The Conversation Issue: Michael Solomonov and Marc Vetri Talk Celebrity Chefdom

Marc Vetri and Michael Solomonov. Photograph by Dustin Fenstermacher

The November issue of Philadelphia magazine is all about conversations. Stephen Starr and Pierre Robert talk rock music, Chris Matthews and Ed Rendell talk politics and Michael Solomonov and Marc Vetri talk being celebrity chefs in Philadelphia.

Marc: The goal is to make the diner have a really amazing experience. I’ve sat in on a lot of these chef-y sort of advice-panel things, and a lot of chefs say, “You know, you open a restaurant and the curtain raises up and it’s theater. And the show goes on.” And I’m thinking to myself, That is just the dumbest advice you can give. It’s not a show; it’s not buying a ticket to an event. You don’t walk into a theater and they’re in the middle of a scene, and you stand up and say, “Hey, I don’t like that scene, do you think you can actually do the other one again?” No. That’s art and theater. This is dining at a restaurant, and I want to make you happy. Yes, there is a line where I have a certain style of food that I make, and yes, you want to see it, but I don’t want to force you to eat things that you don’t like. I want to make a memory happen for you.

Read the entire conversation between Michael Solomonov and Marc Vetri »

Opening Menus at Kensington Quarters

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Tonight, Kensington Quarters opens on Frankford Avenue in Fishtown. The combination butcher shop, restaurant and classroom is unique to Philadelphia and it will be interesting to see how the concept grows and evolves.

For now, we have the opening dinner, dessert and drink lists. The restaurant is starting off with a tight menu of small plates, starches and entrees. The menu runs from $11 for rare beef to $26 for a pork shoulder entree, served with potato torta and mustard greens. Though Kensington Quarters does include a butcher shop, the menu is far from strictly carnivore as the menu includes dishes that are or can be prepared for vegetarians.

For drinks, Kensington Quarters offers wine ($8 to $10.50) and beer ($5 to $6.50) on tap plus a list of cocktails.

Tomorrow, we’ll have a report on opening night.

Check out some photos and the opening menus » 

Café Ynez Hosts A Day Of The Dead Weekend

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This weekend Café Ynez is hosting a weekend-long Dia de los Muertos celebration.

The Cafe is offering a package deal of  one champurrado (a Mexican chocolate drink), one sweet roll (traditional Mexican Sweet Pastry), and one tamale with your choice of chicken or mole, or vegetarian cuarasmeno, for only $7.50.

Head over for brunch or lunch, because the offer is only available on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 3 p.m.

Cafe Ynez [f8b8z]

Free Food From Carla Hall At Drexel

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Anyone who’s interested in getting an early taste of Carla Hall’s new kickstarted restaurant concept, Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen, should make plans to be at Drexel next week.

On November 5th, at 5:30 p.m., you’re going to want to be in line at Drexel’s Daskalakis Athletic Center, because that’s where Hall–“Top Chef” finalist and co-host of ABC’s “The Chew”–will be giving away samples of her Southern-style grub.

Servings of Hall’s hot chicken, macaroni and cheese, braised greens and fresh lemonade will all be free, and distributed right before the Drexel Basketball Tip-Off Event at 6 p.m.

The dishes sampled on the 5th will go on to become staples at Hall’s casual, Nashville-inspired restaurants – called Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchenone of which looks like it might be opening in Philadelphia.

Carla Hall’s Southern Kitchen [f8b8z]

PHOTOS: Opening Night At Aldine

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Aldine opens | raw beef : mushroom : gribiche : quinoa

Aldine officially opened to the public yesterday afternoon at 4pm, and we were right there to witness it.

As a matter of fact, we were the first, official paying customers in the place, and so felt it our duty to give the kitchen and the bar a bit of a workout. Wisely, we also had our cameras with us. So in order to help you decipher (at least a little) the heavily colon-ated menu (rabbit : sour cherry : turnip : brioche is actually one of the more descriptive of the minimalist menu items, but it still doesn’t explain that you’re getting a terrine, or how excellent the vinegar-brined cherries are), we offer you this–our photo tour of Aldine’s opening menu.

We didn’t eat and drink everything on offer, but we did get most of it. At least enough to give you an idea of what’s you might be eating this weekend.

Menu photos, right this way

Late Night Deals in Midtown Village

Photo by Sam Oberter

Photo by Sam Oberter

It’s late night and you’re about to dip into rent money to keep the buzz going – but 13th Street’s got ya covered when it comes to late night happy hour deals.

Lolita has had a late night happy hour since it retooled, but now it includes a Mexican take on the Citywide Special. Get a taco (some food in the stomach), a shot of tequila, and a Tecate for just $10. Or you can do the two tacos for $5 deal and pair that with a cerveza for $3 or a margarita for $6. The deal’s available from 10 p.m. until 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday.

Read more »

Shake Shack’s Halloween Specials Start Today

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From today, Tuesday October 28, through Friday, October 31, all Philly Shake Shack locations will be serving their Halloween specials: The Halloweenie and the Shack O’Lantern Shake. 

Shake Shack’s Halloweenie is a Vienna all-beef hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with pumpkin-maple mustard–and it’ll only cost you $4.50.

As for the Shack O’Lantern? That’s vanilla frozen custard topped with pumpkin, marshmallow and autumn spices. It’s $5.50 for one of those which, yes, means that you can score both for a ten-spot.

All Shake Shack coverage [f8b8z]

Philadelphia Bars Bailing on Bar Rescue

2nd State drink list, guess this is a Taffer-maniacs collector's item.

2nd State drink list, guess this is a Taffer-maniacs collector’s item.

Michael Klein has the story that both recently filmed Bar Rescue bars are backing away from their Jon Taffer makeovers. The former Lickety Split has removed the “Alleged Pizza” graphics from its first floor and dumped its drink list from 2nd State Lounge upstairs. That might be just as well as the “South Street Sazerac” I was served was given an Absinthe rinse of about 4-ounces.

As for Plush in Glenside, that bar was rechristened Osteria Calabria, though the staff evidently referred to it as “OC” from day one. A Facebook post shows they uncovered the bar top that Taffer overhauled.

The Philadelphia episodes of Bar Rescue will appear on Spike TV in November with Lickety Split airing on November 9th and Plush a week later on the 16th. Hopefully both bars make it to their air dates.

Bar Rescue clients give up on Taffer’s changes [The Insider]
2nd State Lounge [Foobooz]
Osteria Calabria [Foobooz]

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