The Gastronaut: Notes of Honey, Pine Needles and Regret

Illustration by Kagan McLeod

Illustration by Kagan McLeod

Sure, sure. The holidays are a time for togetherness. For family. For stuffing yourself full of food and then passing out on the couch. But they’re also a time for drinking — both the joyous, let’s-give-a-toast-to-the-season kind, and the more common (and occasionally much more satisfying) let’s-just-have-another-drink-and-see-if-we-can-get-through-this kind.

Which is why I’ve assembled this list of ideal pairings for a variety of holiday-specific foods and scenarios you might be faced with in the coming weeks. So here’s what to pair with …

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Restaurant Review: Petruce et al

Whole grilled sea bream | Photo by Jason Varney

Whole grilled sea bream | Photo by Jason Varney

Philadelphians have a lot of things to be thankful for, and one is that Justin and Jonathan Petruce aren’t trying to sell them pizza. There’s been some confusion about this. “When people hear that we have a restaurant with a wood oven and grill, the first thing they ask is if we make pizza,” says one of the brothers. “Actually, they’re more like, ‘What kind of pizza do you make?’” says the other.These are understandable assumptions. The Petruce brothers in fact wanted to open a pizza parlor. They even went to Italy, in 2010, to learn how.

“But then everybody in Philadelphia decided to open a pizza place,” Justin says.

So they just kept on cooking for other people. Between them, the Petruces have worked — occasionally together — at Mémé, M Restaurant, Fish and Little Fish. In March, they hung out a wooden shingle etched with their own name.

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Historical Milk Punch Is Coming Back


Photo by Vincent Stipo

In this week’s City Paper, Adam Erace takes a look at the history of milk punch and the version that Vincent Stipo of Vernick Food and Drink has on his menu. Meal Ticket also has Stipo’s recipe for milk punch in case you’re looking for a weekend project.

Otherwise try milk punch for yourself at Vernick, or make it a vertical tasting and get a second version of the historical drink from George Costa at Petruce et al.

Cocktail to try: Milk Punch [City Paper]
Recipe: Vernick’s Milk Punch [Meal Ticket]

The Drink Program for Petruce et al


We gave you a look inside Petruce et al earlier this week as they were preparing for tonight’s opening. And now we have Petruce’s opening drink list. A list that is particularly interesting with the dynamic duo of Tim Kweeder and George Costa.

The list includes classic cocktails as well as some interesting “new school” versions as well. A small but interesting wine selection is available by glass and bottle. Beers are available on draft as well as beer and bottle.

Petruce et al drink list » 

Petruce et al Assembling All-Star et al

petruce-et-al-logoPetruce et al is coming to 1121 Walnut this February. We’ve known that Jonathan and Justin Petruce were onboard. The brothers will be cooking together and utilizing the restaurant’s two wood-burning stoves. Today we learn more about the “et al.” Tim Kweeder is onboard as partner, general manager and wine director. Kweeder comes to Petruce after a time at as well as Moore Brothers Wine.

Also signing on is George Costa. Costa, who was a longtime institution at Southwark and Philadelphia’s best bartender at Pub & Kitchen will be the beverage director and guarantee Petruce et al will have a solid cocktail program.

Petruce et al [Foobooz]

About Last Night: Oh, Bartender…

So last night was out first-ever Open Stove cocktail night–in which we took the Open Stove formula of public competition, secret ingredients, surprise twists and loud smack-talking and applied it to the craft of drink slinging. By the time the night was done, two of the city’s best barmen had gone toe-to-toe in COOK‘s culinary Thunderdome, everyone in the joint was swimming in high-test happy juice, and a victor had been chosen.

Here’s how it all shook out–in pictures, courtesy of COOK’s #1 shooter, Yoni Nimrod.

Hey, what are those guys doing with that sack full of kittens…?

Philadelphia’s Signature Cocktail: The Aftermath

I had my first drink yesterday at noon and followed it with a 2nd, 3rd and 4th, at roughly hourly intervals, right up until 7pm when our Philadelphia’s Signature Cocktail event kicked off at Cook. And that’s when I started drinking for real.

I did not follow this process because I am a shameless drunk, but because sometimes the liver–like a pet, a small child or a recalcitrant employee–must be shown who’s boss. It must occasionally be sat down and given a stern talking to–explaining to it, in the only language it understands, that tonight is going to be a work night and it needs to be at the top of its game.

The good news? Mine performed admirably over the course of a great night and many cocktails and I saw the morning just as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as ever I am. The better news? By the time the dust had settled last night–once all the civilian judges had been gathered, all the drinks had been poured and consumed and (occasionally) re-poured and re-consumed, once all the ballot sheets had been collected, accidentally left in the backseat of a car, recovered and tabulated–we had ourselves a winner. A true Philadelphia cocktail which, from now and until forever, will stand as this city’s official cocktail: the alcoholic summation of everything wonderful, sweet, shocking and bitter about this city.

Read the rest of this entry for more details, a slideshow and recipes »