A Hawaiian Restaurant Finally Opens in Philly Tomorrow

Poi Dog/Official

Poi Dog/Official

Kiki Aranita and Chris Vacca’s adorable Hawaiian food cart Poi Dog has come a long way since it first started doling out spam musubi and mochi nori fried chicken on Philly street corners and festivals. In its four years roaming the Philly food truck scene, it became Philly’s premier, and lone, Hawaiian option — no other chef or restaurateur in the city (besides chain-Hawaiian Roy’s, which closed back in 2010) ever gave a crack at the Pacific Island cuisine. But Aranita and Vacca saw a void in Philly’s food boom, and filled it full of Hawaiian plate lunches, tacos and Filipino desserts.

And like we promised back in December, they’re opening their first brick and mortar tomorrow at 102 S. 21st Street (the old Rotisseur space).

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Here’s a List of Philly Wine Week’s Best Food Events

Wine Week/Facebook

Wine Week/Facebook

This city, try as it might, is still trying to find its identity when it comes to wine (our blue-collar roots coupled with some of the silliest liquor laws on the planet can really stifle an industry). But over the years, Philly’s wine world, led by a select few impassioned restaurant owners, beverage directors, general managers, and wine purveyors, scratched and clawed their way to the top, bringing with them some enviable wine programs. It was only in the last decade that Philly went from a town of “house whites” and red zinfandel to a town of orange wines and funky rosés.

So like it does every year, Philly Wine Week will showcase some of the city’s best wine programs with wine-focused events through the week (this week). For the full list of events, hit up the Wine Week website. Otherwise, here’s a list to get you started.

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Today Is Free Water Ice Day At Rita’s

Rita’s mascot

Photo: Dan McQuade

The best water ice flavor available to the Rita’s connoisseur is Swedish Fish.

No, I don’t care what you say. You’re wrong. We’ve already tested them all, subjected them to taste tests, polled respondents and did everything else that amateur scientists must do when coming up with a ranked list of every kind of anything. And when it came time to choose the best flavor, I threw all that data away and chose Swedish Fish because I like it best. Because I am basically a sticky-faced 11-year-old boy stuck inside the body of a grown-ass man and I ain’t changing.

Anyway, we’ve got a ranked list of Rita’s Water Ice flavors, and since today is Free Water Ice Day at Rita’s (it being the first day of spring and all), we figured today would be a good day to trot it out. You should read it. Like right now. Because science. And because the free water ice promotion ends at 9pm tonight.

Ranked: Rita’s Water Ice Flavors [f8b8z]

Steven Eckerd Takes the Reins at Pub & Kitchen



In its almost-nine years on the corner of 20th and Lombard, Pub & Kitchen co-owners Dan Clark and Ed Hackett only hired two executive chefs, which, in the restaurant world, is quite a feat. It opened in 2008 with Jonathan Adams, who, at the time, was one of Philly’s top young chef prospects. A menu of big-deal burgers and beer-friendly eats laid the gastropub-ish groundwork for Eli Collins who took over five years later (Adams left to grow his now-booming coffee roasting company, Rival Bros.). Over the ensuing four years, Collins elevated P&K’s kitchen to new heights — still keeping to the P&K model (casual, designed with the neighborhood in mind), but keeping the menus current and refined as well.

Collins is moving on from the Rittenhouse icon (more on that soon), and Steven Eckerd — a familiar name in the Philly dining world — will take his place.

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Making Art From Beer: Troegs Is Having Another Art Contest


The annual Art of Troegs contest is the perfect combination of two things we like a lot around here: art and beer. Each year, Troegs asks local (and not-so-local) artists to “take a piece of Troegs” (which means a label, a bottlecap, all those empties from your recycling bin) and use it to create a piece of art?

What kind of art? Any kind at all. Paintings, sculptures, flat or 3D, collages, whatever Pablos your Picasso. And the best thing about it is that the winning piece (as chosen by Troegs) will be displayed at the Art of Troegs gallery at the company’s Hershey, PA brewery. There’ll be an opening party and everything. Oh, and also? Winner gets $500 bucks. Which will buy you a lot of beer.

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Eat This Now: Roll-Your-Own Stuffed Grape Leaves at Opa

Provided by Bondfire Media Co.

Provided by Bondfire Media Co.

Stuffed grape vine leaves, or dolmades, are typically served on special occasions in Greek households because rolling them can be a long, labor-intensive process (and ten hands are better than two). Plus, you need a special sort of dexterity, the kind you develop after years of practice. Rolling rice and meat into pudgy little cigars might look easy on the sidelines, but your first few tries won’t be cute. It takes practice. And patience.

But here’s some good news: at Opa, you can get all the practice you want because they’re now offering a new roll-your-own dolmades plate that’ll turn you into a pro in no time.

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Puyero Venezuelan Flavor Is Celebrating Its Grand Opening In Queen Village This Weekend With Free Churros

Puyero1Over at 524 South 4th Street, Puyero Venezuelan Flavor has been operating in a quiet, soft-opening mode in Queen Village since early January. They’ve been working from a limited menu, doing only dinner services from their small, 22-seat storefront, offering arepas, patacon pinton (a fried sweet plantain sandwich with beef and black beans) and a few other Venezuelan street food snacks for whoever happened to wander by.

But now they’re ready for their grand opening–which will mean extended hours and a fuller, more rounded menu. And owners Gil and Simon Arends and Gil’s wife Manuela Villasmil are celebrating the best way they know how: by giving away a whole lot of free food to anyone who shows up.

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Want To Hang Out With Jose Garces This Afternoon?

Jose Garces prepping for class at Volver's Summer School

Photo by Chelsea Portner

Because you can. See, he’s taste-testing today at Estudio–the Garces Group test kitchen attached to his new restaurant, 24–and it seems he has a couple of open seats.

And you can be in one of those seats if you’re lucky–and fast.

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Sunday Dinners For Two At Bufad


Bufad has always been a solid place for the Spring Garden neighbors to pick up Roman and Neapolitan pizzas, snacks, the occasional pasta like hand-cut fettucine with a rabbit ragu.

But now, they’re also doing a full-on Sunday dinner for two–their Sunday Gravy program. And here’s how it works.

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