April 11, 2013 |
The Saint James in Ardmore was playing outside its original suburban comfort-food zone one recent night, evidence that owner Michael Schulson (who also owns Sampan, at 13th and Sansom Streets) has been logging more hours at the stove. Dollops of bigeye tuna tartare on warm rice crackers emerged. And slivers of glistening Berkshire pork belly with schmears of root-beer barbecue sauce. But it was the overhauled pasta dishes that hinted at a new day, one in particular - an exquisite baby fava bean and ricotta ravioli, redolent of fresh mint, the pasta rolled elegantly thin and tender, and bathed in butter and parmesan.
March 27, 2012 |
Christina Verrelli, a 43-year-old Main Line mom, reshaped an old-fashioned pumpkin pie into an trendy "ravioli" dessert with a salted caramel whipped cream topping to win the 45th Pillsbury Bake-Off and $1 million. "Oh my God, I'm over the moon," she said, still a little shocked, moments after she appeared on The Martha Stewart Show Tuesday morning from the contest in Orlando, Fla. "I'm in surreal land right now," she said in a phone interview. "It doesn't feel quite real yet. " When asked how she would spend the million dollars, Verelli, who lives in Devon with her husband, Louis, and two daughters, 7 and 9, said: "Well, college.
August 21, 2008 |
Right up to the time he closed his store near the Italian Market in 2002, Anthony P. Giunta Jr. was still ringing up sales on a 107-year-old hand-cranked brass cash register. He was still selling chittara, wires stretched between two pieces of wood used to cut fresh pasta dough. And at Christmastime, customers still came for handheld pizelle mold, which is used to fashion those Italian cookies the way grandmothers used to. Giunta Bros. at 11th and Christian Streets was a kitchen-equipment store that harked back to its 1915 founding by his father, Anthony Sr. Mr. Giunta, 78, whose ill health forced him to retire and close the store in 2002, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at his home in South Philadelphia.
July 10, 2008
Amid the recent fervor for artisan cheesemaking, mild-mannered ricotta has largely been left behind in the firm embrace of big industry's plastic tubs. In a little storefront on East Passyunk Avenue, however, Philip Mancuso remains a notable holdout: the last of South Philly's masters of handmade ricotta. The Italian matrons who came to buy fresh curds for their ravioli and cheesecakes since Mancuso's father, Lucio, founded this cozy storefront in 1940, are fewer and far between. But Mancuso still makes it fresh weekly, storing tall clouds of the cheese in a glass refrigerator behind his counter.
July 9, 2008 |
How delicious are Teresa DeSanctis' ravioli? Let's just say that Jersey Shore restaurants often don't bother to make their own. If you're dining out in Cape May County these days and you're served an unusually supple, unusually large square of pasta stuffed with cheese, spinach, meat or lobster, chances are it came from the kitchens of the Ravioli House, Di-Sanctis' restaurant and takeout shop on East Bennett Avenue in Wildwood. The wholesale arm of DeSanctis' business supplies about 50 restaurants in the Wildwoods and beyond, including upper-crusty shore towns like Avalon, Cape May and Stone Harbor.
April 13, 2008
Eating at Ristorante Fieni's is like eating at home - probably because it is a home, complete with a fireplace in one dining room. The converted rancher opened 13 years ago as a cozy 60-seat restaurant down the street from the former Echelon Mall (now Voorhees Town Center). It has consistently served sophisticated Italian fare ever since. A friend recently invited the Discreet Diner for lunch at Fieni's, and we had fun rediscovering this South Jersey favorite, owned by Lucio and Angela Fieni.
December 2, 2007
Can gooey lasagna at a chain restaurant ever be as satisfying as Mark Vetri's ragoût of wild boar? Having enjoyed both, I can answer affirmatively. You see, when the layered skyscraper can stop a Friday-tired 11-year-old from tormenting his brother, comparisons to fine dining become irrelevant. You thank your stars that chain-eating has progressed from the Denny's of your youth to the Carrabba's of your children's. We ended up at the Maple Shade eatery after a fatigued cell-phone exchange familiar to most families: "Do you feel like cooking?"
April 6, 2007 |
As so often happens, you outgrow the family home. And so it was with the longstanding South Philly BYOB Ristorante Tre Scalini. So, Chef Franca DiRenzo, her daughter Francesca Kauffman and son-in-law Michael left the comfortable rowhouse and moved into the "McMansion" in the up-and-coming Passyunk block just off Broad Street. I have to admit, the '60s-style stone fireplace in the old house that other reviewers always panned held a certain endearing Brady Family nostalgia for me. But, it was time to move on and even the Bradys grew up. It's been a little more than three months since the boxes were unpacked and the doors opened.
November 30, 2003 |
The shoe-box-size lockers throughout Arpeggio puzzled me as I scanned the dining room during dinner. One of the BYO's owners later told me that there's a waiting list for the cubbies, a gift for the restaurant's regulars who want to keep their wine in-house. But customers aren't heading to this bustling, suburban-trendy restaurant for its storage facilities. They're likely going for Arpeggio's Italian and Middle Eastern dishes, examples of two cultures mixing successfully on one menu.
July 20, 2003 |
The Stottsville Inn typifies many old landmarks: It has had a string of owners, it has seen good times and bad, and it sits hard to the road, a massive structure that eventually can't be missed but initially might be hard to find. And, oh yes, did I mention the resident ghost? Located in the far reaches of western Chester County, the Stottsville Inn is named for the blip of a village surrounded by open countryside. The peaceful setting and beautifully restored, circa-1858 inn are two good reasons to visit the restaurant.