Blue Cat Provides More Latin Flare for Fairmount

Brian Freedman claims that the Latin Blue Cat is a worthy addition to the suddenly red-hot Fairmount neighborhood.

Salmon filet, beneath a gorgeous crust from the cast-iron skillet, was a simple, delicate dish, topped with a mango salsa that was as straightforward as it was bright. Stuffed cubanelle pepper could have been a problem, but ended up succeeding brilliantly. The composition was simple, yet each flavor spoke with clarity; this was a high-wire act. But as with so many vegetarian and vegan dishes in the city these days, this one managed to pull it all off with real grace and flavor. The smoked mushrooms, quinoa and almonds lurking inside were given an appealing sense of personality, and all tied together by the smoke-kissed tomato mole the pepper was braised in.

Fairmount Just Got a Lot More Exciting With the Latin-Inspired Blue Cat [Philadelphia Weekly]
Blue Cat [Official Site]

BlueCat Opens on Fairmount

BlueCat, which we first told you about in December has opened at 1921 Fairmount Avenue. The airy Latin BYOB is by the husband and wife team of Guy Shapiro and his wife Luli Canuso. Shapiro has worked for the Toscana Restaurant Group and with Wildflower in New Jersey. Canuso was a pastry chef at Le Bec-Fin.

Michael Klein tells us that the restaurant name and wall-sized mural pictured above are inspired by the couple’s pet Russian blue cat.

BlueCat will be joined later this year by Mugshots, which is moving to the new mixed-use building from its location at 21st and Fairmount.

Latin Flavors from BlueCat [The Insider]
BlueCat [Facebook]

Cafe Chismosa Coming to Northern Liberties

The former Almanac Market at 900 N 4th Street is very close to opening as Chismosa Cafe. The Latin inspired cafe and coffee shop will offer ceviches, tortas and tostadas. As for an exact date, a post on the cafe’s Facebook wall says they’re at the Health Department today, and we all know how that can go.

Chismosa Cafe [Facebook]

Latin Farmer Hits Love Park Today

Latin Farmer is the latest addition to Philadelphia’s food truck scene. The truck made its debut last week at the Mt. Airy Night Market where the shiny truck served up several dishes:

Avocado-Lime Hummus
with Sazón baked plantain chips

Choripan
Spicy chorizo, sugarcane stewed onions, queso de papa, pineapple-cilantro mustard and banana kethup

Collard Wrap
Malta-braised skirt steak, chayote-apple slaw, queso fresco, heirloom tomato chimichurri

Vegan Collard Wrap
Garlic mofongo, sugarcane-stewed onions, heirloom tomato chimichurri

Cucumber Mojito (Non-alcoholic)

We thoroughly enjoyed the collard wrap and the cucumber mojito. Today the truck will be at Love Park with a fuller menu beginning at 11 a.m. and it will be back every Wednesday and Friday.

Latin Farmer [Official Site]
Latin Farmer [Twitter]

Duck, Duck, Chifa

This week is Duck Week at Chifa. Monday through Friday the Latin-Asian restaurant will be offering a special $55 duck menu. Duck week dishes will also be offered a la carte and will include:

  • Duck Buns
  • DuckFlatbread
  • Duck Ceviche, duck confit with roasted duck jus, cherry puree, foie gras torchon and brioche croutons
  • Duck Chaufa, wok fried rice with duck confit and soy-glazed duck breast
  • Peking Duck, Schezuan pepper crepes and traditional sides
  • Foie Gras Ice Cream with pistachio cookie, caramel apple paint, cracklings and pink peppercorns.

Chifa [Official Site]

Staying Power & More at Avenida

Craig LaBan has plenty of praise for Mt. Airy’s Avenida, the Latin American restaurant that is making its mark on Germantown Avenue.

[I]t is Edgar’s savory fare that is really the reason to visit. The long arms of grilled octopus had a tenderness that showed the virtues of a slow simmer in Tecate beer and Coca-Cola. I would have preferred if the ribs had been smoked rather than braised, but I loved their earthy red mole sauce so much, I didn’t mind the fall-apart meat texture.

The moles are mild but also subtly complex, and they’re among this kitchen’s best efforts – the closest Avenida gets to genuine Guatemalan home cooking. That red mole, brewed from a trio of peppers, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and Ibarra chocolate, is especially good when slathered onto chicken Michote and wrapped in a plantain leaf for slow steaming. A green mole is crafted for the tender pulled shreds of the braised pork pibil, the bright acidity of tomatillos balanced by herbaceous cilantro and the richness of milled sesame and pumpkin seeds.

Two Bells – Very Good

Mount Airy’s Avenida thrives despite Delaware Market House’s departure [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Avenida [Official Site]

Avenida, a Comfy Hit

avenida_octopus

Trey Popp visits the very comfortable Avenida in Mt. Airy and finds home-style cooking worth leaving home for.

How good can home-style Latin food be if Jose Garces has been rocking your palate with intricate small-plate creations for the last couple years?

The answer is very good. Avenida is about affordable meals served on Ikea plates, not lamb lollipops in shot glasses, but the Alvarezes do it with uncommon focus and finesse. Don’t skimp on appetizers. Slow-cooked octopus arms blistered with tequila poke through a cooling bed of watercress. Chorizo, poblano rajas and al dente black beans achieve a perfect three-way balance under a just-cheesy-enough queso fundido. Already you’re having trouble sharing the very sharable portions.

House Rules [City Paper]
Avenida [Official Site]