Twelve Drinks for the Holidays

canadian-punch-brett-thomas-940

With Thanksgiving looming and the holiday season descending upon us, we bet you’re going to need some new drink recipes. In the December, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine we asked George Reilly of Twisted Tail, Phoebe Esmon of Emmanuelle and of Hop Sing Laundromat to help us create twelve winter holiday drinks.

Cheers!

The 12 Best Winter Holiday Drinks [Philadelphia Magazine]

The Revisit: A Second Chance For The Twisted Tail

twisted-tail-logoThe Grit Invasion of Philadelphia may be long in the tooth by this point, but that hasn’t kept new armadas from lashing the city with ever-growing waves of cream-soaked, butter-fatted, cheesed-up swells of coarsely milled corn.

And with each new entry into the city’s unofficial shrimp-and-grits competition, you could be forgiven for wondering if grits should be classified now as a dairy product rather than a grain. That’s all fine and good, as its goes.  Not exactly shocking that restaurant kitchens still like butter and cream in 2013.

But consider the recipe provided by Anson Mills–the South Carolina grain specialist whose grits have become the gold standard in high-end restaurants. It’s a simple ingredient list: grits, a bit of salt and pepper, and water. Plus a pat or two of butter to mix in at the very end.  Pretty austere, right?

The thinking at Anson Mills is straightforward: too much dairy fat eclipses the flavor of the corn they take so much pride in growing and milling.

This philosophy sprung quickly to mind not long ago at, of all places, The Twisted Tail, a blues venue that got an awful lot wrong about Southern cooking back when it opened two years ago. But those memories of mediocrity faded away in the light of many of new chef Leo Forneas’s dishes, not least his Louisiana-style shrimp and grits.

Read more »

Where We’re Eating: Twisted Tail

twisted-tail-whiskey

Back in 2011, on the day Joey Vento died, I attended a “media night” at Twisted Tail with a dozen or so other writers. That night, I walked out before the entrées came, because the food and service were just plain terrible. Subsequent reviews by critics pretty much backed me up on that. Well, I am happy to report that a recent meal—featuring both a new chef and a revamped menu—was remarkably better. Standout dishes included the oxtail rillettes, a fantastic Pennsylvania trout, charcoal-grilled corn and oyster mushrooms, and a simple but delicious mac-and-cheese that had our table of six fighting over the last bite. Quite the turnaround.

Twisted Tail
509 South 2nd Street
215-558-2471

First appeared in the October, 2013 issue of Philadelphia magazine.

Twisted Tail Whiskey Pairing Dinner

image001

Headhouse Square’s The Twisted Tail is amidst its own little renaissance. Its original scathing reviews imprinted a below-average name to a place with a lot of potential, and then all was fixed. There’s a bunch of whiskey events happening this week at the southern food/whiskey and blue’s lovin’ joint (for National Bourbon Heritage Month), but there’s something that stands out among the rest:

Read more »

Redemption at Twisted Tail

twisted-tail-neal-santos

Adam Erace returns to Twisted Tail two years after its opening and finds the addition of chef Leo Forneas has made the Southern restaurant and bar, a destination worth checking out for more than just the bourbon and shuffleboard.

Back for dinner, he [Leo Forneas] redeemed himself with an array of vibrant tapas cooked on the Maine hardwood charcoal-powered grill: strips of smoky veal bacon in a garland of pickled red onion; tender marinated quail whose dainty legs I dragged through tomatillo chimichurri; lime-splashed pork-belly squares not unlike the kind Forneas ate as a kid in the Philippines. Forneas comes from a family of food people. His grandfather owns a butcher shop, his grandmother a fishing boat. The chef is at his best when pulling from his heritage, connecting dots between the tropical island of his youth and the American South of his imagination — dots that seem to surprise even him.

Once disappointing, the Twisted Tail makes good with a new chef [City Paper]
Twisted Tail [Official Site]

Photo by Neal Santos

New Chef And News Menus at Twisted Tail

twisted-tail-logo

The Twisted Tail, George Reilly‘s Headhouse Square “passion project” (a brown-liquor-heavy bar and a kitchen serving Southern-inflected comfort food) never really sparked the affections of Philly’s foodie class when it opened under the command of chef Michael Stevenson. But recently–and very quietly–Reilly has been retrenching with a little bit of that New York transplant magic that has so positively affected so many other restaurants in this city recently.

The guy he lured into the 215 area code was formerly the chef at Silk Road Tavern in the Flatiron. He was exec at Robert (the restaurant inside the New York Museum of Art and Design), worked under Marcus Samuelson at Aquavit, as a sous at Jean Georges Vongerichten‘s 66 in Tribeca and as a line cook at Oceana. In between those 212 gigs, he also stood as exec at Sampan right here in Philly, and Reilly brought him back to revamp the board and run the kitchen at Twisted Tail. That guy is chef Leo Forneas.

Read more »

TuB Gin Offering 25¢ Drinks

This Saturday night, TuB Gin is celebrating the beginning of the end of Prohibition with Cullen Harrison parties. Five Philadelphia bars will be offering TuB Gin drinks for 25¢ each.

  •  The Twisted Tail
    Beginning at 5 p.m.
  • Fergie’s Pub
    7 to 8 p.m.
  • Prohibition Taproom
    Starting at 6 p.m.
  • American Sardine Bar
    7 to8:30 p.m.
  • PYT
    9 to 10 p.m.
TuB Gin [Official Site]

Changes at Twisted Tail

Chef Michael Stevenson is out at the Twisted Tail on Headhouse Square. Since Stevenson’s departure the menu has been tweeked and we’re hearing positive things. Owner George Reilly is on the search for a new executive chef to man his charcoal grill.

Twisted Tail [Official Site]

Twisted Tail Needs To Straighten Out the Food

Trey Popp enjoys the good music and the great drinks at The Twisted Tail, the food, well not as much.

The kitchen’s emphasis is on charcoal grilling and Southern comfort, but the frequent result on our late-summer foray (and other visits) was food heavy enough for the dead of winter. Dishes were variously good (lamb shoulder with a parsnip-potato gratin), bad (rubbery battered cod), and a little weird (duck-chicken-lamb chili topped with separately cooked white beans, then sprinkled with chocolate salt).

One and a half stars – fair to good

Review: The Twisted Tail [Philadelphia magazine]

Twisted Tail
509 South 2nd Street
215-558-2471
Be the first to review

Photograph by Jason Varney

« Older Posts