Last week, I snagged a seat at visiting chef Massimo Bruno's Supper Club at Cook (253 S. 20th St.), presented by Mavea Inspired Water and Art in the Age. His bio says it best: "There is no 'ball sheet' [bullshit] at Massimo's table, but there's plenty of great food, a lot of passion, and maybe an opinion or two (or three or four)." Some highlights from the evening were the moist, meatless egg/cheese/bread balls in tomato sauce, the salt-crusted fish (keeping the scales on locks the moisture in and the salt out), and the flourless lemon ricotta cake, perfect for that I-don't-think-I-can-fit-anymore-in-my-belly feeling.
In between courses, Toronto-based Bruno shared some words of wisdom: salt your pasta water by the punch and not the pinch, don't let your wife move the Madonna on top of the TV when Italy is playing in the World Cup, etc. For the full Massimo experience, venture with the chef to his homeland on a Puglian culinary tour.
Alexis Siemons of Teaspoons & Petals presented a post-meal tea tasting, an exceptional digestif alternatif that has inspired me to head over to Premium Steap (www.premiumsteap.com, 111 S. 18th St.) to pick up an infuser and some leaves in the near future. To find out more about upcoming events at Cook (including a tea-inspired cooking lesson with Siemons), check out audreyclairecook.com. Bruno's full menu is after the jump.
When people think of Patrick Rodgers, they think of the shows and records he's produced and released under the Dancing Ferret and Digital Ferret banners, or as one of the gun toters in Kyle Cassidy's Armed America, or maybe as the homeowner who foreclosed on Wells Fargo and made national news. Yet here he is, uniting with Paul Brown at National Mechanics (22 S. Third St.) and Uyghurian master chef Ahmet Mamut (pictured) to create a one-night event celebrating food from China's Xinjiang Province.
Uyghurs are a Chinese ethnic minority descended from Turkic peoples, their land sharing borders with Russia, Mongolia, Pakistan, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. Their language, culture and history is distinct from their Chinese counterparts. In August 2010, Rodgers was on vacation in North Korea, and before flying home decided he'd visit Beijing. "Before that trip, I learned about the Uyghur people and was determined to sample their food," he says. "There was a lovely little Uyghur place [in Beijing] called Xinjiang Crescent Moon." He was floored by the meal, stick-to-the-ribs cooking that incorporated multiple culinary influences. "The most subtle aspect of the cuisine is that on paper, it's fairly simple, but when it's in your mouth, it's pure genius," says Rodgers.
Last week we challenged y'all to answer a very simple question — If you spotted Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert sitting at your local bar, what drinks would you buy for them and WHY? — for the chance at a pair of tickets to this Wednesday's chef-blabbing event at the Merriam. This was a super-tough one that required an impromptu City Paper straw poll, but we've concluded that Meal Ticket commenter rb215 had the winning response (based more on the reasoning than the actual beverage choice):
"the citywide special (pabst and a shot of beam) 1) because i'm broke 2) they don't need to be impressed 3) WHY WOULDN'T YOU?!"
Congrats, rb215, and see you there.
Next Wednesday, Nov. 2, chefs, authors, TV stars and unabashed bros Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert are appearing at the Merriam Theater (250 S. Broad St.) for an evening of off-the-cuff culinary conversation and Q&A that will likely evolve into discussions of chefs as celebrity, boozing, cooking trends, stoner food and (we're sure of this last one) your girl Paula Deen. Tickets are going for, as one friend put it, "Radiohead prices," but Meal Ticket's got a pair that we're getting rid of for free. You want? Just leave a comment on this post with a funny, original and/or scathing answer to the following question:
If you spotted Bourdain and Ripert sitting at your local bar, what drinks would you buy for them — and WHY?
Submit your comment between now and 5 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 27 to be eligible for the win. We'll select the best answer and alert the winner via email, so be sure you comment/register with an address you check frequently. Good luck! See y'all there.
Last Monday, we challenged Meal Ticket readers to come up with one sentence convincing us why they deserved two tix to Toronto chef Massimo Bruno's Oct. 27 supper club at Cook (253 S. 20th St.), a private event put on in coalition with Mavea Inspired Water, Art in the Age and Teaspoons & Petals.
Congrats to Meal Ticket commenter aweiss, who checked in with this very honest reasoning:
I like to tell my friends that I'm connected and I know people "in the industry," so, these tickets would help perpetuate that lie, as well as do WONDERS for my cred.
Have fun! And look out for a recap of the event on Meal Ticket soon.
Chef Massimo Bruno, well-known for his spirited Italian supper clubs held in his kitchen studio in downtown Toronto, is headed south to Philly next week to put on a show at Cook (253 S. 20th St.). Scheduled for next Thursday, Oct. 27, the multi-course meal will highlight the cuisine of Bruno's home region of Puglia, with plenty of educational breaks sprinkled throughout. (Get a taste of the chef's jovial style above.) The dinner, which is being put on in partnership with Art in the Age (handling cocktails), Teaspoons and Petals (after-dinner tea) and Mavea Inspired Water (each guest will leave with their filtration pitcher), is a private affair, but Meal Ticket's landed a pair of seats that we want to give away to a hungry and deserving reader.
All you need to do is leave a ONE-SENTENCE COMMENT on this post convincing us why you deserve these sweet tix. Make it funny, make it pithy, make it weird, make it stand out. (In other words, don't write "I deserve to win because food is awesome!") YOU HAVE FROM NOW UNTIL 5 P.M. THIS WEDNESDAY, OCT. 19. When commenting, be sure to register/log in with an email address you check frequently, as this is how we'll alert the winner. Happy sentencing, good luck, mangia!
La Calaca Feliz (2321 Fairmount Ave.), the Cantina Feliz-backed Fairmount project we detailed last week, has landed an extremely qualified chef de cuisine: Lucio Palazzo, who most recently ran the kitchen at Xochitl (408 S. Second St.) before stepping down in September. Since the restaurant is not slated to open until early next year ("It'll be the best Mexican in town," he avows), Palazzo says he still plans on pursuing the travel opportunities he detailed to us as much as scheduling will allow.
Photo: Neal Santos
When Eric Ripert brought Jennifer Carroll to his 10 Arts at the Ritz-Carlton in 2008, she became a favored chef — of mine, of the city and of viewers of Bravo's Top Chef, where audiences got two looks at the blonde Philadelphian, in both a regular season and its All-Stars session. "From Eric, I definitely learned patience, how to have refinement in my food and how to edit myself," Carroll told me the other day. "But now I have to go. If I don't get out now I won't have the opportunity to see what's out there for me."
With that, Carroll left her post at 10 Arts, but not with a quiet goodbye or even a singularly Carroll-centric meal. Instead, she invited a rogue's gallery of friends, chefs and mixologists to join her in her farewell to Broad and Chestnut, as well as for the Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner that benefits the James Beard Foundation.
Stateside (1536 E. Passyunk Ave.), the American whiskey bar and restaurant from the owners of Green Eggs Café, has been plugging along just off the Passyunk Fountain for months now, and we've finally got some preliminary details on the hush-hush project.
As of last Monday, Mike Stollenwerk's stalwart Little Fish (746 S. Sixth St.) is under new control, but the Fish and Fathom Seafood House chef/owner didn't have to look far to find his buyer — he's sold the Bella Vista seafood restaurant to Chadd Jenkins, who's been Little Fish's chef de cuisine since before it even relocated to Sixth and Fitzwater. (The BYO, originally situated at Sixth and Catharine, moved a block north early this year.)
"Chadd's been with me for a long time, so we figured it was time for him to step up and own it," says Stollenwerk. "He wanted to keep the name and keep it going. I wish him all the best." A big motivator for the move was Stollenwerk's desire to get back into the kitchen — ping-ponging between Little Fish, Fish and Fathom, to say nothing of Fish's impending relocation and a Brewerytown deal in its early stages, was eating up more hands-on cooking time than Stollenwerk liked. He'll get his chance in a big way come late fall, when Fish reopens in its new digs at 13th and Locust; here, Stollenwerk says, the kitchen alone is as large as his current dining room at 1708 Lombard.
Aside from exercising the freedom to put his personal touch on every aspect of the restaurant, Jenkins has no grand plans to overhaul Little Fish's look, feel or concept. Check out his current menu after the jump (click to enlarge).
UPDATE [7 p.m.]: Jenkins says he does plan on doing some remodeling to the space, but not until after the new year. The restaurant's new website should be live in a few weeks.
UPDATE [27sept11]: More news from Stollenwerk via a released statement: He's also selling Fathom, which he opened in February of this year. We're hearing there are three offers on the table for the business right now and that a new owner should be ID'ed in the next few days.
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