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.
If 15 days of Center City Restaurant Week weren’t enough, you’re in luck: the third annual East Passyunk Restaurant Week is happening, Sunday February 22nd to Saturday February 28th.
28 restaurants have agreed to participate in East Passyunk’s Restaurant Week. Each meal will be 3-courses and priced at $15, $25 or$35. Even if you forget to make your reservations early, following #EPRW on twitter ensures that you’ll hear about last minute cancellations so you can swoop in.
Several restaurants from the Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants are participating, including Fond, Noord, Townsend, Stateside, Will and Le Vitrtu. Newcomers Brigantessa, Bing Bing Dim Sum and P’unk Burger will be participating as well.
East Passyunk Restaurant Week [Official]
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.
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]
To help your summer along, Foobooz plans to give you some recipes by notable chefs and bartenders in Philadelphia. We’re calling it the DIY Down the Shore series, and we’ll be posting them all week. We’re bringing Philly’s dining scene into your summer homes.
Summer is prime grilling time. There’s nothing like coming home from a day on the water, cracking open a few beers and firing up the grill. And if you consider yourself a serious grill master and are looking for your next challenge (or maybe just someone who just wants to attempt something new), Joe Cicala, executive chef at Le Virtù has shared one of his favorite recipes rooted in his family’s Italian heritage. If you’re feeling courageous we encourage you to try your hand at chef Cicala’s Abruzzese-Style Lamb Sausage. You’ll need a meat grinder and an appliance capable of stuffing the sausage, but don’t let the extra equipment scare you. These sausages are well worth the extra elbow grease.
Brigantessa, Joe Cicala‘s follow up to the excellent work he’s doing down at Le Virtu, has been in the works for some time now. We know that it’s going into the East Passyunk space that formerly held Karina’s, and that the centerpiece of the two-story bar and restaurant will be an imported, wood-fired pizza oven, and that the menu will lean heavily on the cuisine of Southern Italy, with pizzas, house-made pastas, roasted meats and fish and fresh breads being the focus. But other than that, we don’t really know much in the way of specifics.
But that should change when Brigantessa takes its first steps out into the public sphere with a combined pop-up (along with the Pitruco Pizza Truck) on Sunday, June 1st. Cicala just tweeted about it an hour ago, and we’re already excited to see what he has in store.
Joe Cicala [Twitter]
Hey, remember back when we did that round-up of the best macarons in Philadelphia? Yeah, well it looks like pastry chef Angela Ranalli is adding a few to the dessert menu at Le Virtu. Tonight they’re running with chocolate coffee kahlua, black truffle honey and Mandarin mascarpone thyme, all of which are pictured here.
Don’t like macarons? Don’t worry, Ranalli is also doing an orange blossom laurel cake with blueberries and cream. But seriously, you don’t like macarons? What’s wrong with you?
Angela Ranalli [Twitter]
Le Virtu, Adobe Cafe and Fuel were all hit by robberies overnight on Passyunk Avenue. NBC 10 has more on the story including an interview with Rocco Cima, owner of Fuel, which lost $150 in the theft.
NBC 10 reports that this is just the latest robbery in the area as at least two others happened over the past couple of weeks.
‘Rare’ as in ‘uncommon’. As in ‘not-just-another-plate-of-spaghetti-and-goddamn-meatballs’. Rare as in frascarell (a kind of Abruzze cous cous) and culurgiones from Sardinia–stuff that, even in this pasta-mad city, isn’t seen often or at all.
Chef Joe Cicala is doing his weirdo pasta all through the spring, starting tonight with something that’s always been on his menu–the Maccheroni alla Mugnaia. Hand-made and with noodles stretching up to 60 feet long, it’s served with olive oil, grated pecorino, a basket of chiles and a pair of scissors. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t already heard about the stuff (or if my description of it just confused you), have no fear. There’s a video of Cicala learning how to make it at Ristorante La Bilancia in Loreto Aprutino, Abruzzo. Check it out after the jump.