For St. Pat's Day, Colcannon and pints

A plate of Colcannon, with a roaring fire (and half-drunk Guinness) in the background, at Black Sheep.
A plate of Colcannon, with a roaring fire (and half-drunk Guinness) in the background, at Black Sheep. (Craig LaBan/Staff)
Posted: March 15, 2013

Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat:

Craig LaBan: To mark St. Paddy's Day, I had Colcannon at the Black Sheep near Rittenhouse Square . . . We can talk about other places to celebrate the holiday, as well as a number of hot topics . . . like the continued rise of ValeMar – that power couple from Midtown Village, Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney, whose 13th Street domain keeps growing. Not only are they swapping their BYO status for a liquor license at Lolita, but taking over the 13th and Locust space that previously housed Rhino Bar and Fish.

Reader: St Stephen's Green has the Irish breakfast that reminds me of hangover cures in Dublin.

C.L.: Remember really liking St. Stephens Green when it opened under Ben McNamara. Other ideas: I think Dandelion makes the best pub food in region - even if it's British. When I crave bangers and mash or fish and chips or bubble and squeak, that's where I head. The Plough and the Stars has pretty good pour of Guinness. Was not that impressed with the Black Sheep's pint today.

Reader: St. Stephen's Green is really great. Try their lamb tacos. So awesome.

Reader: I'm really excited about the Fish takeover because of the possibilities at the space. The small open kitchen space could house a chef driven tasting menu. The larger former bar space could house almost anything they come up with.

C.L.: I agree. But this corner has been problematic for more than a decade. It doesn't make much sense, since it's well-placed and reasonably well-designed inside. I suspect it hasn't met the right operator/concept, and also . . . the neighborhood has progressed so much in the past five years, I think it's ready. Haven't heard yet what they plan - but ValeMar has the magic touch! Looking forward.

Reader: So let's guess Val and Marcie's next concept. South American, maybe? Italian?  

C.L.: Great poll material. (Keep reading for the results.)

Reader: Ventured into Port Richmond for the first time. Tried Syrenka and New Wave Cafe. What are your favorite Polish destinations in the city?

C.L.: I love Syrenka! You get that throwback Eastern Bloc service with a scowl, but the warm comfort of some amazing Polish soul food: bigos stew, wonderful pork chops, and stuffed cabbage. Try the Krakus Market. Aside from its stunning selection of imported kielbasa and even some Polish beer, they have a casual restaurant people really enjoy.

Reader: Great pickle soup at New Wave in Port Richmond.

C.L.: I need to get to the New Wave. It's a gap in my savoire Port Richmond.

Reader: Best wife date-night meal west of city?

C.L.: Birchrunville Store Cafe in Chester County! Or Restaurant Alba in Malvern.

 C.L.: Here are the results of our poll: What concept do you want Marcie Turney and Valery Safron to put into their new space at 13th and Locust?

American Comfort Food: 33 percent; Bring back Bindi: 21 percent; Seafood: 21 percent; French Bistro: 13 percent; Gastropub: 8 percent; Asian: 4 percent.

Next week, come talk cheese, fromage and queso with @MmeFromage, Tenaya Darlington. Our artisinal cheese movement has come a long way in the last few years. And few know it better than Tenaya. We'll be here with our cheese plate at 2 p.m. sharp. Join us!

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