Eat This Immediately
Coming across this short video of our dude David Katz whipping up his now-famed sizzling mussels reminded me just how much I dig this starter. The Mï¿½mï¿½ chef/owner pops the little guys out of their shells and lightly dusts them in Wondra flour before sautï¿½eing in a pan. As you can see in the clip, the seasoning sesh is kept short and sweet savory ï¿½ salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, lemon, olive oil ï¿½ before the whole deal is transferred into a incredibly hot cast-iron skillet.
You will start shoveling these things into your mouth the second that skillet is dropped on your table. You may burn a temporary hole in your tongue. You will not care.
Eat this immediately.
Video: YouTube user ifiwerethemayor
|Phone Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
When my little brother came up the stairs clutching a box of freshly dug Irish Potatoes, my own fat kid sense started tingling. There was half a tube of left-over Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies in the cabinet, and after dinner we totally went for it.
I know you're jealous. These are totally seasonal.
Juicing can mean two things — either a Jack LaLanne-inspired commitment to turning fruits and veggies into liquid, or pumping your bod full of anabolic steroids and shrinking your nuts in the bargain.
East P'unk Ave. cafe B2 takes the first tack, with a selection of fruits and veggies you can combine any way you like. Meal Ticket opted for a virtuous blend of beet, carrot and ginger that poured a vibrant magenta shade. B2 barista Amelia was looking forward to juicing cucumbers and grapefruits into a blend that begs for a hit of gin.
We're not advocating getting toasted in the morning, mind you. It's just that B2 is open until 8 p.m., and we'd feel heaps better about happy hour if fresh blackberry-parsley-lemon juice were making the scene, too.
B2, 1500 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-271-5520
|Whole kumquats, and one in cross-section|
|Photo l Michael Persico|
Once called "the little gems of the citrus family," kumquats were reclassified in 1915 into the genus Fortunella, which includes six small Asiatic species. They differ from other citrus in that the skin is sweet and edible, concealing tart flesh. The best way to eat this little jewel is to pop the entire fruit in your mouth. A bite will reveal the layers of flavor: clean sourness after the slightly oily, spicy sweet skin. The most commonly sold kumquats in the U.S. go by the name Nagami, and are an excellent source of Vitamin C and fiber.
Florence Fabricant recently cataloged the development of a new seedless kumquat variant, which has been available in Japan for some time. Seedless kumquats for the U.S. market are now being grown in Panama, and can be purchased from baldorfood.com for $15 per 2 pounds.
Fabricant suggests simmering whole or halved kumquats in sugar syrup for cocktails, or blanching and slicing into salads.
Organic kumquats are available for $3.99 a box at Whole Foods, 929 South St., 215-733-9788, and 2001 Pennsylvania Ave., 215-557-0015
|Duck confit topped with a poached egg, at|
LoBianco New American Cuisine in
|MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Inquirer Staff Photographer|
Eggs are in, no yolk (rim shot!). Joyce Gemperlein, for the Inquirer, catalogs the many poached and fried eggs topping dishes around town.
The Lombardo pizza at Osteria features a yellow jewel in its sausage-and-cheese crown: a poached egg.
Chef Jim Burke at James adds richness to sole wrapped in thin-cut potatoes with a slow-poached egg.
At his restaurant LoBianco New American Cuisine in Collingswood, Nicholas LoBianco adds a runny-yolked poached egg to his duck confit hash.
Gemperlein adds in her favorite: the egg nestled in a hot bowl of Korean bibimbap, and offers instructions for getting fried eggs just right. We can't get enough of the fried-egg topped classic, burger à cheval, even if it's made of fowl.
The Pif method for poaching eggs:
In small saucepan, bring at least 2 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of white vinegar to a brisk simmer (not boiling). With a chopstick, spin the water into a fast whirlpool and crack in a single egg. Poach until whites have set, 4 to 5 minutes, and remove with a slotted spoon.
Eat with pretty much anything.
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Yesterday, I was moved by soup.
People who know know how good Café Lutécia's tomato bisque is. You might remember Cecilia Razak writing about it last summer — the stuff is so transcendent that it sells out even in 90-degree weather. But yesterday, I opted for a bowl of their fennel bisque, which I hadn't tried before. I was utterly wowed by its fullness of flavor. I can't quite find the words to describe everything going on in each spoonful, but I can tell you that I was angry and saddened when the bottom of the bowl became visible.
Too bad I couldn't get any dirt on it.
"I love your fennel bisque so much," I said up at the counter to Lutécia owner Valerie Blum, who was messing with some dishes in the back. "If you don't mind me asking, can you share what goes into it?"
"No!" replied Blum, smiling mischievously.
"People ask me the same about my tomato bisque," she continued, her hands busy all the while. "They say, 'You should write a cookbook.' I won't ... this is a recipe that will be passed down to my children."
"If I could make soup like that," I told her, "I wouldn't give up the recipe, either."
Eat this immediately.
Café Lutécia, 2301 Lombard St., 215-790-9557
|Bridgid's chicken and waffles with a side of scrapple|
|Photo | Neal Santos|
Sunday brunch in Fairmount usually takes me to one of two places — Sabrina's Café and Spencer's Too or Mugshots. But when I was out for drinks the night before at Bridgid's, the brunch menu casually mentioned chicken and waffles among its offerings.
If you're not down with waiting in ridiculously long lines for often ridiculously priced food at other brunch spots around the city, Bridgid's offers you a moderately priced option in a cozy, quiet atmosphere.
The menu lists their offerings by price, with no individual item exceeding $10-$12. My friend and I enjoyed chicken and peanut soup ($5) to start. The broth featured the perfect blend of salty and sour, cooked down from a mirepoix base and peanuts.
Not long after the soup came, our lovely waitress came by with the chicken and waffles and the waffle egg sandwich, respectively, and our shared side of scrapple.
The waffle egg sandwich was no joke. The waffles, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside with traces of vanilla and buttermilk was stuffed with a fried egg and crispy bacon. The dish ($10) came with a side of home fries.
The chicken and waffles wasn't exactly what I was expecting, as the "chicken" element was, in reality, chicken tenders. Once I got past the no-boned-surprise, the dish was well-equipped with fluffy waffles, plenty of syrup, and a side of strawberries and oranges. For $10, I had no complaints.
The scrapple ($3) came, to my surprise, crispy, salty and somewhat smokey in flavor. A delicious treat as I swapped between salty and sweet.
To top it off, we enjoyed a banana chocolate bread pudding ($5) with a cup of coffee that came with a generous dollop of whipped cream. The banana was a little firm on my palate, a little off-putting for pudding.
After a night of drinking Belgian beers, come back the morning after for chicken and waffles.
Eat this immediately.
Not Philly Fish & Co., but you get the idea.
Philadelphia Fish & Co. is the latest hero of our never-ending search for cheap edibles, bargain hangovers and free info-tainment. The Old City seafooderie is getting butts in the seats with this bar-only deal:
One pint PBR, half a grilled cheese sandwich and a bowl o' tomato soup for $3.11.
So you're headed back to work or out on the town with a belly full of butter, white bread, and sweet sweet beer. PBR is sort of beer, right?
Big ups to City Paper assistant publisher Roxanne Cooper who turned Meal Ticket on to this, the finest cheapest meal in the greater Old City area.
Fair Warning: If you tip 60 cents on this lunch, which is technically 20 percent, you will be rocked by the most epic food poisoning/hideous breakup/ill-timed joke of your life. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but that bastardly tip karma always gets its man.
Philadelphia Fish & Co., 207 Chestnut St., 215-625-8605
Founded in 1824, the Macallan distilery in Speyside, Scotland produces a diverse portfolio of whiskys for both the novice and the seasoned Scotch drinker. As a bartender, I often recommend Macallan 12 to guests desirous of a gentle Scotch 101; the liquor is neither inaccessibly priced (as single malts go) nor extremely smoky. Its appeal to a broad audience is evidenced by its huge share of the single-malt market in America; it is second (in sales) only to Glenlivet.
One of the best ways to be introduced to the mysteries of Scotch whisky is with a familiar tour guide. In the case of Macallan 12, the best tour guide available is an all-American coconut cream pie. The dreamiest version of the tropical treat comes from the candy-pink sugar shack at 2nd and Arch, Tartes.
Tartes chef and owner Teresa Wall's coco-for-one is built on a base of toasted coconut cookie crust, filled with coconut cream, topped with whipped and sprinkled with more toasted coconut. It is a dessert tour de force on its own, but when paired with the slightly sharp whisky, things get pretty crazy.
The method for marrying the sexy duo goes like this: take a bite of the coconut pie, and just as the last bits of cream dissolve on your tongue, take a sip of whisky. The European oak sherry casks that the whisky ages in lend notes of spice, specifically ginger and cinnamon, that cut through the creamy dessert. Conversely, the sweetness of the pie brings out the subtle fruity sweetness of the Scotch -- the figs and apricots that lie beneath, as it were.
If coconut cream pie just doesn't do it for you, apple pie with cinnamon ice cream or crème brûlée play the sweet ingenue role just as adeptly.
But don't take my word for it -- Eat This (together) Immediately!
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
When I eat at Vietnamese places, I tend to stay pretty boring with my appetizers, opting for simple spring or summer rolls. (Deviation, however, usually manifests itself in my pho order, which tends to lean toward the tendon-y tripe-y end of the spectrum.) But I just couldn't pass up the roast quail (chim quay) starter at Nam Son, tucked into the shopping center at 16th and Washington. (It was previously called Nam Phuong, like the one at 11th and Washington; word has it that the principle of that location sold it to another party and is now operating solely out of this spot.)
Offered on an oval platter atop a rather negligible bed of lettuce, shredded carrots and cilantro, two quails are quartered, their teeny wings tucked aerodynamically close to the breast as if they were caught and cooked in mid-divebomb. The roasted skin is crisp but not greasy, boasting a sweet garlic and five-spice-enhanced glaze that's nice with a bit of the vinegary soy dipping sauce. Tiny bones crop up with some frequency, so keep an eye out.
As I coarsely ravaged my plate with my hands, I noticed a group of eight Viet-speaking diners shooting occasional glances over at me and whispering. At first, I figured they were impressed by my immersive culinary gusto, steering clear of the Americanized junk for their real deal countrymen's food. Then I realized I just looked like a total slob and had stuff all over my face. They were probably saying "get this poor kid a napkin" to each other in their native tongue.
Eat this immediately.
Nam Son Vietnamese Restaurant, 1601 Washington Ave., 215-545-4067
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