This week we’ve seen two sets of Garces alums open new restaurants. Former Garces director of operations, George Atterbury has opened El Poquito in Chestnut Hill. The Mexican restaurant takes over the Chestnut 7 property ad Atterbury has hired former JG Domestic chef de cuisine, Andrew Sabin as executive chef. El Poquito is open for dinner seven days a week. Michael Klein reports that Atterbury already has a deal in place for a second location in a new development by the Christina River in Wilmington. Check out El Poquito’s menu here.
A Mexican restaurant in your neighborhood is a way of knowing you’ve arrived. An attractive BYOB serving breakfast nachos and carne asada salads and offering dinner specials like poached tilapia is a subtle clue that house prices are rocketing skyward and you’re happy you bought when you did. That’s what Cafe Ynez does for both the Grad Hospital and Point Breeze neighborhoods. The husband-and-wife team of Evan Malone and Jill Weber (Jet Wine Bar and Rex 1516) have created this third restaurant as a companion to Malone’s NextFab Studio. But it’s the neighbors who make out best in the deal. Whether it’s the huevos rancheros that don’t need to take a backseat to any in the city, or the rotisserie chicken that can anchor a dinner platter or be a key ingredient in the Tinga burrito, a meal at Cafe Ynez is affordable, tasty, and just what this neighborhood needs.
Philly’s Hispanic population is mostly made up of Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, two Latin cultures that use similar ingredients but totally different cooking techniques. You’ll find the best Puerto Rican food in one neighborhood in North Philly, while Mexican food is more ubiquitous. Look out for a new wave of Mexican chefs who are combining authentic cooking with more attention to detail — the results are game-changing.
Search for nachos on Foobooz and you’re going to get some old and out of date information. Duck nachos at Rae (remember Rae?). A 2009 nacho crawl and a years ago request from commenters for their favorite nachos. Best Nachos? It’s never even been a Best of Philly category. And yet, it seems at least half the bars we visit offer nachos of one kind or another. We have ones stand out, the Nachos de Kenzo at Loco Pez. We like the new nachos at Jose Pistola’s as much as we miss the old ones. There’s the standards at both Cantinas. But with so many, we’re not sure we’ve discovered the best. So we ask you, faithful Foobooz readers, what are your favorite nachos in Philadelphia?
There’s always a lot of going on along the Thirteenth Street empire of Valerie Safran and Marcie Turney, although recently, it has been extra newsworthy.
Craig LaBan visited the post BYOT Lolita and rewarded the Safran and Turney’s original restaurant two-bells, though he predictably does gripe about the noise.
Penn State’s Chipotle closed yesterday after a few employees quit, citing “borderline sweatshop conditions” at the State College location. Penn State’s Chipotle is a very popular food spot in the town, often having lines that fill up the entire restaurant.
Tuk Tuk Real, the Thai taqueria from Circles Thai owner chef Alex Boonphaya and his sous chef Silvestre Rincon is softly opening tomorrow evening, September 10th. Located at 429 South Street, the soft opening begins at 6 p.m. with complimentary food and refreshments. The grand opening is Thursday at 5 p.m.
Boonphaya and Rincon have combined their Thai and Mexican influences to create a menu full of dishes such as Lamb Massaman Nachos, Lemongrass Carnitas Tacos and Moo Ping Burritos.
Tuk Tuk Real will be open daily. For more details check out our Tuk Tuk Real listing.
Beginning this Wednesday, August 27, Midtown Village’s Lolita will start serving lunch. Once lunch kicks off it will be offered Monday through Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m.
The menu includes summer vegetable and short rib burritos plus taco platters including marinated pork tacos fresh of the rotating spit.
And in even better news for tomorrow. Lolita will be giving away carnitas tacos between noon and 2 p.m. Limit of one per customer.
Lolita Lunch Menu (PDF)