This summer, both of Joe Cicala‘s Italian restaurants, Le Virtu and Brigantessa, will be celebrating “La Sagra del Peperoncino”–a week-long party dedicated to the love of the Calabrese hot pepper called diavolicchi or “little devil.”
East Passyunk Avenue is hosting its own restaurant week starting on Sunday, February 21st and running through Saturday, February 27th. The week of deals on Philadelphia’s hottest restaurant stretch come in three flavors. There are $15, $25 and $35 options that are available for lunch/brunch or dinner. Of the 24 restaurants participating six of the restaurants participating are in Philadelphia magazine’s latest 50 Best Restaurants list.
East Passyunk’s Brigantessa is now open for lunch from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Executive chef and partner Joe Cicala and chef de cuisine Julia Robinson are serving up his pizzas plus antipasti, panini and Contorni (sides).
It’s a perfect break to your holiday shopping on the Avenue.
Philadelphia is rightfully known for its BYOB scene, but it also seems an increasing number of restaurants with liquor licenses are offering corkage-free days as well. Why? Well as Petruce et al’s Tim Kweeder tells us, sometimes diners want to open a special bottle on an anniversary that they brought back from their honeymoon, or they might have something that’s just not available in Pennsylvania restaurants. Kweeder also shares that sometimes he hits it off with some diners, and they want to show off a bottle from their collection with him.
So if you have a special bottle you want to uncork, or if you just want to save a few bucks (and who doesn’t), here’s a whole slew of restaurants that offer at least one night of corkage free BYOB.
This week, Brigantessa premiered their new series of Southern Italian Tasting Menus, “Cucina Tipica,” created by chef and co-owner Joe Cicala.
Each month, he plans to focus on traditional flavors from a different region of Italy including, Sicilia, Sardinia, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria.
Cicala’s first tasting menu will offer a four-course culinary tour of Sicilia for $45 a person with an optional $20 beverage pairing including selections from the restaurants cellar full of regional Italian wine, beer, grappa and amari.
We’ve got some details on the menu below.
Chef/Owner Joe Cicala and Brigantessa are officially welcoming Julia Robinson as chef de cuisine to the East Passyunk restaurant with a wine dinner. Robinson started at Brigantessa in June after two years as chef de cuisine at the White Dog Cafe in University City and a six-year run at Vivere, a third-generation family-owned Italian restaurant in Chicago.
The Delaware native is showing off her work with a chef’s tasting menu with unusual Italian wine pairings on Wednesday, September 16th. The four-course, three wine and one digestivo dinner is $75 per person.
You know what’s hard? Picking the best ten of about a zillion awesome food instagrams from this past week. You know what’s even harder? Trying to do that without snacks (I couldn’t make it– thankfully the office has cake today).
Moral of the story? Have something delicious by your side before you look at these. You’ll thank me later.
So, if somehow none of that has yet made it onto your festivity plan, here are two more ideas to eat deliciousness in celebration of independence, summer, and good food.
With Beer Week only two weeks behind us, it is fair to take a little break from the stuff. The beauty of alcohol (well, one of the many beauties) is that there is always something else to try.
Set your DVR: At 1 pm this afternoon, 6ABC Action News anchor Alicia Vitarelli will appear on The Chew, where she’ll take the show’s crew to three local restaurants with family-influenced recipes on the menu. The segment will find her visiting South Street West dessert queen Holly Ricciardi of Magpie, a Jose Garces spot and Joe Cicala of East Passyunk’s Le Virtu and Brigantessa.
Foobooz has more on the actual food they’ll be preparing here.