April 12, 2013 |
Maliyah Gregg's eyes lit up when she spied a package of bacon on the counter for cooking class in the convent kitchen at St. Martin De Porres in North Philadelphia. And then she saw the spinach. "Can I eat just the bacon? Please? Just the bacon and a boiled egg. It will be like breakfast. Please?" After four weeks of cooking lessons, I had gotten the message loud and clear from Maliyah and the other 5th and 6th grade girls: We want meat! While many people are eating less meat and trying to center meals around other proteins for health and environmental reasons, these girls are not quite buying in. I heard the same chorus from my own two boys when I tried meatless family dinners when they were growing up. For them, it just didn't feel like dinner without meat.
April 14, 1993 |
Spinach salad days are here! If you're a gardener, you know spinach likes cool growing weather. That's why springtime tends to be a prime harvest time for the best fresh spinach, making it abundantly available on the supermarket produce counter. Even people who "don't like spinach" (your kids, for example) tend to regard it as a whole different veggie when they encounter it in a salad. That's because uncooked spinach has little of the bitter flavor notes that some people find objectionable in cooked spinach.
August 29, 1994 |
Ah yes, the '70s. Not as emotional as the '60s, not as greedy as the '80s. A Pinto of a Decade, someone said back then. It was decade of "getting in touch with your own feelings. " People talked about their "space. " It was a decade of "energy crisis. " If you weren't lowering your thermostat, you were waiting in line at the gas pump. If you weren't speculating whether gas would be rationed (it wasn't), you were upset because the price of gas rose from 30 cents a gallon to more than a dollar.
April 7, 1996 |
Sweet and sour is the antithesis of togetherness. Rather than meshing into a new and improved flavor, the pair refuses to combine. Instead it vibrates: sweet/sour/sweet/sour/sweet/sour. Which means that as soon as we try to commit our palates to one of them, the other flavor appears, wiping its predecessor away. This phenomenon of taste perception, called layering, is both a treasure and a challenge to anyone who cooks. Because we perceive flavors sequentially, rather than all rolled up together, it is possible to concoct highly sophisticated flavor blends, in which hundreds of tastes blossom and fade across the palate.
November 9, 2003 |
Surrounded by autumn colors and colonial ambience, the Centre Bridge Inn couldn't have looked more inviting. Now there's something to be said for pretty wrapping, but when it comes to restaurants, a view can only do so much. I arrived, ready to be romanced, by both handsome companion and luscious bounty. The first came through. The latter stood me up. The Centre Bridge Inn, also a 10-room bed and breakfast, has a history of calamities. After its original construction in 1705, as the Centre Bridge House, it was flooded in 1930 and then destroyed by fires in 1932 and 1954.
March 23, 2001 |
Decorated like a J.P. Morgan fantasy, the swank new steakhouse the Capital Grille is popular with just who you'd expect - white guys in suits. At 8:30 on a Thursday evening, the place was packed with them - six or seven at a table, laughing, talking on headsets, high-fiving each other and downing massive quantities of red meat. At the bar were a cluster or two of dudded-up gals, perhaps there in hopes of picking up one of these Masters of the Universe. With 13 other locations, including Washington, D.C.; Boston; Chicago; Dallas; and the original in Providence, R.I., the Philly incarnation (with 240 seats!
May 12, 1991 |
The statue of an Egyptian goddess greets customers in the dusty doorway. She is one of a roomful of antiques at Liberties, a restaurant and bar that duplicates one of this historic (Northern Liberties) neighborhood's early taverns. Liberties' ceiling is copper and tin. The floor is mostly mosaic tile, the sort you still find in the bathrooms of unrestored Victorian rowhouses. The mirror behind the long, curving wooden bar is clouded and, hence, kind to the reflections of aging customers.
October 1, 1993 |
There's no doubt that Cafe Einstein, the small, casual dining spot at Race Street near Second, has mastered the equation good food plus reasonable prices plus imaginative decor equals a devoted following. But then, why not? The menu is well-designed and the prices prudent. Einstein, open about six years now, has brick, overhead beams and a skylight, which add a touch of country hominess to this otherwise urban cafe. Original art dots the walls. There's crisp linen on the tables (topped with glass)
June 11, 1993 |
There's a new appendage to the sign outside the Catfish Cafe in East Falls - one that reads, "And Steakhouse. " The cozy, friendly corner tappie that has catered to fish lovers for seven years has added steaks to the menu, but I'm happy to report that nothing else has changed. The bar and dining room in the century-old building remain charmingly old-fashioned; the welcome's still warm; the prices moderate; the fish dishes fine. When I last reviewed the Catfish more than four years ago, the menu's token chicken breast entree seemed like an afterthought.
February 17, 1989 |
Although it hasn't been open long, the Walnut Hill Tavern in Germantown already has a solid sense of self. The simple menu is a model of sandwich-or-entree variety and low prices; the staff is exceptionally pleasant; the place is equally comfortable for family dining or a drink with friends; there's takeout for those who live nearby. A pianist plays in the handsome bar after 9:30 on Friday and Saturday nights. Once word gets out, crowds are sure to pile in. The three wood-paneled dining rooms have an obvious labor-of-love look.