Last night it snowed. Today the wind howled and you had to wonder if this winter would ever just give up. But Twitter is abuzz with photos and tweets that proved spring is indeed here. Local chefs are tweeting up a storm of the ramps they’ve foraged and already gotten onto their menus.
The Oval returns to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with Farm Fest. This Thursday, April 17th through Saturday, April 19, the Parkway will once again a gathering place for people looking for games, music, food and some Victory Brewing Company beers.
Thursday’s event takes place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with food trucks and Victory Brewing Company’s brewpub on wheels showing up at 5 p.m. Farm Truck, Street Food Philly, Reuben on Rye, Little Baby’s Ice Cream and Calling Card Confections from the Greensgrow Commissary will all be on hand. TJ Kong & the Atomic Bomb will be performing.
Okay, so at a certain point someone is going to have to go after chef Eli Kulp with a tranquilizer gun just to get him to slow down a little. He already has like nine different menus working between Fork and High Street on Market, he’s overseeing A.Kitchen and A.Bar and doing events like Franklin Flea and Taste of the Nation. But that’s apparently not enough for him. Because he also does special Friends and Family dinners on Tuesday nights at High Street, which are continuing throughout the spring.
For example, on Tuesday, April 22 he’ll be doing a dinner with Phickle’s Amanda Feifer which will continue their Fermentation Series celebrating all things fermented–from coffee and chocolate to cheese and yogurt, beer and wine to pickles and kim chi. (Other dates include Tuesday, May 13 and Tuesday, June 17.) And on Tuesday, May 6, it’ll be a cheese dinner with Valley Shepherd Creamery, with cheesemaker Jaenine Dargis and some of her 30+ Basque-influenced cheeses. All the dinners start at 9pm and are just $25 per person (plus booze, tax and tip).
They’ve had a few weeks to get their legs under them, but now the crew at the new Zavino at Chestnut Square is ramping things up with longer hours and a new happy hour program.
First, the food and booze. Happy Hour deals will be constantly changing depending on the whims of chef Carlos Aparicio, his guys on the line and the staff behind the bar. But from 4:30 to 6:30 every day, look for things like “Bartender’s Choice” cocktails, $3 beers, $4 wines by the glass, $7 margherita pizzas, a variety of croquets, cheeses and veggies, and a $5 plate of meatballs that I kinda want right now.
In terms of service, Zavino is now offering lunch and dinner every day.
Aaron Gottesman, the chef de cuisine at The Fat Ham, came to our first After Dark dinner at Will BYOB, and he sat at the table that had the most fun that night. After dinner, he came up to me and said, “I’d love to do one at The Fat Ham once we’re all settled in.” And guess what?
They’re all settled in. Read more »
The lineup for the 2014 Taste of the Nation fundraiser for Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign has been finalized. More than thirty restaurants including Serpico, Will and Vernick Food and Drink will be participating at the April 27th event. Tickets are on sale now fro the event which will take place at the Hotel Monaco. General admission tickets are $95 and VIP tickets (which come with an early admission time ar $145).
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