July 3, 1997 |
Restaurants with gimmicks always have an edge when it comes to dining out with children. Benihana with its knife-juggling chefs, or the Melting Pot, where you cook your own fondue at the table, are good choices for squirmy kids. So is Alfio's, if you order the Caesar salad. Alfio Gaglianese is to salad-making what Kerri Strug is to gymnastics. He operates tableside with a wooden bowl the size of a baby bath. There is some juggling, some joking, some magic-making. (Where'd the lemon go?
March 21, 1997 |
John Corrado is an architect. Khaled Hassan is a civil engineer. Michael Santoro is a computer analyst. So what could these three have in common? One, they're brothers-in-law. Two, the trio own and operate Ristorante Ottimo, a new, serene Italian dining place on 16th Street between Walnut and Locust. What possessed employed professionals to take leave of their jobs and jump into the restaurant business? "All three of us have restaurant experience," says Hassan. "We all worked in restaurants while we were going to school.
January 12, 1997 |
You don't have to be a marketing expert to know that Caesar salad is the hottest thing between tongs. It has two essential qualities going for it: ease of preparation and flavor. Even the most basic Caesar salad of romaine lettuce, croutons and bottled dressing tastes good. Do it from scratch with good-quality Parmesan cheese, anchovies and extra-virgin olive oil and it's a feast. One of the things you'll note about Caesar salad is how versatile it is. You can make it more substantial by adding strips of grilled chicken or salmon or cooked shrimp; or make it lighter by skipping the traditional coddled egg. You can even take the essential ingredients and replay them in a new form, as Caesar Sandwich.
September 22, 1996 |
On the waterfront, with its dottering forklifts and lumbering fruit boats, dock workers and truck drivers follow the lunchtime path to a gray school bus decorated with frilly sunflower curtains, folk-art place mats and filled with the radio crackle of Frank Sinatra crooning to the whispering sizzle of coiled sausage. They all come, the gruff, the gregarious, the wharf-rat philosophers. Jim Tucci pulls up in his Conrail train. Al Bowers drops down from the cab of his 18-wheeler.
June 9, 1996 |
I was fretting just a little that our lunch at Bella Mia had taken well over an hour and a half. It wasn't that the meal hadn't been pleasant, it's just that I had hoped lunch would move along a little faster than our leisurely dinner had here a few days earlier. "Relax," my lunch partner said as I fussed and cussed the traffic impeding my speedy return to work. "Remind yourself that this is how it would be in Italy. " He was right, of course. The Italy I had visited earlier this year was conspicuously unhurried when it came to dining.
April 17, 1996 |
Hey, you can keep your Walnut Street restaurant row with its Center City prices and its Center City pretensions. Bite for bite, I'll take the 7900 block of Oxford Avenue in Fox Chase: Riekers German and Polish delicatessen, Bread Winner's deli, Joseph's (no relation) Pizza, the Old Brauhaus with Spaten Optimator on tap. And Moonstruck, the subject of today's review. Moonstruck has undergone a couple of changes since the early 1980s, when it was Ristorante DiLullo and one of the two or three best restaurants in the Delaware Valley.
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.
December 1, 1995 |
The ranks of vegetarians are growing. All you have to do is pick up a newspaper or magazine and read all about it. Or flick on the television. And we're all becoming more health-conscious when it comes to eating. You can read about that, too. So why are steak houses popping up like corks at a champagne gala? Easy question. Red meat is hot. Or so goes the slogan at the Palm Restaurant at the Bellevue. So hot, the restaurant, in conjunction with Temple University Center City, will be gourmandizing on the subject of red meat at a night course this spring semester.
November 8, 1995 |
It's easy to drive right by the Mt. Airy Cafe. Though it's been open a month, the cozy 50-seat restaurant hasn't yet acquired an outdoor sign. The eye-catching coat of sky-blue paint on the building front and a menu posted in the lace-curtained bay window are the only tipoffs that there's a new business on the block. After sitting near the kitchen door on one dinner visit, I've got an idea for chef-owner Angela Brown-Johnson: Find some way to pipe those luscious kitchen aromas out onto the street.
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.