January 16, 2015 |
Over the last few months, I've been souping it up in Pho-ladelphia. Home to the third largest Vietnamese population on the East Coast, this city has long been a destination for many great renditions of the deeply warming and aromatic noodle soup. Few meals in the world deliver more satisfaction for $10 or less. And since the winter chill settled in, slurping through a steamy pool of exotic broth, rice noodles, Thai basil, and sundry cuts of meat has been the equivalent of hitting the "defrost" button.
July 10, 2015 |
Opa's new chef, Bobby Saritsoglou, has been on a mission to modernize Greek food by reviving some of its old-school techniques. On the tender octopus platter, for example, some lacto-fermented cauliflower pickles and a garlicky bread- and almond-thickened skordalia sauce show off some throwback moves (modern skordalia, he says, is more commonly thickened with potatoes). House-brined grape leaves get stuffed with grass-fed beef touched with fenugreek and clove. My favorite update, though, is Saritsoglou's reclamation act for gyros.
January 7, 2010
A few things that Mumbai, India, ingrains in you: a taste for Bollywood, a tolerance of traffic, and a love of chaat , the street food of old Bombay. So I lit up when I saw Desi Chaat, a tiny, West Philly take-out storefront. The samosa had spent a little too long under the heat lamp. But the papri chaat (distinguished by boiled potatoes and chickpeas) made me smile. Your typical chaat employs a mixture of savories, in this case tossed with mango and pomegranate seeds and dotted with yogurt and mint, tamarind-date and plum sauces that you stir into crispy bits made here from (slightly oily)
January 24, 2012
The Asian street-food bandwagon has picked up some Main Line polish, as Nectar chef Patrick Feury has taken the steamed pork bun to a dangerous place: potential addiction. Feury has sourced a perfect bun, a palm-sized white cloud of fold-over pastry. But it's the pork belly inside that got me, which Feury gives the expected fusion approach, the well-trimmed meat rolled up like Italian porchetta, then basted in a dark, gingery Asian braise. Perfectly rendered, but still tender and juicy, the pork roulade is shined with hoisin, then dabbed with sriracha-spiked Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise.
January 24, 2014 |
Over the last few years, Philly's mobile-food industry has finally begun to catch up with the city's impressive restaurant scene, as dozens of chefs and entrepreneurs debut creative concepts well beyond gyros and soft pretzels. Now, those food trucks selling pork-cheek tacos and grass-fed burgers are spurring a secondary market: new and improved commissaries designed just for them. The facilities are equipped not just with basic prep tables and sanitizing sinks, but also with full commercial kitchens, secure parking, and lots of extras.
July 16, 2012 |
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Six-foot-tall speakers blare norteño music across a grass field as members of the overwhelmingly Latino crowd fan themselves and wait for the bulls to be led into a makeshift rodeo ring. Beers are drunk and tacos de lengua , made with cow's tongue, are consumed. Some watch as cowboys stretch like gymnasts against the metal fencing. Others wait their turn to dance with a young woman in cutoff-jean shorts. On the edge of the crowd, Ciro Lopez shuffles his brilliant white boots, to the amusement of his mother and son. Between crescendos of tuba and accordion, the 34-year-old warehouse manager says the event is identical to those he attended when he lived in Mexico City and visited family in the countryside.
June 26, 2015 |
A stack of Vetri family cookbooks sits on a low wall beside the open kitchen at tiny Los Jiménez Cocin on Oregon Avenue as a proud reminder of owner Justino Jiménez's decade-plus of cooking in the Italian kitchens of Vetri and Amis. But his new Cocin (short for cocina) is a pure authentic throwback to Jiménez's taqueria roots before coming to Philly from Mexico in 2001. His specialty, the tacos al pastor you'll see spinning on a vertical spit in back, is especially worth a taste.
July 3, 2015 |
If you're looking for ways to liven up your grilling for Fourth of July weekend, then it's time to look beyond the burger/steak/chicken trifecta and start thinking of ways to eke flavor out of all kinds of ingredients. "Grilling gives food that extra, unexpected element. The grill is basically the centerpiece of our kitchen . . . almost everything touches it at some point," says Eli Collins, chef of Pub & Kitchen. What chefs like Collins are doing in restaurant kitchens works just as well at home: Moving meat from the center of the plate (and fire)
March 3, 2011
_ It's not National Pancake Week (that was in February), or even National Pancake Day (you just missed it Tuesday), but Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man (1420 Walnut St., 215-344-8150) wants to celebrate anyway, with some weekend brunch specials: Illegal Chocolate Chocolate Pancakes, with dark chocolate truffle cream, milk chocolate shavings, spiced pecans and caramelized bananas; and Royal Berries Pancakes, with candied blueberries, blood orange maple syrup. _ Philadelphia chef Jose Garces and master brewer Phil Leinhart, of Cooperstown, N.Y.'s Brewery Ommegang, will join forces at JG Domestic (2929 Arch St. at the Cira Centre, 215-222-2363)
April 16, 2009
Fans of the old-school Continental elegance that once was Overtures will likely be in for an anti-ambience shock when they step into the old Passyunk Avenue haunt to discover the bare-bones banquet-chair decor of its new tenant. But what the fledgling S&H Kebab House lacks in style, it more than makes up for in flavor and value. This Turkish grill from owners Sal Kucuk (he's the "S") and chef Hussein Yuksel (he's the "H") is all about spot-on, homemade Ottoman classics, and this iskender kebab is one of my favorites.