Archive: June, 2009
Here's a clip from this morning's Today, featuring chef Jose Garces whipping up fish tacos for an inquisitive Meredith Viera.
Where did I eat these mushroom and cheese crepes topped with ramps, escargots and chartreuse butter?
|Photo | Brian Howard|
Can you name the establishment that served this Sunday brunch special of crepes stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, and topped with ramps, escargots and chartreuse butter?
Hint: It was ordered with one of the city's best artisanal cheese plates.
Local superstar and recent recipient of the James Beard Foundation's award for Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic, Jose Garces will appear on the Today show tomorrow morning. Chef and owner of Amada, Tinto, Distrito and Chifa in Philadelphia, as well as Mercat a la Planxa in Chicago, Garces will talk about his award and prepare halibut tacos from his first cookbook, Latin Evolution.
Catch our guy on Tuesday, June 16 at 8:50 a.m. The Today show is broadcast by our local NBC affiliate, Comcast channel 10, in the greater Philadelphia area.
Keep your eyes peeled for Garces' upcoming Whiskey Village, adjacent to Tinto at 20th and Sansom, to open late this month.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Nothing improves a healthy vegetable salad like the addition of everyone's favorite pork part, bacon.ï¿½ My aunt Cheryl serves this broccoli salad at summer family functions to add an obligatory green vegetable to our usual Italian spread of tortellini salad, hot sausages, meatballs and gravy and aï¿½ totally unnecessary cookie tower.
Raw broccoli is washed and thoroughly dried before being sliced down lengthwise for easy eating.ï¿½ You can use bacon bits in a jar or fry a few strips, as you prefer. Adding golden raisins sounds unusual, but their sweetness provides balance to the bitter crunch of the broccoli and smoky bacon bits.ï¿½ Recipe after the jump.
Cheryl D'Ambrosio's Broccoli Salad with Bacon
Yield: Enough to serve 15-20 guests as a side dish
Go Get This:
3 heads broccoli
1/2 medium red onion, minced
One large jar Hormel bacon bits OR six strips bacon, fried and chopped
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup white sugar
Now Do This:
Wash broccoli thoroughly and cut florets away from large central stems. Spread florets on paper towels, until completely dry.ï¿½ This is important or the salad will not be crunchy.ï¿½ Slice florets down into easy-to-eat sized pieces; see photo above.
When broccoli is sliced down and totally dry, place in large bowl or Tupperware container.ï¿½ In a small bowl, mix all other ingredients together until well blended.ï¿½ Pour over broccoli and mix well.
Cover bowl and place in refrigerator for 3-4 hours.
Mix well before serving.
Remember when Meal Ticket's own Felicia D. participated in Open ChefAMe, the "kitchen karaoke" event at the Dark Horse Pub? Well, 6ABC's FYI Philly program filmed a segment that evening, and it aired this weekend, in support of the next ChefAMe event, scheduled for June 22. Look at Flea go above, and check out all our previous Open ChefAMe coverage while you're at it.
This morning, Meal Ticket dropped into Smokin' Betty's (116 S. 11th St., 215-922-6500), which'll officially open to the public today. It's the latest from Susan Schlisman, who owns Chestnut Street's Devil's Alley in addition to the Sam's Grill locations in Wynnewood and Jenkintown.
The modern, wood- and stone-heavy bilevel space (it's clean-lined, so you might think it's a Pan-Asian joint from outside) has room for 170, with nifty little design features like banquettes tailored with old-fashioned fabric and oversize chalkboards on both floors. Full bar, with 16 American crafts on tapï¿½ (Beer Lass has the lineup).
The smokin' in the name invokes the barbecue gods, and it's true that slow-and-low meats are well-represented here: We're talking flame-grilled chicken, hickory-smoked St. Louis-style ribs, smoked brisket and sides like mac 'n' cheese, Carolina slaw, baked beans and buttermilk biscuits. But in an ode to Schlisman's long-running Sam's diners, there are also quite a few sandwiches, from fresh-roasted turkey and chicken with broccoli rabe to a buffalo chicken sandwich. Burger options include classic ground sirloin, turkey, housemade veggie, lamb and (yes!) a turk-duck-en burger, featuring a duck rillette with ground chicken and turkey, topped with orange-cranberry relish. Check out menu scans after the jump.
Opening hours: Sun.-Thu., 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
|Click to enlarge|
A fire broke out just before 8 a.m. this morning at the original Capogiro Gelato Artisans on the corner of 13th and Sansom Streets.ï¿½ Firefighters had the blaze, which was possibly started by the shop's large gelato display case, under control by 8 a.m.ï¿½ There were no injuries.
Capogiro operations controller Tacy Connell said that the case, which was imported directly from Italy when the shop opened in December 2003,ï¿½ could have overheated after being switched on this morning.ï¿½ Other than the destroyed case, the shop suffered water damage.
13th St. Capogiro will be closed until further notice.
You've probably heard a few things about The Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. (112 S. 18th St., 215-569-1160, thefranklinbar.com), which is taking over the former Bar Noir. And this is probably the most ludicrous: You'll need a password to get in. (More than a few people have asked us for the scoop on this, Philly-brand NIMBYism prematurely enflamed.) Listen: It ain't true. This rumor seems to stem from the fact that folks from Proprietors LLC are consulting on both the interior and the drink program ï¿½ that design firm is run by David Kaplan, co-owner of the East Village's cocktail-forward speakeasy Death & Co. But that's dumb too, as D&C doesn't require surreptitous sippers to drop a password at a door.
"Let me just dispel that rumor right here," says The Franklin manager Mike Welsh. "We're not taking a snobby approach at all. There are certainly elements of mystery and the unknown that make it sort of sexy ... but operationally, we will not have a doorman picking names at the door. There will be no password."
Enough erroneous whispers, Philly. Here's some real info on the bar, which will soft-open to the public this coming Thursday, June 18.
- The name's a nod to the business name mobster Max "Boo Boo" Hoff used to veil his bootlegging business during Prohibition.
- Interior has room for about 50, designed "in an effort to make it feel like it's been there for 100 years," says Welsh. That means wood ceilings, faux finishes, custom-built bar adornments and a marble drink rail.
- The cocktail list, envisioned by consulting bartenders Alexander Day and Joaquin Simo, will consist of between 15 and 20 drinks. Welsh says they want to keep details under wraps until the opening, but expect the approach to reside somewhere in the middle ground between super-mod and super-throwback. (We know that barkeeps from APO and James are on board.) There will be a handful of bottled beers and wines, as well.
- No menu, but they're got a partnership going with Di Bruno's to provide eats for private events.
- Death & Co adheres to a specific head count policy: If there's no physical seat for you, you have to wait till someone leaves to get in. The Franklin won't take this approach, but since the space is small, they'll be very conscious of overcrowding.
- After Thursday's soft-open, they'll be free and clear some nights, but closed intermittently for private receptions. Once that's all through, though (by the week of June 28), they'll pour daily from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
In case you were wondering what I ended up doing with the ground turkey I wrote about on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week ï¿½ though I claimed back then that I wasn't feeling it, I ended up making turkey burgers. While not quite as sexy and nuanced as Felicia D's awesome turkey burger a cheval recipe, I think it turned out pretty well. Directives (not really a recipe per se, that's why it's in quotes above) for easy-as-hell turkey burgers after the jump.
Easy-as-Hell Turkey Burgers
Makes 4 burgers
Go Get This:
1.5-ish pounds lean ground turkey
Three sprigs rosemary, leaves stripped and rough-chopped
Crumbled bleu cheese
Salt, pepper, cumin, garlic salt
Now Do This:
Throw meat in a metal bowl. Salt and pepper meaty surface area facing you, then shake in cumin sparingly.
Throw chopped rosemary into the bowl. Then crack egg in. This'll help bind.
Mix the hell out of the contents of the bowl WITH YOUR HANDS. You'll get lousy results with a spoon.
Once initial seasonings are mixed in, toss in a little more salt, pepper and cumin. Mix with hands again.
Using your palm as a cupping mechanism (hee), form the mixed-up meat into four patties. They'll be hefty. Dust both sides of the patties very lightly with garlic salt before grilling.
Place a grill pan over medium-high heat. (Of course, you can use a grill too.) Once it's ready, place two (two!) of the patties in. Sear them for about 6 minutes on each side. After 12 minutes, cut into one of the patties to check doneness ï¿½ if there's no pink inside, you're good to go. Repeat with second twosome.
As soon as you remove burgers from heat, toss bleu cheese crumbles on top, so it'll be all nice and gooey by the time they're cool enough to eat.
Top with whatever else you'd like ï¿½ we did sautï¿½ed mushrooms, spinach, red onion, tomato and sriracha on a toasted seeded bun ï¿½ and eateateat.
Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov are busy, sure. They're right in the middle of a year of benefiting from getting Esquire's best-of accolades for Zahav (247 Saint James Place, 215-625-8800, zahavrestaurant.com). They're selling off their interest in Marigold Kitchen to chef Robert Halpern, but not before Solomonov and Marigold's past co-pilots host a bang-up six-course meal on Aug. 1. Hell, they're planning to open Percy Street Barbecue on the 900 block of South Street in October, with current Marigold chef Erin O'Shea at the helm. But thatï¿½s not stopping chef Solomonov from dropping some dangerous monthly wine-paired dinners in The Quarter within Zahav.
Last night, Solomonov hooked up with French artisanal chocolatier Michel Cluizel's representatives (Charlotte Deveaux-Jallerat) and the importers at Boutique Wines for something I havenï¿½t had in 10 years: a chocolate feast.
Since I'm a low-carb live-r, no chocolate has touched these lips in a decade. But there was something about the Zahav seal of approval that made me want to approach the cocoa bean for this night. Cluizel's five plantations, from New Guinea to Sao Tome Island, were represented. Importer John Toler's choices are always apt. What could be better? Thatï¿½s where my dining partner and wife Glamorosi came in. It was the perfect date night.
|Click to enlarge
Kobe Beef Tataki with milk chocolate and shiso, paired with Celler el Masroigï¿½s 2008 "Les Sorts Rosat," a Grenache-Carignan blend from Monstant, Spain? The pink-ish wine seemed an odd choice for the Kobe ï¿½ until you took every bite with a smidge of shiso leaf, a member of the mint family grown in India and East Asia. Combined with the hearty sprinkling of chilled, powdery milk chocolate (yes, I licked the spoon it came on) and a secret ingredient (peppercorns), this was a heady, light, sensual treat. For both me and the missus, this was the favorite course of the evening.
Poached lobster with white chocolate and local corn, paired with Prieler's 2006 "Sinner" Chardonnay from Neusiedlersee-Hugelland, Austria? Remember, white chocolate is man-made ï¿½ cocoa butter, baby. Now, team the tenderest lobster I ever ate with a gentle, decidedly un-soapy white chocolate (thatï¿½s what lousy cocoa butter tastes like, soap) and a sauce of hazelnut. Toss in fresh local corn and the delightful splash of Chardonnay. This gave the kobe a run for its money in the sensation stakes.
The pork belly al Haï¿½Esh with smoked shrimp, urfa peppers and 72 percent mole sauce paired with Huarpeï¿½s 2006 "Winery Selection" Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon from Mendoza, Argentina? This was a dense, smoky finale, through and through. A tall, wide chunk of slightly charred belly, gooey fat in the center, tender pork at the bottom ï¿½ itï¿½s a heady piece of meat combined with the morsels of baby shrimp around it. You need a strong wine to get to the psychic heat, of the pork. The poignant but bold Malbec-Cabernet Sauvignon did the trick.
Rounding off this meal was a Tasting of Chocolate featuring the five plantations of Cluizel ï¿½ with pitted cherries, ricotta cheese and coffee bean crï¿½me ï¿½ paired with Jean Milan's NV Sec "Tendresse" Blanc de Blanc from Champagne.
I may not eat chocolate again for another 10 years, but Iï¿½m glad this is how I chose to break that particular fast ï¿½ with perfection.
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