Hey, Chefs, Consider the Buddy System

Illustration by James Boyle.

It’s no secret that owning a restaurant is hard — anybody who’s made it in the business inevitably carries an air of deep exhaustion and moments of doubt and regret. And you — the one who sweated your way up the ladder from dishwasher to exec? Despite how much you think you know (assuming you’ve got that kitchen person’s ego), you don’t know everything, and not recognizing that may very well prove your demise. Restaurants fail more often than not, and choosing to take on the challenge alone is borderline madness. The smartest move you can make: buddy up.

I mean, Mike Solomonov did it. While he’s toying with tehina, Steve Cook’s in his corner, inking real estate deals. Marc Vetri has Jeff Benjamin growing the empire so he can stuff his ravioli and build his brigade. Peter Serpico hooked up with Stephen Starr, and Midtown Village’s restaurant scene owes nearly all of its success to Marcie Turney (the chef half) and Val Safran (the everything-else half). It’s everywhere, and it works simply because humans have talents that lie in some things but not all things. Read more »

Lacroix’s 10th Anniversary Dinner

To celebrate Lacroix’s 10th anniversary the restaurant will be holding a special dinner on September 17th(dinner has been changed to Monday, September 24th). The dinner will be created by ten of Lacroix’s past chefs from over the years, each coming back under one roof for one night only. The cost of the dinner is $350 (tax and tip included) for hors d’oeuvres, a ten-course meal, and wine pairings, a portion of the proceeds goes toward a Lacroix scholarship through the James Beard Foundation.

Check out the impressive list of participating chefs. Read more »

Tonight: Celebrity Bartender Series at R2L

As part of R2L’s Celebrity Bartender series District Attorney Seth Williams will be taking the stand – er, bar – tonight and serving up cocktails from 6-8pm with $1 from each drink going to his charity of choice, the Pet Support Phashion Charity Affair. And tonight only, chef Daniel Stern will be serving up the DA Burger (pictured above) in honor of Williams, which will feature LaFrieda beef, grilled bacon and salami, Gruyere cheese, french fries, collard slaw, heirloom tomato, caramelized onion and R2L’s special sauce.

Each burger is $22 which, yes, is pretty damn pricey, but $5 from each burger sold goes toward the PSPCA. So you can feel good about helping animals while eating at least two of them.

This series, which has recently featured “Philebrities” like Stan Hochman of the Daily News, radio personality Howard Eskin, and Eagles defensive end Darryl Tapp, is set to occur Tuesday and Wednesday nights this summer with more celebrities to come. Stop by throughout the summer to see your favorite local celebs behind the bar for charity.

R2L [Official Site]

Pet Support Phasion Charity Affair [petsinphilly.com]

Six Pack: Doughnut Desserts in Philadelphia Restaurants

Sure, you could go to Wawa at 7 a.m. to wrestle an icing-slathered and probably stale doughnut out of another commuter’s grubby hands to get your morning sugar rush. Or, you could wait for the dessert menu after dinner at one of Philadelphia’s finest restaurants for a twist on the breakfast staple.

If you’re bored with the same old Boston Cream check out these six restaurants serving up daring and delicious dessert dougnuts.

Read more »

Rex 1516 Hits Another (Small) Snag

So first, word was that Rex 1516 (the small, Southern comfort food restaurant from the Jet Wine Bar team) was going to open on Thursday the 1st.

That didn’t happen for a few reasons, all of them very minor, and owners Jill Weber and Evan Malone decided that they were going to push off their opening for a couple days and let it happen over this weekend. We actually heard about this decision while sitting at the un-stocked bar at Rex, sampling some of chef Regis Jansen‘s sweet potato fries, fig-and-goat cheese crostini, his cheeseburger with onion jam and an absolutely killer plate of shrimp and grits topped with a fried egg which, even cold and eaten post-photo-shoot (see above), came off better than most other chefs’ grits do when eaten piping hot and perfect.

Now, though, there have been some other complications, and it looks like Rex won’t be opening this weekend either.

Read more »

Celebrate National Margarita Day at Distrito in University City (And Elsewhere)

Happy National Margarita Day everyone!

As far as made-up holiday go, National Margarita Day always features prominently on the calendars ’round Foobooz World HQ–a day ordained by the agave gods for the drinking of high-proof cactus juice and getting weird in public. And while Philadelphia as a whole doesn’t go nuts for the day, there are a few places around town throwing down in South of the Border fashion.

Show me the list (and a video)