Ode to the Dumpling: History in a Single Bite

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Photo by Mike Persico

This love affair we have with bacon is stupid. Bacon is delicious, but it’s one-dimensionally delicious. The best thing you can do with bacon is have more bacon, and this leads to nothing but a sort of culinary one-upmanship reminiscent of Cold War nuclear proliferation.

Lemongrass was the bacon of the 1990s. We got past it. The recent obsession with cupcakes nearly derailed the upward curve of American cuisine. Thank the food gods that long national nightmare is behind us. Fried chicken worries me a little because in some quarters, it’s worshipped like the Second Coming of flourless chocolate cake — the thing that’s going to save us all, translate across all customer demographics, make any chef who can dunk a bird in hot fat the prettiest stripper in town.

You want to know the thing we all should be obsessed with? The dumpling. The dumpling is the solution to all the (bad, dumb, ridiculous) questions posed by fusion cooking in the days when fusion was huge. It’s the thing that unites all cuisines everywhere — more than the taco, more than fried chicken — because it’s the thing that all cuisines have in common. The dumpling gives comfort to diners in duress as they stare down a menu filled with words they’ve never seen before and ingredients they can’t pronounce. The dumpling is beloved in its innumerable forms and disguises. It’s a tiny, unassuming and awesome hand grenade that can be packed with a virtually limitless spread of culinary ordnance and deployed in a thousand different ways. Lucky for us, they are all over Philly.

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Brick & Mortar Names An Executive Chef

brick-mortar-logo-400Brick & Mortar–the new neighborhood joint being opened at 12th and Pearl by ex Franklin Mortgage partner Michael Welsh–has gone and gotten itself an executive chef.

Brian Ricci, coming off a turn as exec at Kennett and ex of Django, Supper and Pub & Kitchen, will be running the kitchen for Welsh. No word yet on what, exactly, Ricci might be doing with the menu (though we hear there will be some rotisserie stuff, and Ricci’s got a strong streak of British gastropub in him, plus a bit of Indian street food from his time at Danny Meyer’s Tabla in NYC), but you’ll know as soon as we do.

Brick & Mortar is looking to get open some time in late November.

Brick & Mortar [Foobooz]

Sakara Life, Part 2: Now I, Too, Am Eating Like A Supermodel

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Remember last week when we ever-so-lovingly discussed the impending launch of the Sakara meal delivery service in Philadelphia? These are the folks who claim to feed a bunch of Victoria’s Secret underpants models, Gwyneth Paltrow and various other famous-ish people that are (or claim to be) very concerned with what they put into their bodies. They want organic, meatless, buzzword-fortified meals but, being very busy and pretty and whatever else, they don’t have time to actually go down to the farmers market or, you know, cook.

So Sakara is there to do all the hard work for them–and for you. They’ll deliver three meals a day, already packaged and on ice. All you have to do is open them and eat (though, occasionally, some re-warming is required).

Oh, and guess what? We arrived at Foobooz World HQ this morning to find that, wisely or unwisely, the folks from Sakara had a package waiting for us. Yes, despite making many jokes at the expense of supermodels, hemp and “Green Goddess Milk,” they decided to send us along a sample. And because we are who we are, we decided to eat it and see how good (or bad) it might be to eat like a model for a day.

Let’s start with breakfast, shall we?

Greatest Hits and What You Missed: Avance Is Closed, Perfect Beer For The Walking Dead Premier, Philly’s Best Nachos, Whetstone, Eat Like A Supermodel

Walking Dead Season 4

The return of the Walking Dead is the big news around Foobooz HQ this weekend–that and the return of Dock Street Walker to go with it. But some food stuff happened this week, too–including the closure of a little-known place called Avance. So just in case you’ve spent the past week locked in your zombie-proof bunker, here’s what you might’ve missed.

Dock Street Walker Returns Perfect for drinking with Sunday night’s premier

Avance Is Closed Is this the end for 1523 Walnut?

The Modern History Of 1523 Walnut Street A timeline of high hopes and bad news

An Updated Opening Date For Whetstone And some menu intel, too

How Israel Got Huge A Philadelphia-born food trend

What Are The Best Nachos In Philly? Add your .02 to the conversation

Want To Learn To Be A Distiller? Talk to a distiller

Hawthorne’s Is Returning Bigger, better, warmer and offering more than ever before

Sakara Coming To Philly Now you can eat like a Victoria’s Secret model every day

Eat The World Philadelphia’s international food scene, in depth

 

Imagine A World Without Yelp…

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“Have a column in yr mag from readers with good + bad experiences in restaurants…”

For all of you out there who think that life would be better without Yelp, here’s what happens.

Sakara Coming To Philly: Now You Can Eat Like A Victoria’s Secret Model

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Have you heard of Sakara? If you’re a frequent reader of this blog–so full of pig heads, pork products, tacos, nachos and beer–then probably not.

But still, maybe you’re one of those healthy people who comes here to read about 40-course dinners and french fry taste-tests as a kind of guilty pleasure while resolutely sticking to your daily regimen of wheat berry salads and kale enemas. If so, you probably have heard of Sakara and, as such, will be just over-the-moon excited when I tell you that the super-celebrity healthy and organic meal delivery service beloved by Victoria’s Secret models (and Gwyneth Paltrow and Lena Dunham), once available only to those enlightened souls in New York and Boston, is now getting ready to launch in Philadelphia (and Washington D.C.) starting on October 13.

And it’s not just offering cups of ice, Marlboro Lights and cocaine, either. No, it delivers actual food of the sort eaten by actual supermodels.

That is, if you consider hemp a food.

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ChesCo Wing Fest: Because You Know You Love Chicken Wings

chickenwingsSo we’re already having you people fight it out in the comments section over who has the best nachos in town (which, we hope, will someday soon translate into a canonical listing of ALL the best nachos that Philly has to offer). But for those of you who are perhaps a bit less interested in a bunch of stuff on chips but do care very deeply about the proper frying of a great chicken wing, may we offer this: The 1st Annual ChesCo Wing Fest, happening on October 19 from 1pm-6pm at 13 different restaurants scattered around the county.

So how can one possibly judge the best wings at 13 different restaurants? With hard work, my good man. And an iron stomach.

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Want To Learn How To Be A Distiller? Talk To A Distiller

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Cooper River Distillers is the first legal distillery in New Jersey since prohibition. They have their distillery up and running and have been producing their first spirit–Petty Island Rum–since April of 2014.

Yes, that basically means they’ve got six months behind them. And in this area, in this day and age, that kinda makes them experts. Which is maybe why the first time the Cooper River crew held an Aspiring Distillers Workshop, it completely filled up with folks who wanted to learn how to turn corn into delicious, delicious alcohol (without killing themselves in the process).

Matter of fact, it was SO popular, that Cooper River is now planning on doing a second workshop. It’s currently scheduled for November 22nd, but the reason we’re giving you so much notice is because there are only 15 seats available and they’re likely to go fast. You can get more details (and reserve your spot) by emailing Ben Donia at donia@cooperriverdistillers.com.

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