A Provençale Affair at Bistro La Minette

This place is like a dream of France: a tiny little Parisian bistro ripped from its moorings along the Seine and dropped smack in the middle of Philly. On its best nights, there is perhaps no restaurant in the city so capable of transporting you somewhere other than where you are—and then bringing you home again gently when the evening inevitably ends. Must Try: If you walk out of here without eating the snails, someone should just punch you. Especially if you’re the kind of person who normally doesn’t eat snails. If Only: The bar were a bit more serviceable. Six crowded seats and a (deliberate) lack of certain spirits can make the place a challenge for non-wine drinkers.  Visit one of the 50 Best Restaurants in Philadelphia:  Bistrot La Minette, 623 South 6th Street, 215-925-8000.

Photo by Mike Arrison

Ever dreamed of a summer in Provence? Sipping glass after glass of chilled rosé under the Provençale sun with a large plate of something drenched in olive oil and covered with anchovies in front of you? If you weren’t before, you are now.

Plane tickets to the South of France this time of year are expensive. But starting tonight and ending tomorrow August 7th, Bistrot La Minette wants to make your Provançale fantasy a reality. Executive chef, Kenneth Bush, will be cooking up a four course meal for $35 per person or $50 with wine pairings. The authentic French bistro South Philly will serve as your retreat from the city and it’s not just for francophiles. Check out the full menu below and start planning your trip to South 6th St.

The full menu » 

Winners Announced in Dog Days of Summer Cook-Off

On Saturday afternoon South Street hosted its third annual Dog Days of Summer Cook-Off, an afternoon of hot dog-eating and beer drinking under the historic Headhouse Market building. By all accounts it was the best-attended Dog Days of Summer event so far. Folks were standing in lines 20- to 30-deep to munch on wieners served up by local joints like Hot DiggityBrauhaus Schmitz, Serrano, and more.



At the same time, there were a few contests going on—one for the local restaurants serving hot dogs that afternoon, and a topping contest for Philly amateur cooks. Here’s the list of wieners, I mean winners:

Best Dogs

1st Place: Chef Michael Stollenwerk of Headhouse Crab & Oyster
Hot Dog: “The Sea Dog” with Sabrett’s hot dog, spicy pepper relish, crab salad, split-top bun, and a splash of Old Bay.

2nd Place: Chef Nick Mezzina of Misconduct Tavern
Hot Dog: “Sriracha Pork Dog” with sweet Sichuan chilli.

3rd Place: Chef Keith Garabedien of Hot Diggity
Hot Dog: “Corn Salsa Dog” with fire-roasted corn, 1732 meats, paprika-bacon salsa, radish tortillas and cilantro.

Amateur Toppings Winners

1st Place: Lily Vamberi
Hot Dog: “Dickmom Dog” with Elixr Coffee BBQ sauce, Kenzinger battered onion strings, roasted long hot relish.

2nd Place: Brant Williams
Hot Dog: “Pho-natic Dog” with pho beef bullion paste, mung bean sprouts, cilantro, Thai basil, thinly sliced jalapenos, lime hoisin.

3rd Place: Gabrierl Raab
Hot Dog: “Tova Dog” with amba Sauce, pickled vegetables, falafel crunch

Peoples Choice

Chefs Ricardo Rodriguez & Anthony Santiti Jr of Bistro Romano
Hot Dog: “Scala Duck Ragu” with grilled romaine, shaved parmigiano-reggiano, pancetta.

Where We’re Eating: Entrée

10426775_297268180436020_6488720356301115488_n One recent evening, after picking up a four-pack of Allagash at Cambridge — the go-to place in this ’hood for quality takeout beer — I wandered with a friend into Entrée, a BYOB that opened in September. We weren’t expecting much. It was prime dinnertime, but the restaurant was empty, and the chef and his lone server were sitting out front. As things turned out, even if our expectations had been moderately high, they would have been exceeded. From the perfect calamari with slivered sweet peppers (one of my favorite versions in a city with many great calamari plates) to the pan-seared cornish hen to the pan-roasted halibut, everything was meticulously executed, yet presented simply and unpretentiously. Another win for the western end of South Street.

Entree Bistro [Foobooz]

Big Gay Ice Cream Coming to Broad and South

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Big Gay Ice Cream was next to Kevin Sbraga last night and will be again this summer.

As expected, Big Gay Ice Cream announced at Marc Vetri’s Great Chefs Event that the ice cream business is indeed coming to Philadelphia. The popular ice cream shop is going to be located on the South Street side of the SouthStar Lofts at Broad and South. Kevin Sbraga will be taking up the rest of the ground floor retail with his third restaurant.

Big Gay Ice Cream opened its first store in 2011 in the East Village and added a West Village outpost in 2012. Like Philadelphia, Los Angeles will also be adding a Big Gay Ice Cream in the summer of 2014.

Big Gay Ice Cream [Official]

TODAY: Free Ice Cream and Juice on South Street

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Our friends at Be Well Philly tipped us off that Sip N Glo is celebrating its first birthday by giving away twelve ounce juices today. And if you haven’t tried Sip N Glo, you really owe it to yourself to try their juices. We’ve been impressed each time we’ve had one. Sip N Glo’s giveaway goes to 4 p.m., which is convenient because that’s when Häagen-Dazs’ free cone day kicks off. So it would be possible to pardon the pun, double-dip on free stuff on South Street today. Get to Sip N Glo at 932 South Street and then stroll down to Häagen-Dazs at 242 South Street before 8 p.m. for your free ice cream. 

Find Your Closest Häagen Dazs [Official]
Sip N Glo [Official]

Two Bells for the Good King Tavern

lights-good-king-tavern-400Craig LaBan finds that the Good King Tavern does a heck of a job channeling Southern France, even if chef Paul Lyons might be better served by honing his menu than expanding it with specials.

“Eggplant “3 ways,” though, was my favorite, a multi-technique display that didn’t forget to showcase the ingredient. Baby eggplants were tenderly cooked sous-vide before a finishing pan char. Pickled cubes of eggplant added tangy little bursts. And a silky “eggplant caviar” puree at the base of this colorful medley (which also crunched with shaved raw sunchokes and purple rounds of watermelon radish) had a Mediterranean richness and a sneaky prickle of spicy heat.”

Two Bells – Very Good

A taste of Southern France in South Philly [Philadelphia Inquirer]
The Good King Tavern [Foobooz]

PHOTOS: Rittenhouse Row and South Street’s Spring Festivals + SundayOUT at the Piazza

No matter what your crowd, there was a festival in town for you this weekend. We’ve got photos of three of them — the Rittenhouse Row and South Street spring festivals, and Equality Forum’s SundayOUT at the Piazza — below.




Shots from South Street Spring Festival and SundayOUT at the Piazza after the jump

Sbraga Opening a Second Broad Street Restaurant

sbraga-south-star-loftsKevin Sbraga is opening his third restaurant (Sbraga, The Fat Ham). The Top Chef winner is once again teaming up with developer Carl Dranoff and will be opening a rotisserie-based restaurant at the base of Southstar Lofts, at the corner of Broad and South. The restaurant will go in the 1,500 square foot corner space at Dranoff’s latest Broad Street development.

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