March 17, 2016
All a barkeep needs If you're new to home bartending, you may not want a drawer full of tools. Try just one: this Swiss Army knife approach to bartending that includes a jigger, zester, muddler, and bottle opener all in one oak-clad utensil. -Samantha Melamad Bartender's Multi-Tool, $32 at Occasionette, 1825 E. Passyunk Ave., Philadelphia, 215-465-1704, occasionette.com Bet you can't eat just one Potato chips got a little more interesting with the new Kettle Brand variety cooked in avocado oil and available in flavors including Chili Lime, Hawaiian Barbecue with ginger, and Himalayan Salt.
March 11, 2016
A broth without additives In an entrepreneurship class at Penn State's business school, David Sirott and Donnie Weissberg collaborated on a project to make and sell an all-natural, no-salt-added, superfood vegetable broth. Now, Sirott, of Graduate Hospital, and Weissberg, of New York, have launched the business. Their Wild IS! broth, made with kale, spinach, celeriac, basil, and green tea powder extract, is a mild-tasting base for your vegetable soups. Available in local Whole Foods stores (see wild-is.com for a list)
February 5, 2016
Grow herbs in a jar If you like the idea of aquaponics but aren't quite ready to turn your basement into a fish farm, you can start small with AquaJar. An ecosystem in a mason jar, it's designed to be a fish habitat you can also use to grow fresh herbs year-round on your windowsill. (It comes with a caveat: The product is designed by a Newark, Del., start-up that just finished a successful crowdfunding push on Kickstarter. But it's new to distribution, so expect it could take several weeks to arrive.)
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.