Original 13 Ciderworks Coming to Kensington This Summer

Original 13 Ciderworks in Kensington, we'll call this the before.

Original 13 Ciderworks in Kensington, the before shot.

Here in the city, we are lucky to have a handful of breweries that make really great beer, but do we have a place that produces wine, cider, perries (pear wine), and mead? Not yet, but in a few months we will. Original 13 Ciderworks is opening on 1526 North American Street in Kensington and by late summer, you’ll be able to stop by their taproom to taste their fruity creations.

Like a lot of hobbies, president of Original 13, John Kowchak, picked up hard cider making from a family tradition. His grandfather, Charles, grew up in the mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania and brewed hard cider for himself. Years later, John picked up the hobby and grew to love it. After earning an MBA in Entrepreneurship at Drexel University and graduating from the Cider and Perry Academy in the UK, Kowchak founded Original 13. Also on the Original 13 team is Kowchak’s business partner and vice president of operations Travis Frehafer, and Franco Fusaro, the “mechanical genius” of the company.

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Leftovers: Scott Schroeder Responds to Hungry Pigeon Review

schroeder hungry pigeon 400In today’s review of the Hungry Pigeon, Jason Sheehan praises chef/owner Scott Schroeder’s breakfast and lunch. He does however have some issues with dinner, namely the amount of un-stemmed greens placed on top of the goat stroganoff, a definite pet peeve of Sheehan’s.

Until, on top of all this, the kitchen adds a literal pile of rough-cut dill and green herbs so thickly applied, it’s like they were dumped on with both hands. It is a distractingly large amount of greenery, and, worse, the rustic, casual, un-fussy way it’s chopped leaves the entire dish threaded with stems that are both unpleasant in texture and astringent in flavor and do nothing but get caught in my teeth. From bite to bite I hate the dish, then love it as I catch some resonance between sweetness, sourness and the creamy, warm richness of the sauce and want more.

Scott Schroeder of course responds »

Seeds and Stems: Hungry Pigeon Reviewed

The breakfast sandwich sandwich at Hungry Pigeon | Photo by Neal Santos

The breakfast sandwich at Hungry Pigeon KOs the Egg McMuffin | Photo by Neal Santos

The first time I went to Scott Schroeder’s new restaurant, Hungry Pigeon, I showed up for breakfast and liked it so much, I stayed for lunch. There was just something so … welcoming about the place. Comfortable. It felt cool without even trying (which, I suppose, is the essence of cool), and as though it had been living there forever, in its little corner on Fabric Row, rather than for just a few weeks: the pale wood, the tarnished and mismatched silver wrapped in a side towel on the counter, the birdcages everywhere. It just worked in a lo-fi, garage-sale kind of way that rich restaurateurs pay tens of thousands of dollars to try to mimic.

It didn’t hurt that I am, by nature, a lazy man and relished the excuse to just hang out there for a couple hours, scrunched up in a corner banquette seat, sipping tea and eating Schroeder’s one-punch takedown of the Egg McMuffins of our collective youth. His version is assembled from a house-made English muffin toasted on the flat grill, an egg done just tight enough to hold together as part of a sandwich, local jack cheese and, variously, bacon, ham, or chicken sausage—the latter being the perfect accompaniment unless you’re into scrapple, in which case the scrapple is even better.

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“New York’s Best Sommelier” Works at The Rittenhouse Hotel

Justin Timsit - Wine director of Lacroix restaurant at the Rittenhouse hotel

Justin Timsit, wine director at Lacroix. (Photo courtesy of The Rittenhouse)

The Austrian Wine Marketing Board held a little contest earlier this month that aimed to crown a person with an impressive title: “New York’s Best Sommelier.” About 70 sommeliers were quizzed in a written test and a blind tasting. The top three did a service test for a panel of judges, who acted as diners. Turns out no one in New York was worthy of such a title.

That’s because a guy from Philly won it.

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Zahav Wins Book Of The Year At James Beard Awards

Steven Cook and Michael Solomonov | Photo by Kent Miller Studios

Steven Cook and Michael Solomonov | Photo by Kent Miller Studios

Know what that is right there? That’s what victory looks like.

A double victory, actually, as Michael Solomonov’s book Zahav: A World Of Israeli Cooking took home both Best International Cookbook and Book Of The Year at this year’s James Beard Awards

The awards were given out last night and, obviously, Cook and Solomonov were there to accept those medals in person. Unfortunately, they were the only local names to show up during the Broadcast and Journalism awards last night, but that’s cool. It’s not like Philly hasn’t brought back their share of gold over the years.

In the meantime, we reached out to Solomonov’s team and got some of Michael Persico‘s beautiful shots from the book, plus two recipes: one for beets with tehina, and another for shakshouka.

Check ’em all out after the jump.

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Try Bethlehem Rye Whiskey at Trestle Inn

social still rye 400Tonight, The Trestle Inn’s Spirit of Wednesday features a new rye whiskey from Bethlehem’s Social Still. The not-available in stores rye is pouring tonight via complimentary tastings and $10 for a neat pour.

Social Still Rye Whiskey is 70% rye and 30% malted barley and aged for 192 days. The rye is described as having a subtle fruity aroma, and a pronounced rye flavor with a long spicy finish.

Social Still, just one of the most recent Pennsylvania distillers to hit the market focuses on obtaining Pennsylvania corn, wheat, rye, barley and other grains from family farms for their organic practices. The grains are then milled, cooked and fermented in their Bethlehem distillery. Social Still has a bar and restaurant on site if you find yourself in Bethlehem.

Trestle Inn [Foobooz]
Social Still [Official]

Bon Appetit Highlights Philadelphia in Travel Issue

Bon Appetit's Travel Issue, How to Devour America's Best Food Cities | Instagram

Bon Appetit’s Travel Issue, How to Devour America’s Best Food Cities | Instagram

Philadelphia gets a six page spread in Bon Appetit’s May issue on travel. Bon Appetit’s Editor in Chief himself, Adam Rapoport spends 32 hours in town with co-worker and former 12 Steps Down employee Amiel Stanek. The pair get local help from W/N W/N Coffee Bar co-founder Anthony Fulvio as they eat and drink their way through town.

On the high end, the crew hits Vernick Food and Drink, Zahav, Kensington Quarters and a.kitchen. But they also hit small spots like Stargazy, Philly Style Bagels, Tortilleria San Roman, South Philly Barbacoa and Café Diem.

It’s an impressive 32-hours of food and drink. And at six pages, is as many as any other city is allotted in the issue.

Full list of spots mentioned »

Philadelphia Wine & Food Festival Is Next Week

winefest_header

So this is it, folks. We’re coming down to the wire. And if you’re serious about your wine (or your food, really), this is the event you should be planning for.

This year’s Philadelphia Wine & Food Festival is happening on Tuesday night, May 3, at Lincoln Financial Field. There’s going to be more than 600 wines available for sampling, from wineries all over the world. Some of the best restaurants in the city are going to be there to feed you (Laurel, Amada, Circles, tacos from Revolution Taco, snacks from Marigold Kitchen, baked goods from Termini Brothers, plus so many more), and there’ll be an on-site Fine Wine & Good Spirits pop-up store so that if you find something you like, you can buy a couple bottles before you go home.

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Our Favorite Philadelphia Soft Pretzels

Pretzels at Alla Spina | Photo by Arthur Etchells

Pretzels at Alla Spina | Photo by Arthur Etchells

As a lifetime Philadelphian I’ve consumed more than my fare share of pretzels. Even with the knowledge that Philadelphians eat more than 12 times as many pretzels as the average American, I feel I consume more than all but the most zealous Philadelphia pretzel eaters. And it has been that way for a long time. In Catholic grade school, the soft pretzel was as much a part of any school day as prayer. I’ve had a pretzel with mustard for breakfast more often than any bowl of cereal. I still don’t blink at the thought of ordering a pretzel from any street vendor, though I’ve become suspicious of the watered-down mustard coming out of the squirt bottles (that’s why there are always mustard packets in my desk drawer). And I believe a certain amount of Philadelphia’s culture vanished when Herb Denenberg aired his hidden camera report on pretzel vendors, but that was disgusting.

Favorite Soft Pretzels »

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