January 29, 2016
Sweet new slice of Chinatown The matcha mousse cake from À La Mousse is not your typical Chinatown dessert. Baker and owner Anna Chen, wife of Jack Chen, who owns Sakura-Mandarin next door, took over Audabon in the fall to bake Western-style desserts with an Asian twist. For this elegant, layered mousse cake, she uses the powdered green tea known as matcha to give the creamy filling its leafy green color. The minimal use of sugar in the dessert allows for the distinctive tea flavor of the matcha to shine through on the finish.
January 22, 2016
Patti cakes Patti LaBelle's latest hit? Her sweet potato pie, which became a viral sensation after a fan uploaded a video of himself enjoying the dessert and singing his satisfaction. Now, the local superstar is back with a second, and third, helping: vanilla Bundt cake with vanilla icing, and a three-layer caramel cake with buttercream filling and caramel glaze. Both are manufactured for mass appeal but manage to hit the high notes. - Samantha Melamed Patti LaBelle Premium Caramel Cake, $13.94 at Walmart.
January 15, 2016 |
Classic Caesar, vegan style It's Caesar-salad dressing, minus the egg and anchovy. Vegan Commissary's version gets its flavor from organic soy-based mayonnaise, capers, white-wine vinegar, and extra-virgin olive oil, plus homemade "parmesan cheese" made from seeds and nutritional yeast. Available at Commissary Market, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Owner Steve Laurence hopes to be wholesaling soon. Vegan Commissary Caesar Dressing, $7 for a 16-ounce bottle A snack that does you good This is one wholesome NuDY Bar: The name stands for Nutritionally Dense and Yummy.
January 8, 2016 |
Have bitters, will travel For the traveler who demands a proper cocktail, this unique goodie box from the Bitter Truth holds five tiny vials of essential bitters, from pithy orange (think martini) to celery (Bloody Mary) and "Old Time" (Manhattan), to ensure those drinks on the road taste just right. Flying bartenders will be glad to know the set is designed to comply with rules for carry-on luggage, so even airplane drinks can get a lift. Comes with a recipe book for inspiration.
January 1, 2016 |
Bloody delicious The most complicated thing on the menu at Brick & Mortar may be the Bloody Mary, made from general manager Len Wood's own personal recipe. The 22 secret ingredients include 15 spices, including ginger and turmeric, three hot sauces, soy sauce, horseradish, and fresh juice from celery, roasted red peppers, lemons and limes. It's available by the bottle at the restaurant, and will keep for three weeks or longer, according to Wood, who advises mixing it with Irish whiskey.
December 25, 2015
A Sensible Snack To satisfy hunger pangs without reaching for yet another Christmas cookie, stop by Saxby's and pick up a two-ounce pack of sustenance from York, Pa.: Nuts About Granola . We like the Plain Jane peanut butter variety, made with whole oats, peanuts and honey. - Samantha Melamed Nuts About Granola , $3 Saxby's Coffee, 4000 Locust St., Philadelphia, 215-222-8400, Saxbyscoffee.com . Fresh Idea Keep your leftover pies, cakes, and cookies longer with this vacuum-sealed container that doubles as a cake plate and carrier.
December 18, 2015
For your best cheese . . . or your best cheese-loving friend Gift a foodie friend - or yourself - with a stylish accompaniment to your favorite cheeses: a set of sleek knives and a cutting board in warm copper and wood tones. - Samantha Melamed Beck Cheese Board and Three Copper Cheese Knives Set, $49.95 at Crate & Barrel, at the Cherry Hill Mall and King of Prussia Mall, and at crateandbarrel.com A mix of tastes and textures West Chester chocolatier Éclat's latest offering is pretty enough to give as a gift.
December 4, 2015 |
Pretty sweet Philadelphia chocolatier John & Kira's has a new winter offering that will work for just about any holiday gift situation: Their Winter Forest Trio is a mixed box of nine truffles with mint, hazelnut-almond praline and dark-chocolate ganache, with snow-flecked blue-and-white chocolate shells. - Samantha Melamed John & Kira's Winter Forest Trio, $29.95 through John & Kira's: 800-747-4808, johnandkiras.com , or at the Rittenhouse Square farmers' market, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Handmade for your holiday table Bonnie Kaye Whitfield, an artist working in Philadelphia, sets a stylish table with these bold, botanically inspired placemats and napkins, screen-printed by hand on linen.
November 26, 2015 |
The six De Luca family siblings have no plans to add locations of Villa di Roma, their classic Italian Market "red gravy" institution. But now you can take home a taste of their inimitable red sauces in a jar. Brother Basil De Luca, Villa's sauce and meatball master, spent two days at a food plant in Maryland to ensure the manufactured version is as close as possible to what he makes every day. And he succeeded. I tried the "classic sauce" beside the slightly more expensive fresh version also sold from the fridge for takeout, and it was a very good replica.
November 20, 2015 |
Magnificent Maple If you're looking to pick up pies or baked goods for your Thanksgiving feast, it's worth checking out the offerings at the Little Bird Cafe in Queen Village, the new bakery from pastry chef Jessica Nolen, wife of Jeremy, the team behind Brahaus Schmitz and Whetsone Tavern. From classic apple pie and brownies to her specialties of lemon meringue cheesecake and apple strudel, she offers a large variety of sweets as well as savories. We especially loved her maple custard pie, with a rich and creamy maple filling we couldn't stop eating.