June 14, 2013 |
Believing you can improve something most people already love demands a special kind of audacity. Such boldness serves as the cornerstone of nascent Montco company Bespoke Bacon, sizzling its way into the meat market with off-kilter flavors and an uncommon interest in the proclivities of pork zealots. Its name inspired by the custom haberdasheries of London's Savile Row, Bespoke was founded in late 2012 by Lansdale residents with a shared passion for scratch cooking. "We're all frustrated chefs and food nerds at heart," said Brian Wolfinger, a former cybercrimes detective with the Philadelphia Police Department who in 2005 founded L Discovery, a digital forensics firm.
June 7, 2013
Rittenhouse perks With Barney's, Serafina, and Crumbs, the streets near 18th and Walnut are looking like little Manhattan. The arrival of Joe Coffee, another New York chain, adds some Big Apple caffeine to the mix. The generic space can't rival nearby La Colombe for local color. But the coffee is clearly top-notch. I found the Peruvian Apukuna house roast to be a well-balanced all-day drinker. For something brighter and more exciting, ask the barista to brew a Chemex pot for two of San Ignacio Bolivian beans.
May 31, 2013 |
The "sour beast" was rising. When I'd first tasted it in the preliminary round of this year's Brew-vitational, the Inquirer's annual competition for local beers, my eyes almost crossed from the intense tartness of its barrel-fermented red fruit. But by the finals round, once we'd winnowed the 39 beers entered in the "new" beer category down to 10 top contenders, my taste buds had snapped to attention and tuned in to the proper frequency. And this sour ale aged in wine and whiskey barrels for a year-and-a-half with wild yeast and raspberries was suddenly an irresistible beam of bright fruit light.
May 24, 2013 |
Deborah Madison - gardener, author, restaurateur and chef - is famous for her love of vegetables and deep knowledge of vegetarian cooking. But ask her about veggie burgers, and you get a surprising blast. "I hate the word 'veggie.' I don't even like the word 'burger,' " she says, "and I'm not really into veggie burgers. " Like it or not, the veggie burger is everywhere these days, from fast-food chains to hipster hangouts and places in between, including the frozen-food case in the supermarket.
April 22, 2013 |
The Penn Relays is known as the "world's oldest and largest relay carnival. " True devotees of the meet like to add "the best" to the phrase, and it's usually difficult to argue with them. There will be a little more stress than normal at Franklin Field starting Thursday, when the Penn Relays are conducted for the 119th time. The bombings last week in Boston have put university officials and police on high alert, and spectators, coaches, and athletes alike will be searched more thoroughly than ever before when entering the stadium area.
March 25, 2013
Villanova vs. Michigan, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Delaware vs. West Virginia, 12:15 p.m. (ESPN2) Penn State vs. Cal Poly, 5:15 p.m. (ESPN2)
March 15, 2013
News item: The Brewers Association has updated its Beer Style Guidelines, with definitions of 142 separate styles. The newest additions are Adambier and Grätzer. SO, THE authoritative organization of small American brewers has reached back a few centuries and turned up a pair of thoroughly obscure smoked European wheat beers for its comprehensive directory. They join a list of everything from Leipzig-style Gose to good ol' American malt liquor. I'm a big fan of style guidelines (heck, I wrote an entire book about 'em)
March 13, 2013 |
If the accents coming out of the television during the 11th season of the Fox cooking competition Hell's Kitchen sound familiar, that's because at least five of the 20 chefs have ties to the Philadelphia area. The premiere is 8 p.m. Tuesday. "Oh, there was a lot of Philly there," said Zach Womack, 34, of West Philadelphia, a cook at The Cambridge on South Street.Also competing are Jacqueline Baldassari, 27, of Florence, Burlington County, executive chef at Ivy Inn in Princeton; Drexel University student Cyndi Stanimirov, 25, of Willingboro, a chef at the Madison in Riverside, Burlington County; Brasserie Perrier alumnus Michael Langdon, 33, of Hanover, Pa., executive chef at Huntsville Golf Club in Shavertown, Luzerne County; and Allentown native Jessica Lewis, 26, who left a finance career with Vanguard in Malvern and now cooks at Bagatelle NYC. A sixth chef - if you count York, Pa. - is Jon Scallion, 27. Early buzz has the solidly built, bearded Womack playing a key role in the season, whose premiere - including cooking sequences - was taped before an audience in Las Vegas.
February 24, 2013 |
The last time Anne Cappelletti handicapped national awards, she was certain her son John wasn't going to win the 1973 Heisman Trophy. "Bill Lyon was at our house the night before," Cappelletti, 86, recalled Friday, referring to the former Inquirer columnist. "I said, 'Bill, what do you think?' He said, 'He doesn't have a chance.' " John Cappelletti, of course, did win the Heisman - "We were shocked," said his mother - and the Penn State back's stirring acceptance speech about a younger brother dying of leukemia resulted in the family's first brush with Hollywood, the 1977 made-for-TV film Something for Joey . Now, 40 years later, Cappelletti is equally pessimistic when asked to rate the Academy Award chances Sunday of best-picture nominee Silver Linings Playbook , parts of which were filmed on her Upper Darby block and in which she, reluctantly, played a small part.
February 22, 2013 |
Stuffed cabbage recipes are the realm of grandmothers and winter. I grew up with a sweet-and-sour beef and rice version simmered in lemony tomato sauce, just like many other Philadelphians of Jewish descent. We called it prakas, a Yiddish name with roots in Eastern Europe. Whatever your background, there are likely cabbage roll recipes in your family ancestry. Poles have golabki, Czechs and Slovaks call it holubky; Turks and Armenians eat dolmas. In Quebec you can ask for cigares au chou.