September 11, 1987 |
I've shied away from virtually all We The People activities thus far, having been permanently scarred from the last Bicentennial what with commemorative commode accouterments ("the seat of our forefathers") and throngs vying for overpriced knockwurst not to mention being snookered into standing in the freezing rain to watch the Liberty Bell moved to its current resting place. Then I thought, "What better way for a restaurant critic to honor the framers than to eat where (if not what)
October 18, 2013
WE'RE SITTING at the re-creation of the second-floor window table where George Washington took his dinner and the German immigrant is wondering what has gone wrong with his adopted country. Chef Walter Staib is the immigrant from the Black Forest and his famous City Tavern at 2nd and Walnut, where we are talking, was closed as part of the federal shutdown of sanity. It didn't matter that not a single federal employee is among his 80 workers, almost all of whom lost pay for 10 days.
July 1, 1994 |
George Washington ate here. So did Ben Franklin, John Adams and a host of the other toasts of 18th-century Philadelphia. And so, as of yesterday, can you. In what its proprietor described as a "soft opening," historic City Tavern in Independence National Historical Park unlocked its doors to the public yesterday after an 18-month hiatus. Now anyone can eat - or just stroll through - where the nation's founders plotted the Revolution, pondered the Constitution and quaffed pint after plentiful pint of ale, stout, Madeira, claret and burgundy.
July 2, 1997 |
In 1777, when the Continental Congress celebrated the first anniversary of American independence here, it's possible - based on recipes from that time - that thick cream spooned over short biscuits with a strawberry or two could have been part of the fare. It's doubtful, however, anyone would have thought to add the blueberries, which were native to the Colonies. But that's exactly what City Tavern operator Walter Staib has happily added to his summer menu, to make a perfect red, white and blue Fourth of July dessert.
August 19, 2014
NEVER TRUST a skinny chef. Nor one with a spotless apron. I trust Walter Staib, built like a Black Forest barrel with a winter-frost Vandyke. In a world crawling with skinny chefs, Iron Chefs and nuisance chefs, give me Walter. "I don't have tattoos, I haven't been in jail, I'm an ordinary guy," he says. This ordinary guy has published six cookbooks, his PBS "A Taste of History" series snagged four Emmys in five seasons, he's a mega-consultant who has launched 650 restaurants around the globe.
March 27, 2015
A RE YOU hungry? Have you eaten yet? Do you want food? For anyone who grew up in a Filipino family, or anyone with Filipino neighbors, co-workers or friends, this refrain is extremely familiar. Drop in to visit a Pinoy at home and the topic of you eating - or, more specifically, how troublesome it is that you are not currently eating - is the first conversation you'll have. That's how I knew Pasiano's, in Tacony, was legit. Within three minutes of my arrival, before I'd even had a chance to remove my coat, I was earnestly asked, three different times by three different people, if I was feeling peckish.
December 2, 2008 |
The National Governors Association is in town, and Pennsylvania's Ed Rendell decided to give his colleagues an "upscale, 18th-century experience" at one of the country's oldest political hangouts. For his dinner last night, Rendell chose the City Tavern at Second and Walnut Streets, modeled after a Federal-style tavern constructed at the dawn of the Revolution. For the out-of-town guests, which were to include President-elect Barack Obama, Rendell did not request a special menu - the standard at such banquets - but asked that attendees be allowed to choose from chef-owner Walter Staib's circa-1773-inspired a la carte menu.
January 29, 2015 |
WHILE announcing his plans to resign from City Council yesterday, Councilman Jim Kenney was straightforward about his personal life, saying that he was separated from his wife. That's quite the change from politicians of the past, who may have kept up appearances, especially ones mulling a run for mayor. By getting his personal life out of the way early, Kenney essentially makes it a nonissue. Although he did not elaborate, spokeswoman Lauren Hitt told me that Kenney has been separated for years.
June 29, 1994 |
When Mayor Rendell cuts the red ribbon today at the City Tavern, at 2nd and Walnut streets, it will be a special moment for Walter Staib and his wife, Gloria. The Staibs have spent more than $300,000 to restore the Colonial-style restaurant, which has been closed since New Year's Eve 1992 but whose history goes back 220 years. Because historical accuracy was a priority, they spent months of painstaking research into the tableware, music, clothes and cuisine of Colonial times. Rendell and his party will launch the restaurant's new life at a private luncheon today featuring salmon, potato pancakes, field greens salad, raspberry sorbet and filet mignon, all washed down with champagne.
July 27, 1994 |
A menu note at the recently revived City Tavern in Society Hill promises a "culinary experience inspired by the customs and foods of 18th-century Colonial America. " An unusual menu it is: painstakingly researched, stocked with game dishes, pork dishes, smoked meats and fishes. At dinner, not a single chicken entree is offered: Quail, turkey and duck reign. Credit for the building's handsome renovation goes to Walter Staib, a Bryn Mawr restaurant consultant who rescued City Tavern from more than a decade of dreary fare dished up by a succession of institutional food services.