Philadelphia’s Christmas Village at Love Park kicks off Thanksgiving Day and runs through Sunday, December 28th. And although the Christmas Village is mainly about the shopping, there will be lots of food and some fun food and drink events as well.
Starting on Tuesday, November 11th, St. Martin’s Day, and ending on December 21st, Brauhaus Schmitz chef Jeremy Nolen will be preparing traditional a German Christmas Dinner for parties of eight or more. The dinner will feature a 10-pound whole roasted goose, served family-style, stuffed to the brim with house-made pretzel, apple and sage stuffing.
Italian, British, French? Cinch. Even Dutch, Spanish and Belgian food is pretty easy to find close to the heart of Philly’s most tony neighborhoods. But for a long time, this city has also been home to a thriving community that brought all its borscht and sausages along from the Old Countries. So if you’re looking for a hit of post-Glasnost melting-pot Euro cuisine ignored by the likes of Vetri, Garces and Starr, here are some good places to start.
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We’ve got a number of food truck updates that we’re packing into this one post.
Food Junkets has the details on Casa Brazil, a new Brazilian barbecue truck that should be hitting the streets this week. Owner Ricardo Berbosa has worked at Fogo de Chao in Baltimore as well as Chima in Philadelphia and Na’Brasa Brazilian Steakhouse in Horsham. The Brazilian native plans on making showing up at 33rd and Arch and other spots around West Philadelphia. Stay tuned for his first day out.
On Saturday,May 3rd the South Street Headhouse District is throwing its Spring Festival. South Street will be shut down from 8th to front and Second Street will be blocked off from Lombard to South. 30 restaurants and bars will be serving up dishes outdoors. There will also be live music on three stages and eight other performance areas and a kid zone.
Anchoring the west end of the block party will be Brauhaus Schmitz’s Maifest. There will be German beers, dancers, music, food and a May pole.
Brauhaus Schmitz is celebrating Karneval over the next week. The festivities run from tomorrow, February 27th through Tuesday, March 4th.
Each night Brauhaus will pick three semifinalists to qualify for a trip to Oktoberfest 2014 in Munich, Germany. The final drawing will be on Tuesday, March 4th at 10 p.m.
Saturday, February 22nd marks the third annual Bierfest at the German Society of Philadelphia. The beer festival will feature German beers as well as German-style beers from local brewers. There will even be Philly Roller Girls and Berlin BEEResque dancers.
Food is provided by Wursthaus Schmitz and DiBruno Bros. Tickets are $45 for general admission and $65 for VIP tickets that include early access, collectable mug and VIP seminar. The doors open at 1 p.m. noon for VIPs.
More than just a regular beer festival, Bierfest benefits the Brewers of Pennsylvania and includes a significant education aspect. The Kulmbacher Learning Lounge will offer something for the beer curious while the ‘The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of German Beer Styles’ at 4:30pm in a brewers’ discussion panel.
From Monday, December 9 through Monday, December 23, chef Jeremy Nolen will offer a Classic German Christmas Dinner at Brauhaus Schmitz.
Nolen’s modern take on the German tradition will feature a ten-pound roasted goose served family style for eight or more guests. The goose is filled with pretzel, apple and sage stuffing. The goose is just one of the courses of the $60, three-course dinner. The dinner also includes a glass of Glühwein, a mulled red wine that is poured warm and accented with German spices.
When it comes to modernizing a cuisine, German has got to be one of the most challenging. There’s likely very little on the menu at any German restaurant in the country in 2013 that wouldn’t also have appeared on the menu of the local wursthaus in, say, 1587. And yet modernizing this almost elementally historic cuisine is exactly what chef Jeremy Nolen set out to do, both at Brauhaus Schmitz on South Street and now at Wursthaus Schmitz at Reading Terminal. Yes, you can still get potato salad here. And headcheese by the pound. And delicious sausages with ridiculous names. But you can also order sandwiches, and for some reason, even though they’re based on traditional combinations, every one of them—from the Bavarian, with its coleslaw and horseradish sauce, to the goulash-dripping Hungarian and the Lyoner (which is basically just a fried baloney sandwich with a passport)—feels like something wholly and completely new.
Reading Terminal Market
12th and Arch Streets
German food ain’t exactly sexy (when’s the last time someone said to you, “I’m craving German”?), but Austrian Village on the outskirts of Northeast Philly is something better than sexy: It’s awesome. The German-social-club atmosphere (complete with oom-pah-pah band on most Saturdays) is old-school cool, but the authentic, hearty fare is the real star: succulent schnitzels; tangy sauerbraten; goulash smothered in paprika gravy; and founder Lotte Burits’s legendary German potato salad—the most addictive thing I’ve ever eaten. Then there are the prices: Entrées average $12, and a beer costs half of what you’d pay downtown. Oom-pah-pah indeed.
321 Huntingdon Pike
First appeared in the November issue of Philadelphia magazine.