Some restaurants host events every single week, but others wait until they’ve got something special going on; a distinctive bottle or two to open or some out-of-town visitors to fête. Such was the occasion last week at Townsend when the sweet spot on Passyunk hosted Sierra Foothills winemakers Caroline Hoel and Hank Beckmeyer from La Clarine Farm.
Natural to the core, these down to earth, yet broadly knowledgeable vintners waxed eloquent on their unorthodox grape blends and the exciting nature of natural winemaking. The biodynamic model of minimally invasive agriculture can be considered at best capricious, and at worst reckless, but is undoubtedly the cutting edge of wine culture internationally. Finding these dynamic, challenging (and often delicious) wines paired attentively and successfully with Townsend Wentz’s take on classic French cuisine was a pleasure.
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Fall Cocktails at Heritage | Photo via Heritage
A man can’t live on gin and tonic alone.
Well, he can, I suppose. And god knows I try. But the changing seasons here don’t just affect what’s for dinner at Philly’s better bars and restaurants, they also mean changes to cocktail lists across the city. We poked around a little bit, and here’s what we found: Almost a dozen cool-weather cocktails that you should be drinking this weekend.
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Keith Raimondi at Townsend | Photo by Neal Santos
For seven years now we’ve polled bartenders, beer reps, booze writers and professional drinkers of all stripes, and asked them to pick their most-loved bars in the area. We then add our own favorites, do a little cocktail-napkin math and come up with the 50 Best Bars in Philadelphia. This year the Best Bars list includes dives, gastropubs, cocktail lounges and even an awesome little spot in Port Richmond.
This year’s list features a new number one bar, but that’s far from the only interesting tidbit on the list.
Inside the Best Bars List »
Hummus from Dizengoff; Townsend Wentz of Townsend | Photos by Arthur Etchells, HughE Dillon
Philadelphia’s Dizengoff and Townsend are among the 50 nominees for Bon Appetit’s “America’s Best New Restaurants 2015” list. Dizengoff gets the nomination for its hummus, which is described as “preposterously smooth, ethereally light, very generously drizzled with olive oil, and guaranteed to spoil you for the grocery-store stuff forever.”
Over at Townsend, Bon Appetit is thrilled to see that French food and white tablecloths still have a place in American restuarants.
The 50 nominees will be whittled down to the final list of ten on August 18th.
The 50 Nominees for America’s Best New Restaurants 2015 [Bon Appetit]
Dizengoff [Bon Appetit]
Townsend [Bon Appetit]
Chef-Owner Townsend Wentz.
On Wednesday May 27th, Passyunk’s Townsend is dishing out a five-course prix fixe meal in celebration of surviving their first year. The menu will showcase favorites from the restaurant alongside new dishes, and everything will be paired with wines from Townsend’s cellar. Sommelier Lauren Harris is bringing experts David McDuff, Seth Biederman, Jason Malumed, James Nolan, and Sean Faeth to join and discuss the pairings served at the meal.
That’s nice, now show me the menu
Headcheese taco at South Philadelphia Tap Room
Are you all about the sweetbreads, headcheese and tripe? Then we want your opinion. What are the best offal dishes around town. Are you all about the tripe sandwich at George’s in the Italian Market? The headcheese tacos at South Philadelphia Taproom? The sauteed sweetbreads at Townsend?
Let us know in the comments.
For those baffled by the art of cocktail making, Drexel is opening a limited number of seats in their new class “Spirits and Mixology” to the general public. The class will explore the history and processes of major spirits, as well as cocktail-making, from basic to innovative. Lesson number one? No one who knows better ever calls it “mixology” anymore.
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A few months ago, we told you about a beautiful, inspiring short documentary made about Chris Kearse from Will. Videographer Oliver Gallini told us then that this was just the first in a series of docs on local chefs and the stories behind their restaurants, their careers and their foods.
Well, today he made good on that claim. He’s now released the second short film in his series–this one focusing on organic-chemist-turned-chef, Townsend Wentz, and his eponymous restaurant.
As was the case with the first video, this one is gorgeously shot and smartly put together. It captures both the chaos and the grace of kitchen work, the beauty of the plates, and the story behind how Wentz ended up cooking for a living rather than working in a lab.
If you’ve got a couple minutes, you should totally check it out.
Show me the video
Today at noon, the James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2015 Restaurant and Chef Awards.
Abe Fisher and Townsend were Best New Restaurant nominees. Michael Solomonov and Marc Vetri got nods for Outstanding Chef and Ellen Yin’s new restaurant group received three nominations. Fork was nominated for Outstanding Restaurant and Alex Bois (High Street on Market) and Jon Nodler (a.kitchen) received rising stars nominations.
The nominees »
Photo via Brigantessa
If 15 days of Center City Restaurant Week weren’t enough, you’re in luck: the third annual East Passyunk Restaurant Week is happening, Sunday February 22nd to Saturday February 28th.
28 restaurants have agreed to participate in East Passyunk’s Restaurant Week. Each meal will be 3-courses and priced at $15, $25 or$35. Even if you forget to make your reservations early, following #EPRW on twitter ensures that you’ll hear about last minute cancellations so you can swoop in.
Several restaurants from the Philadelphia magazine’s 50 Best Restaurants are participating, including Fond, Noord, Townsend, Stateside, Will and Le Vitrtu. Newcomers Brigantessa, Bing Bing Dim Sum and P’unk Burger will be participating as well.
East Passyunk Restaurant Week [Official]