Taste: Sweeter Lucy’s
There’s little reason to venture to the vicinity of State and Rhawn in the Great Northeast unless you’re looking for the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, or one of the best damn pulled porks to be had outside the Lower Red States. You’ll find it at Sweet Lucy’s. We first told you about the succulent offerings of owners Brooke and Jim Higgins last summer, when the pair operated a popular lunch truck in a warehouse parking lot on State Road. Recently, the Higginses have upgraded to a large, sit-down affair inside the warehouse. They’ve traded the dusty desolation of the roadside setup for a bright, airy room with exposed beams and ductwork, huge windows, bovine murals, and washbasin lampshades that, together, give the new Sweet Lucy’s an industrial yet homey feel.
Thankfully, the down-home good food has survived the expansion. While we weren’t overly excited to see menu additions like Elaine Benes’s favorite, the Big Green Salad (we don’t go to barbecue restaurants for foliage), the Texas beef brisket, pulled pork and chicken, and Memphis baby back ribs—all hickory smoked—won high accolades all around. And you could wear a blindfold while choosing side dishes, because they are all so right on. If you can’t decide, go for the smoky-salty Tennessee beans or pork-flecked baked beans, washing it all down with a super-sweet and syrupy Southern-style iced tea.
The only thing that needs tweaking is the dessert menu, which on our visit was limited to a cookie or two. Bring on the Key lime!
Sweet Lucy’s, 7500 State Road; 215-331-3112.
Field Guide to Meat
From chops to cheeks and all parts in between, Philadelphia chef and author Aliza Green’s newest book, Field Guide to Meat (Quirk Books), available this month, is a thorough reference guide to meat in all its glorious forms. (Green also penned the recent Field Guide to Produce.) Her handy 300-plus-page guide covers how to choose the best cuts of meat, basic cooking instructions, storage methods and the like. Priced at $14.95, it’s ideal for professional chefs looking to broaden their carnivore horizons. For the everyday meatloaf maker, though, its applications are more limited. Its focus is rather intimidating, and the range so extensive that only about half the information is useful to the typical household cook. You may feel ready for meat Jeopardy once you’ve learned how to cook calves’ feet, elk pizzle and ostrich, but you aren’t any closer to making dinner.
Lately, summertime treats like deep-fried Oreos and sugary funnel cakes have made their way off the Boardwalk and into the kitchens of the area’s top restaurants. The newest and most decadent items on dessert menus citywide? Gastro-chic variations of our hot, sticky fairground favorites.
» Pastry chef Julia Kovacs of West Philly BYOB Marigold Kitchen recently served up deep-fried croquettes of curried chocolate.
» In Berwyn, diners at Asian hot spot Nectar can enjoy crispy mini doughnuts alongside the restaurant’s homemade espresso and caramel ice creams.
» At Rittenhouse Square’s Barclay Prime, pastry chef Frank Urso offers deep-fried New York-style cheesecake truffles, coated with cookie crumbs and served with fruit compotes.
» At Joseph and Karey Scarpone’s new Northern Liberties haunt Sovalo, ricotta fritters are plated with a mixed berry coulis.
The Table Tap
Because Philadelphians really need 5,360 cubic centimeters of beer at their fingertips
“Wanna upgrade to a tower?” asked our lip-smackingly cute waitress at Roosevelt Boulevard’s Chickie’s & Pete’s after we ordered a round of Yuenglings. We didn’t ask what this “tower” was; we just said, “Yes.” Five minutes later, she brought us a four-foot-high plastic cylinder filled with 120 ounces — around two pitchers — of lager, which we dispensed as needed through a spout on the side. It turns out that C&P’s “tower” is a Table Tap, a device manufactured by an East Brunswick company that’s promoting gaiety in sports bars from Alaska to Florida, including a number in the Philadelphia area.
While beer in a pitcher loses its chill quickly, a frozen steel puck in the Table Tap maintains the temperature for at least half an hour. And there’s no waiting for your waitress to show up with another round—not, that is, until you’ve polished off the contents of the Table Tap. If beer isn’t your thing, don’t worry. The Tap can be filled with virtually any beverage—margaritas, kamikazes, spiked lemonade — and is perfect for a boozy backyard barbecue.
The Table Tap, $200; available at tabletap.com.