Society Hill Society | Photo by Courtney Apple
In the annals of faint praise, neighborhood restaurant is a peculiar epithet. People usually apply it to the places that make them feel most welcome. Yet it’s a dismissive classification—not just because it implies that a place merits only limited attention, but because it suggests that one neighborhood restaurant is more or less interchangeable with any other. Warm hospitality, a menu that’s not trying to reinvent the wheel, consistent cooking, and bang—your Brewerytown pals are all, “Why can’t somebody open a place like this by us?”
Nobody would ask that about Society Hill Society, because Reed Barrow has remade the old Artful Dodger into a public house that looks like pints have been sliding across its hammered copper bar since the first bricks were laid on Headhouse Square (and only lately, eclectic cocktails). Locally crafted spindle chairs and coarse-grained chestnut soak up the warm light of yellow globe fixtures on patched plaster ceilings. The upper bar shelves hold objects so random, it seems they must have taken decades to accrue. Is that a femur wedged in next to the ship captain’s hat?
Read more »
Toll Brothers, the Horsham, PA-based megadeveloper, has found late-career success in the unlikeliest of places: bustling cities. The company has done projects throughout New York City, as well as the remarkably successful 600-unit Naval Square in Graduate Hospital. Now Toll Bros. is pushing its latest Philadelphia offering: the still-under-construction 410 at Society Hill, the luxury condo complex on Headhouse Square that replaces the large hole where Newmarket once stood.
Read more »
Tomorrow, Saturday, June 14th is Philadelphia’s first VegFest. The outdoor festival runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. under the shambles at Headhouse Square. The event features speakers, cooking demos and of course, lots of vegetarian food vendors.
Among the highlights, Vedge’s Rich Landau, freshly back from Paris will be showing off the plant-based cuisine that will be part of his new endeavor, V Street.
In addition to the food, speakers and cooking demos, the afternoon will also feature veg-friendly vendors and live music.
Philly VegFest [Official]
With delightful weather, celebrating Philly Beer Week outdoors has become a priority. One great spot to do that is at the official PBW Beer Garden at the Headhouse Square Shambles (2nd and Lombard). The beer garden is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and six Pennsylvania brewers are featured this evening.
Check out the full schedule for the week »
Photo via The Food Trust
Mark your calendar, the Headhouse Farmers’ Market Opening Day is coming up on May 4th, 2014. The city’s largest open-air farmers’ market will be back with 30 of the area’s best farmers and artisan producers. Favorites like Birchrun Hills, Queens Farm, Blooming Glen Farm and Three Spring Fruit Farm will return. They will be joined by newcomers like of Michael Falcone’s Heart Food Truck and Shore Catch.
And for the opening Sunday, meet local cookbook author Marisa McClellan who will be offering tastes from her new book, Preserving by the Pint.
Headhouse Farmers’ Market [The Food Trust]
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.
All about Maifest »
The Grit Invasion of Philadelphia may be long in the tooth by this point, but that hasn’t kept new armadas from lashing the city with ever-growing waves of cream-soaked, butter-fatted, cheesed-up swells of coarsely milled corn.
And with each new entry into the city’s unofficial shrimp-and-grits competition, you could be forgiven for wondering if grits should be classified now as a dairy product rather than a grain. That’s all fine and good, as its goes. Not exactly shocking that restaurant kitchens still like butter and cream in 2013.
But consider the recipe provided by Anson Mills–the South Carolina grain specialist whose grits have become the gold standard in high-end restaurants. It’s a simple ingredient list: grits, a bit of salt and pepper, and water. Plus a pat or two of butter to mix in at the very end. Pretty austere, right?
The thinking at Anson Mills is straightforward: too much dairy fat eclipses the flavor of the corn they take so much pride in growing and milling.
This philosophy sprung quickly to mind not long ago at, of all places, The Twisted Tail, a blues venue that got an awful lot wrong about Southern cooking back when it opened two years ago. But those memories of mediocrity faded away in the light of many of new chef Leo Forneas’s dishes, not least his Louisiana-style shrimp and grits.
Read more »
Back in 2011, on the day Joey Vento died, I attended a “media night” at Twisted Tail with a dozen or so other writers. That night, I walked out before the entrées came, because the food and service were just plain terrible. Subsequent reviews by critics pretty much backed me up on that. Well, I am happy to report that a recent meal—featuring both a new chef and a revamped menu—was remarkably better. Standout dishes included the oxtail rillettes, a fantastic Pennsylvania trout, charcoal-grilled corn and oyster mushrooms, and a simple but delicious mac-and-cheese that had our table of six fighting over the last bite. Quite the turnaround.
509 South 2nd Street
First appeared in the October, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Headhouse Square’s The Twisted Tail is amidst its own little renaissance. Its original scathing reviews imprinted a below-average name to a place with a lot of potential, and then all was fixed. There’s a bunch of whiskey events happening this week at the southern food/whiskey and blue’s lovin’ joint (for National Bourbon Heritage Month), but there’s something that stands out among the rest:
Read more »
Adam Erace returns to Twisted Tail two years after its opening and finds the addition of chef Leo Forneas has made the Southern restaurant and bar, a destination worth checking out for more than just the bourbon and shuffleboard.
Back for dinner, he [Leo Forneas] redeemed himself with an array of vibrant tapas cooked on the Maine hardwood charcoal-powered grill: strips of smoky veal bacon in a garland of pickled red onion; tender marinated quail whose dainty legs I dragged through tomatillo chimichurri; lime-splashed pork-belly squares not unlike the kind Forneas ate as a kid in the Philippines. Forneas comes from a family of food people. His grandfather owns a butcher shop, his grandmother a fishing boat. The chef is at his best when pulling from his heritage, connecting dots between the tropical island of his youth and the American South of his imagination — dots that seem to surprise even him.
Once disappointing, the Twisted Tail makes good with a new chef [City Paper]
Twisted Tail [Official Site]
Photo by Neal Santos