Archive: August, 2012
Today on Afternoon Snacks we've got a stay-cation happy hour and burger madness.
Vacation time is upon us, and Twenty Manning Grill (261 S. 20th St.) is helping the poor souls who are stuck in town get away for at least two hours every week. Each Wednesday will bring a new internationally themed “friendly hours” special between 5 and 7 p.m. Past getaways have brought snackers and sippers to France and Italy, and today they're taking you to Greece. Lamb kabobs, sun-dried tomato hummus, Fresca Averoff “Savatiano-Roditis) and a Metaxa cocktail are on the choose 3 for $20 menu.
Bon Appetit has just released its picks for top 50 best new restaurants and we're pleased to announce that the alphabetical list is bookended with two local favorites: Vetri Italo-gastro pub Alla Spina (1410 Mt. Vernon St.) and little-Sicily-in-Collingswood Zeppoli (618 Collings Avenue.)
Bon App is showing love for the pig tails and draft offerings at Alla Spina and digging the seafood offerings and Italian mama sized portions at Zeppoli.
New Tuesday, Andrew Knowlton a.k.a. The Foodist will be whittling the list down to a Hot 10. Here's to hoping that at least one, if not both of these awesome Vetri-pedigreed joints make the cut.
Note: Frida Garza's part time gig working at local farmers' markets affords for plenty of produce, sometimes a little more than she can handle. In Stay Fresh she'll be chiming in with recipe ideas for her seasonal bounty.
I couldn’t ask for a better summer job. Last June, I started selling popsicles for Lil’ Pop Shop (maybe you’ve heard of it) at farmer’s markets around Philly. To me, working alongside local agricultural entrepreneurs means one thing: yummy food. When the lines clear and the stands come down, farmers will often offer up their leftover goods — usually more than I know what to do with.
Freshness is the incentive for buying market produce which means that it doesn't exactly have the longest shelf life. But there’s hope: you can enjoy your produce haul without eating salad for days on end.
East Passyunk Abruzzese favorite, Le Virtù (1927 East Passyunk Ave.) is taking its dessert game to the next level with a menu of olive oil-based desserts from pastry chef Angela Ranalli. Embracing the southern Italian tradition of baking with olive oil in place of butter Ranalli has created a menu of uniquely Italian desserts that highlight the delicate flavors of the oil. There's a ricotta-walnut cake served with caramelized pears, an Italian-accented carrot cake with mascarpone-vanilla bean icing, and a spiced apple cake with mascarpone-thyme cream and walnut brittle. Some of the more unusual olive oil offerings include a sweet take on gnocchi, little fried pastries with lemon dip and a cookie tray featuring cagg'nitt, sweet fried ravioli with a center of chocolate, orange zest, chestnut, and raisin.
And while olive oil is the new flavor of dessert at Le Virtù, chef Joe Cicala has opted to keep one buttery confection on the menu, the Napoleone, a chocolate cake with sour cherry panna cotta and coconut cream, a favorite that he couldn't do without.
If you're a fan of Ranalli's skills, it's worth a mention that she also heads up the pastry department at Vernick (2031 Walnut St.), where she's put together an equally amazing dessert menu.
This past Monday, Top Chef royalty Kevin Sbraga started putting the six chef's counter seats at his eponymous restaurant to good use. Each week, he'll be personally preparing a six-course, $75/head, thematic tasting menu ($50 extra for beverage pairings) served at two seatings each night, but to officially christen the counter, Sbraga is doing a three-week run of the dishes from the show that made him a household name: eggplant terrine, tapioca congee, his dessert take on the Singapore Sling and more. Reservations are a must. Full menu after the jump.
Looks like Le Bec isn't the only place celebrating Julia Child's would be 100th birthday next week. The ever lovely Talula's Garden will be offering a week-long ode to Julia in the form of a prix fixe menu inspired by Mastering the Art of French Cooking from August 13th to the 19th. The 8-course menu is $100 and will feature a selection of fromage as well as an $60 optional pairing of vins biologique i.e. eco-concious wine.
Today we've got political cookies, Thai lunch in Manayunk, cocktail parties and summery new additions.
File this under bipartisanally delicious: the Night Kitchen Bakery (7725 Germantown Ave.) is taking an informal presidential poll with their iced vanilla shortbread cookies, blue for Obama and red for Romney. Buy a cookie for $3.50 to cast your vote, and then follow poll results via facebook. The poll will run until election day (November 6th) so that you have plenty of time to vote with cookies, as well as in the booth.
Philly Beer Scene hipped us to a wacky new addition to the farm to table movement, a Farm to Foam series of beers from Colorado's Twisted Pine Brewing Company. The first run of this fruits-seeds-and-veggies line of beers is Roots Revival, an IPA brewed with locally grown carrots.
Hundreds of pounds of carrots were thrown in with the mash i.e. hops and malt, making for a beer with a subtle carroty-ness, a bit of lemon and light sweetness that counters the bitterness of the hops.
As of right now Bella Vista (738 South 11th St.) is the primary distributer of Twisted Pine but they don't have any Roots Revival on hand. Let's hope they get on board with the Farm to Foam action, we've got to try this loca-brew.
No need to truck out to Lancaster for a taste of Pennsylvania Dutch. Thursday kicks off the 23rd Annual Pennsylvania Dutch Festival at the Reading Terminal Market (1100 Filbert St.) and there are plenty of good eats to be had. Everyone's favorite Amish vendors will be out in full effect from Thursday to Saturday scooping ice cream, slicing up locally raised ham, frying funnel cakes and educating us on the hows and whys of chow-chow and shoo fly pie (no flies involved, FYI).
There will be loads of jam and candy for sale as well as other Amish house ware offerings like handmade brooms and quilts. Saturday the fest opens up to Arch Street with a petting zoo and and buggy rides.
The premier of the fifth season of Next Iron Chef is still a while away (November 4th to be exact) but Food Network has released a the list of cheftestants today. This upcoming season is all about redemption, so you'll be seeing quite a few familiar faces.
Nate Appleman: San Fran chef now consulting for Chipotle.
Alex Guarnaschelli: Chopped judge, Food Network regular.
Amanda Freitag: see above.
Eric Greenspan: soul patch sporting chef at The Foundry in L.A.
Jehangir Mehta: chef at New York's Graffiti and absurdly named Mehtaphor.
Elizabeth Falkner: Food Network stalwart, feels like she's been on every season of NIC.
Spike Mendelsohn: fedora'd former Top Cheffer, currently in D.C. running We the Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery
Tim Love: telegenic Texan.
Marcel Vigneron: everyone's favorite Top Chef molecular gastro-villian.
You'll notice that this list is missing the tenth contestant, that's because there's going to be an online competition for the slot. In the running are Duske Estes, Robert Trevino, Lee Anne Wong and Madison Cowan, the most intriguing Chopped contestant to date.
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