Field Guide: Spring’s Best Food and Drink Festivals in Philadelphia

The Rittenhouse Row Festival |Photo via Rittenhouse Row

The Rittenhouse Row Festival |Photo via Rittenhouse Row

It’s officially May in Philadelphia, and that means we’re about to embark on a month with a summer’s worth of festivals crammed into the three weekends before Memorial Day weekend. For the eaters and drinkers among us, there’s no shortage of beer festivals, cider fests, Kentucky derby block parties and — wait for it — even a goat race. Happy spring, Philly.

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Paesano’s Offering Scrapple Cheesesteak Seen on Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre Foods

Peter McAndrews' Scrapple Cheesesteak is on the menu now.

Peter McAndrews’ Scrapple Cheesesteak is on the menu now.

Andrew Zimmern and Bizarre Foods were in town for their 200th episode and Zimmern got together with Paesano’s Peter McAndrews for a scrapple cheesesteak. In the episode, which first was broadcast a month ago, McAndrews walks Zimmern through making the scrapple and turning it into a riff on the cheesesteak. McAndrews compares the sandwich to Philadelphia itself, ballsy, tough, made with love, integrity and flavor.

The sandwich is currently on the menu at the Italian Market location of Paesano’s. That location has just extended its hours. You can now get a Paesano’s sandwich from 11 am to 5 pm, Monday through Saturday and 11 am to 3 pm on Sundays.

Watch the segment »

Spotted in the Italian Market: 9th and Washington Project Inches Forward

Zoom in just a tad and you’ll recognize the spot: The Anastasi Seafood restaurant, nestled between 9th and Darien Streets, looks out to whirring Washington Avenue, all the while the plot of land to its rear and its adjacent parking lot sit quietly amid the hustle and bustle.

It’s a familiar scene, right? Well, get ready for that to potentially change if the site owners’ plans go accordingly, which so far seems to be the case.

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Here is a look at the conceptual designs.

As we told you this past AugustMidwood Investment & Development is looking to build a 5-story mixed-use building at the 32,000-square-foot site. The new building, designed by Morris Adjmi, would come with 70 market-rate apartments, two levels of underground parking, plus an estimated 18,000 square feet in retail space slated to house local retailers, as opposed to a big chain. (It’s “the anti-Cheescake [Factory] project,” Midwood President John Usdan told the crowd that month to ease their worries (one of the company’s past projects was the new Cheesecake Factory at 15th and Walnut).

Now, PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey has announced the most recent news regarding the project:

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Developer Seeks to Build the Anti-Cheesecake Factory in the Italian Market

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Here is a look at the conceptual designs.

Community members (and reporters) packed a church hall in South Philly Tuesday evening to hear an information-only presentation for a project at the long-vacant lot at 9th and Washington. If realized, it could have a major impact on the future of the Italian Market.

Midwood Investment & Development owns the roughly 32,000-square-foot parcel, which includes the building that houses Anastasi’s Seafood (more on that later). They are seeking to build a 5-story mixed-use structure with 150 spots on two levels of underground parking, roughly 18,000-square-feet of retail and 70 market rate apartments above it.

In order to keep with the context and scale of the eastern edge of the site, Midwood is proposing to build eight new Trinity homes on Darien Street. Site plans suggest they would be between 590- and 600-square-feet and feature rear gardens.

While tensions usually run from medium-to-high at these meetings, Jared Klein, chair of the Passyunk Crossing Civic Association zoning committee, attempted to cut things off at a head prior to the start of the presentation, announcing to the crowd that “this project will include parking.”

The crowd laughed, and that pretty much set the tone for a meeting that seemed largely free of controversy.

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Developers to Present Early Plans for Ice House Lot in the Italian Market

The lot, as seen from 9th Street | Via Google Street View

The lot, as seen from 9th Street | Via Google Street View

You know that long stretch of wall just off of the corner of 9th and Washington in the Italian Market? Well, behind that wall, which had become an vibrant, ever-changing street art display, is a large vacant lot that used to house American Ice and Coal Company’s warehouse.

According to the Passyunk Square Civic Association’s zoning section of the newsletter, an unnamed developer will be presenting new plans for the site next week:

Informational presentation regarding the lot at 9th and Darien.  PSCA will hear from the development team to review a mixed use concept (including ground floor commercial, below grade parking, and residential) at the long vacant lot at 9th and Darien.

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Tale of the Tape: Paesano’s Gizmo

paesano-gizmo-sara-schuster-project-cheesesteak-940

Paesano’s take on the cheesesteak | Photo by Sara Schuster

If there were a “Sandwich Hall of Fame” (and there should be, and it of course should be located in Philadelphia) the entire menu of Paesano’s would be inducted. The Arista, Daddy Wad and Paesano are irrefutable stars of the sandwich world. Owner Peter McAndrews has said he doesn’t put a cheesesteak on the menu because he doesn’t want his sandwich shop to become just another cheesesteak spot. Understandable, but after tasting his other sandwiches, you just know he can make a great cheesesteak. And he does, periodically Paesano’s will tweet out about the Gizmo, the sandwich shop’s take on Philadelphia’s most famous sandwich is available as a special.

And today that sandwich was on special, and we couldn’t resist ordering it.

The tale of the tape »

WATCH: Bradley Cooper Walks His Dog Through the Italian Market

Last night, Bradley Cooper was up for a Best Actor Tony award for his performance in The Elephant Man. Unfortunately for fans of the Philadelphia native, he didn’t win. (Alex Sharp, who didn’t even have an agent when he auditioned for The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, did.)

But before the award show broadcast on CBS, 60 Minutes profiled Cooper (in a slightly-updated story from February), talking to him about his Academy Award nominations — he has three! — and his work on stage in New York. Read more »

Another Weekend, Another Ton of Festivals

Check out the taps on this truck.

Check out the taps on this truck.

Over on Ticket, they’ve got 19 things to do this weekend. Surely, more than anyone can handle. But as a serious Fooboozer, maybe you can hit these four.

19 Things to Do this Weekend [Ticket]

Trinity Tuesday: Made Over Home In the Italian Market Has Bathroom Balcony

Photos by Kate Devlin

Photos by Kate Devlin

We’ve been racking our brains to remember whether or not we’ve ever covered a Philadelphia home with a similar quirk, but have come up with zilch. It might be safe to say, then, that this is a first on Property: this trinity home on a sliver of Darien Street has a bathroom balcony.

Though maybe not a balcony balcony as much as it’s one of those tiny French balconies with little to no room for sitting and lounging. Still, it is a fairly unique trinity, one that’s been fully renovated and expanded. The private passageway leading to its entrance is newly designed, and the home itself was rebuilt by carpenters. Plus, in addition to having three floors of living space, the lower-level has been finished and has an access window/door and  full bathroom–potential third bedroom? Office maybe?

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