
We posted the menu last week Flay's inspiration for the burger lineup are America's regional eating habits, and that's why the burgers are named after U.S. cities. The L.A. Burger, Flay's fave, has avocado relish, watercress, cheddar and tomato; a spice-crusted Dallas rendition boasts BBQ, slaw, Jack cheese and pickles. A Philadelphia-style burger, with provolone, grilled onions and hot peppers, is on the menu at the previous four BBPs (they're situated in suburbs of New York), but here, you can get your Philly patty slathered with honest-to-goodness Whiz. ("You can't come to Philly, have a Philly Burger, and not offer Whiz," concedes Flay.)
Patties are 6 ounces, seasoned (in almost all cases) with nothing but kosher salt and cracked black pepper, and served on soft sesame-seed rolls. Fries are hand-cut, and in other spud news, Flay encourages people to "crunchify" their burgers by adding a handful of Lay's potato chips into the mix at no charge. Housemade sauces, which are also available retail, include a jalapeno hot sauce, a spicy/sweet "burger sauce" akin to A1, and chipotle ketchup. The restaurant has a liquor license, and is offering beers and milkshakes both virgin and spiked.
Flay says he has intentionally steered clear of trying the various signature burgers in Philly. "The one thing I don't want to be is influenced by anyone else's stuff," he says. "There are particular things about the burgers that we do here that are important to me, and I think that they are successful in getting people to crave them. That's really important." The chef adds that he's earned quite a bit of flak particularly from his wife, Law & Order: SVU's Stephanie March, who he says is a big burger fan about opening his first city Burger Palace in Philly instead of in the Big Apple. "I wanted to try the concept outside of New York," says Flay. "I didn't want it to become a New York thing. I have high-end restaurants in New York, and if I do something [there], the microscope goes on it â¦ I just wanted to open a fun burger place."
Lastly, we're curious what P.Y.T.'s Tommy Up will have to say about all this.
Notes from the Weekend is a new Monday feature that sees the members of Team Meal Ticket compiling all the food/drink highlights uncovered during prime eatin' time, Friday to Sunday. Consider this a place for good deals, great dishes, wicked cocktails, recipe triumphs (and tragedies), bizarro conversations and more. We're eager to share our notes, but especially excited to read yours. We encourage you to leave notes from YOUR weekend in the comments. Have at it!
FD: Felicia D'Ambrosio
MD: Marie DiFeliciantonio
AH: Alexandra Harcharek
DL: Drew Lazor
Did a backwards-dinner thing on Passyunk Avenue Friday night salato e caramello (salt & caramel) 70 percent chocolate shake at La Golosa (806 S. Sixth St.) with espresso (and a surprise glass of dessert wine that Palator importer Mark Monaco shared with us!) first, thence to Royal Tavern (801 E. Passyunk Ave.) for their "April Collins" with Bluecoat and St. Germain, and the most tater tots $4 can buy in a restaurant. Classy! FD
Experienced the first real cheesesteak of my life on Saturday during a "crawl" hosted by my blog, AFoodComa.com. We rounded up a crew and stopped at the top three places voted on by our readers: Jim's, Pat's and Dalessandro's (John's Roast Pork was also among contenders, but they're closed Saturdays!). My arteries are still reeling. Perhaps we'll do a salad crawl next time? AH
Saturday afternoon we lunched at Village Whiskey (118 S. 20th St.) with a friend who was visiting from Brooklyn. I devoured a medium-rare Village Burger with a fried egg, smoked bacon, Jasper Hill cheddar and caramelized onions minus two bites I reluctantly gave up for the group to sample. A-maz-ing. Also tried Coronados Idiot Double/Imperial IPA which the bartender described as a "nice, heavy, hoppy smack across the face." I'll take two! MD
After lunch we drove to Long Beach Island for more food. My family had dinner reservations at Raimondo's (1101 Long Beach Blvd.) under "Felix party of 7." We use "Felix" to eliminate the frustration of spelling out "DiFeliciantonio" every time and also to avoid corny jokes like "What's that short for?" or "I bet you're champion spellers." MD
After three weeks of swearing and banging about, my father finally finished building his homemade greenhouse and raised beds. I got my hands dirty while having a lesson about this year's lawn-to-table crops. Among many others, we've planted swiss chard, two kinds of potatoes, peppers, lettuces galore, and pineapple and chocolate mints (heyyy mojitos). AH
Sampled a Champagne-washed, Champagne cave-aged triple creme fromage that Tom Peters had just purchased at Di Bruno Bros. while working lunch at Monk's on Saturday. Then frantically snarfed an entire order of our homemade chicken fingers with Cattleman's Choice (zee premier barbecue sauce, IMO) between serving tables. FD
Early Saturday, went to Noble (2025 Sansom St.) and The Franklin (112 S. 18th St.) to visit barkeeps Christian Gaal, Colin Shearn and Al Sotack, all of whom took us up on the Jeppson's MalÃ¶rt Challenge we wrote about last week. (We'll be posting about the surprisingly palatable results throughout this week.) Non-MalÃ¶rt drinks consumed included Cigar City's Maduro Brown Ale (on draft behind Noble's bar) and the Franklin's Old Fashioned, our hands-down favorite one in the city. DL
Grubbed on some of David Ansill's menu items at Ladder 15 (1528 Sansom St.) for Saturday dinner while watching Duke wax West Virginia. Especially dug the rock shrimp with a very very cheffy fishy lobster roe aioli. DL
Sunday, Easter, was spent with girlie's extended Polish family, feasting on the cold spread traditional for the holiday (bunch of kielbasa and other sausages from Krakus Market, babka, farmer's cheese, eggs, etc.) plus surprisingly drinkable Costco brand hefeweizen (if you put this in some sort of cheeky-labeled craft beer bottle the nerds would say it was great, we're sure of it). Her "babcia" (grandmother) said I looked fat, then said I looked muscular like a professional wrestler. (For the record = kinda fat, not even remotely muscular.) All other family members instructed that it should be taken as a big compliment. DL
Easter Sunday was spent slowly working through an immense basket of pre-staled Peeps, Zitner's buttercream eggs, Cadbury mini eggs and Whoppers robin's eggs. I include the brand names because they are iconic and store brands cannot compete on this holiest of candy holidays. Did not eat: the ham, the ambrosia, the pineapple bake, the four-bean salad or anything that did not have "sugar" listed as its first ingredient. FD
Sunday = Chocolate fest. After 40 days and 40 nights of no sweets I went a little overboard and pretty much only ate chocolate all day. My diet included Gertrude Hawk peanut butter smidgens, chocolate-covered pretzels, Reese's peanut butter eggs, chocolate chip cookies, Hershey's special dark and, of course, a Peep or two. MD
A weekend of perfect weather meant we had our simple Easter dinner served al fresco at my parents' house in Princeton: leg of local lamb, roasted potatoes and parsnips, braised tarragon carrots, the first harvest of peas. For dessert, the adults tucked in to a glistening tarte tatin while my four siblings devoured Cadbury eggs the size of their heads. AH
Tried a slice of meat pie from A Little Bite of Italy (1419 Long Beach Blvd.) in Surf City layers of hard-boiled egg, ricotta with parsley, prosciutto, pepperoni, capicola and mortadella, all baked into a an egg-washed pie shell. It made me regret overdosing on chocolate and not leaving room for meaty seconds. MD
While celebrating a friend's 21st birthday at Dave & Buster's, I was appalled, though not entirely surprised, to discover that the majority of their menu items were upwards of 1100 calories, including one monstrosity clocking it at 2758. Negligible points were earned by the appearance of several bottles from Yards and Victory at the bar. But we only go there for the Mario Kart anyway. AH
|Photo l Gil Ortale|
|Market Day canelÃ© (standard and mini) and fleur de sel caramels|
If you read the Philly Market Cafe blog, you know author Gil Ortale worked on his recipe for the traditional Bordeaux pastry canelÃ© for months before offering them for sale as Market Day CanelÃ© (say cahn-eh-lay). "I cried gallons of tears over them," said Ortale in a telephone interview. The notoriously fickle pastries, which unite a crunchy, almost burnt shell with a yielding custard-like interior flavored with vanilla and rum, require recipe adjustment for humidity, different flours and maybe even the phase of the moon.
This hard-won fight left Ortale unprepared for the instant success of his new Market Day fleur de sel Caramels. The soft candies, made primarily from butter, sugar and heavy cream, come in caramel and chocolate caramel versions sprinkled lightly with sea salt. The first individually-wrapped $2 piece I tasted was rich, creamy and sweet, with the salt adding complexity and bringing out the pure flavors of the butter and sugar. The chocolate version was just as lovely, with the subtly dusty, slightly bitter cocoa taking the edge off the sweetness.
Ortale will partner again with Joe Coffee for a stand in the Headhouse Farmer's Market this season (opening Sun., May 2); the duo have been hitting the Piazza at Schmidt's Saturday market since its inception. Ortale's oft-referred-to "ladyfriend" mans the Market Day CanelÃ© sales at Clark Park's Saturday market, where a recent customer bought out her supply 20 pieces at a time.
Stationary retailers stocking the caramels include Pumpkin Market (1609 South St.), Quince Fine Foods (209 W. Girard Ave.) and Green Aisle Grocery (1618 E. Passyunk.).
Eat This Immediately.
Beginning today, you can devour Roman classics like fried lamb's tongue with salsa rossa and tonarelli cacio e pepe during daylight hours at Marc Vetri's trattoria AmÃs (412 S. 13th St.). The weekday lunch menu is identical to the current dinner offerings, and runs 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
This Sunday, April 11 will see the debut of a Sunday brunch menu, with prices ranging from $4 to $20. Italian breakfast treats like homemade cornetti with marmellata are featured, along with stateside classics like Belgian waffles with rhubarb syrup to fill out the sweet side. Savory-seekers can turn to the extensive housemade charcuterie selection, bruschetta with toppings like buffalo ricotta with favas and English peas, or eggy plates like a sunny side-up duck egg with grilled guanciale and pecorino fondue.
Brunch will be served 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday only. Pore over the selections after the jump.
pastries and brunch classics
freshly squeezed orange 4
freshly squeezed grapefruit juice 4
homemade Italian cornetti with marmellata 5
olive oil torta with apple butter 5
brulee half grapefruit 4
warm belgian waffles with rhubarb syrup 12
charcuterie e formaggio
prosciutto di parma with homemade frico 12
salumi misti 12
pecorino trio 10
egg and lemon salad 6
buffala ricotta with fava and english peas 10
mortadella mousse 8
fresh tuna and white bean 8
eggplant caponata 6
classic warm salad with egg and pancetta 10
escarole salad with apples and radish 8
watercress salad with pistachio crema and pickled rhubarb 10
artichoke alla giudia 10
roasted potatoes 6
shaved zucchini salad with mint 6
grilled scamorza with pickled vegetables 8
frico (montasio cheese and potato tart) and assorted marmalades 10
tonnarelli carbonara 16
spring onion lasagna with stracciatella 16
raviolo all'uovo 16
rigatoni with lamb ragu peas and mint 16
bufala ricotta ravioli with asparagus 16
clam cockles scallions and scrambled eggs on toast 18
grilled asparagus with poached egg in a bag and olive oil zabaione 18
potato frittato with frisse and scallion vinaigrette and roasted red bell peppers 8
sunny side up duck egg with grilled guanciale and pecorino fondue 14
egg tripe with braised tomato 10
polenta pasticciata with fennel sausage and provolone 14
grilled tuna tagliata with fennel and citrus 18
tagliata di manzo (ribeye) with arugula salad 26
mixed vegetable grill 10
|Click to enlarge|
Here's the opening menu for Bobby's Burger Palace, the Bobby Flay burger joint that's opening this coming Tuesday, April 6 in the Radian at 3925 Walnut. (First noted it back in December.) The offerings are not really any different from the Iron Chef's four other BBP locations, save for a couple local tweaks there's a Whiz option for the Philadelphia burger (usually it's just provolone), and they're doing Lager on the beer list. All BBP burger styles can be done with certified Angus beef, ground turkey or chicken breast; "crunchifying" refers to the time-honored tradition of shoving chips between the buns. More soon.
Couple things of note going on at Zama (128 S. 19th St.) in the new couple days for starters, the bar's stocking five can't-really-find-them beers from Japan's Coedo Brewery, including Shiro, a non-filtered wheat beer that'll do you well in this weather, and Beniaka, a lager brewed with roasted sweet potatoes (haven't had something like that since Allagash's '09 Fluxus!). All the Coedo brews are $10 a pop except for the Beniaka, which is going for $12.
Also launching this weekend: chef/owner Hiroyuki "Zama" Tanaka's "Sunday Sushi Experience" dinner, featuring 48 pieces of fish, served in three courses, plus vino, for $100. Tanaka will slice up 18 pieces of sashimi, three maki rolls and 12 pieces of nigiri to go along with a bottle of Oroya, a Spanish three-grape white specially blended to be sipped with sushi. The hundo price tag does not include tax and tip.
Everyone has a story to tell, and for foodies, those stories spin on edible axes. This food-centric world takes the main stage when First Person Arts hosts Sunday Supper and Family Lore at Bridget Foy's (200 South St.) next Sunday, April 11, from 6 to 9 p.m.. As part of the Edible World series' home-cooking experiment, Sunday Supper will feature Suzan ColÃ³n, author of Cherries in Winter, for a night of story-telling and a family-style feast featuring ColÃ³n's family recipes.
"Through her story, ColÃ³n learned of her family's history, struggle and resilence," Karina Kacala of FPA tells Meal Ticket. "In the past, we focused on area restaurants, but this portion of the Edible World series celebrates the story of home kitchens and family tradition." Check out FPA's blog to read how Rick Nichols (Philadelphia Inquirer) adopted the recipes of his wife's Slovak/Hungarian-Roumanian family as his own. and keep an eye out for a contribution from Meal Ticket's very own Felicia D next week.
Tickets are $30 for members, $35 for non-members and can be purchased here. Submit a recipe and 250-word story to Kacala (kkacala[at]firstpersonarts.org) by today, April 2, and you could be awarded air time at the event (you must pay admission to be eligible) and have your story featured on ColÃ³n's blog.
Menu after the jump.
Course 1: Split pea soup with grilled ham and frizzled leeks
Course 2: Cadillac meatloaf with bacon, mashed potatoes and asparagus with crimini mushroom gravy
Course 3: Apple cake with spiced pecans and nutmeg whipped cream
Vegetarian options: tomato fennel soup, eggplant napoleon with provolone, broccoli rabe and roasted peppers with marinara sauce
Complimentary glass of wine with dinner
In our latest Feeding Frenzy column, we told you about the Wishing Well (Ninth and Catharine) and its plans to open this coming Monday, April 5. Meal Ticket swung by the Bella Vista public house earlier this week to snag a couple photos of the 65-ish-seat bar, a partnership between longtime buds Chris Martino and Carmen Cappello. For photos and info on Cappello's menu, check out our March 12 post.
I'll be heading out of this gorgeous weather to the snow-covered mountains of Aspen next week as the "plus-one" of a work trip. I recently sustained a back injury that has benched me from the main event in Aspen: snow sports. (OK, part of me didn't wanna do that anyway, so now I have a valid excuse!). Since that's basically off my radar I'm looking for other suggestions.
I've researched the crap out of Aspen and have planned a culinary class at the St. Regis, dinner at LuLu Wilson, a trip to Aspen Brewing Company and a night of drinks and dancing at Regal Watering Hole but I want more. Whatcha got? Add recommendations to the comments, please and thank you!
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
When chef Michael O'Halloran opened up Kong (702-704 N. Second St.) last August, he set out to create a rustic Hong Kong street food experience. Recently he altered and added to the menu/homage, and Meal Ticket caught up with O'Halloran to get privy to the new direction. Here's what he told us.
"In the beginning, we were only cooking within the confines of that [Hong Kong street food] concept," says O'Halloran. "Once we got comfortable with the area, and after receiving lots of customer feedback, we made some changes. We wanted to maintain the spirit of rustic and informal Hong Kong street food, but translate it to the Philly palate."
So, what's changed? Guests can't get enough of the âPhilly Cheesesteakâ dumpling offered during his Thursday night 50-cent dumpling deal, and O'Halloran has taken notice it is now featured on the regular menu along with a few previous deal-night-only options. The popularity of this event also inspired O'Halloran to dream up more shindigs, like a Szechuan-style crawfish boil and rustic Chinese BBQ. (Those'll be perfect for spring/summer weather â¦ we'll have those details soon.)
Check out the revised menu in full below. There are now more vegetarian options (O'Halloran thinks Ray of Ray's Seitan has the best stuff in the area) and re-worked versions of Kong's mu shoo, ribs, BBQ beef brisket, buns (now sliders) and chicken wings. They are hybrids spawned by mating old-school Chinese with non-traditional techniques and components, too, like stuffing mu shoo with more than just pork, and clarifying rib-braise stock then reducing it for an accompanying sauce.
âI am very happy with the menu right now," adds O'Halloran. "I keep looking over it for a dish that irritates me, but right now, I'm happy with all of it.â
|Click to enlarge|
- barstool scientist
- Brew Revue
- Chef Salad
- Dirty Dishes
- Don't Front
- Eat This Immediately
- Field Trip
- Food and Art
- Food and Holidays
- Food and Movies
- Food and Music
- Food and Politics
- Food and Sports
- Food and Web
- Food Blogs
- Food Books
- Food Events
- Food News
- Food TV
- Happy Hour Hopper
- In Print
- Meal Ticket
- Menu Time
- Not So Quickfire
- Notes from the Weekend
- On Wheels
- Patio Drinking
- Philly Beer Week 2010
- Private Chef POV
- Product Placement
- Snack Time
- Stiff Drank
- Ticket Stubs
- Top Chef
- Weekly Candy
- Weird Regional Foods
- We're Here to Help
- Where'd We Eat?
- Drew Lazor's Ill-Advised Rant Factory
- Ill-Advised Ranting
- The Week Without Meat
- Philly Beer Week 2009
- Real Big
- Where'd I Eat Last Night?
- Top Chef Masters
- The Good Word
- Next Iron Chef
- Arterial Terrorism
- Food and Radio