Aldine Getting in the Local Spirit

Jennifer Sabatino has the bar stocked with local spirits at Aldine | Photo via Jennifer Sabatino

Jennifer Sabatino has the bar stocked with local spirits at Aldine | Photo via Jennifer Sabatino

Over the last several weeks, Jennifer Sabatino has been overhauling the liquor stock at Aldine. The former bar manager of Stateside (which specialized in American spirits), is remaking the liquor selection at Aldine to be all-local. Sabatino has more than twenty local spirits behind the second floor bar now and is working on overhauling the cocktails to take advantage of the recent explosion in Pennsylvania and New Jersey spirits.

During a visit yesterday, Sabatino was particularly “fired up” (in the parlance of her husband, chef George Sabatino) about Bluebird Distilling’s Juniperus Gin (Phoenixville), an aromatic spirit first distilled from rye. She also had nothing but praise for Manatawny Still Works’ small batch #7 whiskey (Pottstown). Despite its young age, the cask strength whiskey didn’t come across as harsh or burning.

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Spend Christmas Eve with Stargazy Pies at Aldine

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South Park’s Cartman would appreciate this pie fest.

In what we hope becomes a long running tradition, on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24th, Aldine chef/owner George Sabatino is inviting his long time friend Sam Jacobson, chef/owner of East Passyunk’s British pie and mash shop, Stargazy, to come over and celebrate the holiday.

And instead of turkey, ham, seven fishes or even Chinese food, there will be pies. An all-you-can-eat pie buffet to be exact. The event will cost $40 per person and will include Stargazy staples plus special pies like, pulled beef cheek; chorizo and mussel; chana masala (vegetarian), and winter pumpkin with house ricotta (also vegetarian).

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Back to the Future: Aldine Revisited

Warm romanesco : butternut squash vinaigrette : sunflower seeds : toasted oat milk froth | Photo by George Sabatino

Warm romanesco : butternut squash vinaigrette : sunflower seeds : toasted oat milk froth | Photo by George Sabatino

I have never before been stricken speechless by beets, but I was at Aldine. Big beets—chunks of them cut like kebab meat, that require days of preparation (marination, dehydration, poaching, having bedtime stories read to them, whatever) to give them the texture of rare steak. Beets that taste of pickle-y bitterness and garlic and a lingering, building chili heat. They came on a plate as beautiful as all the plates at Aldine, a shallow bowl in which they sat clustered together, punctuated by razor-thin slices of radish and a smear of sour yogurt and curled puffs of beet chips that I would’ve gladly eaten from a bag while sitting on my couch.

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For One Night: Aldine’s George Sabatino Cooking at Kensington Quarters

kensington-quarters-night-940On Wednesday, December 9th Aldine owner and chef George Sabatino is “so stoked ” to be cooking with Damon Menapace at Fishtown’s Kensington Quarters. Sabatino is preparing a six-course, $65 per person dinner upstairs at KQ.

Reservations are available between 6 p.m and 8:30 p.m. and new Kensington Quarters employee, Tim Kweeder is offering a $35 per person wine pairing for the dinner.

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Aldine Is Celebrating Year One with a Halloween Party

The Sabatinos dogs at Aldine | Photo by  Emily Teel

The Sabatinos dogs on the wall at Aldine | Photo by Emily Teel

George and Jennifer Sabatino’s Aldine turns one this Wednesday, October 28th. The Sabatinos are throwing an Anniversary/Halloween party to celebrate. Instead of sit-down dinner service, for $35 guests can enjoy an unlimited buffet of selections from Aldine’s fall menu. Among the dishes offered:

  • Potato and leek croquettes with herb aioli
  • Chicken liver mousse on focaccia with sweet and sour red onions
  • Roasted baby carrots with sour cherries and almonds
  • Squash tartine served on house made grilled bread

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Look Who’s Coming to Dinner at Aldine

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Pasture raised pig in the woods by Jen Sabatino’s family.

Aldine chef George Sabatino received this heritage breed, Mulefoot pig from Alafia River Heritage Farms in Florida. The farm is owned by his wife and Aldine co-owner Jennifer Sabatino’s family. The pig, which was raised in the woods on the family farm, was then slaughtered and sent up north as a gift to Aldine and the Sabatinos.

The pig arrived yesterday and George got to butchering the animal, and will be featuring it in a number of dishes on Aldine’s menu as soon as this weekend. Sabatino also plans on turning some of the 250 pounds of pork into sausage, charcuterie and other fun stuff.

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Aldine Debuts New Menu Format

Poached Mussels with English Peas, Shaved Radish and Vinaigrette

Poached Mussels with English Peas, Shaved Radish and Vinaigrette | Photo via Aldine

When I heard that Aldine was changing its menu format, I thought maybe that meant the menu would no longer feature stupid colons in between ingredients (like sorry but,”sugar snap peas : pickled chili : smoked almond milk : rhubarb,” just does not look right). But alas, that was too much to hope for. Instead, Aldine is abandoning its unique tasting menu, which was divided into either the “omnivore” or “herbivore” menu, in favor of a more traditional format.

Chef and owner George Sabatino’s new menu is divided into first, second and third courses. First courses are either served cool or room temperature, second courses are slightly larger and served warm, and third courses are really the bigger main courses.

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A Summer Barbecue In February

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Okay, so this whole snow thing is getting old already. And the cold? Tired of it.

Apparently, so are George and Jennifer Sabatino, because they’re bringing in their buddy Scott Schroeder and the three of them are throwing a backyard, 4th of July-style barbecue at Aldine on February 2nd.

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