Last week, we dropped some knowledge on you in the form of Bar Volver’s menu, and over the weekend we paid our first visit. For those not following along, Volver is Jose Garces’ newest venture in the Kimmel Center, a ticketed dining experiment (with opening night this coming Wednesday) as yet untested in Philadelphia waters. One feature of this format is that the beautiful bar at Volver doesn’t offer a traditional a la carte menu, but what they do offer is sophisticated snacks worthy of Gordana Kostovski’s heavy-on-the-bubbles wine list.
Yesterday, the third annual Philly Farm and Food Fest brought area growers, producers, and eaters to the Convention Center for a tasty, noisy festival of local edibles. A joint project of Fair Food and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, the event featured representation by more than 130 farmers and food artisans and how-to demos of hands-on, homestead-y skills like mozzarella-making, beekeeping, and canning. The heart of the event though was the chance for attendees to meet producers, ask questions, and taste an amazing variety of local products: cheeses, sauerkraut, grass-fed beef sticks, green juice, chutney, soups, shrubs, granola, and more. Exhibitors included Philly favorites like Birchrun Hills Farm cheeses, ReAnimator Coffee, Weckerly’s ice cream, and Metropolitan Bakery, but there were plenty of fresh-faced newcomers to the scene as well. Keep an eye out for West Philly-based RedFox’s rosemary caramel popcorn, Crisp & Co.’s puckery pickles, inventive nut butters by PB&Jams, and Chaikhana Chai’s pleasantly spicy masala.
And yeah, we got pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.
Craig LaBan reviews Simply Shabu in Chinatown and finds that the Asian version of fondue is a hit.
The Chinese woman beside us said the meat portions seemed skimpy compared to her nearby favorites. And no doubt the heap of shaved meat at Happy Noodle Bar dwarfed the eight perfectly rolled curls of sliced beef at Simply Shabu. But there’s a major quality difference: the beef at Happy Noodle was so shabby that it instantly shriveled into wads of yellow fat, while Shabu’s nicely marbled USDA choice rib eye (Pennsylvania-raised like all of Shabu’s meats, and not unlike what goes into a good cheesesteak) remained beefy and superbly tender.
Two Bells – Very Good
Alla Spina is kicking of its third annual “Saisonale” event. Marc Vetri’s gastropub will dedicate more than half of their twenty taps to farmhouse ales this week. Expect everything from Saison Dupont to Victory Swing Session.
Check out the saisons that will be tapped now through April 20th.
Last year’s chef at Morgan’s Pier, George Sabatino will be cooking tonight at the Garage in South Philadelphia. Sabatino, who is working on his own restaurant, Aldine, will be in the Garage’s food cart from 6 p.m. till 10 p.m.
Check out what other chefs will be “indacart” in the days and weeks ahead on the Garage’s web site.
Morgan’s Pier will return for its third season on Thursday, May 1st. As we told you previously, David Gilberg will be the “executive chef in residence.” Gilberg was the chef and owner of the critically acclaimed, and sorely missed, Koo Zee Doo.
Gilberg’s menu will encompass “things we like to cook and eat outside; whether in the context of a backyard barbeque, a stroll along a boardwalk, or a simple picnic on the waterfront.” Look for lobster rolls, Piri Piri chicken, crab cakes and vegetable kababs. Also, look for salads, elotes and a day-boat fish entree steamed in corn husks.
Chip Roman’s The Treemont opens today at 15th and Locust. It is the fourth restaurant for Roman, who also owns Blackfish, Mica and Ela, as well as Tradestone Confections and Tradestone Cafe. The former Tietra has been revamped with an updated interior and will offer a menu of modern American fare with an emphasis on seafood. The menu is broken down into snack, land, sea and entree sections. Prices range from $4 for spiced almonds to $26 for a veal tenderloin prepared with green olives, fermented barley and wild onions. The menu also offers a couple plates for two, including a dry-aged Berkshire pork chop for $46 and a fish of the day at market price.
The Treemont has a liquor license and offers a dozen beers by the bottle or can and twelve wines by the glass. The cocktail list includes six house cocktails plus a list of alcohol-free refreshments.
The Treemont [Foobooz]
Greatest Hits And What You Missed: Mad Men, Bar Volver, Night Market, Beer, Questlove, More Beer and Avance Gets Reviewed (Again)
Even though we lost pretty much an entire day in the middle of the week to drinking beer and trying to pick the best local beer in the Philly area, this was still a huge week for restaurant news. So let’s get started, shall we? Here’s what you might’ve missed…
Where We’re Eating: Vietnam Checking in on a classic
Two Bells For Avance Yeah, but it felt so much worse…
Fast Casual Pizza Coming To Ardmore Welcome Snap Custom Pizza to the scene
The Beers At Citizens Bank Park Hope you like macrobrews
Where We’re Eating: Vernick Food and Drink Here’s to one helluva sophomore year
Society Hill Society Replaces Artful Dodger Can you guess what neighborhood it’s in?
Bar Volver Opens Everything you need to know
Pork Hearts And Awesome Sauce Recapping the latest Foobooz Open Stove Night
More Booze At The Ballpark Victory Swing Session Saison
Questlove’s 10 Favorite Restaurants Zahav makes the list
2014 Night Market Dates Announced Start making your plans now
Mad Men Viewing Parties This Weekend I’m going to be drinking whiskey at home on my couch, but here’s where you can go if you’re more…social
You know those people who go to new restaurants purely to order the same dish they order everywhere else? Because the “litmus test” of a good place is how well it makes a roasted chicken—or guacamole, or steak frites, or chocolate mousse, or whatever that person has arbitrarily determined to be the whole point of eating out?
It’s a dwindling species these days. Fewer and fewer chefs want to cook what the other guy’s cooking; straight-up comparisons are harder to find. And I’ve never counted myself part of that tribe anyway. Meals out are too ripe with potential adventure to waste them looking for litmus tests.
But there’s no need to be dogmatic about it, so today I’m going to nominate one anyway: stuffed squid.