Open Stove XXIV: Not Very Mexican At All

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If life was fair, we’d all be living differently.

That’s what I would’ve told our contestants last night before they started cooking, had I had the chance. Partly because saying that and walking away would’ve been creepy, but mostly because it would’ve been rock-solid advice. If things remained consistent in our Open Stove events, then it would make sense that the theme of the 24th Open Stove, on May 5th, would be Mexican food. I mean, every time we’ve done a theme, it has been in congruence with the surrounding date, month, or season. For God’s sake, one team had been there only two months before, for an event near St. Patrick’s Day, and we threw Guinness and Irish whiskey at their faces.

So, of course, they’d anticipate a Mexican theme. But Jason Sheehan (the Open Stove ring leader) gets bored quickly, and last night, he didn’t even bat an eye when he shouted “Chinese-American fusion!” at the Mexican-ready and “I’ve only ever cooked French” teams.
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Thai New Year Knife Fight At Circles

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Chefs Alex Boonphaya (of Circles) and Peter Woolsey (of Bistrot La Minette) were just going to get together for a plain old collaboration dinner in celebration of the upcoming Thai New Year. But then they thought, “Hey, you know what would be more fun? Let’s turn it into a battle!”

Which is exactly what they’re doing–a 3-course by 3-course, head-to-head cook-off wherein 40 guests will get to determine who is the best Thai cook in the house. And if you’re up for it, you can be one of those 40 judges.

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Open Stove XXI: Now We’re Legal

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It is hard to believe sometimes that we have been doing Foobooz Open Stove Nights at COOK for as long as we have. But by the somewhat suspect accounting of the COOK staff, Wednesday night was our 21st outing and we celebrated it with two great teams, a potato-based challenge, shots of potato vodka, and cases of beer from those potato-loving Czechs behind Pilsner Urquell.

It was a wild night, full of drinking and rivalry and potato chip garnishes and coxcombs. But when the dust settled and the scores were tallied, there could be only one victor. And while only 20 or so people actually got to see the competition first-hand, we’ve come home with photo evidence of how things shook out (which is good, because everyone’s memories are probably a little bit fuzzy right now). So if you couldn’t be there yourself, click through the jump and check out what happened once the shots were poured and the tater tots hit the tables…

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Peter Woolsey Stepping Away from the Kitchen a Bistrot La Minette

Peter Woolsey | Photo via COOK

Peter Woolsey | Photo via COOK

Peter Woolsey has been the face of Bistrot La Minette since it opened almost six years ago. But with another restaurant project on the horizon, Woolsey is turning over the day-to-day running of his restaurant to Kenneth Bush, a longtime employee who also has had experience working for the Garces Group.

Woolsey wouldn’t go into details regarding the new project but we have previously reported that Woolsey has been tagged as the man in the kitchen for the restaurant coming to the FringeArts space at Delaware Avenue and Race Street.

In Woolsey’s own words » 

FringeArts Restaurant Going to Peter Woolsey of Bistrot La Minette

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The new FringeArts venue at Race Street and Columbus Boulevard opened back in October and has hosted a handful of shows since then. But the restaurant/bar component that FringeArts head Nick Stuccio has promised is still very much in the works. Now, we can confirm that Bistrot La Minette chef/owner Peter Woolsey will be in command of the kitchen. Read more »

BEST OF THE GAYBORHOOD AND BEYOND: Restaurants

Marie Turney and Valerie Safran's enchanting Little Nonna's gets our prize for Best New Gayborhood Restaurant.

A table spread at Marie Turney and Valerie Safran’s enchanting Little Nonna’s, which gets our prize for Best New Gayborhood Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Jason Varney.

GAYBORHOOD RESTAURANT: Amis
You don’t have to spend the mortgage at Marc Vetri’s eponymous townhouse to get that delicious Vetri Italian cooking. This exposed-brick, slightly industrial-feeling space has food that will simply knock your socks off, including our fave, the addictive tonnarelli. Sit at the counter, sip some very good wine, and watch the masters do their thing. 412 S. 13th St., 215-732-2647, amisphilly.com.

NEW GAYBORHOOD RESTAURANT: Little Nonna’s
Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s latest is a step back in time to the cozy kitchen of some little Italian granny—one who wants to put some meat on those bones. Loosen your belt and dive head first into the homemade meatballs sopped in “Sunday gravy” and a plate of the fluffiest gnocchi this side of Trastevere. 1234 Locust St., 215-546-2100, littlenonnas.com

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Zama Now Offers a Sbraga Roll

Sbraga Roll at Zama

Today, Global Philly 2013 kicked off with a special event at ZamaHiroyuki ‘Zama’ Tanaka and Kevin Sbraga were on hand to unleash the “Sbraga Roll.” The sushi roll is the latest collaboration from Tanaka who has conspired with many of Philadelphia’s best chefs and top celebrities to create a series of unusual rolls. Chef Sbraga suggested some of his favorite ingredients for the roll that will be served at Zama over the course of Global Philly 2013, from September 15 to November 1. The Sbraga Roll is a sushi roll with dill, jalapeno, avocado and crispy shallot topped with a Panko-crusted bite of dorado.

Global Philly is an international exposition, presented by the Global Philadelphia Association. Sbraga, who is leading the culinary part of the initiative, has rounded up some of his chef contemporaries to participate in the month-and-a-half long event to offer “Global Philadelphia” appetizer specials.

Starting at $12, the appetizers will be found at Sbraga’s eponymous modern American restaurant as well as at restaurants like Tashan, Bistro La Minette and Zinc , La Calaca Feliz, Zama and Han Dynasty.

  •  Sbraga will feature a steak tartar with French onion dip and a pea tendril salad.
  •  Tim Spinner (La Calaca Feliz) will spotlight the Al Pastor Pork Taco.
  • Bistro La Minette’s Peter Woolsey created a salmon tartare with lentils and a blood orange vinaigrette.
  • Han Chiang of Han Dynasty will offer a lamb dumpling with garlic sauce vinegar sauce.
  • And of course Zama will feature the Sbraga roll.

GlobalPhilly 2013 [Official Site]

Bistrot La Minette Is Celebrating Its Sous Chefs

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Peter Woolsey opened Bistrot La Minette five years ago yesterday. And come September, Woolsey will be celebrating that fifth anniversary on September 11th and 12th September 18th and 19th with a special blowout five-course dinner.

But before that, Woolsey wants to celebrate his sous chefs who he calls “the best I have ever had.” This Wednesday and Thursday (August 28th and 29th), Nich Bazik and Paul Carrier will be pulling out all the stops for their special four-course, $35 tasting dinner.

Check out the menu » 

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