Open Stove XLII: Tong Hands and Tater Tots

Cooking with Jameson

Cooking with Jameson

Ever see a guy drinking a beer with tongs as hands? Me neither–at least not until Wednesday night when chef Matt Stebbins of Townsend did just that.

And that was just one of the night’s Open Stove challenges, but we’ll get back to that soon.

On this, the 40-something Open Stove night at COOK, it was chef Thalita Costa and sous chef Chal Houng of R2L versus Stebbins of Townsend and sous chef Felias Peralta of Marigold Kitchen. 

The night began out with Team Townsend looking confident and Stebbins cracking jokes while Peralta chopped away at some mangoes. Meanwhile, on the other side of the kitchen, Team R2L was looking pretty chill (maybe a little nervous), just sipping on their Modelos and waiting for everything to go wrong.

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About Last Night: The One Where No One Saw Strange Brew, But At Least We Had Tiny Sombreros


Thinking caps that guests wore for trivia rounds, and Jason wore for fun.

It is imperative that you do the following tonight: crack open a beer, introduce your backside to the couch, and put on Strange Brew. Do not pass go.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about last Wednesday. The event was Open Stove XXXIX, themed (you could say loosely) around Beer Week, steak houses, and a little bit of Fireball. And teeny, tiny sombreros.

In what is turning into a recurrent nightmare for Jason during the trivia portion of our Open Stove events, no one had seen Strange Brew (recall the Barfly incident). Prepared for disappointment this time, however, we came armed with thinking caps and more than enough alcohol to ensure that even those who hadn’t seen the movie would, by the end of the night, almost believe they had.

Click through for all the laughter, tears and tiny hats. Yeah, we have pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

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Philadelphia Science Festival Has Some Nerdy Food Events


If you’re reading this blog you are most likely just as obsessed with food and drinks as we are. We’re in love with the combined flavors of ingredients, the craft that goes into making a really great beer, and the satisfaction they give to our deepest cravings.

Most of the techniques used in the kitchen come down to science. If you think about it, chefs are basically mad scientists, whipping up innovative dishes that may (or may not) work. And we’re their guinea pigs.

I, at least, am pretty content testing the results of these experiments, so I’ll leave the science to the professionals. But I’m still intrigued to learn their secrets.

So it’s good news, then, that we have the return of the Philadelphia Science Festival. From April 24 to May 2, the festival will feature events and exhibitions dealing with the science of a variety of subjects. And for those food-loving closet-nerds like us, this also includes a few special events centered around cooking and brewing.

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About Last Night: Booze, Lentils, Booze and Booze


The title may be misleading—last night’s event wasn’t all about booze. It was, as always, an impressive showdown between two extremely talented chefs. They came prepared, for sure; they came excited, no doubt; they cooked us a phenomenal meal. But while they were doing their thing behind the line, the alcohol was working its magic on the guests–mostly in the form of wine, tequila and an icy bottle of Grey Goose which (mysteriously…) didn’t last the night.

In the end and to say the least, we had a great time at Open Stove XXVII. But behind the line, one team had a better time than the other, so let’s recap and see how it all went down.

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R2L Hosts the 5th Summer Harvest Dinner


R2L is continuing their Summer Harvest Dinner Series, an event meant to highlight farmers’ hard work and bring them closer to the restaurant and its attendees, on Tuesday, August 5th. And this edition will feature Barefoot Gardens. Starting at 6:30 p.m., guests can not only enjoy their food but the farmers’ company, too, as they go around and discuss working on a farm.

On the menu is Crudo with Mackerel, Fennel and Crispy Potato Salad, Stuffed Rabbit Saddle, and Lemon Verbena Parfait. The 4-course menu is $75 per person.

Availability is limited, so to make reservations now by calling 215-564-5337.

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R2L Debuts Pre-Theater Dinner Menu

Just in time for the start of the arts season, R2L is debuting their pre-theater dinner menu. For $45 guests will receive a three-course menu and seatings are available between 5 to 6:30 p.m. Guests can even choose to eat the first two meals before their show and return afterwards for dessert.

Any subscriber or member of BalletX, the Chamber Orchestra, Curtis Institute, the Kimmel Center, the Opera Company, Walnut Street Theatre, or the Wilma will receive a complimentary glass of sparkling wine with dinner.

Read on for the full menu »

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 []

New Menu at R2L

Chef Daniel Stern has created a new menu for R2L for lunch and dinner. Highlights from the lunch menu include lobster and crab spring rolls with Chesapeake bay mousse and roasted flank steak with corned beef hash for. For dinner, Stern has created a foie gras spring roll and entrees that include grilled Scottish salmon filet and a vegetarian pot au feu.

For the full lunch and dinner menus check out R2L’s official website.

Six Pack: Philadelphia’s Zombie-Proof Restaurants

In the wake of yesterday’s zombie attack in Miami, I’ve been thinking (as I often do) about the inevitable zombie apocalypse. And when I get to thinking about the inevitable zombie apocalypse, my thoughts often turn to practical questions like: When the worst finally happens, where would I hole up for a final drink? Or, when feeling somewhat less fatalistic, what restaurants in Philadelphia would be best for weathering an invasion of the undead?

Thus, as a public service, the Foobooz Zombie Defense Working Group has come up with a list of the 6 best restaurants in Philadelphia for witnessing (and possibly surviving) a zombie attack.

You’re welcome.

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