Two Bells for Rosa Blanca


Craig LaBan finds that Jose Garces’s Rosa Blanca may suffer from a split personality but is worth it when it comes to Cuban classics.

Rosa Blanca is at its best when embracing its Cuban comida soul. The ropa vieja was stewed to brisket silk, profound with a subtle molasses sweetness and sneaky red fresno chili spice. Flavorful cubes of pork-shoulder masitas were intense with savory adobo seasoning, practically melting on the tongue. The garlicky roast chickens, meanwhile, are among the most flavorful in town, dripping oregano and achiote-tinted essence down from the spit onto baby potatoes that turn yellow with flavor. With a crock of perfect black beans and rice on the side, it’s a satisfying value for $18.

Two Bells – Very Good

Rosa Blanca still seeking an identity [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Rosa Blanca [Foobooz]

It’s a Sunday Tasting Menu that Won’t Break the Bank at Kanella

Photo by Frances Olson

Photo by Frances Olson

Brian Freedman provides the lowdown on chef Konstantinos Pitsillides’s Sunday Cypriot mezze dinner at Kanella. The menu changes each week but  you can count on it to be “honest, exciting, deeply comforting experience that, on a Sunday night, is the perfect way to begin a new week.”

Cheu Celebrates Its First Year, Looks Ahead to Passyunk

cheu-noodle-mike-persico-400Shawn Darragh and Ben Puchowitz are celebrating the first anniversary of Cheu Noodle Bar, their delightfully non-authentic Asian spot in Center City.

Nick Vadala has a profile on the pair, that includes some teases regarding what the pair have in mind for their next venture, at the former Zarape on East Passyunk.

One year on, Cheu Noodle Bar remains deliciously inauthentic—but mature [Philadelphia Daily News]
Cheu Noodle Bar [Foobooz]

Hey Mom and Dad, Here’s a Bi-Level-Esque Condo for Your Jeff Med Student


There are a lot of students and/or parents of students who keep the Center City condo market healthy — or at least breathing — when all else fails. Jefferson Medical College does brisk business for landlords and sellers in the Wash West/Midtown Village/Gayborhood/etc. etc. part of town. (Side note: Jeff has “more living graduates than any other medical school in the nation,” according to their website.) Often, a parent or two wind up buying a condo for a student, figuring it’ll give the kid a place to live for those few years of hell, and be a good investment as well. Here’s a Property Pick for Pecunious (or Impecunious) Parents: an especially spacious (1,100 square feet) 1BR/1BA condo at 10th and Spruce for $252,500 (plus $342 condo fees).

Slideshow below.

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Philadelphia Restaurant Review: Rosa Blanca


Masitas de puerco. Photography by Michael Persico

Jose Garces can take you places. And the most compelling ones are those you’d have the hardest time reaching on your own. That’s why Amada, with its broad embrace of Spain, has always been second in my book to Tinto’s deep dive into Basque country. And it’s one reason JG Domestic’s all-American pantry, for all its ambition, has always felt more expendable than Distrito’s gaudy fantasia of luchador masks and tequila-cured ceviche.

So if there was any silver lining to the closure of Chifa, whose Peruvian-Chinese cuisine was Garces’s most inspired adventure, it was the news that its replacement would be a destination that gets stamped on even fewer American passports: a Cuban diner.

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Musical Fund Hall Condo with Deeded Parking in Wash West

Musical Fund Hall has a fairly varied history for a building with such a specific name. Built originally in 1824 for the First Presbyterian Church, the hall was converted to the city’s largest musical auditorium shortly thereafter. The Marquis de Lafayette was honored there in 1825 and Charles Dickens addressed the crowds in 1842. In 1856, the hall served as the location for the first Republican National Convention, where the eventual loser to Pennsylvania’s only president, James Buchanan, was nominated. When the Academy of Music was constructed, the hall fell out of fashion. It spent time as a boxing arena and a tobacco warehouse before being converted to condos. Which brings us to this unit, improbably modern within a nearly century-old building.

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Wash West Luxury Penthouse With Private Elevator and Rooftop Access


It is generally accepted that a luxury penthouse condo will include a private terrace or two. This penthouse laughs at your little balcony and lords its 3,000-square-foot terrace over you. More than a mere “terrace,” it is actually the entire building’s rooftop and the owners are the only ones with access.

The rest of the condo is just as stunning. A private elevator leads to a private foyer and your very own lobby. The ceilings are between 16 feet and 18 feet tall with windows of commensurate proportion. The listing describes “rare stones” among the unit’s fine finishes. It would not be shocking to find actual gems among the granite and marble throughout at this rate.

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Wash West Condo Perfect for a Snow (or Ice) Day


There are only a few things that can mar the perfection of a snow day and only a few things that can improve upon its natural exquisiteness. Shoveling is a bummer. But fireplaces make the cold and ice a lot easier to bear. This Washington West condo combines the homey warmth of your own hearth with the convenience of HOAs that ensure you’ll never have to shovel again.

The home was built i 1895 and retains some of its original character in elements like stained and leaded-glass windows, hand-carved doors and fancy balusters. Exposed beams and woodwork abound and work together to forge a sense of cosiness. The unit actually features three fireplaces, which frankly seems more than enough for just two bedrooms. The kitchen comes with standard luxury upgrades like granite countertops and pricey cabinetry and appliances.

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