It is hard to believe sometimes that we have been doing Foobooz Open Stove Nights at COOK for as long as we have. But by the somewhat suspect accounting of the COOK staff, Wednesday night was our 21st outing and we celebrated it with two great teams, a potato-based challenge, shots of potato vodka, and cases of beer from those potato-loving Czechs behind Pilsner Urquell.
It was a wild night, full of drinking and rivalry and potato chip garnishes and coxcombs. But when the dust settled and the scores were tallied, there could be only one victor. And while only 20 or so people actually got to see the competition first-hand, we’ve come home with photo evidence of how things shook out (which is good, because everyone’s memories are probably a little bit fuzzy right now). So if you couldn’t be there yourself, click through the jump and check out what happened once the shots were poured and the tater tots hit the tables…
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First We Feast interviews several top Philadelphia chefs, including Nick Elmi, Peter Serpico, Eli Kulp and Michael Solomonov among others, about their favorite under-the-radar eating experiences in Philadelphia.
The list is full of great spots including Kim’s Korean charcoal barbecue in Olney.
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A table spread at Marie Turney and Valerie Safran’s enchanting Little Nonna’s, which gets our prize for Best New Gayborhood Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Jason Varney.
GAYBORHOOD RESTAURANT: Amis
You don’t have to spend the mortgage at Marc Vetri’s eponymous townhouse to get that delicious Vetri Italian cooking. This exposed-brick, slightly industrial-feeling space has food that will simply knock your socks off, including our fave, the addictive tonnarelli. Sit at the counter, sip some very good wine, and watch the masters do their thing. 412 S. 13th St., 215-732-2647, amisphilly.com.
NEW GAYBORHOOD RESTAURANT: Little Nonna’s
Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran’s latest is a step back in time to the cozy kitchen of some little Italian granny—one who wants to put some meat on those bones. Loosen your belt and dive head first into the homemade meatballs sopped in “Sunday gravy” and a plate of the fluffiest gnocchi this side of Trastevere. 1234 Locust St., 215-546-2100, littlenonnas.com.
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Kanella, the endearingly small, five-year-old Cyprian BYO sits at the corner of 10th and Spruce, containing wicker chairs, wooden tables, and exposed brick walls graced with copper cookware. Anything more would be a disservice to the chef. Food is the focus here, and there’s a certain necessitarianism to Konstantinos Pitsillides’s cooking—an effortless persuasion that this sort of cuisine should only be prepared by him, that there is exactly one way to compose each dish, and that Pitsillides is the only chef in the world doing it correctly. Soak your bread in the brightly spiced yogurt sauce that accompanies the lamb dumplings, and let his famed “katsiki” stew’s layers of flavor unwind for a lifetime. His food is convincing, his talent is compelling, and his restaurant is still worth a visit. Or a hundred.
1001 Spruce Street
Photo by Frances Olson
First appeared in the May, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Stephen Starr’s second pop-up restaurant, this one with Kanella’s Konstantinos Pistilliedes, is taking reservations for July 27th to 29th. Pistillides will be cooking up food from the Levant.
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The Talula’s Table Pop-Up Restaurant at Washington Square certainly left a positive impression on those who attended. I’ll Eat You was there on the first day and came out impressed.Â Then on the final day, Anthony Sica, our former Food & TV writer and current Meal Ticket intern submitted this report.
As for the next pop-ups, Michael Klein is reporting Kanella’s Konstantinos Pitsillides will be followed by Top Chef contestantÂ Angelo Sosa.
Talula’s Table “Pop-Up” at Washington Square [I'll Eat You]
Recapping: Aimee Olexyâ€™s Talulaâ€™s Table Pop-Up at Washington Square [Meal Ticket]
More Starr pop-ups! [The Insider]
Kanella gets a shout out from Travel+Leisure’s editor,Â Nancy Novograd. [Travel+Leisure]
Also,Â Kanella adds Sunday dinner hours. [Meal Ticket]
Stephen Starr’s catering arm, Starr Events has added the Philadelphia Museum of Art to its portfolio. The restaurant, cafe, catering operation and cafe in the Perelman Center annex will come to Starr on August 1st. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
The cute Nana Petrillo’s has opened on the Piazza at Schmidt’s. There’s coffee and Capogiro coffee. [Meal Ticket]
The White Dog in Wayne appears to be looking at an August opening according to a Craigslist ad. [Main Line Restaurant Guide]
Bistro Americano is out in Collingswood. The seemingly can’t miss corner won’t be empty long, next up, That’s Amore.
Jr’s Lounge at 13th and Locust has closed.
The Beer Lass skips the burger atÂ Village Whiskey and instead goes with the pork sandwich.
Chef Dave Conn tosses the pork in a whiskey barbecue sauce then adds a creamy coleslaw atop.Â It was served with fried pickles as a side.
Village Whiskey’s Pork Sammy [Beer Lass]
The intriguing Konstantinos Pitsillides of Kanella has dropped his popular and long-running goat stew from the menu and replaced it with a suckling pig entree.
Twenty-five bucks gets you a plate featuring meat from 20-pound whole baby porkers Pitsillides rubs with lard and his own spice blend before slow-roasting for up to three hours; he serves up the pork with love letter pasta tossed with cheese and sweet peas.
Out with the goat, in with the pig at Kanella [Meal Ticket]
We’ve been meaning to stop at Kanella for too long now, not just for the for the Cypriot fare but to take some good photos of Konstantinos Pitsillides‘ “vintage twitter.” The posts hang on individual sheets of paper in the window of his kitchen.
Grub Street captures a sheet that takes a shot at the catering profession. Us, we have this photo regarding precision, restraint and simplicity.
It prompts an interesting discussion, as much for the posts as their content.
Vintage Twitter at Kanella [Grub Street]
Our transcription after the jump.
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Lunch at Kanella isn’t just good, it’s cheap. [I'll Eat You]
Femme Fermental accidentally has brunch. Lucky for her it was at Supper where the crispy banana French Toast is soaked in peanut butter creme anglaise overnight. [Femme Fermental]
Unbreaded says hold of on your ridicule of Oyster House’s $26 lobster roll until you actually try it. [Unbreaded]
File this under obvious things that never dawned on us.Â The Restaurant School has a library. They also put out a mean dinner for a bargain price. [Foodaphilia]
Mac & Cheese chacks outÂ Cafe Pendawa, an Indonesian bodega in Point Breeze. Her bravery is rewarded. [Mac & Cheese]
Unbreaded faces a decision of epic proportions, cheesesteak or pork at John’s Roast Pork. [Unbreaded]
Apples and cheese, please pop over to the Pop Shop in Collingswood, NJ. [apples and cheese, please]