Spring stirs up a celebratory air in this city, as festivals and events seem to be happening in every neighborhood all of a sudden. And no celebration is complete without an abundance of food and booze. From one last Wine Week blowout to a patio pig-out, here are six upcoming food events that you shouldn’t miss this season.
First Look: Joe’s Steaks in Fishtown
Cheesesteak legend lands a new location.
Chinatown Restaurant Sickens Lawyers
Almost 100 lawyers and students sickened after Lunar New Year feast.
First Look: Helm
The space, the menu, the chefs and the food.
James Beard Award Finalists Announced
Vetri a finalist for Outstanding Chef. Three gets nod for Best in the Mid-Atlantic.
Munchies has another “Chef’s Night Out” videos, and this time they’re hanging out with Han Chiang, some of his crew from Han Dynasty, and a bunch of other Philly notables. It takes all of 49 seconds before the director shows the Rocky statue for the first time, but after that, things settle down into a kind of pinwheel of debauchery in which Han and his crew drink, talk Szechuan food, drink, talk shit, do shots, talk with Ben and Christina Miller from Barbacoa, eat some testicles, do more shots, eat a lamb eyeball taco, go to Amis, decapitate a pig, drink more, go to Prime Stache for wings (and more drinks), then head back to Han Dynasty for Szechuan hot pot and a philosophical walk-off where Han talks about playing Clash Of Clans and wonders where all the strippers are.
Really, it’s the kind of thing you have to see for yourself.
The second location of Joe’s Steaks + Soda Shop is set to open at the corner of Frankford and Girard Avenue on Wednesday, April 1st. The legendary cheesesteak spot’s sequel will at once feel familiar to fans of the original and will also blow them away with just how nice the new spot is.
However, most importantly the quality of Joe’s Steaks was on display in Fishtown. In a cheesesteak, hand-cut fries and milkshake sampled prior to the opening, there was no mistaking how good Joe’s can be.
If you’ve been holding out on throwing yourself into the Wine Week festivities until the weekend, tonight is your chance to catch up on all of the drinking.
Philly.com’s Sam Wood has the story on a severe case of food poisoning that struck nearly 100 lawyers and Temple University law students in Chinatown last month. An eight-course dinner at Joy Tsin Lau was held as a fundraiser for the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association and the outcome was severe.
Several attendees had to seek medical attention and David S. Haase, a Center City lawyer, told Wood that “a combination of non-stop puking and explosive diarrhea kept him bedridden for four days.”
Things did not go well for Jason Cichonski when he debuted his Old City bro-haven and drink-a-teria, The Gaslight. He got kicked around pretty good by our own Trey Popp, who handed down one lonely star (“The Ela chef’s sophomore effort feels like an Old City boite for singles who’ve almost outgrown them, but who aren’t quite ready to choose between Manayunk and Cougar Town.”) and given a single mercy bell by Craig LaBan in a review most notable for the fact that the chef himself knew an ass-kicking was forthcoming.
Still, he kept things going–serving crowds who didn’t seem dissuaded at all by the bad press. Right up until February 28 when a burst pipe upstairs forced a “temporary” shutdown (which has now lasted nearly a month) and Cichonski decided to use the time to re-do, well, pretty much everything.
We know that everyone is still in the throes of Wine Week in Philly. But eventually, this concentrated love affair with grape juice is going to end, and a whole lot of people are going to find themselves wanting a more grain-based solution to enduring a Wednesday night.
And that’s fine because Iron Hill will be there to help with their “7 Deadly Sins” beer dinner.
For one night only, the crew at Alla Spina are bringing in chef, manager and Master Sommelier Chris Bates from FLX Wienery in the Finger Lakes to do a special Wine Week menu.
First things first, check out this guy’s bio: “Christopher Bates not only helmed one of the country’s greatest wine programs as General Manager and Executive Chef of 5 star Hotel Fauchere, but won the International Best Young Sommelier competition.” He then went on to bail out of the hotel scene and open a “Modern Hot-Doggery” where he could sling wieners and dogs for a living, which is just awesome.
Second things second, you’ve got to take a look at the menu being offered tonight. There are two options–drop in at the bar for a snack, or sit down in the dining room at Alla Spina for a full tasting menu, with pairings, of course.
Brian Freedman visits Olde Bar for Philadelphia Weekly while Adam Erace reviews Franky Bradley’s for City Paper. Freedman is in love with the fried clams at Jose Garces’s redone Bookbinders and he’s even more impressed with the redo.
The Olde Bar is a Jose Garces project—the kitchen is helmed by Chef de Cuisine Mike Siegel—but it feels different from his other restaurants around town. Indeed, in his attempt to honor the legendary space, he has accomplished something both difficult and important: Bringing the past into the present, without peddling in either preciousness or hokey nostalgia. The Olde Bar feels both classic and vibrant at once, just like that fried clam.
Helm, the Old Kensington BYOB from chef-duo Kevin D’Egidio (recently at Stateside), and Michael Griffiths (former sous chef at Fork), is set to officially open tonight. For the past few evenings the pair have been cooking dishes from their first menu for friends and family, and based on our first tastes, these dishes are going to be an easy sell even to folks who aren’t related to them.
We’ve got the menu, a look at the interior and plenty of pictures, all after the jump.