Archive: July, 2009
|Photo | Drew Lazor
We have the most recent summer menu for Gene and Amy Giuffi's Cochon (801 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-923-7675). Chef Gene is doing his own pickling and charcuterie in-house these days.
The BYO is also still doing its $30 four-course tasting Tuesday through Thursday (don't sleep on this as a Bastille Day option). This week, they're serving saucisson sec (classic French cured sausage) with cornichons, croutons and whole-grain mustard; crispy skate with haricot verts and a tomato-caper brown butter ("Let them eat skate!"); fresh pappardelle topped with rabbit/snail ragout and smoked bacon; and a mango sorbet in puffed pastry.
Crispy Oysters ï¿½ spicy gazpacho, basil oil $12
Bibb Lettuce Salad - radishes, English peas, lardons, mustard-vinaigrette $9
PEI Mussels - steamed in a white-wine herbed-butter sauce $11
Balsamic-glazed Sweetbreads - smoked ham, pecan and capers $13
House-made Grilled Sausage - frisï¿½e salad, poached egg, balsamic reduction $10
Charcuterie Plate - house-made pï¿½tï¿½, assortment of cured meats $14
Smoked Rabbit Leg ï¿½ pickled grape and jicama salad $10
Grilled Quail - peasant bread salad, haricots verts, vincotto $24
Free Range Duck Breast - spicy mango salad, tempura onion rings, citrus gastrique $26
Seared Scallops - fennel, roasted red peppers, haricots verts, pan-fried gnocchi, lemon-thyme vinaigrette $23
Berkshire Pork Tenderloin - fingerling potatoes, marinated corn, little neck clams $24
Grilled Pork Cutlet ï¿½ toasted Israeli cous-cous, English peas, pea shoots, smoked red-pepper vinaigrette $23
Belvedere Strip Steak - zucchini-potato cake, asparagus, horseradish cream $25
Sides, each $5
tempura onion rings, french fries, roasted fingerling potatoes, grilled asparagus
Here's a quick look at the exterior of SquareBurger, the lil' burger and shake shack Stephen Starr is unveiling tomorrow at 11 a.m. in Franklin Square (200 N. Sixth St., Sixth and Race). It opens tomorrow at 11 a.m., and will serve daily from 11 to 8 until Labor Day (Sept. 7), after which point hours will be trimmed.
|Photo | Manuel Dominguez Jr.
As we Tweeted yesterday evening, chef David Ansill (above in '05) has closed his eponymous bistro at the corner of Third and Bainbridge. He chalks it up to the crappy economy. At the risk of sounding biased, this is a sizable bummer, as the restaurant, whether helmed by early chef Kibett Mengech or Ansill himself, has consistently been one of the most daring and original spots in the entire city. (We'll miss you, bone marrow and truffled duck eggs.)
An excerpt from former CP critic Elisa Ludwig's glowing '06 review of the spot:
On its own, the food is absolutely compelling. It's exotic at times, but never boastful. Duck eggs, for instance, are not a gratuitous, chichi garnish to a dish with six other ingredients. They are served in a bowl, scrambled to a luxuriant softness, folded with flakes of smoked trout and a swirl of crï¿½me fraï¿½che. Also in the ovo category are feathery light shirred eggs, baked with truffles and capped with a triangle of the guilty-pleasure-to-end-all-guilty-pleasures, foie gras. These are dishes that stun and surprise but they're not drama queens. You savor them, and continue your conversation.
A spokesperson for Ansill says the chef has no immediate plans to launch a new project, but we're sure he'll assault us soon with something great.
P.Y.T., in the Piazza at Schmidts (Second and Germantown), opened for drinks last night, and Meal Ticket was in the joint, along with our dudes Ben and Jeff from Unbreaded (Set 2, Pic 3). The burger and shake joint, masterminded by Paper Street's Tommy Up, features a bright front room with a long bar, amended by plenty of outdoor seating. A second bar, accessible through the communal bathroom area (Set 2, Pic 5), is the highlight of a not-quite-complete back room.
They're just doing booze for now (lots of PBC on tap), but they'll start serving food next week. Menu's designed by chef Josh McCullough of Time. Check it after the jump.
The P.Y.T. Deluxe $8
The Royale with Cheese (2 Patties) $10
The Big Mic (3 Patties) $12
* All include our own Special Sauce, Lettuce, Tomato, American Cheese, Kettle Chips sprinkled on top & bacon
Standard Cheese Burger $6
Extra Toppings: Bacon, Avocado, Mushrooms, Onion (Raw or Sautï¿½ed), Lettuce, Tomato, Hot Peppers, Pickles, Chips, Burger Sauce, Mayo, Relish Garlic Sauce, House Sauce, Sweet Mustard, Hot Mustard, Regular Mustard, Jalapenos, Cheddar, Goat Cheese, Boursin Cheese, American Cheese, Blue Cheese, Provolone Cheese, Swiss Cheese and of course, Cheez Whiz.
Baby Burgers (like sliders, but cuter) 3 for $8, 6 for $15
Grilled Cheese w/ Tomato & Mushrooms $7
You pick the cheese
P.Y.T. Grilled Cheese (Bacon, Mushrooms, Tomato, Boursin Cheese) $9
Hot Dog $4
P.Y.T. Dog $6
Chili, Cheese and Onions
Lobster Fish Sticks $13
(Actual Fresh Lobster with our spicy house dipping sauce)
Veggie Burger #1, the Bogus Burger $8
White Beans, Basil and Tomato
Veggie Burger #2, The Cali-Bunga $8
Portobello, Cheese, House Sauce
P.Y.T. BLT $7
The F.L.T. ("Faux Bacon," Lettuce & Tomato) $7
Handcut "Fresh" Fries $2 Small $3 Large
Kettle Chips $1
P.Y.T. Salad $6
Pick your toppings, pick your dressing
Full Shake Menu In Development, using fresh hand-crafted ice cream $5
Full "Adult" Shake Menu In Development, blended with premium spirits $10
Small selection of classic desserts, including a deconstructed banana split, a giant fresh-baked cookie ice cream sandwich and deep-fried candy bars topped with ice cream.
Ever since the odd blackout at Phillyblog, there's been a void where that discussion forum's food and drink-specific section used to be. Sure, eGullet and CHOW are out there, but they're statewide in scope; there are several smaller neighborhood forums, but those are too border-specific. Why can't Philly ï¿½ the city ï¿½ have its very own rant and rave space?
Enter Foodadelphia, a new web community for local food fiends, that launched less than a week back.
Who's behind it? Matthew Scobell, a foodie and tech professional who lives in Rittenhouse. One thing you may notice about the site is that it's very clean and no-frills. This was on purpose. "I wanted to create a community where the software doesn't get in the way," says Scobell, who built the site with bbPress. "I appreciate minimalistic design and usability, so Foodadelphia doesn't have all the bells and whistles and sinks and it's non-invasive."ï¿½
Scobell's also pushing for the community to be egalitarian. There's no rating system, and no pithy titles based on how many posts you've completed or how many threads you've started.
Of course, Foodadelphia's got its own Twitter and Facebook.
Meal Ticket just received the finalized menus for SquareBurger, the outdoor burger and shake stand Stephen Starr is debuting on Franklin Square (200 N. Sixth St.) this coming Monday. You've got classic ham and cheeseburgers for $4.50 and $4.75, respectively; a veg burger; the Philly Dog (all-beef frank wrapped in salami, with pickle, onion, cherry peppers, plum tomatoes and mustard); and all sorts of shakes and sundaes, including one with Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets, butterscotch sauce and Heath Bar pieces (!). Sorry, Summer Love Salad with fields greens and green beans, but we're going to be doing meaty things up in this shack.
|Click to enlarge|
The Good Word is a new weekly Meal Ticket feature where we ask Philadelphia food people questions. We're going to start by highlighting the city's many excellent food writers and bloggers, with eventual plans to extend beyond the scribeosphere. The questions will be different every week unless we come across a really sweet one we want to reuse. Want to nominate a future Good Word candidate (yes, you can nominate yourself), or submit ideas for questions? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the inaugural installment of The Good Word, we're chatting with Arthur Etchells, founder and editor of Foobooz.com, the three-year-old site that PW critic Adam Erace has referred to as "the Moses of Philly food blogs." The Good Word indeed.
So Art ï¿½ what's the worst thing about food blogging?
Worst thing about food blogging has to be the way food becomes thisï¿½insatiableï¿½siren. There's always something new to try. An old favorite you've neglected. And then you feel a bit guilty as you cook up some Trader Joe's chicken dumplings. And you never should feel guilty about TJ's dumplings.
What's your favorite hangover cure in the city?
Hangover cure is the Reading Terminal Market, especially since it is now open on Sundays. People talk about getting something greasy and fried. But there's something about a DiNic's roast beef sandwich that makes me feel like a human again. I think it's the sharp provolone. Opens my sinuses up. And if that doesn't do it, keep eating, there's tons of stuff around you.
What bar do you go to when you don't want to run into anyone you know?
Name a Philly restaurant you wish was open 24 hours, and why.
As much as I'd like to pop in for some tapas at Amada come 3 a.m., I think I'd go with John's Roast Pork. That way, the late-night cheesesteak run would actually taste good, and there would finally be a place to get a great roast pork sandwich after dark.
Mae Vong, who's run a business at the corner of 19th and Christian since 1985, says an influx of new residents to the neighborhood motivated her to revamp her grocery into May's Gourmet Cafï¿½ & Deli, which opened to the public yesterday.
There are general grocery items for sale at the deli (1845 Christian St., 215-55645-1052), which offers both takeout and delivery. They're doing drinks, smoothies, ice cream, La Colombe coffee, salads, wraps and deli sandwiches using Dietz & Watson meat and cheese. (One interestingly named one we want to get next time ï¿½ "The Nigerian," with turkey, turkey salami and roast beef. Nothing says West Africa quite like turkey salami!) In the next few days, Vong adds, they'll start serving banh mi and bubble tea.
May's is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., but they may end up closing a little early on Sundays.
|Click to enlarge|
The question that ate at me throughout last night's Masters episode was not culinary in nature: Am I gonna have to like Neil Patrick Harris less now that I know he's a hardcore MAGIC ENTHUSIAST? I'm leaning toward yes, and that breaks my damn heart. I love Doogie. I love Harold & Kumar. I love How I Met Your Mother. I even kinda like that Dr. Horrible singing jawn even though I usually mark most Joss Whedon-tainted things with my red rubber douche stamp. Why, why, why must you possess such a sincere and dedicated interest in the lame-ass art of illusion, NPH?! You've liked it ever since you were 10 or 11, foreal? You're really BFF with Ed Alonzo? Can't you just be into perverted cinema or awards hosting like so many of the other famous gay men I admire?
I am filled with NPH-brand ennui, and the only thing that can get me out of my funk is a screening of Undercover Brother.
The actual cooking part of last night's episode was OK.
The latest foursome (two more eps to go till the six finalist slots are filled): Douglas Rodriguez, exec chef of Alma de Cuba here in Phily as well as many other Nuevo Latino spots in the states; Anita Lo, the no-nonsense woman behind NY's Annisa and Rickshaw Dumpling Bar; NOLA's John Besh, who may actually rival Rick Bayless in Ilovetohearmyselftalkitude; and Mark Peel, of L.A.'s opulent Campanile.
Quickfire: Cook eggs with one hand behind your back, monkeys! (How did the albumen-crazed Wylie Dufresne not draw this one?) Rodriguez rightly calls the task a "circus act," and rocks out with one paw to the tune of an open-faced arepa with scrambled eggs and ham. Peel, whose father was actually born with one arm (I feel like this QF should've offended him, knowing that), somehow pulls off a fresh duck egg pasta with a single hand, which was truly impressive. Lo uses one of those cutty tools to pop the top off her eggs, refilling them with a shiitake scramble flavored with truffle oil and oyster sauce. Besh underestimates how long it'll take for his eggs to cook inside teeny casserole dishes and ends up earning what I believe is the lowest Masters dish score to date ï¿½ half a star. Oof! Anita's dish impresses the judges' panel ï¿½ which includes Gail S, eyyy girl ï¿½ so much that she takes the first challenge with a perfect 5.
Elimination: A magician named Max Maven (right) comes in wearing an outfit from the Ra's Al Ghul Pajama Collection (now @ Sears) and instructs the cheftestants to draw cards. Using some sort of trick that didn't really seem that impressive in the context of TV, he assigns each chef an adjective pertaining to magic ï¿½ mystery! surprise! spectacle! illusion! wackness! ï¿½ and tells them they must create a dish conveying this concept for NPH, a dude who I assume is his boyfriend (they didn't ID him as much though ... weak Bravo!) and Alonzo, the magician you know best as Max, owner of The Max, from Saved by the Bell. This got me thinking about all all the small furry animals ï¿½ birds, rabbits, etc. ï¿½ Max would produce out of thin air on the reg when talking to Zach and them. I bet the entire kitchen of that place was teeming with filthy free-roaming critters. You can't have a damn magic bunnies behind the line! Health code violation! Shut The Max down!
Tom C. checks in with the chefs in the kitchen of the Magic Castle ("It feels like Hogwarts," says Lo), where they're serving the guests and judges. He leaves too soon. See you in August, Tom C. Peel, who draws "Mystery," puts Tai snapper, and shrimp/garlic mash and stewed leeks into a parchment paper bag tied with a string. "So delicate," coos NPH. Aw c'mon, Barney's not supposed to talk like that. SUIT UP. Besh, working with "Surprise," asks NPH to hold a vat of liquid nitrogen to prepare a creme fraiche and horseradish sorbet tableside. He uses it to top a cucumber and salmon roe salad, while the rest of his plate features salmon tartare and tempura-fried lobster wrapped in smoked salmon. Lo, who has to convey "Illusion," creates a nifty preparation meant to mimic a scallop, using braised daikon stuffed with steak tartare. NPH LOVES IT. Rodriguez, who's assigned "Spectacle" (the perfect thing for dude since his cooking is ballsy/unexpected), does duck in four separate preparations, including one that involves a duck soup served in a flaming coconut. Problem is that he doesn't have any 151 to get the fiery effect going, so he smears the 'nuts up with Sterno gel with lackluster results.
At the judges' table, they stick it to Besh because his liquid nitrogen sorbet was too cold. (It was prepared with liquid nitrogen, guys.) Gael Greene likens Lo's faux scallop "a surrealistic painting," and the rest of the panel is also very complimentary about it. Rodriguez is docked for poor execution, and Besh can't recover from the brutal .5 Quickfire, so it comes down to Peel and Lo, whose dishes were both admired by the panel. Lo ends up with an impressive 22.5, beating out Peel's 18.5 for a spot in the final challenge.
I still can't come to terms with the fact that NPH loves magic so much.
Next week: Hey famous chefs, make a three-course dinner for 100 people with absolutely no help.
Stop by any Chick-fil-A location tomorrow, July 10, dressed as a cow, and you'll get a free meal.
If you donï¿½t have a cow costume (I donï¿½t know why anyone wouldnï¿½t, but ... ) the chain has provided a starter kit that craft folks can download, print out and cut to create their own get-up. If your costume is really nifty, send in your picture and you could win chicken for a year.
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