Restaurant Week Alternative: Pizzeria Stella

stella_pizzaweekRestaurant Week at Pizzeria Stella isn’t really Restaurant Week, it’s Pizza Week. And to celebrate Pizza Week, Stella has some specials.

During the full stretch of Restaurant Week (January 18-23 and 25-30), Stella will be offering a kind of two-for-one deal, meaning you go in, order 2 salads or antipasti, any pizza on the board, and 2 gelati for dessert, and walk out the door for just $35.

A killer deal? Yes, it is. A perfect night out for couples trying to avoid the crowds during Restaurant Week? Absolutely. But one of the biggest reasons to give Stella a try is just because, in this pizza-loving moment we’re in, Stella is a truly great restaurant that often gets overlooked in the rush to the new, the weird and the rustic. So take this chance to figure that out for yourself, huh? I think you’ll be surprised how well it stacks up.

Pizzeria Stella [f8b8z]

Justin Bogle Named Corporate Executive Chef For Garces Group

justin-bogle-carousel

So for those of you who’ve been wondering whatever happened to the guy who used to run the kitchen at Avance, now you know. The weird thing? This is a sort of homecoming for Justin Bogle, because prior to his running off to New York City to earn his Michelin stars while cooking at Gilt, he got started as a cook under Jose Garces at Alma de Cuba.

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Travel + Leisure Calls Philadelphia “America’s Next Great Food City”

So Philadelphia, it seems, is having something of a moment.

There was the Bon Appetit piece on Reading Terminal Market. There was the New York Times naming Philly as one of the “52 Places To Go In 2015,” and putting us third on the list behind Milan and Cuba–which means, yes, first in the United States.

Now, Travel + Leisure has just come out with their list of the best new restaurants in the world, and has given Philly a page, noting, “This unsung destination has blossomed into one of the U.S.’s most exciting restaurant cities—Portland East?—with a fierce indie spirit and world-class kitchen talent.”

Nice, right? Local names given a specific shout-out include Serpico, Michael Solomonov (Zahav and FedNuts, sure, but more lovingly Abe Fisher and Dizengoff), and both Fork and High Street On Market which gets the closing line, reading, “The artisanal breads and the caraway-rye rigatoni with pastrami ragù are reasons alone to go to Philly.”

So we’re awesome is the point here. At least for today. But in the immortal words of the legendary Dirk Diggler, “We can always do better. I’m gonna keep trying if you guys keep trying. Let’s keep rocking and rolling, man!”

Hell, yeah.

Travel + Leisure – Best New Restaurants [Official]

Photo courtesy High Street On Market’s twitter

Pennsylvania Is A Gigantic Culinary Stereotype

USMap

In one of those evil-genius type collaborations, the Huffington Post and Yelp have combined their powers to come up with a state-by-state list of the most disproportionately popular cuisines in the U.S.. A brief description of their methods:

Yelp figured out which cuisines were most common in each state by examining restaurant listings on its site. The review service uses information pulled by third-party data providers from public records and other sources in order to create its online restaurant listings, according to its website.

To get the data for the map, Yelp first calculated the percentage of total restaurants each cuisine represented in a given state. Then, it compared each percentage with the cuisine’s representation in restaurants nationwide. The resulting map, made by HuffPost, shows the cuisines with a disproportionate level of representation in each state.

Got that? It’s all science-y and what-not, is what they’re saying. And while some state’s data came through as somewhat stereotypical (What? They like Southern food in Georgia? And buffets in Iowa? How did THAT happen?), Pennsylvania’s list of most disproportionately popular grub might just as well have been decorated with an Eagles hat and tiny little Rocky statues.

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Because Sbraga Loves Vegetarians, Too

SbragaVegetarian

There’s no arguing that Philly is becoming the center of a fine dining vegetarian revolution. But we forget sometimes that this loving consideration of vegetables stretches beyond the boundaries of Vedge and V Street and Charlie Was A Sinner and other dedicated vegan establishments. So here’s the crew at Sbraga weighing in on the gentler side with a dish of sunflower risotto, wild mushrooms, sea asparagus and brown butter.

Almost looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it?

Kevin Sbraga [Instagram]

Will Paint For Food: Shake Shack Looking For Local Artists

Shake%20Shack%20Mural%20Arts

The Shake Shack in University City is having an art contest and it works like this: from now until January 31st, anyone who feels touched by the cheeseburger muse can create an original work of Shake Shack inspired art, drop it off at the University City Shack (32nd and Chestnut) on any day of the week (and at any time except the lunch and dinner rushes, 11:30am-2pm and 6pm-8pm), and it’ll get hung on the walls.

But wait, there’s more

Cake Boss Is Coming To Philly

CakeBoss2

Buddy Valstro, otherwise known as the Cake Boss, of the TLC series of the same name, has finally officially settled on a Philadelphia location. Work has begun to bring Carlo’s Bakery Philadelphia to 2101 Walnut Street in Rittenhouse Square (because, apparently, no one told him how well Crumbs Bake Shop did in that same neighborhood).

But hey, maybe things will be different this time, right? I mean, Valastro has a TV show. He has 7 other locations already up and running, with new ones planned for a casino in Connecticut and aboard every Norwegian Cruise Lines ship in the fleet. He does cakes shaped like full-size cows and working toilets. So we’re not leaping to judgement here. At least not too much.

Carlo’s Bakery Philadelphia is scheduled to open later this year.

Carlo’s Bakery [Official]

Zavino Celebrating 5 Years With Cheap Pizzas And Wine

Photo courtesy Neal Santos

Photo courtesy Neal Santos

For those of you who maybe just parted with a fast $250 to secure your place at the table for the Vetri / Morimoto collaboration dinner, here’s something that might take the sting away–a nice, cheap dinner at Zavino.

To celebrate the 5th anniversary of their Midtown Village location, all of the Zavino restaurants are going to be offering $5 pizzas and $5 glasses of wine on Monday, January 12, from 11am to close. Any of the pizzas on chef Carlos Aparicio‘s menu are fair game, and the house will be offering two reds and two whites at $5 a glass.

Zavino [f8b8z]

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