August 8, 2016 |
I periodically revisit communities and neighborhoods in the Town by Town series, especially the ones that have impressed me as up and coming. For example, I went back to Hatboro last December - nine months after my Town by Town visit - to spend some more time walking around its ever-evolving downtown. When I visited Silverdale for July 24's entry, I stopped by Sellersville and Souderton - the latter to see how the train station project was faring. I don't usually write about these visits, because my motto is "one Town by Town to a customer and no refunds allowed.
July 23, 2016 |
Murals in Philadelphia have been created, variously, to uplift underserved communities, honor local leaders, fight blight, and amplify grassroots causes. Now, in a swath of the city's Callowhill area, they're advancing a new goal: rebranding a neighborhood. Artists commissioned by the city's Mural Arts Program are installing nine permanent and temporary murals that, collectively, create a revolving outdoor gallery billed as "Spring Arts District. " That also happens to be the identity that developer Craig Grossman, who sought and partially funded the project, is trying to cultivate in this gentrifying stretch between Eighth and 12th, from Noble to Spring Garden Streets.
June 7, 2016 |
With the last exam handed in, with prom dresses packed away, and the final bell of the year poised to ring, more than 2,400 students, teachers, and even the school cop at Spring-Ford Senior High erupted Friday afternoon in the ultimate end-of-school fireworks. Actually, make that "Firework. " In less than four manic minutes preceded by eight months of preparation, the entire student body joyously lip-synched Katy Perry's 2010 hit for a fast-moving Steadicam as it passed through the crowded halls amid cascades of smoke and confetti.
May 29, 2016 |
Most cooks in spring think "pie" when they see rhubarb. At Vernick Food & Drink, the pink-stemmed beauty has instead inspired a frothy cocktail ode to spring. Beverage director JB Bernstein clearly takes his local produce cycles as seriously as the kitchen, with a regular "in season" section on Vernick's drink menu. So he does his best to extract the essence of his star ingredient, macerating the stalks (not cooking them) for two days with sugar, lime and vanilla. A vivid dose of that strained sweet-tart syrup is then blended with dry gin, herbal Contratto aperitif, more lime, and then an egg white, which turns the whole thing into a foamy pink cloud when vigorously shaken.
May 27, 2016
Makes 6 to 8 servings 8 sheets phyllo dough, thawed if frozen 1/2 cup butter, melted 8 to 10 ounces fresh goat cheese or sheep milk feta Fresh ground black pepper 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 to 2 fresh garlic stalks, well cleaned, thinly sliced (Garlic scapes work well or sub 3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced thin 4 to 6 cups cleaned, stemmed, greens such as spinach, kale, mustard, arugula, or broccoli rabe ...
May 27, 2016
Makes 4 to 6 servings 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs Zest, juice of 1 lemon 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste Fresh ground pepper to taste 1/4 cup flour 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 cup fresh mushrooms caps, stems sliced thin (cremini, oyster, shiitake, maitake, or locally grown) 1/4 cup white wine 1/4 cup chicken broth 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/4 teaspoon each minced fresh thyme and fresh sage 2 tablespoons minced chives 1 teaspoon fresh fennel fronds (bronze or green)
May 27, 2016 |
Seasonal spring eating is all about shoots and sprouts. Tomato and cucumber plants may be in the ground, but they are far from bearing fruit. Spring is a season to celebrate green: emerald lettuces, celadon kale, jade green asparagus, tender chartreuse spring peas, and a palette of herbs. The earliest crops in my garden are always the spinach planted last fall, the garlic that sprouts from last year's harvest, and the arugula and cilantro that went to seed and self-sowed all about in bare patches, waiting for the rain and warm weather of May. Asparagus has popped up in gardens and is coming in abundance from South Jersey farms.
May 27, 2016
Makes 4 servings 1 cup dried white or yellow beans, such as cannellini, lima, or mayocoba, soaked for at least 8 hours and preferably overnight 8 cups water, or more as needed 2 bay leaves 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish 13/4 teaspoons sea salt 2 medium leeks or 2 medium-bulb spring onions, or a combination, white and light-green parts thinly sliced (if using spring onions, thinly slice the green...
May 20, 2016
The sudden appearance of soft-shell crabs is one of the true joys of spring dining, and I lucked out with my first of the year, a home run of a crab on the tasting menu at Lacroix at the Rittenhouse. Chef Jon Cichon, thankfully resisting his Baltimorean urge to pan-sauté that soft-shell (too leathery), instead dipped his crab into the lightest of tempura batters for a delicately fried, shattering crisp. But it was the garnish that lifted this crustacean to next-level status, a vivid spring cream brightened with green garlic, pureed with lettuce and wine, and then topped with a surprising blast of tabbouleh salad.
May 17, 2016 |
The softball went off the opponent's bat and hit Micaela Ghanayem on her right wrist. The Upper Merion senior shook it off. After all, getting hit by a foul tip is a common occurrence for a catcher. It had happened to Ghanayem dozens of times before, and just like in those practices or games, she brushed it off then, too. But later in the contest, she dove for a foul ball and heard something crack. Now that wasn't so common. Ghanayem continued playing anyway and didn't tell anyone.