Food and Holidays
|Edible Crafts at CraftGossip.com|
|Edible valentines for all skill levels|
For those too poor to visit Tiffany & Co. but in search of a meaningful gift for Valentine's Day (be it for your mom, best friend, true love or awesome kiddie) Meaghan Mountford of Edible Crafts at CraftGossip.com has assembled a collection of DIY edible gifts.
A wide range of baking skill levels are represented, from simple-but-high-impact projects like a "candy box" of decorated miniature chocolate cupcakes (pictured, by Hello! Cupcake), to cookie Scrabble tiles (pictured, by Bake at 350) frosted in royal icing to spell out a heartfelt message.
Non-mushy projects like pink and red rock candy in You Rock! header bags (pictured, by Martha Stewart's Craft Department) are appropriate for kid-to-kid Valentines, while a pure white cake (pictured, by i am baker) hides a rich red velvet heart.
Non-bakers can even get in on the action by covering Oreo Cakesters with store-bought fondant to create pretty Valentine petit fours; i am baker has the tutorial here.
Project Skill Ratings
- Easy: You Rock! candy (purchase rock candy, package in cello bags, print and staple labels)
- Basic: Cupcake "candy box" (bake and decorate mini cupcakes with candies); Valentine petit fours (buy box of Cakesters and fondant, cover without ripping)
- Patient and Good at Following Directions: Scrabble cookies (baking tools required; steady hands with royal icing)
- Jedi Sugar Skills: Vanilla and red velvet heart cake (there isn't even a tutorial up yet! Also requires carving cake)
|Philly Cupcake on Twitter
Philly Cupcake (12th and Chestnut) is putting out these bad boys today in honor of Pennsylvania's most bizarre cultural ritual. Co-owner Johnny Columbo tells Meal Ticket that the custom cupcake toppers â the lil' guys are crafted out of marshmallow fondant by pastry chef Jill Wong â are available if you pre-order a minimum of half a dozen (five bucks a pop for these particular ones). The order pictured above was sent out to a law firm this morning. Phil saw his shadow already, so why not bulk up for the remaining six weeks of winter with a little sugar, ya know?
Last week, we told you all about the Vaudevillains Mummers brigade's "Philly Phood Phantasia" New Year's Day performance. Here's a clip of the troupe in action on Broad Street Jan. 1.
Apparently, one of the pizza slices in the clip is none other than Daily News gossip columnist Dan Gross. "Iï¿½ve known [co-captain] Hillary [Rea] and a few of the other Vaudevillains for a long time and loved their performances the last two years," Gross tells Meal Ticket. When Rea sent out a note welcoming new members to the troupe, Gross and his wife Holly ï¿½ she was also a slice ï¿½ jumped at the chance. "It was awesome," Gross adds. "Can't wait for next year."
|Courtesy of Hillary Rea
The Space 1026-associated Vaudevillains comic troupe made its Mummers Parade debut in 2008, and the group's chaotic but ultimately triumphant inception was chronicled by Ryan Creed in a Dec. '07 CP cover story.
Back then, they worked off the theme "Mummers in the Global Warming-Induced Perpetual Summer," and in the 2009 parade, they earned fifth place in the Comic Division for "Mummers in a Post-Apocalpytic Nuclear Winter." For the 2010 parade, the Vaudevillains are cutting their struts with a Food Inc.-style sensibility, fancily addressing big agribusiness with the theme "Philly Phood Phantasia."
Vaudevillains captain Tip Flannery, a friend of Meal Ticket, explains that the troupe's performance will address federal corn and soybean subsidies, aka the practice of the government financially rewarding American farmers for raising crops used to produce soybean oil or high-fructose corn syrup ï¿½ "building blocks for fattening foods." Critics place at least partial blame for our country's obesity epidemic on this practice, which negatively affects consumers both health-wise and financially.
Yes, it's pretty heady stuff for a Mummers troupe to tackle, considering that most understand the backbone of the venerable Philadelphia tradition to be, well, fizzy beer-fueled buffoonery. But we're confident the Vaudevillains' performance will deliver the goods.
We're going to have to wait till this Friday to see just how it all plays out on Broad Street, but for now, here's a sneak peek at the Vaudevillains' Phood Phantasia costumes, as modeled by troupe co-captain Jay Roselius. (Thanks to co-captain Hillary Rea for the photos.) Above is the pizza costume that multiple 'villains will don (they'll come together to form a whole pie at some point in the performance). After the jump, a wearable pulled pork sandwich, and a lettuce/tomato costume that we're pretty sure will hoagie-fy something or someone.
|Courtesy of Hillary Rea|
|Photo | Drew Lazor
Firkin-tapping power couple Brendan Hartranft and Leigh Maida have some good stuff planned for Thursday and Friday of this week. On New Year's Eve, check out their special three-course prix-fixe menu at Resurrection Ale House (2425 Grays Ferry Ave.), which they'll begin offering at 5 p.m. (no reservations necessary). It's $45 a head, with optional beer/wine pairing for $35; check out chef Joey Chmiko's menu after the jump.
On Friday, Local 44 (4333 Spruce St.) is celebrating its first anniversary (they opened Jan. 1 '08) by tapping a gang of winter and anniversary beers they've been hording especially for this occasion ï¿½ they'll have stuff from Dogfish Head, Russian River, Port, Lost Abbey, Ommegang, Stone and more. There'll also be free food circulating ï¿½ expect stuff that doesn't appear on the regular L44 menu ï¿½ starting at 5 p.m.
Duck Confit Crepes
Braised Belgian Endive
Grilled Ribeye Steak
Chickpea and Kale Stew
Olive Oil Cake
Honeyed Goat Cheese
Pain con Chocolate
After eating a crazy-good dinner at Koo Zee Doo (614 N. Second St.) this weekend, co-owner Carla Goncalves put us on to she and chef/husband David Gilberg's sweet New Year's Eve deal. Their Vï¿½spera de Ano Novo menu features five courses served family-style ï¿½ oyster turnovers, mixed seafood/meat plates, goat stew and bacalao are just a few of the options ï¿½ for the tough-to-beat price of $75 per couple. Throw the restaurant's BYO status in there and that's a game-changing night out right there. Here's the full NYE menu.
Konstantinos Pitsillides, chef/owner of Kanella (1001 Spruce St., 215-922-1773), is cooking a four-course meal for $60 this New Year's Eve. The kitchen will be open late and Pitsillides says he'll be offering a special addendum to the menu for those interested ï¿½ woodcock, the hard-to-find gamebirds that can be found in the chef's native Cyprus. The BYO will also be open for lunch and dinner on New Year's day, for all y'all recovering revelers.
Check out the full NYE menu after the jump.
1. Duo of filo pastry parcels with arugula and scallion salad
2. Soupia: grilled baby Sepia with green bean, tomato and caperberry salad
3. Pixti apo Kouneli: Rabbit terrine with grain mustard, pickled pearl onions and grilled rustic bread
4. Grilled Lambï¿½s Tongue with fennel and pickled Cauliflower
1. Greek Salad: romaine, tomatoes, cucumber, olives and feta cheese
2. Salad of Grilled vegetables tossed with tahini and caper dressing
1. Homemade Tortelloni filled with halloumi cheese and mint in a yogurt sauce
2. Kakavia: greek fishermanï¿½s rustic stew with an assortment of fish and shellfish, rice and fresh beans - garnished with Augotaraho (grey mullet roe)
3. Grilled and Braised Pigs cheeks with fresh pasta, chanterelle mushrooms, sweet peas and kefalotyri cheese
4. Kleftico :Braised Lamb Shank with orzo yiouvetsi, garnished with crispy leeks
1. A selection of traditional Cypriot desserts with preserved fruit
2. Pithiviers: puff pastry tart filled with almond cream, served with fresh custard
3. Classic chocolate tart served with candied orange
Leighton Meester is hosting a New Year's Eve party at Dusk. We will go if Chuck Mafuckin' Bass goes. Don't mock the scarf, Nathaniel, it's my signature!
Every Dec. 31st, there are 2,984 restaurants offering prix-fixe multi-course dinners of things they don't know how to cook (Cornish game hens?) and almost as many bars laying out buffets of sagging crudites and cheese cubes in their $100 all-you-can-drink packages.ï¿½ We sifted the press releases to bring you the best deals, most exciting eats and premier locations for fireworks viewing.
Cafï¿½ Estelle (444 N. 4th St., 215-925-5080); Before Marshall Green owned his cute 'lil bruncherie, he worked with some of the city's finest classically-trained chefs, like David Ansill and Bryan Sikora.ï¿½ His five-courser ($65 at 6 p.m., $75 at 9 p.m. with Champagne toast) lets Green show off a little, while guests reap the benefits. Housemade potato gnocchi with braised rabbit, medjool dates, cabrales and almonds sure ain't for breakfast. Check the full menu at CafeEstelle.com/eventmenu.php
Sycamore (14 S. Lansdowne Ave., Lansdowne, 484-461-2867);ï¿½ Their $49, five-course tasting menu is one of the most appealing we've seen. Monkfish with celery root purï¿½e, candied cipollini onions and truffle butter sounds decadent enough to be part of your last meal of 2009 before the cheese plate and dessert trio finish you off.ï¿½ Seatings are at 6 and 9 p.m.; download the full menu at SycamoreBYO.com/NYE.pdf
Varga Bar (941 Spruce St., 215-627-5200); Each of R. Evan Turney'sï¿½ five courses has three options, including a vegetarian choice,ï¿½ so diners needn't worry they will be forced to eat what the chef likes to eat (heaven forfend!). Four of the courses are paired with serious brews from Dogfish Head (120 Minute IPA, World Wide Stout), plus a guest appearance from everyone's favorite Mad Elf.ï¿½ $75 per person, seatings at 6 and 8 p.m. Scroll to the bottom of VargaBar.com to download a .pdf of the full menu.
Royal Tavern (937 E. Passyunk Ave., 215-389-6694) $20 for a two-hour open bar including the whole geeky draft list; you choose your two hours, plus all the usual menu items and specials.ï¿½ If previous years are any indication, this is going to be packed.
Superior Firework-Viewing Location
Zahav (237 St. James Place, 215-625-8800); Mesibah Gedolah means "big party" in Hebrew, so this four-courser is sure to be extravagant. $65 snags locally foraged mushrooms and quail confit Al He'sh with foie gras, among other tasties.ï¿½ Better yet, you are a mere block from the 6 p.m. and midnight fireworks shows at Penn's Landing.ï¿½ Bring the Snuggies.
Positano Coast (212 Walnut St., 215-238-0499); $25 per person reserves a couch in Positano's all-white Sopra Lounge and included a sparkling cocktail, midnight toast, party favors and a live DJ.ï¿½ The lounge's floor-to-ceiling windows should provide a clear view of the explosive welcome to 2010.
APO (102 S. 13th St., 215-735-7500); $100 open bar, including all those lovely, complicated cocktails and butlered hors d'oeuvres; Roaring Twenties attire in the fabulous style of Gatsby and Daisy.ï¿½ Just don't run anyone over on your way home from the party.
Silk City (435 Spring Garden St., 215-592-8838); If you're not totally over snow by then, there will be more of it in the Winter Wonderland-themed beer garden.ï¿½ Or just get sweaty in the dance party bit. $12 advance/$15 at the door plus a bevy of cheap drink specials, including Citywides.
|Share your food photo and Drexel and other foundations donate $1 to the United Way|
On Oct. 5, local entrepreneur Devon Segel and a potluck of collaborators launched the easiest way to share warm wishes with those less fortunate this holiday season.ï¿½ Just upload a photo of whatever you're eating (check out my massive fritatta, above) to ShareUrMeal.com, and a local sponsor will donate $1 to the United Way to fight hunger in our region.
Drexel University, Philly StartUp Leaders and a few anonymous private foundations are among the sponsors that donate when you upload your photo.ï¿½ If you're nerdy like Team Meal Ticket and snap your lunch before you ever take the first bite, there is no excuse not to!
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