Archive: December, 2008
These are just a few of the food- and drink-related target goals I've set for myself in 2009.
- Stop eating so much goddamn red meat. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables. Local is best.
- Drink more water. Drink less soda.
- Stop over-ordering at bars and restaurants just because you are drunk and can't decide between six different things.
- Buy a deep fryer.
- Stop yourself from buying a deep fryer.
- Buy one or two badass chef's knives. Get one of those magnetic knife strip things to store them on. Perfect act of tossing knife onto magnetic strip from afar so you look cool in front of people.
- Stop eating so many Stouffer's microwavable chicken pot pies. But they're soooo good!
- Start figuring out — for real — which wines you like and don't like so you don't just keep blindly picking stuff off wine lists because the name sounds cool.
- Start awesome bourbon collection. Key to starting awesome bourbon collection: Stop drinking entire bottles of bourbon the same day you buy them.
- Visit the following restaurants, which I am ashamed to admit I've never eaten at (this list is sure to grow immensely): Buddakan | Earth Bread + Brewery | Fork | Honey's Sit 'n' Eat | Jovan's Place | Kanella | Miran | Morimoto | Rangoon | Talula's Table | 10 Arts | Under the Oak Café | Zocalo
What about you — have any eating-related resolutions you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments!
This week's edition of City Paper hit the streets a day early — it's out now!
- The centerpiece of this week's food section is my roundup of some of 2008's biggest bar and restaurant openings. (Of course, it wasn't possible to mention every single spot, so if you think I glossed over something, please feel free to speak up in the comments.) Sure, Jose Garces (Distrito) and Michael Solomonov (Zahav) cranked out the most high-profile restaurants of the year, but there was also surprisingly growth in many areas, from the tried-and-true (Mexican) to the underserved-till-now (Indian).
- David Snyder visits Clark Newman's Lucky 13, a new pub down on 13th and Passyunk. He finds that chef Ben Johnson, late of Plough and the Stars, is cooking some inspired grub, from a vegan sandwich named after a Motorhead classic to a smart, sustainable seafood choice like bluefish.
- Over in Feeding Frenzy Land, I've got news on Local 44 (opens tomorrow at 5 p.m.!), some details on restaurateur Marty Grims' plans at 20th and Market, info on the Mugshots expansion and word of new treats at Crispy Sweetie.
- Nikki Volpicelli wants you to start the '09 correctly with this week's What's Cooking lineup. Sunday Supper at Supper? Firkin tap at the Standard? A Bucks County booze 'n' blues fest? Update your Google calendars accordingly.
This Thursday, New Year's Day, Chick-fil-A will give out coupons for free breakfast chicken biscuits to anyone who visits a location and makes a purchase betwen the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. The coupons can be redeemed at any Chick-fil-A location through March 31, 2009.
Sounds like a good promo, but I couldn't help but notice the strangely politicized nature of this quote from the press release announcing the deal (the "competitor" in question is undoubtedly McDonald's, which recently placed the Southern Style Chicken Biscuit on its breakfast menu):
"While some of our competitors are touting a trend of 'change' toward chicken as the new meat choice for breakfast, it's something our customers have known all along," said Woody Faulk, the chain's vice president of brand development and director of Chick-fil-A's menu strategy. "We pride ourselves on making our biscuits from scratch every day, not the 'homemade tasting' biscuits being advertised elsewhere. The fact is, our pioneer products will likely continue to be imitated, but they will never be duplicated. We encourage everyone to sample the original breakfast chicken biscuit as a satisfying way to start 2009!”
Yes, they dropped the c-word — change. In my view, you don't do that unless you're making a deliberate jab at Barack Obama's iconic campaign sloganeering. Based on the second part of the quote, it seems as though Chick-fil-A is going for that folksy pie-on-the-window-sill Sarah Palin thing by touting their baked-from-scratch biscuits over those that are designed in a lab to be "homemade tasting." By this odd logic, then, the socially irresponsible and ultimately transparent Micky D's is the Democratic Party, while Chick-fil-A, the whimsical, old-lady-biscuit-shaping OGs of poultry in the A.M., is as red as a shirtless Irishman lost in the desert.
It's no secret that Chick-fil-A founder S. Truett Cathy is a devout Southern Baptist — that's why all of his restaurants still close on Sundays, a practice that's virtually unheard of these days. And that's why the chain philanthropically aligns itself with conservative organizations like Focus on the Family. This is all fine — the man is a billionaire and can do whatever he pleases, and I give nod to his conviction in the overwhelmingly secular world of corporate America. But why go so far as to imply that there's an association between the President-elect and an industry enemy that shamelessly bit your style?
In conclusion, I really, really want a chicken biscuit now. Well-played, Cathy.
The above quote comes from none other than Brendan "Spanky" Hartranft, who's days away from opening Local 44 (4333 Spruce St., 215-222-BEER) with wife and partner Leigh Maida. A drop-in yesterday evening found the L44 team in hyper-scramble mode to prepare the beer bar at for its Jan. 1 grand opening. Heavy drinking will be an easily ascertainable goal at 44th and Spruce: The 20-beer draught list, which you can check out on their Web site, is fit for a craft beer-obsessed king, with options from the States, Belgium, Germany and the UK. Local's beer approach will differ from the smaller 11-tap system at Hartranft's Memphis Taproom in that the additional breathing room will allow drinkers to work up and down the list at a leisurely pace. (Often times at Memphis, Hartranft says, the beers switch up so frequently that it's easy to miss something on a return visit.)
The interior has been completely gutted and revamped, hiding pretty much all recognizable traces of the former Kelliann's. Rich red walls set off the dark polished wood of the flat screen-adorned bar, fixtures and tables. The interior is split by a partial wall into two rooms connected by a wide archway. One of the coolest features is a turn-of-the-century fire door (Set 2, Pic 5) the team found hiding behind a wall during demolition.
Enrique Oliva, who was last the assistant brewer at Nodding Head, is working the kitchen, though they're not labeling him the chef. (Oliva made an appearance on The Clog this past April as one of the winners of the 2008 CP Beeramid.) Eats will include the honey-ginger-red pepper flake hot wings Oliva is brandishing above; potato croquettes; mahi mahi fish tacos with chipotle sour cream and homemade corn tortillas; Greek and nicoise salads; and an oyster mushroom po'boy featuring sautéed 'shrooms on a torpedo roll with shredded lettuce and remoulade.
|Martin Argles | Guardian|
After a contrived Martha-boasting holiday special where no one got booted and a rerun of a Christmas cookoff challenge, Top Chef looks to get back on track this week next week (dammit!) with the introduction of new judge Toby Young. Infamous for his acerbic nature as well as his 2005 memoir How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, I think Young has the potential to be the perfect replacement for the likable Ted Allen, who left the show to pursue a bunch of different projects with Food Network. He uses the phrase "the bland leading the bland" in the Bravo teaser. Har.
Best part is that they're rocking a double elimination this episode to make up for the faux-miraculous sparing of Gene, Melissa and Jamie two weeks back.
Young's How to Lose Friends, which chronicles his combative trials within the New York publishing world (Vanity Fair in particular), was adapted into a movie, which came out in Philly this fall. Simon Pegg, who plays a version of Young in the film, had nothing but nice things to stay about the journalist when questioned by our own Shaun Brady:
"I was expecting a lot more of an obnoxious, tenacious self-promoter," Pegg says ... "I'm sure he is that to a degree, but the guy I met was a pretty mellow, sweet guy who I really liked."
Jill Fink, co-owner of Mugshots, tells us she's putting the finishing touches on a major expansion project to her coffee shop near Eastern State Penitentary. (Mugshots' second location is in Manayunk.) They've expanded the coffee shop into an adjacent apartment just west of their corner stake at 21st and Fairmount Avenue, creating an additional 35 seats. In addition to expanding the kitchen to allow for more in-house baking, they've added a dessert selection that features products from Bethlehem-based Vegan Treats as well as a rotating selection of six Capogiro gelatos. Sustainable building materials such as low-VOC paint and reclaimed wood were used for the project. And if you're a Lower Merionite, you might recognize the tables and chairs in the new space: They were originally used at the The Point, the Bryn Mawr coffee shop/music venue that closed in 2005.
New hours of operation, which will go into effect in 2009: Monday to Friday, 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
|Eggs: the incredible, edible cockblock|
|Raw Green Cottages|
Skip breakfast, lose your virginity? Oddly enough, that's what a new study finds.
Japanese researchers studied 3,000 people and said that teens who skip breakfast lose their virginity earlier than those who start their days off with some food, Agence France-Presse reported Friday.
Specifically, researchers found that people in their early teens who regularly skipped breakfast lost their virginity at an average age of 17.5 years old, versus an average age of 19 for breakfast eaters.
You hear that? It's the sound of 20 million horny teenage boys mobilizing against omelettes.
[Via QueensOnly on Twitter]
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
In the latest edition of Feeding Frenzy, we shared some details on Wazobia Café. Here are a few shots of the cozy coffee house and "ice cream lounge" at 13th and Catharine (267-324-5884).
This greenified Catharine Street coffee house, the handiwork of partners Ayo Jemiri and Olayinka Odunlami, opened Dec. 13. "Wa-zo-bia" (no affiliation with the same-named eatery at 11th and Mount Vernon) is a portmanteau combining the word for "come" in the three major dialects of Nigeria; it's meant to symbolize welcoming and unity among disparate traditions. As such, Jemiri and Odunlami are aiming to establish their café as a community meeting place. They're pouring La Colombe coffee, shakes and smoothies. Eats include bready-pastry-type deals, a menu of salads and sandwiches and a cold case selection of Breyer's ice cream (waffles, too!). Hours are Mon.-Fri., 7-10:30 a.m. and 2:30-8 p.m.; and Sat.-Sun., 8 am.-8 p.m.
SNACK TIME: Bacon cinnamon rolls at your house, MillerCoors caves over Sparks, get bibbed with the best at Oceanaire, latke life, caviar smugglers behind bars while needy feast on fish eggs
Every Wednesday, Meal Ticket pokes around the food blog world to see what's simmering.
- Mr. B of the Bacon Today blog shocks the (theoretical) pants off the Pillsbury Doughboy with his bacon cinnamon rolls. Once the tube of sugary goodness was cracked, Mr. B was delighted to discover that the flat cinnamon roll strip is exactly the dimensions of a strip of bacon. O happy harmony! Meal Ticket recommends stocking a few tubes of the cinnamon roll dough in anticipation of your Jan. 1 hangover.
- MillerCoors has caved to pressure to reformulate its Sparks alcoholic energy drink, rants Lew Bryson of Seen Through a Glass. The New Drys, well-funded and highly motivated anti-alcohol groups, leaned on state attorney generals enough that that they have issued a report warning of the danger of alcoholic energy drinks to children. (I wondered why the Sparks-swilling toddlers on in my neighborhood looked so depressed.) MillerCoors will remove the caffeine, taurine, guarana and ginseng from Sparks, effectively neutering both it and their market share.
- Lauren and hubby P of I'll Eat You blog burn up a hefty gift card at formal gateway to the sea, Oceanaire. Pyramids of crushed ice are jammed with recently alive shellfish, bibs are alligator-clipped to protect diner's pecs and black napkins appear for those wearing a dark $2000 suit. Sounds fancy and lint-free, turns out fancy and flaming Baked Alaska. Good thing for gift cards!
- Smitten Kitchen whips up a batch of gorgeous latkes with foolproof instructions for potato pancake rookies. A lightly oiled cast iron skillet is the platform from which dozens of the creme fraiche- and caviar-topped little thrillers spring. Not very peasanty or kosher, but whateva, darling, it's the holidays.
- The MenuPages blog rehashes a BBC news story about two smugglers caught in Italy with eggs on their face, in the form of $550,000 worth of stolen beluga caviar. Though worth half a mil, the booty is only 88 pounds of the deluxe fish spawn. Now that the feds have their hands on the stuff, they're going to feed it to the needy for Christmas. Crazy Italians. Why not sell it at auction and use the proceeds to buy something a bit more substantial?
|All Photos l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Every year on Christmas Eve, just before dawn has defrosted the cracked sidewalks of South Philly, a line gathers in the sugar-scented darkness outside Termini Bros. (1523 S. Eighth St., 215-334-1816, termini.com).
The seekers converge to wait patiently for their freshly made Christmas cassata cakes and ricotta cannoli, pignoli cookies and crunchy almond amaretti. The white-coated Termini staff, who wear the faintly expectant smiles of those surviving the annual storm that precedes bonus time and a day off, collect orders and tie stiff paperboard boxes with baker's string with unchoreographed grace and efficiency.
|Sfogliatelle (say it with me like we do in Souf Philly, schee-a-dell), a clamshell-shaped |
pastry filled with ricotta cream.
The Termini family has been crafting the most sought-after cannoli and other classic Italian pastry since 1928, when Giuseppe and Geatano Termini opened their original tiny store, now Mr. Joe's Café (1514 S. Eighth St., 215-334-1414). Vince Termini opened Mr. Joe's as a tribute to his father, and a way of honoring the physical place where his family began their journey in the United States. Just across the street from the neon-signed flagship Termini Bros., Mr. Joe's serves short intense espresso, homey gnocchi bolognese and pasta fagioli, as well as a few select Termini sweet treats.
On Christmas Eve, the long history of the Termini clan is served to the cheerfully waiting customers, along with a free cannoli and crisp amaretti pushed across the counter with old-world charm.
|The next generation, hard at work.|
Lots more drool-inducing photos after the jump.
Shiny, shiny fruit tarts.
|Felicia and mom Catherine, inexpertly constructing their Christmas Eve |
breakfast ... of cannoli.
|Or we'll cut off your thumbs, Christmas or no.|
|A neon beacon calls the faithful.|
|Workin' it on Christmas vacation.|
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