Archive: August, 2009
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
We here at Meal Ticket love the farmers markets ï¿½ but weekends have a way of sucking all the local/sustainable lifeforce out of us, rendering us sedentary balls of couch-cuddling goo while the rest of the city is power-walking through the stalls at Headhouse Square. So thank God for Pumpkin Market (1610 South St., 215-545-3924), which carries only the best locally produced stuff ï¿½ and stays open till 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Take in this recent pull ï¿½ corn, squash, red cabbage, baby heirloom tomatoes, herbs, shallots, garlic, peaches, chilies, merguez sausage, a piece of frozen salmon, fresh mozzarella ï¿½ all for under $25. We used all the veggies to crank out this sautï¿½ed shrimp over cabbage/corn salad dish, with a big pile of roasted squash on the side.
Follow the market on Twitter for the latest word on what they've got in stock.
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Shoutout to the very sweet Rachel Klein of Miss Rachel's Pantry, who was kind enough to treat us to this delicious vegan lunch today. We destroyed a tofu chicken salad sandwich topped with smoked tempeh (tastes like ... sausage!), a hearty potato corn chowder and some lovely berries dressed in a lime sauce.
Vegan chefs ï¿½ helping Team Meal Ticket not die of massive coronaries since 2008.
A bit of info on Rachel, who we spoke to back in November for a piece on vegan travel tips: Based out of South Philly, she does catering, meal delivery and personal cheffing. More info on her services here; you should also check out her blog.
Freshly returned from the wilds of Chicago and Mercat a la Planxa, new Amada chef de cuisine MacGregor Mann offered to show Team Meal Ticket a few of the restaurant's 11 new menu items. (Check him out in action above.) The plates are the restaurant's biggest menu change to date; you can get them a la carte or try a featured eight on La Mesa de Jose tasting menu ($55) that runs through August.
|Photo | Neal Santos
One of the simplest recipes, a Cordoban gazpacho called salmorejo (above), is featured in our food sidebar this week. But we didn't have enough room in print to include info on the gorgeous garnishes that elevate this soup from fresh and healthy to totally decadent ï¿½ we're talking diced hiramasa (buttery kingfish), serrano crisps, hard-boiled egg pressed through a chinois, strawberry paint, infant sorrel and black olive dust.
After the jump, try your hand (and blender) at Amada's official recipe just as we received it, including the methods for the salty serrano crisps and fluffy egg garnish.
Greengrow Farm's Summer Sustainability series of free workshops has taught us urban agriculture skills, from worm composting to how to get down with biodiesel.ï¿½ Tonight, Greensgrowers Patrick and Ryan share their methods for canning and pickling the season's abundant produce.ï¿½ Refrigerator pickles and fermented carrots are on the agenda; you can even buy the Ball jars for canning in the Farm Market.
RSVP to Erik if you plan to attend tonight's free workshop, email@example.com
Summer Sustainability Series, every Thursday night through August 27, 6:30 p.m., Greensgrow Farm, 2501 E. Cumberland St., 215- 427- 2702, greensgrow.org
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|Soak herb wood prior to smoking|
Keep your eyes peeled and your mind open in the Reading Terminal Market and you will come across all kinds of culinary inspiration.
Paul Tsakos, farmer and owner of Overbrook Herb Farm, gave us a few helpful hints on cooking with herb wood. "Soak it for about an hour in water -- you want to create smoke, not just burn it up," he said. "Then put it on the grill and put whatever you're cooking on top of it."
What would benefit from some herb smoke?ï¿½ Lamb comes immediately toï¿½ mind, or a pork roast. You could bust some of the wood up and stuff it in a beer can for Beer-Can Chicken on the grill, or fast-smoke some salmon.
Cause when you're smoking herbs, the possibilities are endless.
Overbrook Herb Farm herb wood, $2, Fair Food Farmstand, Reading Terminal Market, 12th & Arch, 215-627-2029, whitedogcafefoundation.com
|Photos | Drew Lazor (click to enlarge)|
Michele DiPietro and Irene Landy, co-owners of Meritage (500 S. 20th St., 215-985-1922), are reopening their Graduate Hospital-area restaurant tonight after a 10-day revamp. Here's your first look at the new interior ï¿½ they've added high-top seating for 12 next across from the 10-person bar; installed hardwood floors, new windows and new butcher-block tables in the dining room; and brightened up the space with new mirrors, artwork and a calming yellow paint job. Vino's still the thing here, and there are some pricey reserve bottles still available, but the primary focus now lies on the 50-bottle list ï¿½ 25 whites, 25 reds, all priced under $50.
New head chef Anne Elizabeth Coll comes to Meritage from Susanna Foo ï¿½ she's overhauled the food entirely, rolling out some Asian-influenced dishes on her new menu (prices top out at $21). Check it all out after the jump.
Roasted spiced almonds and cashews 2
Chick satay with Thai dipping sauce 5
Spiced wonton chips with roasted eggplant caviar 4
Pan-fried Hudson Valley foie gras dumplings with truffled herb brown butter 6
Steamed shrimp dumplings with ginger soy reduction 6
Eblery Farms chicken liver pate with spiced plums, crostini 5
Jersey corn and crab custard with herb oil 4
Grilled grape leaves stuffed with Kobe beef with Vietnamese dipping sauce 5
Crispy herb- and panko-crusted Shellbark Hollow goat cheese with star anise tomato chutney and frizzled Thai basil 5
Sesame-crusted crab and shrimp lollipops with a red pepper sauce 6
White corn soup with herb oil 6
Frisee salad with poached egg, crispy braised pork belly, fingerlings, citrus vinaigrette 9
Mixed green salad with heirloom tomatoes, haricot vert, kirby cucumber in a ginger miso vinaigrette 7
Pan-seared Cape May diver Ssallops with curried cauliflower and Granny Smith apple puree, Thai basil demulsion 13
PEI Mussels with white wine, herbs, tomato and Chinese sausage 11
Tuna tartare with soy wasabi foam, organic Oh micro greens and wonton chips 13
Crab Salad with mango, red onion, Thai basil and passion fruit vinaigrette 12
Herb-crusted lamb chops with spicy chopped salad of cucumber, tomato, herbs, red pepper, and hearts of palm 13
Grilled hanger steak, crispy fingerlings, tomato compote 19
Pan-roasted Maine cod, curried lentils with preserved lemon, baby bok choy and lemongrass emulsion 21
BBQ pork sandwich with toasted bun and Asian slaw 12
Brined and roasted Giannone chicken with Brussels sprouts, Chinese sausage hash and star anise sauce 18
Turmeric and lemongrass risotto with zucchini, white corn and herbs 14
Ginger-glazed BBQ Scottish salmon, fricassee of Jersey corn, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini and herbs 19
Kong (702 N. Second St., 215-922-KONG), the new Hong Kong street food-inspired restaurant from Bistro 7 chef/owner Michael O'Halloran, will open to the public this coming Saturday, August 15, at 5:30 p.m., with a lion dance performance out on the sidewalk in Northern Liberties.
The idea for the spot, on the corner of Second and Fairmount in the former Sovalo, sprung from O'Halloran's regular trips to Hong Kong to visit the family of his wife, Sophia. Out there, the couple caught some of their most memorable eats at dai pai dongs, the open-air kitchen stalls where you're treated to endless takes on dishes that are often static in the hands of more traditional Chinese sit-down restaurants.
Though the menu (after the jump) is broken down into simple categories ï¿½ dim sum, dumplings, buns, noodles, rice ï¿½ there's plenty of variation to be had, and O'Halloran and his crew are keen on scratch-making everything, from the delicate dumpling dough to the five spice-cured slab bacon that makes several appearances in dishes. (Pictured above ï¿½ O'Halloran's mother-in-law, Ping, prepping the "three-way" pork dumplings, which are stuffed with that bacon, pork belly and ground pork.) Think of it as fast slow food ï¿½ lots of dishes that take "30 seconds to [cook], but five days to make," O'Halloran says. Prices are being kept low, topping out at $16. Wine and beer lists are tight; five beers on tap, including a house rice ale.
The restaurant itself is a split space ï¿½ bar on one side, and a dining room, with a raised-platform communal table, on the other. They distressed look on the wall is original ï¿½ they uncovered it after ripping off layers of dry wall and paper, and later decided to dress it up with characters inspired by the work of Tsang Tsou Choi, whom many consider the world's first graf writer. Speaking of artists ï¿½ land pirate is responsible for the parachuting pandas in Kong's bathrooms.
|Click to enlarge
Fond (1623 E. Passyunk Ave.) a BYO from chef Lee Styer and pastry chef Jessie Prawlucki (both formerly of Le Bec-Fin) and former Lacroix captain Tory Keomanivong, is aiming for a late August debut, and Meal Ticket's got their opening menu. Check it out after the jump; more details on the restaurant very soon.
Crispy Veal Sweetbreads
Almonds, Capers, Napa Cabbage, Pickled Red Onion, Heirloom Tomato
Caramelized Onion, Quail Egg, Gruyere
Sweet Corn Risotto
Avocado, Spiced Pancetta, Sherry Vinegar
Charred Octopus Salad
Roasted Tomato, Romesco Sauce, Garlic Bread, Olives, Preserved Lemon
Arugula, ï¿½5 minute egg,ï¿½ Sherry-Roasted Shallots
Yellow Fin Tuna Crudo
Gazpacho Consomme, Pickled Ginger, Yellow Pepper, Avocado
Pan Seared Halibut
Sweet Pea Ravioli, Lemon Brown Butter, English Peas
Grilled Beef Flank Steak
Charred Red Onion, Stilton, Asparagus, Latke, Sauce Bordelaise
Truffled Maiitake, Jersey Corn, Pork Jus
Watercress, Garlic Lemon Crï¿½me Fraiche, Pasta Cake
Piperade, Roasted Fingerlings, Roasted Garlic Sherry Jus
Legendary French chef Guy Savoy will be visiting his buddy Georges Perrier's Le Bec-Fin on September 20 and 21. The duo will collaborate on a seven-course tasting, centered around the decadent, not-quite-in-our-price range ingredient trio of lobster, truffle and foie gras. Savoy, who runs his eponymous restaurant in Paris as well as one in Vegas, has never cooked on the East Coast before.
The dinner's $200 a head ï¿½ not cheap, but for some reason that seems relatively reasonable ï¿½ and is limited to 80 guests each night. Call LBF at 215-567-1000 for rezzies.
Yesterday, Meal Ticket asked you to come up with a cheeky moniker for the as-yet-unnamed pig that'll serve as the mascot for chef Matthew Levin's forthcoming barbecue restaurant Rubb. Today, we're talking to the former Lacroix chef, who's sharing the latest info on that spot, his anticipated NoLibs restaurant Masano ï¿½ and a few clues for what we can expect from him in the future.
The first thing we asked Levin: With Masano up for a late '09/early '10 opening, why'd he decide to take on a second project out in Manayunk ï¿½ especially a barbecue spot, when it seems like quality smoked meat is cropping up all over Philly these days?
Turns out the idea's been on the burner for a minute now.
"When I set out that I was going to do restaurants, I had four concepts in mind," says Levin (pictured with dogs Arthur and Saddie)."One of them was a barbecue restaurant, one of them was a tweaked-out raw bar place, then there was a pizza place, and Masano, my progressive bar food place. [But] the more that I started to dig into the Masano project, the more I realized it was a bigger deal than I had originally imagined."
Given Masano's timetable, Levin figured he might as well tack something off his restaurant list in the meantime. That's how Rubb, scheduled for a mid- to late-September opening at 4445 Main Street in Manayunk, came about.
The 25-seater, an all-brick, terracotta-floored space, will feature four in-house smokers, each of which will employ a different kind of wood. The menu will be unconventional for a barbecue spot ï¿½ while they'll do pulled pork, brisket, ribs and sausage, Levin's also planning on offering up options like smoked turkey breast and Berkshire pork belly. The meat Levin seems most excited about, though, is Elysian Fields lamb, a hyper-exclusive purveyor that supplies the likes of Charlie Trotter, Thomas Keller and Danny Meyer. Levin, who built up a relationship with Elysian during his time at the Rittenhouse, says he'll serve the coveted lamb with a North African mombasa pepper sauce. Levin adds that he plans on going for a beer-only license ï¿½ "no booze in the bug juice," he laughs. There will be a small outdoor seating area.
"Everybody always told me that, me personally, I never fit into Lacroix," says the be-tatted Levin. "I guess it was a little too snooty?" Now, with Masano ï¿½ a portmanteau of his name, with the names of sons Sam and Noah ï¿½ Levin feels that he has "an opportunity to be myself." The 4,000-square-foot space, in the 201 Green complex, will carry a "really stripped-down, warehouse kind of feel." Food will be more along the lines of the food-forward stuff the chef did at Lacroix ï¿½ï¿½ it'll be prix fixe format, along with an a la carte bar menu and a "large raw bar component." Servers will rock mechanic shirts and Chucks, in another move distancing this concept from Levin's former employer.
So Rubb by the fall, Masano sometime in winter. Anything else we need to know about, Matthew? "There is something working," the chef teases. "But I can't talk to you about it yet."
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