|Ryan Collerd for the New York Times|
|Sam Calagione and two professors chew corn to make a beer.|
But only in the name of historical accuracy.
The New York Times features the irrepressible owner of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales today, who is now brewing a traditional Peruvian corn beer, chicha. Purple Peruvian corn is milled in the brewer's mouth and spit out before being brewed.
ï¿½You need to convert the starches in the corn into fermentable sugars,ï¿½ the always entertaining Mr. Calagione said by phone from his headquarters in Rehoboth Beach. ï¿½One way is through the malting process. But another way ï¿½ there are natural enzymes in human saliva and by chewing on corn, whether they understood the science of it, ancient brewers through trial and error learned that the natural enzymes in saliva would convert the starch in corn into sugar, so it would ferment. It may sound a little unsavory. ...ï¿½
ï¿½The fact is that this step happens before you brew the beer, so itï¿½s completely sterile,ï¿½ he continued. ï¿½Itï¿½s boiled for over an hour.ï¿½
Dogfish is producing only 10 kegs of the chicha, to be poured exclusively at the Dogfish Head Brewings and Eats brewpub in Rehoboth Beach. Read all about it here.
|Photo | Mark Stehle|
Haven't done one of these rundowns in a minute. Our bad!
- Trey Popp visits Tommy Up's P.Y.T. in the Piazza, and while he digs some menu items, he leaves unimpressed by the signature beef burger. Popp's opinions are already stirring up some controversy ï¿½ so read the piece yourself, then check back on Meal Ticket tomorrow for The Good Word with the man himself.
- Felicia D. loves The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the book's signature cocktail, The Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster. So she asked Katie Loeb, head bartender at Oyster House, to create her own interpretation of the fictional drink. Check out the recipe!
- Newly minted What's Cooking diva Erin Szrankowski breaks down the week in food events, from today's South Jersey grape stomp for Alzheimer's research to Memphis Taproom's intense Mystery Beer Weekend.
- Big week for big openings, as noted in Feeding Frenzy: Village Whiskey (tomorrow), Fond and Marigold Kitchen are all joining the Philly food fray.
I have been known to ring up my preferred watering holes to inquire if they have certain beers (and if that bread pudding is on tonight). As a bartender, I field similar sorts of calls from folks who want me to psychically predict when the Palm will kick so we can get to the Pliny.
Though it cannot make oracular pronouncements with any more certainty than your average annoyed bartender, BeerMenus.com will tell you where you can get your brew of choice right now.ï¿½ The free, searchable site got started in New York; Philadelphia's page was launched June 29 of this year.
Type in your mission, be it "Dogfish Head Punkin Ale" or "cask ale," and the search engine will spit out places eager to give you what you want. The nitty-gritty of prices, descriptions, ABV and methods of delivery (bottle, draft) are listed for comparison. Genius, right?ï¿½ Meal Ticket was so impressed with this innovation we caught up with Will Stephens, who founded BeerMenus.com along with brother Eric Stephens, Michael Leung and Elliott Draper.
Meal Ticket: Philly beer bars change their draft lists constantly. How will this information be kept up-to-date?
Will Stephens: Our site is set up so that bars, restaurants and beer stores can update their menu themselves by logging in and adding or removing beers when they change. We make it easy to browse recently updated menus so that you can easily find the most accurate information. Many bars already update daily in Philly and the number of bars updating grows every day.
ME:ï¿½ Have you gone out beer drinking in Philly yet? What do you think?
WS:ï¿½ I am in Philly every week going to bars and restaurants, and I am continually impressed by the number of local breweries and places selling local beers. Philly, of course, has a variety of places that specialize in great beer, but it's also exciting to see so much craft beer in places that do not specialize in craft beer. It's a real sign that Philly is a beer town.
ME: What are your most-searched beers for Philadelphia?
WS: Russian River Pliny The Elder, Yards Cape Of Good Hope IPA and Trï¿½egs Nugget Nectar.
In print only: Grab a copy of CP this week and check out dealage on page 25ï¿½ ï¿½ 10-15 percent off at Karma (114 Chestnut St.) and up to $10 off at Nick's Roast Beef (16 S. Second St.).
|Photo | Jamie Chung, esquire.com
Modo Mio chef/owner Peter McAndrews' recipe for dear-God-that's-beautiful Sunday gravy is featured in Esquire's "How to Eat Like a Man Now" spread, focusing on meals that look and sound like the opposite of health food infinitely delicious. (Hey Pete, weren't you just in that mag in May?)
Being of Irish heritage and growing up in a household not quite culinarily diverse, I was often mystified by the food at the homes of my Italian-American friends in the neighborhood. As I learned to cook, I tried to replicate these mystical sauces, without much success. Then I married a second-generation Italian-American whose family brought this magnificent recipe over from the old country. Here's my version, best prepared as you drink a nice glass of red.
McAndrews' full recipe ï¿½ hot Italian sausage! meatballs! pork ribs! ï¿½ is right here.
Drinking local is good for both your pockets and your hometown economy.ï¿½ Rick Nichols noted the recession-defying numbers at area craft breweries in his Inquirer feature yesterday:
Dogfish Head was doing a bulletproof business.
Beer sales are up a phenomenal 40 percent over last year, 45 percent if you include its first foray into the Nevada market.
What is more remarkable is that those aren't unremarkable numbers for local craft brewers. At Downingtown's award-winning Victory Brewing, sales were up close to 30 percent; at smallish Sly Fox near Phoenixville, hovering close to last year's 38 percent gain.
Nichols also quotes Monk's Cafï¿½ owner Tom Peters, who says that his sales of Yards Philadelphia Pale Ale tripled in the last six months.
Philadelphia's robust local craft breweries employ hundreds of good folks, from the engineers that keep the bottling lines running to the bartenders who dispense the foamy $4 pints.ï¿½ Nichols reveals the engine behind the trend: locavorism, taste, sustainability and a rejection of the "yellow, fizzy" BudMillerCoors products.
Craft fits neatly in, says Herz, offering quirky, "full-flavored, bigger, get-to-know-me beers," not just the Big Three's "refreshing, lighter-on-the-tongue" profile.
Some converts are rejecting Big Beer's crassness - its wet-T-shirt contests and beer-slob image. Craft brewers, in contrast, sponsor cycling (and recyling) rambles and brewer-farmer dinners.
Finally, Calagione argues, there's the mad-as-hell factor: People are fed up with the hubris and greed of corporate fat cats - "the Enrons, Madoffs, and Detroits" that helped dig the financial hole.
Instead of handing over their beer money to a "foreign-owned, faceless conglomerate," he says, they'd rather support local independents.
Read Nichols' full story on local breweries on Philly.com.
Philadelphia's own Urban Vegan, Dynise Balcavage, has been teasing us with just the ideas of recipes on her blog UrbanVegan.net since March of 2006.ï¿½ On October 1,ï¿½ Three Forks will release The Urban Vegan: 250 Simple, Sumptuous Recipes, From Street Cart Favorites to Haute Cuisine, and satisfy the curiosity that has consumed us for the last threeï¿½ years.
You can pre-order the cookbook now on Amazon.com and save 32% off the list price of $16.95; if you'd rather keep your dollars local, look for the cruelty-free cookbook at The Cookbook Stall in the Reading Terminal Market when it drops this fall.
The impatient can check out a few of Balcavage's contributions to local sustainability mag GRID;ï¿½ see her methods for blood orange cupcakes with easy chocolate ganache and a Jamaican curried couscous salad on the GRID online page viewer.
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.
|Photo l Michael Persico|
|You Must Eat the Sidecar's Reuben|
By now you've peeped PW's exhaustive Must-Eats cover story, penned by restaurant critic Adam Erace (interviewed here by Drew for The Good Word), Field Guide-er Tim McGinnis and native Texan and Music Editor Brian McManus. You've probably ingested a few of the 50 items, but now PW has thrown down the gauntlet to ambitious omnivores.
Prove you've tackled the entire list (after the publish date of Aug. 5; no points for precognition) and score $100 in gift certificates to "fabulous Philly restaurants" as well as gluttonous infamy. Here are the official rules.
|Photo | Jessica Kourkounis|
- Trey Popp finds that Sam Mink's revamped Oyster House hits all the right notes ï¿½ the menu's more ambitious than your average seafood restaurant's, but they don't take it too far. "I don't usually go looking for raw oysters in late July," he writes, "but it was hard to go wrong here."
- David Snyder heads up Baltimore Avenue to The Gold Standard Cafï¿½, from Abbraccio's former owners. An overreaching menu renders some dishes disappointing, but he does dig up a number of tasty highlights.
- Lock in your food itinerary for the week with What's Cooking ï¿½ the Stephen Starr/Garry Maddox BBQ cook-off and an Allagash beer dinner at Fork are just two upcoming draws.
- Feeding Frenzy has word of three openings ï¿½ Avril, Sakana Sushi Cafï¿½ and the new Shank's Original.
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