Prepare Pasta at Russet and then Eat Dinner

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Making Pasta at Russet.

Chef Andrew Wood of Russet is hosting a series of pasta-making classes for up to 25 guests on one Monday each month (starting this evening). Guests are taught how to make dough (Chef Wood grinds his own flour for this and all pasta at Russet) and roll a variety of pasta shapes. Sounds like a good time, but the real positive in going to such a class is in eating the pasta.

So, afterwards, the Chef will take all of the pasta made by the class and cook a dinner for the group, which includes house-cured charcuterie, salads,  antipasti  and the pasta as the main course. Pie, cake or tart will be for dessert.

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Blue Duck Sandwich Company Is Now Open

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Kris Serviss has opened his Blue Duck Sandwich Company at 2859 Holme Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia. The BYOB serves much more than just sandwiches. Highlights from the menu include: three types of wings as well as mac and cheeses including chorizo mac and cheese, a pork roll burger, fried chicken, pan-seared cobia, weekly taco specials and the namesake Blue Duck Sandwich, which consists of shredded duck confit, sautéed Swiss chard, roasted portabellas, blueberry barbecue sauce on a toasted onion roll.

Blue Duck Sandwich Company is open seven days of the week for lunch and dinner, with brunch on the weekends.

Check out the full menu »

August BYOB Adds Potluck Dinners on Tuesdays

august-byob-940After eleven years in business, August BYOB, located on Columbus Square in South Philadelphia, has decided to open its doors on Tuesday nights from here on out.

This fall, every Tuesday night from 5:45 p.m. until 8:45 p.m. will be August’s “pot luck” night, in which they will serve a different potluck menu, changing weekly. All of the entrees on this menu will be under $18 a piece.

The new hours begin next Tuesday, September 30th.

August BYOB [Official]

Marigold Kitchen Reopens Tonight

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Marigold Kitchen reopens tonight. The restaurant had closed after chef-owner Robert Halpern moved to California. Halpern then sold the restaurant to his chefs de cuisine, Tim Lanza and Andrew Kochan. Chef Keith Krajewski remains on as the executive chef.

The concept from Halpern’s version of Marigold Kitchen remains pretty much intact. There is no menu, just a question about food allergies or aversions. Then courses of modernist dishes come pouring out of the kitchen. The dinner is $90 per person and reservations can be made online.

One of the plates on the opening menu will be the dish shown above, wild striped sea bass with white bean, egg yolk, pepper and olive.

Marigold Kitchen [Foobooz]

Junto Gets Three Bells

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Craig LaBan is full of praise for MacGregor Mann’s Junto in Chadds Ford, calling it the best suburban dinner he’s had in a long time.

But there were so many highlights, especially with seafood, that my quibbles were minor. Huge scallops were perfectly fried in a sheer tempura crust made from sweet corn, amped by an intense brown chip of dehydrated scallop and a creamy remoulade of pureed mussels and lovage. Tart sorrel granita and shavings of fresh horseradish enlivened briny raw Cape May Salt oysters. Beautifully steamed black bass fillets basked in anise-scented froth over poached fennel. A lemon verbena white wine butter glaze added a subtle herbaceousness to that juicy fillet of smoked sturgeon.

Three Bells – Excellent

Read Trey Popp’s similarly positive review of Junto from the September issue of Philadelphia magazine.

Junto: One of the suburbs’ top new restaurants [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Junto [Foobooz]

Haddonfield, New Jersey Restaurants to Sell Local Wine

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You can now buy wine on site at MiaMare to enjoy on their deck.

Haddonfield, New Jersey, a “dry” town since 1873, has recently made strides in changing the law due to an approved initiative called the Alcohol Management Plan for Retail Outlets. By leasing a portion of their business to New Jersey-based wineries, restaurants are now allowed to sell wine by the bottle.

Restaurants in the town that have applied to sell wine include Jersey Java & Tea, MiaMare Ristorante and The Little Tuna.

Jersey Java & Tea will be partnering with Auburn Road Vineyard & Winery in Pilesgrove; MiaMare Ristorante will be partnering with Coda Rossa Winery in Franklinville; and The Little Tuna will be partnering with Amalthea Cellars in Atco.

Where We’re Eating: Forno Antico

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’BURBS
Suburban restaurants are often doomed by the difficulties they have to overcome: lack of foot traffic, low customer counts, competition with the big-box chains that spring up on every major corner. But the one thing they have going for them? Their neighbors. Because when a great restaurant comes to a place previously served only by the mediocre and the lame, it can become the center of a community the way no urban restaurant ever can. Forno Antico is one of those places — a sprawling BYO that opened in a terrible location behind a jewelry store a few months back, but that’s been working hard to win over every single customer who comes through the doors. The pizzas come out of a traditional Neapolitan oven brought over from Italy (the name means “antique oven”), the alfredo tastes nothing like what you’ll get at the Olive Garden (meaning it’s wonderful and rich and buttery and creamy in the way that only a scratch-made sauce is), and the meatballs are huge, perfectly textured and delicious, even when, like me, you just ask for two orders to go so you can eat one in the parking lot before driving home.

Forno Antico [Foobooz]

Originally published in the September 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine

Where We’re Eating: Pumpkin

Photo by Mike Arrison

Photo by Mike Arrison

ANNIVERSARIES
There are two ways a restaurant can be and remain successful: It can stay relevant, or it can become a classic. Sometimes, when the planets align and the gods approve, the two happen simultaneously. Pumpkin has lived at 17th and South for what’ll soon be 10 years, the anniversary of the day when owners Ian Moroney and Hillary Bor grabbed hold of a space nobody believed in and created (and kept) the BYO atmosphere we all know and love.

Alas, with the surrounding restaurant neighborhood explosion — the fancy toasts, the small plates — tiny places like this can get lost in the scrum. But Pumpkin stayed true and stayed exciting. Fregola sarda (toasted beads of Sardinian pasta) risotto with an English pea salad on top was not only comforting, but a texturally fun play on popping peas and smooth risotto. And it was the succotash that brought the sweet, tang and heat (from Styer Orchard chili peppers) that tiny gobbets of snails reveled in.

It’s easy eating  at Pumpkin — not dated, not too precious, not clinging to trends,  but not losing sight of what Philadelphia wants, either. It’s a restaurant that’s both current and classic,  and that still harks back to a day when Philadelphia began to do what we do best: bring our own.

Pumpkin [Foobooz]

Originally published in the September 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

 

New Chef, New Menu for Jenkintown’s Forcella

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Jose and Jennifer Vargas of Leila’s Bistro in Jenkintown  created a sophisticated yet comfortable sequel when they opened Forcella, serving authentic Italian cuisine, in downtown Jenkintown earlier this year. Recently, the BYOB has made some changes with chef Anthony Pasceri taking over the kitchen and adding a new seasonal menu.

Pasceri, formerly of Modo Mio and Popolino, has been on the Philadelphia restaurant scene for over 10 years. At his new home in Jenkintown, he will be serving house-made classic Italian pastas, breads, desserts and more.

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