Archive: June, 2009
Mï¿½mï¿½ chef/owner David Katz just introduced two nice paper-saving deals for the summer.
First: Weekdays from 5:30 to 6:30, they're offering a cheap happy hour-style menu, with $5 glasses of wine (white, red, rose) and $5 apps (off-the-menu eats like shrimp/chorizo skewers, steamed clams and their popular sizzling mussels). Second: BYO beer or wine every Wednesday evening with no corkage. Typically, the fee's only $10, anyway.
Also, if you haven't done this already, get over to 22nd and Spruce on Thursdays for their fried chicken lunch deal ï¿½ you get a drumstick, a thigh, a peppery biscuit, a dope dipping sauce and your choice of iced tea, lemonade or High Life for the seemingly unfair price of $11. Sides ï¿½ they did potato salad and jalapeno hush puppies this week ï¿½ are also available for a separate charge. Team Meal Ticket just checked it out and ravaged.
|Photo | Dominic Savini
- Trey Popp digs up info on ROOT, a crazy new liqueur that'll hit Philly state stores in next few weeks. He tests the stuff out in a number of cocktails, and the feature is a bit of a history lesson, too: If it weren't for Prohibition, this stuff might've become a liquor cabinet standard years ago.
- Love espresso drinks but freaking out about caffeine? Why not give red espresso a shot (or two)? New to Philly, this stuff can be treated just like traditional espresso, but it's caf-free and extremely high in antioxidants. I visited Rim Cafe to learn more.
- Feeding Frenzy's got info on Oyster House, Arch Gourmet, Sweet Ending froyo and Di Bruno's forthcoming Italian Market wine bar.
- What's Cooking? Lauren Fleming knows. Wine-y First Friday openings, kosher barbecue cookoffs, BYO flamenco and tapas and more await you.
Meal Ticket's got the new dinner and drink menus for Stephen Starr's Continental Mid-town (1801 Chestnut St., 215-567-1800, continentalmidtown.com).
It's still global tapas in approach, but there are a quite a few bright and shiny additions, including several new vegetarian items. (Standards like the grilled octopus and the French onion soup dumplings are staying.) New sweet-toothy martinis include the Sourpuss (Smirnoff, St-Germain, sparkling wine, lemon, Nerds) and the Twizzle (Smirnoff citrus, strawberry puree, lemon, red licorice).
Full dinner and drink menus after the jump.
|Food: click to enlarge|
|Drink: click to enlarge|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Preparing a flamed orange garnish|
You may know bartender extraordinaire Christian Gaal by his impeccably turned-out classic and original cocktails at boï¿½tes like APO and Noble American Cookery; or you may have spotted his sleeve garters and the twirly terminus of his waxed mustaches flying about as he shakes your drink to chilly perfection.
Either way, the man knows booze. Though tending bar professionally for a mere 2.5 years, he can spout both interesting historical trivia and lessons on the science of creating memorable cocktails.ï¿½ Our first lesson from MixMaster Christian is a fiery finishing move: flaming an orange peel to add a touch of aromatic essential oil to your cocktail.
Step One: Cutting a proper peel
"When I cut a peel to flame, I like to make it big enough to add an optimum amount of oil to the surface of the drink," says Christian.ï¿½ "One inch by three to four inches is ideal.ï¿½ Cut the peel, including plenty of the inner white pith, which will give the peel spring when you squeeze it to ignite the oils."
Step Two: Warming inner oils
Christian holds the peel high above the drink in a springy C-shape and warms the skin of the orange with a butane lighter for about 5 seconds. "Exposing the peel to the flame brings the oils to a high temperature and prepares them to ignite."
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Cut a large twist for flaming purposes|
Step Three: ACTION
After warming the peel for a few seconds, pinch the curl of peel firmly and the oils will spray out into the lighter flame, causing a quick flash. This takes a bit of practice. Sacrifice a few oranges to getting it right before trying to impress a date.
Step Four: Applying the oil to the drink
Squeeze the flamed peel over the drink to coat the surface with oil droplets, then run the skin side of the peel around the edge of the glass.ï¿½ Discard the flamed peel; the pith will make the drink bitter.
Keep your oranges peeled for upcoming Lesson Two: Ice is what you make it.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
Yesterday evening, "Honest" Tom McCusker put out the word via Twitter that he'd be slangin' fish tacos from his truck for the first time. Meal Ticket headed up to the Chester side of Clark Park to check it out. Simply delicious, these things ï¿½ fresh blackened tilapia, homemade guac/pico, a bit of corn. Squeeze on some lime and hot sauce to up the drip quotient. Any taqueria denizen knows a griddle-crisped tortilla is heaven, and Tom and Co. don't forget that.
At two for $6, Tom's fish tacos aren't exactly couch-change cheap ï¿½ but what other cart in the city offers Stumptown coffee? Get there ï¿½ he's serving them right now at 33rd and Arch ï¿½ and sip some before the so-called "backlash" against the Portland roasters seeps down to Philly.
Eat these immediately.
PREVIOUSLY: Cart Alert: Honest Tom's Taco Shop
Former Pod chef Hiroyuki "Zama" Tanaka just checked in with a few details about Zama, the Japanese restaurant he's opening in September at 128 S. 19th Street -- currently 4 Corners Management's Loie.
The plan (Loie has yet to close) is to convert the brasserie space into a modern Japanese eatery. Tanaka uses the term "wa" ï¿½ that crisp and distinct design style that's immediately recognizable as Japanese ï¿½ to describe the planned approach to the interior. ("No crazy lighting and music," he explains. "Very simple wood and stone.") Between 80 and 90 seats inside. There'll be a sushi bar, and Loie's liquor license is being transferred over, so expect sizable sake and wine lists.
The menu will be small and moderately priced ï¿½ plenty of sushi, plus a variety of appetizers/small plates and six or seven entrees. "I use a lot of fish in a lot of different ways," says Tanaka of his planned approach to the entrees. "Grilled, steamed, pan-seared ... using a seasonal approach, changing monthly." He'll source from everywhere from the Tsukiji fish market in Japan to Europe to the East Coast. He's got specialty rolls in the works, but none are named so he can't spill the details on them just yet.
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
Clue: The menu's posted somewhere on Meal Ticket ...
If this is too hard, I'll add an interior shot, but it's a dead giveaway.
|Click to enlarge|
National press outlets have been feeling us lately. First it was the Guardian over the weekend; now it's Bon Appetit, who shows Philly love in its July '09 issue with a travel rundown by Andrew Knowlton. We've scanned the piece in for you to read.
Knowlton's hit list: Franklin Fountain, Distrito, Zahav, Osteria, Bella Vista Beer, South Philly Tap Room, Johnny Brenda's and Reading Terminal Market.
(h/t Brion and Allie)
Little Fish chef/owner Mike Stollenwerk says September 8 is the tentative opening date for Fish, his new liquor-licensed restaurant that'll take over the old Astral Plane space at 1708 Lombard.
The restaurant, which Stollenwerk and Co. are completely redoing inside save for the hardwood floors, will feature about 45 seats and a 10-seat bar.
The menu here will be quite different from Stollenwerk's beloved Catharine Street BYO — instead of starters and entrï¿½es, items will be split into the specific categories of "raw," "cold," "hot" and "sweet." Raw selections won't be quite as extensive as a full oyster bar's, but they'll have plenty of choices on the half shell from both coasts. (Pay per oyster, not per half dozen.) Cold choices will include house-crafted specialties they're unable to do at Little Fish due to space constraints — think octopus carpaccio and hiramasa prosciutto. The hot selections will be just like the large plates at Little Fish. "Sweet," of course, will be dessert.
Perhaps the biggest boon for Fish will be its liquor license — they'll have a large wine list, with plenty of by-the-glass choices (a focus on Cali whites and sparklings, as Stollenwerk has a lot of contacts out there), a beer list and a small specialty cocktail selection with seafood-friendly tipples like a cucumber martini.
Stollenwerk adds that the teeny Little Fish will be taken over by its current sous chef, Chadd Jenkins, but "nothing's going to change." That includes the insanely popular $28 Sunday prix-fixe, for which they're booked through October. Fish won't be doing that deal, but there are plans for a three-course early-bird dinner menu as well as Sunday brunch.
The Illadelph puts us on to some Philly food still lifes from local painter Mike Geno. The artist (here's his site and his Etsy) talks about his relationship with regional eats in this Eat Me Daily interview:
EMD: Scrapple, Tastykakes, and pretzels ï¿½ you're obviously influenced by your Philly surroundings ï¿½ so tell us, whereï¿½s the cheese steak?
Mike Geno: Excellent question. It seems inevitable but so far I've not been successful in ordering one that holds up for a few hours while I paint it. I always work from life with my food and other still life paintings. Honestly, I don't know if I'd hold up that long smelling it without eating it. I've developed a plan though. I may have to go to a good source, which alone is a Philly debate, and eat one before taking another one home to paint. That may just work.
He can't paint a cheesesteak because it smells too good to just let it sit there. Mike Geno, you are OUR BOY.
- 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