Archive: February, 2010
Old City's Zento Contemporary (138 Chestnut St.) has recently brought in a new chef and partner: Sam Ho, who worked as a sous chef at Morimoto, has joined the fray with Zento owner (and fellow Morimoto alum) Gunawan Wibisono. Ho is handling the kitchen, leaving Wibisono to concentrate on the sushi menu. Ho has introduced hot dishes like salmon "nachos" (fresh salmon, jalapeno, diced tomato and anchovy mayo over fried wontons), kobe beef negimaki and panko-crusted crab cakes.
And above is a shot of Zento's second location, which has a gorgeous outdoor seating area and a liquor license. Let's go, right? Well, it's in the Dempsey Hill neighborhood of Singapore and it opened this past summer. It's gotten a lot of good looks. We remember hearing that Zento was considering doing a West Chester location awhile back -- bit of an upgrade, no?
|Photos | Drew Lazor|
Had to jump on purchasing this 1.32-gallon (5-liter) fridge keg of Bell's Two Hearted when we spotted it at Food & Friends at 20th and Spruce last night. Aghagh it's so fun-looking! That's why we bought it, delicious and always-reliable Michigan-produced ale notwithstanding. It was a gratifying impulse pick-up for sure (when the little vent on top shot projectile foam everywhere when we "tapped" the keg, we were like "Eeeee!"), but was it a fiscally responsible decision?
Food & Friends currently charges $34.95 for the mini keg (they're also carrying Bell's Best Brown in the same format), which comes out to about $38 with tax. There are a little over 14 beers (12-ounce) inside, meaning you're paying roughly $2.70 a beer. (For contrast: Bella Vista charges around $50, including tax, for a case of Two Hearted, which works out to a little less than $2.10 per beer.) So there really isn't any dramatic savings to buying the mini-keg, when most bottle/mix-six shops in the area charge a comparable price for a single Bell's longneck. You're paying for the packaging, basically, but see that's fine with us once in awhile because IT'S SO FUN-LOOKING.
Which readers out there know of craft breweries other than Bell's that produce in 5-liter format? (We've seen 'em for imports like Spaten.) And where else in Philly, other than Food & Friends, can one pick up a mini-keg? Let us know in the comments.
A few years ago I discovered Vosges' Haute Chocolat, a boutique chocolate house exacting French techniques to pair various chocolates with traditional and exotic flavors (like dark chocolate truffles spiced with ginger, wasabi, and black sesame seeds), but what you have to eat right this second is Mo's Bacon Chocolate Chip Pancackes (amazing). The dry mix comes with a pouch of shattered Vosges' Mo's Bacon + Chocolate bar (amazing). Combine these with buttermilk, egg and butter or rendered bacon fat and the result is salty, sweet, fluffy goodness with gooey pockets that also crunch. I already said it, but it's amazing. So amazing that this girl who isn't a big fan of pancakes ate 10.
Let your inner graf writer out with adult beverages in tow tonight at APO Bar + Lounge (102 S. 13th St.), when the cocktail head haven hosts its second annual Wall Party. They've white-washed the brick wall across from the ground-floor bar, which was previously covered with all manner of notes, quotes and drawings, to allow for guests to leave their marks once more. After the party the staff will select their favorite sayings and scribbles and so forth. Those people will receive a TBD prize plus a shoutout on APO's Web site.
Cocktails will be $4, $5 and $6 from 5 to 10; after 10, they'll have wine specials and cocktails will be at $8.
Beverage manager Preston Eckman politely requests that participants avoid writing anything "offensive to anyone's sensibilities, or to their mother." Apparently, they had to re-whitewash a portion of the wall this past Wednesday after someone scrawled something highly colorful colourful. Come on, y'all.
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Foreal, this getting old. But at least our favorite bars and restaurants are still stepping it up in the name of frigid eating and drinking. We'll going to be compiling various snow-day deals and specials throughout the day. Know of any good ones? Leave a comment or e-mail drew.lazor[at]citypaper.net. And don't forget to rock the proper footwear out there, kids.
- All Tiffin restaurants are offering chicken vindaloo, usually $10.95, for $5 today. The thinking is that the spiciness will melt the slush enough for you to dig your car out. One per customer. Order online with the code "SNOW."
- The Sidecar (2201 Christian St.), as they did last snow day(s), opens at 10:30 a.m. and is serving its weekend-only brunch menu.
- Johnny Brenda's (1201 Frankford Ave.) is serving its weekend brunch menu today, too.
- P.Y.T. in The Piazza opens at noon and they're doing complimentary drinks "while supplies last." Last time they did this we're told it led to folks streaking across Bart Blatstein's mixed-use urban monolith.
- Alison Barshak of Alison Two (424 S. Bethlehem Pike, Fort Washington) is getting all chef-mom on us by offering complimentary deep-fried grilled cheese (hells yes!) and tomato soup.
- Brauhaus Schmitz (718 South St.) is doing half-price bottles till 5 p.m. Bundesliga league play on at 2:30 p.m., and there'll be a draft special during the game.
- Tattooed Mom (530 South St.) is open at noon, with half-price sandwiches.
- Bridgids (726 N. 24th St.) is doing select $3 drafts all day.
This Saturday, Feb. 27, Whole Foods Markets nationwide will be cracking open wheels of D.O.P. Parmigiano Reggiano. While it won't be an attempt to break a Guinness World Record employees set two years ago â most wheels (nearly 300 in 270-plus stores) cracked simultaneously â it will definitely be a sight to see. (Disclosure: I count myself among Whole Foods' "team members." ) Cheesemongers will hover over wheels of 24-month-old Parm, awaiting 3 p.m. EST to dig in the traditional way. This centuries-old method, which employs five tools and takes about three hours to complete, keeps the salt pockets and crystallized, crumbly texture intact. Take away either of these and you just have curdled milk. Stop by a location for samples.
|Photo | Drew Lazor|
Meal Ticket touched base with developer Robert Nydick of Belvedere Restaurant Group for updates on the laundry list of projects they've got going on and around Main Street Manayunk. There are a lot of them!
- Main Street Market (4345 Main St.) will be a neighborhood grocery stop akin to a Green Aisle or Healthy Bites ToGo, except for Yunkers. It'll feature a butcher doing meats and poultry, plus local, sustainable produce and products. They're about to start construction.
- Agiato (4359 Main St.), chef Joseph Scarpone's Italian wine bar, paninoteca and small-plater, was originally up for a fall '09 opening. They've hit delays due to a zoning issue. The city Zoning Board of Adjustment originally ruled in the restaurant's favor for a use change that would allow the space to stay open as late as 2 a.m., but neighbors appealed, requesting they rejigger proposed hours to close no later than 11. The ZBA is currently processing the appeal; we should know more in a few weeks' time.
- Agiato Bread Company, right down the block from Agiato at 4351 Main Street, is about two weeks away from having its ovens up and running (delays due to snow). This bakery, run by Jim McAleese (the baker responsible for all the bready goodness at Parc) will provide bread and breakfast pastries for Agiato, but it'll also have a small walk-up bakery window for retail. "Best sticky bun in Philadelphia," promises McAleese.
- Not too much to report on Rubb (4445 Main St.), to which chef Matthew Levin was originally attached. (He's now working on something at Fifth and Bainbridge.) Another zoning holdup here: Neighbors have appealed based on hours of operation, according to Nydick. Once that's all settled, they'll begin looking for a chef/proprietor to run the barbecue joint.
- Terrace Taproom is the name of the craft beer bar Nydick and his partner Richard Rivera recently introduced in what was the neighborhood bar Grille's at the corner of Terrace and Salaignac. Right now they have six taps (Yuengling, Yards, Victory, Magic Hat, Dogfish Head and Allagash), plus a solid bottle selection (check out a PDF of the beer list). Food's simple, as there's no kitchen: dollar dogs, $5 roast beef and roast pork sandwiches, sausage and peppers. They open every day at 11 a.m., and to promote the new beer program, they're doing a sweet happy hour: half off everything at the bar weekdays from 5 to 7.
You haven't lived until you've experienced the joy of kegs and eggs in the a.m. This luxurious combo, however, carries the stigma of being something one only enjoys within the confines of a college campus or post-grad communal living space.
Keg-n-eggers: Feel shame no longer.
Mat Falco, co-founder of Philly Beer Scene magazine, along with Hawthornes (738 S. 11th St.) has organized a beer brunch recipe contest for which participants can enter beer-infused dishes under four categories: bread/biscuit, egg dish, pancake/waffle dish and dessert. (If you have a brunch-y idea outside of these categories, send it anyway). Submit your concoctions by March 3rd so judges can deliberate and solidify a four-course menu (equipped with beer pairings) for the Beer Geek Brunch at Hawthornes on March 14. Winning entries will also be featured in the April-May issue of Philly Beer Scene.
The ultimate dish will be decided by brunch attendees. May the best handy-in-the-kitchen beer geek win.
|Photo | Neal Santos|
- In his last review for City Paper (sniffle), one of our favorite dudes, David Snyder, takes on Michael Schulson's sleek Sampan on 13th Street. He discovers that the star chef's non-traditional renditions of Asian fare are big on flavor. (Read an exit interview with David here.)
- We peruse the pages of journalist Max Watman's Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw's Adventures in Moonshine for booze clues and end up finding some interesting Philly connections.
- In What's Cooking, Alexandra Harcharek tells you about tuna tastings at Blackfish, a food-ish social media panel (featuring one of us!), a Seussical special menu and more.
- Feeding Frenzy has word of three openings this week (Philly Sweettooth, Doma and the revamped Xochitl), plus a few other fun details.
- Josh Middleton breaks down this weekend's Pabst Blue Ribbon crafting challenge in Agenda.
- City Food Tours is holding a hungry man's trek around Philly in support of this year's massive Flower Show. Harcharek has details.
- One more in the Agenda section: Next Wednesday there'll be a tea party (a literal tea party, no Obama effigies) at the Rosenbach to coincide with the release of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. (The Rosenbach has ultra-rare first editions of the Lewis Carroll classic on display.)
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