June 4, 2013 |
Editor's Note: This column is sponsored by TD Bank. The opinions and analysis expressed here reflect the views of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of TD Bank, N.A. or its affiliates. It was a serendipitous meeting that could prove to be a turning point for Antoine and Kenosha Skinner and their fledgling spice company. At the very least, it was a really cool encounter for two small-business novices trying to make a name for their Momma Vi's all-natural, gluten-free, free-of-iodized-salt, hand-blended seasonings.
April 16, 2013 |
Often lost amid all the exactitude issuing from conservatories today is the reason we make music in the first place. It's not about being able to play all the notes or play them in tune. Interpretation has to mean something if it is to be worth the trouble, especially since the trouble is considerable. How fortunate, then, must be the students of Miriam Fried, the violin pedagogue who teaches at the New England Conservatory. On Sunday night, for the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, she came to the Perelman Theater with one of her progeny - in fact, her prime progeny, pianist Jonathan Biss, who happens to be her son. Whatever their offstage dynamics may be, in terms of musical substance it was a performance of equals - if very different ones.
March 15, 2013
THE FIRST THING you notice at Cafe Chismosa are the chilies. The array of rusty-colored habañeros, guajillos, pasillas and anchos live in a thick glass jar on the front counter, alongside a scattering of skinny bodega candles and a pair of grinning Dia de Los Muertos dolls. Jugo Stevcic taps into this stockpile every day. He works them into a marinade for slow-cooked beef short ribs; grinds them with pepitas for a pesto-like pumpkin-seed sauce; blends them up for an en fuego Mayan concoction known as Xni-Pec , or "nose of the dog" - so named because the heat will likely singe your nostrils.
March 3, 2013
South Africa's Swartland district is best known for sheep, wheat, and a bush that turns black after the rain - inspiration for the name. But its wines are gaining new renown, too, thanks to charismatic winemakers such as Adi Badenhorst of A.A. Badenhorst. I first tasted his affordable red blend called Secateurs (French for pruning shears) at the Mildred, where the full-flavored red fruit and tannins of shiraz, cinsault, carignan, and grenache were ideal for a roasted game bird.
February 27, 2013 |
Bad ideas can be less intimidating than brilliant ones: Beethoven's Choral Fantasy , for example, is one of the composer's more ramshackle works. Yet the Mendelssohn Club commissioned local composer Jeremy Gill to write a companion piece to it. As if we needed another? But without a masterpiece as competition, Gill seemed creatively liberated in Before the Wresting Tides , which premiered Saturday at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, and showed him claiming his artistic identity beneath Beethoven's furrowed brow.
January 27, 2013
Alsace is France with a German accent. Its unique mix of cultures offers enchanting cobbled villages, scenic vineyards, gourmet cuisine, and art that's still as vibrant as the medieval day it was painted. Standing like a flower-child referee between France and Germany, Alsace has weathered many invasions. Once a German-speaking part of the Holy Roman Empire, it became part of France in the 17th century. After France lost the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, Germany annexed it. It bounced back to France after World War I, but Hitler absorbed it into the Third Reich during World War II. All those centuries as a political shuttlecock have given Alsace a hybrid culture.
January 18, 2013 |
The more we see of the 76ers, the more evident it becomes that change is not always good. Nine new faces are on the roster, and many of the changes were intended to make the Sixers longer and more athletic, better defenders both on the wings and, to a degree, at the rim. But 39 games into the season there is no trace of those traits. In losing their 17th game in the last 23 on Tuesday, the Sixers allowed the lowly New Orleans Hornets to shoot better than 76 percent in the first quarter, build a 20-point lead early in the fourth, and ultimately wipe out the good feelings from a victory two days earlier over a good Houston team that ended a five-game losing streak.
January 16, 2013 |
On Tuesday, the 76ers began a stretch in which they will play 11 of their next 12 games at home against a mix of some of the best and worst teams in the league. There are six games against losing teams (New Orleans, Toronto, Washington, Sacramento, Orlando, and Charlotte) that before Tuesday's games had a combined record of 68-153. They are even worse on the road (24-83). Washington, just 1-15 away from the Verizon Center this season, is the worst. The other group (San Antonio, New York, Memphis, and the Los Angeles Clippers)
December 10, 2012 |
Though deeply loved as the city's chief musical importer, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society strikes a thoughtful balance between local and foreign. Friday night's partnership between Curtis Institute of Music student Sarah Shafer and venerable pianist Richard Goode was a particularly successful incident of this kind of blending. One might also conclude that reaching across the generations was efficacious. The program of mostly Schubert and Brahms nestled piano repertoire alongside songs (they also joined in a Mahler song)
September 25, 2012 |
In the tight-money world of small business owners, the occasion seemed more worthy of a bottle of bubbly than a steaming cup of Honduran dark roast. But java is the specialty of Green Street Coffee Roasters, the 17-month-old South Philadelphia company owned by brothers Chris and Tom Molieri. Early last week, the Molieris were celebrating a $10,000 loan for equipment they had just secured. They were also raising a cup to the entity that made it happen – Entrepreneur Works. It is a community development financial institution, or CDFI, one of a network of nearly 1,000 mostly nonprofit entities nationwide devoted to helping entrepreneurs overcome what stymies so many of them: access to capital.