The New York Times Wonders Why We All Don’t Live In Philly

vernick

Philadelphia has become like a strange dreamworld for New Yorkers and those other Big City devotees who read (or write for) the New York Times. It’s a place they come to deliberately have their expectations exceeded, to begrudgingly fall for while they’re here and then pine for while away. We are the Westworld of cities at this moment–the place you come to make all your dreams come true.

And also to murder robots.

So today, the Times ran a piece by Robert Draper titled “A Four-Day Feast In Philadelphia.” And alliteration aside, it did exactly what I mentioned above. First, there was the de riguer mention of those same tired cultural touchstones (gritty neighborhoods, soft pretzels and cheesesteaks). Then the sudden “discovery” that there are things here which are like the restaurants in New York, only, you know, not in New York, which seems to always confuse New Yorkers. The fact that these restaurants are good? That this entire city is not peopled entirely with sweatpants-wearing troglodytes gruntingly double-fisting hoagies while squatting around trash fires in the Italian Market like some lost tribe of East Coast cargo cultists? That’s almost too much to take in at first. The shock too extreme.

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Field Guide: 12 Hidden Outdoor Dining Spots in Philadelphia

Outdoor garden at Little Nonna's | Photo by Jason Varney

Outdoor garden at Little Nonna’s | Photo by Jason Varney

The Center City District now counts 412 outdoor dining cafes in just Philadelphia’s downtown area. Many a sidewalk has been turned over to eating al fresco. But if you’re looking to dine in the sunshine without the crowds, out of earshot of the SEPTA bus and away from the peering eyes of passersby, you’ve come to the right place. Here, our picks for the 12 best hidden outdoor dining spots in Philadelphia.

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South and Kanella South Open This Weekend

kanella-south-bar-940South, the new Southern restaurant and jazz bar opens tonight at 600 North Broad Street. The spot will offer live music six nights a week and a menu of Southern and Creole dishes by chef Paul Martin. Preview | Menu

And Alex Tewfik of Eater, a name that vaguely rings a bell around here, has the scoop on Kanella South’s opening party at its new bar tomorrow, September 19th. There will be $7 Odysseus cocktails and the first 50 guests get a free drink. The party runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the relocated Cypriot restaurant.

As for Tewfik »

Sneak Preview: September Classes At COOK

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Shockingly, another month of summer has sped by, meaning it’s that time again: COOK’s September schedule is going up tonight at 6 PM. As usual, the best classes go rather quickly, so you’d better be at the ready if you want to score seats to the classes happening in their kitchen in September. How does a whole hog from Kensington Quarters sound? Or perhaps dumplings from Bing Bing Dim Sum and Cheu Noodle Bar. Want to learn to bake apple pie (it is fall, as scary as that is), or learn to make pasta? Or come see our 40th Open Stove competition? All that and more is on their calendar for September. Read on for the full list.

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For One Night, Kanella Returns to Spruce Street

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Kanella chef de cuisine Evan Butkovsky at COOK.

The Washington Square West neighborhood has missed Kanella since the Cypriot restaurant closed to move to Queen Village at the end of May. Chef/owner Konstantinos Pitsillides should open the new location within four weeks or so. But, WashWest is getting a taste of Kanella once again.

Kanella’s chef de cuisine Evan Butkovsky is joining up with Mercato’s Ryan McQuillan for a collaborative dinner on Tuesday, July, 28th. The Greek/Cypriot and Italian inspired tasting dinner (one sea, one people) will be held at Mercato, and will consist of three courses for $30.

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Kanella’s Spruce Street Location Closing at the End of the Month

Photo by Frances Olson

Photo by Frances Olson

When we first learned that Konstantinos Pitsillades was opening Kanella South at 757 S Front Street, it did not occur to us that he would close his successful BYOB location at 10th and Spruce. But as I dined at the Cypriot restaurant on Friday night, Pitsillades confirmed he was closing up shop in Washington Square West as of May 31st. The proud chef also promised that the new location would be the same but better. He was particularly excited about the large charcoal grill and a wood-fired oven that he would be experimenting with.

Pitsillades says the Queen Village Kanella will open in June with a full bar. The Spruce Street location is currently on the market. The 46-seat restaurant (with 22 additional seats outside) is on sale for $350,000.

Check out the sale flyer »

Five-Course, Four-Chef D’Artagnan Charity Dinner At Le Cheri

Meats from D'Artagnan

Meats from D’Artagnan

D’Artagnan, the meat and charcuterie purveyor to many of the best restaurants around the country, is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a charity dinner party at Le Cheri. Yes, tickets are expensive. But we’re talking five courses with paired wines being prepared by some of the best chefs in the city, in celebration of one of the top purveyors in the business.

And the menu? It looks kind of amazing.

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About Last Night: I Heart You THIS Much…

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Ladies and gentlemen, welcome once again to the drama, the suspense, the creativity (and the aftermath) of Philadelphia’s own cutthroat culinary competition! February 4th brought the 34th edition of Open Stove to COOK, this time a head-to-head fight to the death* between Geno Betz of Paradiso and Dominic Santora of Kanella.

There was laughter. There were tears. There were chicken hearts and candy. And luckily, I was there to document it all. So here’s how the night played out.

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Philadelphia Restaurant Received “Million Dollar Review”

Coren at Vedge. He called Vedge "the best vegan cooking I have ever had."

Coren at Vedge. He called Vedge, “the best vegan cooking I have ever had.”

Times of London restaurant critic Giles Coren was in Philadelphia this spring filming his TV show Million Dollar Critic for Canada’s WNetwork. The show visited five Philadelphia restaurants in order for Coren to bestow one of them with his million dollar recommendation (because the review could be worth more than a million dollars in business).

Coren visited Vedge, Cheu Noodle Bar, Avenue Delicatessen, The Mildred (now closed) and Kanella. In the end, Coren heaped the most praise on Kanella, the Cypriot BYOB by Konstantinos Pistillides.

Kanella is the sort of place I wish I could review every week: a buzzing local taverna on a lively city corner, people of all ages and ethnicities sitting at outside tables, simply decorated inside, full of laughter, friends and family, and charming staff serving a cuisine rooted deeply in a foreign culture rather than just ripping it off, with a deadly serious chef at the helm.

Read the full review of Kanella on Huffington Post’s Canadian edition.

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