Archive: May, 2009
SNACK TIME: posso avere due frulatti, is an egg sort of an embryonic meat?, The New York Times restaurant critic gig comes up for grabs, the many moods and meals of Gordon Ramsay
|Frulatto with bendy straw at La Golosa|
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
- Frullati, the spice-tinged whipped chocolate and fruit concoctions at Passyunk Avenue's La Golosa, have food critic Adam Erace at Blogalicious doing the dessert dance. The cacao drink has frothy bubbles and a bendy straw, but darling, don't call it a milkshake.
- Despite the absence of a dedicated vegetarian entreï¿½, Living On The Vedge finds a lot to like at Noble American Cookery. An appetizer of poached white asparagus is topped with summer truffles and a flash-fried soft-boiled egg, proving for good and all that vegetarians can eat just as unhealthily as the rest of us.
- With Frank Bruni leaving the restaurant critic gig at The New York Times, The Illadelph speculates on the odds that Craig LaBan might take a stab at what is clearly the best job in the universe.
- Yesterday, Michael Klein at the Inky revealed that reality TV fixture and three-star Michelin chef Gordon Ramsay would be making the servers cry at fishtown's Hot Potato Cafï¿½ for Kitchen Nightmares. Then he reported that after Ramsay's sample tasting dinner at Hot Potato, he managed to get fed on the late at 10 Arts. Where will the Mad Dog Chef strike next? If he's smart, he'll ask for a reco and not just default to the only New York chef restaurant in town.
- Also, Klein has "moles." Not on his face, but the spying sort well-placed in struggling restaurants. He lays out the rules for guests dining on camera at Hot Potato this week. If you were planning on wearing your all-white, midriff-baring outfit, you're not gettin' any taters.
* This post has been edited to reflect proper attribution.
Just added a bunch of new places to the directory of Philly-area bars, restaurants, breweries and food stops with Twitter accounts that I created back on March 9. Among the newcomers ï¿½ Dock Street, Noble American Cookery and Bebe's BBQ.
I'm gonna stick a link to that post on the sidebar on the right for easy access.
Any worthy additions that I overlooked? Let me know in the comments.
Mitch and Jennifer Prensky of Supper have been running steal-of-a-deal $38 BYO-optional "Sunday Suppers" for quite awhile now, but now they're getting into the weekday prix-fixe game by offering a $35 menu Monday to Friday. That magic number includes three courses and a wine or beer. Check out the current menu after the jump. (We promise it's a shade sexier than the guilty pleasures chef Mitch shared with Meal Ticket back in November.)
|Michael T. Regan|
carrot and orange soup with coconut marshmallow and mint (right)
boston bibb and herb salad with apple, bacon, cornbread and buttermilk dressing
roasted breast of chicken with pot pie vegetables, 40 cloves of garlic sauce & little biscuits
chili dusted skate with crab, mango, red onion and yellow mole
banana bread pudding with nutella & vanilla ice cream
strawberry rhubarb tart with creme fraiche
wine: Montepulciano Cantina Zaccagnini, 2005, Italy
beer: golden session ale Kenzinger, USA, bottle
tax and gratuity not included
Superstar mixologist Katie Loeb, last seen holding it down at Chick's Cafe and Wine Bar, revealed on Philly Mag's The Restaurant Club blog that she will now be head bartender at the renovated Oyster House.
The Restaurant Club has a nice little Q&A with Loeb, mostly about how a bartender known for creative cocktails will fit into the classic Oyster House style. She mentions gimlets mixed with her housemade lemon and lime cordials, as well as her homemade ginger beer in special-request cocktails. Loeb must be our most plugged-in local bartender, since she has been making that ginger beer for a good while ï¿½ sure to make a next-level Dark & Stormy.
The New York Times has a piece entitled "Ginger Ale Without The Can," profiling restaurants from Atlanta to NYC that are incorporating house-made ginger sodas into their drinks. More than just settling the stomach and delivering antioxidants, homemade ginger ale embodies the current zeitgeist of eschewing packaged mixers in favor of those made on the spot.
Take a look at the Times' recipe for homemade ginger ale, which calls for fresh ginger juice. You can buy fresh ginger juice from a juice bar ï¿½ try these around Philly:
Four Seasons Juice Bar, Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch streets, 215-925-4448
B2, 1500 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-271-5520?
Mugshots Coffee House & Juice Bar, 2106 Fairmount Ave., 267-514-7145?
The Juice Bar, 1509 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-462-6222?
Last night, Mike Persico and I served as Meal Ticket guress Felicia D'Ambrosio's whipping boys sous chefs for Open ChefAMe, Philly's new "kitchen karaoke" event. While I had my hands full chopping and mixing and pinching and stuffing (check out Flea's recipes here), I managed to rattle off some behind-the-scenes photos during prep in the kitchen at the Dark Horse. ChefAMe co-founder Jesse Middleton posted his recap of the evening over on the official site.
|Photo | Drew Lazor
It turns out my nightmares were unfounded, as my sous chefs Drew Lazor, Mike Persico and I covered ourselves in glory at last night's Open ChefAMe event at The Dark Horse. 6ABC even dropped by to interview us! Unfortunately it was right when I was wrestling sheet trays in and out of a 400-degree convection oven, so I look hassled and sweaty instead of cocky and swaggering like a real TV chef.
Here, for your pleasure, are the recipes I used to create the three courses that fed 87 people. Since it's unlikely you have the entire Phillies staff or the cast and crew of Top Chef coming over for dinner, everything is scaled to feed six normal folks. After the jump, the links and methods for my three inexplicably successful courses. (Check back soon for more pics and Drew's recap of the evening.)
Sweet Corn Soup with bacon, chive and crï¿½me fraï¿½che garnish
Serves 6 as a hearty first course or lunch
Prepare Dorie Greenspan's recipe as directed; but replace green onions with chives for garnish
Gougï¿½res with dry-cured ham, watercress and Dijon cream
Servesï¿½ 6-8 as a very generous appetizer or light lunch
Prepare as Alain directs; while puffs are in oven, assemble the following:
1/4 lb. prosciutto di Parma, very thinly sliced
One bunch watercress, rinsed well, leaves picked off stems
Dijon cream:ï¿½ 1 tsp. Grey Poupon mixed well with 2 tbsp. crï¿½me fraï¿½che
Now Do This:
Slice each gougï¿½re like a sandwich roll.ï¿½ Dab a tiny dot of Dijon cream in the center of one side, top with three or four leaves of watercress.ï¿½ Stack one or two slices of the prosciutto inside, close up and serve immediately.
Moroccan spiced braised lamb shoulder with lentils and minted yogurt
Serves 6 as an entreï¿½
Go Get This:
4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 lbs. boneless lamb shoulder
1 1/2 cups diced onions, mixture of white and red
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
4 cups white wine
1 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
12 pitted prunes, sliced in half
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper
Now Do This:
Unroll the lamb shoulder. Using a sharp knife, cut away all of the fat cap as well as most of the sinew and connective tissue. Season all over with salt and pepper. Cut into large chunks all the same size.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large, heavy bottom cast-iron casserole or pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Brown the lamb in batches until it is dark red on all sides. Set lamb aside.
In the lamb fat and olive oil, sweat onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook that down as well, until soft. Add cumin and cinnamon and stir to combine. Add some salt and pepper.
Pour white wine into pan and scrape bottom of pan vigorously with a wooden spoon to incorporate flavorful browned bits (this is deglazing). Allow to boil for a few minutes. Add lamb and prunes to pan ï¿½ make sure there is enough liquid in pan that lamb is sitting in a shallow puddle ï¿½ not totally immersed. Add water or wine as necessary.
Cover tightly and place in 325-degree oven. Allow to braise for two hours, then check that there is enough liquid remaining. Stir well and return to oven for two more hours.
Remove when lamb is falling apart tender. Check for seasoning ï¿½ keep covered and set aside.
To make the lentils:
Go Get This:
1 1/2 cups lentils de Puy (French green lentils)
1 bay leaf
4 tbsp. bacon fat or butter
1/2 cup diced red onions
salt and pepper
Now Do This:
Combine lentils and bay leaf with 6 cups water and a small handful of saltï¿½ in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to boil, then turn down to a simmer until lentils are tender with a little bite. Drain lentils and set aside.
When ready to serve lentils with lamb, heat the bacon fat or butter in a large sautï¿½ pan until hot and shimmering. Add diced onion to pan and cook until slightly browned and softened.
Add lentils to pan and sautï¿½ until heated through and slightly crispy from oil.
To make the minted yogurt:
Go Get This:
One bunch fresh mint, washed, leaves picked off stems
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
One small container (7 oz.) plain Greek yogurt
Now Do This:
Put yogurt into a small bowl or Tupperware container. Take mint leaves and pulse in a blender or Cuisinart with a stream of olive oil until a rough paste forms.
Blend mint paste with yogurt until well combined. Refrigerate until needed for service.
Get one lemon and wash it thoroughly.
Place a scoop of warmed lentils in a shallow bowl or rimmed plate. Top with a scoop of the warm lamb, then a large dollop of the mint yogurt.
With a Microplane, zest the lemon over top of each dish as garnish.
Serve with a light red wine like Dolcetto or a big, crisp white like Chenin Blanc.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Firing up the grill marks the transition between changeable, windy spring and the warm, outdoor-eating nights of summer. At my house, it also means throwing all kinds of things onto the grill inï¿½ char-broil experiments. Pizza, chicken thighs and fruit all cook well on the high heat.
Grilling sweet melon is as unnecessary as it is tasty. The stuff tastes great on its own, but caramelizing the surface sugars amplifies the sweetness of an underripe fruit and amplifies the juicy texture. The grilled melon can then be combined with other fresh fruits and vegetables for a summer salad, purï¿½ed into a chilled soup and garnished with crï¿½me fraï¿½che for a light dessert, or wrapped in prosciutto for a twist on the traditional Italian starter.
To prepare, slice the melon in half and scoop out the seeds. With the cut side down, cut away the skin and green layer of the fruit with a sharp knife. Slice the skinned half-melon into 1/4- or 1/2-inch slices. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high and brush lightly with vegetable oil, or spray with nonstick grilling spray. Grill each side of the melon until dark brown grill marks form and the fruit is softened slightly, two minutes on each side.
Chop the melon into chunks and mix with sliced cucumbers, Belgian endive and sliced fennel for a unique salad. Dress with lime juice and a bit of cayenne pepper. For a dessert, serve the whole slices topped with vanilla ice cream, or purï¿½e the grilled melons and place in a shallow pan in the freezer for an hour. Scrape the mostly frozen mixture with a flat spoon to create a chilly granita. Layer the granita with whipped cream for a parfait.
|Ditte Isager and Jason Varney | GQ|
GQ's Alan Richman drops a list of the top 25 pizzas in the United States in the June 2009 issue of the lifestyle mag. And in a somewhat shocking move considering how national voices tend to sleep on our pizza game, Philly is extremely well-represented, with Tacconelli's (white pie) at number nine and Osteria (zucca pizza) at number 22. Head right here for a slideshow complete with Richman's writeups; for the full list in a more easy-to-nav format, head over to Slice.
Richman also crafted a separate list ranking the top 10 pizza cities in the nation. Here, we come in at number eight, ahead of Phoenix and Boston:
8. Philadelphia. Shockingly, none of the pies in the top 25 came from South Philly, the heartland of the Italian community. But if you want brawny, big-hearted pizza, thatï¿½s still the neighborhood to visit.
Last time Martha did some Philly stuff, she hated on some cheesesteaks and then I hated on philly.com for making "cheesesteak" two words.
After the jump, lots of info and pics on the four eateries in Bart Blatstein's brand-new Piazza at Schmidts ï¿½ The Swift Half, P.Y.T., Darling's and Vino.
The Swift Half
Owner(s): The Good Dog's David Garry and Heather Gleason
Opening: Hopefully within the week, but definitely before the end of May
The Deal: The atmosphere at this pub, which can accommodate around 120 inside and out, will be comparable to Good Dog ï¿½ handmade walnut bar, exposed brick, wainscotting, tin ceiling, six flat screens. The main diff is that all the space is on one level as opposed to three. Ten beers on tap and between 22-23 bottles. Chef de cuisine Jeff Kozlowski worked under exec chef Jessica O'Donnell at Good Dog in addition to stints at spots like Amada and Striped Bass. Menu will be smaller and slightly more English-pubby than Good Dog, with fish 'n' chips, a traditional caesar, a Swift Half salad (frisee, arugula, black mission figs, house-smoked almonds, honey sherry vinaigrette), a muffaletta sandwich, whole fish of the day, ribs slathered in housemade mole sauce and cheese/charcuterie selections. (Check out the full opening menu on Foobooz.)
Owner(s): Tommy Up
Opening: In around five weeks
The Deal: Inspired, to an extent, by L.A. spots like 25 Degrees and the Apple Pan, P.Y.T. is promoter Up's shot at bringing a non-chain destination burger joint ï¿½ and alcohol-infused milkshakes (!) ï¿½ to Philly. Josh McCullough, chef at Time, is putting together P.Y.T.'s sandwich menu, which'll feature affordable burgers ($6-$7) and grilled cheeses "with twists" (plenty of veg options, says Up). Other eats will include hand-cut fries and lobster fish sticks. Behind the main bar, Up is planning on mounting a vintage-era photo of his pops rocking a fu manchu standing next to a VW Beetle painted like the American flag. The front of the space will be the eatery ï¿½ in the back, expect a unisex bathroom space and a "speakeasy-style" bar that'll be pouring bespoke cocktails designed by a guy from NYC's Milk and Honey. Renderings of both sides of P.Y.T. in photos two and three above.
Owner(s): Darling's Cheesecake's Harry and John Arnold
Opening: It's open today
The Deal: Located on the ground floor of "The Egg" building in the Piazza, Darling's is a mod diner with room for around 130. (We first told you about it in March.) They'll be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays, but Harry says the plan is to stay open late on weekends to accommodate industry types and the last call crowd. A team of chefs is serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, with "a comfort theme" ï¿½ expect items like skirt steak, roast beef (all from the brisket cut) for dinner platters and sandwiches like French dips, short ribs, Arctic char, pierogies with sauerkraut and more. All bread is baked in-house. Harry is particularly excited about finally developing a from-scratch recipe for his cherry topping, which'll accompany waffles, pancakes and French toast in addition to cheesecakes.
Owner(s): Michael Maglio
Opening: It's open today
The Deal: Vino is a handsome 200-seat Italian wine bar (140 inside, 60 outside). The interior's decorated with blown-up photos of Maglio's family (no relation to the sausage clan). The wine list, designed by GM David Steiger (former bar manager at Vintage) features 50 to 60 choices by the glass; 30 beers on a bottle list, as well. Chef Glenn Albright's menu features antipasti, salads, panini, brick oven pizzas and aperitivi (check it out below). Sunday brunch will feature a build-your-own frittata menu. They serve food daily from noon to midnight, with the bar going till 2 a.m.
|Click to enlarge|
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