I sometimes wish I’d been born in Wisconsin. Not for the funny accents or the cows or the hats with the furry ear flaps (they have those, right?), but because, in my mind, Wisconsin is a magical land of rolling hills and green fields where fried cheese curds essentially grow on trees. They’re everywhere — bars and diners, fine-dining restaurants and gas stations. On every street corner, there’s a cart selling hot bags of them. In every home, a countertop deep fryer that’s never cold and never empty.
Sure, it’s a dream. But it’s my dream and I’m hanging onto it. Wisconsin is a deep-fried cheese heaven, but Philly now has several places around town offering fried cheese — both curd and otherwise — for those of us looking for a taste of the Midwest’s greatest culinary contribution to our edible culture.
So if you love fried cheese the way we love fried cheese, here’s where you should be eating it right now.
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The Porch 2.0 | Photo by HughE Dillon
Hey, if you’re looking for somewhere to grab lunch today, the folks at The Porch at 30th Street Station are offering free football-themed food from a bunch of food trucks (plus music from DJ MoneyDeck, raffles and giveaways).
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So here we are–mere hours away from the start of the Callowhill Night Market which will bring together 70-some food trucks and vendors (plus beer and live music and tee shirts and all the usual weirdness that comes when you pack tens of thousands of Philadelphians together in one place and make them stand in line for tacos) for a one-night party unrivaled by any other food event in the city.
Whether this is your first Night Market or your tenth, whether you’re comfortable hanging out with 20,000 of your closest friends or nervous about the mob scene, whether you’re laser-focused on just ONE THING YOU MUST EAT BEFORE THE END OF THE NIGHT or (like us) planning on trying everything on offer (and the good stuff twice), we’re here to help you get the most out of your Night Market experience. Check out our battle-tested advice below, and make note of the picks we’ve made for the must-hit trucks of tonight’s event.
Ready? As always, let’s start with…
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On Saturday, May 9th, 60 food trucks from Philly, Baltimore, and Washington DC will descend upon Xfinity Live to compete for the title of best food truck in the Taste of Three Cities Food Truck Festival. A portion of the proceeds of the event will benefit Philabundance.
The entire lineup of trucks has yet to be announced, but some of the participants will include the Surf and Turf Truck, The Cow and the Curd, Luscious Bakery, Philly’s Finest Samboni Boys, Sum Pig Food Truck, Kommie Pig, BBQ Bus DC, and Baron Von Schwein.
VIP tickets are $65 and get you into the festival at 11 am (that’s one hour before the general admission plebeians get in) and one all you care to drink (or as I like to think of it: all your liver can handle) pass, as well as seating in the special VIP area. General admission is only $15, and includes entry to the festival and one vote in the People’s Choice awards. Get your tickets here.
Chef Brian Lofink alerts us that Kraftwork in Fishtown will be the first restaurant serving cheese curds from the Best of Philly winning Cow and the Curd food trucks.
Rob Mitchell, owner of the Cow and the Curd has been working with Drexel University’s Food Lab to get his cheese curds out to the masses.
The Curd Caprese Salad, served with classic curds, basil aioli, aged balsamic vinegar, oven dried tomatoes and micro basil salad will be available for a limited time only. So get out there and get yours while you can.
The curd salad will also be available at the Sidecar Bar & Grille starting next Friday, April 24th.
I was lucky enough to try the “salad” yesterday with some friends and it was a hit. Just one word of advice, don’t pop the whole curd in your mouth at once, bite halfway through and stretch that curd out. It just makes it even better.
Cow and the Curd [Official]
Sidecar Bar & Grille [Foobooz]
This Thursday, June 12th, Lambertville, New Jersey, is hosting Nitefare, their first food truck festival. The free, public event runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will be filled with food, food, and more food. Top Lambertville restaurants will be featured along with food trucks from the Philadelphia area and a Yards Beer Garden.
The Cow and The Curd will also be serving up, for the first time, its poutine, a dish that includes hand cut fries, gravy, fresh cheddar curds and hand chopped bacon to top it all off. Other food trucks include Say Cheese, Nomad Pizza, and Sweet Box. And as you eat your way through the festival, be sure to keep your ears open for the live music going on at every corner. The event will be held on four blocks of North Union Street from Bridge to York Street.
Yesterday, NBC’s “1st Look” sent Audrina Patridge (who, near as I can tell, got her food journalism training on MTV’s The Hills) to Philly to spend a day with Rob Mitchell from the Cow and the Curd. Together, they served fried cheese curds to folks at Yards Brewery for one of their Ales Of The Revolution pairing events.
And yeah, there’s video. Because of course there’s video.
Cheese curds, beer and Audrina Patridge, right this way
Saturday, the Vendy Awards were once again held in Philadelphia. The event brought hundreds to Penn Treaty Park where nominated food trucks competed for four awards, including savory, sweet, “Messy Yet Tasty” and the Vendy Cup.
King of Falafel, which you can find daily at 16th and JFK Boulevard won the big award. Lil’ Pop Shop repeated as the winner of the sweet category and The Cow & the Curd brought home the savory award as well as the Tide stain stick’s “Messy Yet Tasty” award.
Bridgewater’s Pub takes over The Porch at 30th Street Station for The Porch Beer Garden this Thursday and Friday, May 16 and 17, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.. On Friday night, there’ll be food trucks to feed you ( The Cow and The Curd, Local 215, and Sum Pig will all be there). And on both nights, Bridgewater’s will be offering a number of draught beers as well as live music (jazz and German polka music) to liven things up. Because nothing gets a Philly crowd wilder than oompah music.
For those of you who can’t make it up this weekend, The Porch and Bridgewater’s will be doing another beer garden event on June 6 and 7.
The Porch Beer Garden [Facebook]
Bridgewater’s Pub [Official Site]
Last week we gave you the schedule of 2013 Night Markets. Today we have some more details on the Fairmount Night Market set for Thursday, May 16th. The event will run from 6 to 10 p.m. and will be centered around 22nd and Fairmount. More than 54 vendors have been confirmed, including Fairmount favorites like Alla Spina, Lemon Hill and Rembrandt’s. The restaurants will be joined as usual by food trucks including newcomers; the Tot Cart, Poi Dog and The Cow and The Curd.
Night Market Philadelphia [Official Site]