This Sunday at the High Steaks! Philadelphia Cheesesteak and Cocktail Competition, in addition to the cheesesteak competition outside of Square 1682 on Sansom Street, there will also be a cocktail competition.
The bar talent includes Mariko Honda of a.kitchen + bar, Bess Gulliver and Nicholas Brozek of Crow and the Pitcher, Colin O’Neill of Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., Lindsey Krueger of Oyster House, Dan Lan Hamm of 1 Tippling Place, and Kyle Darrow of Red Owl Tavern. The six cocktail competitors are battling for the title anointed by the cocktail judges, as well as the People’s Choice title.
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This year, The Great Philly Cheesesteak Challenge and Cocktail Competition will be hosted by Square 1682 during the 5th annual High Steaks block party on October 12th.
The competition will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. along Sansom Street between 16th and 17th, and will include a variety of cheesesteak artists and cocktail masters.
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The forces of Rittenhouse Row, Kevin Sbraga, and Danielle DelRe, of Starr Restaurants, have come together to create an event that will be one to remember. From August 4th to the 7th, the restaurants of Rittenhouse Row will prepare meals unlike the ones on the traditional menus and give you a dining experience that is one of a kind. As of right now, 18 members will participate in the Rittenhouse Row Culinary Collective, but the list is growing.
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This Sunday marks the premiere of Mad Men’s final season and a couple of Philadelphia restaurants are getting into the spirit with special viewing parties.
At Pennsylvania 6, the fun kicks off at 9 p.m. with the Midtown Village turning itself into Mad Six, a night of revelry complete with 1960s-themed food, Mad Men-inspired cocktails and a screening of the show. Admission is free but reservations are strongly encouraged.
Guests are encouraged to dress as Mad Men characters or at least in their period-best. During the show, lights inside will be dimmed and the volume turned up. During commercials, a retro DJ will play.
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If you’re still thinking of sherry and vermouth as drinks for your grandmother or Niles and Frasier Crane, get your head out of your bubblegum vodka. Fortified wine cocktails are fully en vogue, with some bars hosting special events around the ingredient or devoting a page or more to them on their beverage lists.
Square 1682 has led the trend in Philly, slotting these cocktails into their seasonal rotation. Head bartender Chauncey Scates says fortified wines – defined as those with (usually grape-based) distillate added to boost the alcohol content and shelf life – are gaining in popularity in part because they pair so well with food.
“It’s like pairing with wine but with all of those additional ingredients in the cocktail,” she says. “And our chef does a lot of lighter fare like fish and veggies, so I wanted to bring in fortified wines as a big part of our program because they’re not as heavy as some other spirits.”
And yes, we have recipes…
For all you dogs out there howling for some culinary love, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Square 1682 is bringing back BYOD (Bring Your Own Dog) Brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. this summer.
Canines pay $5 and $1 of every dish sold goes to PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society).
The special launches this Saturday, June 22.
And of course humans aren’t left out on the fun: Square 1682’s people brunch menu by chef de cuisine Caitlin Mateo sports healthful and sustainable brunch standards.
Dog menu details »
A new season means a new happy hour program at Square 1682. The highlight? Chef de cuisine Caitlin Mateo has apparently been reading my dream journal because she’s slapping down some scratch tater tots with bourbon barbecue and spicy cheddar sauce, housemade beef jerky, fried green tomatoes and more. And the bar is offering $7 mint juleps and seasonal Collins cocktails, along with $3 beers and $5 Booty-Call-Its.
No, it’s not what you think. It’s a three-ingredient shot poured into a boot-shaped shot glass. The game here is, a buck from every shot goes into a jar. First person to name all three ingredients in the shot gets the cash. Nice, right? Since bartender Chauncey Scates is, well, a bartender, I’m going to take a blind guess that the drink includes at least one of the following: Aperol, Fernet Branca, custom bitters made by someone with a mustache, some kind of weird juice (like mango or teddy bear blood), Pop Rocks, Barenjager and an Italian vermouth that no one has ever heard of before (but is actually bottled in, like, Cleveland or Albuquerque).
So… Am I close?
The Happy Hour deals are in effect Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 4pm-7pm. Wednesdays are for Center City Sips.
Square 1682 [Official]
There are all sorts of new things happening at Center City’s Square 1682. From layout and design renovations to new and tasty menu and bar offerings, there are all sorts of fresh discoveries at this Kimpton Hotel restaurant.
The new space offers a lounge with rich leather sofas, metal cocktail tables and an artful chandelier. The second floor dining room will soon be used for meeting space and additional event space for guests. Square 1682’s attractive private dining room and Pei Boardroom remain on the second floor and are now accessible by elevator.
Other additions to Square 1682 include more seating space on the first floor, unadorned large plate glass windows, butcher-block tables, gray leather club chairs and a new tag line—“American Kitchen & Cocktails”.
Food and drink details »
With Center City Restaurant Week quickly approaching (January 20-25 & January 27- February 1), three local chefs are demoing their visions for the upcoming weeks of gluttony. Three cooking demonstrations will be held at the Market and Shops at Comcast Center.
The demonstrations start today at 12:15 p.m. with Square 1682.
Full demonstration calendar »
Cheesteak Challenge: High Steaks. Try saying that one ten-times fast. The third annual Cheesesteak Challenge Showdown is going down on Sunday, October 14th, at Square 1682. From 2 to 5 p.m., come and taste the cheesesteak creations of some all-star chefs while benefitting local Philadelphia public schools through The Philadelphia Academies. For $25 you can scarf down what are sure to be some innovative cheesesteaks while supporting the future generation’s education.
The Competing Chefs »