East Passyunk Gets a British Bakery

stargazy-pie-940East Passyunk’s ranking as a culinary destination has been cemented for some time now. But the diversity of its offerings are continuing to grow. The stretch boasts French, Italian, New American and even Dutch eateries, and in about a month, it will see the opening of Stargazy, a British bakery from chef Sam Jacobson. Jacobson has cooked in-and-around Philadelphia for a decade now, turning Lansdowne’s Sycamore into a culinary destination.

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Leila’s Bistro Welcomes New Chef

sam-jacobsonBack in December, we told you Sam Jacobson was coming to Leila’s Bistro in Jenkintown. Well, tonight is his first (official) night at the cafe and he’s bringing a whole new menu with him.

While owner Jose Vargas is focusing on his new restaurant, Robert’s Block, located in Glenside, Jacobson (who you might remember from his time at NoBL, Sycamore and Southwark) will be manning the stoves at Leila’s–which will now be open Wednesday through Sunday.

Wanna see his new menu? We thought you might. Check it out below.

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Sam Jacobson Is Back In The Kitchen

sam-jacobsonHe helped to open NoBL, and then helped close it. He did four years at sister restaurant Sycamore, and then left to travel, learn some new tricks, and find a new kitchen to call home. He landed next at Southwark (after working a bit in the Pacific Northwest, and at Cerise on the Main Line), where he took Nick Macri‘s position, but then left again after owner Sheri Wade decided she wanted to get back into the kitchen a bit more herself.

Now, it looks as though Jacobson has settled down again. He’s going to be behind the stoves at Leila’s Bistro in Jenkintown, running things in the kitchen while chef-owner Jose Vargas (who also owns Forcella just down the way) digs into his new project, Robert’s Block, which he’ll be opening in Glenside.

Jacobson doesn’t officially take over at Leila’s until February, but apparently he was so jazzed about the new gig that he’s decided to throw a party (at Leila’s, where he’ll be cooking) on January 4. Four courses, $45 a head, and while there’s no menu yet (it’ll be announced on Facebook once Jacobson figures out what he’s going to be cooking), reservations are already being accepted. Call Leila’s at 215-589-0736 to get yours.

Leila’s Bistro [f8b8z]

New (Old) Chef At Southwark, And A Very New Menu

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Typically, we prefer to toot our own horn here at Foobooz, but today we’ll admit that we’re really enjoying Danya Henninger’s column The Spot over on philly.com. In it, she profiles restauranteurs who have been in business for a decade or more. And while she hasn’t yet paid Southwark a visit (yet), they very well could be next on her list. Why? Because it’s turning 10, too, and is looking at some pretty substantial changes to the menu and in the kitchen.

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The Revisit: Southwark

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The easiest way to tell a bar from a restaurant is by the smell of the men’s room.

I couldn’t keep that thought away from my olfactory nerve during a recent night at Southwark. It had been years since my first time there. And my first time had also been my last. I remember having a fine dinner, but one that failed to cast the spell that so many other folks had fallen under at the then-new, classically styled Queen Village haunt.

In retrospect, that was probably because I’d eaten in the back dining room instead of at the bar, where bartender George Costa was mixing Gibsons and Aviations when the rest of the city was still one big slosh of pink-lemonade Cosmotinis.

Almost ten years later everyone else has caught up—and Costa has moved on—but Southwark is still humming along. It recently installed a new chef, Sam Jacobson, whose previous tenure at Sycamore helped put Lansdowne on the dining map.
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Everyone’s a Winner in These Chef Moves

Nick Macri

Nick Macri at Hop Chef

Michael Klein has the story on some major chef shuffling that’s been happening around town. Aaron Gottesman, who until recently you could spot whipping up lamb dishes behind the counter at the Reading Terminal’s Border Spring Farms is moving on to Kevin Sbraga’s Fat Ham. Gottesman was a participant in Foobooz’s first ever Open Stove night at Cook. Back then he was planning on working in Jen Carroll’s Concrete Blonde kitchen.

The opening at Border Springs is being filled by Hop Chef champion and Southwark chef, Nick Macri. Macri gets daytime hours and the opportunity to butcher, which is something he enjoys.

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