October 1, 2000 |
In the Technicolor glow of stained-glass poultry, Rose Parrotta is stomping her feet to Johnny Cash, reliving her wilder days in the apple orchards of New York and filling her Happy Rooster with an infectious energy boost. She welcomes friends to her little restaurant in a playful headlock, leading them around the thick brass bar pole. Even diners unknown to this diamond-studded dynamo get a blast of her charisma. She preens like Vanna White beside her ambitious chalkboard menu, discoursing on everything from her hand-scribbled boutique wine list ("people want forward fruit, but I won't give it to them!"
June 6, 2010 |
As the husky young food runner approached our table at a huffing, breakneck pace - they don't call them "runners" for nothing - I could see the unfortunate moment unfold as if it were suddenly in slow-motion. Plate of chicken extending. Tilting dangerously. Bird sliding forward. Dark gravy swirling, whirling, rising over the levee's edge . . . . Splat! A stream of hot chicken juice poured right onto my wife's lap. It's the kind of honest service mishap that probably happens hundreds of times each day across America - and there's an easy way for a competent restaurant to cope, beginning with apologies, followed by speedy cleanup, more apologies, and maybe a voucher for a cleaning bill.
January 26, 1990 |
The state Liquor Control Board said yesterday that it would stop selling fortified wines such as Thunderbird and Richard's Wild Irish Rose at eight Center City liquor stores to quell problems resulting from drunken behavior. The action came at the request of community groups through state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo (D., Phila.), and it follows a similar move last summer at another Philadelphia location. "The product is not going to be pulled. We're going to let it run out," said Donna Pinkham, an LCB spokeswoman.
March 23, 2008
We could happily bob along forever on a chianti sea to Philly's endless array of Italian BYOBs. But when I come upon a wine list as well-chosen as Le Virtù's, I'm reminded that a smart sommelier can still be the best guide to a discovery. Taste this striking bottle of Ver Sacrum ($48.50), a montepulciano from San Savino in Marche, a central region not well-represented on most local wine lists. It's just one of the gems that wine director Federico Dall'Olmo has mined for a list touching 17 different Italian regions - virtually all less than $50 a bottle.
August 17, 1990 |
If heaven has a deli, it might very well look like Food Tek. This is one serious deli. Other places have wine lists; Food Tek, at 22 S. 2nd St., has a salad dressing list. Fifteen different kinds. Just about any kind of deli food is available to eat in or take out, including hoagies, hot or cold sandwiches, salads, bagels, four kinds of quiche, eight kinds of filled croissants and four kinds of French bread pizza. There are eight varieties of knishes, for heaven's sake. Cheap Eats stopped in at lunchtime for an aptly named Hot Brie Delight ($3.65)
July 24, 2011
Great wine lists should be scattered with unexpected gems, and here's one of my favorite surprises from Talula's Garden - a delightful "Hunt Country" rosé from Millbrook Vineyards in New York. Given the almost three decade history of this vineyard as a Hudson Valley wine pioneer (not to mention proprietor John Dyson, the wealthy former New York politico who also owns Williams Selyem, maker of one of Sonoma County's most sought-after cult pinot noirs), I shouldn't be so surprised. But Talula's impressively wine-savvy staff was right to urge us to buy a bottle to cover our meal.
October 11, 2012
Buzz: Marnie, do they ever sell wine grapes for eating? I'd love to buy some of those green pinot grigio grapes. Marnie: Very few wine grapes make good eating; they have thick skins and big seeds. But you wouldn't find green pinot grigio anyway. It's a red-skinned grape. Buzz: That's impossible. Even I know pinot grigio is a white wine. Marnie: You're right about that, Buzz, but it's perfectly possible to make white wines from red grapes. Buzz: I think you're pulling my leg. What will you tell me next, that chardonnay grapes are red?
June 27, 2010
You can't get much worth drinking for $20 a bottle on most Philadelphia restaurant wine lists. It's little wonder we're big on BYOs. But when the State Store is inside a BYOB, as it is in the Garces Trading Co., buying wine at retail prices feels like an even bigger bargain. This 2006 Barranc dels Closos Negre, for example, normally $50 or more on a restaurant list, was the best $21 mini-splurge I've had this month. Created by Mas Igneus, one of the newer wineries in the popular region of Priorat in Spain's northeast, this full-bodied red was a great example of a modern wine that still shows its Old World roots.
September 14, 2012
B UZZ: Hey, Marnie. I was in a bar last week and the guy next to me ordered some fancy rum that came in a snifter. What's up with that? I thought those were just for cognac and brandy. Marnie: There are cheap rums out there, Buzz, that are great for mixing into cocktails. But there are great rums for slow sipping, too. If it was served in a snifter, chances are that was a premium aged rum from the Caribbean or South America. Buzz: Aged rum, huh? They couldn't sell it fresh?
August 3, 2012
Buzz: Hey, Marnie. We were out to dinner last night and I saw the funniest thing — the guy at the table next to us asked for an ice bucket for their RED wine. What a rube! Marnie: Not exactly, Buzz. I do that myself. Red wines are often served too warm, especially at this time of year. They taste much better with a little chill — brighter and less harsh. I'll ask for an ice bucket in a heartbeat if the wine's too warm. Buzz: Wait, I thought red wines were supposed to be served warm, like whiskey.