C.L.: It's such a rare treat when skeptics agree with me. I'm gonna savor it like suckling pig!
Reader: A recommendation here for the new tiki drinks Katie Loeb is mixing at Han Dynasty on Chestnut. Surprising drinks at a surprising spot. Katie has also written a cocktail book that is worth a look as well.
C.L.: Katie's genuinely one of Philly's best and most enthusiastic bartenders — worth following. Add in the spice of Han's Sichuan fire to quench, and I can see some tiki-chugging in my near future. …
Reader: I loved the review on Tasty Place. It's great to see smaller establishments without the glitz get some feedback. Will you venture a review of any of the less glamorous Mexican restaurants in South Philly? I feel like there must be a gem in that demographic as well.
C.L.: I've written about many of the South Philly taquerias in different forums (Los Taquitos de Puebla, El Jarrocho, Restaurant Acapulco, Veracruz, to name a few), but La Lupe was the only one to get a Sunday review, so far. I love all great food, no matter where it's served … but competition for those Sunday reviews is tight. Sometimes, a compelling story, like getting advice from the undertaker down there on chicken wings and how Chinatowners really eat ho-fun, seals the deal. Plus, chef Sei is really a fantastic cook. Easily one of the best quality bargains in town.
Reader: Do you have any idea what the deal is with what was going to be Frohman's Wursthaus? It seems on again and off again all the time. Do you know what the latest is?
C.L.: Having just spoken with Garces about his Amada at Revel, he told me Frohman's is now off the table. Too many other projects going on, including his showplace in the Kimmel Center for sometime in 2013. He's excited about it, and has promised to bring the ambition: "I'm going for your top rating," he told me. "Five stars!" Ouch!
Reader: Are you aware that La Lupe has closed its main location and consolidated operations into its Fiesta Acapulco location one block north?
C.L.: No, I did not know that, though I just called and confirmed that the two restaurants were combined at Fiesta Acapulco (just south of Washington, 1122 S. Ninth St) about a week ago. Fiesta should not be confused with Restaurant Acapulco (near Ellsworth, 1144 S. Ninth St., a bit farther south — specializing in Thursday pozole), which is under different ownership.
Reader: Reviews like your most recent one on Tasty Place are exactly why I read your column. I don't necessarily need to know more about the new trendy places, but hidden gems are always needing a boost and make for better reading. My suggestion would be some of the Jamaican, Korean, Brazilian restaurants in the Northeast. I never go to the Northeast, but maybe we all need a little motivation to do so.
C.L.: Could happen! I'm due for something in the Northeast, or some good real BBQ in another direction you might not expect (stay tuned!)
Reader: BBQ in an unexpected location???? Yes!