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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So you guys know all about Brigantessa by this point, right? Joe Cicala‘s new place on East Passyunk? His ode to Neapolitan street food and super-authentic pizza?
Yeah, well apparently what he’s trying to do at Brigantessa (which includes, among other things, being the first DOC-certified Neapolitan pizzeria in Philly which involves following a whole bunch of rules made by Italians to govern what is and is not a proper pizza) is confusing some folks. So he’s put out a video all about his oven, his pizzas, the right way to make a Neapolitan pie and the right way to eat them. In addition to being instructional, it’s also full of slo-mo pizza porn and lots of loving shots of that imported pizza oven, so be aware: Maybe don’t watch it until after you’ve had lunch.
Hardcore Pizza Porn, right this way
Joe Cicala at La Panarda | Photo by Alex Tewfik
Le Virtu’s 2014 La Panarda is finally upon us. The feast will be a momentous 40-course tasting menu inspired by Italy’s Abruzzo region, paired with nine regional wines from Chieti Province’s Cantina Frentana and The Artisan’s Cellar.
Beginning at 12 p.m. on December 14th, guests of La Panarda will enjoy hours of dishes prepared by chef Joe Cicala and a communal atmosphere. Last year’s Panarda proved to be an awesome success, attracting attention from the Washington Post and Italy as well.
The cost of the meal is $275 per person, and requires a deposit by Monday, November 24th to secure a spot. To make a reservation for the feast, call Le Virtu at 215-271-5626.
The 2014 Panarda menu will be announced in the coming weeks.
Check out our post about the epic 2013 Panarda here.
Le Virtu [Foobooz]
The people of East Passyunk must have a boundless appetite for pizza, because despite the proximity of Slice, Santucci’s, Marra’s, and Francoluigi’s (and I’m sure you’ll let me know if I’m forgetting somebody…), opening night at Brigantessa yesterday was bumping. Cocktails were flowing, as were wines on tap and by the carafe, and the high-tops and bar seats were loaded. But the warm dining room upstairs will ensure plenty of space for Passyunk’s pizza lovers as the restaurant hits its stride.
Photos and more, right this way
Brigantessa opens this evening on East Passyunk Avenue. The second restaurant from chef Joe Cicala and his partners Cathy Lee and Francis Cratil-Cretarola will focus on Southern Italian cooking and a menu built around the restaurant’s wood-fired oven. The bar and open kitchen take up much of the first floor with a dining room upstairs. Cicala will also have a rotisserie and grill at his disposal in the kitchen.
The bar will offer sixteen beers on draft, including several craft Italian beers as well as US craft options as well. Wine will also be available on draft and will focus on wines from Southern Italy.
Brigantessa will initially be open for dinner seven nights a week and lunch will be added later. It is walk-in only for now, OpenTable reservations are available as of Monday, October 20th.
Opening menu »
Joe Cicala is getting close to opening his second restaurant, Brigantessa on East Passyunk. How close? He estimates his menu is about 80% done, which is about how much of it we can decypher in this blurred photo that Cicala posted on Instagram.
Most visible, the annotation “more salumi.” And who can’t get behind that? Cicala, who is also the chef at Le Virtu will be serving flavors of Southern Italy at Brigantessa.