April 9, 2009
Why not 'Cigar Box'? If you miss the Latin stylings that once made Guillermo Pernot's now-shuttered ¡Pasion! the toast of the town, you can find echoes these days at Old City's theme-y Cuba Libre, where Pernot designs dishes as the "concept chef. " We recently tucked into a surprisingly complex and refreshing chilled spring roll of braised duck, cucumber, and candied papaya in a peanut sauce that came - at the same time - with three other small plates in the so-called Cuban Bento Box (more of a tray, actually)
February 16, 1990 |
Seems as if Punxsutawney Phil was right again. Though it's still early in the month, February has been more like spring than winter - which makes the rear dining room with the skylight at the revamped Cafe Borrelli a perfect place to lunch. This glass-topped room is bright and airy - and the room most in demand as winter evolves into spring. It's separated from the bar by a narrow dining section of tables set under colorful awnings. The menu here is pretty much traditional Italian.
July 17, 1987 |
It's nice to know that the Royal Villa, at 17th and Jackson Streets, hasn't changed its image, especially when there seem to be so many downtown restaurants that want to make you think that you're dining uptown. Goodness, pretty soon you'll have to wear a tie and jacket to get into South Philadelphia. Of course, there is nothing wrong with restaurants evolving. But it's nice to know that there are still places where the ambiance is the way it used to be. And at the Villa, that means plastic table coverings, solid portions and reasonable prices.
May 20, 1999 |
With summer around the corner and Cinqo de Mayo just behind us, what better place could there be for a quick dinner than a newly refurbished spot called Bamboo Bernie's Cantina? Borrowing a little bit from the islands and a little bit from the hit movie "Weekend at Bernie's," the former Purple Orchid supper club has a new owner - Lynn Mandakas - and a new lease on life. (Prior to its Purple Orchid incarnation, it was a go-go bar.) Grass and bamboo decor and servers dressed in shorts and midrift tops convey the feeling that this is a fun-in-the-sun place regardless of the temperature outside.
March 15, 1996 |
The Midnight Express, possibly the only fast-food joint in the world that can make you a Caesar salad and a chicken vindaloo, is to Hong Kong cops what Dunkin' Donuts is to their U.S. counterparts: a place to warm souls chilled by street crime. A place to chow down among familiar faces. A place where everyone knows your name and that you've just been jilted by your girl. Chungking Express, a lyrical and delightfully goofy study in romantic longing, is two stories about two cops who nurse their broken hearts on a diet of Midnight Express grub and wistful fantasies.
November 28, 1999 |
What: Individual egg poacher Manufacturer: Combrichon of Trevoux, France Where: Williams-Sonoma, the Plaza at King of Prussia Price: $4.77 Purpose: Poaches one egg Some kitchen tools are not really practical, but their cuteness factor makes them irresistible. Such is this individual egg poacher, which looks like a footed bathtub. While there are many inexpensive egg poachers on the market that cook from two to eight eggs at a time, this wee tool is appealing for its simplicity, and its poignant nod to all the solo cooks out there who prepare a single poached egg for breakfast.
November 9, 1994 |
When Brother Peter Reinhart was working on "Brother Juniper's Bread Book" and "Sacramental Magic in a Small-Town Cafe," his editors gave him explicit orders to write about food, not philosophy. Reinhart confesses up front in the just-published "Sacramental Magic" (Addison-Wesley / $20) that despite their urgings, "there is still quite a bit of philosophy and religion in this book. I learned after 'Brother Juniper's Bread Book' that there was a greater hunger and appreciation for it than anyone expected.
October 29, 1993 |
Back in 1989, the Hotel Atop the Bellevue opened what I thought was a real Center City gem. It was a courtyard restaurant set in a wide-open quadrangle that stretched several stories high for handsome and very laid-back dining. It was called the Conservatory. But alas, others probably didn't find it as alluring, for within a relatively short time it closed. Perhaps the $16 and $20 luncheon buffets - though certainly a good dollar value for what you received - appealed more to a visitor or a business person than to a typical noon-to-1 diner.
September 26, 1990 |
When the onset of autumn brings a sudden chill to the air, a lot of warm- weather habits and methods are quickly revised in accordance with the drop in outdoor temperatures. Sweaters come out of storage while furnaces are checked, and hearty, hot meals sound better than they have in months. But since fickle fall demands a readiness for any sort of weather, we offer this month a four-person menu that combines hot and cold foods in dishes that range from an elegant, satisfying stew, to the lightness of crisp, tart greens.
July 19, 1995 |
FOOD HANDLING: Next time you order eggs Benedict, give thanks for Mr. and Mrs. LeGrand Benedict, the jaded rich folks who implored the staff at Delmonico's in New York City to concoct something new and different for lunch. John Mariani's "The Dictionary of American Food and Drink" notes the origins and namesakes of many other popular dishes: Caesar Salad: Named for Tijuana restaurateur Caesar Cardini, who first concocted it at his Caesar's Palace on July 4, 1924. Oysters Rockefeller: Named in honor of industrialist John D. Rockefeller because the dish was said to possess a "richness" worthy of the world's wealthiest man. It was created in 1899 at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans when a shortage of snails from Europe prompted chef Jules Alciatore to turn instead to local oysters, which were shunned at the time.