First Look: South Helm

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Cooking is hard.

It’s hard because it takes incredible skill, talent, and tenacity to climb the ladder of the kitchen. It’s hard because it requires long hours in an uncomfortable working environment for not a lot of money. And it’s hard because kitchens are a powder keg of both ambition and stress. But one reason that it’s hard, not as visible as those above, is the fact that cooking the same dishes over and over again is just boring.

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First Look: Morgan’s Pier, Summer 2016

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Who says you can’t go home again? Jim Burke is proof that you can go home and you can do so with a brewski in hand. The Burkes are back in town following a stint in New York, and Jim is happily installed under the blue skies and multicolored umbrellas of Morgan’s Pier for the summer. Fans will remember he and Kristina Burke at the mention of their Bella Vista restaurant, James, that they closed back in 2011. The pair is cooking up their next move, and in the meantime he’s putting an Italian spin on his Morgan’s Pier offerings.

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First Look: Jansen

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There’s nothing new about scallops, lemons, capers, and parsley. It’s a plate full of beige, ecru, and green as tame as Pottery Barn. Fortunately, David Jansen’s scallops are just as pleasant as the catalog-worthy interior at your Aunt Susan’s house. Seared golden and seasoned beautifully, they sink slowly into a puree of cauliflower punctuated with jewels of preserved lemon and parsley leaves.

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There’s A Pretty Cool Farm Dinner Happening At Kensington Quarters This Weekend

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If you’re living off the land, what do you do when overwintered vegetables—potatoes, carrots, turnips—begin to dwindle before the new crops in the field are ready to eat? You get creative. This period, called Spring Famine, or Sechswoche Noth (Six Week Privation), its Pennsylvania Dutch name, is the theme of a seven course menu this Sunday, May 22nd, at Kensington Quarters. It’s a collaboration between chef Steve Eckerd and farmer Alex Wenger from Field’s Edge, a research farm in Lancaster, PA. In a moment when “local” peas, rhubarb, and strawberries appear on “seasonal” menus long before they arrive at area farmer’s markets, this meal will instead showcase sustainable eating with ingredients that actually reflect the Midatlantic right now.

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The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend

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The April showers have arrived a little behind schedule this year, unfortunately. But despite the drizzle, another seasonal farmer’s market is coming back on line each week. This weekend the Swarthmore Farmer’s Market opens back up, as does the Dickinson Square Farmer’s Market on Sunday. Next Wednesday is the return of the small but mighty Fountain Farmer’s Market on East Passyunk, and Roxborough welcomes the return of the Gorgas Park Market a week from today. Ramps are almost done for the year, but rhubarb is going strong and you’re sure to find these and lots of other spring favorites no matter which market you frequent.

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The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend

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Shutterstock

Between Kentucky Derby festivities, Brauhaus Schmitz’s Maifest and the South Street Spring Festival, there is no shortage of excuses to be out and about this weekend. But before you start pre-gaming for tomorrow’s Philly Taco Eating contest, remember that Sunday is Mother’s Day, and you’ll want to be just as prepared to celebrate your mom as you are to stuff a pizza-wrapped cheesesteak down your gullet. Rain or shine, farmer’s markets are on tomorrow for Fitler Square, Rittenhouse Square, Clark Park, Chestnut Hill, and Bryn Mawr, and Headhouse is a go for Sunday. Asparagus, greens, rhubarb, and radishes are abundant, so stock up and cook something nice for yourself or your mom.

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First Look: The Dutch

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Johncarl Lachman and Lee Styer are going Dutch on Pennsport’s hottest new daytime destination. The pair’s sunny new collaboration, located in the space that briefly housed Andrew Michaels’ Fourth & Cross, is cozy yet contemporary, as natural a fit as though it had been custom built for them. While their collective endeavors of Fond, Noord, and Neuf are much beloved destinations for candlelit dinners, breakfast and lunch are the offerings at The Dutch.

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The Dirt: What To Get At The Farmers Market This Weekend

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Get ready, because this weekend is a big one! This Sunday, May 1, welcomes the return of regular hours to the Chestnut Hill and Bryn Mawr markets, and the grand reopening of the Headhouse Square Farmer’s Market. Among the city’s largest outdoor markets, Headhouse is a favorite for many. It will officially open at 10:00am with the customary ringing of the bell, and there will be free commemorative tote bags for the first 25 folks to form a line at market organizer, The Food Trust’s, table. Round out the day with lunch from Philly Tacos (formerly Los Taquitos de Puebla), Mom Mom’s Polish, and Zsa’s Ice Cream. What could be better than pierogis and ice cream sandwiches? Getting to visit with baby goats from Shellbark Hollow Farm’s flock, which will also be on hand. Though I’m sure you’ll want to, you can’t take these little guys home with you. Pick up some of the following instead:

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The Dirt: Prince Edition

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iStockphoto.com | julichka

Tomorrow morning you can skip The Morning Papers and Breakfast Can Wait because you’ve got to drive your Little Red Corvette down to the Alphabet St. farmer’s market to pick up some Starfish and Coffee. I know I Could Never Take The Place of Your Man, but if you Take Me With You, I’ll buy you a Raspberry Beret, I mean sorbet, from Jenny & Frank’s Artisan Gelato. Let’s Go Crazy picking out salad greens because Money Don’t Matter 2 Night. Call My Name if we get separated and I’ll meet you by the Mountains of apples still left from last season at Beechwood Orchards. Don’t forget to pick up some Cream to go with your Starfish and Coffee, maple syrup and jam. I’ll bring 7 quarters for the meter because I’m sure you need a ticket like Anotheroverholenyohead. Oh, and don’t forget your umbrella. I hear that the forecast is calling for Purple Rain.

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First Look: Wm. Mulherin’s Sons

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Potentially edging Charlie Was A Sinner out for most esoteric restaurant name in town is Fishtown newcomer, Wm. Mulherin’s Sons. The restaurant takes its name from the facade of the building itself, a 1890’s whiskey blending and bottling facility just across from the El Bar and the Good Spoon Soupery at Front and Master.

Together, the three businesses are, in fact, dead-on examples of how Fishtown is changing. The El Bar is a long-established stalwart–a proper dive bar with karaoke, live music and cheap beer. Good Spoon Soupery arrived a few years ago, a seasonally-focused food business looking to set up in an area where local entrepreneurs had begun to migrate. Now, Wm. Mulherin’s Sons represents something new; the Fishtown of fresh new condos, glossy live/work spaces, and that particular Mumford & Sons aesthetic of a perfectly worn-in vintage leather jacket. It’s an ethos that matches the old and industrial with the fresh and new already on display in La Colombe’s distillery and cafe and in the very bones of what Kensington Quarters does. Fishtown is so hot with development that it’s only fitting that someone add a wood-fired pizza oven.

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