January 17, 2013 |
Few things are more promising than a piping-hot bowl of French onion soup placed before you on a brisk day, its fragrant liquid beneath a toasted raft topped with golden cheese that will soon be stringing from your mouth. How frustrating, then, to discover something skimpy, with bready mush and pale onions, devoid of flavor. Having been subjected to three such disappointing examples at restaurants in the fall, I decided to work through what it takes to make a soul-satisfying version.
August 18, 2011 |
The soup/sandwich combo is one that I find hard to resist. It's like the cafe version of small plates; there's no need to stress over what to order, you can have it all. Summer, I've decided (fist in the air), is no reason to give up this perfect pairing. You just need to keep things light and cool - literally. Cooking up these batches of soups, which are all meant to be served cold or at room temperature, is a snap. For their sandwich partners, I took classic flavor pairings, and pared them down for the hotter temps.
February 3, 2011 |
Downtown Wayne is getting a burst of Latin excitement from the new Matador (110 N. Wayne Ave., 610-688-6282). Matt Pressler, a Culinary Institute of America grad who worked in Scottsdale, Ariz. (La Hacienda, Marquesa) before coming home to open La Taverna and Crazy Cactus in Phoenixville, is pairing Spanish and Mexican cuisines at the former Freehouse. There are street-level and upper-level bars, and its low-lit, wood-and-wrought-iron environs have more bullfighting paintings than you can shake a red cape at. Pressler says he became enthralled with "earthy" Spanish cuisine at CIA. He decided to offer Mexican dishes (quesadillas and carne asada, for example)
September 22, 2010 |
I don't normally use this column to advance personal causes, so feel free to opt out and check back in Sunday if you're in any way opposed to fighting pediatric cancer. I lost a young cousin to leukemia. And last year, a friend's 5-year-old son, Jake, died of brain cancer. I had already signed up to jog in Jake's name at this Sunday's Four Seasons Parkway Run & Walk benefiting cancer research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) when I learned about a happy ending that, if shared, might inspire others to lace up, too. The 5K race and two-mile kid-friendly walk hugs a scenic route along the Ben Franklin Parkway.
May 8, 2005 |
As restaurateurs know, today is crunch time. For some, Mother's Day might surpass even Valentine's Day on the list of the busiest days of the year for restaurants. I make that point only because Bubba's Pot Belly Stove, a Quakertown landmark that lives up to its quirky name, might not sound like the kind of place to take Mother. It might not be, unless you can picture your mother sitting in the close quarters of Bubba's log-cabin interior, complete with steer horns mounted on the walls and an old tree branch that serves as a support post in the bar. The building's rustic logs do nothing to convey a sense of brightness and light, but this is no dark, cramped tavern.
May 7, 2000 |
The sunlight lit her topaz ring on fire as she settled in, 10 minutes after I arrived, to a seat at the metal-topped bar of La Parisienne in Ardmore. There was no space in the dining room at this bustling midday hour, so we were neighbors au comptoir, lunching at the zinc. "What's good here?" she asked me, perusing the ornately printed "carte" of classic French bistro fare. She smoothed her cashmere sweater, pulled the graying blond hair back, and, with a coiffed elegance, ordered nearly the same meal as I: French onion soup, chicken breast . . . hold the chocolate mousse.
April 9, 2000 |
With remarkably authentic French bistro cuisine and decor, La Parisienne in Ardmore is the next best thing to being in the City of Lights. The stunning Suburban Square bistro opened in early January in what used to be Boccie restaurant. Owners Evan Lambert and Andrew Feinstein did extensive research to make it as authentically French as possible, a goal they have reached admirably. Lambert and Feinstein are no strangers to high-quality restaurants. Their Savona in Gulph Mills is one of the jewels of suburban restaurants, while Toscana Cucina Rustica in Bryn Mawr has long been one of the region's better restaurants.
March 10, 1999 |
Sports bars and food don't always go together. But that's not the case at Champps, the popular Marlton watering hole dominated by large screen TVs and sports memorabilia. On a recent rainy Wednesday night, the place was mobbed, which is saying something, considering that Champps can hold up to 500 hungry sports fans. Maybe the crowds were drawn by the karaoke contest planned for 9:30 p.m. - $300 in cash prizes, step right up. Whatever the reason, there was a 15-minute wait for a table, and the place was buzzing.
October 9, 1998 |
Even before you're seated at Rib-It, on Grant Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard, the smoky aroma of barbecue begins tantalizing the senses, while the sound of many mouths gnawing on ribs plays like harmony to lively chatter. This is one of several Rib-Its, which, like the others - Cherry Hill, Turnersville, Media and Camp Hill - is owned by U.S. Restaurants, a Blue Bell-based business that operates a number of food franchises, including some Burger Kings. And like the others, it's a place for rolled-up sleeves, where fingers become acceptable dining tools and often work better than the knives and forks that come wrapped in thick paper napkins.
December 17, 1997 |
Despite its name, Loose Ends isn't the kind of restaurant that leaves anything to chance. This cozy Haddon Heights eatery, tucked into a quaint Station Avenue storefront, covers the culinary bases most capably, as my dining partner and I discovered during a recent rainy night dinner. Loose Ends, owned by Virginia Passon and her sister, chef Annemarie Phifer, is tastefully understated in its decor. Even with its current mantle of holiday finery, the decorations are festive without being overwhelming.