Top Chef contestant Stephanie Cmar is in town today at castmate Jason Cichonski’s Gaslight in Old City. Cmar is in the midst of a national pop-up tour for her Stacked Donuts and Trademark Tarts. The pastry chef is joined by Justin Burke-Sansom to form Party of Two. The pair have been popping up in Boston every week for the past five months offering their Stacked Donuts and Trademark Tarts. They have now joined forces and are working as a collaborative.
Today they will be offering three donuts and two types of tarts, starting at 11 a.m. Each sweet treat is $3 and is cash only. Get there early, there are only 100 donuts and 80 tarts to go around.
Ela has added new cocktails and bar menu items for summer. Chef Jason Cichonski has added dishes like:
- Pork Belly with watermelon bbq, pickled rind, arugula
- Lamb Pita with sesame cucumber, salsa verde, yogurt and radish
- Eggplant Tots with piperade, shaved fennel and pecorino
The bar is also celebrating summer with several new cocktails including:
- Divine Intervention with Lillet, Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin, Orange Bitters, Lavender
- I Am Fred Astaire with Vodka, Mango-Rosemary-Red Bell Pepper Shrub
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Chips with charred eggplant salsa | Photo by Courtney Apple
If you’re comfortable looking a bartender straight in the eye and asking for a Sex Panther, then girl, does Jason Cichonski have the bar for you.
That Granny Smith-and-cranberry cosmo isn’t the only cocktail on offer, of course. You could also order a Red Hot Mama (black cherry margarita) or a Mr. Muffin (gin and tonic with strawberry and sage) — though, as with the Pirate Hooker (red currant Bellini), propriety would seem to dictate tacking a “for my friend” onto such requests.
But then, hitting Old City for the propriety is like going to Thailand for the cheese.
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Cochon 555 is coming to Philadelphia on Sunday, May 25th of Memorial Day weekend. The tour touts the flavor and benefits of heritage breed pigs. The event features a lineup of five chefs who will compete to win a chance to move on to compete in the Grand Cochon at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen in June.
The competing chefs and more details »
Adam Erace has some problems with the food at the Gaslight, but that’s nothing compared to what he had to say about the drinks.
The Gaslight, the new bar/restaurant from Jason Cichonski, a chef whose reputation is built — fairly or unfairly — on equal parts scallop noodles and sex appeal. When he and Nick Elmi first encountered each other on the last season of Top Chef, Elmi looked at Cichonski’s pastel pink shorts and quipped, “You look like you just got off a yacht.”
I felt like I was on one at The Gaslight, that’s about how rocky the food was, but the cocktails were even weirder. This list appears to have been curated by a Cherry Hill bachelorette party, with confections bearing names like Pirate Hooker (a red currant Bellini, because who doesn’t want that at 9:30 p.m.?) and Hello Kitty, a martini whose fruity flavors (green tea, lychee, strawberry) make more sense together at Old City Frozen Yogurt down the street.
Tragically named cocktails aren’t the only missteps at The Gaslight [City Paper]
The Gaslight [Foobooz]
So Scott Schroeder and Jason Cichonski should be getting pretty used to cooking together at this point.
I mean there was that Bromance Collaboration Dinner they did together in February, and the first Whiskey and Waffles brunch the two of them did last year. Now they’re getting together again to do a second drunken brunch which will pair everyone’s favorite breakfast foods (waffles, bagels, bacon, shrimp salad) with everyone’s favorite breakfast beverage (whiskey).
This Sunday, the two chefs will come together at Ela to put out a menu of inspired breakfast foods. Starting at 10:30am and going until 2:30pm, the special brunch will run you $35 for four courses. Reservations are recommended but not required and, for an additional $20, you can even get each course paired with specially-designed breakfast cocktails (like a Laphroaig-and-rye Bloody Mary or a shot of bourbon).
And yes, of course we have a copy of the menu. Right this way…
Whiskey & Waffles Menu
In a quick turnaround, Old City’s newest destination, The Gaslight, opened a few weeks ago in the old Philadelphia Bar and Restaurant space across the street from The Franklin Fountain. The menu–made up of ‘Chips & Dips’, ‘Apps & Snacks’, and ‘Big Plates’–is a chance for chef Jason Cichonski to play with ideas too casual for his other restaurant, Ela, and better suited to a bar than to fine dining.
From our first glimpse of their opening menu it seems that there are some good ones: garlic hummus, charred eggplant salsa, and three other dips are served with a selection of chips: pita, house-puffed rice crackers, and tortilla (fried up from the wares of the San Roman tortilleria on 9th Street). Onion rings, coated in panko, maintain their crunch beautifully alongside charred long hot peppers and yuzu aioli. The foie gras and chicken liver mouse with raisiny red wine mostarda is sure to become a favorite if ordered with the pickle board – three generous cups of house made pickles, to cut its richness.
On the entree side, Scottish salmon with goat cheese polenta, sprouted lentil salad, and blood orange vinaigrette appears alongside pulled duck flatbread drizzled with hoisin and classics like spaghetti bolognese, short ribs, fried chicken and burgers. It’s refined pub food in a warm, airy space with ample bar seating and plenty of bottles to choose from and it might just be exactly what Old City needs.
And we, of course, have all the pictures…
Show me the pictures
Scott Schroeder is having a busy season. We just wrote about him throwing in with David Ansill for an upcoming collaboration dinner at Bar Ferdinand, and now we’ve also got word that, two days from now, he’s going to be in the kitchen at Ela with one of his besties, Jason Cichonski, doing a totally different collaboration dinner.
This one is actually called the Bromance Collaboration Dinner, a “bromantical evening with Scott Schroeder and Jason Cichonski.” It’s happening on Wednesday, February 12, at Ela. Seats are $50 per person (with an optional $20 drink pairing), reservations are required, and the menu is… Well, just check it out for yourselves after the jump.
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How do you keep the spark alive?
Restaurants face the same question that haunts many a marriage—only, with restaurants, it comes ‘round a whole lot sooner. If spouses can hope for seven years before the proverbial itch begs scratching, restaurateurs are lucky if they can make it past the first anniversary.
That thought chorused through my head during a recent meal at Ela—repeating like the 90-minute loop of down-tempo indie-rock throbbing softly in the background of Jason Cichonski’s Queen Village resto-bar.
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Join Philadelphia cheftestant Jason Cichonski for a Top Chef Finale viewing party at The Gaslight, his recently opened bar in Old City. Root for Laurel’s Nick Elmi as he looks to bring home Philadelphia’s second Top Chef crown (Kevin Sbraga also won Top Chef).
The Gaslight, which has taken the place of the former Philadelphia Bar and Restaurant at 120 Market Street will be offering $5 hot and specialty cocktails as well as craft beer and wine specials from 8 p.m. till the show’s start at 10 p.m., so get there early.
Watch a preview of tonight’s finale »