a.kitchen Debuts Eli Collins’s Super Seasonal, Super French-y New Menu

Octopus a la Plancha / Chaucee Stillman

Octopus a la Plancha / Chaucee Stillman

We announced last month that Eli Collins — formerly of Pub & Kitchen — would be making a move over to a.kitchen, the Best of Philly-lauded, wine-focused spot run by Ellen Yin and Eli Kulp’s High Street Hospitality Group.

Collins debuted his first menu, a seasonal, bistro-inspired roster informed by his time in French kitchens training under Daniel Boulud and Joël Antunes, over the weekend. Let’s take a look.

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LGBTQ&A: Diner en Blanc’s Fernando Valle

Fernando Valle

Fernando Valle

Fernando Valle is a long-time supporter of Philadelphia’s Diner en Blanc, the popular annual all-white popup dinner party. We chatted with him about the LGBTQ history of the event and what to expect this Thursday.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with Diner en Blanc.
I’m originally from Mexico City and have been enjoying Philly since moving here in 2011. This year, I am one of the group leaders for Diner en Blanc. I have six amazing table leaders, and all together we are responsible in assisting 150 of the 5,000 guests who will attend the fifth edition of DEB in Philly. The table leaders ensure their group knows where to meet and what to bring. They also answer many questions. I was a table leader last year. Read more »

First Look: Jansen


There’s nothing new about scallops, lemons, capers, and parsley. It’s a plate full of beige, ecru, and green as tame as Pottery Barn. Fortunately, David Jansen’s scallops are just as pleasant as the catalog-worthy interior at your Aunt Susan’s house. Seared golden and seasoned beautifully, they sink slowly into a puree of cauliflower punctuated with jewels of preserved lemon and parsley leaves.

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Center City’s La Creperie Closes After 18 Years

La Creperie closes as Suga prepares to open.

La Creperie closes as Suga prepares to open.

La Creperie Cafe at 1722 Sansom Street has closed after 18 years. The French BYOB specialized in crepes and also offered Sunday brunch. But with prices of all the crepes starting north of $10 and some hitting $18, it never seemed that crowded a spot and as lunchtime competition boomed, it isn’t particularly surprising the cafe closed.

A sign on the door (in English and French) explained La Creperie was still available for catering.

The long narrow space is directly next to Susanna Foo’s Suga, which looked to be in its final stages of construction this afternoon.

Cauliflower After Dark: Neuf Reviewed

The Bouillabaisse at Neuf.

The Bouillabaisse at Neuf / Neuf

I was excited when Joncarl Lachman told me his next restaurant was going to be a French/North African concept. A little bit bistro, he said, but with the techniques and textures of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. A little gin at the bar, or maybe French 75’s drunk fast so the bubbles get right up in your nose. Flavors like the Marrakesh night market lit on fire.

And I was into it because Neuf was new—high-end North African food not being something you see much around Philadelphia—and because Lachman is good at doing new. He’s committed to turning geopolitical oddities (like Dutch/Scandinavian regional modernism at Noord, or a one-night-only rijsttafel pop-up dinner in collaboration with the crew from the Indonesian workingman’s cafe, Hardena) into satisfying, comforting dinners where the curation of the menu is nearly as important as how it all comes together on the table.

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This Thursday: Celebrate France and Beaujolais Nouveau


On the third Thursday of November, Beaujolais Nouveau hits the world. It is the first taste of the 2015 vintage and in France, it’s a celebration of wine, the year and the region. And in Philadelphia we hate to miss a party, so many Philadelphia bars and restaurants offer pours, specials and in one case, a dinner cooked by a former Le Bec Fin executive chef.

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Dinner Series Kicks Off at La Peg

La Peg at FringeArts | Photo by Kevin Monko

La Peg at FringeArts | Photo by Kevin Monko

La Peg is kicking off a dinner series with a vintner’s dinner this Tuesday, November 10th. The four-course dinner is $35 and $50 with a wine pairing. In December, the French brasserie will throw a beer dinner with Saint Benjamin’s, details to follow.

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As Movie Nights End, a New Happy Hour Is Coming to La Peg


Outdoor drinking at La Peg.

Next week, Old City’s La Peg is having one final movie night on the patio before they shut down the outdoor beer garden and put away the fire pits for the winter season.

Tonight, Wednesday, October 14th, the French brasserie is playing classic drama-thriller, Jackie Brown, then next week, to get you in the Halloween spirit, their last showing will be Nightmare on Elm Street on Thursday, October 22nd.

Although one fun event is ending at La Peg, another is beginning with the launch of sweet deals on their new happy hour.

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Opening Night Menu at Restaurant Neuf

restaurant-neuf-window-940Yesterday marked the grand opening of Joncarl Lachman’s Restaurant Neuf in the Italian Market. The North African-inspired French bistro opened to a packed house with guests enjoying the food, drink and hospitality.

We’ve got the opening night menu with main plates that range from $20 to $28.

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Preview Restaurant Neuf at American Sardine Bar

Fennel Three Ways

Fennel Three Ways; one of the dishes at the Restaurant Neuf preview at American Sardine Bar | Photo via Instagram

Joncarl Lachman’s Restaurant Neuf is set to open on Wednesday, September 16th if all goes well. And on Tuesday, September 8th, Lachman and Best of Philly winning bartender, Jesse Cornell (who will be the  head man at Neuf) are offering a preview at American Sardine Bar.

Cornell will be testing out several cocktails including a Cynar Sour and a riff on a cognac French 75. While the wine will feature Southern French and even Moroccan offerings, Cornell will play around with French spirits and herbs and spice blends that will also be in the food, but he doesn’t want to get boxed in too much by those ingredients.

And of course there will be food »

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