Three months. That’s about how long it takes us to eat at every important restaurant in the city. And then eat there again. And, sometimes, again.
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A few days ago we gave you the city’s best food, beer and shot combos. And here’s a friendly reminder that some of them are available tonight.
Cedar Point‘s “Drunk and Cheesy,” happening every Tuesday night, features a special grilled cheese, side of fries, beer and shot for $13. Tonight’s Cheesy is something rather intriguing – black pudding and cheddar on sourdough, with a Sly Fox stout and shot of Jameson. It sounds a little weird, but is a grilled cheese and booze deal nonetheless.
Over at Classic Cake in Cherry Hill, pastry chef Robert Bennett does a regular series of classes at his shop, called the Classic Cake Academy. He teaches about chocolate making, Jewish holiday desserts and whatever else moves him on any given month.
It being October now, his next class is going to be all about pumpkin. $10 gets you in the door (and gets you a complimentary hot beverage), and then you get to sit back and learn everything you ever wanted to know about baking with pumpkin.
The Classic Cake Pumpkin Academy will be happening at 7pm on Tuesday, October 7. You can sign up in the shop, by phone or email (email@example.com), but you will have to reserve your spot because the classes fill up fast.
Classic Cake [Facebook]
There are two ways a restaurant can be and remain successful: It can stay relevant, or it can become a classic. Sometimes, when the planets align and the gods approve, the two happen simultaneously. Pumpkin has lived at 17th and South for what’ll soon be 10 years, the anniversary of the day when owners Ian Moroney and Hillary Bor grabbed hold of a space nobody believed in and created (and kept) the BYO atmosphere we all know and love.
Alas, with the surrounding restaurant neighborhood explosion — the fancy toasts, the small plates — tiny places like this can get lost in the scrum. But Pumpkin stayed true and stayed exciting. Fregola sarda (toasted beads of Sardinian pasta) risotto with an English pea salad on top was not only comforting, but a texturally fun play on popping peas and smooth risotto. And it was the succotash that brought the sweet, tang and heat (from Styer Orchard chili peppers) that tiny gobbets of snails reveled in.
It’s easy eating at Pumpkin — not dated, not too precious, not clinging to trends, but not losing sight of what Philadelphia wants, either. It’s a restaurant that’s both current and classic, and that still harks back to a day when Philadelphia began to do what we do best: bring our own.
Originally published in the September 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.
Pumpkin Restaurant at 1713 South Street is doing a “just for the fun of it” three-course dinner for $35 tonight.
Ian Moroney and Hillary Bor are South Street West pioneers. The couple opened Pumpkin Restaurant in 2004, next came Pumpkin Cafe and then Pumpkin Market in 2008. The Cafe and Market merged in 2011. And now comes word that Pumpkin Market will be closing. On Facebook, the reason given is that the landlord is asking for a 65% increase in rent.
Pumpkin Restaurant will remain open.
There’s the glitz and the glam, and then there’s the humble and the honest-to-goodness, the unaffected and the unassuming. To each his own, but I prefer the latter.
I get a kick out of the quirky buildings’ awkward seating arrangements and tiny menus—menus that need not say much, and food that says all too much; the chef-driven and food-focused holes, often orienting themselves in such a way that the preparer and prepared are shown off, experienced only through an intimate three-part channel between the chef, his food, and his guest. When done well, the following few weeks (or longer) will pale in comparison. That’s why the tasting menu is so important; it’s a facilitation of exchange between the hand of the cook and the consumed palate it feeds.
Some tasting menus you’ll find in places that don’t deserve them, and others are just a second menu to the main. Some are only available on weekdays, but there are those you can only take part in on a single day: Sunday, perhaps.
Be Well Philly asked a dietician for advice on eating healthy during Restaurant Week. She’s got five tips to live by and also suggests what to order at seven participating restaurants including a.kitchen, Butcher & Singer and Lacroix.
Cheat Sheet: A Dietician’s Guide to Philadelphia Restaurant Week [Be Well Philly]
Restaurant Week Guide [f8b8z]