Archive: August, 2009
Steakhouses must needs prepare their stand-alone vegetable side dishes with the same attention to quality they pay to beef and chops. Barclay Prime (237 S. 18th St.) is taking this ingredients-first approach to the next level with their brand-new heirloom tomato station, available in the dining room Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
The station will be heaped with a variety of heirloom fruits from Branch Creek Farms in Perkasie, PA.ï¿½ Guests choose a small, medium and large tomato from the array of Sicilian plum, green zebra, pineapple, sun gold and tiger striped varieties, which are sliced and served with their choice of Hawaiian lava salt, Adler Wood Smoke Salt from Washington or Maldon salt from England, all topped with extra-virgin Sicilian olive oil.
Your individualized tomato tasting runs $20 ï¿½ chef James LoCascio suggests pairing the love apples with the 20-ounce Gachot & Gachot rib eye.
|Keith Haring pancakes, by Matteo Oliverio|
One of the best things about a physical copy of a cookbook is the illustrations. From breaking down a duck to how to truss a roast, there are some things that make so much more sense when illustrated instead of explained.
Recipelook.co.uk blogs for visual learners with their drawn-out recipes, ranging from elementary (baking a potato) to avant-garde (Keith Haring pancakes). The site's creators, Tom Ballhatchet and Amelie Labarthe, welcome submissions from those who can wrangle "a pan in one hand, and a pen in the other."
I'm sending in the visual version of one of my favorite Mark Bittman recipes, Grilled Eggplant Salad with Yogurt. Send your entry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Courtesy of Buttercream|
In a Monday post (and in this week's Feeding Frenzy), we noted that The Cupcake Truck would be making its official debut today at Love Park. Well, Kate Carrara's there right now, and Philly comfort food bon vivant Holly Moore just noted on Twitter that there are "maybe a hundred people in line" for the Truck's wares. She told Meal Ticket she'd have only about 400 in stock for this wave of frosted goodness, so get the hell over there.
Last Friday, we noted (via PhilthyBlog) that Fishtown's Cornerstone Market (19 W. Girard Ave.) would be closing up shop at the end of this month. But co-owner Mike Wilkens has just checked in with a change of plans. They won't be closing at the end of August after all ï¿½ but they will be changing the way they do business.
To cut down costs, Wilkens has slashed his inventory by half, shifting focus more to fresh-made deli sandwiches and prepared food items. A small selection of grocery staples, as well as some locally produced eats and locally grown fruits and vegetables, will still be available. They're open now from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends.
Wilkens adds that he wants to make Cornerstone more of a neighborhood "hang-out place," and is working on introducing seating and WiFi into the market. The long-term goal, Wilkens, says, is to acquire a takeout beer license, and that's still on the table if the market makes it.
In this week's What's Cooking, Lauren Fleming has word on a shrimp boil for a good cause. It'll be at Greensgrow Farms tomorrow from 4 to 8 p.m. (rain or shine), and tix are $30:
Chef Corbin Evans is hosting the first-ever Shrimp Boil event to support Ray Brandhurst, a seventh-generation shrimper, in his fight against cancer. A Louisiana resident for part of his life, Evans planned this event to benefit the Brandhursts as well as to celebrate the reinvention of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. Local favorites Mï¿½mï¿½, Standard Tap, London Grill, Philadelphia Brewing Co. and others are donating food/drink in the form of fried chicken, bread pudding, cole slaw and beer, while Evans will prepare the main entrï¿½e: shrimp. Tickets are $30, but they're hoping to raise a total of $5,000 for the family by selling T-shirts and raffle tickets and accepting additional donations. Greensgrow Farm, 2501 E. Cumberland St., 215-427-2702, greensgrow.org.
Quick word on the shrimp themselves: Chef Evans is shipping 100 pounds of red shrimp ï¿½ not so easy to find around here ï¿½ straight from Louisiana. He'll serve up the boil with the traditional red beans and rice.
Marlo Fioravanti says she and fiancï¿½ Jason Dilks will open their second SliCE location (the original's at 1180 S. 10th) this coming Monday, Aug. 31 ï¿½ crazy-quick turnaround, as the couple only started work on the space in the first week of this month. Located in the former Philly Falafel/Bish Bish Cafï¿½, the new restaurant (1740 Sansom St., 215-557-9299) will offer a menu nearly identical to the South Philly original; they'll do delivery as far north as the Fairmount area (they don't have specific boundaries) and will offer sit-down room for about 20. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
DelCo's Mission Burrito (32 S. Lansdowne Ave., Lansdowne, 610-622-6900) is calling it quits in its current incarnation tomorrow with a fiesta at the restaurant ï¿½ a $10 cover gets you live salsa from a nine-piece band and free 'rita mix (BYOT), and the full menu will be available, too. But just because they're shutting down their current restaurant doesn't mean they're going away ï¿½ co-owner Jackie Bendana tells Meal Ticket that they're transferring the focus to the "Burrito Bandit" (above), their mobile lunch truck that's got a daytime DelCo route and does occasional stops at the Electric Factory to feed post-show crowds. This school year, Bendana adds, they're considering adding stops around UPenn's campus, using Twitter to blast out the Bandit's location. A new physical location in Ocean City, New Jersey is also in the works for 2010.
City Paper's Moveable Feast happy hours have been a hit this summer, so it's worth your while to come out to the second-to-last installment, which'll be tonight at Bocca (236 Market St.) from 5 to 7. Come out, say what's up and take advantage of cheap beers and complimentary apps. If you get hungry post-HH, stay and check out chef Chris D'Ambro's menu, which won raves from CP critic David Snyder back in June.
How many more episodes till we get tired of the Top Chef: Las Vegas gambling motif? Anybody got a wager?
Quickfire: The remaining chefs are herded over to a craps table in the Top Chef kitchen, where the prolific/generally unsettling Disney villain-like celeb chef Todd English makes them toss a pair of dice. (Our girl Jen C. thinks he is "pretty hot.") Whatever number they roll is how many ingredients they must incorporate into their 30-minute dishes. Who sucked? Jesse, whose mushy, sear-less scallops looked anemic (English called them "blonde" ... is that a term?); Eve, who couldn't balance the eight flavors of her grilled asparagus salad; and non-tattooed lifeguard brother Bryan, who used too much yuzu when sous-vide poaching his black cod. At the top? Tattooed lifeguard brother Michael V., with a liquid nitrogen gazpacho (very smart way to unify eight ingredients); Jen C., who did a little something with salmon; and Kevin, who won high praise from English for the perfectly boiled egg in an asparagus/celery salad. Michael V. ends up taking the $15K QF chip (and immunity) for his froze-up soup.
Before we get into the Elimination challenge, do yourself a solid and take this picture the fuck IN:
Sorry to say, but your boy Gaston Todd is a non-factor in this. What is more glorious ï¿½ Tom C.'s forced Billy Joel-style pose with a blazer that looks way, way too big for him? Or the transcendently beautiful Padma's rich lady Slinky/The Last Days of Disco belt? It's a lot to think about.
Elimination: Some horrible couple asks the poor cheftestants to pair eats for their horrible bachelor/bachelorette parties with horrible shots that horrible people like to take at horrible bars. (A Moscow Mule?!) The guys are assigned to cook for the girls' party and vice versa, and Jen C. does not like it. "It doesn't matter if you're a boy or a girl, and I'm a little pissed off about it," she says. The challenge also sets my dark horse pick Ashley off on a sour-ass rant about gay marriage. Ashley, I couldn't agree with you more re: rights for same-sex couples, but is the second episode of Top Chef really the proper venue for this? Save it till the reunion show maybe? Also, my girl has taken to calling her "Wendy and Lucy," after that depressing movie where hobo Michelle Williams loses her dog:
Also This Week in Top Chef Gaydom: Ash is tasked with handling all flower duties for the men's team because he likes dudes ("It's true ï¿½ gay guys do better with flowers than straight guys," he explains), and Mattin laments that he can't flirt with the ladies at the bachelorette party because he's too busy cooking. Why is that last part lumped into this gaydom rundown?
The men's team ends up winning over the ladies, with Bryan, Hector, Eli and Michael V. at the top. Gail loooveesss Eli's tuna tartare, even though she "can't count how many tuna tartares I've eaten in the last 15 years of my life." I mean neither can I Gail but I don't really eat them very often. Also you might want to get your mercury levels checked out. Hector does some good stuff with tofu (there was a vegan at the party) and Michael V.'s almond sorbet with goat cheese is a hit, but V.'s brother Bryan ends up getting one up on his sib thanks to a "whimsical and fun" sweet/sour macaroon stuffed with guac, corn nuts and corn puree.
Girls in the bottom four: Eve, who already sucked once in the QF; Jesse, who again has execution problems; Preeti, who stood by her dish as a crowd-pleaser despite depressed-looking shiso leaves; and Wendy/Lucy/Ashley, who for some reason decided to do two dishes and screwed up a panna cotta (her other one was well-liked, though). Though Bmore girl Jesse seems to be on seriously thin ice with the judges, it's the slightly space-cadetty Eve who ends up getting the boot. Fair enough. I was so confused by the explanation of her "vice" dish from last week that any more Eveism might've induced a coma.
Next week: Cheftestants cook for 300 airmen. Canned food is involved.
It's not local, and I can't sustain regular shopping there on my income, but MoMA Store still wins my heart (and money) with their sleek kitchen toys.ï¿½ The new fall catalog has me wishing for a fiancï¿½e, soley for the wedding registration possibilities.
Clockwise from top left: Once you get a nice table, you need a nice trivet.ï¿½ This Alessi crinkled, stainless-steel number ($70) can be flipped to keep small or large hot pots a safe distance above the tabletop.ï¿½ Add clear elegance to the coffee ritual with Liz Dubois' glass half-pint creamer; giftable at $14.ï¿½ Speaking of gifts, this pair of inside-out champagne flutes ($65) is both striking and sensible: the double layer of mouth-blown borosilicate glass has an insulating effect on the bubbles within.ï¿½ A silicone pig lid from Destination: Japan ($18) can be placed directly over ingredients in a pot or microwave; steam vents through the swine's snout.
Members of the Museum of Modern Art get 10 percent off non-member prices; all the more reason to join up and see the James Ensor's 1891 painting, Skeletons Fighting over a Pickled Herring, before it departs September 21 for the Musï¿½e d'Orsay, Paris.
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