This is how you do an announcement. Roll in the jet, roll out the red carpet. Nick Elmi at PHL.
Yesterday afternoon, American Airlines, Philadelphia International Airport and airport hospitality firm, OTG put on an impressive show to announce a $30 million overhaul of PHL’s Terminal B. That overhaul will include eateries from eight well known local chefs and restaurateurs.
The event took place at American Airlines huge hanger at the southern end of the airport. The chefs and restaurateurs, including Top Chef winners Nick Elmi and Kevin Sbraga descended the steps of a sparkling American Airlines plane to take their places along with PHL’s CEO Rochelle Cameron, Cedric Rockamore of American Airlines and OTG’s founder Rick Blatstein. After a highly-polished video about the transformation of Terminal B, samples of each restaurant’s food, plus wine and beer were brought out.
The project has been in the pipeline for a number of years old and several of the chefs involved admitted, that they thought their involvement was dead. When complete, the overhauled terminal will have eight new eateries and thousands of iPads from which to order food right to the gate.
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Bell Prosciutto Pizza is on the lunch menu at Brigantessa.
East Passyunk’s Brigantessa is now open for lunch from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Executive chef and partner Joe Cicala and chef de cuisine Julia Robinson are serving up his pizzas plus antipasti, panini and Contorni (sides).
It’s a perfect break to your holiday shopping on the Avenue.
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This week, Brigantessa premiered their new series of Southern Italian Tasting Menus, “Cucina Tipica,” created by chef and co-owner Joe Cicala.
Each month, he plans to focus on traditional flavors from a different region of Italy including, Sicilia, Sardinia, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Calabria.
Cicala’s first tasting menu will offer a four-course culinary tour of Sicilia for $45 a person with an optional $20 beverage pairing including selections from the restaurants cellar full of regional Italian wine, beer, grappa and amari.
We’ve got some details on the menu below.
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Julia Robinson, chef de cuisine at Brigantessa
Chef/Owner Joe Cicala and Brigantessa are officially welcoming Julia Robinson as chef de cuisine to the East Passyunk restaurant with a wine dinner. Robinson started at Brigantessa in June after two years as chef de cuisine at the White Dog Cafe in University City and a six-year run at Vivere, a third-generation family-owned Italian restaurant in Chicago.
The Delaware native is showing off her work with a chef’s tasting menu with unusual Italian wine pairings on Wednesday, September 16th. The four-course, three wine and one digestivo dinner is $75 per person.
Summer additions and wine dinner menu »
New movie screen at Le Virtu
Le Virtu has always been a kind of physical love letter to Abruzzo. From the food (natch) to the overall aesthetic of the place, it’s always been about transporting diners from here to somewhere else in a way that few other restaurants can really pull off.
And now, they’re taking things a step further with the re-launch of summer movie nights in the garden.
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Alicia Vitarelli with Le Virtu with a cameraman and Brigantessa chef Joe Cicala (far right)
Set your DVR: At 1 pm this afternoon, 6ABC Action News anchor Alicia Vitarelli will appear on The Chew, where she’ll take the show’s crew to three local restaurants with family-influenced recipes on the menu. The segment will find her visiting South Street West dessert queen Holly Ricciardi of Magpie, a Jose Garces spot and Joe Cicala of East Passyunk’s Le Virtu and Brigantessa.
Foobooz has more on the actual food they’ll be preparing here.
Vitarelli with Magpie owner Holly Ricciardi (center).
Joe Cicala making his pasta alla mugnaia | Photo by Jason Varney
Le Virtu’s Joe Cicala, Jose Garces and Holly Ricciardi (Magpie) will be on ABC’s The Chew today. Cicala will be showing off his single strand pasta alla mugnaia, while Garces makes a ceviche and Ricciardi bakes her butterscotch bourbon pie.
Tune in at 1 p.m. (or set your DVR) to see the whole crew repping Philly.
The Chew [Official]
Because round is boring? Joe Cicala is rolling out an “underground” selection of his Neapolitan pizzas that will come in playful shapes at his Brigantessa. These pizza shapes are kind of the Lucky Charms marshmallows of the pizza world. Check out Brigantessa’s video where chef Cicala creates the Stella (star shaped) pizza with points stuffed with sheep’s milk ricotta and the Racchetta rolled on one end and stuffed with ricotta. Both of these odd shaped pizzas appear on the menu. Other shapes are only available by customers who are in the know.
More on the secret shapes »
Photo by Emily Teel
It’s proving to be a busy month at Le Virtu and Brigantessa, especially for chef Joe Cicala. For the start of the spring season, the two restaurants are hosting a variety of events lasting until April 30th. We already mentioned the Scott Schroeder spuntini takeover happening on April 2, but here’s a round-up of what else is happening at the sister restaurants.
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Beginning February 2, Le Virtu will offer daily-changing polentas with house-made ragus. The polentas can be served in individual portions as well as family-style for the table to share. The family-style portion must be ordered 24 hours in advance and will cost $15 per person. The ragus the polentas will be served with will change daily reflecting seasonal ingredients and the kitchen’s specialties.
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