Gastronaut: The Case for Crawling

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Illustration by Kagan McLeod

When we were young cooks, none of us could ever stand still.

Work — 12 or 14 or 16 hours. White jackets and checked pants; prep and then more prep and then the first hit, the dinner rush, the long, slow glide toward wipe-down. Crews rolled out the back doors of restaurants, converged on the nearest bars for first drinks, then moved on — looking for salty things and fried things and sushi and pho and flat, floppy slices and weed. We were perpetually unsatisfied, a whole knot of us growing antsy and weird if we spent more than 45 minutes in any one place, because no matter where we were, there was always the chance of something better waiting right next door.

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Plenty Cafe Is Adding Liquor Licenses to All Locations

plenty-cafe-400Big things are happening at all the Plenty Cafe locations. The East Passyunk and Center City Plenty locations are getting liquor licenses and introducing dinner menus and full bars. The new menus will include small plates inspired by owners’ Anthony and Damon Mascieri’s travels around the world. By day, they’ll continue to focus on coffee, breakfast and lunch, but at night they’ll transition to full service with the new menu. The drink menu will mainly focus on beers and wines, but there are plans to feature rotating specialty cocktails, too.

The East Passyunk location will briefly close for renovations this summer and re-open as quickly as possible. The plan is to re-launch the East Passyunk location and then move on to opening what will be their largest location in Queen Village. All this should be done before the end of this year.

Plenty Cafe- Queen Village [Foobooz]
Plenty Cafe – Center City [Foobooz]
Plenty Cafe- East Passyunk [Foobooz]

South Philly Barbacoa Getting a Storefront

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South Philly Barbacoa is getting a storefront.

South Philly Barbacoa, the Mexican food cart sensation from Ben Miller and Cristina Martinez is getting a storefront. The cart has been a weekend destination at 8th and Watkins since early 2014. But Saturday was the cart’s last service at 8th and Watkins. But on the very good side, Miller and Martinez are going to be getting a storefront at 1703 S 11th Street, the former home of Vegan Commissary.

Eater reports that the barbacoa storefront could open as early as the first weekend in July. As for Vegan Commissary, they closed as of May 31st and are looking for a new, larger location.

South Philly Barbacoa [Foobooz]

Palladino’s Launches A Happy Hour

Palladino's happy hour chicken

Palladino’s launches happy hour this Wednesday, June 17th. Monday through Friday from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Sunday from 2:30 pm to 5:00 pm, happy hour food and drink specials are served at the bar and at the outside terrace.

Not only do these happy hours offer a new collection of specialty cocktails and deals on food, but they also offer a happy hour exclusive- Foie Gras Stuffed Chicken Wings. These oversized wings are wings are stuffed with foie and chicken mouse, then tossed with housemade chipotle barbecue sauce. They’re only available during happy hour, even if you beg.

If, for some reason, those wings didn’t do it for you, read on for the full food and drink menu below.

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Bing Bing Does Weekend Lunch

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Pan fried Bao at Bing Bing Dim Sum

Ben Puchowitz and Shawn Darragh continue to tinker and improve Bing Bing Dim Sum on East Passyunk. After adding happy hour and delivery, they launched weekend lunch with the kickoff of Philly Beer Week.

A week in, they’ve added some brunch-style cocktails including iced Vietnamese coffee; the Bing Bing Mary, tomatillo, pineapple, tamarind, green tabasco, chili paste and pickled jalapeno; and the Java Jawn Cocktail, Vietnamese coffee, sweetened condensed milk, Barbancourt dark rum, topped with coconut palm sugar and whipped cream.

Bing Bing is now open on Saturdays from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Check out the latest food menu from Bing Bing, which has been tweaked from even a week ago.

Latest Bing Bing menu »

P’unk Burger Celebrates 10,000 Burgers Served

Blueberry Cardamom Pie Shake with preserves from Green Aisle Grocery.

Blueberry Cardamom Pie Shake with preserves from Green Aisle Grocery.

P’unk Burger has been busy. They’ve sold 10,000 burgers since their February opening so now they’re celebrating with exciting new menu items and collaborations. These new burgers, shakes, and salads will stay on through the end of June at least.

The new burgers include the Big Fat Greek Burger and the Jalapeno Burger. The BFGB is a collaboration between the owners and their neighbor, Amin Bitar of Bitar’s. It features organic lamb with smashed falafel, tzatziki, cucumber and red onion.

The Jalapeno Burger is thanks to a collaboration with 1732 Meats: the organic beef burger is topped with 1732’s jalapeno bacon and then further perfected with jalapeno jack cheese, cilantro and pico de gallo. Though this burger was introduced in May, its feature is extended through June as it has quickly become the most popular specialty burger.

But it doesn’t stop there. There’s a Blueberry Cardamom Pie Shake that’s mixed and topped with fresh baked pie crust from neighbor Chhaya Cafe. There’s also a “lighter” milkshake, the Reanimator Red Eye, made with Little Baby’s non-dairy ice cream and Reanimator Coffee. The lighter menu continues with a Seared Ahi Salad and a Vegan Pulled Portobello Sandwich as well.

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PHS Beer Gardens Set to Open

9th and Wharton PHS Beer Garden opens Friday at 5 p.m.

9th and Wharton PHS Beer Garden opens Friday at 5 p.m.

At least two of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s three pop-up beer gardens for 2015 are set to open by Monday, June 1st and probably earlier.

The 9th and Wharton location has come a long way since it was an empty lot just three weeks ago. Today, we have been told that the beer garden backed by David Frank and Stephen Simons (Khyber Pass Pub, Triangle Tavern, Royal Tavern and the two Cantinas) will open at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29th. Look for cocktails, beer, wine, fernet and food borrowing from the Italian heritage of the neighborhood.

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Headlines: Queen of Jeans Sign Hung on East Passyunk

Yooooo! Coming summer 2015 y’all!! The Queen of Jeans!!! WUT WUT! Happy Sunday everybody! Pimp! @kidhazo

A photo posted by Jinxed Philadelphia (@jinxedstore) on


The building that used to house the King of Jeans is officially down, but that doesn’t mean its spirit is gone. On Sunday, Philly artists Kid Hazo (giant PPA ticket, PAFA poop emoji and many more) and South Fellini gave a new twist to an East Passyunk icon, installing a sign to the fence of the development site at 1843 East Passyunk Avenue that reads “Queen of Jeans Coming Summer 2015.” Needless to say, it was a big hit on social media.

As Conrad Benner of Streets Dept. asked on Instagram, “Isn’t it about time a woman ruled the Denim Empire?” To which we respond with a resounding yes! You can check out more pics of the sign here. A new 5-story building will soon rise and house 3,000-square-feet of retail space, a floor of office space and 12 apartments, according to the Passyunk Post.

More Headlines:

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First Look: Triangle Tavern

triangle-tavern-dining-room-940The Triangle Tavern has reopened in South Philadelphia and not much has changed. Yes, it is now owned by David Frank and Stephen Simons, who own the Khyber Pass Pub, Royal Tavern, Los Caballitos and Dos Segundos, but other than that, the space feels similar to what was there for the better part of the 20th century. It’s the same bar. Suzanne O’Brien, who consulted on the project (as well as redos at Trestle Inn, Jerry’s Bar), told me that the gum still remains on the underside. I took her word on that.

The reboot is rooted in the Triangle Tavern’s historic position as a neighborhood eatery. Refreshingly, affordability seems to be a key tenet in the redo. Entrees are all under $20, the house wine is $7 and there are even $6 cocktails on the list. The idea is that the 85+ seat bar and restaurant can be a frequent dinner destination for people living on and near Passyunk Avenue.

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Bright Lights, Big City: Palladino’s Reviewed

Pork osso buco and Stecchini Genoves | Courtney Apple

Pork Osso Buco and Stecchini Genoves | Courtney Apple

With all due consideration for sore thumbs and Kim Kardashian’s badonka-donk, nothing sticks out from its surroundings quite like Palladino’s on Passyunk.

The Italian chophouse rears up over the Avenue’s Broad Street gateway like a wedge of layer cake iced by an architectural prankster. Its banded black and white facade serves up an allusion to the medieval tower of Siena’s Duomo atop the Streamline Moderne curve of a sidewalk-sheltering hip roof, and the whole thing is capped off with a sky-scraping signboard that broadcasts the restaurateur’s name in lipstick red.

And you can hear Luke Palladino’s Philadelphia debut from nearly as far away as you can see it. Saxophone-rock solos and Super-tramp reverberate on the covered curb with a brashness compounded inside by crowds that can be as boisterous on a Wednesday evening as on a Saturday night. You can take a chef out of Atlantic City, but apparently you can’t take Atlantic City out of this chef. Read more »

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