The Revisit: Serpico

Serpico photo courtesy the anagramatic Mike Persico

Serpico photo courtesy of the anagramatic Mike Persico

There’s only so much a clean bathroom can tell you about a restaurant, but every now and then they speak volumes.

To face the poster of Olivia Newton-John wearing her “Physical” gear in the Juniper Commons men’s room is to know, conclusively, that there’s no escaping the 1980s there. The inexplicably unflattering powder-room lighting at the late, unlamented Avance — which had inherited perfectly good illumination from Le Bec-Fin — encapsulated the misguided priorities that sank the place. Even the community chalkboards lining Crow & The Pitcher’s facilities testify to that restaurant’s yearning to be adopted by a neighborhood that’s never really rallied behind a tenant at that address. (And where else but Miami Beach could have a setup like this?) Read more »

Restaurant Review: Kensington Quarters

Kensington Quarters | Photo by Michael Persico

Kensington Quarters | Photo by Michael Persico

You walk by Bryan Mayer’s butcher case at Kensington Quarters, and you develop certain expectations about what awaits you in the dining room. These deepen as you pass the meat locker, a sauna-paneled light box punctuated by widescreen windows framing floodlit views of hanging hog carcasses. By the time you reach your seat (the chairs face butcherblock tabletops anchored to honest-to-God I-beams), there’s just no two ways about it: You’re in for meat haunches so stupendous, they apparently require structural-grade steel to hold them up. Read more »

Restaurant Review: Aldine

Photos by Courtney Apple

Photos by Courtney Apple

Everyone knows that opening a restaurant is the surest path to an empty checking account, but George and Jennifer Sabatino know better. For truly shredding your bankroll, nothing beats not opening a restaurant — as the couple spent an agonizing year doing before the first customers finally came to Aldine in October.

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Restaurant Review: Brigantessa

Photo via Brigantessa

Photo via Brigantessa

We expect a lot from restaurants these days. If they don’t transform liquids into powders or barrel-steep cocktails with homemade bitters, they’d better serve chickens that roamed freer than our children do. So when a forneria bowls you over even before the door whooshes shut as you enter, it’s time to ask what really matters most.

I’m not the only winter-bitten soul to feel that way crossing the threshold of Brigantessa, where great blasts of heat from a Vesuvian-ash pizza oven ripple along a bar teeming with platters of sausage-stuffed long hots and oil-poached swordfish and wood-grilled octopus salad. Chef Joe Cicala’s sophomore effort on Passyunk Avenue has been rollicking since it opened in October.

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Shopping For Foodies: Trey Popp’s Holiday Gift Guide, Part 5

teffpancake

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it now: the Super Grain of the Future. Because the thing is, there’s a new one every season. One year’s quinoa becomes another year’s amaranth, which soon gets buried in chia seeds.

But for 2015, you could do a lot worse than injecting more teff into your friends’ diets.

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Shopping For Foodies: Trey Popp’s Holiday Gift Guide, Part 4

juniper-commons-gourmet-bon-appetit-940

We do everything we can at Foobooz HQ to keep local eaters up to speed on everything that’s going on in the Philly food scene. But there are unexplored riches in the offline realm, too. So maybe it’s time to push past Bon Appetit and Lucky Peach and subscribe your favorite foodie to a magazine he’s never heard of but might totally dig. It’s a wide world out there, folks. Here are a few corners that are worth exploring:

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Shopping For Foodies: Trey Popp’s Holiday Gift Guide, Part 2

ozeriscale

Does the foodie on your gift list bake? Is she vexed by that one awesome but maddening cookbook that specifies some ingredients in ounces and others in grams? Has he fallen deep enough down the coffee-brewing rabbit hole that all he can talk about is optimizing the ratio of dissolved solids in his morning cup? Does he simply want to know whether an envelope will need one stamp or two?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, a kitchen scale is in order.

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