Archive: June, 2009
Tomorrow, June 28, G-Ho's Beauty Shop Cafï¿½ (2001 Fitzwater St., 215-546-1002) will mark its second anniversary with discounts across the board ï¿½ take advantage of $2 drinks and $4 eats from 8 to 5. There will also be "prizes." A BSC barista could not elaborate on what that meant, which makes it all the more intriguing, no?
Miga, the Korean barbecue restaurant in the former ï¿½Pasion! (1211 S. 15th St., 215-732-1616), soft-opened to the public last night, right across from the slated-for-July 1 Max Brenner. (Check Meal Ticket later for more on that opening.)
For now, owner Sam Cho's white-tablecloth, temporarily-BYOB restaurant will be doing lunch Monday to Saturday from 11 to 3 and dinner Monday to Thursday from 5 to 10 and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11. They're waiting on their liquor license and city approval for sushi and table-top barbecue grills before holding a grand opening event. At the bar, they'll be mixing up signature cocktails with soju, or Korean rice liquor, and add-ins like lemon, cucumber, aloe, pineapple and other fresh fruit.
Business manager Kim Gould says there will be no trace of mod fusion on Miga's menu. Cho wanted authentic, so that's what it is ï¿½ banchan, or complimentary starters; traditional meats like galbi (marinated short rib) and bulgogi (marinated rib eye); and dishes like bibimbap are currently available. Gould adds that the full menu, which will be rolled out in the coming weeks, will be about three times as large as the one you can check out after the jump.
|Click to enlarge|
Meal Ticket has your sneak preview of The Blockley Pourhouse (38th and Ludlow), which opens today at 4 p.m. with DJ Sammy Slice.
We had info on the place back in March as well as in this week's Feeding Frenzy, but here's a refresher: Owners Ned Taddei, Patrick Hughes and chef Ross Essner have revived a U-City space that's been a number of things, from the Chestnut Cabaret to the let's-not-talk-about-it Koko Bongo. Doesn't really matter, though, because any semblance of the past has been scraped to make way for the new kids. The polished 800-capacity bar, pub and music venue features ample bar room, raised platforms with picnic table-like seating and high standing tables/casual couch seating around the stage.
Twenty-four beers on tap, some crafts, some big-box brews. Daily drink specials: $2 Lions Head, $3 Bud Light, $4 Wild Turkey/American Honey (that's 71-proof bourbon blended with honey) and $5 Three Olives vodka drinks.
Construction on Mary Oaks (see Set 1, Pics 8-9), a smaller gastropub on the south side of the building that's accessible from the Blockley through a heavy sliding fire door, is complete, but they want to get their feet at the Blockley before rolling out this slightly more upscale beer- and wine-friendly concept. Should be open in the first week of August.
Chef Essner's affordable menu after the jump. Dish IDs for the food pics above, in order:
- Jerk chicken "nuggets" with charred pineapple chutney
- House-smoked pulled pork with maple-poblano BBQ sauce, pickle slaw and house-cut fries
- Crispy fried oysters with spinach, carrot and pickled red onion, blue cheese, bacon and BBQ sauce
- Crispy fried chicken with buttermilk biscuit, spicy sausage gravy, mashed potatoes
- Buffalo chicken salad with iceberg lettuce, crispy boneless "arrogant" chicken, bacon, celery, tomatoes, creamy blue cheese
- Pork chop schnitzel with grain mustard green beans, German-style potato salad
|Click to enlarge|
... it's coming! Sorry. I missed the airing and its subsequent re-airing due to a Wednesday evening cocktail marathon 4K that included stops at the new Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., among other spots. I don't have DVR. I know this is not a very good excuse.
|Photos | Felicia D'Ambrosio
On Friday, June 19, the Mink family's new-old Oyster House (1516 Sansom St., 215-567-7683) served more than 2,800 of their eponymous bivalves on the half-shell. A million more mollusks have met their end at the talented hands of Ameen Lawrence, a 10-year veteran of the Sansom Street restaurant under its prior owner who's stayed on, along with two other longtime shuckers.
Lawrence shared a few pro tricks to extracting the shy creatures from their shells, starting with obtaining the correct tool. A pointed oyster knife is the key to defeating the strong muscle that holds the upper and lower shells tightly closed.
|Ameen Lawrence in his office
Holding the oyster cup-side down on a kitchen towel, Lawrence finds the hinge that holds the two shells together, the critical pivot point where the knife is inserted. In one smooth motion, he applies 40 pound of pressure to breach that hinge, twists his wrist and levers the shell open. "You have to find that pivot point," he says. "All oysters are not the same ... you have to figure each type out, find out if the hinge is tight. Oysters have feelings, so you got to feel them."
Once the oyster is exposed, Lawrence gently cuts the muscle that attaches the oyster to its shell, and uses the tip of his knife to flick out pieces of broken shell and any dirt or particles of grit. He works quickly and gracefully, and spills not a drop of the flavorful liquor that bathes the creature inside its shell. When I admire his fast pace, the shucker quickly corrects my notion of speed.
"I don't want to do it fast," he says. "I want to do it to perfection. Fast is not good. You end up with shells, dirt in there. There's only one way to do it ï¿½ the right way." He grins. "I like being the best."
Oyster (and clam) fanatics are well-served by Lawrence's work ethic. Each bivalve rests, pristine, in a bed of crushed ice, ready to be accented with classic mignonette, homemade cocktail sauce and lemons. Bargain-seekers should hit the weekday happy hour from 5 ro 7 p.m., when mildly briny East Point oysters from the Delaware Bay are just $1 each. Otherwise, a rotating variety, from the extravagantly fluted Royal Miyagi to the juicy Choptank Sweet, are priced individually, in dozens and half-dozens.
Working with a single food item for 10 years can have a devastating effect on an individual's enjoyment of said item. Do oysters hold their deluxe appeal for this shucker?
"I'm not crazy about them," says Lawrence. "The owners don't have to worry about me eating them."
After the jump, step-by-step photos of how to shuck an oyster. (Though Lawrence recommends leaving it to the professionals.)
On Tuesday, we had the glorious word of Brauhaus Schmitz's plans to open this coming Monday after many agonizing delays. Get your preemptive brat game right by checking out a teaser version of chef Jeremy Nolen's menu over on the South Street bierhall's Web site. What sounds good to us? The Salat mit gerï¿½ucherter Forelle (smoked trout, mixed greens, cucumber, potatoes, red onion, creamy horseradish dressing), Rouladen (braised thinly sliced beef stuffed with onions, bacon, and a pickle) and the Schnitzel Holsteiner Art (topped with a sunny side up egg, anchovies, and capers), among other things.
Strange, blatantly pro-Joey Vento fake news blurb from yesterday on CBS 3:
According to sources, police said [Geno's owner Joey] Vento may have been targeted by a gang of robbers who planned to steal some of his hard-earned money.
Vento says detectives warned him to take precautions after investigators uncovered an alleged plot to target employees and steal proceeds as they were being deposited.
"I really don't feel comfortable with driving or making a deposit worrying that somebody's going to come up and blow my head off," Vento said.
Vento, who has raised more than half a million dollars to help the families of murdered police officers, says he is more insulted than frightened to learn robbers were apparently targeting his business.
"If they did it and I got that gun out, you're dead ï¿½ I will not sit around trying to wound you in the arm," Vento said.
"Hard-earned money"? The completely unrelated sentence about the dude supporting the families of slain officers? Does Vento share a publicist with Kim Jong-il?
The story goes on to reveal that the "alleged plot" stems from the arrest of two men who were brought in on seemingly unrelated offenses. Neither has been charged with anything related to Vento. Regardless, it's comforting to know that if the cheesesteak baron were to encounter these fake criminals who don't exist, he would shoot to kill.
|Photo | Jessica Kourkounis|
- This week's cover feature sees national food writer (and CP copy editor!) Carolyn Wyman touring the 10 best cheesesteaks you've never consumed. Roxborough, Delaware, Camden and Bala Cynwyd are just a few of the areas Wyman, author of brand-new The Great Philly Cheesesteak Book, mines for the good-good stuff. Be sure to leave your thoughts on the unranked list in the comments ï¿½ and go meet Wyman today at noon at the brand-new Rick's Steaks in the Bellevue (Broad and Walnut).
- It's a big love situation for Trey Popp at the Kibitz Room, where the portions are preposterous, the pickle bar is glorious and the atmosphere is convivial. The sandwich above has corned beef, tongue and turkey on it. Yes please!
- Meal Ticket's Felicia D. pays a visit to Bonk's Bar in Port Richmond, which is well-known for its blue crabs. But what happens when they run out? Flea discovers that good eats are not limited to things you must crack with a mallet.
- What's Cooking this week? Let's ask Lauren Fleming ï¿½ she drops word on an FOP fundraiser at Yards, a local cooking class taught by Katie Cavuto of The Next Food Network Star, a star-studded PAWS dinner and more.
- Got your openings and coming-soons covered in Feeding Frenzy: Click through for info on Blockley Pourhouse, Sonata Restaurant, Lucky Old Souls and California Tortilla.
Longtime CP contributor/copy editor Carolyn Wyman (above) has written The Great Philly Cheesesteak Book, a detailed paean to our city's quintessential between-bread draw. While you're going to have to wait until tomorrow's issue hits the stands (or peep our site tonight!) to read an exclusive excerpt of CW's grease-stained opus, it's important we let you know about three chances you'll have to meet the author and hear more about her work.
Tomorrow, June 25: Carolyn will be in the house at the Bellevue (Broad and Walnut) at noon to celebrate the grand reopening of the embattled Rick's Steaks. Books will be available for purchase.
Saturday, July 11: You have to know Carolyn to know this, but she is a badass on two wheels. On this day, she'll be leading a 12-mile bike ride to eight different cheesesteak shops. Starts at Sonny's and Campo's in Old City, ends at Pat's and Geno's, with Johnny's Hots, Tony Luke's, Philip's and Cosmi's in between. The ride is free (pay as you go/meat-sweat for steaks ï¿½ $2 sample sizes will be available), but you have to pre-register.
Wednesday, July 22: Carolyn will read from The Great Philly Cheesesteak Book as part of a 50-minute lecture/slideshow at the Free Library at 7:30 p.m. This event is free and open to the public.
SNACK TIME: ISO split-top and buttered, where in the world is Elsa Marvel, coming soon: an adaptable social space, an empty lipstick tube stuffed with a coil of $100 bills, Yards expanding to East Philadelphia
|Photo courtesy Oyster House|
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
-I used to moan about the lack of lobster rolls in our fair city; the crustacean keepers must have heard my cry.ï¿½ Not only do we have the tony $26 version at the gorgeous old-is-new-again Oyster House, but Phoodie.info has the word on London Grill's $13 lobby roll and $18.95 lobster bake.
- We are really into the MenuPages blog, much more so than MenuPages itself.ï¿½ So we're feeling a bit worried about blogger Elsa Marvel, since the blog hasn't been updated since June 5.ï¿½ï¿½ Where are you, girl? Mama says come home.
-ï¿½ Michael Klein of The Insider must have a Spidey sense for delayed openings. This week he has the details on The Commonwealth, a new "adaptable social space" in Midtown Village.
- Philly Mag food writer and What I Weigh Today blogger Joy Manning went to NYC and hit up two of the most buzzy restaurants in town, Corton and Minetta Tavern. Click over for the scoop and a new wine expert to follow on Twitter.
- Yards could be opening a brewpub in Merchantville, New Jersey, says Joe Sixpack on Beer Radar.ï¿½ The boys are also hard at work devising a pub for their production brewery on Delaware Avenue, which would add the entertaining spectacle of beer geeksï¿½ and Octo Grille patrons alike Froggering across the Avenue on Friday nights.
- 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