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Help! Suggestions for romantic Philly restaurant (a proposal is involved) for two vegetarians (not me!). Doesn't have to be all veg rest.
So how about it, y'all? Where are some good Philly spots that are both romantic AND vegetarian-friendly? Note that the proposal is not actually taking place at the restaurant ï¿½ this'll be a post-"YES!" meal for the happy veggie couple, but it still needs that ambience. A few places off the top ï¿½ Cochon is quite romantic (and, as we told you recently, can accommodate vegetarians). Mi Lah could be an option. And while this may be a slightly obvious pick, how could you possibly go wrong with Horizons?
The dude mikeyil, who follows Meal Ticket on Twitter, just asked us to poll all you readers out there on who's got the best wings in Philly. We need your picks! Leave your favorites in the comments and we'll see what we can all come up with.
Off the top, here are a few places where we've gotten some delicious wangz:
- Devil's Den
- Royal Tavern
- Charlie's Pub
- Prohibition Taproom
- El Camino Real (seitan wings)
Who else, y'all?
Food writer/friend of Meal Ticket Holly Moore of Holly Eats just got out of hospital rehabilitation for a fractured hip, so he'll be off his feet for the next few weeks, meaning it'll be some time before he resumes his cheap-eats marauding. He's asked Meal Ticket for help rounding up some personal chef suggestions for his recovery period for the next few weeks. We're here to help ï¿½ do you have a suggestion for a great locally based personal/home chef who could help Holly out? If so, please leave us a note in the comments.
Today, local Cosi locations ï¿½ including the ones down here at 12th and Walnut and 15th and Locust (Third and Chestnut doesn't seem to know if they're participating or not is not participating) ï¿½ are holding a "Community Benefit Night" to raise funds for the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. Each restaurant will donate 10 percent of all sales (not counting alcohol and catering) accrued from 3 p.m. to close to the charity, which to date has drummed up more than $25 million nationally for cancer research.
It all starts with asparagus. The long winter gives way to a trickling spring thaw, and before you know it, the spears of asparagus are emerging from the ground so quickly you could lay in the rows and watch them reach for the sun, no time lapse necessary.
Before you know it, summer has come and the sweet profusion we dreamt of in dark January is exploding all around. Strawberries are already gone, but blueberries, melons, blackberries, raspberries (black and red), cherries, plums, nectarines and peaches are all awaiting their turn on your table.
Get outside and bring home some local produce at one of Eastern PA's many pick-your-own farms. PickYourOwn.org has a PA harvest schedule so you can plan ahead, as well as a comprehensive listing of pick-your-own farms sorted by county.
I grew up excitedly anticpating pumpkin-patch season at Linvilla Orchards in Delaware County. In the summer Linvilla offers a dizzying A to Z of pick-your-own fruits, as well as Saturday festivals dedicated to peaches, blackberries, tomatoes, pears and sweet corn. Pack up the kids, the car and the sunscreen for a day of satisfying picking, before it's pumpkin time and the berries are just a sweet memory.
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
|L to R: Paul Kimport, Munish Narula and Alfredo Aguilar|
Last night, community development corporation The Girard Coalition hosted three of Philadelphia's notable restaurant owners for a panel discussion on what it takes to survive and thrive "in the biz."
Munish Narula (Tiffin), Alfredo Aguilar (Las Cazuelas) and Paul Kimport (Standard Tap, Johnny Brenda's) shared their accumulated knowledge with a diverse group of would-be restaurateurs. S.C.O.R.E., a free, nonprofit small business counseling service, facilitated the discussion and added "the lender's perspective" to the workshop.
The discussion ranged from acquiring financing (be prepared to personally guarantee all loans with your own assets, and you better have 20 percent of what you are asking for on hand) to the thorny problem of employee healthcare (anything you offer, you must offer to every employee). Though the discussion covered more topics than we have room for here, find the most critical points below.
The Business Plan Is All
Every restaurant owner could not over-emphasize the importance of having a well-developed business plan, including projecting the numbers on best and worst case scenarios. "Too many people run through all of their start-up money just to get open," said Narula. "You have to have enough money, and a plan to obtain more, to pay your employees and vendors for at least 18 months to two years. Sixty to 70 percent of restaurants fail in the first two years because they did not have the money to sustain operating losses."
Clarifying and expressing your ideas in writing, in the business plan, is critical to obtaining initial financing. "Every idea you have," said Kimport, "bounce off other people, finance professionals especially, and vet every idea. You have to defend your ideas and let everyone insult your precious plan to make sure they are solid."
All three restaurant owners took the hammer-in-hand approach to opening their first restaurant. They all advised doing as much yourself as possible, as well as shopping around for used equipment, which can save thousands of dollars ï¿½ except on refrigeration, which Kimport pointed out "you want the warranties and service for, because refrigeration is both tricky and critical. You could lose thousands of dollars in inventory if you have refrigeration failure."
Aguilar stated that he started Las Cazuelas with just one small dining room, then when word spread and guests started waiting an hour for a table, he expanded to a second dining room, using savings from the restaurant's cash flow. He later expanded once again to an upper floor, and purchased the building he was leasing. "Organic growth" and "sweat equity" were the watchwords for all three entrepreneurs.
Know Your Numbers
Narula's background in finance has served him well in operating Tiffin, evidenced by his brand's rapid expansion. "Too many restaurateurs do not know their numbers," he said. "If you don't know your expenses, your food cost, your overtime, you could have a very successful restaurant and still not make it." Though all three owners had extensive experience (15-20 years, on average) in restaurants before they struck out on their own, due diligence with the numbers, not cooking a mean omelette, was what kept them showing profit.
Nothing says USA like a deluge of dairy treats. Head down to the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing from noon to 5 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the Welcome America!ï¿½ Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival.
A minimum $5 donation per person goes to the Joshua Kahan Fund while snagging you all the frozen cream you can lick from Ben & Jerryï¿½s, Hï¿½agen-Dazs, Edy's, Breyers/Good Humor, Bassett's, Turkey Hill, Jack & Jill, Philadelphia Water Ice and more.
Held every Fourth of July weekend in Philly, the fundraiser is now in its 11th year. To date it's raised more than $700,000 toward finding a cure for pediatric leukemia.
Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival, Fri.-Sun., July 3-July 5, noon-5 p.m., Great Plaza at Penn's Landing, Columbus Blvd. at Chestnut St., delawareriverevents.com
Evan Kelley, 21, was cycling in Northern Liberties last weekend when struck by a vehicle that immediately fled the scene. The Cafï¿½ Estelle cook suffered fractures to his tibia and fibula, necessitating surgery and the insertion of six pins to stabilize his lower leg.
Cafï¿½ Estelle chef and owner Marshall Green is holding a beef & beer fundraiser this Friday, June 19 to benefit Kelley, who has a young daughter and is not currently able to work due to his injuries. Your $20 donation buys as many of Green's slow-cooked beef brisket sandwiches with all the fixins as you desire, as well as unlimited local beer on tap.
All proceeds will go to Kelley to assist in the payment of medical bills. Please help, and eat and drink lavishly, if you can.
Rider Down! Beef & Beer at Cafï¿½ Estelle, Fri., June 19, 6:30-10 p.m., 444 N. Fourth St., 215-925-5080, cafeestelle.com
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
The burgeoning South of South neighborhoods will be getting their very own food co-op soon, when Molly Russakoff's Bella Vista Natural Foods transforms from a conventional retail space into a cooperative grocery.
BVNF patrons and Bella Vista neighbors have all been enthusiastic about the possibility of a local co-op, writes Russakoff in an e-mail newsletter. But what is a co-op, exactly? How is it run?
These questions will be answered at a steering meeting Wednesday, June 10 at the Palumbo Rec Center, when Weaver's Way Co-op general manager Glen Bergman and Alex Moss, a founding member of Praxis Consulting Group, willï¿½ provide an overview of the current situations and options for BVNF.
Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting and find out how they can be a part of the BVNF cooperative. Anyone interested in volunteering with flyering and organization prior to the meeting should contact Molly atï¿½ email@example.com or 215-923-3367.
Bella Vista Food Co-op Meeting, Wed., June 10, 7 p.m., Palumbo Rec Center, 725 S. 10th St. (at Fitzwater)
Bella Vista Natural Foods, 1010 S. Ninth St., 215-923-3367
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