November 26, 2015 |
Once, there was a time in your life when a slice of cheese was orange and smooth, when it was wrapped in cellophane, when it was called a "single. " Sure, nowadays you choose to nibble on aged Gouda for a snack; you have your favorite blues and goats; and you'll order anything on a restaurant menu with tallegio. But a part of you - hidden in the most unacknowledged recesses of your palate - still secretly craves the uniform texture and yielding blandness of American cheese. To that, some local chefs would say: No shame in your game.
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.
November 20, 2015 |
Like many pro chefs, Joe Cicala cherishes returning to his childhood home for Thanksgiving. Just not for the reason one might expect. "It's one of the few days a year I usually don't have to cook!" says Cicala, co-owner of Brigantessa, who is also the chef at Le Virtù. That's not to say Cicala doesn't have deep feelings for the holiday he calls "my favorite. " As a kid growing up in Scaggsville, Md. (where, coincidentally, he worked in the local pizza shop with future fellow Philadelphia chef Peter Serpico)
August 21, 2015
Pie with sweet Jersey blues Vernick Food & Drink's blueberry pie is widely known to be a thing of beauty - and, for a brief moment, you can take it home with you. Vernick's pastry chef, Jennifer Sokoloff, will bake a limited number of pies, with Jersey berries and brown sugar topping, for take-home customers willing to commit to ordering ahead and picking up the dessert on their lunch hour. - Samantha Melamed Vernick Blueberry Pie for Two, $12, order by Aug. 28 at http://vernickblueberrypie.bpt.me and pick up Sept.
July 31, 2015 |
It's the food you've shunned that has the greatest potential to surprise. Take this summer when I made, on a whim, Dorie Greenspan's citrus berry terrine for a family gathering. Despite the fancy name, it was a straight-up gelatin mold, flavored simply with orange juice, though the jewellike flashes of segmented fruit in every slice made it look fancy and complicated. If I'd told my guests in advance what I would be serving, they might have scoffed, flashing back to pretzel and mandarin-orange studded rings of yesteryear, but their reaction to this fresh-tasting dessert was pure delight.
June 12, 2015 |
Here is an excerpt from Craig LaBan's online chat of June 9, 2015: Craig LaBan: In one of the more unexpected turns of restaurant news, talented chef Ezra Duker left the Mainland Inn just a few weeks after earning three bells in a fairly spectacular display of true modern farm-to-table cooking. Duker told me by phone his ultimate goal was to open his own place. He and his pastry chef (and life partner), Sandy Tran, were heading out to travel in Asia, and then decide where to open their own place - in the Bay area (where they met)
May 15, 2015 |
Triangle reopens A deep cleaning is the obvious change at the Triangle Tavern (1338 S. 10th St., 215-800-1992), which has held the corner of 10th and Reed Streets since Prohibition ended. It reopened this week under Stephen Simons and David Frank, who own Royal Tavern, Khyber Pass Pub, Cantina Los Caballitos, and Cantina Dos Segundos. The menu from chef Mark McKinney includes long-ago staples: roast beef, mussels in red or white sauce, and meatballs. There's also a sizable vegetarian and even vegan selection, including vegan roast beef and wings.
November 23, 2014 |
Who are the most important chefs in Philly? Some, like Keith Lucas and other cooks in the region's nonprofit kitchens, may not be names you've heard. But for thousands of Philadelphians suffering from AIDS, cancer, cardiac disease, or diabetes, Lucas - and the 15,000 free meals he oversees each week from the Center City kitchen at MANNA - is an essential lifeline to the nourishment and dignity of a proper supper. With 2,000 extra meals for Thanksgiving, Lucas, 53, a Chestnut Hill resident, paused to chat about a career cooking behind the scenes, his star turn on reality TV, and why hospital food is awful.
October 17, 2014 |
Brigantessa on E. Passyunk Walk into the new Brigantessa (1520 E. Passyunk Ave., 267-318-7341) which opened Tuesday on a Passyunk Square corner. Pass by the hand-cranked slicer on the marble counter and the salumi hanging behind the bar. There's a wood-burning oven handmade outside of Naples by the well-regarded Gianni Acunto, who finished it with mortar made with ash taken from Vesuvius. Peek back farther into the kitchen and you'll see a rotisserie and grill, fueled by wood and coal.
July 3, 2014
The deal: The South Philly corner spot's been there since 1947 and still feels like a best-kept neighborhood secret. When owner, pastry chef and neighborhood kid John Conlosi bought the biz in 2010, he kept the recipes - and resurrected a summertime tradition: the plain doughnut, sliced in half and filled to order with vanilla or chocolate Jack & Jill ice cream, and dusted with powdered sugar. Conlosi said that he remembered the treat "as a child, growing up right across the street, at 9th and Jackson.