Aldine Is Throwing Itself A Birthday Party This Weekend

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Aldine is turning two on Sunday, November 6, and they’re celebrating the way that all chefs and restaurants should (and generally do) celebrate such things: By throwing a big-ass party, inviting the public, and roasting a whole pig.

Now granted, this is George Sabatino and his crew we’re talking about. So don’t think luau or BBQ so much as carefully choreographed and exquisitely sourced meta-buffet in which a pig (in its entirety) will be served in a variety of fancy and innovative ways. But hey, if that’s your jam (and why wouldn’t it be?), and you have $45 burning a hole in your pocket, you should make your reservations right now in order to guarantee your place at the table.

The details

Philly Craft Spirits Week Kicks Off Thursday

Philly Craft Spirits Week promises 9 days of events.

Philly Craft Spirits Week promises 9 days of events.


Philly Craft Spirits Week
kicks off this Thursday at Philadelphia magazine’s Whiskey and Fine Spirits Festival. The fest will feature a local spirits sectin with tables and bars representing the 11 participating distilleries in Philly Craft Spirits Week.

Beyond Whiskey Fest, each participating distillery is setting up a bevy of exciting events where you may tipple between Thursday, October 27 and Friday, October 4.

Among the Highlights:

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Philly Craft Spirits Week Is Coming

IMG_0138As we’ve been saying, Philadelphia’s craft distilling scene is booming. In fact it’s getting its own week. Kicking off with Philadelphia magazine’s Whiskey and Fine Spirits Festival on Thursday, October 27th, Philly Craft Spirits Week runs through Friday, November 4th. Follow Foobooz (we’re a presenting sponsor) for more details as the week approaches.

But you don’t have to wait until the end of October to enjoy locally produced spirits. On Sunday, World Cafe Live is hosting Distilladelphia, a tasting event that will feature 19 local distillers.

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Aldine Makes Some Changes For Summer

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George Sabatino‘s menu at Aldine has never been what one would call a stable document. Sure, there are things that you can count on being there (oysters, yogurt, something weird done with carrots and something awesome done with beets), but the kitchen changes things up regularly enough that its almost always a different experience every time you go.

And now, with summer in full swing (and following a week’s vacation for George and Jennifer Sabatino), Aldine is rolling out some pretty significant changes–in menu, in hours, and even in the way dinner is served.

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Where to Find the Best Food During Center City Sips

Sky Garten will be open tonight and serving

Sky Garten will be open tonight and serving potato pancakes, brats and pretzel sticks

We are now a little over a week into Center City Sips. The drinks ($3 beer, $4 wine and $5 cocktails) are flowing and when the threat of unyielding downpour subsides, the weather should be great.

The true beauty of this event though is not just the drinks, but the endless half-price appetizers to soak it all up. While it is easy to find snacks to accompany the booze, it can be hard to track down the places with great appetizers. Nachos, mozzarella sticks, and wings are a dime a dozen during Center City Sips. It takes time and dedication to weed out the duds.

We’ve helped you out by narrowing down the list of a few places that are going to give you more than a warm plate of mozzarella sticks for your hard earned dollars.

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So Have You Eaten There Yet?

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We have a wall at the office entirely given over to a Post-It Note snapshot of everything happening in the Philly restaurant world at this given moment. Hundreds of yellow squares, on which are written the names of restaurants, initials, arrows and mysterious heiroglyphs that only Art and I (and mostly I) can understand.

The Post-Its move. Get grouped, get broken up. The restaurants we love and the restaurants we hate are all represented (in wildly unequal numbers). Restaurants that are coming–addresses chosen, opening dates optimistically scheduled–have their own space, as do established and open restaurants whose reviews are in the works. Lately, that particular section of wall has been growing crowded. There are just so many goddamn restaurants coming (it’s spring, that happens) that it feels overwhelming.

So with six months of (mostly) weekly reviews behind me, and dozens of new openings incoming, I figured this might be a good time to look back and highlight the best moments of the past six months–places that you might’ve missed, places that you really ought to get to (if you haven’t already) before the lure of new-new restaurants becomes too overpowering.

So let’s start with…

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Aldine Getting in the Local Spirit

Jennifer Sabatino has the bar stocked with local spirits at Aldine | Photo via Jennifer Sabatino

Jennifer Sabatino has the bar stocked with local spirits at Aldine | Photo via Jennifer Sabatino

Over the last several weeks, Jennifer Sabatino has been overhauling the liquor stock at Aldine. The former bar manager of Stateside (which specialized in American spirits), is remaking the liquor selection at Aldine to be all-local. Sabatino has more than twenty local spirits behind the second floor bar now and is working on overhauling the cocktails to take advantage of the recent explosion in Pennsylvania and New Jersey spirits.

During a visit yesterday, Sabatino was particularly “fired up” (in the parlance of her husband, chef George Sabatino) about Bluebird Distilling’s Juniperus Gin (Phoenixville), an aromatic spirit first distilled from rye. She also had nothing but praise for Manatawny Still Works’ small batch #7 whiskey (Pottstown). Despite its young age, the cask strength whiskey didn’t come across as harsh or burning.

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Spend Christmas Eve with Stargazy Pies at Aldine

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South Park’s Cartman would appreciate this pie fest.

In what we hope becomes a long running tradition, on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24th, Aldine chef/owner George Sabatino is inviting his long time friend Sam Jacobson, chef/owner of East Passyunk’s British pie and mash shop, Stargazy, to come over and celebrate the holiday.

And instead of turkey, ham, seven fishes or even Chinese food, there will be pies. An all-you-can-eat pie buffet to be exact. The event will cost $40 per person and will include Stargazy staples plus special pies like, pulled beef cheek; chorizo and mussel; chana masala (vegetarian), and winter pumpkin with house ricotta (also vegetarian).

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Back to the Future: Aldine Revisited

Warm romanesco : butternut squash vinaigrette : sunflower seeds : toasted oat milk froth | Photo by George Sabatino

Warm romanesco : butternut squash vinaigrette : sunflower seeds : toasted oat milk froth | Photo by George Sabatino

I have never before been stricken speechless by beets, but I was at Aldine. Big beets—chunks of them cut like kebab meat, that require days of preparation (marination, dehydration, poaching, having bedtime stories read to them, whatever) to give them the texture of rare steak. Beets that taste of pickle-y bitterness and garlic and a lingering, building chili heat. They came on a plate as beautiful as all the plates at Aldine, a shallow bowl in which they sat clustered together, punctuated by razor-thin slices of radish and a smear of sour yogurt and curled puffs of beet chips that I would’ve gladly eaten from a bag while sitting on my couch.

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