December 16, 2014 |
R OBERT IRVINE is getting people buff in Philly for the Food Network. My spies spotted the "Restaurant: Impossible" host at the Sporting Club at the Bellevue last week working out with a hefty partner. Sources tell me that Irvine is working on a new show called "Fitness: Impossible" that will get a Food Network debut next month. I hear it's "a cooler version of 'The Biggest Loser.' " The show is being filmed all over with Philly, Bucks County and New Orleans as locations.
December 12, 2014
ONCE IN a great while, too many cooks in the kitchen is a good thing. Earlier this month, a gaggle of South Philly chefs showed up, knives in hand, to work in the line at Lynn Rinaldi's modern Italian restaurant and wine bar, Paradiso. And, though their culinary styles and cooking proclivities pinged multiple points on the map, they shared a straightforward goal: satisfying a sold-out room full of diners celebrating Rinaldi's 10th year in business on East Passyunk Avenue. The menu of 10 distinct dishes (a course for each year, of course)
December 1, 2014 |
At a time when most foreign news is unremittingly grim, I have a good-news story to tell - about the first women-only restaurant in western Afghanistan, called the Scranton Restaurant. That name reflects the fact that the restaurant is a joint project of a noted woman activist in Herat, Afghanistan, and her counterparts in Scranton, Pa., who raised $20,000 to get the restaurant started. The Scranton Restaurant is a rare place where Afghan women, young and old, can socialize outside their homes in safety.
November 8, 2014 |
When the restaurant bearing his name opens Friday, former Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino will be doing what he does best - holding court - as front-door host of the posh Italian spot in Boca Raton, Fla. His lawyers, meanwhile, have turned to a court of a different sort, hoping to keep their client out of prison long enough to see the eatery past its first few weeks. The 52-year-old dapper don, who recently appeared in federal court in a sharp gray suit and purple tie, is due to report Nov. 24 to a South Florida prison to serve out a four-month sentence for a probation violation.
November 8, 2014 |
OUTSIDE THE courthouse last month, Joseph Merlino laughed off his upcoming prison stint as an opportunity to take his workout routine to the next level and "get my sixpack back. " But, come on, do you really think "Joey Sixpack" wants to spend four months doing crunches in a jail cell? Lawyers for the ex-mob boss are asking for a postponement of his sentence while they appeal a judge's ruling that he violated the terms of his probation while living in Florida. At a court hearing on Oct. 24, U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick ordered Merlino to report to prison on Nov. 24 after detectives testified that he'd been spotted with John "Johnny Chang" Ciancaglini in a Boca Raton cigar bar in June.
November 6, 2014 |
Bar/restaurant plus butcher Across the street from the artisan work at the new La Colombe Torrefaction flagship in Fishtown, restaurateur Michael Pasquarello and butcher Bryan Mayer are behind the new Kensington Quarters (1310 Frankford Ave., 267-314-5086). It's a bar/restaurant with a butcher counter and classroom built in. Mayer, one of the godfathers of a new generation of butchers, ran the show at Fleisher's Grass-Fed & Organic Meats in New York. A chance meeting with Pasquarello - who with his wife, Jeniphur, owns Cafe Lift, Prohibition Taproom, and Bufad - sent him, his wife and daughter to Philadelphia.
November 4, 2014
G ARY CARDI, 39, of Wayne, is a partner in Public House Investments (PHI), which provides management services to restaurant/bars in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. He also owns two City Tap Houses, in University City and Logan Square, and Field House and Pennsylvania 6 in Center City. Q: How'd you come up with the idea for PHI? A: That's the management company. Each restaurant is individually owned by me or one of my three partners. The management company supplies managers to all 16 restaurants that each partner owns.
October 20, 2014 |
Carla Hall, two-time Top Chef finalist and cohost of ABC's The Chew , is enlisting 15 students from Drexel University to help her launch her first restaurant, to open in New York in the spring. James Feustel of the culinary arts program at Drexel says the partnership is a great chance for his students to work on solving real-world problems for an operating restaurant. Drexel created a "restaurant lab" class for the project, where students will source ingredients, compute costs, test equipment, and help with kitchen design and recipe development for Carla Hall's Southern Kitchen.
October 10, 2014 |
The mission to Montreal has become required eating over the last decade, its smoked-meat-and-poutine soul inspiring a generation of hipster-handcraft chefs from Brooklyn to Philly. But the quest for Québec profond requires a deeper drive into the heart of the province - 21/2 hours northeast to Québec City, where you'll find another metropolis in the midst of its own food revolution. More intimate than Montreal, and more deeply influenced by the historic stone-walled ramparts of its French-Canadian charm, Québec City has been energized in recent years by a generation of young chefs who have brought edgy bistro kitchens that take full advantage of the region's considerable artisan food bounty, from "ice ciders" to raw milk cheese, exceptional produce, and wild game.
October 3, 2014
EVERY restaurant has its problems, but few are as specific as Marigold Kitchen's. Take the cold call the staff fielded the other day. "Are you still serving meat loaf?" the caller inquired. If this were a comedy sketch, GM Chris Albert would silently run down the modernist tasting menu - making deliberate note of elements like basil seltzer, black garlic and cubeb - and reply with a deadpan, "No, ma'am. " Meat loaf has not been offered at this West Philly BYOB for a decade-plus.